The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program, which provided many out-of-work Canadians with $2,000 per four-week period, ended on September 26. As a result, many of those CERB recipients will be transitioning to the Employment Insurance (EI) program, if they qualify for EI benefits. For those who don’t qualify, and still need assistance, the government has introduced three new measures:
- Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)
- Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)
- Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)
What are the changes to EI?
Canadians applying to receive EI should be aware of certain changes that have been made to the EI program. These changes became effective September 27, 2020 and will be in place for one year:
- Eligible applicants will receive at least $500 per week.
- It will be easier to qualify for EI as the minimum number of insured hours needed to qualify has been reduced to 120 hours for all regions across Canada.
- For CERB recipients, the period in which those 120 hours could have been accumulated will be extended beyond the normal 52-week period.
How do I apply for EI?
Generally, most CERB recipients who were receiving CERB through Service Canada will not need to apply for EI benefits as they would have already completed reports for that process.
That said, some CERB recipients will need to apply for EI if they:
- have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) that starts with 9
- are self-employed,
- have declared that they returned to work full-time on a CERB report to Service Canada, or
- received the CERB through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
Those individuals that receive CERB from the CRA will need to apply for EI through Service Canada via their My Service Canada Account. They will need to provide personal information including their SIN, mailing and residential addresses and complete banking information. Applicants will also be required to provide information related to their employer, share a detailed version of facts if they quit or were dismissed from any job in the last 52 weeks and complete bi-weekly reports to prove their continued eligibility for EI.
What are the new benefits?
The following chart summarizes the rules applicable to each of the three new benefits. To qualify, applicants must be resident and present in Canada during the entitlement period, have a valid SIN and be employed or self-employed.
*Entitlement period refers to the length of time for which a person can apply to receive benefits, as well as the renewal period (i.e., the frequency of when they must re-apply).
If you have questions about any of these programs, reach out to your local Grant Thornton advisor.
 The minimum $500 per week applies to EI regular benefits and EI special benefits, which includes sickness, maternity and standard parental benefits. EI recipients may, however, qualify for more, up to $573 per week. The minimum for extended parental benefits is $300 per week, up to a maximum of $344 per week.