Any of the 1.3 million Canadians who have applied for EI benefits within the last two weeks and been approved will be moved over to the new emergency benefit when it becomes available. (Some recent EI applicants are slated to start receiving CERB payments within a week, according to Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough.)
Benefits for workers who applied for EI on or after March 15 will mirror CERB payments for the first 16 weeks.
That means Canadians who would have received EI benefits below the $2,000-per-month threshold will now be bumped up to the maximum payment. Those who would normally qualify for more than $500 per week in employment insurance (the maximum benefit is $573 per week) will instead receive the CERB payment of $2,000.
EI-eligible workers will still qualify for their usual benefits, whether lower or higher than $2000-per-month, after the four-month CERB period.
Canadians who were already receiving EI will continue to do so and need not apply to the CERB, but can switch to the program if their EI benefits end before October if they remain jobless due to Covid-19.
The government says EI-eligible workers should apply for EI now rather than wait for the CERB application to come online on April 6.