COVID-19 Response FAQ
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Information about the COVID-19 pandemic changes hourly. 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 EXTENSION: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.
For many Engagers and Advertisers, it has become common practice to engage alternate Principal (PP) and Silent-on-Camera (SOC) Performers as Standby Performers in case the booked PPs and SOCs cannot work due to illness. This is an additional safety precaution undertaken by Production to ensure a safe set. These Performers are booked, contracted, paid a minimum rate of $511.50 and requested to remain at home on the shoot day. On the day of the shoot, they are released from their booking within an hour or so from the call time. ACTRA Toronto has been clear with Production that this rate is a minimum rate subject to negotiation as with any other rate in the NCA and to be sure to make the Agent/Performer aware of and accept the SB rate being offered.
Definition – Article 207:
Standby (SB) Background Performer is a Performer who is on call, at a place designated by the Engager, to participate in place of another person. Once a Standby is required to perform, he/she shall be upgraded in category as follows:
If a performance is not recorded or preserved, the Standby’s category shall nonetheless be upgraded to the category of performance fulfilled, and the Standby shall be paid the Session Fee only for that category of performance. There shall be no residual payments.
If the performance is recorded or preserved, the Standby’s category shall be elevated to the category performed and the Standby shall be paid the applicable Session Fee and residual fees.
When a Standby is not required to participate as a Performer, he/ she shall nonetheless be paid a Standby fee per commercial.
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.