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Liberals Unveil More Generous Employment Benefits, Paving Way for NDP Throne Speech Support

Published on
September 25, 2020

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough unveiled legislation to implement new employment benefits to replace the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The program was originally announced on August 20, but today’s announcement provides details for increased benefit amounts.

If passed, the legislation would create:

  • A Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) of $500 per week for up to 26 weeks, to workers who are self-employed or are not eligible for EI and who still require income support. This Benefit would support Canadians who have not returned to work due to COVID-19 or whose income has dropped by at least 50%.
  • A Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) of $500 per week for up to two weeks, for workers who are sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19 and do not have a paid sickness benefit plan or granted paid leave for that period.
  • A Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) of $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household, for eligible Canadians unable to work because they must care for a child under the age of 12 or family member because schools, day-cares or care facilities are closed due to COVID-19 or because the child or family member is sick and/or required to quarantine.

Today’s announcement also changes the established minimum weekly benefit payment for all EI recipients to $500—the same level as the CRB.

Canadians will be able to apply for the CRB, CRSB, and CRCB through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for one year up until September 25, 2021.

Path Created for NDP Throne Speech Support

The NDP made their support for the Throne Speech contingent on the continuation of CERB and the extension of paid sick leave for all Canadian workers. The government’s decision to match the new benefit amounts to those being paid through CERB and include sick leave payments paves the way for the NDP to support the Throne Speech. This support means the Trudeau government is likely to survive its first critical confidence vote of the new session of Parliament.

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