The end of CERB: New recovery benefits proposed for workers not eligible for EI

September 24, 2020 | Lisa Goodfellow, Jordan Allison

UPDATE:  Bill C-2, An Act relating to economic recovery in response to COVID-19, received Royal Assent on October 2, 2020.

The Federal Government has announced the introduction of Bill C-2, An Act relating to economic recovery in response to COVID-19, to create three new temporary Recovery Benefits for Canadians who are unable to work for reasons related to COVID-19. These benefits will be provided to workers who are not eligible for EI. If Bill C-2 is passed, these three benefits will provide income support to Canadians:

  • A Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) of $500 per week for up to 26 weeks, for self-employed workers or workers who are not eligible for EI but still need income support. The CRB would aid Canadians who have not returned to work or who have returned to work but have had their income decrease by at least 50%. Workers receiving this benefit must be available and looking for work and must accept work where the request is reasonable;
  • A Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) of $500 per week for up to two weeks, available to workers who are sick or must self-isolate due to COVID-19; and,
  • A Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) of $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household, available for Canadians who are unable to work because they have to care for a child under the age of 12 or another family member because schools, day cares, or care facilities are closed because of COVID-19 or because the individual receiving care is sick or must quarantine.

CRB, CRSB, and CRCB will be available for Canadians to apply for through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for up to one year maximum until September 21, 2021.

As previously announced, temporary measures to make EI benefits more accessible to Canadians are also coming into effect on September 27, 2020 for one year. The changes to accessing EI will create a minimum weekly benefit payment of $500 for all those receiving EI, at the same level as the CRB.

Bill C-2 also proposes amendments to the Canada Labour Code to make sure that federally regulated employees have job-protected leave so they may utilize the Benefits if necessary.

The Government of Canada will also invest $1.5 billion in Workforce Development Agreements with provinces and territories. This is in addition to the $3.4 billion already provided to provinces and territories under Labour Markets Development Agreements and Workforce Development Agreements. The announced goal is to provide Canadians with the skills training and employment supports they need to re-enter the workforce, especially those in sectors hit hardest by the pandemic.

Bill C-2, including detailed eligibility criteria, can be found on the Parliament of Canada’s website.

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