Canada continues to implement new measures to help its citizens and stimulate the economy, many of which are accessible to immigrants.
Among the most recently implemented measures is the extension of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to the end of September, bringing the total duration of benefits to 28 weeks. As a result, the many individuals for whom payments were expected to end in August will now have access to an additional month of support.
CERB is a temporary income support program for people who are impacted by the current coronavirus pandemic. The program provides $2,000 per month to those affected.
To qualify for emergency benefits, offered by the Canadian government, temporary foreign workers and international students must meet the same criteria as Canadians. Temporary residents must also live in Canada and have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN).
When CERB ends at the end of September three new proposed benefits may be offered to those who continue to face financial hardship, particularly those who have been laid off due to the pandemic.
Those who were already eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) can move to this program, while those who are not eligible can apply for three new “restoration” benefits starting September 27.
1. The new Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) will provide $400 per week for up to 26 weeks to self-employed individuals or those who do not qualify for EI and still need income support and are looking for work.
2. The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) will provide $500 per week for up to two weeks to workers who are sick or who need to be isolated for reasons related to COVID-19. However, it is not possible to receive both this benefit and any other sick leave allowance at the same time.
3. The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) will provide $500 per week per family for up to 26 weeks to eligible individuals who are unable to work due to caregiving responsibilities, such as
- a child under 12 years of age whose school or daycare is closed due to COVID-19;
- a family member with a disability or a dependent whose daycare program is suspended or care facility closed due to COVID-19; or
- a child, disabled family member or dependent who is not attending school, daycare or other care facilities on the advice of a health professional because of high risk for COVID-19.
Any Canadian resident who is at least 15 years of age and has a valid SIN will be able to apply for the new recovery benefits. All three of the new proposed benefits will be in effect for one year starting September 27, 2020.
Facilitated access to CERB for temporary residents
In May, the Government of Canada introduced a special measure that made it easier for eligible temporary work permit holders and eligible international students in Canada to apply for the CERB.
The government lifted the condition requiring proof of a valid work or study permit or confirmation that newcomers to Canada have applied for renewal by email, deeming verbal confirmation to be sufficient proof.
This change was one of a series of measures introduced by the federal government to accommodate immigrants and provide more support to foreign workers and international students during this difficult time to encourage them to stay in Canada.
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