As of August 2020, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) has helped more than 8.5 million Canadians who were financially impacted by COVID-19. This week, the federal government announced a new suite of changes to the supports available to everyday Canadians who are financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, which include:
- Changes to Employment Insurance (EI) program
- Extension to the CERB; and
- New income support benefits to capture more Canadians
Self-employed workers or Canadians who are not eligible for EI can apply for the new Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB). This program will provide $400 per week for up to 26 weeks to eligible Canadians who require income support and who are available and looking for work.
Canada Recovery Benefit
The new Canada Recovery Benefit would be effective from September 27, 2020 for one year and would provide a benefit amount of $400 per week for up to 26 weeks to workers who are not eligible for EI, mainly the self-employed and including those working in the gig economy. These individuals may still require income support if they continue to be unable to return to work due to COVID-19 or had their income reduced relative to pre-COVID-19 pandemic (attestation-based).
To be eligible, you must:
- Be at least 15 years old and have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- Have stopped working due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are looking for work; or are working and have lost employment/self-employment income for reasons related to the coronavirus pandemic
- Not be eligible for Employment Insurance;
- Had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020
- If you left your job voluntarily, you won't qualify
The benefit will also include links to Job Bank, Canada’s national employment service, with career planning tools to help unemployed Canadians get back on track.
Similar to CERB, claimants of CRB would reapply after every two-week period for a maximum of thirteen periods, and attest that they continue to meet the requirements. In order to continue to be eligible for the benefit the claimant will need to look for and accept work when it is reasonable to do so.
The Canada Recovery Benefit is taxable.
Like CERB, the CRB is a taxable benefit. Claimants will need to repay some or all of the benefit through their income tax return if their annual net income, excluding the Canada Recovery Benefit payment, is over $38,000. That means that workers will need to repay $0.50 of the benefit for each dollar of their annual net income above $38,000 in the calendar year.
Other Benefits for Canadians Impacted by COVID-19
Canadians who cannot work due to COVID-19 can apply for CERB coverage, which provides $2,000 per four-week period. If Canadians are still unable to find work, they can reapply for a maximum of seven eligibility periods. The value over the maximum 28-week coverage period for unemployed Canadians is up to $14,000. Learn more about CERB and how to qualify here.
As the Canadian economy begins to safely reopen, many Canadians will still need support as they look for work. To bridge the gap while Canadians transition off of CERB and are seeking employment, the government has created a new Employment Insurance (EI) program. Learn more about the new changes to EI benefits here.
The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) is designed to help Canadians who are sick or who will provide $500 per week for up to two weeks, for workers who are sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19.
The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) will provide $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household, for eligible Canadians unable to work because they must care for:
- A child under age 12 due to the closures of schools or daycares because of COVID-19.
- A family member with a disability or a dependent because their day program or care facility is closed due to COVID-19.
- A child, a family member with a disability, or a dependent who is not attending school, daycare, or other care facilities under the advice of a medical professional due to being at high-risk if they contract COVID-19.