As we approach the end of 2021, Canada is on its way to economic recovery, with employment now back to pre-pandemic levels. To reflect this new phase of healing, the federal government of Canada is revisiting and adjusting pandemic-related income support programs.
As of October 23, 2021, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) ended. However, support programs continue to encourage economic growth. The difference is, instead of these programs being broad-based, they are becoming more targeted.
One of the latest COVID-19 benefits, the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB), is replacing the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB). Here’s what you need to know about this workers’ benefit.
What Is the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB)?
The Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB) will provide $300 a week in income to eligible workers who cannot work because of a local lockdown between October 24, 2021, and May 7, 2022.
All the finer details of this lockdown support program heavily depend on the health restrictions the government imposes.
This program aims to ensure that Canadians get the financial support they need if the government imposes a temporary lockdown to prevent the spread and save lives. This was in an official statement from the Department of Finance Canada. As of November 2021, Canada is still fighting the fourth wave of COVID-19, which is why the CWLB was developed.
How Long Does the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit Last?
The government will be running this program until May 7, 2022 — as long as they pass the proposed legislation.
For those who are eligible, the program will be available for as long as there is a government-imposed public health lockdown, with retroactive application to October 24, 2021.
How Much Will the CWLB Provide?
The new CWLB, Canada Recovery Sickness Benefits (CRSB), and Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefits (CRCB) extensions may cost around $7.4 billion.
The CWLB will provide eligible individuals with $300 per week.
Who Is Eligible for the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit?
- To be eligible for the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit, your work must be interrupted due to a government-imposed lockdown.
- If you are ineligible for Employment Insurance (EI), you can access this program. You can still access this program if you are eligible for EI. However, you cannot receive any paid benefits through EI for the same period.
Who Is NOT Eligible for the Benefit?
- If you have lost employment or income because you refused to adhere to a current vaccine mandate, you will NOT be able to access the benefit.
- A privately issued lockdown does not make you eligible. Employment and income interruptions must result from government-imposed public health lockdowns.
- Employees will not receive this benefit due to their refusal to work because of COVID-19.
How and Where Can I Apply for the CWLB?
The CWLB was announced on October 21, 2021, by Deputy Prime Minister Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland.
Although the program technically began on October 24, 2021, the CWLB is not currently open for applications, mainly because the Canada Work Lockdown Benefit program is still in its proposal stage with the Government of Canada.
More details will be available mid-to-late November 2021.
Once the proposal passes, the final eligibility criteria and application process are on the Government of Canada’s website.
What About the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)?
Over 880,000 Canadians were still relying on CRB payments when the program ended. As of October 23, these individuals were without any income support. This program gave out between $600 and $1000 every two weeks since September 27, 2020.
Of those, none were eligible for the new Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit program because, at the time of its launch, there are no areas in the country that are currently under lockdown.
The CRB program is not 100-percent closed. There are still some periods open for CRB. If you believe you were eligible for a past period, you can still apply until December 22, 2021. Following that date, the government will not extend the Canada Recovery Benefit, and it will officially end.
Recipients were eligible for a maximum of 27 periods out of 28. However, benefits did not go out automatically. You had to apply for each period. You can only currently apply for any past period up to 60 days after that period ends.
Need Help Now?
There are steps you can take to reduce the financial burden you’re currently experiencing.
Focus on what you owe and act accordingly. For example, should you negotiate your bills and interest rates on your credit cards or mortgage? Then, contact creditors and banks to discuss your options. Learn more about mortgage deferral here.
If eligible, you can also experience debt relief, reducing your payments by up to 50 percent.
Explore all government support programs to see what you’re eligible for.
For EI claims to start between September 26, 2021, and November 20, 2021, the minimum benefit is $300 per week before taxes in most cases. Apply here.
If you’re not eligible for EI, you may qualify for:
If you are working but earning a low income, the Canada Workers Benefit is a refundable tax credit.
If you need financial help, speak with an expert today!