Applications open for $300 a week benefit for workers affected by lockdowns

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OTTAWA:The government of Canada is now officially accepting applications from those who want to apply for financial assistance during new lockdowns and restrictions recently introduced due to Omicron variant. 

The program called Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB), includes “workers in regions where provincial or territorial governments have introduced or acknowledged capacity restrictions of 50% or more. This benefit will provide $300 a week in income support to eligible workers who are directly affected by a COVID-19-related public health lockdown, and who have lost 50% or more of their income as a result,” informed Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue.

The benefit was created early but was not initially available to anyone as the federal government had not designated any regions as being in lockdown. The government later expanded eligibility so that COVID-19 public health orders restricting public access to businesses by at least 50 per cent would be included under the definition of a lockdown order.

 

In a news release, the Canada Revenue Agency said British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nunavut are designated as lockdown regions.

“This list will be updated as provincial or territorial governments introduce changes to public health restrictions,” the release reads.

Payments will be retroactive to December 19.

“Through Bill C-2 and the expansion of the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit, we are supporting Canadian workers through targeted income support as regions implement public health measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.  The Government will continue to be there for Canadian workers and their families, while ensuring Canada’s economic recovery leaves no one behind,” said Carla Qualtrough, Employment minister.

To be eligible for the CWLB, you must meet the eligibility criteria which includes, but is not limited to:

  • You earned at least $5,000 in 2020, 2021, or in the 12 months leading up to the day you apply for the benefit;
  • You filed a 2020 tax return;
  • A region where you work or provide a service is designated as a COVID-19 lockdown region during the application period;
  • A designated COVID-19 lockdown in your region resulted in one of the following during the application period:
    • you lost your job and are unemployed
    • you are self-employed but unable to continue your work
    • you are employed or self-employed but had a reduction of at least 50% in your average weekly income as compared to the previous year.
  • These updated regulations will apply from December 19, 2021, to February 12, 2022.

Individuals who tried to apply for the CWLB prior to noon of December 30th in regions not yet designated as eligible by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) have been asked to call the CRA at 1-800-959-8281 to speak to an agent to finalize their application.

The CRA will continue to monitor for fraud and suspicious activity and implement new controls to protect the integrity of the program and to help ensure that only eligible Canadians are receiving payments. The protection of the personal information of Canadians is a priority for the CRA, and the confidence and trust that individuals have in the CRA are the cornerstones of Canada’s tax system.