The CWLB provides a $300 per week benefit to employees and self-employed persons unable to work due to a public health restriction lasting at least seven consecutive days. It will apply only to regions designated by the federal government as eligible in the period. This would be in regions where provincial or territorial governments have introduced capacity-limiting restrictions of 50% or more. CRA posted a webpage listing designated regions. As of January 11, 2022, Saskatchewan was the only region with no eligibility. Quebec and Northwest Territories had certain regions eligible, while all the remaining provinces and territories had all regions eligible for at least some periods.
To be eligible, the applicant must also meet the following criteria:
- SIN – have a valid social insurance number;
- Age – be at least 15 years of age on the first day of the week;
- Residency – be resident and present in Canada during the week;
- Tax return filed – have filed a 2020 income tax return;
- Prior earnings – have had, for 2020, or in the 12 months preceding the day on which they make the application, a total income of at least $5,000 from employment, self-employment, parental benefits, Canada Emergency Response Benefits (CERB), Canada Recovery Benefits (CRB) or income prescribed by legislation. For 2022 claims, the additional option of using 2021 income will be available;
- Current benefits – no benefits are available for the same period with respect to EI, provincial parental benefits, the Canada recovery caregiving benefit or the Canada recovery sickness benefit; and
- Loss of income – the individual must either have:
- lost their employment during the lockdown period and been unemployed during the week;
- been unable to perform the self-employment activities they normally performed immediately before the lockdown period; or
- their average weekly income declined by at least 50% compared to their total average weekly employment and self-employment income for 2020 or the 12 months preceding the application (for 2022 claims, the additional option of using average weekly income for 2021 will be available).
- Applicants who have voluntarily ceased to work, unless the cessation was reasonable or failed to return to work when possible and reasonable to do so, are ineligible. Similar to the Canada Recovery Benefit, individuals will be ineligible for benefits during mandatory quarantine or self-isolation following a return from international travel. Where the inability to work results from a refusal to comply with a requirement to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the individual will be ineligible.
Where an individual received CWLB in 2021, their benefits will be reversed if they do not file their 2021 income tax return by December 31, 2022. Similarly, an individual receiving CWLB benefits in 2022 will lose entitlement if they do not file their 2021 and 2022 income tax returns by December 31, 2023.
Applications for benefits must be filed by the later of February 16, 2022, or 60 days from the end of the claim week.
ACTION: If you are eligible, ensure to make a timely claim. Also, if eligible, ensure your 2020 personal tax return was filed, and your 2021 return is filed to avoid required repayments.