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On March 25, 2020, the Government of Canada announced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”) to support workers and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB is a taxable benefit and open to workers who have stopped working due to COVID-19 whether or not they are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits.

Those who qualify will be provided with $2,000.00 per month for up to six (6) months.

This benefit is available to workers:

  • Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
  • Who have stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits or have exhausted their Employment Insurance regular benefits or Employment Insurance fishing benefits between December 29, 2019, and October 3, 2020;
  • Who had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and
  • Who have not quit their job voluntarily.

Additionally, the government has also implemented Work-Sharing temporary special measures to support employers and workers affected by COVID-19.

From March 15, 2020, until March 14, 2021, and not limited to one specific sector or industry, the Government of Canada is introducing the following temporary special measures:

  • Extension of the maximum possible duration of an agreement from 38 weeks to 76 weeks;
  • Mandatory cooling off period has been waived for employers who have already used the Work-Sharing program so that eligible employers may immediately enter into a new agreement;
  • Reduce the previous requirements for a Recovery Plan to a single line of text in the application form;
  • Reduce the requirement and expand eligibility to employers affected by accepting business who have been in business for only 1 year rather than 2, and eliminate the burden of having to provide sales/production figures at the same time; and
  • Expand eligibility for staff who are essential to recovery, Government Business Enterprises (GBEs) and non-for-profit organization employers.

It was recently announced as of August 2020, that the Government of Canada will be transitioning CERB recipients to the Employment Insurance system. Keep an eye on our website for more information in relation to this transition.

If you have any questions regarding the above as it relates to your employment, layoff, or termination, contact Toronto employment lawyers, Sultan Lawyers at 416-214-5111 or via email at mlahert@sultanlawyers.com.