Up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses.

Yesterday, Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the Canadian economy during this challenging period. These measures, delivered as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses.

Helping Businesses Keep their Workers 

To support businesses that are facing revenue losses and to help prevent layoffs, the federal government is proposing to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10 per cent of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Businesses will be able to benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. Employers benefiting from this measure will include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities. 

Temporary Income Support for Workers and Parents 

For Canadians, without paid sick leave (or similar workplace accommodation), and who are sick, quarantined or forced to stay home to care for children, the government will be: 

  • Waiving the one-week waiting period for those individuals in imposed quarantine that claim Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits. This temporary measure went into effect as of March 15, 2020.
  • Waiving the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.
  • Introducing the Emergency Care Benefit providing up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks. This flat-payment Benefit would be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and provide income support to:

    • Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
    • Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not quality for EI sickness benefits.
    • Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.

Application for the Emergency Care Benefit will be available in April 2020 and requires Canadians to attest that they meet the eligibility requirements. They will need to re-attest every two weeks to reconfirm their eligibility. There are three channels for Canadians to apply for the Benefit: 

1. Via their CRA MyAccount secure portal;
2. Via their secure My Service Canada Account; or
3. by calling a toll-free number equipped with an automated application process. 

Longer-Term Income Support for Workers 

For Canadians who lose their jobs or face reduced hours as a result of the impact of COVID-19 impact, the government is:  

  • Introducing an Emergency Support Benefit delivered through the CRA to provide up to five billion dollars in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.
  • Implementing the EI Work Sharing Program, which provides EI benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hour as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers, by extending the eligibility of such agreements to 76 weeks, easing eligibility requirements, and streamlining the application process. This was announced by the Prime Minister on March 11, 2020. 

For more information on the federal government’s assistance to individuals and businesses please click here.

Source: Human Resources Professionals Association