(Further Updated) Information on Financial Support for Child Care and Early Years Workers Relating to Covid-19

As this public health emergency unfolds we know many educators and early years staff have questions related to work and financial support. Here is the best information we can gather at this time. 

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

This benefit will replace/combine the two allowances announced last week - the Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit - in order to streamline the application process. Of this new Benefit Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says:

"If you lost your job because of COVID-19, whether you’re full-time contract or self-employed, this new benefit will be there for you. If you’re sick or quarantined looking after someone sick, or at home taking care of your kids. It’s there for you. And even if you’re still employed but not receiving income because of this crisis, the CERB is there for you"

 About CERB:

  • Applications open April 6th, HERE
  • Applications can also be made by phone at 1-800-959-2019. This is a dedicated line for CERB applications. You will need your social insurance number and postal code to verify your identity
  • Applications will work on a system ordered by birth date. People born in January through March can apply on April 6, those born in April through June on April 7, those born in July through September on April 8, and those born October through December on April 9
  • Directly deposited funds may be available in 3-5 days, mailed cheques should be received in 10 days.
  • Canadians will need to check in once a month to confirm they're still not working.
  • To be eligible for CERB you must have had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of your application. 
  • CERB will provide $2000 each month for four months, for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • CERB will be retroactive to March 15th
  • Funds will be accessible to those who have lost their job due to COVID-19, including ECEs in licenced child care centres that have been closed AND, and those who may not otherwise be not be eligible for EI, such as self-employed ECEs.
  • CERB will also be accessible to those who are sick, quarantined, taking care of someone sick, or looking after children.
  • It will also be accessible to those who are still employed, but who are not receiving income due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Canadians who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits will still be able to access those benefits if still unemployed after the 16 weeks covered by the CERB. CERB will not impact eligible EI hours.
  • The CERB would be paid every four weeks, and will be available from March 15 until October 3, 2020.

Applying:

  • Canadians who have already applied for EI and whose application was made after March 15th do not need to reapply, your claim will automatically be moved over to CERB.
  • An application portal will launch as quickly as possible (by April 6) and people should receive funds within 10 days of applying.
    (Workers are being redeployed from other departments to deal with increased applications for financial support.)
  • Those who are currently receiving EI regular and sickness benefits as of today will continue to receive benefits, and should not reapply to the CERB.
  • If, before October 3, 2020 your benefits end, you can apply for the CERB once your benefits cease if you're are still out of work due to COVID-19.

 

If you have been laid off work due to mandated child care closures: SEE ABOVE FOR CERB INFORMATION

  • Apply for regular EI benefits. 
  • Typically EI provides 55% of your pre-tax income up to $54,200.
  • You will need to have worked between 400-700 hours in the last year (depending on location)
  • You will need a Record of Employment (ROE) from your employer. Your employer may have sent this directly to Service Canada, don’t delay applying until you have a hard copy of your ROE.
  • At this time there is a one week waiting period for regular EI, so you won’t be paid for one week.
  • You can find more information and apply for EI online: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-regular-benefit/apply.html
  • Call for more information: 1-800-206-7218 

If you are unable to work due to sickness or self-quarantine: SEE ABOVE FOR CERB INFORMATION
This applies to you if you are affected by covid-19 or you have been asked to self quarantine after returning from travel (see more specifics here)

  • Apply for EI sickness benefits
  • You will need to have worked for 600 hours in the last year
  • You do not need an ROE or sick note not to qualify
  • The one week waiting period has been waived
  • Apply online: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-sickness.html
  • Once you have applied for EI you may contact the Covid-19 EI helpline: 1-833-381-2725

If you are self-employed, do not have paid sick leave, or are otherwise not eligible for EI sickness benefits: 
SEE ABOVE FOR CERB INFORMATION 
You may apply for the new Emergency Care Benefit. This benefit is for those who are sick, or staying home to look after others who are sick OR who are staying home to look after children who are not in school or child care. 

  • The Emergency Care Benefit will provide up to $900 every two weeks, for up to 15 weeks 
  • Applications open in April via CRA MyAccount, My Service Canada Account, and a toll free number that is yet to be announced
  • To apply you will need to fill out a REGULAR EI application (we recommend starting this process immediately)
  • If you’re employee, you need a record of employment. 
  • The benefit will be back paid if there was a wait period

If you are laid off and not eligible for Regular EI Benefit or the new Emergency Care Benefit: SEE ABOVE FOR CERB INFORMATION

  • You may apply for the new Emergency Support Benefit
  • Details about amounts and eligibility for this benefit have not been announced yet
  • Applications open in April via CRA MyAccount, My Service Canada Account, and a toll free number that is yet to be announced

More information will be published HERE as it becomes available.


Other Questions and Situations:
Below are some situations and questions that the AECEO has been asked about and has endeavored to find answers to:

Employers requiring staff to use vacation time during the temporary closure
The Employment Standards Act hotline (1-844-579-9951)explained that employers may assign vacation days to employees only in 7 day blocks, and only if an employee has 7 days of paid vacation time owed to them. Employers may not assign individual vacation days.
The AECEO does not support this practice - we believe as a decent work principle you should retain your vacation days. 

Workplaces requiring staff to attend work and perform other duties (i.e., cleaning, organizing). Must workers attend?

The AECEO does not support this practice and it contravenes public health advice to practice social distancing. Concerning requirement to attend, Ontario will be introducing Job Protection Legislation, but at this time it has not been passed. Should this legislation pass, it would mean that Job protection will be available for the following reasons:

  • The employee is under medical investigation, supervision or treatment forCOVID-19.
  • The employee is acting in accordance with an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
  • The employee is in isolation or quarantine.
  • The employee is acting in accordance with public health information or direction.
  • The employer directs the employee not to work.
  • The employee needs to provide care to a person for a reason related to COVID-19such as a school or day-care closure

This information does not constitute legal or financial advice and is for information purposes only. We will update this post as more information becomes available.

This information applies to non-unionized workers, if you work in a unionized workplace we encourage you to read communications from your union or talk to your union steward.

Sources:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-cerb-covid19-emergency-benefits-wage-subsidies-1.5517242

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/introduces-canada-emergency-response-benefit-to-help-workers-and-businesses.html
http://shannonleesimmons.com/how-to-survive-a-financial-emergency-covid-19-pandemic/
https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/notices/coronavirus.html
https://www.tapsbc.ca/