Federal Government Extends CERB and Announces Simplified EI Program and Other Recovery Benefits

On Thursday, August 20, 2020, the federal government announced that the maximum benefit under the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”) would be extended from 24 weeks to 28 weeks. This is the second time the CERB has been extended. It was first extended from 16 weeks to 24 weeks on June 16, 2020. The end date of the last period for which CERB benefits may be paid, October 3, 2020, has not changed.

To facilitate the transition from CERB to EI for those who continue to need support, the federal government also announced changes to the EI program. These changes include the easing of certain EI eligibility requirements and the implementation of a minimum EI benefit of $400/week. These changes take effect September 27, 2020.

The federal government also announced new recovery benefit programs which will also take effect September 27, 2020. These new programs provide weekly benefits to those that will not be eligible for EI (especially the self-employed and gig-economy workers) and to those that cannot work because of childcare obligations. The federal government also announced a one-time benefit for those that are sick or in isolation because of COVID-19.

We will continue to monitor developments related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the workplace and will post further updates as information becomes available.

For advice specific to your situation, consider contacting your regular lawyer at Rae Christen Jeffries LLP.