Applications for the Incentive Program to Retain Essential Workers (IPREW) open between May 19 and May 22, 2020, depending on applicants' month of birth. The program will provide a salary bonus for Quebec essential workers. In total, according to Revenu Québec, "eligible workers may receive up to $1,600 in addition to their regular salary or wages."

More specifically, "the assistance pays $100 each week for up to 16 weeks of eligible work, retroactive to March 15, 2020" for workers who, among other criteria, earn $550 or less in gross wages per week.

Premier Legault first announced the creation of the IPREW on April 3 as a way to bridge the gap between essential workers' pay and the amount distributed through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to individuals whose work had been impacted by the health crisis.

"We talk a lot about our guardian angels, and rightly so, but we also have a lot of people who provide essential services that are not always very well paid," he said in April.

"I am thinking, among others, of cashiers in supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmacies. I am thinking of all those who deliver."

"Basically, what we are proposing is to increase the salaries of these people [...] whom I thank from the bottom of my heart for the work they do under difficult conditions."

To be eligible, workers must:

  • "work part-time or full-time in one of the essential service sectors during the program period;

  • "receive eligible work income of $550 or less per week;

  • "earn at least $5,000 in eligible employment income for 2020 (not counting your spouse's income)

  • "have a total annual income of no more than $28,600 for 2020 (not counting assistance received under the IPREW and your spouse's income);"

  • be "at least 15 years old when you apply for assistance under the IPREW;"

  • and have been a "resident in Quebec on December 31, 2019, and plan to reside in Québec throughout 2020."

Workers whose gross income increased to an amount above $550 per week after the minimum wage increase on May 1 would not be eligible to receive IPREW payments for work performed after that date.

According to an application timetable released by Revenu Québec on May 11, workers can begin to apply:

  • on May 19 if they were born in January, February or March;

  • on May 20 if they were born in April, May or June;

  • on May 21 if they were born in July, August or September; and

  • on May 22 if they were born in October, November or December.

After May 22, "all citizens will be able to apply for the IPREW, regardless of their date of birth."

Payments will begin on May 27 and continue by direct deposit every two weeks thereafter.

Workers can apply through the My Account for individuals portal on the Revenu Québec website.

Stay tuned for more news.

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