Feds Change Sick Leave Benefit, Applicants Required to Say If They Travelled

January 11, 2021 Updated: January 11, 2021

OTTAWA—Anyone applying for three federal benefits will now need to say whether they are in quarantine because they travelled outside the country.

The Canada Revenue Agency announced the new requirement following an uproar over the possibility of Canadians applying for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit after ignoring public-health advice to not engage in non-essential travel.

The sickness benefit pays $500 per week for up to two weeks for anyone who has to quarantine because of COVID-19.

The CRA says it was intended to help frontline workers and others who may have been exposed to the illness but whose employers do not offer paid sick leave.

The new requirement will apply to anyone applying after Jan. 3 for the sick-leave benefit and two other federal support programs, the Canada Recovery Benefit and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit.

The CRA says it will delay processing applications to those programs from Canadians who have travelled until new legislation taking aim at non-essential travellers can be adopted.