Flooded with questions on assistance to the newly unemployed

Inondés de questions sur l’aide aux nouveaux chômeurs

Jules Richer ,
Guillaume St-Pierre and
Jean-Louis Fortin

The hundreds of thousands of workers who have lost their jobs since the beginning of the crisis of the COVID-19 in need of help. In our edition of yesterday, we explained the rules and the boundaries of the new federal program that promises $ 2000 per month to those who have lost their income. We also encourage you to submit your questions about your eligibility to this program. In less than 24 hours, we have received nearly 2000 e-mails. Here are some of them.


Those who have not lost everything

I worked full time up until last week, but with the health crisis, my employer has reduced my work hours to six hours per week. Would I be entitled to the amount of $ 2000 ?

Unfortunately, no. To be entitled to the Benefit of canadian emergency (PKU), a person must earn absolutely no income for a period of 14 consecutive days. You may, however, be eligible for employment insurance benefits to compensate for the reduction of your work hours.

In voluntary isolation

My spouse and I both work in an essential service. At home, I have a little girl who has asthma and my father-in-law over 70 years of age who is at high risk. If I decide to stay at home to avoid that something happens to them, is that I can make a request for help ?

You, as an essential service, it is important to follow the instructions with regard to your presence at work. However, at the time of going to press yesterday, we could not indicate to Ottawa if you will be entitled to the new federal benefit, in the case where you withdraw voluntarily.

Taxi driver

Taxi drivers who stop working completely and stay home to avoid the contact with the customers have the right to get the $ 2000 per month ?

If you have no more customers, and therefore, that you have lost all your income, you will be entitled to the benefit.

Against the advice of the boss

I’m 63 years old, I am a temporary worker casual. I had lung cancer and I have a chronic lung disease. I think I’m at risk. My manager wants me to work anyway, but me, I want to be safe with me. Is what I get when even the new benefit if it is I who voluntarily withdraws ?

According to the rules of the PCU, you will not be entitled to the benefit if you quit your job. However, your manager does not seem to adhere to the instructions on the presence at work of a person whose health is at risk in the event of a contamination. You should take steps for the recognition of your condition.

Entrepreneurs and self-employed

I’m self-employed, and I have a shop in my name since August 2019. I have to continue to pay my suppliers, my rent and other expenses related to my business. I still haven’t touched the salary, since my business began. I would like to know if I have the right to Benefit canadian emergency (PKU).

If you have earned at least $ 5,000 in 2019 or in the last 12 months, you will be able to touch the PCU as a self-employed individual.

Also find out from your financial institution to see if you are eligible for the business credit availability program of the federal government, which can provide direct loans and other forms of support to companies in good financial health.

Even if this does not seem to be your case, Ottawa is also offering to small businesses that pay wages a subsidy corresponding to 10% of the total compensation for three months (with a maximum of 1375 $ per employee $ 25,000 per employer).

Incompatible with the employment insurance

I am currently working part-time and I get employment insurance to fill in the income I don’t earn. Since yesterday, I can no longer go to work for the next three weeks and maybe more, because of directives from the government of Quebec. As I already receive employment insurance benefits, is that I have a right to the Benefit of canadian emergency (PKU) or other compensation ?

You do not need to make an application to the PCU since you are already receiving regular employment insurance. However, you may be able to PCU if your income of employment insurance are due before October 3, 2020.

Compatible with provincial assistance

If I am enrolled in the temporary assistance program for workers (PATT) of the government of Quebec, is what I’ll be able to also register me for the Benefit of canadian emergency (PKU) ?

Yes, people already enrolled in the temporary assistance program of the government of Quebec does not lose the right to enroll in the new benefit emergency of Canada. However, the two governments are not yet able to specify whether Quebec will be able to touch the two benefits at a time when federal support will be available in mid-April.

Employment insurance more beneficial

I get already 567 $ every week employment insurance and, once taxes are removed, it remains for me 500 $. With the new federal program, I would have $ 500 of taxable. Is it that I am a loser if you put me on this program ?

If your application for employment insurance has been made before 15 march, your benefit will not change, you stay on the regular program. However, if it was made after this date, the new program applies. However, once the 14 weeks of benefits of the programme will be expired, you will be able to resume the employment insurance benefits without any penalty or reduction.

Foreign students

I am a French student and ending at the cégep de Rivière-du-Loup, in accounting. I also work in accounting in a company in the area where I bloomed for two years, but all of the employees, myself included, have been put off because of the impact of the COVID-19. Am I eligible for employment insurance as I work on my student visa ?

Yes, you are eligible if you have earned more than 5000 $ in the last 12 months. Your student status overseas does not preclude you from touching the $ 2000 per month.

Foreign workers

We are a family of four from France since October 2019. Since the closure of the schools, I was forced to stay home for my children, because there are neither family nor friends to keep. It’s been now two weeks that I do not work and the professional activity of my husband has almost stopped also. What help is there right ?

If you have earned more than $ 5000 in Canada in the last 12 months and that you have no income, you are eligible, even if you are immigrants. However, if your husband has income, he cannot enjoy it.

Loans and scholarships

I have just completed studies in floristry. In the last year, I was hit loans and grants without any other income. My loans and grants are due for the 1st of march. Is it that I am entitled to the federal benefit ?

Yes. Your loans and scholarships are considered as income. So you can touch the new federal assistance if the loans and grants received during the last 12 months or 2019 is at least 5000 $.

Retirees who are working

I am retired and I receive old-age pensions. I have held a part-time job to round out my ends of month. My employer has put me off because of the COVID-19. In the past year, I earned over 5000 $. Do I have the right to receive the Benefit of canadian emergency ?

Yes, you are right, because your employment income from the last year were over $ 5000.

Taxable ?

Is it that the PCU is taxable by both levels of government ?

Yes. There will first be a deduction at the source, the amount of which remains to be determined. You will also have to pay income tax on this income at the end of the fiscal year, Ottawa and Quebec city.

Four months, no more

I am already a recipient of employment insurance. Is that the new benefit of $ 2000 is going to replace my unemployment benefit now ?

No, people who already receive employment insurance benefits will continue to receive them and do not need to register at the PCU. If your employment insurance benefits shall end prior to October 3, 2020 (the date of the end of the program, PCU), you will then be able to submit an application for PCU. If your employment insurance benefits continue beyond the period covered by the PCU, they will end at the scheduled time and will not be extended.

And at the end ?

What happens if I do not find my job after having been a provider of the PCU for four months ?

The people who lose their jobs because of the COVID-19 and who are eligible for employment insurance will be able to access their normal services, employment insurance, if they are still out of work, after the period of 16 weeks covered. Their employment insurance benefits will not be diminished by the time in which they have touched the PCU.

Workers who have earned less than $5,000

In 2019, I continued my studies full-time. And then in 2020, I worked in a coffee shop until the day it closed its doors due to the pandemic. So I’ve made less than $ 5,000.

You unfortunately have no right to the benefit, because you have earned less than $ 5,000 last year or in the last 12 months.

Seasonal workers

I am a seasonal worker who has no employment insurance benefits since the 15th of march. Is what I’m going to get right to the program ?

If you have had revenues of at least $ 5,000 in 2019 and that the job that you were going to occupy this year is not available because of the crisis of the COVID-19, you are entitled to the program.

Prove his income

How should we prove our income, whereas the federal and provincial governments have left us until June to produce our income tax return, but that we will fill in the week of April 6, the request for the Provision of canadian emergency (PKU) ?

The sheets of type T4, which state the remuneration and other benefits, should have already been issued for the year 2019. In addition, the records of employment will not be needed to reach the amount of the PCU. The federal government explains to us that it will be based on the good faith of the applicants. Adjustments could be made later.

Documents to be provided

I had a job in a shopping mall and it is closed since the beginning of the week. I’m not full time, but part-time. Am I entitled to this benefit ? Is it that I will need the paper of record of employment ?

You have the right to the benefit since your layoff is due to the crisis of the COVID-19. It will not be necessary to provide a record of employment to get it. Ottawa says it wants to rely on the honesty of applicants. The details of the registration process will be known later.

Employment insurance or PCU ?

I lost my job due to the closure of businesses. Is it better that I make an application for unemployment, or I wait to register for this new service ?

The federal government recommends filing an employment insurance claim. Since your application will have been made after march 15, it will be automatically converted into Delivery canadian emergency.

Paternity leave

My partner is currently on paternity leave. Her employer has been informed of the temporary closure of his business. Will there be the right to the PCU once his paternity has been completed ?

Yes, he will touch the benefits of the program.

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