Applying For EI Benefits, 5 Things You Should Know

Stressed out person applying for EI Benefits

Applying for EI benefits is often a stressful experience.  The process is not user friendly.  First, you have to go to the government website and look for the EI application.  Once you have found it, you then have the arduous process of going through it, which can take hours.  Also, calling the 1-800 number for help may take even more hours! (This is understandable right now, during the coronavirus crisis. The number of EI claims is shocking! At last count, there were 2.2 million new EI claims in Canada.)

 However, if you have lost your job and have no other money coming in, you need to apply for Employment Insurance.  So, what are some things that you need to know when you are applying for EI benefits?  Here are 5 things that you need to know:

Applying for EI Benefits: Apply Immediately (Even Without a Record of Employment)

Surprisingly, many do not apply for EI right away, thinking that they need to wait for their record of employment.  They might think that it’s pointless to apply without their ROE.  This is 100% wrong.  You should apply for EI benefits right after you finish your last day of work, period.  Why?  First, you only have 4 weeks from your last work day to apply.  If you do not, you could get less benefits than you are entitled to.

 Second, most records of employment are automatically sent to EI by your employer.  So even if you haven’t received one yet, it’s most likely that the government has it already.

Third, the government can make a temporary record of employment based on your application and set up your EI claim using that.  Once the actual record of employment comes in, your application can be recalculated. 

Applying for EI: More Details are Better

For some reason, many people don’t want to describe the reasons why they are no longer working.  Maybe it’s because they are shy or perhaps, they do not want to seem to complain about their situation.    However, it is extremely important to give full details on why you are no longer working, especially if you quit or were dismissed.  More is better!  Think about it this way: whoever is going to look at your application has no idea of the situation at all.  For them, it’s like looking at a blank canvas.  You need to create a detailed picture or painting.  The more details you can provide, the clearer the picture is.  This helps the benefits officer make a better decision on your application.

Applying for EI: Dismissal is Not Actually Bad

This is one of the biggest misconceptions about EI.  Most people think if you get dismissed or fired from your job that you automatically won’t get EI.  Employers will even tell employees that it’s better for you to quit than to get fired.  This is absolutely not true!  Why?  Because if your employer dismisses you, the onus is on the employer to prove misconduct on the part of the employee in order to deny their EI benefits.  A lot of EI adjudicators use the Black’s Dictionary of misconduct to define whether someone has done something that is willful and of evil intent. 

For example, if your employer dismissed you because you were not good at your job that is not misconduct.  Even if you were late for work, or were argumentative etc., the employer would have to show that they addressed the issue.  For example, were there warnings, conversations and the like?   Even, for things like accusing an employee of theft, the responsibility is on the employer to show or prove that this happened.  For example, were their witnesses?  Is there video?  Did they call the police and file a police report? 

Also, if an employee was paid severance by their employer, this shows that there wasn’t misconduct The thinking behind this is why would you pay additional money to someone who committed misconduct?  As you can see, with dismissal the pressure is on the employer to prove misconduct, which is not easy to do.

It’s a Lot Harder to Get EI Benefits if You Quit

Many people do not realize this, but it is really hard to get EI benefits if you quit.  Unfortunately, people think that it’s better than getting dismissed or fired.  This is false, because f you quit all the pressure is on you to prove that you had “just cause” in quitting.  What does this mean?  It means that you had no other choice.

For example, suppose you were being harassed at work by a co-worker.  You couldn’t take it anymore and wanted to quit.  However, for EI purposes you would have to exhaust your alternatives first.  Did you talk to a manager about the harassment?  Had you gone to your union about the harassment?  Did you go to Human Resources?  Did you go to Labour Standards or Human Rights?  If you did and there was still no real change in your situation then you would have a chance to get EI benefits. 

A tool that can help you if you are in this position of either thinking of quitting your job or you’ve already done so is the EI Digest.   This document lays out how different EI issues are looked at. It can give you some insight on what information you would need to provide on your EI application.

If Rejected, Appeal

It is always tough to get a rejection letter, but especially when it comes to EI benefits.  As a result, many people give up and move on.  However, in a lot of cases you should appeal the decision.  You might feel intimidated because when you appeal, it says there will be an appeal hearing with a 3-person tribunal (called a board of referees). You have the option to be present for it.  It is like going to court and who wants to go to court?  However, there is a step that’s not mentioned that might help you if you write an appeal letter on why you feel the decision made was incorrect.

Before an appeal goes to the board of referees, it goes to the appeal department.  This department is made of experienced adjudicators who will look at the application again. They see if the original decision made was correct. And they also decide if they could possibly allow the claim based on information the client has provided on the application and any new information in their appeal letter.

 The advantage of this is that you have a more experienced adjudicator looking at your EI claim with even more information.  This gives you a better chance at being approved.  Also, sometimes they might find another way for you to qualify for EI benefits. For example the information you provided might qualify you for sickness benefits, rather than regular Employment Insurance.  So, it doesn’t hurt to try to appeal a decision if you are rejected.

Conclusion

Applying for EI benefits is hard and can be emotionally draining.  However, if you keep the above points in mind, hopefully the process will be a bit easier   Applying for any government benefit seems intimidating but the more you know about a program, the easier it is to navigate through it.  Hopefully, this results in a favourable outcome for you.

Canada Mortgage Rates as of January 11, 2021

A picture of a toy house with keys to denote Canadians wanting to know Canada mortgage rates.

What are the Canada mortgage rates currently? Many want to know because many people find themselves reevaluating their living arrangements due to COVID-19. As a result, more and more Canadians are looking to purchase a house where they can have more space and more land so they can feel safer. It is a new right now. So what are the Canada mortgage rates right now?

Canada Mortgage Rates Currently at 3 of the Big Banks

Scotiabank

Variable Rate Mortgages

Posted Rate
Scotia Ultimate Variable Rate Mortgage-Closed 3 Year Term3.350%1
Scotia Flex Value Mortgage-Closed 5 Year Term2.650%2
Scotia Flex Value Mortgage-Open 5 Year Term5.750%3

Closed Term Fixed Rate Mortgages

TermRate
1 year3.090%
2 years3.190%
3 years3.790%
4 years4.090%
5 years4.790%
7 years5.390%
10 years5.890%

Short Term Fixed Rate Mortgages

TermRate
Open Mortgage – 6 month5.750%
Open Mortgage – 1 year5.750%
Flexible/Closed Mortgage – 6 month4.250%

Royal Bank

Popular Rates

TermSpecial OffersAPR
2 Year Fixed2.090%2.150%
5 Year Fixed2.170%2.200%
5 Year VariableRBC Prime Rate – 0.550% (1.900%)1.930%

TD Bank

TD Special Mortgage Rates

TermSpecial Rate3APR    4,   5
3 Year Fixed Closed72.14%2.18%
5 Year Fixed Closed71.94%1.96%
5 Year Fixed Closed
High-Ratio9
1.84%1.86%
5 Year Variable Closed61.70%1.72%

TD Mortgage Prime Rate is 2.60%

Conclusion

The rates above are just a sample of the rates currently available today. However, rates can change, so it is good to either look at a bank’s website or contact them directly for latest rates.

Home ownership in Canada is high when compared with other countries and this trend will continue. (Approximately 66% of Canadians own a property.) And despite (or perhaps even because of) Coronavirus, Canadians are still looking for homes. As a result, mortgage rate shopping has become more important. 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.

When Will Canada Child Benefits (CCB) be Paid in 2020? CCB Payment Dates

Picture of children by the lake to denote when will Canada Child Benefits (CCB) will be paid in 2020.

When will Canada Child Benefits be paid out for the rest of 2020? It is an important question for people with children because for many expenses are up. There are a few reasons for this such as children returning to school and uncertainty of job stability due to COVID-19 cases rising everywhere. Also, for many there is the holiday season and the costs associated with that. So it is important for families to know when they will see their CCB benefits so they can plan accordingly.

When Will Canada Child Benefits (CCB) be Paid in 2020?

Here are the dates each month that CCB payments will be made to families from the Government of Canada’s website below for the rest of 2020:

-September 18, 2020

-October 20, 2020

-November 20, 2020

-December 11, 2020

As noted from above, December’s payment will come a bit earlier. And a couple of additional notes from the government’s website. First, you will not receive a monthly payment if your total benefit amount for the year is less than $240. Instead you will receive one lump sum payment with your July payment. Second, if you don’t receive your CCB payment on the expected payment date, please wait 5 working days before you contact us.

Conclusion

It is more important than ever in these unstable times to know what you have for money coming in for your family. Knowing when CCB payments will be issued can help you to plan better. Also, it helps you to know when to contact the Government of Canada if there has been any delay. As the old saying goes, knowledge is power. However, in these unstable times it is probably better to say that knowledge is survival. So take care of yourselves and stay safe.

You Might Also Like: When Will New COVID-19 Recovery Benefits Start?

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.

CERB Replaced by New EI, CRB, CRSB, and CRCB programs – latest details (Canada Covid Relief)

A person on a calculator to denote someone calculating their budgeting based on CERB ends and being replaced by new EI, CRB, CRSB and CRCB programs.

CERB will be replaced by a new EI program and three transitional programs CRB, CRSB, and CRCB. I wrote a previous article regarding these programs, which I’ve linked to at the bottom of the page. However, there are some slight changes to the programs since the government’s throne speech on September 23, 2020. Let’s highlight some of these details below.

CERB Replaced by New Employment Insurance Program

If you were on the Canada Emergency Response Program (CERB) when it ended September 26, 2020, you will either be transitioned to or have to apply for EI benefits if you qualify for it. For example, if you applied for CERB through Service Canada, you will automatically be set up for EI benefits if you qualify. If you applied for CERB through CRA (Canada Revenue Agency), then you will have to apply for EI benefits after September 26, 2020.

The main criteria for EI is that someone has worked at least 120 insurable hours of employment in last 52 weeks. This criteria is for both regular EI benefits and Special benefits. The rate one will receive has been increased to at least $500 per week and $300 per week for extended parental benefits for at least 26 weeks. But what options does someone have if they do not qualify for EI benefits?

CERB Replaced by New Transitional Benefits – CRB, CRSB, CRCB

Last Thursday the government tabled these three new recovery benefits in Parliament which will be debated today for ones who do not qualify for EI. These benefits are temporary as you can only apply for them up to September 25, 2021. Here’s a brief description of each below.

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) – The program is designed for those who are self employed and are not eligible for EI and still need support. The rate is $500 per week for 26 weeks. It is provided to workers who have not returned to work due to COVID-19 or seen their income drop by at least 50 percent. Those who apply for this program must be looking for work and accept work when it is reasonable to do so.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) – The program provides $500 per week for up to two weeks for workers who are sick or who must self-isolate due to COVID-19. The government has indicated that the goal of this program is to provide paid sick leave to all Canadians. Details such as eligibility requirements have not been given as of yet.

Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit (CRCB) – The program provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks for those who are unable to work because they need to care for a child under the age of 12 or family member because schools and daycares are closed. The benefit is also available for those caring for a child or family member who is sick and/or required to quarantine.

CERB Replaced by New Benefits, When Do They Start? Conclusion

Regarding the new EI program, it starts this week as some people are already transitioned into it while others can apply right now for EI benefits. However, regarding the three new temporary recovery programs, as mentioned above – the bill (C-2) for these programs will be debated today (September 28, 2020) in Parliament. Once the debates have ended, there will be a vote and if it passes, then it will be implemented. How fast it can happen is anyone’s guess but could happen fairly rapidly. So it would be good to check for updates daily. Also, because it is being debated there could possibly be some more adjustments, so look out for that also. Hopefully, things will move fast and these programs can be accessed because many still need help during these unstable times. Stay safe everyone.

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Current Canadian Mortgage Rates as of September 14, 2020

A graph to denote fluctuating current Canadian mortgage rates.

What are current Canadian mortgage rates in right now? It is an interesting question which will take much research as each bank has their own rates. This can be a long and arduous process. However, I thought I would post some currents rates of some of Canada’s big banks to help make things a bit easier for you guys. So without further ado, here are the current mortgage rates in Canada below:

Current Canadian Mortgage Rates

Royal Bank of Canada

TermSpecial OffersAPR
2 Year Fixed2.090%2.150%
5 Year Fixed2.290%2.320%
5 Year VariableRBC Prime Rate – 0.350% (2.100%)2.130%

TD Bank

TD Special Mortgage Rates

TermSpecial Rate3APR    4,   5
3 Year Fixed Closed72.19%2.23%
5 Year Fixed Closed72.24%2.26%
5 Year Fixed Closed
High-Ratio9
2.07%2.09%
5 Year Variable Closed62.05%2.07%
TD Mortgage Prime Rate is 2.60%

Scotiabank

Variable Rate Mortgages

Effective September 14, 2020

Posted Rate
Scotia Ultimate Variable Rate Mortgage – 3 Year Closed Term3.350%1
Scotia Flex Value Mortgage-Closed 5 Year Term2.650%2
Scotia Flex Value Mortgage-Open 5 Year Term5.750%3

Closed Term Fixed Rate Mortgages

TermRate
1 year3.090%
2 years3.190%
3 years3.790%
4 years4.090%
5 years4.790%
7 years5.390%
10 years5.890%

Short Term Fixed Rate Mortgages

TermRate
Open Mortgage – 6 month5.750%
Open Mortgage – 1 year5.750%
Flexible/Closed Mortgage – 6 month4.250%
Special Offer Information
1
APR 3.87%
2
APR 2.70%
3
APR 5.75%

Conclusion

Buying a house is one of the most important purchases you can make. And for most, obtaining a mortgage is necessary to make that home purchase happen. So finding the right mortgage rate for your circumstances is imperative because choosing the wrong rate could cost you thousands of dollars. So do your research; ask lots of questions; read the fine print and take an honest appraisal of what you can afford. Compare mortgage rates AND ask at the bank if they’ll match the better rates at other financial institutions. Doing so will give you the information you need to make the right decision. And, potentially save thousands upon thousands of dollars over the course of the mortgage. Happy house hunting!

When Will CERB Finally End? New End Date and Programs

A picture to denote someone getting ready to crunch their finances based on the question will cerb finally end and the programs to come afterwards.

When will CERB finally end? That has been the million dollar question for the summer of 2020. However, now it seems the government has given a definite answer after extending the program one more time and has laid out plans for other programs to start right afterwards. Let’s look at these details.

When Will CERB Finally End? – CERB Extension and End Date

CERB or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit has been extended 4 more weeks for a total of 28 weeks. The rate is still $500.00 per week. However, the end date of CERB has changed. It is now ending as of September 26, 2020. So the window to collect a potential of 28 weeks goes from March 15, 2020 to September 26, 2020. What happens next?

When Will CERB Finally End? – New Programs Announced

The government announced that as of September 27, 2020, there will be four new programs that Canadians can apply for to help them through the financial crisis caused by COVID-19. They are a new EI program, and three new temporary benefits programs. Let’s take a look at each one these.

Restructured Employment Insurance Program

The government announced that people who are currently are on CERB and who qualify for EI benefits will be transitioned into the Employment Insurance program. This means that if you applied for CERB through Service Canada, you will automatically be set up for EI benefits. If you applied for CERB through CRA, then you would have to apply for EI. So what are the details of the EI program?

Here are some of the details from the government of Canada’s website below:

“EI will now be available to more Canadians, including those who would not have qualified for EI in the past, adding more than 400,000 people into the program.Those receiving EI will be eligible for a taxable benefit rate of at least $400 per week, or $240 per week for extended parental benefits, and regular benefits will be accessible for a minimum duration of 26 weeks. “

How Many Insurable Hours Do I Need to Qualify for EI Benefits?

The Government has lowered the required insurable hours of work to qualify for EI benefits to 120 hours in the last 52 weeks or since your last Employment claim. How can they do this?

First as indicated from their website, they are going to give a person a credit of 300 insurable hours if they are applying for Regular Employment insurance benefits. If someone is applying for special benefits such as sickness or maternity benefits they will receive a credit of 480 insurable hours. So the government is giving a credit to help make up the difference so you can qualify for EI.

Second, the government has established a minimum unemployment rate for the EI program of 13.1% across Canada. What does this mean? It basically means that a person cannot collect anything less then 26 weeks of benefits. Normally, the unemployment rate used was based in the city or area you lived and the lower the rate of unemployment, the lower the minimum weeks that someone could collect.

If I Do Not Qualify for EI Benefits, Are There Other Options?

As previously indicated, if someone does not qualify for Employment Insurance benefits, the government announced three addition programs. Here they are one by one below.

Canada Recovery Benefit – This program is for self employed workers who do not qualify for employment insurance benefits and need income support and who are looking and are available for work. They can be provided with $400.00 per week up to 26 weeks.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit – The government will provide up to $500.00 per week for up to two weeks for someone who has to self isolate for reasons related to COVID-19.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit – This program will provide up to $500.00 per week for up to 26 weeks per household to eligible persons who have to take care of a child, family member with a disability or a dependent who cannot attend school or be at a care facility or get other care due to COVID-19.

All of these new programs start as of September 27, 2020 and all are temporary with a duration of one year. For more details on the specific eligibility requirements, please look at the government of Canada’s website.

Conclusion

CERB will finally end on September 27, 2020. At this point the government has revamped the Employment Insurance program and set up three temporary programs to help Canadians transition out of the financial crisis caused by the pandemic. The goal is to get as many Canadians back to work as possible in this time as the financial costs of having so many Canadians on CERB was immense. Will it work? Only time will tell. However, no matter how good the plans may be, everything will be dependent on how COVID-19 affects life and the economy in the fall and winter. And that is the ultimate wild card. Please stay safe.