Employment Insurance Resources

What we know as of March 28, 2020…

The impacts of COVID-19 are being felt by many across Canada. Below is a summary of information and resources pertaining to employment insurance (EI), for both employees and employers.

IMPORTANT:  Both federal and provincial EI benefits continue to change and as such we will update these resources as we receive more information.

 

FOR EMPLOYEES


Current Federal EI Benefit Program

*NEW* The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is available for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • This new benefit combines the Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit into one.
  • Applications open early April.
  • Payments to be received 10 days from application.
  • Allows support payments of $2,000 per month for up to four months from March 15th to October 3rd, 2020.

Sickness Benefit
What we know…

  • Provides up to 15 weeks of coverage of up to $573 per week
  • To qualify you have to have worked 600 hours in the last 52 week

What’s new…

  • Contracting COVID-19 and/or being placed in voluntary quarantine now constitutes as an illness
  • The doctor’s note requirement has been waived
  • The one week wait period for benefits to begin has been waived

How to apply…

If you don’t qualify or are not eligible for the sickness benefit, then you may qualify for the NEW Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

 

EI Benefits Due to Job Loss
What we know…

  • Provides up to 45 weeks of coverage of up to $573 per week
  • The one week wait period for benefits still applies
  • To qualify you have to have worked between 420 and 700 hours in the last 52 weeks OR since the start of your last EI claim (whichever is shorter)

How to apply…

If you don’t qualify or are not eligible for regular EI benefits, then you may qualify for the NEW Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

 

Current Provincial EI Benefit Program

Some provinces have announced additional support for those impacted by COVID-19. Here is what we know as of March 23, 2020:

  • Alberta: Emergency isolation support is available. Albertans can receive a one-time payment of $1,146. To be elegible you must have been diagnosed with COVID-19, directed by health authorities to self isolate, or are the sole caregiver of a dependent who is in self-isolation.
  • Quebec:  A Temporary Assistance Workers Program will be available to eligible workers and independent contractors who are required to be isolated. The province is matching the federal EI program of up to $573 per week.
  • British Columbia: An emergency benefit will be available to all residents of British Columbia who are not able to work as a result of COVID-19. The benefit includes a one-time, tax-free payment of $1,000. This is in addition to the Federal EI benefits residents qualify for. Applications will open soon with payments to be released in May 2020.
  • Ontario: Residents of Ontario will be able to apply for a one-time child benefit payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age, and $250 for those with special needs, including children enrolled in private schools. Information on how to apply is not yet available.

 

FOR EMPLOYERS


Current Federal EI Benefit Program

Work Sharing Program (applicable to core full time and part time employees only)
What we know…

  • This program is designed to help employers avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in regular business activity that is beyond the control of the employer.
  • Work sharing is a three party agreement involving the employer and two employees who agree to share available work over a specified period of time.
  • The program provides income support to employees eligible for EI benefits.
  • The initial period of the work sharing agreement is 26 weeks with the possibility of an extension.

What’s new…

  • The enhancements will double the length of time that employers and workers are eligible to use work share from 38 to 76 weeks.
  • There is no waiting period for employees to receive the EI benefit.

How to apply…

Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers
What we know….

  • The Government of Canada announced a temporary wage subsidy that will temporarily reduce an employer’s source deductions payment.
  • Announced March 27, 2020:  Wage subsidy for small and medium-sized businesses is increasing to 75%
    • Further details on the new wage subsidy measures will be announced on March 30, 2020
    • Previously the subsidy was for small businesses only covering 10% of wages up to a max of $25,000 per employer.

More information on this subsidy can be found here.

Emergency Business Account for Small Businesses
What we know….

  • Banks can offer $40,000 loans to small businesses that will be interest-free for the first year.
  • Repaying the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25% (up to $10,000).

More information on this subsidy can be found here.