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Ottawa to extend Recovery and EI benefits

Gatineau: The Government of Canada’s announced its intent to introduce regulatory and legislative amendments to increase the number of weeks of Recovery and Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.

These cover the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) and Employment Insurance (EI) regular benefits, said Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, yesterday.

As some workers could begin to exhaust their benefits in late March, this increase would ensure continued support as Canada’s economy and labour force recovers. It would also provide additional access to the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, so that Canadians do not have to make the choice between going to work sick and putting food on the table, said a statement.

The proposed changes would:

  • Increase the number of weeks available under the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) by 12 weeks extending the maximum duration of the benefits through regulation from 26 weeks to up to 38 weeks;
  • Increase the number of weeks available under the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) through regulation from the current 2 weeks to 4 weeks; and
  • Increase the number of weeks of EI regular benefits available by up to 24 weeks to a maximum of 50 weeks through legislation, for claims that are made between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.

To ensure employees in the federally regulated private sector can access the proposed additional weeks of CRCB and CRSB without the risk of losing their jobs, the maximum length of the leave related to Covid-19 under the Canada Labour Code would also be extended.

Provincial and territorial governments will determine whether they need to amend their job-protected leaves in order to facilitate employees’ access to the proposed additional weeks of CRSB and CRCB benefits.

Subject to the legislation receiving Royal Assent, in addition, self-employed workers who have opted in to the EI program to access special benefits would be able to use a 2020 earnings threshold of $5,000, compared to the previous threshold of $7,555. This change would be retroactive to claims established as of January 3, 2021 and would apply until September 25, 2021.

By increasing the number of available weeks for these important benefits, the Government is giving certainty to workers in hard hit sectors and their families, and better positioning our economy to recover.

“Canadian workers can be confident that our government will always be there to support them through this pandemic, regardless of where they live in Canada or who they work for. We created recovery benefits and introduced flexibilities to the EI program so that workers who needed support in this new phase of the pandemic could continue to provide for their families. By increasing the number of weeks available for these important benefits, we are easing a big financial stress for workers and giving them the certainty they need,” said Minister Qualtrough.

Quick Facts

  • Effective September 27, 2020 the three temporary recovery benefits were put in place to support workers who do not qualify for EI and require income support in relation to Covid-19. They include the Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit.
  • As of February 14, 2021, the numbers of unique applicants that have accessed the recovery benefits are:
    • 1,715,090 for the Canada Recovery Benefit;
    • 333,760 for the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit; and
    • 392,280 for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit.
  • As of February 14, 2021 there were 2,045,250 active EI regular benefit claimants.
  • Canadians would continue to apply for the recovery benefits through the Canada Revenue Agency and for Employment Insurance benefits through Service Canada.

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