The federal government has announced that a temporary minimum unemployment rate for the Employment Insurance program has been set amid COVID-19.
The government is preparing for the end of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit program, which was established on March 15 and those eligible could access payments for up to 24 weeks. Despite the aid program, which is paying Canadians $500 per week, coming to an end, many citizens are still facing unemployment as the COVID-19 pandemic presses on.
As a result of Canadians still needing financial support, the Government announced Monday that it is preparing to transition as many Canadians as possible back to the Employment Insurance (EI) system at the end of August.
Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, revealed the details of the transition plan, suggesting that effective August 9, 2020 a minimum unemployment rate of 13.1 per cent will be temporarily applied to all EI economic regions across Canada.
“As we carefully and gradually restart parts of our economy, we recognize that many Canadian workers continue to face challenges,” said Qualtrough.
“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.”
The government states that anyone living in a region 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.
In addition, the government said that individuals living in regions with a higher unemployment rate will have their benefits calculated using the actual rate for that region.
“This temporary measure will establish minimum entry requirements for EI eligibility across the country for Canadians to access the income support they need now or might need later as we continue to deal with the economic impacts of COVID-19,” reads a statement from the federal government.
The Canadian government outlined that additional steps will be revealed in the coming weeks in order to help citizens transition from the CERB to the EI system.
This temporary measure will set a uniform eligibility requirement for EI regular benefits and will offer a minimum entitlement of 26 weeks of benefits.
Employment Insurance regular benefits provide income support to individuals who lose their jobs through no fault of their own and are available for and able to work, but can’t find a job.