CRA launches new aid program, extends current benefits

A new benefits scheme will help non-EI claimants, while the existing aid program gets another four weeks

CRA launches new aid program, extends current benefits

With the CERB drawing to a close, the Canada Revenue Agency has announced that it will be offering non-EI claimants the new Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB).

Slated for launch on Sep. 27, the CRB will have the same qualification criteria as the CERB. However, even those who earn more than $1,000 per month will be eligible for the CRB’s $2,000 cheque.

“This benefit will support Canadians whose income has dropped or not returned due to COVID-19,” the federal government said. “The benefit will allow Canadians to earn more income while on claim as well as include links to Job Bank, Canada’s national employment service, with career planning tools for those seeking employment.”

Those who are planning to draw on CRB would need to apply every month via the CRA’s portal for the new benefit, according to the federal government.

An analysis by Yahoo Finance Canada highlighted how the CRB is expected to work: A beneficiary can continue receiving $400 per week, or $1,600 per month, in CRB for up to $10,400. Once they encounter a threshold of $38,000 in annual net income (or $3,166 monthly), CRB cheques will be $0.5 lower for every dollar earned above $3,166 per month.

The CRA has also announced that the CERB will be extended by an additional four weeks, “to a maximum of 28 weeks.”

“This means that for the many Canadians expecting to exhaust their CERB benefits at the end of August, they will now be able to access an additional month of support,” the federal government said. “As we safely restart our economy, many Canadians will still need support while they continue to look for work. That is why the government will transition people who have been receiving the CERB to a more flexible and generous EI program for those who qualify, which will provide them additional features and tools to get back into the workforce.”

Qualification requirement for EI will be adjusted as well, with the government estimating 400,000 new additions to the aid program.

“Those receiving EI will be eligible for a taxable benefit rate of at least $400 per week, or $240 per week for extended parental benefits, and regular benefits will be accessible for a minimum duration of 26 weeks,” the government said. “The government will also freeze the EI insurance premium rates for two years, so Canadian workers and businesses will not face immediate increases to costs and payroll deductions due to the additional expenses resulting from the pandemic.”