More Canadians eligible for enhanced Employment Insurance

CERB payments are ending this week – here’s how to continue receiving income support

More Canadians eligible for enhanced Employment Insurance

The federal government started transitioning recipients of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to the new Employment Insurance program on Sunday. CERB payments will end on Oct. 3.

The revamped EI is expected to support 400,000 more Canadians who would have been ineligible under the previous system, according to Employment and Social Development Canada.

Read more: Bill C-2: What happens if you don't qualify for EI?

Those who received CERB through Service Canada and have maxed out their 28-week coverage will be notified about the shift, and asked whether they would like to be enrolled in the new program.

Meanwhile, those who are also self-employed; have the 900-series social insurance number; or received the benefit through the Canada Revenue Agency, will need to sign up for EI through Service Canada and create a My Service Canada Account.

The insurance program will provide out-of-work Canadians with a taxable benefit of at least $500 a week for up to 26 weeks, or extended parental benefits of $300 a week, the government said.

The EI system also enables Canadians who find work to continue claiming income support.

The ‘Working While on Claim’ rules allow claimants – who earn up to $38,000 a year from their job – to keep receiving a portion of their EI benefits.

Employers can also once again use their Supplemental Unemployment Benefit (SUB) plans registered with Service Canada to provide more extensive income support to their workers.

Payments to employees, made under registered SUB plans, are not classified as earnings and not deducted from EI benefits, the government said.

“The EI program will also allow Canadians with 120 hours of insurable work or more to qualify by providing a temporary, one-time credit of 300 insurable hours for those claiming EI regular and work-sharing benefits,” Employment and Social Development Canada said.

Those claiming EI special benefits – such as maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care and family caregiver benefits – will be given a temporary, one-time credit of 480 insurable hours.

Read more: Trudeau to CERB recipients: 'No one will be left behind'

Canadians who do not qualify for EI, however, may opt for the temporary measures included under Bill C-2, which expands recovery benefits for gig and contract workers.

“As we safely reopen parts of our economy, we are transitioning to more nimble and flexible programs that will help get Canadians back to work, while ensuring we are able to quickly respond to any further labour market disruptions due to the ongoing pandemic,” said Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough.


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