The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provided temporary income support to Canadians who were financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB offered a broad range of eligibility criteria, allowing those who are not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) to participate in the program. In March, April and May, heavy restrictions placed on the operations of Bhardwaj Law PC found many turning to CERB to supplement their income. As social distancing measures have progressively loosened throughout the summer, Federal support programs are reaching the end of their eligibility periods.
The federal government understands the importance of the financial assistance that is being provided to Canadians. Recently, the government announced an extension of the CERB program for an additional month, with a plan to transition to a modified EI program after September 2020.
The original CERB program provided a maximum of 16 weeks of temporary income support. With the latest extension, the maximum number of weeks that applicants can receive the benefit is 24 weeks. The CERB is available from March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020. The latest date that applicants can apply for the CERB is December 2, 2020.
The changes will come into effect on September 27, 2020.
The government is introducing three new benefit programs for those who are not eligible for EI but require temporary income support:
The Canada Recovery Benefit would be effective from September 27, 2020 for one year and would provide a benefit amount of $400 per week for up to 26 weeks to workers who are not eligible for EI, mainly those who are self-employed. To be eligible, you may have either stopped working, or be currently working and have had a reduction in your self-employment income due to COVID-19.
The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit will provide $500 per week for up to two weeks for workers who are ill or must self-isolate due to COVID-19.
The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit will provide $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household for those who are unable to work because they are caring for a child under 12 whose school or daycare has been shut down due to COVID-19.
The federal government is currently introducing legislation to support the delivery of the new benefits. BBLAW will provided an update on the status of the Benefit when Parliament resumes on September 23, 2020.
Applicants for the Canada Recovery Benefit would apply every two-weeks for each period that they are seeking income support. Applicants will be required to fill out a short survey to attest that they are meeting the eligibility requirements to receive the benefit.
BBLAW staff will provide an update at the end of September regarding applications for the Canada Recovery Benefit.