Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB) Expanded

Beth Graddon

You may have missed the news during the holiday hustle, when the federal government announced an expansion to the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB).  There are  also new tax filing  deadlines to be aware of.   Here are the details:

This benefit was originally introduced in November and passed into law on December 17, but due to very specific eligibility, no province or territory met the criteria for workers affected to apply. On December 22, the eligibility was expanded to include workers whose income was affected (by a decline of at least 50%) due to reduced 50% capacity limits in their workplaces mandated by regional lockdowns. Workers in most provinces are now eligible as a result of this change, but there are still some important, complex details to note.

In order for workers to be eligible for the CWLB, their province must fall on the lockdown region list. But the catch is, designated lockdown regions are only eligible for specified weeks, which are noted on the CRA website and may vary by province.

There are some important new filing rules to be aware of – if you don’t comply, you’ll have to return the payments: taxpayers must file their 2021 and 2022 tax returns by December 31, 2023 if they received the benefit for a period starting in 2022. 

If benefits were received for a period starting in 2021, the 2021 tax return must be filed by December 31, 2022

Who is eligible?  The CRA has provided the following detailed list of eligibility criteria to help workers whose income has been affected to determine if they’re eligible for the benefit. Those that meet the eligibility criteria can receive $270 after taxes withheld for each week period.

Eligibility criteria:   (You must meet all the following conditions for the 1-week period you're applying for):

  • You reside in Canada
  • You were present in Canada during the lockdown period
  • You are at least 15 years old
  • You have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • You did not receive any of the following for the same period:
    • Employment Insurance (EI) benefits
    • Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)
    • Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)
    • Québec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP)
    • short-term disability benefits
  • You earned at least in 2020, 2021, or in the 12 months before the date you apply from any of the following sources:
    • Employment income (total or gross pay)
    • Net income (after deducting expenses)
    • Maternity and parental benefits from EI or similar QPIP benefits
    • EI regular, special, or fishing benefits
    • Amounts from these benefits:
      • Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
      • Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)
      • Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)
      • Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)
  • You filed a 2020 tax return
  • A region where you live, work, or provide a service is designated as a COVID-19 lockdown region
  • A designated lockdown in your region resulted in one of the following:
    • You lost your job and were unemployed
    • You were self-employed but unable to continue your work
    • You were employed or self-employed, but had a reduction in your average weekly income as compared to the previous year
  • You did not do any of the following, unless it was reasonable to do so:
    • Quit your job
    • Voluntarily stop working
    • Turn down reasonable work
    • Refuse to return to work when asked by your employer
    • Fail to resume self-employment when it was possible
  • You got the vaccine or it is not required to continue your work
  • You were not self-isolating or in quarantine due to international travel Exceptions

If you're not eligible for CWLB:

Review other options at COVID-19 benefits and services if you still need financial support.

Note: Incarcerated individuals in prison or other institutions are not likely to meet all the eligibility criteria. Those on day parole or who may legally seek employment may be eligible if all criteria are met.

Verifying your eligibility

The CRA will verify that you're eligible to receive the CWLB. We may ask you to provide additional details to validate your application.

Individuals who are found to have intentionally made fraudulent claims may face additional consequences, such as penalties or possible jail time.

Additional educational resources: It will be another complex year for T1 tax filing: shake out the cobwebs and train your team with Knowledge Bureau’s Advanced Personal Tax Update. It’s a blended learning opportunity from Knowledge Bureau starting on January 19 with the Virtual CE Summit. Also included is a comprehensive online course, available to attendees in the Knowledge Bureau Virtual Campus until February 28. There’s only one week left to sign up: register now!