Employment Benefit subsidies during COVID-19

Q: I have been let go from my job during the pandemic, do I apply for EI or CERB?
 
A:  If you’ve recently stopped working or lost earnings because of COVID-19 then you should consider applying for the Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit (“CERB”) if you’re qualified, since it is the fastest.   EI should then begin once CERB runs out, if are qualified, and if you still remain out of work.
 
Generally speaking, CERB is available to workers:
 
  1. Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
  2. 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 or Employment Insurance fishing benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020;
  3. 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,
  4. Who have not quit their job voluntarily.
 
To see what kind of financial help is available generally from the Canadian Government in your situation go here.  To determine eligibility for CERB only, go here or and to go here to determine how to apply.  Currently, CERB provides $500 a week for up to 24 weeks or until October 3, 2020, whichever comes first.
 
You will need to reapply every four weeks (if you remain eligible).  Keep in mind that for your first claim, you can’t have earned more than $1,000 in employment income for 14 or more consecutive days within the four-week benefit period of your claim.   For subsequent claims, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for the entire four-week benefit period of your new claim.
 
Workers who have been constructively dismissed, or are out of work due to e.g. health issues, child care, or on an Infectious Disease Emergency Leave should also be eligible based on the rules provided.
 
Don’t wait to apply for CERB even if you are expecting minimum severance payments to be paid out by the employer for several weeks or months, since delays could jeopardize your entitlements.   
 
(As an important aside, I also recommend you seek legal advice from an employment lawyer about your severance entitlement since common law entitlements are usually much greater than the statutory minimums.)
 
If you have any questions or would like a consult please contact me directly at 905-572-5806 or wjamieson@rossmbride.com
 


 
Wesley Jamieson
Wesley Jamieson
P: 905.572.5806
wjamieson@rossmcbride.com