For individuals who do not qualify for Employment Insurance (EI), the Canadian Federal Government has promised a temporary benefit program for support of bi-weekly amounts of up to $900, for up to 15 weeks.
This benefit is planned to be available for:
- Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits;
- Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits; and
- Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school or daycare closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.
The Canadian Government has specifically indicated that cultural sector workers will be eligible for this benefit.
While awaiting further details, the Federal Government is advising workers (including cultural works) to keep records and documentation specifying the nature and amounts of losses (including opportunity losses) resulting from any disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canada Council fo the Arts has also recommended that cultural workers document losses specifically relating to grant-related activities.
The benefit program is promised to be in effect in April 2020 and to be accessed by an attestation form to be online at CRA’s “My Account” portal, via the Service Canada portal, or over a phone number to be dedicated to this benefit. Details are to follow at the government website linked below: