Published On: October 9th, 2020Last Updated: February 14th, 2023


Benefits for Workers – COVID-19

Written by Charlene Cleary

Anyone else tired of trying to keep up with the ever-changing government programs for employers? We are lucky to have access to such fiscal programs, but many employers are feeling the fatigue that comes with trying to stay apprised of the changes and the various eligibility requirements.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) has recently been phased out and it had been providing Canadians with $500-per-week.  In its place, the Federal Government has approved a new program which aims to provide workers, impacted by the pandemic, with what is said to be flexible and generous employment insurance regime. It will also be paired with distinct recovery benefits for those workers who will not qualify for EI. The Bill also creates a new sick leave benefit and another new caregiver benefit for those forced to take time off work to care for a dependent because of the pandemic.

At the urging of the NDP, the current government increased the proposed new benefits to $500 per week from the originally proposed $400, ensuring no one receives less than they were getting under the CERB.

It has also expanded the eligibility criteria for the sick leave benefit so that it applies not just to individuals who contract COVID-19 but also to those with underlying health conditions or other illnesses, including the flu or the common cold, that makes them more susceptible to becoming more ill if they contract the Coronavirus.

More information on this new program can be found on the Government of Canada website, search terms: “After CERB transitioning to new benefits”.

Charlene Cleary is the principal and founding lawyer of Westshore Law in Victoria. Serving clients on Vancouver Island and the mainland, she enjoys helping other business owners work through existing issues and also to help prevent future problems.


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