A Closer Look

COVID and Unemployed Canadians – A third of unemployed Canadians (862,000) receive nothing

New federal policies are being created and adapted daily to try and head off the worst-case economic impacts of COVID-19. Many of those modifications are in reaction to advocates pointing out pitfalls in the proposed design of emergency measures. As these programs unfold, I’ve been tracking how well they cover laid off workers who are bearing the economic brunt of the closure of complete sectors.

Between March 25th and April 6th—the space of only a week and a half—the Employment Insurance system is being re-tooled to deliver a Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)-equivalent that emulates most of the CERB conditions. For 84% of the workers who’ve been laid off in the past two weeks, the CERB and CERB-equivalent systems will provide a higher benefit rate than old EI. This will be a better deal for many workers, particularly lower wage ones with fewer hours.

The CERB may well be the foundation for a new, modern EI program if the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion has her way. But there are big issues as the EI and CERB programs try to co-exist which, left unaddressed, could mean hundreds of thousands of unemployed Canadians falling through the cracks.

Those cracks are significant: a third of unemployed Canadians (862,000) receive nothing from either EI or CERB. Another 14% of unemployed people (390,000) will receive some support, but less than the $500 a week ($2,000 per four-week period), others will get under the CERB. Social Assistance recipients who work could also be forced to pay 100% of the CERB back to the province.

In this analysis, I’ll evaluate how much support unemployed Canadians will get from either EI benefits or the new CERB.  This analysis makes extensive use of the February 2020 Public Use Microdata File (PUMF) and the 2018 EI Coverage Survey PUMF.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ Which unemployed Canadians will get support? – Behind the Numbers


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