Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit: New COVID-19 Benefit

Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit: New COVID-19 Benefit

Written by Bryan Daly
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated March 30, 2022

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is still having a huge impact on the lives of many Canadians. Not to mention, lockdowns and other restrictions are preventing a lot of people from working. As a response to this crisis, the federal government is now offering several types of financial support to help the Canadians affected.

For example, the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB) is a new program that offers weekly payments to those who cannot work due to government-imposed COVID-19 lockdowns. Keep reading to learn what this government support is and whether you’re eligible to collect it this year. 

What Is The Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB)? 

Previously, the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) was used to support Canadians who’d been financially affected by COVID-19. The CRB program formerly provided income to qualified workers who were unemployed, self-employed or had lost up to 50% of their earnings due to COVID-19, until it officially expired. 

Unfortunately, on October 23, 2021, the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) ended. However, since the COVID-19 situation is ongoing and more lockdowns seem imminent, the government has had to update their support system, which brings us to the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit. It is a program that is designed to support Canadians who’ve been unable to work due to government-imposed COVID-19 lockdowns. 

How Much Can You Get Through the CWLB? 

Unlike some of the other federal support programs the government provides, the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit payment periods vary according to your region, so don’t forget to check when your province or territory is eligible before you apply.  

Currently, the CWLB gives qualified workers up to $300 (or $270 after taxes) per week, during their region’s specified eligibility period, between October 24, 2021 and May 7, 2022 (the estimated dates when COVID-19 restrictions could tighten in that area).

Who Is Eligible For the CWLB?

As with other forms of government support, you have to reapply for the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit for each week you wish to claim it. In this case, you must meet all the following requirements to qualify for a 1-week CWLB payment period:

Basic Requirements

  • Be a Canadian resident and at least 15 years old
  • Be present in an eligible region during its specified lockdown period
  • Have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine or are not obligated to get it for work
  • Are not in quarantine or self-isolation due to international travel, unless you meet certain exceptions. 

Tax Filing Requirements

  • Filed a tax return in 2020
  • Filed your 2021 and 2022 tax returns by December 31, 2023, if you received the CWLB for a period starting in 2022 and, if you received the benefit for a period starting in 2021, filed your 2021 tax return by December 31, 2022. 

Income & Benefits Requirements

  • To be eligible you must not be receiving the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, or Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) during the same period.
  • Earned a minimum income of $5,000 in 2020, 2021 or during the 12 months prior to the date you apply for the CWLB.
Eligible Sources Of Income
  • Employment income (total yearly or gross pay)
  • Net self-employment income (once expenses are deducted) 
  • Employment Insurance (EI) regular, special or fishing benefits
  • Maternity & parental benefits from EI or similar QPIP benefits
  • Income from the COVID-19 benefits   

Lockdown & Employment Requirements

  • There is a mandatory COVID-19 lockdown period going on in the area where you live, work or provide a recognized service (visit the Government of Canada website to check when your region is eligible) 
  • That lockdown period has resulted in you losing your job and becoming unemployed or unable to continue your self-employment work. 
  • The lockdown must also result in you seeing a 50% reduction of your average weekly employment or self-employment income, compared to the previous year. 
  • Additionally, you must not have quit or refused reasonable work. This includes: 
    • Voluntarily quit your job or stopped working
    • Declined reasonable work
    • Refused to go back to work when your employer requested it
    • Chose not to work from home when the option was available
    • Failed to continue self-employment when it was possible to do so

How Can You Apply For The CWLB?

There are two ways to apply for the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit: 

  • Online – To claim a CWLB payment online, log into your CRA My Account or register for one with the Canada Revenue Agency during their service hours (services are available 21 hours a day, except from 3 – 6 AM for maintenance).  
  • By Phone – You can also contact the CRA directly by calling 1-800-959-8281 (or 1-800-665-0354 if using a teletypewriter) during designated hours. Additionally, you’ll need to provide these documents so the CRA can confirm your identity:
  • Full Name & Date of Birth
  • Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Complete Address
  • Assessed Tax Return, Notice of Assessment or Reassessment, or other tax document (or be signed into your CRA My Account). 

Keep in mind that the CRA may request other information if your application requires further inspection and any details they ask for must be provided within 30 days.    

Requirements When Applying 

Remember, the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit doesn’t renew automatically. To remain eligible, you must re-apply for each individual 1-week period, for as long as your region’s lockdown is in effect. You must also wait until your current weekly payment period is over before applying for the CWLB again (Monday after the first week).

The number of weeks that you’re able to apply for the CWLB varies according to the federal lockdown conditions of your region. If you meet all requirements, you can qualify for any eligible 1-week period, for a maximum of 60 days after that period concludes. If you qualify, you may apply for the first 8 CWLB periods until February 16, 2022

Eligible Application Periods

Every 1-week CWLB period begins on Sunday and ends the following Saturday. Here are the eligible application dates for periods 1 to 28 – October 24, 2021 to May 7. 2022:

Open For Application Periods
Period #1October 24 – October 30, 2021
Period #2October 31 – November 6, 2021
Period #3November 7 – November 13, 2021
Period #4November 14 – November 20, 2021
Period #5November 21 – November 27, 2021
Period #6November 28 – December 4, 2021
Period #7December 5 – December 11, 2021
Period #8December 12 – December 18, 2021
Period #9December 19 – December 25, 2021
Period #10December 26, 2021 – January 1, 2022
Upcoming Application Periods
Period #11January 2 – January 8, 2022
Period #12January 9 – January 15, 2022
Period #13January 16 – January 22, 2022
Period #14January 23 – January 29, 2022
Period #15January 30 – February 5, 2022
Period #16February 6 – February 12, 2022
Period #17February 13 – February 19, 2022
Period #18February 20 – February 26, 2022
Period #19February 27 – March 5, 2022
Period #20March 6 – March 12, 2022
Period #21March 13 – March 19, 2022
Period #22March 20 – March 26, 2022
Period #23March 27 – April 2, 2022
Period #24April 3 – April 9, 2022
Period #25April 10 – April 16, 2022
Period #26April 27 – April 23, 2022
Period #27April 24 – April 30, 2022
Period #28May 1 – May 7, 2022

CWLB Payment Returns

There are a few reasons you might need to repay or return a payment from your Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit to the CRA, including but not limited to:

  • An error caused the CRA to send you a CWLB payment accidentally
  • You didn’t file an income tax return for the year you got your payments  
  • You were approved for the CWLB but realized you weren’t eligible later on

No matter the reason, it’s extremely important to return your CWLB payment if you find out that you don’t actually qualify for it. Primarily, this is because people who claim government benefits with fraudulent intentions could be subject to serious legal ramifications, like fees and even prison (penalties depend on the gravity of the offense).

How To Repay Or Return A CWLB Payment 

Luckily, there are 3 easy ways you can send CWLB payments back to the Canada Revenue Agency. Depending on the method you choose, there may be a number of payment options available, so visit the CRA website for further information: 

  • Online – Log into your CRA My Account. Under “COVID-19 Support”, you should find an option that allows you to return your CWLB payments by Interac Debit, Visa Debit or Debit Mastercard. You’ll also have those options with CRA My Payment, which lets you pay the CRA directly using your bank card. 
  • In Person – If you don’t have a CRA My Account or internet access, you can visit a Canada Post location to repay your CWLB debt with cash or debit. To do this, you need a QR code, which you can find on your remittance voucher or generate online via the CRA website. Watch out, as all these methods involve service fees.       
  • By Mail – You can mail in your payment by cheque, money order or using your original benefit cheque too. Simply make the cheque/order payable to “Receiver General for Canada” (unless it’s the original), state the benefit, eligibility period and reason you’re repaying, as well as your SIN, then send it to this address:

Revenue Processing – Repayment of CEB
Sudbury Tax Centre
1050 Notre Dame Avenue
Sudbury ON, P3A 0C3
  

Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit FAQs

Can I Get This Benefit If I’m Unvaccinated?

This answer depends on the current policies of your workplace. For instance, if your employer requires you to get the COVID-19 vaccine but you refuse and lose your job because of it, you are not eligible for the CWLB. However, if the vaccine isn’t mandatory and you lose work due to a lockdown, you can qualify for the CWLB, as long as you meet all its other conditions.   

When Will I Receive My CWLB Payments?

CWLB processing times may vary according to the payment method you choose. If you’ve already set up direct deposit through the CRA, your payments should take about 3 – 5 business days to appear in your bank account. If you use mail, you’ll get a cheque in the mail within 10 – 12 business days.  

Is My CWLB Payment Taxable?

Yes, any payments you get from the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit are subject to a 10% tax at their source. As mentioned, this brings the total amount to $270 per 1-week period, rather than the full $300. The CRA will send you a T4 slip displaying any amounts you got from COVID-19 benefits that year. There will also be a T4A slip in your CRA My Account. You must then declare all payments on your next personal income tax return. 

Bottom Line

If so, the income you acquire through the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB) can help you cover your expenses. Contact the Canada Revenue Agency or visit their website for more information about the CWLB and how to become eligible for it. Tax season is just around the corner, so make sure not to overlook anything!       

Bryan is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University. He has been writing for Loans Canada for five years, covering all things related to personal finance, and aims to pursue the craft of professional writing for many years to come. In his spare time, he maintains a passion for editing, writing screenplays, staying fit, and traveling the world in search of the coolest sights our planet has to offer. Bryan uses the BMO Cash Back Mastercard to earn cash back on everything from boring bill payments to exciting excursions. He is also a strong saver, holding both a TFSA and an RRSP account in order to prepare for his future while taking full advantage of tax benefits.

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