Feds transitioning Canadians from CERB to Employment Insurance


Published August 10, 2020 at 10:11 pm


Since the pandemic began, and many businesses were forced to close, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) has helped nearly a third of the country—8.5 million people—sustain themselves while they’ve been out of work.

However, while the CERB has been a lifeline for those out of work due to the pandemic, the federal government is working towards helping out-of-work Canadians transition from CERB to the Employment Insurance (EI) system at the end of the month.

On August 10, Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, announced a minimum unemployment rate of 13.1% will be applied temporarily for all EI economic regions across Canada.

Additionally, when individuals begin transitioning off of the CERB back to EI regular benefits at the end of this month, those living in EI regions with an unemployment rate lower than 13.1 per cent will have their EI benefits calculated on the basis of the 13.1 per cent rate, while individuals living in regions with a higher unemployment rate will have their benefits calculated using the actual rate for that region.

This measure is intended to establish minimum entry requirements for EI eligibility across the country to provide for Canadians who continue to struggle due to the pandemic.

Further, this temporary measure will set a uniform eligibility requirement for EI regular benefits, provide a minimum entitlement of 26 weeks of benefits, and set the number of best weeks of earnings used in the calculation of the weekly benefit rate at 14.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our Government has taken action to support Canadians and businesses facing financial hardship. As we carefully and gradually restart parts of our economy, we recognize that many Canadian workers continue to face challenges,” Qualtrough said in a news release

“The temporary use of a national minimum unemployment rate for the EI program will help more people access EI regular benefits and provide eligible Canadians with access to a minimum 26 weeks of benefits,” she continued.

Cover photo courtesy of Justin Trudeau via Instagram

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