COVID-19: Temporary Changes to Employment Insurance (8:App B)

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This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by the Law Students' Legal Advice Program on month xx, 2021.



A. Overview[edit]

In response to the drastic impact of Covid-19 on employment across Canada, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was implemented to provide financial support from March 15 to September 26, 2020. Information about the eligibility and validation process of CERB applications can be found here. CERB has now been replaced by three new temporary benefits, the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), and Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), as well as adjustments to EI benefits. These new benefits and changes to EI benefits are in effect for 52 weeks from September 27, 2020 to September 25, 2021.

B. Choosing a Benefit[edit]

If claimants are eligible for regular EI benefits under the adjusted rules, they must apply to EI. Due to the Covid-19 changes, EI benefits have become more accessible and EI claimants will receive at least $500 per week, or $300 per week for extended parental benefits. It is important to note that these are minimum amounts and EI claimants could receive more depending on the number of their insured hours.

Individuals who are ineligible for EI benefits should apply for the CRB, CRSB, and CRCB, if eligible. Eligibility for the CRB requires individuals to have had their employment income reduced by at least 50% due to Covid-19, and to actively seek work during their application period. Unlike the CRB, the CRSB and CRCB do not require individuals to actively seek work and accept employment when reasonable. Instead, the CRSB and CRCB are intended to specifically target individuals who lost employment income and were unable to seek employment due to caregiving responsibilities or health complications respectively.

It is important to note that an individual may apply for and receive a different benefit in any subsequent application periods. For example, if an individual receiving the CRB for several weeks is no longer able to continue job searching because a family member requires care for a Covid-related reason, that individual can switch and apply for the CRCB. However, only one type of benefit can be received each week.

C. Proposed Extension of Benefit Periods[edit]

As of the time of writing, the government has just finalized an extension to Covid-19 benefits including an additional 12 weeks of CRB and 4 weeks of CRCB. The government is expected to adjust the length of Covid-19 benefits in accordance with the recovering Canadian economy and another extension may be possible. Clients and clinicians should always stay up to date on the latest changes or extensions to Covid-19 benefits on the CRA website.

D. Table of Changes[edit]

An overview of the CRB, CRSB, CRCB and changes to EI are summarized below. The impact of these changes will depend on the type of EI benefit a claimant is applying for. The specific sections of Chapter 8 of the LSLAP manual affected have been temporarily marked up to alert clinicians to the impact of the temporary Covid-19 changes to EI.

1. Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)[edit]

Purpose The CRB is intended to provide income support to individuals whose employment income has been directly affected by Covid-19 but are not entitled to EI benefits.
Amount 1,000 ($900 after taxes withheld) per 2-week period, up to 21 periods maximum
Period September 27, 2020 – September 25, 2021 (52 weeks)
Eligibility
  • are at least 15 years of age on the first day of the period which they are applying for the Benefit
  • have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • are not eligible for Employment Insurance
  • are not employed or self-employed due to the COVID-19 pandemic or are working and have had a reduction of at least 50 per cent in their employment/self-employment income for reasons related to COVID-19
    • *To encourage people to work, you can earn income from employment and/or self-employment while receiving the Benefit, as long as you continue to meet the other requirements.
  • are available and looking for work and who must accept work where it is reasonable to do so
  • had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020, or in the 12-month period prior to their first application for the Canada Recovery Benefit
  • have not quit their job voluntarily, unless it was reasonable to do so, and
  • have not rejected a reasonable job offer, rejected a request to resume work or failed to resume work if self-employed where reasonable to do so

For additional information on the benefit and instructions on how to apply, visit the CRA Website.

2. Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)[edit]

Purpose The CRSB is intended to provide income support to individuals where Covid-19 directly affected their employment income by causing them to be sick, to self-isolate, or lose work because of an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19
Amount $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) per 1-week period, up to 4 weeks maximum
Period September 27, 2020 – September 25, 2021 (52 weeks)
Eligibility
  • are at least 15 years of age on the first day of the period which they are applying for the Benefit
  • have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • have a total income of at least $5,000 for 2019, 2020, or in the 12-month period preceding the day on which they make their first application for this benefit, from one or more of the following sources:
    • employment income
    • self-employment income, or
    • employment insurance (EI) maternity or parental benefits or Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits
  • were unable to work for at least 50% of the time they would have otherwise worked or devoted to their work because:
    • they had or might have had COVID-19
    • they self-isolated on the advice of their employer, a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, person in authority, government, or public health authority for any reason related to COVID-19, or
    • they have an underlying condition that in the opinion of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority would make them more susceptible to COVID-19
  • were not self-isolating or in quarantine due to international travel. Exceptions: This does not apply to you if you were isolating because:
    • you travelled for medical treatment certified by a medical practitioner
    • you accompanied a person who is incapable of travelling without assistance of an attendant to receive a medical treatment certified by a medical practitioner
    • you are an essential worker who travelled for reasons normally exempt from quarantine when you return to Canada (such as health care workers or truck drivers who need to cross the border for work) but were required to this time
  • was not in receipt of paid leave from an employer, and
  • was not in receipt of the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), short-term disability benefits, any Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, or Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits
  • Individuals are not required to have a medical certificate to qualify for the benefit.

For additional information on the benefit and instructions on how to apply, visit the CRA Website.

3. Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)[edit]

Purpose The CRCB is intended to provide income support to individuals where Covid-19 prevented individuals from working because they had to care for their child under 12 years old or care for a family member who needs supervised care.
Amount $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) per 1-week period, up to 42 weeks maximum
Period September 27, 2020 – September 25, 2021 (52 weeks)
Eligibility
  • are at least 15 years of age on the first day of the period which they are applying for the Benefit
  • have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • had a total income of at least $5,000 for 2019, 2020, or in the 12-month period preceding the day on which they make my first application for this benefit, from one or more of the following sources:
    • employment income
    • self-employment income, or
    • Employment Insurance (EI) maternity or parental benefits or Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits
  • was unable to work for at least 50% the time they would have otherwise worked or devoted to their work because of one of the following reasons:
    • had to take care of a child who was under 12 years of age on the first day of the period for which they are applying because:
      • their school or other facility that they normally attended was closed, open only certain times, or open only for certain children for reasons related to COVID-19
      • they could not attend school or other facility that they normally attend under the advice of a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner who is of the opinion that the child would be at high risk of having serious health complications if they contract COVID-19
      • they were in isolation on the advice of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority for reasons related to COVID-19
      • they contracted or might have contracted COVID-19, or
      • the individual who usually provided care for the child was not available for reasons related to COVID-19
    • had to provide care to a family member who requires supervised care because:
      • their day program or facility that they normally attended was closed, open only certain times, or open only for a certain persons for reasons related to COVID-19
      • they could not attend the day program or other facility that they normally attend under the advice of a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner who is of the opinion that the family member would be at high risk of having serious health complications if they contract COVID-19
      • they were in isolation on the advice of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority for reasons related to COVID-19
      • they contracted or might have contracted COVID-19, or
      • the care services that are normally provided to the family member at their normal place of residence were not available for reasons related to COVID-19
      • are the only individual from my household claiming the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit
      • are not applying for a week that would exceed the 38-week maximum per household
  • was not in receipt of paid leave from an employer
  • was not in receipt of the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), short-term disability benefits, any Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, or Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits

For additional information on the benefit and instructions on how to apply, visit the CRA Website.

4. Changes to EI Benefits[edit]

The following changes are in effect from September 25, 2021 as stated on the CRA website:

  • The General Division failed to observe a principle of natural justice or otherwise acted beyond or refused to exercise its jurisdiction
  • the waiting period may be waived
  • a minimum unemployment rate of 13.1% applies to all regions across Canada:
  • if your region's unemployment rate is higher than 13.1%, we'll use the higher actual rate to calculate your benefits
  • you only need 120 insured hours to qualify for benefits because you'll receive a one-time credit of:
  • 300 insured hours if you're applying for regular benefits
  • 480 insured hours if you're applying for sickness, maternity, parental or caregiving benefits
  • you'll receive at least $500 per week before taxes, or $300 per week before taxes for extended parental benefits but you could receive more* if you qualify for regular benefits, you’ll be eligible for up to 50 weeks of benefits
  • if you're applying for sickness benefits, you don't need to get a medical certificate
  • if you're a fisher, we'll look at the earnings from your 2018, 2019 and 2020 summer or winter seasons to determine your benefit rate and establish your claim for the same season
  • if you’re registered for the self-employed program, you need to have made at least $5,000 in net earnings in 2020 to be eligible for benefits in 2021
  • if you received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the 52-week period to accumulate insured hours will be extended


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