The economic measures announced by Prime Minister Trudeau will provide relief for families and businesses, including a boost to the Canada Child Care Benefit, an extension of the tax filing deadline to June 1st and emergency support for people who do not qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.
The new measures include a temporary wage subsidy of 10 per cent for small businesses.
Workers and businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for part of the $82 billion aid package announced Trudeau, which includes $27 billion in direct support for those struggling to find work or care for family members.
The package, now before Parliament, stands to adjust the rules on who qualifies for employment insurance (EI), and includes two emergency benefits for those who don’t.
The emergency benefits aren’t yet available, but the government has released guidelines on who can apply, and how much relief Canadians can expect. Here’s how they’ll work.
How do I apply?
Applicants usually need a medical certificate along with records of employment, though the new rules allow quarantined workers to apply without the former. If you can’t apply because you are quarantined, you can also file for EI sickness benefits later and have the claim backdated.
To apply for EI benefits, you can visit the website. Afterwards, you can apply to have the one-week waiting period waived by calling the government’s toll-free number at 1-833-381-2725, or teletypewriter at 1-800-529-3742.
It is also possible to apply in person at a Service Canada office, though those who are experiencing symptoms, or are in self-isolation or quarantine are instructed not to visit.
What if I don’t qualify for EI?
The federal aid package also includes the Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit.
The Emergency Care Benefit provides up to $900 every two weeks for up to 15 weeks, to those affected by COVID-19. It’s intended for those who don’t qualify for EI, can’t go to work and don’t have paid sick leave.
Workers — including the self-employed — who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 can apply, as can those staying home to take care of a family member with COVID-19 who doesn’t qualify. Parents staying home to care for children because of school closures are also covered, and can apply whether or not they qualify for EI.
The Emergency Support Benefit will give up to $5 billion to workers ineligible for EI who face unemployment. It is intended to be a long-term income support, but the government hasn’t yet said how much it will provide, or how long funds will be given out.
Both benefit plans will be available to apply for in April, through the CRA website, and a toll-free number that has not yet been shared.