The transition away from the Government of Canada’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program will begin on Monday, October 5.
On Friday, the COVID-19 Response Measures Act (formerly Bill C-4) received Royal Assent. This legislation creates three new temporary recovery benefits to support Canadians who are unable to work for reasons related to COVID-19. These benefits will be in place for one year beginning September 27.
“Canadians have shown tremendous strength in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and we know that it is still here with us. Our Government remains committed to helping Canadians through this extremely difficult time. Parliamentarians of all stripes have come together to make sure Canadians continue to have the income supports they need and that we continue to provide sufficient resources for the fight against COVID-19,” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland said.
According to the government, CERB has helped almost 9 million Canadians. While many people have been able to go back to work safely, there continue to be many who are unable to find work or are underemployed due to the ongoing public health crisis.
As the Government transitions from the CERB to a flexible and more accessible Employment Insurance (EI) program, it is also continuing to support workers in need who do not qualify for EI, and providing new support that will allow Canadians to stay home when they are sick.
Canadians will be able to apply through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for the following benefits as of Monday, October 5:
A Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) of $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household for workers unable to work for at least 50 per cent of the week because they must care for a child under the age of 12 or family member because schools, day-cares or care facilities are closed due to COVID-19, or because the child or family member is sick and/or required to quarantine or is at high risk of serious health implications because of COVID-19 ; and a Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) of $500 per week for up to a maximum of two weeks, for workers who are unable to work for at least 50 per cent of the week because they contracted COVID-19, self-isolated for reasons related to COVID-19, or have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sicknesses 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. These benefits will be paid on a weekly basis, meaning people will have to reapply each week they are eligible.
Effective October 12, the CRA will open the applications for the Canada Recovery Benefit, which will provide eligible workers with $500 per week for up to 26 weeks for those who have stopped working and who are not eligible for EI, or had their employment/self-employment income reduced by at least 50 per cent due to COVID-19. This benefit will be paid in two-week periods.
To support the delivery of these new recovery benefits, the CRA will provide attestation-based application process similar to the one that that was used to access CERB payments. Eligible individuals will be able to apply for recovery benefits online through the CRA’s My Account portal or by phone through the CRA’s automated phone line.
To prevent fraud and keep the system secure the CRA is taking steps to implement additional verification and security measures up-front, to help ensure that it delivers benefit payments only to individuals who are entitled to receive them. In some cases, individuals will be asked to provide additional information so that their eligibility can be verified before their application is processed.
More information on how Canadians can get ready to apply can be found on the new Canada Recovery Benefits web pages.