Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government’s measures are meant to “make sure that no matter where you live, what you do, or who you are, you will get the support you need during this time.”
Trudeau announces the government’s $82 billion emergency response package
Emergency benefits to be made available in April for those who do not qualify for EI (Employment Insurance).
Who qualifies for EI?
To be qualified for EI, you must have lost your job through no fault of your own. It also depends on your specific situation, such as regional rate of employment, and the number of hours worked in the last 52 weeks. You have to apply as soon as possible to find out if they qualify. If you apply more than four weeks after your last day of work, you could lose access to those benefits. If approved, the maximum amount paid out for EI is $573 a week.
Due to the coronavirus crisis, the one-week waiting period for sickness benefits will be removed for those who have been told to self-isolate or quarantine, meaning applicants can be paid for the first week of their claim.
Temporary Income Support for Workers and Parents
For Canadians who do not qualify for EI sickness benefits (or similar workplace accommodation), who are sick, quarantined or forced to stay home to care for children or for a sick with coronavirus family member, the Government is:
- Waiving the one-week waiting period for those individuals in imposed quarantine that claim Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits. This temporary measure is in effect as of March 15, 2020.
- Waiving the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.
- Introducing the Emergency Care Benefit providing up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks.
Application for the Benefit will be available in April 2020, and require Canadians to attest that they meet the eligibility requirements. They will need to re-attest every two weeks to reconfirm their eligibility. Canadians will select one of three channels to apply for the Benefit:
- by accessing it on their CRA MyAccount secure portal;
- by accessing it from their secure My Service Canada Account; or
- by calling a toll free number equipped with an automated application process.
Longer-Term Income Support for Workers
For Canadians who lose their jobs or face reduced hours as a result of COVID’s impact, the Government is:
- Introducing an Emergency Support Benefit delivered through the CRA to provide up to $5.0 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.
- Implementing the EI Work Sharing Program, which provides EI benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hour as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers, by extending the eligibility of such agreements to 76 weeks, easing eligibility requirements, and streamlining the application process.
The Emergency Care Benefit provides up to $900 every two weeks for up to 15 weeks, to those affected by COVID-19. It’s intended for those who don’t qualify for EI, can’t go to work and don’t have paid sick leave.
Important Official Notice
If you are directly affected by the COVID-19 because you are sick or quarantined and you have not yet applied for EI benefits, please submit your application before contacting us. This will allow us to better serve you and prevent delays in establishing your claim.
If you have already completed the application for EI sickness benefits whether you are sick or quarantined and would like to have the one-week waiting period waived, call the new toll-free phone number below. It is important to note that no other request will be actioned on this phone line. We will take action only for sick or quarantined clients affected by the COVID-19 for which the application for sickness benefits has been filed.
- Telephone: 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free)
- Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-800-529-3742
Notice on visiting Service Canada offices if you are sick: If you are experiencing symptoms such as cough, fever, difficulty breathing or you are in self-isolation or quarantine, do not visit or enter any Service Canada office. As an alternative, you may access our services online or by calling 1-800 O-Canada.
For more information about COVID-19 Emergency Benefits and how to apply go to:
- According to CBC News (March 23, 2020), Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is addressing the country as the government considers penalties for Canadian travellers who don’t follow the government’s advice to self-isolate when they return home.
- Individuals who violate the social distancing rule could be fined up to $1,000 while corporations could face fines of up to $500,000, OPP said in a news release.