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 Extending Lockdown Program and Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit

Picture of coronavirus to highlight that Canada is extending lockdown program and Canada worker benefit program.

Due to the the rapid rise of Omicron, Canada is extending the Lockdown Program and the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit. The government recently announced the changes to these programs to help Canadians navigate this latest wave of coronavirus. What are the changes?

Canada Extending Lockdown Program and Canada Worker Benefit – Changes

For the Lockdown Program, you no longer have to have a local lockdown in your area of more than 14 days. Instead employers would have capacity limits restricted to 50 percent or more. The government will be also reducing the current monthly revenue decline threshold from 40 per cent to 25 per cent. Eligible employers will receive wage and rent subsidies between 25 per cent to 75 per cent.

For the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit, if a worker’s workplace has been imposed with a 50 percent or more capacity limit, they can apply. The benefits provide $300 per week for those whose are eligible.

The time period in which you can collect with these changes is from December 19, 2021 to February 12, 2022.

In making these changes the Deputy Prime Minister said, ” The Omicron variant is a real and serious threat to the health and safety of Canadians and the capacity of our health care system. In light of the public health situation and new restrictions in a number of provinces, we are temporarily expanding eligibility for key support measures offered for workers and businesses. The federal government will continue to help Canadians through the pandemic and ensure Canada’s economic recovery leaves no one behind.”

Conclusion

The Canadian government has responded quickly to this latest surge of coronavirus. Hopefully these changes will be enough for affected ones to get by this latest surge. Will these changes work or will more changes will be needed? Only time will tell. Stay safe everyone.

Update – Cannot Apply Until 2022

The government said that eligible Canadians cannot apply for the extended Lockdown Program and Lockdown benefit until early 2022. Here’s what a spokesperson for Employment and Social Development Canada told a news outlet on Friday December 24, 2021, “workers in regions covered under the temporary measures should expect to be able to apply early in the new year.” No specific date has been mentioned as of yet but once it is given, we will update.

2nd Update – As of December 30, 2021 You Can Now Apply for Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit

According to CBC News, “The federal government announced today that the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB) is open for applications.

You Might Also Like:

CRB expiring October 23, 2021 – To be Replaced by Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit

La Z Boy Manager Chair – Comfort for Working at Home

The La Z Boy logo to highlight the La Z Boy manager chair.

Have you ever thought of getting a La Z boy manager chair? Before the pandemic, a lot of people would have said no as they already had their office chairs at work. The only time people would think about getting a La Z boy was to have a comfy chair to watch your favorite TV or watch your favorite sports team.

However, coronavirus changed that thinking for many as more and more people ended up working from home. As a result, a good office chair was needed as kitchen chairs would no longer cut it. No, to effectively work from home, people realized that they needed a comfortable, sturdy chair that would give both good back and leg support. A quality office chair was now needed and that’s where the La Z Boy Manager Chair comes in.

La Z Boy Manager Chair – La Z Boy Delano Big and Tall ComfortCore Executive Office Chair

This is one chair that can provide you with comfort and support especially for those long work days at home. Some of the features of this chair are listed below:

  • It has memory foam which is layered to provide support and comfort.
  • The chair is very sturdy as can hold up to 400lbs.
  • It has Ergonomic controls to adjust height and tilt of chair.
  • The chair has layered body pillows and padded head.

Here is a more thorough look at the chair below:


La-Z-Boy 45833 Delano Big and Tall ComfortCore Traditions Executive Office Chair, Chestnut (Brown)

Conclusion

If you are working at home and need a good office chair, this might be the one for you. It is sturdy, durable and comfortable and that is what is needed when you are looking for a chair. So, have a look and you might realize that office comfort might only be a few clicks away. Stay safe.

This post contains affiliate links, meaning we could earn a commission on sales at no extra cost to you. Thank 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.

New Loans For Black Business Owners – Economic Relief From COVID-19

An open sign to denote the benefits of new loan program for black business owners.

New loans for black business owners was announced by Prime Minister Trudeau yesterday. The purpose of the loan program is to help black business owners and entrepreneurs by providing economic relief during COVID-19. The goal is to help these ones recovery and grow their businesses, and provide an economic boost. The government also feels that this is way to help curve systemic racism. So what are some of the details of the new program?

New Loans for Black Businesser Owners – Highlights

The $221-million program will receive about $93 million from the federal government over the next four years. It will receive $128 million from eight financial institutions. Here ‘s the actual breakdown from the Prime Minister’s website below:

The program will include:

-Up to $53 million to develop and implement a new National Ecosystem Fund. This will support Black led business organizations across the country. It will help Black business owners and entrepreneurs access funding and capital, mentorship, financial planning services, and business training.

-Up to $33.3 million in support through the new Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund that will provide loans of between $25,000 and $250,000 for Black business owners and entrepreneurs. The Government of Canada is also partnering with financial institutions, including RBC, BMO Financial Group, Scotiabank, CIBC, National Bank, TD, Vancity, and Alterna Savings, to make up to $128 million available in additional lending support.

-Up to $6.5 million to create and sustain a new Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub. This Hub will collect data on the state of Black entrepreneurship in Canada and help identify Black entrepreneurs’ barriers to success as well as opportunities for growth. The Hub will be run by Black-led community and business organizations, in partnership with educational institutions.

When Will This Program be Implemented?

The Prime Minister did not announce when the new loan program for black business owners will be implemented. Also, there were no details about how one would specifically apply. And there were no details on the criteria needed to qualify for the loan. And there were no details about the interest rate, repayment etc. So we will have to wait for further announcements to get more clarification. But don’t worry, as soon as we have more details to share – share it we will!

In conclusion, for many black business owners struggling from the impact of the coronavirus, it is a nice announcement to think of additional funding options. However, they will need more details and action to benefit from this program. So we’ll wait and see for now, and update you as soon as we have more information. Stay safe everyone.

One Time Disability Payment Canada for Covid-19

A disability sign to denote that the one time disability payment is for ones with disabilities during covid-19

Last week parliament approved the one time disability payment to Canadians with disabilities. It was part of Bill C-20 that also had the changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program. The Canadian government says that about 1.7 million with disabilities should benefit from this program. So what are some details of this program? And how do Canadians who have disabilities apply to receive this one time payment?

One Time Disability Payment, How much?

The government of Canada’s website says that about 1.7 million Canadians can receive a one time payment of up to $600.00. Of note, this one time payment is non taxable and does not have to be reported anywhere. In a nutshell it is free money to spend as the recipients see fit. The government will move forward to start paying out on this once the bill receives Royal Assent.

How to Become Eligible to Receive the Payment?

The government of Canada’s website outlines three ways a person with disabilities can become eligible for the payment. Canadians with disabilities will have to fit in one of the three criteria the government has laid out. Here they are below:

  • They are holders of a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate (eligible persons not yet in possession of such a certificate would be able to apply for one up to 60 days after Royal Assent to be considered for the one-time payment).
  • Are currently receiving Canada Pension Plan disability benefits or Quebec Pension Plan disability benefits.
  • Or are in receipt of disability supports provided by Veterans Affairs Canada.

Conclusion

The government is hoping to help one of the most vulnerable groups to cope with the additional stresses due to COVID-19 with a non-taxable one time payment. This can be spent on whatever they need, and does not need to be tracked. During these uncertain financial times, any help that can be rendered is appreciated. Will it be enough to help Canadians during COVID-19? Only time will tell.