Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Government of Canada has strongly urged Canadians to stay home to stop the spread of COVID-19. As Canadians continue to make difficult but important sacrifices for their health and their communities, the Government of Canada has been there to support them every step of the way, including through the creation of three new benefits for workers who do not qualify for EI: the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB).
The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, along with the other recovery benefits, was never intended to incentivize or encourage Canadians to disregard public health advice. Rather, these benefits were put in place to ensure Canadian workers could continue to make ends meet during the pandemic, and that no Canadian would have to make the choice between putting food on the table or going to work sick.
To ensure these important benefits provide the targeted support Canadians expect, the Government of Canada is taking immediate action to ensure all three benefits – the CRB, CRCB, and CRSB – do not incent people to disregard the clear public health advice against travelling abroad. The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, will be proposing legislation so that, retroactive to January 3, 2021, all international travellers who need to quarantine upon return to Canada, including people returning from vacation, visiting loved ones, and attending to real estate matters abroad, will not be eligible to receive support from any of the Canada Recovery Benefits for the period of their mandatory quarantine. Individuals who are exempt from the mandatory quarantine requirements under the Quarantine Act, such as health care workers who need to cross the border for work, will be eligible to apply following their return to the country.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will update the application process for the three recovery benefits on Monday, January 11. For claims covering a period beginning on or after January 3, 2021, applicants will need to indicate whether they were self-isolating or in quarantine due to international travel. Over the coming weeks, the CRA will delay processing claims for individuals who are self-isolating or in quarantine because of international travel until the legislative process is complete to ensure those who receive the benefit meet the latest eligibility criteria.
The Government of Canada continues to strongly urge all Canadians to avoid non-essential travel and to follow all public health and international travel guidelines. Canadians across the country are doing their part to protect their loved ones, communities, health care workers and all of those on the front lines of this pandemic. This important change will ensure the COVID programs we have in place support those efforts, and are there for Canadians who need them most.