E.I. – C.E.R.B. & S.U.B.

Laid Off Financial Assistance

April 9th, 2020

With millions of Canadian applying for EI benefits and the government introducing the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), we have been getting a increasing number of calls from our members asking for help and information. Members want to know if they are on CERB or EI? can I collect both?, how much and when the payments will be?.  With most of our 26 units impacted by COVID-19 related lay offs the past few weeks at the union hall have been hectic to say the least.  Not only are we experiencing a disproportionately high number of calls, e mails and facebook posts, most of our reps are also laid off,  It is a challenge just to keep up.

The majority of the calls are related to the new CERB benefit introduced in mid March. With the ink just drying on the program there were more questions than answers.  As soon as we figure something out and made a statement the government moved the goal posts and changed the rules.

Our initial focus had to be get all our members to apply for E.I. and either start a new claim or restart an old one. Our Second priority, this week switched to assisting member’s reporting for either CERB or EI.  The good news is as the week ends, most of our members are signed up and the funds are starting to be deposited into members accounts.

Our focus now turns to EI, SUB and CERB questions.  This has been a very frustrating period for your leadership.  We have written no less than five articles about CERB and EI but  just when we think we understand the new program the Government changes the rules or did something we didn’t expect and we can’t post the article.   As we work through this challenging time we ask for your patience, while we work out the details.

What we do know

Members anyone who has an E.I. claim running prior to March 15th   SHOULD be collecting E.I. benefits the max amount is $573 per week (dependent upon your income). This payment is taxed at the source before it is paid. If you have a claim already running, you have probably already served a waiting week so your claim should start paying March 27th.  (PROBLEM is, the government has switched some members who should be on EI onto CERB)

Members who applied for E.I. after March 15th and started a new claim SHOULD  be on CERB,  which is exactly $500 per week and paid every four weeks $2,000 per month. There is no waiting week for CERB so if you were laid off March 20th you will be eligible for two weeks CERB. This payment is not taxed at the source however tax will be reclaimed when you do your 2020 tax return. (PROBLEM is, the government has switched some members who should be on CERB onto EI)

Implementing the CERB program has created a problem for our members with SUB Plans. Rather than get into all the details we want you to know that Unifor is working on a resolve with the Government.   We are expecting a decision on SUB eligibility, as soon as we have the answer we will pass that information on to you as quickly as possible.

We are currently working through all these issues and many more.  We apologise for the delay however, the circumstances keep changing and that is beyond our control.  It is important that our members know ALL these problems are a result of the government’s action and only they can fix them, which will take time.

Unifor continues to actively seek answers to all our members questions and will post a detailed report as soon as we have them.

What Can you do?

We are asking all members to apply for EI, keep reporting on time and be patient while the get answers to all your questions.

Secondly, we highly recommend you apply for a My Service Canada Account. (MSCA).  It is the easiest and quickest way to get information about your benefits.  The bonus is MSCA account connects your EI, CPP, OAS and Income Tax.  In the  MSCA account you can update your address , set up or change direct deposits see benefit payments ROE’s and CPP contributions, this portal provides all kinds of useful information you will need today and in the future.  This is also very helpful when determining what you are entitled to and when it is payable.

We have added a several links at the bottom of the page which provides information you should know. We added a short video about the My Service Canada Account. There are also 4 action links that you will need through the laid off period. You can click on these link to apply or report for EI, apply for CERB, or Apply for a My Service Canada Account.

In Solidarity
Steve McMullen,
Financial Secretary, Unifor Local 199

Useful links