The Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB) provides a taxable benefit of $300 per week to workers whose weekly income is at least 50% decreased compared to the previous year’s average due to a government-imposed COVID-19 lockdown. The worker must be in an area that is designated as a lockdown region for the week of application. Workers must have earned at least $5,000 in any of 2020, 2021 or the 12 months before their benefit claim. While receiving the CWLB, workers must not simultaneously be receiving employer-paid leave or certain other types of government benefits (such as the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit or Employment Insurance).
For the period of December 19, 2021 to March 12, 2022, the definition of “lockdown” for the purposes of the CWLB was expanded by the federal government. This costing will only focus on the period during which the expanded lockdown definition is in effect.
Eligible workers can currently retroactively apply to the CWLB up to October 24, 2021, for which the original lockdown definition applies. However, only a very small number of workers resided in regions that met the original lockdown criteria from October 24 to December 18, 2021. Due to the small number of potential claimants and data limitations, the PBO did not calculate the cost of the CWLB before December 19, 2021.
The PBO estimates that the total net cost of this measure will be $248 million. This includes a gross cost of $266 million and a cost recovery of $18 million.