The federal government is rolling out a $1 billion funding package to help provincial health-care systems cope with the increasing number of new coronavirus cases and to help Canadian workers who are forced to isolate themselves.

The Liberals are loosening restrictions on employment insurance payments for people who are off work due to illness by waiving the waiting period for benefits. This would also make it easier for people with more precarious jobs to stay home and avoid infecting others, by quickly getting them money so there isn’t a disruption in income.

Read: North American employers taking steps to protect staff from coronavirus

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government is already preparing to do more if need be to provide the right kind of support to Canadians as the situation progresses. He said Canada has been fortunate so far but the country needs to be prepared for all scenarios.

The illness has sickened more than 100,000 people around the world and led to mass quarantines and restrictions on public gatherings.

More information on the Canadian EI program is available here.

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

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Carol Fields:

My boss closed store in definitely because of coronavirus so I have no income right now. What do I do? Is there benefits??

Friday, March 20 at 2:48 pm | Reply

Linda Shuster:

I took two weeks off three weeks ago to self-isolate as my family came back from Asia — Can I apply for EI now? Is it retroactive? If I apply and then my work is force to shut down, am I qualified or do I have to wait 52 weeks to be eligible?

Monday, March 23 at 6:38 pm | Reply

Sonia Archambault:

My husband has been off work since March 8, 2020, as his company has shut down because of the virus. I have COPD and I can’t work. His income covers all our bills. How can we get some help rent and bills and medication are coming in?

Friday, March 27 at 12:44 am | Reply

Roger Aldoria Barnabe:

If I am retired and worked part time for 10 years and paid EI fees, can I claim EI benefits?

Tuesday, March 31 at 8:43 am | Reply

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