Part of COVID-19’s effects on the global economy is the unfortunate need to cut down on many businesses’ staff counts. The coronavirus pandemic’s early impact was a massive blow to several industries, primarily on the hospitality and travel industries. Unfortunately, most establishments had to cut corners to preserve the integrity of their business. Thankfully, the Canadian government has several provisions to support people who are part of the surge of temporary and permanent lay-offs across numerous sectors.
The Benefit of Employment Insurance
Canada’s Employment Insurance (EI) program provides temporary income support to unemployed individuals while they’re looking for employment under specific conditions. It also applies to people who need time off of work due to illness. This encompasses permanent or temporary lay-offs in particular situations. Normally, EI benefits are only for employed individuals, disallowing self-employed individuals to receive it.
Keep in mind that you must be actively looking for new work to qualify for EI. It’s a restriction that prevents temporary workers under closed work permits since they can’t apply for a new job under another employer. In contrast, open work permit holders can receive EI benefits if they can show proof of willingness to accept work and are similarly seeking employment. Additionally, you need to fall under these categories:
- Have been employed full-time under a valid employer
- Have worked for the set work hours of insurable employment in the last 52 weeks
- Haven’t had work for at least 7 days in the last 52 weeks
Canada’s response to COVID-19 through Employment Insurance changes
If you’re a Canadian citizen or employee who lost your job due to COVID-19 or other causes that aren’t through your own fault, you are eligible for EI. However, the Canadian government is also adjusting to ensure that other individuals not covered by EI can still receive financial aid. For EI claimants, the mandatory one-week waiting period will no longer apply if they’re currently under quarantine. They can also waive the waiting period if a public health authority advises them to self-isolate.
The Development of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
For people who had to endure hardships due to COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) aims to provide over $2000 a month in a span of 4 months for affected individuals. This includes people who are sick, quarantined, or lost their job due to COVID-19. There are also specific provisions for people taking care of sick family members to receive this benefit. Additionally, the CERB applies to employees, contract workers, and even self-employed individuals.
Keep in mind that CERB ends after receiving 28 weeks’ worth of benefits by October 3, 2020. For those applying through the Canada Revenue Agency, the last four-week period was from August 30, 2020, until September 26, 2020. Since COVID-19’s effects are still present on a national front, people requiring financial assistance can expect new recovery benefits to follow suit. These will be retroactive, starting September 27, 2020 until September 25, 2021.
The Canadian government’s response to COVID-19 to create other financial support systems for employees who lost income due to COVID-19 is still not available to the public. This is primarily for people who are not eligible for EI. Unfortunately, these programs are still not yet in effect. If you’re planning on returning to Canada to be a claimant for these benefits, it’s best to contact an immigration agency to learn the latest changes and updates to these government-mandated provisions.
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