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Technical glitches briefly mar first day of applications for Canada Recovery Benefit

Canadians seeking to access new financial support after missing work because of COVID-19 appeared to briefly run into technical glitches as applications opened for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) on Monday.

Applications for the new benefit, which will pay $500 per week for up to 26 weeks, can be made through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The benefit is open to those who don’t qualify for EI because they never paid into it or don’t have enough hours.

On Monday morning, some people reported having trouble applying through the Government of Canada website.

According to screenshots posted to social media, numerous people got an error message saying: “You cannot apply for the Canada Recovery Benefit as you have applied for all eligible periods.”

Another error message told applicants they do not qualify for support payments.

A message appeared for a short time Monday morning on the CRB website, saying that the CRA was “experiencing technical issues with applications for Recovery Benefits” and was “urgently working to restore this service as quickly as possible.”

A CRA spokeperson told CBC News just before 12:30 p.m. ET that the issues have now been fixed. “Taxpayers may now resume their applications. The CRA regrets the momentary impact this may have on applicants, and we appreciate their patience.”

The new benefit from the federal government comes into effect as concerns rise about increasing job losses with Ontario and Quebec imposing targeted restrictions on restaurants, bars and fitness centres to slow the spread of COVID-19 caused by the coronavirus.

Other financial supports

Applications also opened last week for a new caregiver benefit, after numerous calls since the start of the pandemic for added support for parents and others who are forced to miss work to care for a dependent due to COVID-19.

Women have seen a disproportionate impact on their careers and earnings because of the pandemic because they have largely shouldered the burden of child care and home schooling.

The caregiver benefit applies to people who miss work because of school or daycare closures, and whose children who miss school or daycare because they have contracted the virus or may have been exposed.

It also applies to people forced to miss work to care for family members who need specialized care that is unavailable to them due to COVID-19.

The federal government anticipates 700,000 Canadians will apply for the caregiver benefit.

The government has also created a new sick-leave benefit that pays up to $1,000 over two weeks to people who can’t work because they contracted COVID-19 or must self-isolate because of the virus.

The multibillion-dollar suite of new benefits are taking effect following an acrimonious political battle in Parliament that ultimately saw all parties vote in favour of them but not before the airing of widespread concern that the Liberal government was rushing them through.

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