The Canadian Government had previously announced aid programs for both workers and employers to aid Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, additional information and changes were announced, as set out below.

Employees

This week, the Government of Canada changed the eligibility criteria for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”) to help more people.

The CERB provides Canadians with temporary income support if they have stopped working because of COVID-19 and provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.

As of April 16, 2020, a Canadian can apply if, for at least 14 days in a row during the 4-week payment period, they do not expect to receive more than $1,000 (before taxes) from employment and self-employment income. Previously, there was no allowance for people who made up to $1,000 per month.

CERB is available to workers:

  • Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
  • Who have stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits or have exhausted their Employment Insurance regular benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020;
  • Who had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and,
  • Who have not quit their job voluntarily.

Eligible applicants can apply online through CRA My account or My Service Canada account or by phone at 1-800-959-2019 or at 1-800-959-2041.

Employers

Additionally this week, Prime Minister Trudeau provided further information on the previously announced wage subsidy program.

As initially announced in March, the wage subsidy program will allow Canadian employers whose business has been affected by COVID-19, to apply for a subsidy of 75% of employee wages for up to 12 weeks, retroactive from March 15, 2020 to June 6, 2020. It will provide up to $847 a week per employee.

The wage subsidy is intended to enable eligible businesses to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, to help prevent further job losses and to resume normal operations following the crisis.

Eligible employers include individuals (including trusts), taxable corporations, persons that are exempt from corporate tax (other than public institutions), registered charitiesand partnerships consisting of eligible employers. Employers must have also experienced an eligible reduction in revenue and have had a CRA payroll account on March 15, 2020.

Eligible employees must have been employed by the employer during the claim period, except if there was a period of 14 or more consecutive days in that period where they did not receive any pay from the employer. Employees who had been laid off or furloughed can become eligible retroactively; however, employers must rehire and pay those employees before including them in the calculation for the subsidy.

In addition, a new calculator was launched to help eligible businesses determine the amount they will be able to claim through the program.

The calculator will allow employers to determine the specific line amounts they should use when they make their application.

Finally, the date on which applications will begin to be accepted was confirmed as being this coming Monday, April 27th. A majority of applications are expected to be processed by May 5thand payments will be made by cheque or direct deposit to employers soon after.

For Help

Our firm remains committed to supporting our clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Petker Campbell Postnikoff is working remotely where possible and making an attempt to limit the need for in-person attendance at our office. We have made this decision to protect the health and safety of our clients, staff and their families. We are not currently accepting unscheduled in-person meetings. As a precautionary measure, if you feel sick or unwell and have an in-office meeting scheduled, please contact our office immediately to make alternate arrangements. We remain fully accessible by email and will continue to respond to voicemail messages. If you have any questions, please contact us at 519-886-1204, or by email to info@petkerlaw.com.

The Kitchener-Waterloo employment lawyers at Petker Campbell Postnikoff have many years of experience advising non-unionized employees and employers on a variety of workplace issues, including termination. Our team will walk you through the details of your dispute, advise you on your rights, responsibilities and obligations, and help you understand your options. If your dispute cannot be settled through negotiation, we can represent you through mediation and the court process.

We represent clients throughout southern Ontario, including the communities of Cambridge, Guelph, Elmira, Brantford, Fergus, Elora and the surrounding area. Call 519-886-1204 or contact us online for a consultation.