Coronavirus: Many not eligible for EI sickness benefits, experts say

The federal government has announced changes to employment insurance as part of its billion-dollar strategy to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are calls for more support for those who may be unable to work.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Wednesday that the one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be lifted for those who are in quarantine or self-isolation, at a cost of $5 million.

The government has also earmarked $12 million to beef up EI’s work-sharing program, which can supplement a worker’s income when employers have cut hours due to a downturn.

Since January, there have been more than 138 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 in seven provinces. Additional measures could be announced to assist those who need to take time off, federal Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough said in Question Period on Thursday.

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