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How to apply for EI sickness benefits and the new emergency worker fund

TORONTO — The federal government is offering new financial support for Canadians whose jobs have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Wednesday that the government will provide up to $27 billion for workers and businesses.

For workers, the most notable parts of the government’s action include enhanced eligibility for employment insurance (EI) and two new emergency benefits.

According to the government, those who are unable to work because they have been directed to self-isolate or quarantine will not have to wait the usual one week to receive EI sickness benefits.

Additionally, the sickness benefits can be accessed without the usual requirement of a doctor’s note or other medical certificate.

More information about applying for EI sickness benefits is available on the government’s website.

Newly announced Wednesday were the creation of an emergency care benefit and an emergency support benefit.

The emergency care benefit will provide up to $900 every two weeks, for up to 15 weeks, to help Canadian workers who cannot go to work, do not have paid sick leave and do not qualify for EI sickness benefits. This includes those who are sick themselves, as well as those who are staying home to look after others who are sick or children who are not in school.

The emergency support benefit will offer payments of undisclosed amounts to unemployed workers who are not eligible for EI.

Applications for both benefits will open in April, at a date to be determined. When that happens, Canadians will be able to apply for them through CRA MyAccount or My Service Canada Account or by calling a toll-free number that has not yet been made public.