August 20, 2020
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August 20, 2020

Your CFA Update on COVID-19



Federal government to make EI changes, extend CERB and introduce three new benefit programs

Today the federal government announced its intention to make changes to simplify EI applications, extend the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) an additional four weeks, and introduce three new benefit programs to take the place of the CERB once it expires: the Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit. The new benefit programs require legislative approval.

CERB Extension: will be extended another four weeks to a maximum of 28 weeks. CERB, which pays people $2,000 a month, will now be in place until September 27. The CERB extension is expected to cost a further $8 billion, and $7 billion more to the EI system, and can be done through powers that Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough already has to create temporary EI measures.

EI Changes: Anyone eligible for EI will get the same minimum for at least 26 weeks and will need to have worked 120 hours to qualify, well below current EI requirements, since many Canadians have been unable to work to the pandemic.

New Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB): will provide $400 per week for up to 26 weeks, to workers who are self-employed or are not eligible for EI and who still require income support and who are available and looking for work.

New Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB): will provide $500 per week for up to two weeks, for workers who are sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19.

New Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB): will provide $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household, for eligible Canadians unable to work because they must care for:

  • a child under age 12 due to the closures of schools or daycares because of COVID-19.
  • a family member with a disability or a dependent because their day program or care facility is closed due to COVID-19.
  • a child, a family member with a disability, or a dependent who is not attending school, daycare, or other care facilities under the advice of a medical professional due to being at high-risk if they contract COVID-19.

The three new benefits are expected to cost $22 billion and will be brought in through legislation once the House of Commons returns after being prorogued this week. Government officials estimate about one million people will need the new workers' benefit that replaces the CERB, and three million will go onto the simplified EI program.

CRA online services working again after attacks shut them down for days

The Canada Revenue Agency says its online services are now back up and running after being offline for days due to a series of cyberattacks. Over the weekend the Canada Revenue Agency temporarily shut down its online services and applications after hackers used thousands of stolen usernames and passwords to fraudulently access government services in three separate but serious breaches, compromising the personal information of thousands.

The Canada Revenue Agency says its online services are now back up and running after being offline for days due to a series of cyberattacks.

New Brunswick election: Campaign shifts to economic development

Economic development was front and centre on New Brunswick's election campaign trail Wednesday, with the Liberals pushing for nuclear energy and the Progressive Conservatives promising more help for the province's businesses. During a campaign stop in Saint John, Liberal Leader Kevin Vickers said if he's elected premier, he'll partner with the federal government on the production of small modular nuclear reactors.

New N.L. premier, new finance minister: Andrew Furey takes office and shuffles cabinet

Andrew Furey has been sworn in as the 14th premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, at a time when the province faces one of its worst fiscal challenges with a near-record deficit of $2.1 billion this year caused largely by plummeting oil prices and the pandemic.

Following a short swearing-in ceremony in St. John's on Wednesday morning, Furey unveiled his cabinet, making major ministerial changes for a fresh start to tackle the formidable financial problems facing the province.

Furey named his cabinet ministers, most notably appointing Siobhan Coady as his deputy premier and finance minister. Coady will now oversee the next provincial budget, promised in September after being put off for months due to the pandemic. Tom Osborne, previously the finance minister, was named education minister

Furey signalled that his government's priorities will be attracting newcomers, building a burgeoning tech sector and building relationships with Indigenous communities. Gerry Byrne was named immigration, skills and labour minister, while Andrew Parsons is the new industry, technology and energy minister. Lisa Dempster is the new minister of Indigenous affairs and reconciliation and is taking on the status of women and Labrador affairs portfolios. Steve Croker will take over as justice minister, replacing Andrew Parsons.

Notably absent among the ministers was Christopher Mitchelmore, who came under fire during his time in former premier Dwight Ball's cabinet for his involvement in a controversial hiring of Carla Foote at the provincial cultural institution The Rooms, thereby triggering an investigation that resulted in the Mitchelmore Report

John Haggie, who remains health minister and has been navigating the pandemic to largely positive reviews. 

There are three new faces in cabinet as well: Derek Bennett becomes the minister of environment, climate change and municipalities; Elvis Loveless was named minister of fisheries, forestry and Agriculture; and Sarah Stoodley is now in charge of digital government and Service NL.

In total, Furey has 13 ministers in his cabinet.

Webinar Series On Demand

Did you know our COVID-19 webinars are available on-demand?

Since the start of August, we have hosted three webinars providing critical information on the topics our members have asked about: the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) extension, management of employment related risks, and a safe return to the workplace. Each webinar provides valuable insights into these crucial topics and are targeted towards BOTH franchisors and franchisees.

We encourage franchisors to share these webinars with your franchisees, to help your team better navigate towards recovery and growth.

Update on Government Programs: Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy


Speaker: Justin Mastrangelo, BDO Canada LLP

In this webinar, learn from an expert from BDO Canada about the recent changes to the CEWS and understand how they will affect your business as you recover.


Back to Basics: What Covid-19 has taught us about employment essentials


Speakers: Matthew Badrov and Allyson Lee, Sherrard Kuzz LLP

Covid-19 brought about a significant amount of change for Canadian employers that had to be dealt with in very short period of time. In this webinar, experts Matthew Badrov and Allyson Lee from Sherrard Kuzz gives practical advice on what you need to consider in best practices in management your employment related risks.


Returning to the workplace: What employers need to know


Speakers: Michael Sherrard and Matthew Badrov, Sherrard Kuzz LLP

In this webinar, experts Michael Sherrard and Matthew Badrov from Sherrard Kuzz LLP give practical advice on what you need to consider in developing policies and procedures to keep your employees safe and satisfy your legal obligations.



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Feedback from our Members

“My husband, Jim and I would like to thank everyone at the CFA who has worked so hard and tirelessly to provide us with updated information on the Covid-19 crisis, for the webinars, lobbying for change and for all of the support you provide to members on a regular basis. We are sincerely grateful. To everyone at the CFA, take care and stay healthy.”

 - Nadine Cartman, CEO, Chicken Delight of Canada Ltd

COVID-19's impact on the world is creating waves across all sectors and industries.

Every member of the CFA community is dealing with an issue that is affecting the world, our industries, our communities, our businesses, and our people.

We would like to hear from you if you have any topics, issues or questions to navigate turbulent times in order to support you further: 


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