Transition from CERB to EI – with one more 4 week period added for CERB

Hi everyone, I missed including the announcement in Friday’s announcements – so I’m doing a special Sunday announcement as I did earlier in the pandemic.

The CERB Payment will be extended for one additional 4 week period to September 27th. This does not have to be approved by parliament.

New EI Programs: Here is the outline of what the government is proposing. The EI changes for workers do not need to be approved by parliament.

Minister Qualtrough spoke about not all sectors are reopening at the same time, which has had a direct impact on businesses, availability of work and jobs. daycare centres and back to school plans vary as well (leaving parents concerned about the health and safety of their kids, and their availability for work). CERB has helped millions of Canadians, providing confidence and a lifeline, keeping Canadians safe and helping slow the virus, while supporting the economy. After the last period of CERB, workers will transition into EI and new parallel EI benefits.

  • EI Benefits: Minister Qualtrough announced changes to CERB which will come into effect on September 27th. To begin: they set a standard 13.1% national unemployment rate to standardize access to EI. This set the eligibility criteria for access to EI at the lowest threshold possible. Even with this step, many Canadian workers will not have the hours necessary to qualify for EI.
  • The EI benefit will be a minimum of $400/week payment to assure equity
  • The government will provide a one-time top up of insurable hours to be eligible for EI regular and special benefits.
    • Those accessing Regular EI for job loss will receive a credit of 300 hours
    • Those accessing Special EI benefits including mat leave, sickness and parental benefits will receive a credit of 480 hours. Expectant and new parents will be able to claim these benefits starting March 15th, 2020.
    • This means that Canadians will only need 120 hours to access EI benefits.
    • They are expecting to move approximately 3 million onto EI, leaving approximately 1 million people who don’t qualify for EI (e.g. GIG workers or those on contract that are considered self-employed). This is part of a move to a more 21st century gig economy.
  • Access to training – EI claimants: When in the EI system you will have access to training, work incentives and the opportunity to work while under claim.

Pay-ins for EI: From September 27th:

  • Pay-in amounts for employers and workers are at the lowest level since 1980.
  • Workers will continue payments at the same level as previously in 2020, namely $1.58 for every $100 of insurable salary.
  • Employer payment rate will be frozen at $2.21 per $100 of insurable salary
  • Over the next two years, workers and employers will see savings that will amount to $2 billion

These are proposed measures that have to be passed in parliament (for those who aren’t ordinarily covered by EI)

  • New Benefits: 
    • Canada Recovery Benefit: For self-employed workers and those unable to apply for EI. $400 per week
    • The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit for Canadians who cannot work because they need to give care or support for a child, family member or dependent in the amount of $500/week
    • The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit for Canadians who are sick or who have to self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19 in the amount of $500/week.
    • Availability:
      • Both the Recovery and Caregiving Benefits will be available for a 26 week period over a one year period.
      • The Sickness Benefit will be available for two x one week periods over a year.
  • The Government intends to introduce legislation in the first week of their return to parliament to create these benefits and ensure Canadians have the help they need.
  • They want to assure Canadians there will be equity between EI and the other benefits.
  • Access to training – Recovery claimants: The government will work to ensure these claimants have access to training and will introduce a modified working while on claim approach while on benefit.
Patricia Dent

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