COVID-19

New Benefits to Replace CERB Passed by the Federal Government

Bill C-4, An Act relating to certain measures in response to COVID-19, has received Royal Assent as of October 2, 2020. The Bill introduces new recovery benefits for Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic, and replaces the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which came to an end on September 26, 2020.

The new benefits will apply retroactively to September 27, 2020 to ensure there is no gap in coverage following the end of CERB payments. 

The Bill introduces three new benefits: the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB).

  • Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB): The CRB provides $500 per week, for two-week periods for a maximum of 26 weeks.  A resident of Canada will be eligible for the CRB benefit if they:
    • Were present in Canada for the period in which they were unable to work; and
    • Are at least 15 years of age on the first day of the period for which they are applying for the benefit;
    • Have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN);
    • Have stopped working due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are not eligible for EI or are working and have had a reduction of at least 50% in their employment/self-employment income for reasons related to COVID-19;
    • 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.

An individual who has an income exceeding $38,000 for 2020 or 2021 will be required to repay an amount equal to 50 cents per dollar of income earned in that year above $38,000 up to the total amount of the CRB received in the given year.  

  • Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB): The CRSB will provide $500 per week for a maximum of two weeks (available in one-week periods).  A resident of Canada will be eligible for the CRSB if they:
    • Were present in Canada for the period in which they were unable to work; and
    • Are at least 15 years of age on the first day of the period for which they are applying for the benefit;
    • Have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN);
    • Are employed or self-employed at the time of the application;
    • Earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or 2020, or in the 12 months preceding the day of their application;
    • Are not in receipt of paid leave during the period claimed; and
    • Are unable to work for at least 50% of the time that they would have otherwise worked or devoted to their work in the week for which they claim the benefit, because:
      • They are sick with or may have contracted COVID-19; or,
      • They have isolated themselves on the advice of their employer, a medical practitioner, a nurse practitioner, a person in authority, a government or a public health authority for reasons related to COVID-19; or,
      • They 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.
  • Importantly, workers will not be required to have a medical certificate to qualify for the benefit and may not claim the CRSB and receive other paid sick leave for the same benefit period.
  • Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB): The CRCB will provide $500 per week for a maximum of 26 weeks per household (available in one week periods). Only one caregiver per household may receive the CRCB in any particular week.  A resident of Canada will be eligible for the CRB benefit if they:
    • Were present in Canada for the period in which they were unable to work
    • Are at least 15 years of age on the first day of the period for which they are applying for the benefit;
    • Have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN);
    • Are employed or self-employed at the time of the application;
    • Earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or 2020, or in the 12 months preceding the day of their application;
    • Are not in receipt of paid leave during the 1-week period claimed; and
    • Are unable to work for at least 50% of the time that they would have otherwise worked or devoted to their work in the week for which they claim the benefit, because they had to care for a child under the age of 12 or another family member who requires supervised care:
      • Because their school, daycare, day program, or facility that they normally attend is unavailable, closed or open only certain times or for certain individuals; or
      • Because the care services or the person that usually cares for the child or family member is not available due to COVID-19; or,
      • Because they are sick and/or have been directed to quarantine for reasons related to COVID-19; or,
      • Because they are at high risk of serious health complications if they contracted COVID-19.

An individual will only be eligible to receive one benefit in any given period. Each of the benefits established by Bill C-4 will be in effect for a period of one year, ending on September 25, 2021, and can be accessed through Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

A copy of Bill C-4 can be located here.

If you have any questions about this matter, other COVID-19 related issues, or would like any other workplace law assistance, please contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer, or refer to the Firm’s COVID-19 website resources.

The author gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Lara Gradil, an Articling Student in the firm’s Toronto office.

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