Blog: Who Benefits?

Apr 15, 2020 | Blog, Poverty Issues

Note: This post has been updated to reflect the new announcement (as of April 15, 2020) from the federal government that they are increasing eligibility for who qualifies to receive the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

A recent post by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) has brought to light the number of people in Canada who continue to struggle with income support despite federally sponsored programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to author David Macdonald, approximately one third of unemployed Canadians will not have access to either Employment Insurance or the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit. That’s over 860,000 people across the country.

In the time since the CCPA published their analysis on who gets left out in the new emergency benefits, the federal government announced on April 15, 2020 that they will expand eligibility to include seasonal workers, those who have recently run out of Employment Insurance, people who make less than $1,000 per month due to reduced working hours, as well as a wage boost for essential workers who make less than $2,500 per month.

David Macdonald, author of the CCPA analysis, now estimates there would be 770,000 unemployed with no support, down from the previous 860,000.

Read the article to find out more about who benefits, and who gets left behind.


Source: Labour Force Survey PUMF Feb 2020, EI Coverage Survey 2018 (as cited in Behind the Numbers 2020). This data is based on the eligibility of CERB before April 15, 2020.

*Note: some of the figures in the article appear inconsistent due to rounding errors. The author and CCPA are aware of the variants

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