CERB Ending Announced -Merging into EI Program

CERB ending was announced a few days ago by the Canadian government and that the program will be replaced by a new EI program. There were not many details given on how this transition will unfold. However, they indicated that more details will be provided by the end of August. So what do we know about this change from the announcement?

CERB Ending Announced, When Does CERB end?

From the government’s website, a person can collect a maximum of 24 weeks of CERB within the time frame of March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020. However, the new EI system will be ready in September according to the Employment Minister below:

“Speaking at a news conference later on Friday, Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough said the EI system is equipped to take in around four million applications at the beginning of September.”

Also, a quote from a recent CBC article indicates that those on CERB who already qualify for Employment Insurance will be moved to that program. So it seems at some point, perhaps in September, ones on CERB that quality will be shifted onto EI benefits.

What About People on CERB Who Do Not Qualify for EI?

It seems that the government will make a transitional benefit benefit for those who do not qualify for Employment Insurance. Here’s a quote from the Employment Minister about this:

“The government is promising a parallel, transitional benefit with EI-like components for those who can’t yet — and I emphasize yet,” said Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough — “get into the EI system. “

This provision seems to be temporary with the incentive to get people to qualify for Employment Insurance or back to work. However, we will have to wait for more details.

Will The Amount Payout Change with EI?

This appears to be the case as rates will be based on the Employment Insurance rate of 55% of a person’s normal weekly earnings up to a maximum of $573.00 per week. Here’s a quote from a recent article about this below:

“Benefit amounts may shrink for lower income recipients: Currently, EI regular and sickness benefits are equal to 55 per cent of one’s income to a maximum of $573 a week.”

As a result, the amount of money a lot of people receive will drop with the transition to EI. Many would have been receiving more with the $2000 per month CERB payment. Also, unlike CERB, ones on EI will have to be actively looking for work. However, it looks like the eligibility requirements will be lessened and training offered as indicated below:

“It will include access to training and the ability to work more hours without having as steep a clawback in benefit payments. 

The government is also promising to relax EI eligibility rules like the number of hours required to receive support payments. “

Conclusion, Why Announce CERB Ending Without Details?

It is a good question as the details are very thin. However, the point is that the government is giving sort of a “shot across the bow” to Canadians in that they want more Canadians back to work. This is because the government feels Canada is now in recovery mode from the virus. Here’s an excerpt from recent CBC article below:

“We believe that the CERB has served its purpose and the reason it was created is no longer the main focus of our efforts as a government to support workers,” Qualtrough said during a mid-afternoon press conference. “We are going to move on to something different.” 

And another quote from same article, “The Liberals are hoping the change prods more Canadians to either go back to work or look for a job as the economy moves into what the Bank of Canada has described as a recuperation period before a long, bumpy recovery.”

So are we in recovery from coronavirus? No one knows, as the virus is unpredictable and there is also fear of a second wave in the fall. However, the government is hoping that we are. Only time will tell.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *