CERB program extended another four weeks as feds announce changes to EI

CERB program extended another four weeks as feds announce changes to EI

The first of the three new benefits is the Canada Recovery Benefit for workers who are self-employed or not EI-eligible and still require income support because their work has not yet returned due to COVID-19.

"We're doing our very best to support all Canadian workers and leave no one behind", Qualtrough stated.

"By supporting Canadians who are out of work because of the pandemic, we are making it possible for our country to practice social distancing and to do the right thing in the fight against the coronavirus", finance minister Chrystia Freeland said.

They will be able to earn income from employment or self-employment while receiving the benefit, but need to repay 50 cents of every dollar earned above an annual net income of $38,000 through their income tax return.

There will also be $500-a-week sickness benefit and caregiving benefit for anyone who has to stay home because they're ill, or because school or daycare is closed.

Canadians will now need only 120 hours of eligible employment to qualify.

The employment insurance changes can be made through regulatory changes by cabinet without the need for approval by the House of Commons, however, government officials say the creation of the three new benefits will have to be passed in legislation, which means there will be little time to push it through the House of Commons since Parliament was prorogued by the prime minister until september 23.

The extension to the $80-billion CERB is expected to cost a further $8 billion, and $7 billion more to the EI system, and can be done through powers that Qualtrough already has to create temporary EI measures.

The official said the number of claims is more typical to what would be seen in an entire year, or even over two years.

"This includes the Liberals' refusal to fix the EI system for new and expecting parents, which they could have made months ago", Albas said in a statement.

Those credits will be available for one year and retroactive to March 15 for claimants who wanted to switch from CERB to EI maternity, parental, compassionate care, family caregiver or work-sharing benefits, but were stopped because they did not meet the hourly requirements.

The government is also moving to freeze the EI insurance premium rates for two years, so workers and businesses won't face immediate increases to costs and payroll deductions.

Since mid-March, the CERB has paid nearly $69.4 billion in benefits to 8.61 million people, of which 4.1 million have since returned to the labour market.

After that most Canadians who receive CERB will automatically transition to EI.

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