From March 16th to March 22nd, the week after Québec announced the closure of all schools, nearly a million Canadians filed for employment insurance. As the coronavirus continues to ravage the economy, that number has continued to grow, prompting the government to come up with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
The new program provides a taxable benefit of $2000 a month for up to four months to those who either didn’t qualify for EI or who applied after March 15th. The government has stated that all claims would be approved and that they would check the eligibility criteria at a later date (presumably next tax season according to the employment minister). This system allows workers who have lost their sources of income due to COVID-19 to quickly obtain the cash they need.
The qualifications for CERB make it so that most students and part-time workers will be able to benefit. Beneficiaries of CERB must have earned at least $5000 in the last year, been out of work for at least 14 days within the initial four week period, and have lost all of their income.
The reception has been overwhelmingly positive, especially to the speed at which these payments are being distributed. Some have said the process was so easy, they thought it was fake. Thankfully, it isn’t, and the speed can be distributed to the dedicated public servants who brought the program to life. They implemented a schedule in accordance with applicant’s birth months that indicate which day of the week you should apply.
Originally Published on www.bandersnatch.ca Vol.49 Issue 13 on April 15th, 2020