Ottawa – September 17, 2020 – A new analysis by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) finds that the 2.7 million Canadians who are currently receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will be financially worse off when the federal government ends the benefit on September 27.
Entitled “Transitioning from CERB to EI could leave millions worse off,” and conducted by senior CCPA economist David Macdonald, the analysis concludes that switching CERB beneficiaries over to Employment Insurance (EI) and other proposed new programs at the end of this month will provide those affected with an average of $123 less per week, and will negatively impact Canada’s already battered economy.
The analysis notes that CERB has been critical to supporting household spending throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and ending the benefit will set back households that are financially struggling due to the coronavirus. Ripple effects will likely be felt in the economy, the report adds.
Once CERB ends, Canadians affected by COVID-19 may be eligible for a form of EI, or one of three new benefits proposed by the federal government: the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB). However, many Canadians who are currently receiving CERB will not qualify for these programs if they are passed into law.
Among the analysis’ key findings:
- The $500 per week CERB will drop to $377 a week, on average, for Canadians depending on whether they are eligible for EI, CRB, CRSB, or CRCB. But some Canadians will not be eligible for any program.
- Half a million CERB recipients working at low wage jobs won’t qualify for any of these programs after CERB ends.
- Three-quarters of a million Canadians receiving CERB won’t automatically be transferred to EI – they will have to re-apply and hope for success.
- 1.6 million women will likely be worse off after the CERB transition, compared to 1.2 million men.
- 605,000 of the Greater Toronto Area’s 767,000 CERB recipients will be worse off after the transition. For Montreal’s 431,000 CERB recipients, 299,000 will be worse off after September 27.