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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CERB Extension Details, How long? When Does it End?

A sign saying emergency to denote CERB extension details

The CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) extension has been announced by the Canadian Government after much speculation. Many were wondering when and if this would happen due to the fact that a number Canadians who are on CERB would see their benefits end as early as the first week of July. And many people still don’t have jobs to go back to and the economic situation overall still feels pretty shaky. Here are the CERB extension details that were announced below:

CERB Extension Details

The CERB program has been extended an extra 8 weeks. So the maximum number of weeks a person can collect is now 24 weeks from 16 weeks. The amount remains the same, which means you would still collect $2000.00 for each 4 week period.

The criteria for collecting the additional 8 weeks are listed below from the government’s website:

CERB extended from 16 weeks to 24 weeks for workers who:

  • stopped working due to COVID-19 or
  • are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits or
  • have exhausted their Employment Insurance regular benefits or Employment Insurance fishing benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020.

Only apply for the CERB through either Service Canada or the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) – not both.

CERB Extension Details – End Date of Program

Even though the number of weeks has been been extended, the program still ends on October 3, 2020. This means you would have to collect all 24 weeks before this date to get the maximum CERB benefit amount.

Conclusion

The announcement of the CERB extension is a relief for many Canadians as even though parts of the country are starting to open up, many Canadians are still in a perilous financial situation. Regarding what will happen afterwards, no one knows as the situation is fluid and still unpredictable. The reality is that a lot depends upon how Covid-19 spreads in the next while or if there is a second wave of the pandemic. Also, a lot depends upon how quickly the economy can recover. One thing is for sure: we are living in truly unique times.

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When Will CERB End? Canada Emergency Response Benefit program details

Sign saying the end to emphasis question of when will cerb end

When will CERB end? For the over 8 million Canadians who applied for the program, this is a question of upmost importance. The Canadian economy has been hit hard by the pandemic and millions of Canadians were left without work. However in recent weeks, different areas of the country are starting to open up. And people are starting to return to work. In spite of that though, there are millions who still cannot go back to work, because they don’t have a job to go back to, and they are wondering how long their benefits will last.

When Will CERB End? The Program Structure

According to the Government of Canada’s website, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) Program goes from March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020. This DOES NOT mean you can collect CERB benefits for this whole time period. Instead, it means you can collect CERB benefits within this time period.

You are eligible to collect $500.00 per week for a maximum of 16 weeks within the above time period. For example if you start collecting CERB on March 15, 2020 and you went 16 consecutive weeks then your payments would end July 4, 2020. Also, these 16 weeks do not have to be consecutive as long as they all fall into the above time period for the program.

When Will CERB End? Do I Only Need to Apply Once?

The answer is yes you only need to apply once, but you have to declare your eligibility to receive payments more than once. From the Government of Canada’s website, when you are applying for CERB, you are declaring eligibility for a four week period. For example, if you applied for CERB to start on March 15, 2020, you would collect CERB payments for a 4 week period from March 15, 2020 to April 11, 2020.

If you want to keep collecting CERB beyond this date than you would have to declare your eligibility for the next 4 week period. For example, if you applied for the CERB program through CRA than you can do this either online or by phone (1-833-966-2099). If you applied for the CERB program through Service Canada, you do this by completing your EI Report Card to confirm your eligibility to receive CERB for next period.

Will There Be an Extension of the CERB program?

Ah the billion dollar question, literally. There is increased talk about extending the CERB program as many Canadians will see their CERB payments end in early July, and many within this group will still not have work. Regarding the possible costs of extending the CERB program, the recent PMO report was highlighted below:

Budget officer Yves Giroux’s report says simply extending the maximum number of weeks to 28, and extending the program through to January 2021, would cost about $57.9 billion.

You add that figure to the $43.51 billion dollars already paid out in CERB and you are looking at a figure of at least $100 billion dollars that would need to be spent. That is an enormous financial commitment from the government which would then open up a myriad of questions such as who pays for this and so on. As a result, the debate goes on.

Conclusion

When will CERB end? The current answer depends upon your circumstances. However, simply put, it ends either by you collecting the maximum 16 weeks or when you return to work. Whichever comes first. Also, the program currently ends October 3, 2020 so even if you haven’t collected your full 16 weeks by this dates, your CERB ends also.

However, as we can see from the above, this could all change and the program could be extended. But for the time being, this is the program’s parameters currently. And that is important to know, as all of us have to make big decisions regarding our life during this pandemic and subsequent economic crisis. Plan well and stay safe.

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