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B.C. Marine Industry Employee Health Benefit Plan
4250 Canada Way, Burnaby, BC V5G 4W6
Phone: (604) 299-7482 | Toll Free: 1-800-663-1356 |Fax: (604) 299-8136
www.bcmarinebenefits.org


BENEFITS AND COVID-19

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been felt globally as well as inside our own homes. This document has been designed to summarize the resources available to Members and their families with respect to government aid programs and those benefits available under the BC Marine Industry Employee Health Benefit Plan.

Information in this letter regarding government programs and benefits is based on our understanding of the information available when this letter was prepared. Members are encouraged to continue monitoring information provided by the federal and provincial governments.

On March 25, 2020, the federal government announced the creation of the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This benefit provided assistance for workers who lost their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB program ended October 3, 2020.

On September 27, 2020 the federal government announced changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program, including temporary assistance that make it easier for workers to qualify. They also announced new recovery benefits that replaces the CERB in order to better support Canadians. In most cases, Canadians that have been receiving the CERB will be transitioned to EI benefits if they qualify. For workers, that do not qualify for EI benefits, they may be eligible for one of the following programs.

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)
The Canada Recovery Benefit will provide eligible workers with $500 per week (taxable, tax deducted at source) for up to 26 weeks for those who are not employed or self-employed due to COVID-19 and who are not eligible for EI, or had their employment/self-employment income reduced by at least 50% due to COVID-19. This benefit will be paid in two-week periods.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)
The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) will provide $500 per week (taxable, tax deducted at source) for up to a maximum of two weeks, for workers who are unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they contracted COVID-19, self-isolated for reasons related to COVID-19, or have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sicknesses that, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority, would make them more susceptible to COVID-19. This benefit will be paid in one-week periods.

The Trustees of the BC Marine Industry Employee Health Benefit Plan acknowledge that during these uncertain times, Members and their families may need financial assistance greater than ever before. As such, the Trustees have also implemented some temporary measures to provide this much needed assistance. They have temporarily waived the 7-day waiting period for benefits under Weekly Indemnity (WI) and have agreed to top up those COVID-19 relief benefits received from provincial and federal governments for COVID-19 related sickness and absences from work where employers and worksites are temporarily shut-down or employees are laid off or in self-quarantine situations.


For Clinically Diagnosed COVID-19 Related Sickness


BC Marine Industry Employee Health Benefit Plan - Weekly Indemnity Benefit

For situations where a Member has been quarantined because they have a clinical diagnosis of COVID-19 or have an illness with COVID-19 symptoms, the Member should make application for Weekly Indemnity (WI) Benefits. As previously mentioned, the applicable 7-day waiting period has been temporarily waived.

For such cases that last up to 14 days, the Plan will not require the Attending Physician’s Statement portion of the WI application form to be completed, HOWEVER the Member will be required to complete a special Member Statement to accompany their WI application. For benefits beyond 14 days, the Member must make a new application for WI which will require the Attending Physician’s Statement completed by the Member’s doctor to support the claim.

If the Member is hospitalized, the Member should make application for Weekly Indemnity Benefits. If eligible, the benefits commence from the first day hospitalized and the Attending Physician’s Statement must be completed on the application for WI benefits.

If a Member’s physician has advised them that, due to an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk from exposure to COVID-19, they are unable to travel to their offsite workplace location, and are therefore unable to work, despite having no symptoms or exposure to COVID-19, the Member must make an application for WI benefits and the Attending Physician’s Statement must be completed.


For Periods of Self-Quarantine Related to Travel or Possible Exposure to COVID-19 but No Symptoms or Illness


Step 1: EI Sickness Benefits

Eligible Members/workers are to apply for EI Sickness Benefits. These benefits can be received for up to 15 weeks at a maximum of $573 per week. For claims incurred on or after January 1, 2021, the benefit maximum will be $595 per week. For full details on the benefit, eligibility, and the application process, visit the EI Sickness Benefits website. If the Member is not eligible for EI Sickness Benefits, they should apply for the new Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB). Visit Canada’s COVID-19 benefits and services (CRSB) website for further details.

Step 2: BC Marine Industry Employee Health Benefit Plan - Weekly Indemnity Benefit

The Trustees have agreed that once a Member has applied for EI Sickness Benefits or the new CRSB, he/she may also apply for Weekly Indemnity (WI) Benefits. If eligible, the WI benefit will ‘top up’ the EI Sickness benefit or CRSB to the Member’s WI weekly benefit level for the first 14 days of benefit. As previously mentioned, the normal 7-day waiting period under WI has been temporarily waived and the Attending Physician’s Statement portion of the WI application form will not need to be completed. HOWEVER, the Member will be required to complete a special Member Statement to accompany their WI application.

If a further period of quarantine is required beyond the first 14 days, a new WI application will be required along with another completed Member Statement.


COVID-19 Related Lay-Off, Site Closure, Employer Shut-down


STEP 1: Employment Insurance (EI) Regular Benefits

Provided for Members who temporarily lose their jobs through no fault of their own (i.e. shortage of work, mass lay-offs, etc.) Eligible Members/workers are to apply for EI Regular Benefits. Benefits can be received from 14 up to 45 weeks at a maximum of $573 per week depending on hours worked. The maximum weekly benefit level for claims incurred on or after January 1, 2021 is $595 per week. A one-week unpaid waiting period and Record of Employment are required. For full details on eligibility and the application process, visit the EI Regular Benefits website. If the Member is not eligible for EI Regular Benefits, they should apply for the new CRB. Visit Canada’s COVID-19 benefits and services (CRB) website for further details .

Step 2: BC Marine Industry Employee Health Benefit Plan - Weekly Indemnity Benefit

The Trustees have agreed that once a Member has applied for EI Benefits or CRB because of a COVID-19 related circumstance, he/she may also apply for Weekly Indemnity (WI) Benefits. If eligible, the WI benefit will ‘top up’ the EI / CRB benefits to the Member’s WI weekly benefit level for the first 14 days of benefit. The normal 7-day waiting period under WI has been temporarily waived for COVID-19 related claims and the Attending Physician’s Statement portion of the WI application form will not need to be completed. HOWEVER, the Member will be required to complete a special Member Statement to accompany their WI application.

If a further period of COVID-19 related shut down/absence from work is required beyond the first 14 days, a new WI application will be required along with another completed Member Statement.

The Trustees of the BC Marine Industry Employee Health Benefit Plan are within their rights as Trustees to amend the Plan from time to time as they deem appropriate. In view of the current circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, they have resolved to amend the Plan rules temporarily until it is deemed appropriate by them to revert back to the standard rules of the Plan. The Trustees reserve the right to revise this temporary amendment at any time as they deem appropriate.



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