EI and Emergency Benefits for Workers

  • Recorded on: April 21, 2020

  • Length: 45 minutes


Are you trying to figure out what emergency benefits apply to you? In this 45-minute webinar, employment lawyer David Brown explains the different benefits available to workers in British Columbia, what those benefits look like, and how to know which ones apply to you.


In this webinar, you will learn:

  • The different emergency benefits being offered to workers in British Columbia. [07:30]

  • How the cut off date of March 15, 2020 is used to determine which benefits you may be eligible for. [08:05]

  • The key elements of the different emergency benefits being offered, namely the Canadian emergency response benefit (CERB), the BC emergency benefit for workers, and emergency wage subsidy programs. [08:22]

  • The four basic requirements you need to meet to be eligible for CERB benefits. [10:50]

  • The bottom line about CERB: the dollar amount of the benefit, how long you’ll receive it, and how it differs from EI benefits. [13:40]

  • How the CERB is taxable as income and why you should set aside some of the money you receive for next year’s tax filings. [16:15]

  • Which categories of workers are eligible for which benefits. [18:40

  • In particular, you’ll learn what benefits are available (or not available) for the following categories of workers: 

    • part-time workers [19:15]

    • self-employed workers [21:10]

    • workers who are sick and unable to work [21:15]

    • parents who need to stay home to look after their children [23:45]

    • individuals who have recently exhausted their EI benefits [24:30]

    • students who rely on their income from summer employment [26:00] (update: as David suggested would happen, on April 22, 2020, the federal government announced the Canada emergency student benefit)

    • individuals who have quit their jobs [27:10]

  • Whether you can be eligible for and choose between more than one benefit. [29:45]

  • What happens if you apply for and receive benefits, and it later turns out you weren’t eligible to receive them. [31:40]

  • Where to go to apply for benefits. [33:25]

  • What steps to take if your record of employment (ROE) indicates you quit, when you thought you agreed to a layoff. [35:10

  • What to do if you applied for and have received both CERB and EI benefits. [37:20]

  • What happens to your EI eligibility period once the CERB benefit is no longer available. [39:15]

  • What happens if you lost your job just before the state of emergency — can you apply for the CERB benefit? [41:00]


David Brown

David Brown

A trusted workplace advisor to companies and individuals in BC’s Interior, David Brown is a co-founder of Ascent Employment Law in Kelowna. His practice includes assisting workers who have been wrongfully dismissed, experienced discrimination or harassment, or injured at work. He contributes to community endeavours such as Kelowna Community Resources and the BC Human Resources Management Association.

Attendee feedback

“This was an excellent webinar! Clear and informative. Thank you very much!!!”

“Thank you for the valuable information. Adds clarity to an ongoing/changing CERB. It is good to keep on top of these changes.“

“Thank you, Paula and David! We need more of this to increase ‘legal’ awareness & education!”

“Very much appreciated as it was clear and concise. Thank you.” 

“I really appreciate you offering your services free of charge, to help people understand different topics. It's very helpful, and reassuring.”

“Thank you so much! This was my first webinar with People's Law School. The information gained today will help me better guide my immigrant employment clients through these difficult times. I will definitely register for other webinars you offer.”

“Thank you so much for organizing this very important topic.“

Additional resources 

The federal government’s COVID-19 benefits information.

Resources from People’s Law School: 

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This website explains in a general way the law that applies in British Columbia, Canada. The information is not intended as legal advice. The cases we refer to reflect real experiences, but names have been changed. See our full disclaimer.

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