How to navigate EI changes in Burnaby amid COVID-19

COVID-19, and the related closures and restrictions, is causing significant harm to our business community. As a result, many businesses are having to look at laying off staff and many workers are finding themselves out of work.  In fact, a staggering half a million people filed for employment insurance (EI) benefits during the first full week of this crisis!

Given this, there are a lot of questions of what supports exist to help people who have lost jobs, including those who are usually ineligible for traditional EI such as part-time workers or the self-employed.  Here is how EI will work for some of the most common scenarios:

If you are fired or laid off because of the COVID-19 downturn?

  • You should apply for Regular EI Benefits online
  • You need to have worked 700 hours in the past year
  • Most people will get 55% of their salary each week, up to maximum of $573 per week for a maximum of 36 weeks
  • There is still a 1 week exemption where you won’t get benefits
  • The provincial government will top this up with the $1000, one-time, “Emergency Benefit for Workers”

If you are out of work because of a COVID-19 downturn, but don’t qualify for EI or are self-employed?

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  • Apply for the “Emergency Support Benefit” coming in April
  • This will support part-time workers, contractors, and self-employed who are not eligible for EI traditionally, and will deliver a to-be-confirmed payment from the federal government. 
  • The provincial government will top this up with the $1000, one-time, “Emergency Benefit for Workers
  • Application information and details are yet to be announced

You cannot work because of a COVID-19 quarantine, illness or isolation and are eligible for EI?

  • Use any paid sick time from your employer first, but if that doesn’t cover you apply for EI Sickness Benefits online and then call 1-833-381-2725 to get it fast-tracked
  • You will need to have worked 600 hours in the past year
  • Most people will get 55% of their salary each week, up to maximum of $573 per week for a maximum of 15 weeks
  • The usual 1 week exemption has been waived, as has the need for a medical note
  • The provincial government will top this up with the $1000, one-time, “Emergency Benefit for Workers”

You are not eligible for EI or are self-employed, but you cannot work because of a COVID-19 quarantine, illness or isolation?

  • Apply for the “Emergency Care Benefit”
  • Applications are made online every two weeks, starting in April
  • You can get up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks
  • Includes parents who can’t work because they must watch child due to school closures

You cannot work because you are caring for a family member who is sick/quarantined, or are caring for a child because the schools are closed? 

  • Apply for the “Emergency Care Benefit”
  • Applications are made online every two weeks, starting in April
  • You can get up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks

Information on EI changes and other government programs is available online at the Burnaby Board of Trade’s COVID-19 Updates page: bit.ly/BBOTCOVID

The Burnaby Board of Trade is Burnaby’s chamber of commerce, and is a catalyst for economic growth, the convener of business and community leaders, and a champion for the interests of local businesses.

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