Feds changing sick-leave benefit amid non-essential travel uproar

The Canada Revenue Agency is tweaking the requirements for three federal benefits following an uproar over the possibility of Canadians applying for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit after ignoring public-health advice to not engage in non-essential travel.

Anyone applying for the sick-leave benefit, the Canada Recovery Benefit or the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit will now need to say whether they’re in quarantine because they travelled outside the country.

Read: Liberals to replace CERB with new benefit, simplified EI program at cost of $37B

The sickness benefit pays $500 per week for up to two weeks for anyone who has to quarantine because of the coronavirus. The CRA says it was intended to help frontline workers and others who may have been exposed to the illness but whose employers don’t offer paid sick leave.

The new requirement will apply to anyone applying after Jan. 3 for the sick leave benefit and the two other federal support programs. The CRA says it will delay processing applications to those programs from Canadians who’ve travelled until new legislation taking aim at non-essential travellers can be adopted.