In response to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis and the end of the CERB program, the Government of Canada has made further changes to the EI program to facilitate greater access to EI benefits, in addition to the changes reported on our previous update. The Government has also now passed the legislation creating three new recovery benefits to support workers who continue to face financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The further changes to the EI program were made under Interim Order No. 9 Amending the Employment Insurance Act (Employment Insurance Emergency Response Benefit) and Interim Order No. 10 Amending the Employment Insurance Act (Employment Insurance Emergency Response Benefit). Key changes include:
- an increase to the minimum payment rate EI claimants may receive, from $400 per week to $500 per week.
- a suspension of the waiting period for all EI claims established between September 27, 2020 and October 25, 2020, and, for EI sickness claims, for a one-year period from September 27, 2020.
On October 2, 2020, Bill C-4, the COVID-19 Response Measures Act, received royal assent. This Act creates the three new recovery benefits discussed on our previous update. The new recovery benefits provide eligible workers $500 per week, less applicable taxes, and are each effective from September 27, 2020 until September 25, 2021, with the applications now open through the Government's new web pages.
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