With the ongoing pandemic forcing many businesses to remain closed, Canadians are relying on the Canada Emergency Revenue Benefit (CERB) as their main source of income, but with the program ending on September 26, and CERB funds not distributing past October 3, what’s next?
The Canadian government has reintroduced EI benefits as well as created three new income support options: (1) the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), (2) the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), and (3) the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB).
These three income support options were designed as a direct response to COVID-19, with CRB helping Canadians who have had a drop or pause in income due to the pandemic, CRSB helping Canadians who are unable to work due to sickness or self-isolation, and finally CRCB providing income support for caregivers unable to work.
Regular Employment Insurance (EI)
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government temporarily switched all Canadians receiving income support through EI to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Effective September 27, 2020, Canadians can apply for regular EI benefits with some temporary alterations to allow more Canadians to receive funding.
Amount: Minimum $400+ per week with higher amounts depending on your previous weekly earnings. This is a taxable benefit and will be accessible for a minimum of 26 weeks.
- You had insurable employment;
- Worked for 120 insurable employment hours in the last 52 weeks;
- Lost your job through no fault of your own (i.e. did not quit your job);
- Have been without work and without pay for at least seven consecutive days in the last 52 weeks;
- You are ready, willing, and capable of working each day; and
- You are actively looking for work.
Parents of a newborn or newly adopted child can receive a minimum of $240 per week through the extended parental benefit. Alternative versions of EI include farming benefit, fishing benefit, teacher benefit, Canadian Force Members benefit, self-employed benefit, and Canadians living abroad benefit. If you are a student, you can apply for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), but only until September 30, 2020.
If you believe you’re eligible for EI, the Canadian government recommends applying for EI before moving on to the options listed below.
The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)
Update: During the Throne Speech, the Federal government has confirmed they will be raising CRB payments to $500/week instead of the original $400/week. More info.
The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) is for individuals who are not eligible for EI, such as those in the self-employed industry or those in a gig economy. Before applying for this income support option, be sure that you have exhausted your CERB support and confirmed you are ineligible for employment insurance (EI). The CRB program allows eligible applicants to receive income support, while also allowing them to work and receive income from employment.
Amount: A taxable $500 per week to a maximum of 26 weeks. Claimants are allowed to return to work and receive income while accessing this benefit, however the amount received through CRB will be reduced if annual income exceeds $38,000. Learn more here.
- You are currently residing within Canada;
- You are at least 15 years old and have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN);
- You stopped working due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are available and looking for work; or are working and have had a reduction in employment/self-employment income for reasons related to COVID-19;
- You are not eligible for EI;
- Had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020; and
- Did not quit your job voluntarily.
Similar to EI, claimants are required to apply for this program every two weeks to attest they are still eligible to receive funding.
Apply for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) through your CRA MyAccount.
The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)
The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) provides income support for those who are sick or must self-isolate due to COVID-19. This program is effective as of September 26, 2020 for one year. A medical certificate is not required for this program.
Amount: A taxable $500 per week for up to two weeks.
- Residents in Canada who are at least 15 years of age and have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN);
- Not claiming any other form of paid sick leave;
- Missed 60% or more of their scheduled work in the week for which they claim the benefit;
- Workers employed or self-employed at the time of the application; and
- Workers who earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020.
Claimants must reapply for CRSB each week to attest they still meet the program requirements.
Apply for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) through your CRA MyAccount.
The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)
The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) provides income support to those taking care of a loved one at home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This income support option will be open for one year beginning September 27, 2020.
Amount: A taxable $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household.
You must be residing in Canada and caring for one of the following:
- A child under age 12 due to the closures of schools or daycares because of COVID-19.
- A family member with a disability or a dependent because their day program or care facility is closed due to COVID-19.
- A child, a family member with a disability, or a dependent who is not attending school, daycare, or other care facilities under the advice of a medical professional due to being at high-risk if they contract COVID-19.
Apply for the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) through your CRA MyAccount.
COVID-19 Support for Canadian Businesses
The Canadian federal and provincial governments have introduced many new stimulus and recovery packages for Canadian businesses during COVID-19. Mentor Works has been following these updates and posting about them on our COVID-19 support page. Visit the page to find payroll and income support options, funding to help fight COVID-19, as well as infographics, and helpful tips for managing change during the pandemic.