Resources for Those Recently Unemployed Due to COVID-19

Resources for Those Recently Unemployed Due to COVID-19

In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, there have been many changes to how businesses, both big and small, are operating. Many businesses are closing their doors for the safety of their staff and the general public, while others are cutting back on staffing in order to mitigate the spread of the virus. As a result, many Canadians are facing a loss of income that could prove crippling. However, despite these changes, the Canadian government has put in place a series of options available for those who find themselves recently unemployed as a result of the pandemic. 

Here’s everything you need to know. 

Canadian EI Benefit Options

If you or someone you know has lost their job as a result of COVID-19 due to the business temporarily closing, the business permanently shutting down, or are unable to work because of having to self-quarantine, there are Canadian Employment Insurance options available. 

In order to apply for Employment Insurance if you have lost your job, whether temporarily or permanently, you must provide the following information:

  • the names and addresses of your employers in the last 52 weeks
  • the dates you were employed with each employer and the reasons you’re no longer employed with them
  • your detailed explanation of the facts if you quit or were dismissed from any job in the last 52 weeks
  • your full mailing address and your home address, if they are different
  • your social insurance number (SIN)
  • your mother’s maiden name
  • your banking information, including financial institution, branch (transit) number and your account number, to sign up for a direct deposit

Employment Insurance eligibility criteria include: 

  • The regional employment rate in your area
  • The numbers of hours worked during the most recent 52 week period
  • For regular Employment Insurance, if you lost your job or are unable to work through no fault of your own
  • For Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits, if you are unable to work due to illness or quarantine

Currently, the maximum amount that can be paid out for Employment Insurance is $573 per week, depending on qualifying factors. If you are applying for Employment Insurance, you would normally require both a Record of employment (ROE) and a medical certificate if applying for Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits. However, the updated rules at this time allow citizens to apply without full records. If you have already completed your application for Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits and require that the one week waiting period be waived, please call 1-833-381-2725, toll-free, or teletypewriter at 1-800-529-3742. 

The Canadian Emergency Response Benefit

Despite these measures, many people don’t qualify for Employment Insurance who have had their livelihood affected by COVID-19, such as those who are self-employed. If you do not qualify for Employment Insurance but require financial assistance as a result of COVID-19, there is another option available to help you get through these difficult times. 

The Canadian Federal Government recently announced the amalgamation of The Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit into The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Described as a “simpler and more accessible” program, the CERB will cover qualifying individuals who must stop working and do not have access to paid leave. This includes:

  • Those who are sick or quarantined (or taking care of others who are)
  • Working parents who must care for sick children at home
  • Self-employed or contract workers who would not otherwise qualify for EI. 
  • Employed workers that are no longer being paid due to insufficient work volume.

The Canadian Emergency Support Benefit will provide up to $2000 every month for four months to qualifying individuals. The application process will commence in early April, with individual income support payments streamlined to flow as soon as 10 days later. You can apply for these benefits by going through the Canada Revenue Agency MyAccount secure portal or through a My Service Canada account. There will be a toll-free number available shortly.


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