EI Benefit Changes September 2021 – Employment Insurance Canada update

A picture of calculator and budget book to denote calculating the EI benefit changes as of September 26, 2021.

There are some EI benefit changes as of September 26, 2021 that are now in effect. Here is a list of them below.

EI Benefit Changes September 26, 2021

Workers will now have a uniform hours requirement of working 420 hours to qualify for EI benefits. This will be in place for one year until September 22, 2022.

The weekly floor of the amount you can receive for EI benefits will decrease from $500.00 per week to $300.00 week. This floor will apply to EI benefits made between September 26, 2021 and November 20, 2021.

The duration and value of benefits will once again be calculated using regional unemployment rates that were temporarily replaced over the last year by a uniform unemployment rate of 13.1 per cent.

There will be simplified rules regarding vacation pay and severance to help EI claimants receive benefits sooner.

There will be a one week waiting period for all new EI benefit claims as of September 26, 2021 after it was waived over the last year.

If you are currently on a EI claim before September 26, 2021, these changes will not affect the value or duration of your EI claim.

No Changes to Seasonal Workers

Seasonal workers in 13 regions will still be eligible for an extra 5 weeks of regular EI benefits until October 2022.

The pilot project provides the extra weeks to seasonal workers who started a claim between Aug. 5, 2018 and this coming Oct. 30, provided they had three claims for regular or fishing benefits in the last five years, and at least two started around the same time of year.

Conclusion

The EI benefits changes as of September 26, 2021 reflect the government transitioning out of pandemic relief and back to a normal EI program. However, it cannot fully go back yet as we are still dealing with Covid-19. We will see if these changes will be enough for unemployed Canadians during this time or if there has to be further changes. With covid-19, you never know.

CERS and CEWS Extended to June 2021

Picture of Canadian money to denote businesses receiving help due to CERS and CEWS being extended to June 2021.

On March 3, 2021, the government announced that the CERS and CEWS would be extended to June 5, 2021. They said both programs will be maintained at current levels. This is good news for businesses who are still struggling. Here’s what that means below.

CERS and CEWS Extended June 2021 Details

The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) will be extended to June 5, 2021. It will still cover up to 65% of eligible employers’ rent. Also, the additional 25% lockdown subsidy top-up for hard hit businesses restricted by more severe public health guidelines will be extended to June 5, 2021.

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will also be extended to June 5, 2021. It will still cover up to 75% of employees’ wages for eligible employers.

The government also announced an extension for Furloughed workers to June 5, 2021. Here’s a quote from the government’s website regarding this:

“the government intends to continue to align the wage subsidy rate structure with the benefits provided through the Employment Insurance program from March 14 to June 5, 2021. This means employers who qualify for the wage subsidy would be able to continue to claim up to a maximum benefit of $595 per week per employee to support remuneration of their furloughed workers.”

Conclusion

The Prime Minister said, “This isn’t the time to pull back on support for workers or business owners, it’s the time to see people through what is hopefully the final stretch of this crisis and it’s time to get the whole economy ready to come roaring back,”

Hopefully he is correct and we are in the final stretch of this pandemic. But as already seen so far, the coronavirus is unpredictable and highly resilient. So only time will tell if we are nearing the finish line. Until then, please stay safe.

Government of Canada’s Fall Economic Statement and Budget – Highlights

A picture of someone holding Canadian money to denote how the Government of Canada's fall economic statement will affects many Canadian's pocket books.

On Monday November 30, 2020, I got up and watched the Government of Canada’s fall economic statement. I wanted to see what further relief plans they had for Canadians who are struggling due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The finance minister, Chyrstia Freeland, mentioned a myriad of things they were planning to do with some ideas being more concrete than others. Here are some of the highlights below.

Government of Canada’s Fall Economic Statement- Increasing the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Rate

To continue to help businesses, the government is increasing the maximum rate of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to 75 per cent for the period beginning December 20, 2020 and extending this rate until March 13, 2021. This means the government will cover up to 75% of employees’ wages during this time period. Originally, this had decreased, but this amount has now been restored to cover up to 75% of wages again.

Extension of The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) Rate and Lockdown Support

The current maximum rate of the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy is 65 percent and businesses severely affected by a lockdown good get could get up to additional 25 percent of eligible expenses. This rate was to last until December 19, 2020 but now has been extended until March 13, 2021.

Potential Support for Airlines, Tourism, Hotels, Arts – Highly Affected Sectors Credit

The Finance Minister also mentioned setting up low interest loans in these industries of up to a million dollars. Those industries, as noted in the heading, are airlines, tourism, hotels and the arts. The terms of these loans would be extended over a period of up to 10 years. This will be called the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program.

Government of Canada’s Fall Economic Statement – More Support for Families

To help families with young children through the pandemic, the government will provide temporary support of up to $1,200 in 2021 for each child under the age of six for families entitled to the Canada Child Benefit.

Conclusion

The Government of Canada’s Fall Economic statement contained a lot of details on programs and ideas to help Canadians navigate through this pandemic and beyond. The above were just some of the main highlights gleaned from it. If you want a more detailed listing, please visit the government’s website. The cost of these programs will be enormous but the government feels it is necessary for the situation we are in. Will it help? Only time will tell but for many who are suffering due to covid-19, any help at all is good help. Stay safe.

The New Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) – Starts Today

A businesses space with a for rent sign to denote need for struggling businesses to apply for the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy program.

The New Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) program begins to take applications today. Businesses that are struggling due to COVID-19 can now apply for this subsidy. To apply, you can go to the government of Canada’s website.

What is the New Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)?

The new CERS program (Canada Emergency Rent subsidy) is a rent or mortgage subsidy for Canadian businessesnon profit organizations, or charities who have seen a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The time period that the subsidy will cover is September 27, 2020 to June 2021.

The government’s website indicates that the subsidy will cover up to 65% of qualifying expenses. There is also an additional 25% of rent support for businesses, not profit organizations or charities that have been especially hard hit by mandatory public health orders. As a result, the hardest hit businesses can potentially receive a total rent subsidy of up to 90 %. These subsidy rates are in effect until December 19, 2020.

The new subsidy program payments will be made directly to qualifying renters or property owners without needing the participation of landlords. This is a change from the previous program where the landlords had to apply for the program and as a result the expected participation for the previous program was low.

Conclusion

The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy will be a welcome sight for many Canadian businesses. With the second wave of COVID-19 spiking all over the country, more restrictions and potential lockdowns seem inevitable. As a result, many struggling businesses are going to continue to struggle to keep afloat. Hopefully, this new program can help take some of the sting of the financial losses that will come with those further lockdowns. Unlike the last wage subsidy program, the government’s hope is that many more businesses will apply. Will this help? As the old saying goes, any help is good help but only time will tell. Please stay safe.

New Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy – What is it? (CERS details)

A for rent sign to denote the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy program for businesses and organizations.

A few days ago the federal government announced the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy to help businesses cover their rent due to the continued financial crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This was good news to the many businesses struggling to stay afloat. What is this new program?

New Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) Replaces CERCA Program

The New Canada Emergency Program (CERS) will replace the old Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRA) which ended on September 26, 2020. The biggest change between the two programs was that under the old CECRA program the commercial landlords had to apply for the program for businesses that needed rent relief. And they were under no obligation to apply, often leaving tenants in a very difficult situation.

However, under the New Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy Program, the government will now directly help the businesses and organizations who need relief. This means that businesses can apply to the program themselves and no longer need their landlords to apply. So what are the details of the program?

Details of Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy Program (CERS)

The program so far is thin on details and even on the government’s website it says that more information will be coming soon. But from the government’s news release on October 9, 2020 and other reports, here’s what has been shared so far.  The new rent subsidy will support businesses, charities and non-profits that have suffered revenue drops by subsidizing a percentage of their expenses on a sliding scale, up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible expenses. This will last until December 19, 2020.

In addition to the rent subsidy, there will be a top-up of 25 percent available for organizations that have been temporarily shut down by a mandatory public health order.

When Will it Start? Conclusion – CERS for Business owners

There was no indication of when businesses and organizations can apply for this new program. However, when it does finally start, applicants can apply for their subsidy to start retroactively as of September 27, 2020. Once the government announces when people can apply, we will provide an update.

The new wage subsidy program is a potential relief for businesses and organizations that are struggling to survive during these unprecedented times. Hopefully, more details will become available shortly as the situation is dire for many businesses. And with COVID-19 cases on the rise again, the financial future seems more uncertain than ever. Stay safe.

When Will New COVID-19 Recovery Benefits Start? (CRB, CRSB, CRCB)

Photo to highlight when will new covid-19 benefits start.

When will new COVID-19 recovery benefits start? The government announced this week that Canadians can start applying for two of the new recovery benefits as of October 5, 2020. The two new recovery benefits are the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB). The third new recovery benefit, the Canada Recovery benefit will start as of October 12, 2020. These three benefits and the new EI benefits replace the Canada Emergency Response Benefits that Canadians were receiving due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

When Will New COVID-19 Recovery Benefits Start? A Quick Summary of New Benefits

Here’s a quick summary of the three new benefits from the government of Canada’s website below:

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) will provide $500 per week (taxable, tax deducted at source) for up to a maximum of two weeks, for workers who are unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they contracted COVID-19, self-isolated for reasons related to COVID-19, or have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sicknesses that, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority, would make them more susceptible to COVID-19. This benefit will be paid in one-week periods.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) will provide $500 per week (taxable, tax deducted at source) for up to 26 weeks per household for workers unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they must care for a child under the age of 12 or family member because schools, day-cares or care facilities are closed due to COVID-19, or because the child or family member is sick and/or required to quarantine or is at high risk of serious health implications because of COVID-19. This benefit will be paid in one-week periods.

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

The Canada Recovery Benefit will provide eligible workers with $500 per week (taxable, tax deducted at source) for up to 26 weeks for those who have stopped working and who are not eligible for EI, or had their employment/self-employment income reduced by at least 50% due to COVID-19. This benefit will be paid in two-week periods.

Conclusion

When will the new COVID-19 recovery benefits start? Both the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) start as of October 5, 2020. The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) will start as of October 12, 2020. Hopefully these new benefits will provide further help to Canadians who are struggling due to the pandemic. Only time will tell. Stay safe everyone.