I certainly think that unemployment has changed; it has certainly been highlighted by the introduction of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). There were so many unknowns, particularly in my professional experience, of what would happen to people who had been “temporarily” laid off. Then the temporary nature of that becomes very vague, and weeks will pass, months will pass, and people won’t hear anything from their employers. Many folks turned to CERB in an attempt to survive in the sense of making it day to day and being able to cover their basic expenses.
The process of seeking support in the face of unemployment can be at times both complicated and inaccessible. Some folks don’t even know whether they qualify for EI or not. Besides, COVID has already substantially increased the volume of unemployment benefits claims, thus limiting individuals’ access to funding. The increased traffic makes it that much harder for you to access money, despite the fact that employees pay into EI. Put simply, the process might take longer than usual because there is a huge volume of unemployment benefits claims coming in at the moment. That’s why it takes longer for folks to have access to that money. Indeed, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment has increased exponentially, making this crisis all the more urgent. It makes you put all the more demand on the government and advocates such as myself to support those who are experiencing these difficulties.
Calculation of Unemployment Benefit
Usually, that depends on the type of work that you do, how much you paid into your EI, and the wages that you are currently receiving. Usually, at least 50% is covered, however, in many cases about 55% can be covered depending on the particular type of industry and wage rate.
Duration of Unemployment Benefits
There are certain time limits (depending on your position) in terms of what you’re able to receive. But for many folks they may be able to receive up to 50 to 60 weeks of unemployment benefits, depending on their claim and the nature of their circumstances. So when it comes down to it, it depends on several factors. For example, whether there was a shortage of work, whether you’ve been laid off or formally terminated, or the circumstances of your departure from the particular employment environment in question. It will depend on the individual’s claim, which is sort of a lawyer’s job, to consider all of the relevant factors that may arise from your claim.
Process of Applying for Unemployment Benefit
The process for unemployment benefits is first to secure a record of employment from your employer. You need to have some sort of proof of your employment that Service Canada can refer to. It’s a process of going on to Service Canada, filling out the applicable forms, which are easy for people to access and quite simple to understand.
Almost immediately after this particular layoffs, or this particular stint of unemployment that you are experiencing, do it as soon as possible. And from there, even if you haven’t gotten paid because of the long queue, it’s also about filing a report. So even if you haven’t received your money, you have to file weekly reports, just to make sure they know if you’ve been out of the country, and what your status is.
It usually takes about 20 to 29 days for a report to go through and for someone to be able to review it and prefer the status of the claim, however, as discussed the increased volume of claims during COVID have brought on much longer wait times. With this in mind I encourage folks to call Service Canada in order to escalate their claim. If you have had to wait longer than the designated wait time, you have a right to seek support and expedited service in regard to EI.
Seeking Legal Assistance
It’s not always necessary to consult an employment lawyer for an unemployment benefit case. However, when it comes to vague, ambiguous situations where someone has been laid off and they know what their circumstances are, when or if they’re able to return to work, or the status of their position, then it may be valuable to seek legal assistance. When it comes to situations like this, it really is about gaining knowledge as a means to empower yourself by having a more fulsome understanding of what your legal rights are.
If there are things that you are confused about, then it may be worthwhile to consult a lawyer. But if it comes to the prospect of EI itself and what to do with unemployment, people can go on to Service Canada for easily accessible, accurate information straight from the source. There are many different funds for folks who are unemployed, including Canada’s Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), among others.
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