Following the outbreak of the coronavirus, the Canadian government introduced the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payment.
Part of the Canada's initial COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, CERB provides support for individuals and families with increased childcare benefits, mortgage support and more.
Since its introduction on 6 April, CERB has provided more than 8.5 million individuals with $2,000 a month in relief.
However, the Canadian government has now announced that, on 27 September, CERB will revert to the Employment Insurance (EI) scheme.
The purpose behind the move is to provide more income boosts to both residents and nonresidents who are currently unemployed due to COVID-19.
What you need to know about the change to CERB
If you have been receiving CERB through Service Canada, and you are already eligible for EI, then you will automatically be transitioned to EI benefits once your CERB ends next month.
However, if you eligible for EI but have been receiving CERB through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), you will need to apply through Service Canada.
To qualify for EI, as someone who resides in Canada, you will now need only 120 hours of eligible employment to access unemployment and work-sharing benefits. The same threshold will apply to parental, sickness, caregiver and maternity benefits.
The government has also increased EI benefit to a minimum of $400 per week. Previously, the EI maximum amount was $573 per week.
Included in the changes is a new COVID-19 sickness benefit. The ‘Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit’ will provide workers with $500 per week for up to two weeks if they are not able to work because they are sick, or have to self-isolate due to a positive COVID-19 test.
The Canada Recovery Benefit will provide a benefit amount of $400 per week to individuals who are not eligible for EI, mainly those who are self-employed. You can earn an income while receiving this pay – but it must not exceed $38,000. The benefit will not be available to workers who quit their jobs.
Both of these payments will be in place for at least the next twelve months.
The Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit aims to provide $500 per week to eligible households.
You can apply for this if you cannot work at least 60% of your normally scheduled work because you must care for a family member with a disability, dependent or a child who is under 12 years of age because:
- their daycare, day program, school or care facility operates under an alternative schedule or is closed for reasons related to the pandemic
- they are unable to attend their daycare, day program, school or care facility under the advice of a medical professional due to being at high risk
- the caregiver who provides care is not available due to the COVID-19 pandemic
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