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Coronavirus & Benefits for Workers: The 5-Minute Summary - The main supports available

The main supports available 

A snapshot of the four main supports

Employment insurance (commonly called EI) is the federal government’s program to help people who are out of work. Due to the pandemic, the EI program has been temporarily expanded to cover more workers. In addition to EI, there are three new emergency programs. The result:

  • Those who have lost their job through no fault of their own can get EI regular benefits for 26 to 45 weeks. 
  • The Canada recovery benefit (CRB) is a $1,000 payment every two weeks, for up to 26 weeks. It’s available to those whose work has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and who don’t qualify for EI. 
  • The Canada recovery sickness benefit (CRSB) is a $500 weekly payment, for up to two weeks. It’s available to those who aren’t able to work at least 50% of the week because they’re ill or self-isolating due to the pandemic, or have an underlying medical condition that makes them more susceptible to COVID-19.
  • The Canada recovery caregiving benefit (CRCB) is a $500 weekly payment, for up to 26 weeks. It’s available to those who aren’t able to work at least 50% of the week because they’re caring for a child or family member affected by the pandemic.

Employment insurance regular benefits

If you’ve lost your job through no fault of your own — including for reasons related to coronavirus —  you may be eligible for EI regular benefits. These are temporary payments to help those who are out of work.

The federal government has made temporary changes to the EI program to help more workers access these benefits. To qualify, you must:

  • in the last 52 weeks, have worked at least 120 hours in work covered by the EI program (if you received the Canada emergency response benefit, the 52-week period will be extended)
  • have lost your job through no fault of your own (for example, if you were fired for misconduct or you chose to quit when you had other options, you wouldn’t qualify for EI)
  • have gone seven straight days without work or pay from a particular employer

There are more requirements. Here are the details

If you qualify, you receive at least $500 per week, but you could receive more. 

The benefits last between 26 and 45 weeks, depending on how many hours you worked in the last 52 weeks and where you live in BC. This chart shows how many weeks of benefits you could receive. Note that as of August 9, 2020, a minimum unemployment rate of 13.1% applies, no matter where you live in BC. 

Canada recovery benefit (CRB)

The Canada recovery benefit (CRB) is intended to help those whose work has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and who aren’t eligible for EI. It may cover you if you’re self-employed and can’t work. Or if you’ve seen a reduction in your weekly income.

To qualify, you must meet all these criteria for the two-week period you're applying for:

  • due to the coronavirus pandemic, you weren't working or have seen your weekly income reduced by 50% compared to last year, 
  • you didn’t receive workers’ compensation, disability, or other recovery benefits,
  • you aren’t eligible for EI benefits,
  • you didn’t quit your job or reduce your hours voluntarily (unless it was reasonable to do so),
  • you’re a Canadian resident,
  • you’re age 15 or older, and
  • you made at least $5,000 in income in 2019, 2020, or in the 12 months before you apply.

The full requirements are spelled out here.

The CRB provides $1,000 every two weeks, for up to 26 weeks. (The benefit is taxed at source, so the amount you actually get is $900.) The first two-week period for which the CRB is available is September 27 to October 10, 2020. 

Canada recovery caregiving benefit (CRCB)

The Canada recovery caregiving benefit (CRCB) is intended to help those who are unable to work because they’re caring for a child or family member affected by the pandemic. 

To qualify, you must be caring for a child under age 12 or a family member who needs supervision for one of the following reasons:

  • their school, daycare or other care facility is unavailable due to the pandemic,
  • their regular care services are unavailable due to the pandemic, or
  • the person under your care is ill, self-isolating, or at risk of serious health problems due to the pandemic.

As well, you must meet all these criteria for the one-week period you're applying for:

  • you’re unable to work at least 50% of your usual work week because you’re caring for a child or family member,
  • you’re the only person in your household applying for the benefit,
  • you aren’t receiving paid leave from your employer,
  • you didn’t receive workers’ compensation, disability, or other recovery benefits,
  • you’re a Canadian resident,
  • you’re age 15 or older, and
  • you made at least $5,000 in income in 2019, 2020, or in the 12 months before you apply.

The full requirements are explained here.

The CRCB provides $500 per week, for up to 26 weeks. (The benefit is taxed at source, so the amount you actually get is $450.) Only one eligible person per household can apply each week. If more than one person in your household is eligible, you can split the 26 weeks between you as long as no two people apply in the same week. The first week the CRCB is available is September 27 to October 3, 2020. 

Canada recovery sickness benefit (CRSB)

The Canada recovery sickness benefit (CRSB) is intended to help those who are unable to work because they’re ill, self-isolating, or at risk of serious health problems due to the pandemic.

To qualify, you must be unable to work at least 50% of your usual work week because you’re self-isolating for one of the following reasons:

  • you’re sick with COVID-19 or may have it,
  • you’ve been advised to self-isolate, or
  • you have an underlying health condition that puts you at greater risk of getting COVID-19.

As well, you must meet all these criteria for the one-week period you're applying for:

  • you aren’t receiving paid leave from your employer,
  • you didn’t receive workers’ compensation, disability, or other recovery benefits,
  • you’re a Canadian resident,
  • you’re age 15 or older, and
  • you made at least $5,000 in income in 2019, 2020, or in the 12 months before you apply.

Here is a list of the full requirements

The CRSB provides $500 per week, for up to two weeks. (The benefit is taxed at source, so the amount you actually get is $450.) The first one-week period for which the CRSB is available is September 27 to October 3, 2020.