It's Your Money  

With CRB benefits coming to an end, you need a financial plan

Financial planning

Approximately 40 per cent of the Canadian workforce received benefit payments from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

One year ago, the CERB program was wound up and, in its place, a revamped EI program and a new Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) program allowed those still out of work to continue receiving income.

Over the coming weeks the CRB program will close, and many people will come to the end of their EI program eligibility period. It is estimated that 2.2 million Canadians currently receiving these benefits will be left to face the unknown.

On one hand, there is a valid argument that the generosity of these programs has far exceeded the need. Many people receiving these benefits have openly shared that they have no intention of looking for work since they have been earning more in benefit payments than they would at their job.

This 18-month “paid vacation” certainly needs to come to an end for many of these people as labour shortages are widespread in Canada right now. Walk down any street with businesses and you will see help wanted signs in every window.

But on the other hand, there are still many other Canadians who for one reason or another truly can’t go back to work yet. And there is a lot of questions around what they have in store when their income stream dries up.

There is talk of the federal government creating new benefit programs to carry on for a further period of time but at this point we have no idea what those will look like since the Liberal party will need to form a government with support for one or more of their opposition. If they fail to do so, none of these new programs can be put in place.

Regardless of which side you are on (able to work and just haven’t bothered or still truly unable to work), you need to have a plan in place for what you intend to do. Sitting by doing nothing and deciding that you will just “figure it out next month” when the cheques stop coming is not the right decision—no matter how dire your situation may feel.

Being proactive now, researching the options available to you and making decisions on what you plan to do simply cannot be delayed another day. There are many resources available to you if you feel that you need support.

A quick google search will show you credit/debt counselling services from a variety of organizations.

Employment services from groups like the YMCA, Kelowna Community Resources and many others can also provide assistance for those that aren’t sure where to start.

Whatever your situation is, if you are one of many that are about to come off these income benefit programs in the coming weeks, please take action now so that you are as prepared as you can be.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Brett, designated as a chartered investment manager and certified financial planner, is the regional director (Okanagan) for IG Wealth Management.

In addition to his “day job," Brett was appointed to the board of directors of FP Canada (formerly FPSC) in 2014, named as the board’s vice-chair in 2017 and took over as board chairman in 2019. 

Brett has been writing a weekly financial planning column since 2012 and provides his readers with easy to understand explanations of the complex financial challenges that they face in every stage of life.

Enhancing the financial literacy of Canadian consumers is a top priority of Brett’s and his ongoing efforts as a finance writer and on the regulatory side through the FP Canada board focus on this initiative.   

Please let Brett know if you have any topics that you’d like him to cover in future columns by emailing him at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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