On September 25, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, proposed extending the current treatment of furloughed employees under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy for an additional four week period, from September 27 to October 24, 2020. This would allow employers who qualify for the wage subsidy to continue claiming up to a maximum benefit of $847 per week per employee. The goal of the wage subsidy is to help businesses keep employees on the payroll and to encourage employers to re-hire previously laid off workers.
The government also stated that it will continue to review the wage subsidy program and consider any adjustments “needed to facilitate the extension of the wage subsidy into 2021 as committed in the Speech from the Throne.”
For more information, see this press release.
Flexible, More Accessible EI System
On September 27, the Government of Canada began the transition from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to a flexible and more accessible EI program. As a result of these temporary measures, EI will now be available to more Canadians, including those who would not have qualified for EI in the past. Highlights of the program include:
- Canadians receiving EI are eligible for a taxable benefit at a rate of at least $500 per week, or $300 per week for extended parental benefits;
- Canadians claiming EI benefits for job loss would be eligible for at least 26 weeks of benefits;
- returning to the EI program will allow claimants to benefit from the “working while on claim” rules, which allow claimants to keep receiving part of their EI benefits and all their earnings from work;
- employers may resume making use of registered Supplemental Unemployment Benefit (SUB) plans to provide support to employees;
- a temporary one-time credit of 300 insurable hours for those claiming EI regular and work-sharing benefits will be provided to Canadians with 120 hours of insurable work or more to ensure they qualify;
- a temporary, one-time credit of 480 insurable hours will be provided to Canadians claiming EI special benefits, including maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care, and family caregiver; and
- the waiting period will be waived for EI sickness benefit claimants to encourage compliance with public health measures.
For more information, see this news release.