CRA Emergency Payments: 2 Helpful Benefits You Can Get in 2021

The CRA is still helping people who have been suffering from the financial consequences of the pandemic, and there are two emergency payments you can get in 2021.

| More on:
sad concerned deep in thought

Image source: Getty Images

According to Statistics Canada, employment dropped (for the first time since April 2020) by 63,000. Part-time employment saw an even harsher decline (-2.9% compared to -0.3% of the overall employment rate). And even though the unemployment rate of 8.6% is significantly better than April’s 13%, it’s still dangerously high compared to the 2019 average rate of 5.6%.

What it boils down to is that the government has to create more employment opportunities. And it has to sustain the unemployed population until then. Thankfully, the emergency benefit payments are already in place to help people who, despite trying, can’t find paid work.

The revised EI

The EI benefit essentially exists for this very purpose: providing temporary financial support to unemployed individuals. Still, the CRA had to come up with a different emergency payment (the CERB) to deal with the wave of unemployment and loss of business income that COVID brought. That’s because EI’s scope was a bit narrow, and its requirements were strict.

Now that the CERB is over, the EI requirements are made more lenient so that more people can qualify. That included a one-time insurable-hours credit that pushed many Canadians above the EI eligibility threshold.


While the EI’s new terms have made it more convenient for employees who lost their jobs, it still doesn’t account for gig workers, freelancers, and a few other types of earners. For those people, the CRB was created. If you do not qualify for EI, the chances are that you will be eligible for the CRB. It’s a bit less lenient than the CERB was.

A 10% tax is withheld at the source, and the payment doesn’t renew by itself. You have to apply for every two-week period. And you can only apply for a total of 13 periods.

Another helpful resource

There should be a middle course between becoming unemployed and relying on government benefits to survive, and that’s your own savings. If you had invested in a company like Lightspeed (TSX:LSPD)(NYSE:LSPD) at the right time and placed it in your TFSA, it would have helped you get by without relying on the government’s taxable emergency benefits.

If you had invested just $5,000 in the company when 2020 started, you would be sitting on about $12,000 now. That’s equivalent to about six months’ worth of untaxed CRB. And the best part is that you wouldn’t have owed any taxes to the CRA. An even better time to buy the e-commerce tech company would have been during the crash when the stock was trading at rock-bottom prices.

$5,000 in Lightspeed at that time would have grown to over $30,000 now.

Foolish takeaway

If you have to rely on government benefits to survive, for now, you might consider weaving your own safety net with your savings and investments. Even if you can’t pick the perfect stock to invest in at precisely the ideal time, you can grow your portfolio quite a bit if you buy good stocks and give them enough time.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

Fool contributor Adam Othman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Lightspeed POS Inc.

More on Tech Stocks

A person builds a rock tower on a beach.
Dividend Stocks

3 Stocks to Anchor Your Portfolio in a Rocky Market

Three stocks are solid anchors in any portfolio today for their outperformance in a weak market and defiance of the…

Read more »

edit Sale sign, value, discount
Tech Stocks

2 Cheap Tech Stocks to Buy Right Now

Many tech stocks offer exceptional returns compared to other stock sectors when the market is bullish. You can add to…

Read more »

Hands shaking over a business deal
Tech Stocks

Got $5,000? These 2 Growth Stocks Are Smart Buys

Are you looking to invest $5,000 in the stock market? Here are two of the best growth stocks you can…

Read more »

man sitting in front of 3 screens programming
Tech Stocks

2 Best Software Stocks to Buy in 2023 and Beyond

Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) and Constellation Software (TSX:CSU) are the two best software stocks to buy this year and beyond.

Read more »

consider the options
Tech Stocks

Is it Too Late to Buy Shopify Stock?

Shopify is one of the most popular stocks on the market. Is it too late to buy shares?

Read more »

Tech Stocks

2 Best Canadian Stocks Under $10 to Buy Now

Cheap TSX stocks such as Payfare and StorageVault are trading under $10. Both these stocks have significant upside potential in…

Read more »

edit Businessman using calculator next to laptop
Tech Stocks

Better Buy: BlackBerry Stock vs. CrowdStrike

BlackBerry and CrowdStrike are tech stocks part of the cybersecurity segment. Which is a better buy between CRWD stock and…

Read more »

A shopper makes purchases from an online store.
Tech Stocks

Better Buy: Shopify Stock or Amazon?

Shopify Inc. (TSX:SHOP) is well positioned for growth ahead.

Read more »