New Covid-19 aid has just been announced by the federal government to help Canadians get through the pandemic financially.
The Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) will be extended by a month. CERB, which has already paid out more than $69 billion to more than 8.6 million recipients, will now be in place until Sept. 27, extending the program from six months to 28 weeks.
Also, EI (Employment Insurance) will be tweaked to let more people get financial assistance as the economy gradually reopens. Measures include greater flexibility on the work hours required for EI, making it easier for people to qualify for a one-year period.
Canadians who were already eligible for EI will transition to that program when CERB stops, while those who don’t qualify can apply for new “recovery” benefits.
Those that are self-employed or gig workers, can apply for a benefit of up to $400 a week for up to 26 weeks if they have stopped working or had reduced incomes due to COVID-19. Under the new plan, they can continue to earn money, but will be required to repay 50 cents of every dollar earned above $38,000.
A second new benefit gives 10 days of paid sick leave to any worker in Canada who falls ill or has to self-isolate due to COVID-19. That will provide $500 a week, and a claimant can’t claim this benefit and another sick leave payment at the same time.
A third benefit will support Canadians who must stay home to care for a child under 12 or another dependent because their school, daycare or other day program facility is shut down due to COVID. People who choose to keep their kids home even though the facility is open will not qualify, unless they provide proof there is a medical reason to do so.
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 estimated at $7 billion, for a total of $37 billion.
For more information, visit the government website HERE.
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