Today, the Government of Canada announced changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program and new income support benefits that will better support all Canadians.
Our government also announced that in preparation for this transition and to ensure support continues for Canadians whose employment has been impacted by the pandemic, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will be extended by an additional four weeks to a maximum of 28 weeks. This means that for the many Canadians expecting to exhaust their CERB benefits at the end of August, they will now be able to access an additional month of support.
To give Canadians seeking employment the support they need to get back on their feet, the government is making changes to the EI program. EI will now be available to more Canadians, including those who would not have qualified for EI in the past, adding more than 400,000 people into the program.
Beginning on September 27th, those receiving EI will be eligible for a taxable benefit rate of at least $400 per week, or $240 per week for extended parental benefits, and regular benefits will be accessible for a minimum duration of 26 weeks. The program will allow Canadians with 120 hours of insurable work or more to meet these new requirements by providing a temporary, one-time credit of 300 insurable hours for those claiming EI regular and work-sharing benefits. Canadians claiming EI special benefits – including maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care, and family caregiver – will be provided with a temporary, one-time credit of 480 insurable hours. The government will continue to work with provinces and territories to ensure Canadians receiving EI benefits have access to skills training and employment supports, to help them get back to work.
Additionally, to ensure Canadians receive the support they need during these challenging times, we are proposing to implement three new benefits:
- The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) will provide $400 per week for up to 26 weeks, to workers who are self-employed or are not eligible for EI and who still require income support and who are available and looking for work. This benefit will support Canadians whose income has dropped or not returned due to COVID-19. The benefit will allow Canadians to earn more income while on claim as well as include links to Job Bank, Canada’s national employment service, with career planning tools for those seeking employment. In addition, the government will be working with provinces and territories to share information to ensure that Canadians have access to tools and training opportunities to successfully return to the workforce.
- The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) will provide $500 per week for up to two weeks, for workers who are sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19.
- The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) will provide $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household, for eligible Canadians unable to work because they must care for:
- 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.
The Government intends to introduce new legislation to support the implementation of the new benefits.
By returning to the EI program, and introducing new complimentary recovery benefits, we are ensuring Canadians have access to better supports that will help them through the next phase of our recovery. As we gradually and safely restart our economy, the Government of Canada will continue to put Canadians first, so we can move forward and build a Canada that works for everyone.