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.

Canada Emergency Student Benefit, What is it?

A picture of a student at university to denote that students will need the Canada Emergency Student Benefit program.

Wondering what the Canada Emergency Student Benefit is? It is an important question to answer if you are a student. As a student, you’re likely wondering how you can earn money this summer during this pandemic. On April 22, 2020, the government outlined a program to help these students in this situation.

What is the Canada Emergency Student Benefit Program?

It is a relief program proposed by the government of Canada to help post-secondary students who aren’t able to find full-time employment or cannot work due to COVID-19. Also, if they are not eligible to receive either Employment Insurance benefits (EI) or the Canada Emergency Response benefits (CERB). Many post-secondary students are not eligible for either of these programs as they have not worked enough to qualify.

How Much Do You Get and For How Long?

Students who qualify would receive $1250 per month for up to 4 months (May 2020 to August 2020). If the student has a disability or has dependents, they can receive an additional $750 per month.

Canada Emergency Student Benefit Program, Who is Eligible?

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

  • Students who are enrolled in a post-secondary education program leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate.
  • Students who ended their studies or graduated no earlier than December 2019.
  • High-school graduates who have applied for and will be joining post-secondary programs in the coming months.
  • Canadian students studying abroad meeting one of the above criteria.

When Can I Apply? Update!

You can apply for the program starting on May 15, 2020 at 6 am Eastern time. For more details on how to apply and inputting an online application please go to the Government of Canada’s website.

When Will I Get Paid?

The most important question of course! The Government of Canada’s website says that if CRA has your direct deposit information, your payment will take 3 business days. If not, then a cheque will take about 10 business days.

Conclusion

The Canada Emergency Student Benefits Program is a way to help the many students who cannot find employment. It helps close the gap of students who don’t qualify for Employment Insurance or the Canada Emergency Response Benefits Program. Hopefully the program will be up and running shortly. When we get more details, we will update this page with further information.

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.