CERB transitions to NEW Recovery Benefits and EI

CERB extended by 4 weeks

On August 20th, the Federal Government announced the extension of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) by one month and the subsequent transition, on September 27th, to a simplified Employment Insurance (EI) Program for those who remain unable to work and are eligible.

Temporary revised EI benefit qualifications:

  • 120 hours of work required to qualify

  • Minimum benefit rate of $400 per week

  • At least 26 weeks of regular benefits

Canada Recovery Benefit

Effective September 27th, 2020 for 1 year, the Canada Recovery Benefit will provide $400 / week for up to 26 weeks for those who are not eligible for EI, like self-employed and gig economy workers.

Eligibility from canada.ca:

“The benefit would be available to residents in Canada who:

  • are at least 15 years old and have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN);

  • have stopped working due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are available and looking for work; or are working and have had a reduction in their employment/self-employment income for reasons related to COVID-19;

  • are not eligible for Employment Insurance;

  • had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020; and,

  • have not quit their job voluntarily.

Workers would apply after every two-week period for which they are seeking income support and attest that they continue to meet the requirements. In order to continue to be eligible for the benefit the claimant wound need to look for and accept work when it is reasonable to do so. The benefit is taxable.”

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit

Effective September 27th, 2020 for 1 year, the new Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit will provide $500 / week for up to 2 weeks for workers who are unable to work because they are sick or must isolate due to COVID-19.

Eligibility from canada.ca:

“The benefit would be available to:

  • Residents in Canada who are at least 15 years of age and have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN);

  • Workers employed or self-employed at the time of the application; and

  • Workers who earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020.

Workers would not be required to have a medical certificate to qualify for the benefit. Workers could not claim the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and receive other paid sick leave for the same benefit period. Workers would need to have missed a minimum of 60% of their scheduled work in the week for which they claim the benefit.

Workers would apply after the one-week period in which they are seeking income support and attest that they meet the requirements. The benefit would taxable.”

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit

Effective September 27th, 2020 for 1 year, the new Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit will provide $500 / week for up to 26 weeks per household to eligible Canadians.

The news release from canada.ca, states that:

“The closure of schools and other daycare and day program facilities to prevent the spread of COVID 19 has meant that many Canadians have been unable to work because they needed to provide care to children or support to other dependents who had to stay home. While it is anticipated that facilities will gradually re-open as the economy restarts, the Government of Canada recognizes that access may vary over time and across communities. The Government is committed to ensuring that parents and others with dependents do not need to choose between caring for them and paying the bills.”

Eligibility from canada.ca:

In order to be eligible for the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, individuals would need to:

  • reside in Canada;

  • be at least 15 years of age on the first day of the period for which they apply for the benefit;

  • have a valid Social Insurance Number;

  • be employed or self-employed on the day immediately preceding the period for which the application is made;

  • have earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020;

  • have been unable to work for at least 60% of their normally scheduled work within a given week because of one of the following conditions:

    • they must take care of a child who is under 12 years of age on the first day of the period for which the benefit is claimed:

      • because their school or daycare is closed or operates under an alternative schedule for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic;

      • who cannot attend school or daycare under the advice of a medical professional due to being at high risk if they contract COVID-19; or

      • because the caregiver who usually provides care is not available for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic; or

    • they must provide care to a family member with a disability or a dependent:

      • because their day program or care facility is closed or operates under an alternative schedule for reasons related to COVID-19;

      • who cannot attend their day program or care facility under the advice of a medical professional due to being at high risk if they contract COVID-19; or

      • because the caregiver who usually provides care is not available for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic;

  • not be in receipt of paid leave from an employer in respect of the same week; and

  • not be in receipt of the CERB, the EI Emergency Response Benefit (ERB), the Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, short-term disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, or any EI benefits or Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits in respect of the same week.

Workers would apply after the period in which they are seeking income support and attest that they meet the requirements. Two members residing in the same household could not be in receipt of the benefit for the same period. The benefit is taxable.

Details of the EXPANDED Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

On August 11th, the Government of Canada updated the calculator and Canada.ca with the changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).

If you’re a business owner who has suffered losses as a result of COVID-19 and did NOT qualify previously for CEWS, you may now qualify.

The changes expand the program to include more businesses for periods 5 to 9 (July 5 to November 21, 2020) and have been published on Canada.ca, here are some of the changes:

  • the subsidy rate varies, depending on how much your revenue dropped

  • if your revenue drop was less than 30% you can still qualify, and keep getting the subsidy as employees return to work and your revenue recovers

  • employers who were hardest hit over a period of three months get a higher amount

  • employees who were unpaid for 14 or more days can now be included in your calculation

  • use the current period’s revenue drop or the previous period’s, whichever works in your favour

    • for periods 5 and 6, if your revenue dropped at least 30%, your subsidy rate will be at least 75%

  • even if your revenue has not dropped for the claim period, you can still qualify if your average revenue over the previous three months dropped more than 50%

  • the maximum base subsidy rate is 60% in claim periods 5 and 6

  • the maximum base subsidy rate will begin to decline in claim period 7, gradually reducing to 20% in period 9

The Government of Canada has updated the CEWS calculator to reflect these changes and can be found here:

Retirement Planning for Employees

When thinking about retirement, it can be overwhelming to figure out all the numbers, like what age you’re going to retire, how much money you need and how long do you need the money to last.

We’ve put together an infographic checklist that can help you get started on this. We know this can be a difficult conversation so we’re here to help and provide guidance to help you achieve your retirement dreams.

Income Needs

  • Determine how much you need in retirement.

  • Make sure you account for inflation in your calculations

Debts

  • If you have any debts, you should try to pay off your debts as soon as you can and preferably before you retire.

Insurance

  • As you age, your insurance needs change. Review your insurance needs, in particular your medical and dental insurance because a lot of employers do not provide health plans to retirees.

  • Review your life insurance coverage because you may not necessarily need as much life insurance as when you had dependents and a mortgage, but you may still need to review your estate and final expense needs.

  • Prepare for the unexpected such as a critical illness or long term care.

Government Benefits

  • Check what benefits are available for you on retirement.

  • Canada Pension Plan- decide when would be the ideal time to apply and receive CPP payment. (Payment depends on your contributions)

  • Old Age Security- check pension amounts and see if there’s a possibility of clawback.

  • Guaranteed Income Supplement- if you client have a low income, you could apply for GIS.

Income

  • Review your company pension plan. Check if it’s a defined benefits or contribution plan. Determine if it makes sense to take the pension or the commuted value.

  • Make sure you are saving on a regular basis towards retirement- in an RRSP, TFSA, LIRA or non-registered. Ensure the investment mix makes sense for your situation.

  • Don’t forget to check if there are any income sources.  (ex. rental income, side hustle income, etc.)

Assets

  • Are you planning to use the sale of your home or other assets to fund their retirement?

  • Will you be receiving an inheritance?

One other consideration that’s not included in the checklist is divorce. This can be an uncomfortable question, however divorce amongst adults ages 50 and over is on the rise and this can be financially devastating for both parties.

Next steps…

  • Contact us about helping you get your retirement planning in order so you can gain peace of mind that your family is taken care of.