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.

CERB Ending Announced -Merging into EI Program

a picture of woman looking at her finances denoting how will CERB ending announced will affect her moving forward.

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.