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FAQ: COVID-19 Pandemic Support for Workers

COVID-19
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Table of Contents

Note: The answers for Sections 1-3 were compiled from the information available on the Government of Canada website, retrieved at https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application/transition.html

Section 1: Employment Insurance (EI)

What is EI?

EI provides temporary income support for individuals who have lost their income due to job loss or temporary layoffs.

How do I know if I’m eligible for EI?

You may be entitled to EI regular benefits if you:

  • were employed in insurable employment;
  • lost your job through no fault of your own;
  • have been without work and without pay for at least seven consecutive days in the last 52 weeks;
  • have worked for the required number of insurable employment hours in the last 52 weeks or since the start of your last EI claim, whichever is shorter;
  • are ready, willing and capable of working each day;
  • are actively looking for work (you must keep a written record of employers you contact, including when you contacted them).

Important note: to prove your eligibility and to receive any payment you may be entitled to, you are required to complete bi-weekly reports by internet or telephone . Failure to do so can mean a loss of benefits.

How long will I be covered by EI?

You can receive a minimum of 26 weeks of benefits up to a maximum of 45 weeks, depending on the unemployment rate in your region at the time of filing your claim and the amount of insurable hours you have accumulated in your qualifying period – generally the last 52 weeks or since your last claim – whichever is shorter.

If I received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), do I automatically qualify for EI?

Receiving the CERB does not mean that you are automatically qualified to receive EI benefits. Many temporary measures are in place to ease the transition from the CERB to EI but claimants are still required to meet qualifying and entitlement conditions for the type of benefit they are requesting.

Will I receive more or less on EI than I did on CERB?

The amount you get on Employment Insurance varies. Benefit rates range from the temporary minimum of $500 per week (same as the CERB) to the 2020 maximum amount of $573 per week.

All EI benefits are taxable and federal, provincial or territorial taxes will be deducted from payments wherever applicable.

What changes have been made to EI during the COVID-19 pandemic?

As of September 27, 2020, there are some temporary changes to the EI program to help you access EI benefits. These changes will be in effect for 1 year. Click here for the full list of EI benefit types.

Some of the changes which could apply to you include:

  • A minimum unemployment rate of 13.1% applies to all regions across Canada starting August 9, 2020.
    • If your region’s unemployment rate is higher than 13.1%, the higher actual rate is used to calculate your benefits.
  • You only need 120 insured hours to qualify for benefits because you’ll receive a one-time credit of:
    • 300 insured hours if you’re applying for regular benefits.
    • 480 insured hours if you’re applying for sickness, maternity, parental or caregiving benefits.
  • You’ll receive at least $500 per week before taxes, or $300 per week before taxes for extended parental benefits but you could receive more.
  • If you’re applying for sickness benefits, you do not need to submit a medical certificate.
  • If you received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the 52-week period to accumulate insured hours will be extended.

Click here to read more about EI.

Section 2: Recovery Benefits

What are the Recovery Benefits which are replacing CERB?

The following three Recovery Benefits have been introduced by the Government:

  • Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)
  • Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)
  • Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

Can I receive Recovery Benefits if I am receiving EI?

You will not be eligible for receiving Recovery Benefits if you are already receiving EI benefits, provincial maternity or parental benefits, or any other paid leave for the same period.

How do I know whether to apply for EI benefits or the Canada Recovery Benefit?

If you have paid EI premiums as an employee and have at least 120 hours of insurable employment, you are likely eligible for Employment Insurance Benefits and should apply.

If you don’t have the minimum number of hours, you may be eligible to receive the Canada Recovery Benefit, if you meet the eligibility criteria.

When can I apply for the Recovery Benefits?

Applications for the CRB opened on October 12, 2020 and applications for the CRCB and CRSB opened on October 5, 2020.

Unlike the CERB, recovery benefits are retroactive, meaning you can only apply for it after the period for which you’re applying has ended.

Where can I apply for the Recovery Benefits?

To apply for the Recovery Benefits, visit the Canada Revenue Agency’s ‘My Account for Individuals’ web page.

Can I apply for more than one of the Recovery Benefits for the same period?

You cannot claim more than one of the Recovery Benefits for the same period.

Section 2.1: Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

What is the CRB?

The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19 and are not entitled to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.

If you are eligible for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), you can receive $1,000 ($900 after taxes withheld) for a 2-week period.

How do I know if I’m eligible for CRB?

To be eligible for the CRB, you must meet all of the conditions for the 2-week period you’re applying for. Click here to view the eligibility conditions.

How long will I be covered by CRB?

Each CRB application covers a specific 2-week period.

The CRB does not renew automatically. You must apply for each period separately. You can apply for a maximum of 13 periods out of the total 26 periods available between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021. The 13 periods do not have to be taken consecutively.

When can I apply for CRB?

Each 2-week period starts on a Sunday and ends on the Saturday of the following week. The earliest you can apply is on the first Monday after the period has ended.

Click here for more information about the CRB.

Section 2.2: Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

What is the CRCB?

The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care.

This applies if their school, regular program or facility is closed or unavailable to them due to COVID-19, or because they are sick, self-isolating, or at risk of serious health complications due to COVID-19.

If you are eligible for the CRCB, your household can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for each 1-week period.

How do I know if I’m eligible for CRCB?

To apply for the CRCB, you must meet all the eligibility criteria and be employed or self-employed on the day before your first application period.

Click here to view the eligibility criteria.

How long will I be covered by CRCB?

Each application for CRCB covers a specific 1-week period.

The CRCB does not renew automatically. If your situation continues, you must apply for each period separately. You may apply for any eligible 1-week period for up to 60 days after that period has ended.

When can I apply for CRCB?

Each 1-week period starts on a Sunday and ends on the following Saturday. You may start applying on the first Monday after the 1-week period you’re applying for has ended.

Click here for more information about the CRCB.

Section 2.3: Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

What is the CRSB?

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they are sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19.

If you are eligible for the CRSB, you can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for a 1-week period.

How do I know if I’m eligible for CRSB?

To apply for the CRSB, you must meet all the eligibility criteria and be employed or self-employed on the day before your first application period.

Click here to view the eligibility criteria.

When can I apply for the CRSB?

Each 1-week period starts on a Sunday and ends on the following Saturday. You may start applying on the first Monday after the 1-week period you’re applying for has ended.

For more Recovery Benefits FAQs, click here.

Section 3: Benefits Finder

I am still unsure about which benefit I’m eligible for. Where can I go to find out more information?

The Government of Canada has a Benefits Finder web page to help you figure out which benefits you’re eligible for. Click here to visit the Benefits Finder web page.

Section 4: Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL)

Note: The answers for this section were compiled from the information available on the Government of Ontario’s website, retrieved at https://www.ontario.ca/document/your-guide-employment-standards-act-0/infectious-disease-emergency-leave

What is Infectious Disease Emergency Leave?

Employees have the right to take unpaid, job-protected infectious disease emergency leave if they are not performing the duties of their position because of specified reasons related to a designated infectious disease. This leave is available to all employees who are covered by the Employment Standards Act (ESA).

The only disease for which infectious disease emergency leave may be taken during March 1, 2020 to July 3, 2021 is COVID-19.

How do I apply for IDEL?

An employee must generally advise the employer that he or she will be taking an infectious disease, due to one of the qualifying reasons, for emergency leave before starting the leave.

If advance notice cannot be provided, the employee must inform the employer as soon as possible after starting the leave.

Notice can be given in writing or orally.

What are my rights while on IDEL?

Employees who take infectious disease emergency leave are generally entitled to the same rights as employees who take pregnancy or parental leave. For example, employers cannot threaten, fire or penalize in any way an employee who takes or plans on taking an infectious disease emergency leave.

How long does IDEL last?

Employees have the right to be away from work on infectious disease emergency leave only for as long as the event that triggered the entitlement to the leave lasts. After the triggering event is over, the employee’s normal obligations to be at work resume.

If I apply for IDEL, will I automatically receive EI or Recovery Benefits?

Employees who take infectious disease emergency leave may be entitled to employment insurance benefits or to other federal government financial supports.

The right to take time off work under the infectious disease emergency leave provisions of the ESA is not the same as the right to the payment of employment insurance benefits or federal government supports. An employee may be entitled to infectious disease emergency leave whether or not they have applied for or qualified for federal benefits or supports.

Section 5: Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB)

Note: The answers for this section were compiled from the information available on the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) website, retrieved at:

What is WSIB?

WSIB is funded by premiums paid by Ontario businesses. They provide wage-loss benefits, medical coverage and support to help people get back to work after a work-related injury or illness.

How do I know if I’m eligible for WSIB?

You may be eligible for WSIB benefits if:

  • Your employer is covered by the WSIB;
  • You have a work-related injury or illness;
  • You or your employer report your injury or illness to WSIB and your claim is allowed;
  • You provide WSIB with the information we need to make decisions about your benefits; and
  • You agree to share information about your functional abilities with WSIB and your employer.

If I suspect I contracted COVID-19 while at work, should I file a WSIB claim?

WSIB eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis.  If you contracted COVID-19 while at work (you have a diagnosis or symptoms of COVID-19), you should tell your employer about your illness and any medical treatment you received right away, and you may file a claim to determine if you are eligible for WSIB coverage.

For a COVID-19 claim to be allowed, evidence must show that the person’s risk of contracting the disease through their employment is greater than the risk to which the public at large is exposed and that work significantly contributed to the person’s illness.

If I get injured while working from home, am I still eligible for WSIB coverage?

You and your employer have the same rights and responsibilities in the event of a workplace injury or illness whether you are working from home or offsite or in your regular workplace. If you believe your injury is work-related you should file a claim.

Click here for more information on the WSIB benefits available for workers.