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New income support legislation passed through Parliament

Coronavirus Update

Dear friends,

We are pleased to share with you new measures outlined today by the federal government that will provide financial assistance to Canadians who have experienced job interruptions or losses due to COVID-19. This emergency bill, which includes the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, has passed through Parliament.

OPSEU is committed to supporting our members through this challenging and stressful time. In many cases, you have been our ears on the ground, reporting valuable insights that give us the information we need to fight for the health, safety, and fair and decent treatment of all Ontarians.

We will continue to share information with you on matters pertaining to this new legislation, any future measures, either federal or provincial and other actions being taken to protect you and your families. 

In the meantime, please remain diligent in your efforts to help flatten the curve of the coronavirus. Stay home if you can, look after loved ones and friends but practice social distancing, respect self-isolation directions, wash your hands regularly, and try to keep your spirits up. We are all in this together.   

See the information below:

OPSEU President, Warren (Smokey) Thomas

The New Canada Emergency Response Benefit: March 25, 2020


  • This benefit will replace/combine the two allowances announced last week – the Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit – in order to streamline the application process. These measures were supposed to be put in place in April, but will now be replaced with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, announced today.
  • The CERB will provide $2000 each month for four months, for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Accessible to those who have lost their job due to COVID-19, including wage earners, and including those who would not be eligible for EI, such as self-employed or contract workers.
  • This benefit will also be accessible to those who are sick, quarantined, taking care of someone sick, or looking after children.
  • It will also be accessible to those who are still employed, but who are not receiving income due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Canadians who are currently receiving EI regular and sickness benefits as of today will continue to receive benefits, and should not apply to the CERB. If, before October 3, 2020 their benefits end, they could apply for the CERB once their benefits cease if they are still out of work due to COVID-19.
  • Canadians who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits will still be able to access those benefits if still unemployed after the 16 weeks covered by the CERB.
  • The CERB would be paid every four weeks, and will be available from March 15 until October 3, 2020.


  • An application portal will launch as quickly as possible (by April 6) and people should receive money within 10 days of applying.
  • Workers are being redeployed from other departments to deal with increased applications for financial support.