Number of Canadians without support "disturbingly high" once CERB ends

While the federal government has put replacement benefits in place, not all CERB recipients will likely benefit from these new programs

Number of Canadians without support "disturbingly high" once CERB ends

Of the roughly 4 million recipients of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, only around half will be eligible for employment insurance in one form or another when CERB ends later this week, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

“A disturbingly high number of CERB recipients will crash out on September 27: Over half a million Canadians won’t have a replacement support program once CERB ends,” said David Macdonald, senior economist at the CCPA. “Among those, 70,000 will technically qualify for EI’s Working While on Claim provisions, but they will make less than $50 a week. At such a low pay rate, most likely won’t bother with the bi-weekly EI reports.”

CERB is slated to be replaced by three new aid programs, separate from EI. These are the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB).

“Almost 900,000 CERB recipients could move to the new CRB. Most of these claimants are self-employed and lost work, but some will have been past EI recipients whose benefits ran out in 2020,” Macdonald said.

However, approximately 43,000 CERB beneficiaries would already reached the CRB’s income cap last month, and another 412,000 workers will be left without support. CRCB is expected to cover only 184,000 CERB recipients, according to a report by HR Reporter.

“Across all CERB recipients, they will receive on average $377 a week, or a quarter less than the $500 a week, in post-CERB benefits,” Macdonald said. “This includes what they’d receive through the various EI programs or the CRCB, CRB, or CRSB as well as those who’ll receive nothing post-CERB.”