On June 16, 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”) will be extended for an additional eight weeks, as he had initially announced on June 15. The CERB will now be available for a period of 24 weeks, instead of 16 weeks, for individuals who stopped working due to COVID-19.
This extension will allow those individuals who have been receiving the benefit since it was first launched in April and who are still out of work to continue being eligible for the benefit beyond the first 16 weeks they receive it. That period was slated to expire for employees who have been receiving the CERB since it launched in March at the beginning of July. Employers that were expecting calls from employees who previously would no longer have been eligible for the CERB by early July to inquire about returning to work should expect far fewer of these calls now that those employees can now maintain income support for almost two more months.
The Prime Minister did not announce any specific changes to the eligibility criteria for the CERB. However, the Minister of Employment announced that as of July 5, CERB recipients will be required to sign an attestation acknowledging that the government is encouraging them to look for work. Prime Minister Trudeau further noted that the government would consider how the economy and the virus progress to determine what changes, if any, would be made to the program going forward.
The Prime Minister also continued to encourage employers to apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (“CEWS”) to re-hire employees and help the gradual transition away from the CERB as businesses begin to open.
This blog is provided as an information service and summary of workplace legal issues. This information is not intended as legal advice.