Who can get the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB)?Updated May 9

3. Learn when you can apply

The Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB) is meant for workers who don't qualify for Employment Insurance (EI). This includes gig workers, people who are self-employed, and employees who are working reduced hours.

You can't apply for the CWLB for a week in which you're getting other COVID-19 benefits, EI benefits, or short-term disability benefits.

For example, while you're getting the CWLB, you can't also get regular EI benefits, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, or the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit.

You can get CWLB even if you qualify for EI. But you have to choose which benefit to apply for as you can only get one at a time.

For more information about qualifying for regular EI benefits, read I lost my job for reasons beyond my control. Can I get EI?

If you're not sure what you're eligible for, you can contact:

Being available to work

You must also be available to work to get the CWLB. This means that you need to:

  • go back to work when it's reasonable to do this, or
  • accept another reasonable offer of work.

For example, this might mean:

  • agreeing to come back to work when your employer asks you to after you’ve been on a temporary lay-off,
  • reopening your business when the government ends the lockdown or capacity limits, or
  • getting a new job.

But sometimes it might not be reasonable to go back to work, for example, if you have a weakened immune system that puts you at extra risk of COVID-19. Or, you have to stay at home to care for a family member because of COVID-19.

If you quit or ask to work less

It's very hard to get the CWLB if you quit your job or ask to work fewer hours. If you're self-employed, it's also very hard to get the CWLB if you decide to work less.

Usually, you can get it only if one of the following things happens because of the lockdown:

  • your employer lays you off
  • your employer fires you
  • you can't continue doing your work if you're self-employed
  • your hours are reduced

You can get the CWLB and still be working. But you must be earning 50% or less than your average weekly earnings over the past 12 months or in the years 2020 or 2021.

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