Additional coverage will cost the government $12.1bn
The federal government has extended the coverage period of the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) and Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), along with the emergency provisions of the Employment Insurance (EI). The additional coverage will cost the government $12.1bn.
Updates to the CRB were designed as a social safety net for Canadians who remained out of work after the original CERB programme ended. Unemployed Canadians were thus unable to tap into traditional EI benefits. Recipients of the CRB also included contract, gig or self-employed workers.
Because of the extension, the CRB payouts will now amount to $19,000 in total, up from the initial $13,000 set in 2020. The financial support, however, will still be counted as a taxable income. The CRB and CRCB programmes will continue to hand out a fortnightly pay of $900 after taxes.
At the same time, the government has announced an expanded version of the Sickness Benefit (CRSB). The update will now provide up to four weeks of financial support to employees who are forced to miss work after contracting COVID-19; after possible exposure to the virus; or for any reason related to COVID-19. The CRSB will pay eligible Canadians $450 per week if they are unable to work for at least 50% of the week.
Read more: Should EI sickness benefit be extended?
“No one should be going to work sick right now. It’s that simple,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in February. “If you need support while you look for a job, or if you have to stay home to take care of family, these benefits will continue to be there for you.”
Canadians covered by regular EI benefits, meanwhile, will be supported for up to 50 weeks, for claims filed up to 25 September this year. Some two million Canadians reportedly receive EI benefits, which have cost the government $13.5bn.
“This crisis isn’t over. Neither is our support for everyone,” Trudeau said.