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Information about the COVID-19 pandemic changes hourly. Bookmark your federal, provincial and municipal governments’ COVID-19 pages. Members are encouraged to visit and bookmark our Coronavirus Updates page. We will update this list of Frequently Asked Questions on a regular basis.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION CATEGORIES
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The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) began accepting applications on April 6th.
Some eligibility details:
If you have earned at least $5,000 in 2019 and have lost a job or had a booking cancelled because of COVID-19, you are eligible. CERB benefits cover the period from March 15th to October 3rd.
On April 15 th, the government expanded the eligibility criteria to “allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.” For clarity, one can earn up to $1000 while still earning full CERB. (i.e. $3000 total)
There’s no limit on the amount of royalty payments for past works (i.e. those produced by artists before the crisis) that an artist may get while receiving the CERB. Someone receiving the CERB may get paid up to $1,000 a month from other sources of income, without penalty or losing their eligibility (and again, royalty payments aren’t included in that category and may be earned on top of the $1,000). This change was made retroactive to March 15, 2020.
UPDATE – Thursday, August 20, 2020
CERB is extended for another four-week period (to September 27) at the current amount of $500/week ($2,000/month), which brings the maximum payment period to 28 weeks.
UPDATE – Sunday, September 27th, 2020
The CERB has now ended.
The CRA is continuing to accept and process retroactive applications for period 7 (August 30 to September 26, 2020). You can continue to apply retroactively for this period only through the CRA’s My Account or automated toll-free phone line.
The CRA is aiming to issue payments for retroactive applications within our service standard of 3-5 business days for direct deposit and 10-12 business days for cheques, however, in some cases it will take longer for payments to be issued.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) gives financial support to employed and self-employed Canadians who are directly affected by COVID-19.
If you are eligible, you can receive $2,000 for a 4-week period (the same as $500 a week).
UPDATE – Wednesday, September 30, 2020
CANADA RECOVERY BENEFIT:
After CERB’s expiry on September 27, individuals who do not qualify for EI can apply for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB).
The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19 and are not entitled to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. The CRB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
If you are eligible for the CRB, you can receive $1,000 ($900 after taxes withheld) for a 2-week period.
If your situation continues past 2 weeks, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 13 eligibility periods (26 weeks) between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.
CRB application is now open.
CANADA RECOVERY SICKNESS BENEFIT (CRSB):
The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they’re sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19. The CRSB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
If you’re eligible for the CRSB, you can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for a 1-week period.
If your situation continues past 1 week, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 2 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.
CANADA RECOVERY CAREGIVING BENEFIT:
The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care. This applies if their school, regular program or facility is closed or unavailable to them due to COVID-19, or because they’re sick, self-isolating, or at risk of serious health complications due to COVID-19. The CRCB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
If you’re eligible for the CRCB, your household can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for each 1-week period.
If your situation continues past 1 week, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 26 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.
A wide range of institutions, from banks and utility companies to mobile and internet service providers, announced special policies for delayed or deferred payments. If you think you will miss a payment, contact your creditor(s) as soon as possible. Student loan payments were postponed until September 30, 2020.
If you have urgent expenses that cannot be deferred and you cannot pay, consider applying to the AFC (see next question)
The AFC is the lifeline for Canada’s entertainment industry. Through compassionate and confidential support, they help Canadian entertainment professionals maintain their health, dignity and ability to work. The AFC is an expression of the community’s good will, helping entertainment professionals when they are at their most vulnerable due to injury, illness or other personal hardship.
6. Will there be any support for those who haven’t had any future contract work cancelled because there was nothing booked when all of this started, but now have a reduced possibility of getting work?
CRB is intended for people who are not working, or whose income is reduced by 50 per cent or more because of COVID, and who are not eligible for EI.
If you have a side gig, find out if you are eligible for EI.
You can figure out whether your income* is reduced in one of two ways: 1) using your 2019 tax return, determine your income and divide by 52. That will give you your average weekly income for 2019 or 2) add up your income* for the last 12 months and divide by 52. That will give you your average weekly income for the last 12 months. Your average weekly income for each period for which you apply must be less than half of your average weekly income as calculated by one of the above two methods.
You can only apply for CRB for a maximum of 13 2-week periods, one period at a time. The program ends on Sept 25, 2021.
You can work while receiving CRB.
Be aware that if you earn more than $38,000 in a year and receive CRB, you may have to pay some of it back at tax time.
* income includes net self-employment income (revenue minus expenses), employment income, tips, honoraria, residuals. It does not include pensions or CERB. Please review the complete eligibility criteria for CRB.
7. Will you be offering members who are full-member university students a break on dues this year? As an ACTRA member of over ten years, I risk losing my membership because I have to prioritize my tuition payments.
ACTRA’s dues deadline was extended until August 31st, 2020 and members were offered a reduction (see next question). If you require extra consideration, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Canada delayed student loan payments until September 30.
On June 30th, in recognition of the effect of the pandemic on work opportunities in our industry, the ACTRA Toronto Council voted to provide members with an option to reduce their basic dues and annual fee amount by 25 per cent. The deadline for payment was August 31, 2020. Should you need further consideration, please contact the Membership department by emailing email@example.com.
The union needs to fund its continuing work chasing residuals, processing and mailing out cheques, fighting for performers to be included in relief programs and negotiating terms for new ways to work during this crisis.
Production offices continue to process payroll. EP Canada and Cast and Crew are working. All payments to Performers are due per the IPA.
Ontario is Ready to Roll. A reduced number of productions covered by the IPA, the NCA, the Audio Code and Videogame agreements are shooting or recording, subject to COVID protocols. Some work is being recorded remotely and some on set. Some voice performers with pro-quality in-home studios are working from home.
Stay healthy! Follow the recommendations of Public Health agencies.
Check your inbox and the Coronavirus Updates page regularly.
Read all member communications thoroughly before calling or emailing for clarification.
Free up staff time for member service by reducing telephone traffic to the ACTRA Toronto office as much as possible. Make use of the website instead. For example, most of the forms you need are available here:
Visit the How to Start Volunteering page at Volunteer Toronto for ideas.