Government Assistance Info for Laid-Off Employees

Coronavirus Layoffs & Reduced Work Hours

Updated March 23rd

If you’ve been recently laid off or have been given reduced work hours from your employer there are new government initiatives to assist you in this time. We recommend that you apply for these benefits as soon as possible.

Employment Insurance (EI) (CONFIRMED)

Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits provide up to 15 weeks of income replacement and is available to eligible claimants who are unable to work because of illness, injury or quarantine, to allow them time to restore their health and return to work. You could receive 55% of your earnings up to a maximum of $573 a week.

If you are eligible, visit the EI sickness benefits page to apply.

Service Canada is ready to support Canadians affected by COVID-19 and placed in quarantine, with the following support actions:

  • The one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived for new claimants who are quarantined so they can be paid for the first week of their claim
  • Priority EI application processing for EI sickness claims for clients under quarantine
  • People claiming EI sickness benefits due to quarantine will not have to provide a medical certificate
  • People who cannot complete their claim for EI sickness benefits due to quarantine may apply later and have their EI claim backdated to cover the period of delay

Important: If you are directly affected by the COVID-19 because you are sick or quarantined and you have not yet applied for EI benefits, please submit your application before contacting us. This will allow us to better serve you and prevent delays in establishing your claim.

If you have already completed the application for EI sickness benefits whether you are sick or quarantined and would like to have the one-week waiting period waived, call the new toll-free phone number below. It is important to note that no other request will be actioned on this phone line. We will take action only for sick or quarantined clients affected by the COVID-19 for which the application for sickness benefits has been filed.

  • Telephone: 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free)
  • Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-800-529-3742

Emergency Care and Support Benefits (To Be Confirmed)

For workers without paid sick leave (or similar workplace accommodation) who are sick, quarantined or forced to stay home to care for children, the Government is:

  • Introducing the Emergency Care Benefit by providing up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks. This benefit will provide income support to:
    • Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
    • Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent.
    • Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures, and are unable to earn employment income.
  • Application for the Emergency Care Benefit will be available in April 2020, and will require Canadians to attest that they meet the eligibility requirements. They will need to re-attest every two weeks to reconfirm their eligibility. To apply for the Benefit, Canadians can access it on their CRA MyAccount secure portal.
  • Introducing an Emergency Support Benefit delivered through CRA to provide up to $5.0 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.

Applications for these benefits will be available on the CRA website sometime in April.

Longer-Term Income Support for Workers (To Be Confirmed)

For Canadians who lose their jobs or face reduced hours as a result of COVID’s impact, the Government is:

  • Introducing an Emergency Support Benefit delivered through the CRA to provide up to $5.0 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.
  • Implementing the EI Work Sharing Program, which provides EI benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers, by extending the eligibility of such agreements to 76 weeks, easing eligibility requirements, and streamlining the application process. This was announced by the Prime Minister on March 11, 2020

Additional Government Resources (To Be Confirmed)

GST CREDIT BOOST

The Government is proposing to provide a one-time special payment by early May 2020 through the Goods and Services Tax credit (GSTC). This will double the maximum annual GSTC payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year. The average boost to income for those benefitting from this measure will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.

CHILD CARE BENEFITS

For over 3.5 million families with children, who may also require additional support, the Government is proposing to increase the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payment amounts, only for the 2019-20 benefit year, by $300 per child. The overall increase for families receiving CCB will be approximately $550 on average; these families will receive an extra $300 per child as part of their May payment.

STUDENT LOAN PAYMENT DEFERRALS

To support student and apprentice loan borrowers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has announced its plan to pause the repayment of Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans until September 30, 2020, with no accrual of interest. Pending parliamentary approval, these measures will become effective March 30 2020.

 

 

Jess Watt

Author Jess Watt

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