EI for COVID-19? What we know so far about the new emergency response benefit

The excerpted article was written BY  

The Trudeau government recently unveiled an all-new benefit for Canadians reeling from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic: the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

CERB would deliver $2,000 every four weeks for up to four months to workers who lose their income as a result of COVID-19. The new program combines and replaces two previously announced benefits — the Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit — and raises the government’s spending on direct financial aid to $52 billion.

While CERB was part of the Liberals’ Emergency Response Act, which has already received royal assent, details on the program are still scant. Ottawa expects around four million applications for the new benefit, a source within the Canada Revenue Agency, which will be administering the program, told Global News.

Here’s what we know so far, along with some of the major questions that arise from the information the government has released as of March 26. Global News will be updating this article as more details emerge.

Who can apply for CERB?

CERB will be available to “all Canadians who have ceased working due to COVID-19,” a press release from the Department of Finance says. That’s regardless of whether applicants would also qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) or not, the document adds.

CERB will apply to wage earners as well as contract workers and freelancers. Canadians will be able to access the benefit whether they have lost their income as a result of the economic repercussions of the health emergency or can’t earn an income because they are sick, quarantined, caring for someone with COVID-19 or have had to stop working in order to care for children who are either sick or home from school and daycare.

Canadians who are still formally employed but not receiving any income would also be able to receive CERB.

“This would help businesses keep their employees as they navigate these difficult times,” according to the Department of Finance.

The list of beneficiaries is long, but at least two major questions about eligibility have emerged so far.

First, it’s not clear whether the benefit would apply only to Canadians who have seen their income reduced to zero or whether workers who have seen a significant reduction in income but are still bringing in some money would also be able to apply.

“That’s the gap in their program, without a shadow of doubt,” said Lindsay Tedds, a professor of economics at the University of Calgary.

The second question is whether Canadians who would normally qualify for either EI would be able to choose whether to apply for it or CERB.

First, it’s not clear whether the benefit would apply only to Canadians who have seen their income reduced to zero or whether workers who have seen a significant reduction in income but are still bringing in some money would also be able to apply.

“That’s the gap in their program, without a shadow of doubt,” said Lindsay Tedds, a professor of economics at the University of Calgary.

The second question is whether Canadians who would normally qualify for either EI would be able to choose whether to apply for it or CERB.

Cyber Insurance In The Covid-19 Landscape

Cyber Insurance In The Covid-19 Landscape

Gowling WLG

With the unprecedented global pandemic of Covid-19, companies are adapting to the new reality of social distancing and self-isolation practices encouraged by our government and health authorities, leading many businesses to transition large numbers of employees to remote working. Many of these employees have no prior experience working remotely, and in some cases, may not be properly equipped to do so.

Remote working requires, among other things, equipping employees with the ability to connect to company servers from home. This transition requires furnishing employees with the tools required to carry out their work efficiently, such as providing them with laptops, at home workstations, and remote access to secured networks and other company resources.

Unfortunately, the transition to working remotely almost certainly will mean increased risk of cyber attack and cyber losses. Cyber risks faced by businesses today take different forms. In addition to hardware and/or software failure, the loss of portable devices such as laptops or smart phones, and the use of unsecured Wi-Fi connections by employees, companies face sophisticated attacks from hackers targeting users seeking information on Covid-19.

Given these risks, it is critically important businesses take steps to insure and protect themselves against cyber losses.

Cyber Insurance-What is it and What Does It Cover?

Cyber insurance provides protection and coverage for the security and privacy of digital information and losses resulting from data breaches.

Cyber risk policies provide both first party and third party coverage. Cyber insurance may take the form of a stand-alone policy or be made available by way of endorsement to a D&O or E&O liability policy. Though each policy varies, and a policy should be thoroughly reviewed prior to purchase, first party coverages typically provided under a cyber insurance policy include:

  • expenses incurred by a company as a direct result of the breach, including remediation and notification expenses, as well as crisis management expenses; and
  • resultant costs such as business interruption and loss of goodwill.

Third party coverage under a cyber insurance policy typically provides coverage for liability in connection with losses suffered by customers as a result of the theft and use of their personal and/or financial data.

Most insurers also offer value-added services, such as network security testing, designed to help companies avoid and mitigate the effects of a data breach, and crisis management services.

Ensure That Your Cyber Insurance Policy is Comprehensive Enough to Suit Your Company’s Needs

Coverages offered under cyber insurance policies vary considerably. When purchasing a cyber insurance policy, the policy wording, and especially the exclusions, should be reviewed with a professional to ensure the potential loss events your company may face in the event of a data breach are covered. The type of coverage required will depend on the nature of the company, the types of information it stores within its secure network, as well as the types of activities the business participates in.

What Can Employees and Employers Do to Prevent Cyber Attacks?

Both employers and employees must take utmost care to protect themselves as well as confidential company information, especially while working remotely. Such steps include:

  • Encouraging employees to pay attention to phishing emails, which are emails disguised with an enticing link, that when clicked on, can download malware onto a device and the company’s systems;
  • Ensuring employee devices are up to date on their anti-virus protection;
  • Ensuring employees are working on secure, password-protected internet connections and reducing the use of public Wi-Fi as much as possible;
  • Reminding employees personal email should not be used for any company business; and,
  • Urging employees to keep track of what they are printing at home and to shred confidential documents as soon as possible before they are disposed of.

Conclusion

The best way to protect your company from cyber risks is to ensure appropriate preventive measures are in place and employees working from home or with remote access to company data are trained on how to implement these measures. We must all be diligent in protecting and securing sensitive business data and client information. However, when an attack does happen, it is crucial to have the right cyber risk insurance products in place to assist in dealing with the after-effects of a breach.

Read the original article on GowlingWLG.com

The content of this article is intended to provide a gener

Source: Mondaq

CSA issues guidance as banks and insurers get court order to hold online AGMs

TORONTO _ Canada’s securities regulators suggests companies don’t have to resend proxy-related materials to shareholders if they plan to move annual meetings online because of COVID-19.

Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) issued guidance Friday after the country’s largest banks and insurance companies obtained a court order allowing them to hold the meetings using electronic means.

Since changing annual meetings doesn’t fall under the jurisdiction of securities regulators, the CSA recommends that companies review corporate law and their own articles of incorporation and bylaws when considering such changes.

Still, it recommended that additional materials don’t have to be sent or updated if the company issues a news release announcing the change in the date, time or location; files the release on SEDAR; and takes all reasonable steps to inform all parties of the change.

“We expect reporting issuers to take the above actions promptly after making a decision to change the date, time or location of an AGM and sufficiently in advance of the AGM to alert the market in a timely manner,” the CSA said in a statement.

If proxy-related materials haven’t been sent, companies should consider disclosing the possibility of meeting changes because of steps taken to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The guidance relates to all business done at annual meetings, including election of directors and amendments to equity incentive plans.

Companies involved in proxy contests, holding special meetings for merger and acquisition transactions, or obtaining approval to protect minority securityholders in special transactions should contact their main regulator.

Companies planning to hold virtual meetings or hybrid events, including in-person meetings that also permit participation through electronic means, should tell securityholders in a timely manner how they can access, participate and vote.

“The CSA continues to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on Canadian capital markets and may issue further guidance and updates as required.”

Canada’s largest banks and insurance companies have said they will conduct the meetings through webcasting or teleconferences instead of in-person gatherings.

The banks and insurers have obtained a court order that will allow them to make the change in lieu of in-person annual meetings.

The move was sparked by an outbreak in the novel coronavirus, which has caused several of the companies to close brick-and-mortar locations and ask employees to work from home.

The banks included in the court order are the Bank of Montreal, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia, TD Bank Group, Laurentian Bank, National Bank of Canada and Canadian Western Bank

The insurance companies who teamed up with the banks to seek the order include Great-West Lifeco, Canada Life, Manulife Financial Corp. and Sun Life Financial Inc.

How do you process a million EI claims?

The excerpted article was written by Peter Zimonjic · CBC News

Experts say when it comes to the Herculean task of pushing close to one million employment insurance payments out the door in a short period of time, it’s more important to get it done fast than it is to get it done perfectly.

Last week, nearly a million Canadians applied for EI benefits, according to media reports, after they were left jobless when governments across Canada shut down most non-essential businesses in the country to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

In typical economic downturns, the job numbers tend to decline steadily over a period of time, giving the federal government time to ramp up the ability to respond with each worsening week. But we are in unprecedented times now.

The era with the second highest number of claims was 1957, when, according to Statistics Canada, 499,213 Canadians filed benefit claims in a single month. The early 1990s recession also had several months of record claims in the 450,000 range, but nothing has come even close to the number of claims now being submitted.

More recently, the monthly number of EI claims was between 236,530 and 245,240 between August and December of last year, according to Statistics Canada.

With rent due at the end of the month for many people, the federal government finds itself in the unenviable position of trying to ramp up its processing efforts, right when many of its own employees are being forced to work from home to stop the spread of COVID-19.

To meet that demand, the federal government has augmented its EI processing workforce of 3,500 with an additional 1,300 employees from other departments, such as passport processing centres.

Employees performing investigations and reassessments on EI claims have also been moved to claims processing.

To ensure that Canadians can get the financial help they need, the federal government has announced new measures to help people who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.

On Wednesday, the Liberal government announced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which will provide income support payments amounting to about $2,000 a month. The new program collapses two previously announced benefits — the Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit — into one.

A government news release says the “simpler and more accessible” program will cover Canadians who lost their jobs, got sick, are under quarantine or have to stay home because of school closures.

Other elements of the emergency response plan:

  • Canadians who are already receiving employment insurance (EI) regular and sickness benefits as of today will continue to receive benefits and should not apply to the CERB.
  • Canadians who have already applied for EI and whose applications have not yet been processed don’t need to reapply. Canadians who are eligible for regular EI and sickness benefits can still access those benefits if they’re still unemployed after the 16-week period covered by the CERB.

Keeping EI claims workers safe

Eddy Bourque, national president for the Canada Employment and Immigration Union, told CBC News there is already a backlog of claims that need to be processed, and continuing to process them the same way now will take years.

Bourque said some sort of automation will be required to meet the surge in demand without compromising the safety of Canadians who would be required to work together to get the job done.

“They’re going to have to explain to our members what steps they’re taking to make sure it’s feasible to process all of these,” he said. “Our concern is they have to protect the health and safety of those workers doing this work, because without them, none of it will be possible.”

A key part of the plan, according to a government official speaking on condition of anonymity, will be to spend less time confirming whether the claims are all justified and settle on clawing back any fraud after the crisis is over.

Progress not perfection

Mel Cappe, former chairman of the Employment Insurance Commission and deputy minister of Human Resources Development Canada during the 1998 ice storm, said he’s confident the federal government can get the job done, if it goes about it the right way.

At the time, he had to preside over the processing, ramping up the rollout of benefits on a much smaller scale but during a time when the department’s offices had no power.

“If they try to do this perfectly, where nobody who doesn’t deserve it gets the money; they will [mess] it up,” he said. “If they try to get the money out because people need it, they will do a good job, and there’ll be a couple of cheques that go to people who don’t deserve it; who cares.”

Moshe Lander, a senior lecturer in economics from Concordia University, said it’s much better to make the mistake of giving someone money who does not need it than it is to deny money to someone who really is in need.

“If you deny EI to somebody that really did deserve it, when they lose their house, when they lose their apartment, when they’re evicted, when they can’t put food on the table, you can’t go back and say, ‘Oops, let’s undo that,'” Lander told CBC News.

Regardless of how efficiently the federal government is able to meet the surge in EI demands, the whole process will likely be reviewed by the Auditor General of Canada, eventually revealing to Canadians how much was over- or under-spent.

“It’s taxpayer money, and you have to be respectful of that, but you are also going to be judged by results,” said former Conservative cabinet minister Tony Clement, who was the Ontario health minister during the SARS outbreak.

“They really are in a pickle.… There is no right answer. It’s a terrible place to be. But ultimately leaders are going to say: ‘I have to do this for the public, and if there is a corner that has to be cut, let’s cut the corner and worry about the consequences after the fact,'” Clement added.

Fine, arrest for people not complying with 14 day isolation in Saskatchewan

By Stephanie Taylor

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says people who know of anyone not self-isolating after returning from international travel can now call police.

Moe announced sweeping new restrictions Friday aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. He said the public health recommendation to self-isolate for 14 days upon returning from international travel is now mandatory.

He signed an emergency order enabling police to enforce protective measures.

“This doesn’t mean that you go to the grocery store or go to the drug store or go fill up with gas and then you go home and self-isolate. This means you go home. And you stay home now,” Moe said at a news conference.

“If you don’t do this, you’re now breaking the law.”

Those who refuse to follow the order could face up to a $2,000 fine or arrest, Moe said.

“The vast majority of people are complying with this.”

Almost all of Saskatchewan’s 26 COVID-19 cases are related to foreign-travel, which is why it’s essential those returning self-isolate, the premier said. Six new cases were announced Friday.

Health Minister Jim Reiter said he’s heard stories of people who have not self-isolated. He said anyone who knows of a person not following the order should also talk to that person.

“It’s concerning,” he said. “We need people to recognize how serious this is and we think this should grab their attention.”

After the announcement, the government issued an emergency alert warning people about the potential for fines.

Regina police said in a statement that calls about self-isolation will be recorded and officers will work with public health officials to decide what to do.

“We echo the province in seeking compliance to self-isolation and social distancing, and we expect that can be achieved through education,” the statement read.

Opposition NDP Leader Ryan Meili announced earlier Friday that he’s self-isolating because his wife, who is a pediatrician, woke up with a cough.

“She has a test booked for tomorrow AM. Hopefully it will be clear and she can get right back to seeing patients!” he said on Twitter.

Saskatchewan is also offering some relief for people who can’t work because they are self-isolating.

People who have to stay at home and aren’t covered by sick leave, private insurance or federal employment insurance will get $450 per week for a maximum of two weeks.

A ban on large gatherings will no longer allow more than 25 people in one room, except where two-metre social distancing can be maintained. Bars and restaurants will also be closing for everything but takeout effective Monday.

The government plans to open daycare spaces in schools for children of front-line health workers responding to COVID-19.

Priority is to be given to parents of school-aged children who work in hospitals, testing sites, primary care areas and labs.

Other essential staff like firefighters and police, as well as social services employees who provide income assistance and child protection, are also eligible.

“We felt that it was important to ensure that there was child care for our emergency workers,” Education Minister Gord Wyant said Friday, adding that more than 2,300 spots have been made available.

The school daycares will be properly sanitized, he said.

“We want to minimize the risk as much as possible,” said Wyant.

“There certainly is some additional space in the schools now that there’s no children there. So there’ll be lots of opportunity to further distance kids from each other to maintain the smallest groups that they possibly can.”

Licence renewals and payment deferrals now available during pandemic

March 24, 2020

British Columbians can now extend their expiring driver’s licence remotely, as ICBC adapts driver licensing measures to assist customers to stay home and follow public health orders on physical distancing and further protect employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A customer can renew their driver’s licence up to six weeks in advance of the expiry date by contacting ICBC’s Driver Licensing Call Centre at 1-800-950-1498 and temporarily extend their driver’s licence over the phone. The customer will be mailed an interim paper licence that will be valid for 90 days. Eligible extensions include routine renewals, reinstatement of a licence, and the replacement of a lost licence. Expiring BC Services Cards and BC Identification Cards are not eligible for phone renewals. ICBC will monitor the situation and determine whether the 90-day period needs to be extended further.

In addition to this change, ICBC is now offering customers the option to defer their monthly insurance payments for up to 90 days with no penalty, to support those facing financial hardship at this time. This deferral will be available to customers already on monthly Autoplan payments for up to 90 days. ICBC previously allowed for only a single deferral of 30 days.

Customers can use ICBC’s online resource tool to apply for deferrals or call the customer support team at 1-800-665-6442.

ICBC is also taking further measures to ensure physical distancing requirements to protect customers and employees, as mandated by the Provincial Health Officer. Starting immediately, the following services will only be offered online at icbc.com or through the call centre until further notice:

    • Obtaining driving records/abstracts
    • Change of address
    • Paying violation tickets

Enhanced Driver’s Licence (EDL) and Enhanced Identification Card (EIC) processing has been suspended as of March 24, 2020, as those transactions require extended face-to-face interaction where physical distancing guidelines cannot be met.

To further meet physical distancing requirements, all driver knowledge tests will be suspended indefinitely, for motorcycle and passenger vehicles, unless there is a legal requirement to obtain a licence (e.g. new resident to B.C.). Commercial vehicle knowledge tests will continue; however, they will not be permitted with the use of a translator as physical distancing requirements cannot be met. Over the coming weeks, ICBC will be working on finding ways to provide knowledge tests without the need for an in-office visit.

We ask that customers only attend a driver licensing office if their transaction is urgent and cannot be done by phone or online, and if they are not showing symptoms.

For additional information on measures taken during COVID-19:

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