“Canadians have shown tremendous strength in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and we know that it is still here with us. Our Government remains committed to helping Canadians through this extremely difficult time. Parliamentarians of all stripes have come together to make sure Canadians continue to have the income supports they need and that we continue to provide sufficient resources for the fight against COVID-19,” – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chyrystia Freehand.
COVID-19 has deeply affected everyone in Canada one way or another. This has not been easy for anyone, students are not able to attend school full time, many parents are unemployed and still have to provide for their families more than ever before. This is an especially testing time for those who have been laid off or let go due to the pandemic. The Government is creating new ways for the Canadians who are currently unemployed to still get paid in these times.
Canadians who are currently out of work due to COVID-19 are transitioning to employment insurance and other benefits. People are still jobless even after the Canada response benefit (CERB) has settled down, people who are jobless are eligible for federal financial support to help them get through the difficult times of the pandemic and the next phase to come. Millions of CERB recipients will automatically transition to employment insurance. Expanded eligibility means that more people can qualify and the pandemic aid bill includes three replacement benefits. Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough stated that the changes being made are aimed to strike balance between the need to avoid discouraging people who are not working hard to get employed and the need to support the Canadians who are working endlessly but are still unable to find work or have significantly reduced hours.
Transitioning from CERB to EI:
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was launched in April 2020, however, took effect on March 15, 2020, and was billed by the government as a way to get money distributed as fast as possible. It was very quickly criticized by the public for the lack of eligibility criteria and relying instead on retroactive verifications. It was also frowned upon by some business groups who argued it was displaying a distinctive for employees to return back to their job as the economy tried to reopen.
What Do I Need To Do to Keep Qualifying For EI?
What recipients need to do to keep qualifying for EI is to make “reasonable and ongoing job search efforts” while receiving EI payments. Those efforts include reaching out to employers, having an updated cover letter and resume prepared, registering and searching for job thanks and submitting applications. The more active you are in your job search, the more likely you are to keep qualifying for EI.
What If I Do Not Qualify For EI?
The government created three benefits for Canadians who do not qualify for EI, providing a payment of $500 per week.
- The Canada recovery benefit is for the self-employed or gig workers who don’t meet the criteria for EI.
- The Canada recovery caregiving benefit is for those who can’t work because they need to attend for their children or department for reasons related to COVID-19.
- The Canada recovery sickness benefit is for workers who are sick and must quarantine due to COVID-19.
How Do I Make A Claim?
Majority of people who are collecting CERB automatically transition to EI, which then provides taxable benefits of at least $500 a week, or $300 a week for extended parental benefits. EI claims are for at least 26 weeks.
Canadians who must apply for EI include:
- People with 900-series social insurance numbers, for example, temporary foreign workers and international students.
- Self-employed workers who receive their benefits through service Canada
- Canadians who receive CERB through the Canada Revenue Agency, however, could have potentially 120 insurable hours and couldn’t meet other eligibility requirements. CRA officials begun to take action and reach out to roughly 400,000 people in this specific category.
Please contact our Vancouver accounting firm, if you have any questions about EI or CERB.