The Incentive Program to Retain Essential Workers (IPREW) kicks off this month. The initiative, first announced in April, will provide eligible Quebec essential workers a salary bonus. On May 11, Revenu Québec released a new timetable for applications.

According to the new schedule, workers can apply beginning:

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

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

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

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

"This strategy is intended to avoid clogging up the website and customer service," Revenu Québec writes.

The agency is also extending customer service hours in this period.

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

Successful applicants could receive "$100 each week for up to 16 weeks of eligible work, retroactive to March 15, 2020."

In sum, these workers would receive up to $1,600.

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

Revenu Québec clarifies that "to receive assistance under the IPREW, you need to be registered for My Account for individuals and direct deposit."

To be eligible, you 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";

  • have been a "resident in Quebec on December 31, 2019;

  • "and plan to reside in Quebec throughout 2020."

Moreover, those workers whose pay increased to more than $550 after the minimum wage increase on May 1 would not be eligible to receive payments for work performed after that date.

The federal government has also announced an agreement with the provincial governments to give raises to low-income essential workers across the country.

Though Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made clear that each province would determine its own eligibility requirements.

"If you're risking your health to keep this country moving and you're making minimum wage, you deserve a raise," he said on May 7.

"These Canadians are providing us with essential services, so we can continue to keep our families safe and healthy," the Prime Minister's Office wrote in a statement.

More details are forthcoming.

Stay tuned.

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