The purpose of this communication is to update you on expected changes to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The CERB was introduced in March to assist those individuals who had ceased working in relation to COVID-19. The original legislation had requirements that may have been restricting access to the benefit in certain circumstances. In order to broaden the availability of the benefit, the government announced the following planned revisions to the legislation yesterday:

  • Previously, in order to access the benefit you were required to have no income for a period of time (14 consecutive days in your initial four week period, and none at all in subsequent periods). That threshold has increased from NIL to a maximum of $1,000 income to accommodate individuals that have a significantly reduced income, but are still working part-time;
  • Individuals who work seasonally and are unable to obtain a job as a result of COVID-19 may be eligible for the CERB; and
  • Individuals who have exhausted their regular EI benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020 will be able to obtain the CERB.

The government also announced planned measures for essential workers who are continuing to work but earning less than $2,500 per month, to top-up their income. Further details or clarification on these measures will be provided once amendments to the draft legislation are made available.

If you have any questions about these matters please do not hesitate to contact us. To review any of our previous updates on COVID-19 please see our website.

This summary deals proposed matters that are complex and may not apply to particular facts and circumstances. As well, the material and the references contained therein reflect laws and practices which are subject to change. For these reasons, this material should not be relied upon as a substitute for specialized professional advice in connection with any particular matter.

Although this communication has been carefully prepared, Wilkinson & Company LLP does not accept any legal responsibility for its contents or for any consequences arising from its use.  No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (photocopying, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise).

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