New $37 B COVID-19 aid package extends CERB, expands EI and adds 'recovery' benefits

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John Feldsted
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Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:45 am

New $37 B COVID-19 aid package extends CERB, expands EI and adds 'recovery' benefits

Post by John Feldsted »

New benefits will help self-employed and gig workers and pay for 10-day sick leave

Kathleen Harris
CBC News
Aug 20, 2020
The federal government is extending the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) by one more month and revamping the employment insurance program to allow more people to receive financial assistance during COVID-19.
The suite of benefit reforms, aimed at helping Canadians through the transition as the economy gradually reopens, is expected to cost $37 billion.
Measures include greater flexibility on the work hours required for EI, making it easier for people to qualify for a one-year period.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough announced the new measures during a news conference in Ottawa Thursday afternoon. ... -1.5693554

Before we start celebrating, these are announcements of intent, not action. None of this can begin to happen before a Throne Speech, a couple of weeks of debate, crafting of and passing of Bills to make the changes, and training staff to use the new rules. If the government can get this scheme operational before 2021, I will be surprised.

“A second new benefit will provide 10 days of paid sick leave to any worker in Canada who falls ill or has to self-isolate due to COVID-19. That will provide $500 a week, and a claimant can't claim this benefit and another sick leave payment at the same time.”

This is a logistical nightmare. Where do contractors and the self-employed fit? How do we determine if a worker has other sick leave benefits? How do we determine that the illness or quarantine is COVID related? Is that $500 per week or up to $500 per week? Is that gross or net? Are EI sick leave benefits taxable?

This ‘plan’ is typical of a financially irresponsible government. COVID is under control and is not as highly contagious and lethal virus as presented in March. So far, COVID has infected 0.36% of the population, and 0.02% of the population has died. COVID risks will continue to fall as we become more adept at avoiding infection and develop vaccines to immunize people.

The EI program is long-term, and adapting it to deal with COVID makes no sense.

The cost is unacceptable when our economy is sputtering. Recovery will include overcoming the billions in added spending. Why would we make recovery more difficult? We already have added about $15 billion (or more, once we have accurate cost figures) in interest on 2020 COVID programs.

The EI program is intended to be self-sustaining, so added benefits will result in increased premiums that are already harmful to students seeking summer employment to offset tuition and living expenses and others seeking at entry-level positions.

Employers are required to match employee EI premiums at 1.4 x, which is a disincentive to hiring.

The EI program needs an overhaul, but these proposals do not address current deficiencies; they make the program far more complex and less viable. The EI program benefits and eligibility vary by region, making the program unfair and discriminatory. The program requires every worker to participate and must provide every worker with the same eligibility rules and benefits.

Adding complexities to a program that has severe problems in how it is structured and administered is lunacy. Our government has to stop chasing shiny bobbles and fix the basics before embarking on new extensions.

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Re: New $37 B COVID-19 aid package extends CERB, expands EI and adds 'recovery' benefits

Post by Ursus »

I would prefer to be working despite several health issues rather than depend on government teats
Blessed be the Lord my God, who teacheth my hands to fight,
and my fingers to war.


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