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Current as of August 20, 2020 13:00 MST
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will be extended by an additional four weeks to a maximum of 28 weeks. The many Canadians expecting to exhaust their CERB benefits at the end of August will now be able to access an additional month of support.
Employment Insurance (EI) will be available to more Canadians, including those who would not have qualified for EI in the past. This simplified EI program is effective September 27, 2020. Applications for the new recovery benefits will open in October, with payments flowing in three to five days after application submission.
The government is proposing to implement three new benefits to replace CERB:
Temporary measures to help Canadians access EI benefits more easily include:
One-time insurable hours credit: To help individuals qualify with a minimum of 120 hours of work, EI claimants will receive a one-time insurable hours credit of:
The hours credit will also be made retroactive to March 15, 2020
Minimum unemployment rate: A minimum unemployment rate of 13.1% is being used for all EI economic regions in order to lower the hours required to qualify for EI regular benefits. This measure is effective for one year starting on August 9, 2020.
Minimum benefit rate: EI claimants as of September 27, 2020 will receive a minimum benefit rate of $400 per week (or $240 for extended parental benefits), if this is higher than what their benefits would otherwise be.
EI premium rate freeze: The government is freezing the EI premium rate for employees at the 2020 level of $1.58 per $100 of insurable earnings for two years. The rate for employers, who pay 1.4 times the employee rate, will also remain unchanged at $2.21 per $100 of insurable earnings. This is the lowest rate since 1980. This will save employers and employees approximately $2 billion.
Cost: The three new recovery benefits, which will be taxed at payment, are expected to cost $22 billion. The extension of CERB another $8 billion and added EI costs are pegged at $7 billion, for a total of $37 billion.
Implementation: The government intends to introduce new legislation to support the implementation of the new benefits. Parliament is currently prorogued until Sept. 23, when the House of Commons will begin a new session with a speech from the throne crafted by the Liberal government.
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