Unemployment Benefits 

If an employee(s) is laid off due to COVID-19 and business reduction/closure, they must apply to EI as per regular protocol. More info on that can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-regular-benefit.html. Note, for regular benefits the regular EI waiting period and processing time still applies.


If employees are quarantined/self-isolated because they travelled, may have been in contact with someone infected, etc. they can apply for sickness benefits, more info here: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-sickness.html. Note, the requirement for a medical certificate has been relaxed for these individuals*

Please note: for both of these situations, an individual must otherwise qualify for EI benefits. (ie, have enough hours, have contributed for the adequate amount of time, etc.) 



– If the employee is affected by the virus, the reason for the ROE should be D – Illness or Injury.

– If the employee is sent home due to the company closing, the reason for the ROE should be A – Shortage of work/End of contract or Season.

– Very important – in Box 18, the following comment “Company is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 Virus” is necessary.


Employees who are NOT affected by the virus but are put on leave due to the COVID-19 virus can contact the government at 1-833-381-2725 should they have any questions.




As you are aware, there is great concern around the COVID19 virus in Canada and around the world. Most recently, there have been two presumptive cases in Atlantic Canada, in both New Brunswick and Newfoundland. Although there are no reported cases in Nova Scotia at this time, the Cape Breton Regional Chamber of Commerce has been monitoring the situation closely and working with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce to ensure we have access to the tools and protocols that we may need to appropriately support you, our members, here at home.  


It is important for you to remain informed with accurate, up-to-date information. Below you will find the best websites to receive the information you need for decision making. Additionally, below are links to some tools and resources to help support you and your business. These have been provided by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. 


Now that COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Nova Scotia, some items your business should plan for include:

  • Staff absences due to a number of reasons (personal illness, ill family members, looking after children if schools close, feeling of safety being at home etc.). In some cases employees may themselves elect to stay home; in other circumstances, the government may authorize or require them to do so.
  • Disruption to essential services like information, telecommunications, financial services, energy supply, and logistics;
  • Disruption to the supply of necessary materials or contractors;
  • A major increase or decrease in demand for products and services;
  • Cancellation or disruption of travel and cross-border movement of people and goods;
  • Cancellation of public meetings or gatherings like sports events, concerts or religious services;
  • Impact on the trade status of Canada, or of our trading partners; and
  • Increased public fear that causes citizens to avoid public places, including front line retail and tourist-related attractions, restaurants and leisure businesses.


I encourage you to bookmark the links below to have quick access to the most relevant and credible information & updates:


Tools and Resources:


To help you prepare for and manage through  COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, the Canadian Chamber has developed a brief guide and a number of best practice documents that are designed to assist business planning and continuity efforts:  Pandemic Preparedness Guide   


In addition to pandemic preparedness tools, they have also created templates for your use:


Additional Resources:


Trade Commissioner Service
Canadian Centre for Occupation Health & Safety


As mentioned, the Chamber is monitoring the progression of the virus closely and will inform you, our members, and the larger business community as necessary. Please monitor this page for updates. You can also follow us on Facebook.