As expected, there were many updates from the throne speech on Wednesday September 23, 2020. A number of program announcements were made about exiting programs and the introduction of proposed new programs related to COVID-19.
CEWS (Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy)
The federal government announced the CEWS will be extended into the summer of 2021. The details of how the program will work continue to be defined to November 21, 2020 the end of Period 9. Applications for claim period 7 (August 30, 2020, to September 26, 2020) will open September 30, 2020.
CEBA (Canada Emergency Business Account)
The application deadline for this program has been extended to October 31, 2020.
CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit)
The CERB has been extended for one more period (4 weeks) beyond the announced end date of September 26, 2020. During this time the government will be pushing forward changes to Employment Insurance to make access available to more displaced workers. As well, the government plans to introduce 3 new benefit programs: Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) and Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB).
Employment Insurance (EI) Summary:
- 120 hours of work required to qualify, this will be achieved through a one-time hours credit for one year for new claims and can be retrotactive to March 15, 2020
- a minimum unemployment rate equivalent to 13.1% is being used for all EI economic regions in order to lower the hours required to qualify for EI regular benefits. This measure is effective for one year starting on August 9, 2020. The resulting minimum required 420 hours is before the credit referred to above
- minimum benefit rate of $400 (it was announced the NDP negotiated this up to $500) per week for new EI claimants as of September 27, 2020
- at least 26 weeks of regular benefits
- EI rates are to be frozen for 2 years
Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)
- effective from September 27, 2020 for one year to provide a taxable benefit amount of $400 per week for up to 26 weeks to workers who are not eligible for EI, mainly the self-employed and including those working in the gig economy
- available to those at least 15 years old and have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- claimant has stopped working due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are available and looking for work; or are working and have had a reduction in their employment/self-employment income for reasons related to COVID-19
- employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020
- did not quit working voluntarily
- claimants apply after every 2 week period for which they are seeking income support and attest that they continue to meet the requirements
Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) Summary:
- this benefit would provide taxable benefit of $500 per week, for up to 2 weeks, effective September 27, 2020 for 1 year, for workers who are unable to work because they are sick or must self-isolate due to COVID-19
- person must be at least 15 years of age and have a valid SIN
- have been employed or self-employed at the time of application
- earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020
- cannot claim the CRSB and receive other paid sick leave for the same benefit period and would need to miss a minimum of 60% of their scheduled work in the week for which they claim the benefit.
- would apply after the one-week period in which they are seeking income support and attest that they meet the requirements
Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) Summary:
- would be effective from September 27, 2020 for 1 year, and provide $500 per week, for up to 26 weeks per household to eligible Canadians
- To be eligible:
- you must reside in Canada and have a valid SIN
- be at least 15 years of age on the first day of the period for which you apply for the benefit
- be employed or self-employed on the day immediately preceding the period for which the application is made
- earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020
- unable to work for at least 60% of their normally scheduled work within a given week specific details available on this point
- not receive paid leave from an employer in respect of the same week
- not be in receipt of the CERB, the EI Emergency Response Benefit (ERB), the Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, short-term disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, or any EI benefits or Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits in respect of the same week
As always, we encourage you to contact us to guide you through deciding which program applies to your specific situation and navigating the nuances of each program.
Greg Libbrecht and the team at Platinum Business Services