COVAID: Feds Announce COVID-19 Aid Package

 In Employment Law

On March 18th, 2020, the Federal Government announced a new $27B aid package (“COVAID”) to help individuals reeling from the financial impact of the virus.

For individuals, the package includes:

Temporary Income Support for Workers and Parents: In April, for workers without paid sick leave, and who are sick/quarantined/ staying home to care for children, the Government is going to:

  • Waive the one-week waiting (EI) sickness benefits (since March 15th, 2020)
  • Waive the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits
  • Creating an Emergency Care Benefit ($900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks) for
    • Employed and self-employed workers:
      • who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI; or
      • who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19
    • Parents with children who require daycare and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not

Emergency Support Benefit:  This is financial support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment (the amounts are not yet specified).

EI Work Sharing Program:  Workers will receive EI benefits for up to 76 weeks if they agree to reduce their normal working hours as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers.

Other benefits:

  • A one-time special payment by early May 2020 through the Goods and Services Tax credit (close to $400 for individuals and $600 for couples)
  • An increase to the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payment amounts by $300 per child
  • A distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities
  • 6-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans
  • Reduction on minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIF)
  • A Reaching Home initiative to assist the homeless in achieving social distancing and securing shelter
  • Financial support for women’s shelters and sexual assault centres, and Indigenous communities

We will continue to keep abreast of any further COVAID developments.

This blog post was written by Nigel McKechnie, a member of our Employment Law team.  Nigel can be reached at 613-369-0382 or at nigel.mckechnie@mannlawyers.com.

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