Canadian workers who are sick or unable to work because they need take care of their kids due to COVID-19 may be eligible for the government’s new temporary income supports.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced three new benefits to help those facing financial difficulty during the pandemic – the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB).
While CRSB and CRCB applications are now being accepted, CRB applications will have to wait until Oct. 12.
Carla Qualtrough, minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, said the government will continue to do “whatever it takes” to help Canadians stay supported during the next phase of recovery.
“We are transitioning to more nimble and flexible programs that will help get Canadians back to work and ensure we are able to quickly respond to any further labour market disruptions due to the ongoing pandemic,” said Qualtrough.
Workers who are sick or must self-isolate for COVID-19-related reasons, or have underlying conditions that make them more susceptible to COVID-19 can apply for CRSB, which will provide $500 per week for up to two weeks.
Those who are unable to work because they must care for a child under 12 years old not able to attend school because of the pandemic, or other family members requiring supervised care, who cannot attend regular care facilities because of COVID-19, can apply for CRCB.
CRCB will provide $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household.
Lastly, the CRB is for workers who are self-employed or are not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) and still require income support.
This benefit is specifically for those who have stopped working due to COVID-19 or whose income has dropped by at least 50 per cent or more. These workers must be available and looking for work and must accept work when it is reasonable to do so.
People eligible for CRB will be provided $500 per week for up to 26 weeks.
To be eligible for any of the new temporary income supports, people must have earned at least $5,000, before deductions, in 2019, 2020 or in the 12 months before applying.
With the new temporary income support, the government has included new processes to make sure the benefits will reach the targeted people:
- Shorter eligibility periods of one week for the CRSB and CRCB and two weeks for the CRB
- Retroactive periods, meaning that people will be required to apply after the period has ended
- A 10 per cent tax withholding at source
- Three to five day window to receive payments for applications made by direct deposit and a 10 to 12 day window by cheque via mail.
Additional information may also be requested before processing applications.
“The Government is committed to having safeguards in place to protect Canadians from fraud and non-compliance,” said the CRA in a media release.
“To this end, the CRA is taking steps to implement additional verification and security measures up-front, to help ensure that we deliver benefit payments only to people who are entitled to receive them.”
Canadians can apply for these benefits online through CRA’s My Account or call 1-800-959-8281.
For more information on eligibility and how to apply, visit Canada.ca/en/revenue-agency.html.