Government Assistance Programs and Benefits During COVID-19
With the uncertainty of job security and monthly payments, there are lots of questions surrounding what financial programs are available to assist IUPAT members.
Below, we’ve outlined some government assistance programs that IUPAT members can apply for if they are eligible.
For anyone who has stopped working due to COVID-19, you should apply to the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). If you became eligible for EI benefits (regular or sickness) on March 15, 2020 or later, your EI claim will be automatically processed through CERB.
Available Government Assistance Programs
1. Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
The government is providing a taxable benefit of $500 a week for up to 16 weeks. This benefit is for workers who have lost their job or income due to COVID-19. To be eligible for the CERB, IUPAT members need to meet the following conditions:
- Stopped working due to COVID-19 or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits
- Have not voluntarily quit their job
In addition, as of April 15, 2020, you are also allowed to earn up to $1,000 per month while applying for the CERB, and the CERB is extended to seasonal workers who are unable to undertake their usual work.
For more information on CERB, and on how to apply, visit here: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html
2. Employment Insurance (EI) Regular Benefits
If you are a member who has been laid off due to a workplace closure, then you may be eligible to receive EI depending on the following factors:
- The number of hours you have worked in the past 52 weeks (insurable employment), which depends on the unemployment rate in your area. To find the number of hours required in your area, look up your region by entering your postal code here: https://srv129.services.gc.ca/eiregions/eng/postalcode_search.aspx
- You have been without work and without pay for at least 7 consecutive days (waiting period)
- Are actively looking for work
In order to apply for EI, you will need:
- A record of employment from your employer—saying that you have been laid off
- Mailing and residential address
- Banking information
- The dates and earnings of each of your weeks of highest paid insurable earnings in the last 52 weeks
What you can expect to receive varies from applicant to applicant, but the basic rate for EI benefits is 55% of your average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum amount. The maximum amount you can receive per week is $573. You could receive EI for 14 to 45 weeks depending on the unemployment rate in your region.
For more information on EI Regular Benefits, including eligibility, requirements, and the amount of EI you would receive, visit here: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-regular-benefit.html
3. Employment Insurance (EI) Sickness Benefits
If you cannot work for medical reasons, including COVID-19 and self-quarantine, you may be eligible to receive EI depending on the following factors:
- You have worked 600 hours in the last 52 weeks
- Your regular weekly earnings have decreased by 40% for 7 days
In order to apply, you will need:
- A record of employment from your employer
- A medical certificate (however, due to COVID-19, you won’t need one)
The payment is similar to that of EI Regular Benefits; however, you are only paid for up to 15 weeks. For more information on EI Sickness Benefits, visit here: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-sickness.html
Status of IUPAT Member Benefits
The IUPAT Health and Welfare Board of Trustees have decided that members who are unable to go to work, will not lose their benefit status for three months. For more details, please contact the IUPAT Benefits Office.
We have also released vacation pay early to eligible workers. For members wishing to access their remaining vacation pay, they will need to apply individually. Otherwise, vacation pay will be sent in the fall.
For any questions or concerns regarding your benefits, you can email the IUPAT Benefits Office at email@example.com, or you can visit here for answers to some common questions members have about their benefits.