Federal government announces COVID-19 aid package

On August 20, the Canadian government announced a $37B COVID-19 aid package which extends CERB, expands Employment Insurance and adds 'recovery' benefits.

Applications for these new benefits are scheduled to open in October, with payments expected to be received by the claimant within three to five days after applying.

The new measures announced include:

  • The Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) will be extended until Sept. 27
  • Increased flexibility for the work hours required for the employment insurance program (EI) 
  • Those who are already eligible for EI will transition to that program after Sept. 27
  • Those who don't qualify for EI after Sept. 27, can apply for new "recovery" benefits
  • Self-employed or gig workers can apply for a benefit of up to $400 a week for up to 26 weeks if they are off work or are working at a reduced income because of COVID-19 but will be required to repay 50 cents of every dollar earned above $38,000
  • Any working Canadian that falls ill or has to self-isolate due to COVID-19 will receive a 10-day paid sick leave. The benefit will provide $500 a week, and a claimant can't receive this benefit and another sick leave payment at the same time
  • Canadians who must stay home to care for a child under 12 or another dependent because school, daycare or day program closures due to COVID-19 will receive a benefit. This does not apply to people who choose to keep their children home unless there's a medical reason to do so