The government of Canada recently announced that it is extending COVID-19 benefits until October 23, 2021. What are the specific details of this announcement? See below.
Canada Extending COVID-19 Benefits – Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) , Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) and Lockdown Support
The Canadian government’s recent news release states that it will extend the eligibility period for these three programs up to October 23, 2021. It will also increase the rate of support that employers and organizations can receive during the period between August 29, 2021 to September 25, 2021. This will be a relief to many employers who are still trying to get their businesses up and running.
The same government news release above also stated that these three programs would be extended until October 23, 2021. Regarding the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the government is extending the maximum number weeks available by four weeks for a total of 54 weeks at a rate of $300.00 per week.
The government also ensures it that the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) will be available to ones who have exhausted their Employment Insurance Benefits.
This announcement will come as a relief to many Canadians as there is still uncertainty in the economy due to the pandemic. Will all these benefits end after October 23, 2021? Only time will tell but as seen by this recent announcement, things are still not back to normal. Also, we see that COVID-19 is very resilient and no one knows how bad things could get with the variants. Because of this the government is taking a cautious approach and as we have seen with this announcement, it will adjust accordingly. As a result, these benefits could end or not. We will have to wait and see.
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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?
“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.
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.