Federal Government Adds New Benefit Programs for Canadian Workers

In response to COVID-19, the federal government launched three new benefit programs, including a paid sick leave, for Canadian workers. Below is a quick review of the programs, what they cover and how to apply.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit

  • Provides a paid sick leave that is $500 per week for up to two weeks.
  • To be eligible*, Canadian workers cannot be on a paid leave during the period claimed.
  • They must be unable to work for at least 50% of the week, because they:
    • contracted or might have contracted COVID-19;
    • have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sicknesses that, in the opinion of a medical/nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority, would make them more susceptible to COVID-19; or
    • isolated themselves on the advice of their employer, a medical/nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority for reasons related to COVID-19.
  • Applications open on October 5, 2020.
  • These benefits will be paid on a weekly basis (i.e., Canadians will have to reapply each week they are eligible).

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit

  • Provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household.
  • To be eligible*, Canadian workers cannot be on a paid leave during the period claimed.
  • They must be unable to work for at least 50% of the week, because they must care for a child under the age of 12 or family member because:
    • schools, day-cares or care facilities are closed or the usual caregiver is unavailable due to COVID-19;
    • the child/family member has (may have) COVID-19;
    • the child/family member is in isolation per advice of a medical/nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority;
    • the child/family member is at risk of serious health complications, per medical advice, if they contracted COVID-19.
  • Applications open on October 5, 2020. These benefits will be paid on a weekly basis (i.e., Canadians will have to reapply each week they are eligible).

Canada Recovery Benefit 

  • Provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks to workers who are self-employed or are not eligible for employment insurance (EI), and whose income has dropped by at least 50%.  To be eligible*, these workers must be available and looking for work, and must accept work where it is reasonable to do so.
  • Applications open on October 12, 2020.
  • This benefit will be paid in two-week periods.

These benefits are available effective September 27, 2020, until September 25, 2021. Eligible individuals will be able to apply for recovery benefits online through the CRA’s My Account portal or by phone through its automated phone line.


*To be eligible for these new benefits they must also:

  • be at least 15 years old;
  • have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN);
  • have earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or 2020, or in the 12 months preceding the day of their application.

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