President Finlay COVID-19 Update – July 2021


Dear Members –

The timing for this update could not be better as there are changes to the Federal benefit programs that occur as of today (July 18), and changes to the level of pandemic restrictions in Manitoba that began just yesterday (July 17).

So, please read on – there is lots of information here. I encourage you to skim it and  just focus on items that specifically pertain to you.


My last two COVID-19 update emails both referred to proposed benefit program modifications that were in limbo because Bill C-30 was working its way through the House of Commons and the Senate. Bill C30 was passed into law on June 30/21, meaning any changes made to Federal Government Benefit programs are now in effect. I have briefly summarized them below.

Please note: These are general comments – I am not an expert – so it is up to you to ensure that you have accurate information as it pertains to your own circumstances. Where possible I have included a link for you to read/learn more about the topic.

CRB – Canada Recovery Benefit

  • Extension of program’s duration, increased number of eligibility periods and reduction in biweekly payment amount
    • Reminder that this program began September 27/20, has very specific eligibility criteria, must be reapplied for each time, and that a period consists of two weeks, each of which starts on a specified date
    • Program has been extended to September 25/21 (The terms of Bill C30 give the government the option of extending the program to November 20/21)
    • Eligible applicants can now apply for a maximum of 25 two-week periods of support (previously the maximum was 19 periods)
    • As of July 18th:
      • New applicants to the program on or after July 18/21 will only be eligible for $540 ($600 – 10% tax) per (two-week) period, and will only receive payments up to the program’s deadline (see above)
      • Existing applicants (those who have received at least one period’s benefit between September 27/20 and July 17/21) will receive the higher benefit amount of $900 ($1000 – 10% tax) UNTIL they have claimed up to 21 periods of benefits. After that, the benefit payment reduces to $540 for the remaining 4 periods
    • More information from the CRA on the CRB program here
    • Check out Russell Matthew’s YouTube video on this topic here

EI (Employment Insurance)

  • If you are already on this program, changes will be minor, unless your benefits are about to expire OR you are claiming benefits because of a prescribed illness, injury or quarantine
  • Due to the pandemic, there have been some temporary changes to the program to make the program more flexible and to make it easier to qualify
  • New EI claimants as of September 27/20 receive a minimum benefit rate of $500/week; eligibility for this minimum benefit amount has been extended to September 25/21.
  • If an EI claimant’s benefits expire and the claimant transitions to the CRB on or after July 18/21, their benefit rate will be paid at the reduced rate of $540 ($600 – 10%) per period
  • The claim period for those who have a prescribed illness, injury or quarantine has been extended from 15 to 26 weeks
  • More information on the EI program can be found here (scroll down the page)
  • Russell Matthews succinctly lays out the impact of Bill C30 at the 4″43s mark on this YouTube video

OAS – Old Age Security 

  • Eligible Canadians 75 years or older will see a 10% increase in their OAS benefit rate, and a one time $500 payment which is expected to arrive in August.
  • The CRA’s OAS program overview can be found here.

CRCB – Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit

  • The CRBC gives income support to employed/self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years of age, or for a family member who requires supervised care
  • Eligible CRCB recipients may now apply for a total of 42 weeks of benefits between September 27/20 and September 25/21
  • A reminder that this benefit is per household, pays $450 ($500 – 10%) per week and must be applied for each week.
  • Information on this benefit can be found here.

CRHP – Canada Recovery Hiring Program

  • This new program was introduced in June 6/21 and is mainly of interest to employers. Since some of our members work for an “employer” I have included the information here as it may have an impact on decisions your employer makes regarding position subsidies.
  • Also, if you run an eligible business with hired employees, particularly if you have been using the CEWS program, this could affect you.
  • Find information on this program here.

CEWS – Canada Recovery Wage Subsidy and CERS – Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy

  • Revised eligibility criteria
  • Revised levels of subsidization
  • Program extended to September 25/21 (The terms of Bill C30 give the government the option of extending the program to November 20/21)
  • ensuring that level of CEWS benefits for furloughed employees continues to align with EI benefits until August 28/21
  • More information on the CEWS program here
  • More information on the CERS program here.

Here are three great YouTube videos that explain much of the above in plain language:

  1.  7/4/21 – Russell Matthews: Changes for 20th CRB | Every Benefit Update & Links – YouTube
  2. 6/30/21 – Russell Matthews: Budget Bill PASSED | Highlights for Every Program (CRB, Hiring Credit, CRCB, EI, OAS, etc.) – YouTube
  3. 6/24/21 – Russell Matthews: Benefit Extension Update | C-30 Passes – Next Steps – YouTube


Please check the related ORDER for exact details/wording/requirements. The complete list of ORDERS outlining all restrictions can be found in this 30-page pdf

There does not appear to be anything in these latest orders that specifically addresses the playing of wind instruments.

ORDER 34 – MASK USE: Masks are mandatory in indoor spaces with exceptions made in specific circumstances.

SOCIAL DISTANCING  Most orders mandate that a distance of 2m be kept between individuals/defined cohorts; 3m is required at gyms and fitness facilities.

FULLY IMMUNIZED means a person who has had both shots of an accepted vaccine/vaccine combination and at least 14 days have passed since the last shot. (see page 32 for exact details)

As musicians, the orders that are probably of greatest interest to/impact on us are as follows:

TRAVEL  – Refer to this webpage (scroll down) for more detailed information regarding

  • Travel to and From Manitoba
  • Travel to the North of the 53rd Parallel (not permitted, with some exceptions)
  • International Travel

VENUES where MUSICIANS WORK/PERFORM – Refer to this webpage for short summaries by sector

  • Large-scale professional outdoor sports or performing arts events may open for fully immunized (two doses and two weeks post second dose) to a maximum of 100 per cent.
  • Unvaccinated children 12 and under may attend/visit these events if accompanied by a fully vaccinated member of their household.
  • Museums, galleries, concert halls and movie theatres may open for fully immunized (two doses, and two weeks post second dose) to a maximum capacity of 50 per cent.
  • Unvaccinated children 12 and under may attend/visit these facilities if accompanied by a fully vaccinated member of their household.
    • ORDER 16 – Indoor performances in concert halls and theatres
    • ORDER 17 – Outdoor performing arts events taking place in a controlled access venue (including large scale events)
  • Weddings/Funerals may have up to 25 people for indoor services in additional to the officiant. Outdoor funerals are limited to 150 persons in addition to the officiant.
  • If the funeral is held at a private residence, indoor and outdoor private gathering sizes apply.
      • ORDER 2(2) Weddings and Funerals

ORDER 2(1) Gatherings – Private Property (e.g. house concerts)

    • Indoor – Maximum 5 people in addition to residents
    • Outdoor  – Maximum 25 people in addition to residents

ORDER 2(1) Gatherings  – Public Property

    • Indoor – maximum 25 people
    • outdoor – maximum 150 people
      • ORDER 2(3) gatherings by motor vehicle are exempt as long as people remain in their cars, or in the immediate vicinity of their cars with 2m distance from people from other vehicles/other attendees
  • Indoor gatherings open to 50 per cent capacity to a limit of 150 persons, with continued physical distancing and masks worn at all times.
  • Outdoor gatherings open to 150 persons.
  • Drive-in services continue to be permitted.
      • ORDER 23 – Religious services
      • ORDER 24 – Pow wows and Indigenous Cultural events

ORDER 26 – Dance, Theatre, and Music Schools

  • Open at 50 per cent capacity to a limit of 25 persons per group indoors,

ORDER 13 – Day Camps

ORDER 11 – Universities, colleges etc. that provide academic or professional education

  • Open at 50 per cent capacity for indoors and outdoor dining; for indoor dining patrons seated together must be from the same household, unless all patrons at the table are fully immunized or there is a combination of persons over and under 12 years of age at the table, but all persons over 12 years of age are fully immunized; for outdoor dining table sizes are limited to 8 people.
  • These organizations may stay open until midnight.
  • There is no longer a requirement to purchase food when purchasing alcohol.
      • ORDER 7 – Restaurants
      • ORDER 8 – Licensed Premises
        • Note – No dancing allowed in licenced facilities

Casinos and VLTs

  • May reopen for fully immunized people to a maximum capacity of 50 per cent capacity.
  • VLTs in licensed establishments may be operated with two metres of physical distancing and all other restaurant/bar rules applying; VLTs in unlicensed establishments will follow the Casino rules for fully immunized people only.
      • ORDER 30 – Casinos

If you made it this far, you are amazing! Lots of information, and hopefully you skipped over anything that wasn’t relevant to you!

In solidarity,

Janice Finlay