What is the COVID-19 Response Measures Act

The Government of Canada recently introduced three new temporary recovery benefits to support Canadian workers who are unable to work due to COVID-19. They include:

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)
Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)
Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)


The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit details are as follows:

The new Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit will provide $500 per week, for up to two weeks, effective September 27, 2020 until September 25, 2021 for workers who are unable to work because they contracted COVID-19, self-isolated for reasons related to COVID-19, or have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sicknesses that will make them more susceptible to COVID-19.


Who qualifies for the CRSB?  

Below are the requirements for Canadian residents to qualify:

  • At least 15 years of age on the first day of the period for which they are applying for the benefit;
  • Have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN);
  • Are employed or self-employed at the time of the application;
  • Earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or 2020, or in the 12 months preceding the day of their application;
  • Are not in receipt of paid leave during the period claimed; and
  • Are unable to work for at least 50% of the time that they would have otherwise worked or devoted to their work in the week for which they claim the benefit, because:
    • They are sick with or may have contracted COVID-19; or,
    • They have isolated themselves on the advice of their employer, a medical practitioner, a nurse practitioner, a person in authority, a government or a public health authority for reasons related to COVID-19; or,
    • They have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sicknesses that, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority, would make them more susceptible to COVID-19.

Additional information on the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and its eligibility criteria can be found at Canada.ca.


The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit details are as follows:

The new Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit will be effective from September 27, 2020 to September 25, 2021, and will provide $500 per week, for eligible workers. Households can apply for up to 26 weeks, available in one-week periods.


Who qualifies for the CRCB?  

Below are the requirements for Canadian residents to qualify:

  • At least 15 years of age on the first day of the period for which they are applying for the benefit;
  • Have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN);
  • Are employed or self-employed at the time of the application;
  • Earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or 2020, or in the 12 months preceding the day of their application;
  • Are not in receipt of paid leave during the 1-week period claimed; and
  • Are unable to work for at least 50% of the time that they would have otherwise worked or devoted to their work in the week for which they claim the benefit, because they had to care for a child under the age of 12 or another family member who requires supervised care:
    • Because their school, daycare, day program, or facility that they normally attend is unavailable, closed or open only certain times or for certain individuals; or
    • Because the care services or the person that usually cares for the child or family member is not available due to COVID-19; or,
    • Because they are sick and/or have been directed to quarantine for reasons related to COVID-19; or,
    • Because they are at high risk of serious health complications if they contracted COVID-19.


The Canada Recovery Benefit details are as follows:

The new Canada Recovery Benefit will be effective from September 27, 2020 to September 25, 2021. It will provide a benefit amount of $500 per week for up to 26 weeks for those who have stopped working and who are not eligible for EI, or had their employment/self-employment income reduced by at least 50% due to COVID-19.

These individuals may still require income support if they continue to be unable to return to work due to COVID-19 or had their income reduced relative to pre-COVID-19 pandemic (attestation-based).



Who qualifies for the CRB?  

Below are the requirements for Canadian residents to qualify:

  • At least 15 years of age on the first day of the period for which they are applying for the benefit;
  • Have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN);
  • Have stopped working due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are not eligible for EI or are working and have had a reduction of at least 50% in their employment/self-employment income for reasons related to COVID-19;
  • Are available and looking for work, and who must accept work where it is reasonable to do so;
  • Had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020, or in the 12-month period prior to their first application for the Canada Recovery Benefit;
  • Have not quit their job voluntarily, unless it was reasonable to do so; and,
  • Have not rejected a reasonable job offer, rejected a request to resume work or failed to resume work if self-employed where reasonable to do so.


Repayment of CRB

Claimants will need to repay some or all of the benefit through their income tax return if their annual net income, excluding the Canada Recovery Benefit payment, is over $38,000. In other words, claimants will need to repay $0.50 of the benefit for each dollar of their annual net income above $38,000 in the calendar year up to a maximum of the amount of benefit they received.

This means that for a worker who received 10 weeks of the Canada Recovery Benefit in 2020 for a total of $5,000, they will have to repay all of the benefit if their net income exceeded the threshold by $10,000 (twice the benefit payment amount). In this example, the worker will have to repay the full benefit amount if their net income was greater than $48,000 (not including the Canada Recovery Benefit) in 2020.


How do I apply for Recovery Benefits?
The new Canada Recovery Benefits will be delivered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

The CRA will open applications for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit on October 5 and for the Canada Recovery Benefit on October 12.

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.

Payments will be delivered within the CRA’s usual service standard of 3 to 5 business days by direct deposit and within 10 to 12 business days by cheque.  

Unlike the CERB, people will only be able to apply after the two-week period for which they are seeking benefits has concluded. This will help ensure that people are getting the benefits for a period for which they are entitled, and avoid the need to repay benefits.