On February 19, 2021, the federal government announced
that it would introduce regulatory and legislative amendments to increase the number of weeks available for benefits
under the Canada Recovery Benefit (“CRB”), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (“CRCB”) and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (“CRSB”) (collectively, the “Recovery Benefits”) and regular benefits under the Employment Insurance (“EI”) program.
The proposed regulatory and legislative amendments would:
- increase the number of weeks available for benefits under the CRB and CRCB by 12 weeks, extending the maximum duration of the benefits from 26 weeks to 38 weeks;
- increase the number of weeks available for benefits under the CRSB from two weeks to four weeks;
- temporarily increase the number of weeks of EI regular benefits available by up to 24 weeks, to a maximum of 50 weeks, for claims that are made between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021; and
- temporarily extend the maximum length of the Leave Related to COVID-19 under the Canada Labour Code [CLC].
The government has stated that the Leave Related to COVID-19 under the CLC
will be temporarily extended so that federally-regulated employees will be able to access the additional weeks of CRSB and CRCB without risk of losing their jobs. As a result, the maximum durations for the Leave Related to COVID-19 will likely be extended as follows:
- from two weeks to a maximum of four weeks if the employee is unable to work because they contracted or might have contracted COVID-19, have isolated themselves for reasons related to COVID-19, or have other sicknesses, underlying conditions, or are undergoing treatments that would make them more susceptible to COVID-19; and
- from 26 weeks to a maximum of 38 weeks if the employee is unable to work because the employee must perform caregiving obligations for a child under the age of 12 or a family member who requires supervised care for certain reasons related to COVID-19.
Subsequently, on March 17, 2021, Bill C-24, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (additional regular benefits), the Canada Recovery Benefits Act (restriction on eligibility) and another Act in response to COVID-19
, received Royal Assent to increase the number of weeks of EI regular benefits as described above.
The government has indicated that the proposed changes to the Recovery Benefits will be enacted through regulations. However, these regulations have not yet been published.
As always, we will continue tracking COVID-19 related developments affecting employers and will post further updates as they become available to keep you In the Know
This blog is provided as an information service and summary of workplace legal issues.
This information is not intended as legal advice.