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

A picture of Covid-19 to highlight CRB ending on October 23, 2021 and replaced with lockdown benefit to help people in dealing with covid-19.

The Canada Recovery Benefit for CRB is expiring on Saturday October 23, 2021. It will be replaced by the Lockdown Benefit program. Are there any details regarding this new program?

CRB Expiring October 23, 2021 – Replaced by Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit Program Starting October 24, 2021

According to the Canadian government, this new program will go live as of October 24, 2021. It will provide workers who are subject to a lockdown due to covid-19 with $300.00 per week during the lockdown period. This amount will be also available to the affected workers who are ineligible for Employment Insurance.

According to the Minister of Finance, “temporary lockdowns are still a possibility in the months to come. We want Canadians to know that we intend now to put in place measures that would snap into action immediately,” The Finance Minister also said, “These support measures were always designed to be temporary to get us through the crisis. We’re now in a new phase, one that is very different from the darkest days in the fight against covid”

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) and Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) Extended

The government also indicated that both the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) will be extended up to May 22, 2022.

Conclusion

The adding of a new benefit program is good news to many workers who are still being affected by lockdowns by covid-19. And also the extension of two other programs is good news for many. Hopefully the government’s assessment of the darkest day of the pandemic is behind us. However, covid-19 has been pretty unpredictable so far and vigilance will be needed to make sure that coronavirus will be really behind us. Only time will tell. Everyone please stay safe.

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EI Benefit Changes September 2021 – Employment Insurance Canada update

A picture of calculator and budget book to denote calculating the EI benefit changes as of September 26, 2021.

There are some EI benefit changes as of September 26, 2021 that are now in effect. Here is a list of them below.

EI Benefit Changes September 26, 2021

Workers will now have a uniform hours requirement of working 420 hours to qualify for EI benefits. This will be in place for one year until September 22, 2022.

The weekly floor of the amount you can receive for EI benefits will decrease from $500.00 per week to $300.00 week. This floor will apply to EI benefits made between September 26, 2021 and November 20, 2021.

The duration and value of benefits will once again be calculated using regional unemployment rates that were temporarily replaced over the last year by a uniform unemployment rate of 13.1 per cent.

There will be simplified rules regarding vacation pay and severance to help EI claimants receive benefits sooner.

There will be a one week waiting period for all new EI benefit claims as of September 26, 2021 after it was waived over the last year.

If you are currently on a EI claim before September 26, 2021, these changes will not affect the value or duration of your EI claim.

No Changes to Seasonal Workers

Seasonal workers in 13 regions will still be eligible for an extra 5 weeks of regular EI benefits until October 2022.

The pilot project provides the extra weeks to seasonal workers who started a claim between Aug. 5, 2018 and this coming Oct. 30, provided they had three claims for regular or fishing benefits in the last five years, and at least two started around the same time of year.

Conclusion

The EI benefits changes as of September 26, 2021 reflect the government transitioning out of pandemic relief and back to a normal EI program. However, it cannot fully go back yet as we are still dealing with Covid-19. We will see if these changes will be enough for unemployed Canadians during this time or if there has to be further changes. With covid-19, you never know.

Can I Apply For EI if I Get Fired?

A picture to denote someone applying for EI benefits to highlight the question of can I apply for EI benefits if I get fired.

Can I apply for EI if I get fired from my job? There has been a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to this question. Many people think that if they do get fired from their job that they cannot get EI benefits. Some employers even pressure their employees to quit stating that it is better that you quit then get fired. As a result many people assume that they cannot get EI benefits and do not apply. But is this true?

Can I Apply for EI if I Get Fired? Of Course You Can

Anybody can apply for EI regardless of the reason you stopped working. The key is that you are no longer working or their is work stoppage of at least seven days. If you have that, then you can apply. But the real issue is that can someone get approved for EI benefits if they have been fired?

Can I Collect EI Benefits if I Have Been Fired? Sometimes Yes

A little known fact that many people do not know is that if the employer fires you and puts dismissal on your record of employment, the onus is on the employer to prove misconduct by the Employer. What is misconduct? The Employment Insurance Digest gives a detailed explanation of this term. However, in simple terms it is unlawful conduct. And this conduct by the employee was willful and of evil intent. So you can see, misconduct is serious or even unlawful actions carried out by the employee that result in his/her dismissal.

For example, if the employer put dismissal on an employee’s record of employment and stated the reason as theft. The EI Benefits Officer will call the employer and ask questions such as “what proof do you have that the employee stole? Do you have evidence such as a video? Did you file a police report?” And so on. As mentioned it is up to the employer to prove misconduct, not the claimant filing for EI.

This is because if the evidence between the employer and claimant is equal, the benefit of the doubt will go to the claimant. Here’s an excerpt from The Employment Insurance Digest which says: “The EI Act (ss49(2)) is very clear on the action to be taken if there is an issue of disqualification and the evidence presented by the claimant and by the employer are equally balanced: the benefit of the doubt is given to the claimant.”

As a result, a person can be approved for EI benefits if though they were fired because the employer has to prove that misconduct was involved.

Conclusion

If you have been fired or dismissed from your job, you definitely should apply for EI benefits. The reason is that the employer has to prove that their was misconduct to warrant a dismissal. If it comes done to a he said she said scenario, the benefit of the doubt will go to the person applying for benefits. So if you are ever in a situation where your employer says if you have the choice to quit or be fired. If you haven’t done anything unlawful, then it is better to take option 2, especially if you need to apply for EI.

Canada Budget 2021 Highlights

A picture of Canadian 50 dollar bill to denote Canada Budget 2021 highlights.

A few days ago, the Minister of Finance gave Canada budget 2021 highlights. She indicated that there would be 101.4 billion dollars in new spending over next three years. The goal is to recover from the pandemic and kickstart the move to a greener economy. So what are some of the main highlights of the budget?

Canada Budget 2021 Highlights – Main Points

Here are some of the main highlights of the 2021 budget taken from the government of Canada’s website and CBC’s website below. Both those sites go into great deal about the budget but here are the main highlights below:

-Extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support until September 25, 2021.

-Extending the weeks available for the Canada Recovery Benefit and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit.

-Increasing the Employment Insurance sickness benefits from 15 to 26 weeks.

-$30 billion over five years and $8.3 billion per year after that to create and sustain a national child care program. Goal is a $10/day child care service by 2025-2026.

-Taxable grant payment of $500 to Old Age Security pensioners age 75 or older as of June 2022 and a 10 per cent boost to maximum OAS benefits for pensioners 75 or older starting July 1, 2022.

-$18 billion to build safer, healthier Indigenous communities.

-$17.6 billion for green recovery which means to conserve 25 per cent of lands and oceans by 2025. Also, put Canada on course to exceed climate change targets by cutting emissions to 36 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

-A new $15 federal minimum wage.

Conclusion

The above are some of the main highlights of the budget. The government’s plan is ambitious but opponents are worried about the excess spending and huge debt that will be incurred. Will the government’s plan work? Only time will tell as life is pretty unpredictable right now.

CERB Replaced by New EI, CRB, CRSB, and CRCB programs – latest details (Canada Covid Relief)

A person on a calculator to denote someone calculating their budgeting based on CERB ends and being replaced by new EI, CRB, CRSB and CRCB programs.

CERB will be replaced by a new EI program and three transitional programs CRB, CRSB, and CRCB. I wrote a previous article regarding these programs, which I’ve linked to at the bottom of the page. However, there are some slight changes to the programs since the government’s throne speech on September 23, 2020. Let’s highlight some of these details below.

CERB Replaced by New Employment Insurance Program

If you were on the Canada Emergency Response Program (CERB) when it ended September 26, 2020, you will either be transitioned to or have to apply for EI benefits if you qualify for it. For example, if you applied for CERB through Service Canada, you will automatically be set up for EI benefits if you qualify. If you applied for CERB through CRA (Canada Revenue Agency), then you will have to apply for EI benefits after September 26, 2020.

The main criteria for EI is that someone has worked at least 120 insurable hours of employment in last 52 weeks. This criteria is for both regular EI benefits and Special benefits. The rate one will receive has been increased to at least $500 per week and $300 per week for extended parental benefits for at least 26 weeks. But what options does someone have if they do not qualify for EI benefits?

CERB Replaced by New Transitional Benefits – CRB, CRSB, CRCB

Last Thursday the government tabled these three new recovery benefits in Parliament which will be debated today for ones who do not qualify for EI. These benefits are temporary as you can only apply for them up to September 25, 2021. Here’s a brief description of each below.

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) – The program is designed for those who are self employed and are not eligible for EI and still need support. The rate is $500 per week for 26 weeks. It is provided to workers who have not returned to work due to COVID-19 or seen their income drop by at least 50 percent. Those who apply for this program must be looking for work and accept work when it is reasonable to do so.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) – The program provides $500 per week for up to two weeks for workers who are sick or who must self-isolate due to COVID-19. The government has indicated that the goal of this program is to provide paid sick leave to all Canadians. Details such as eligibility requirements have not been given as of yet.

Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit (CRCB) – The program provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks for those who are unable to work because they need to care for a child under the age of 12 or family member because schools and daycares are closed. The benefit is also available for those caring for a child or family member who is sick and/or required to quarantine.

CERB Replaced by New Benefits, When Do They Start? Conclusion

Regarding the new EI program, it starts this week as some people are already transitioned into it while others can apply right now for EI benefits. However, regarding the three new temporary recovery programs, as mentioned above – the bill (C-2) for these programs will be debated today (September 28, 2020) in Parliament. Once the debates have ended, there will be a vote and if it passes, then it will be implemented. How fast it can happen is anyone’s guess but could happen fairly rapidly. So it would be good to check for updates daily. Also, because it is being debated there could possibly be some more adjustments, so look out for that also. Hopefully, things will move fast and these programs can be accessed because many still need help during these unstable times. Stay safe everyone.

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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.