OTTAWA — The Government of Canada plans to introduce regulatory and legislative amendments to increase the number of weeks of benefits available for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) and Employment Insurance (EI) regular benefits.
“Canadian workers can be confident that our government will always be there to support them through this pandemic, regardless of where they live in Canada or who they work for,” says Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion. “We created recovery benefits and introduced flexibilities to the EI program so that workers who needed support in this new phase of the pandemic could continue to provide for their families. By increasing the number of weeks available for these important benefits, we are easing a big financial stress for workers and giving them the certainty they need.”
As some workers could begin to exhaust their benefits in late March, this increase aims to ensure continued support as Canada’s economy and labour force recovers. It would also provide additional access to the CRSB.
The proposed changes would increase the number of weeks available under CRB and CRCB by 12 weeks, extending the maximum duration of the benefits through regulation from 26 weeks to up to 38 weeks. For CRSB, the number of weeks available would be increased from the current two weeks to four weeks. The changes would also increase the number of weeks of EI regular benefits available by up to 24 weeks to a maximum of 50 weeks for claims that are made between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.
Additionally, to ensure employees in the federally regulated private sector can access the proposed additional weeks of CRCB and CRSB without the risk of losing their jobs, the maximum length of the leave related to COVID-19 under the Canada Labour Code would also be extended. Provincial and territorial governments will determine whether they need to amend their job-protected leaves in order to facilitate employees’ access to the proposed additional weeks of CRSB and CRCB benefits.
As of February 14, 2021, the numbers of unique applicants that have accessed the recovery benefits are:
• 1,715,090 for the Canada Recovery Benefit
• 333,760 for the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit
• 392,280 for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit