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Update: 2020-05-21
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

The Government of Canada has introduced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for salaried and self-employed workers who have been directly affected by COVID-19. A taxable benefit of $ 2,000 for a 4 weeks period (equivalent to $ 500 per week), up to a maximum of 16 weeks, will be available to eligible Canadians as of April 6, 2020. The benefit is taxable although no tax will be withheld at source.

You will need to apply and confirm your eligibility for the CERB every 4 weeks if your situation continues.

Who is eligible

The Benefit is available to workers:

  • Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
  • Who have stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits or have exhausted their Employment Insurance regular benefits or Employment Insurance fishing benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020;
  • Who had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and,
  • Who have not quit their job voluntarily.

When submitting your first claim, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for 14 or more consecutive days within the four-week benefit period of your claim. When submitting subsequent claims, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for the entire four-week benefit period of your new claim.

  • To be eligible for the CERB, you must have earned at least $ 5,000 in 2019 or in the past 12 months, regardless of the legal source of income (employment income or business income).
  • You are eligible for the CERB event if you receive dividends. However, dividends must be ineligible (generally, those paid out of corporate income taxed at the small business rate). An individual could count this income towards the $5,000 income requirement to be eligible for CERB.
  • Those who are on the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan whose leave is coming to an end and whose employer has closed its doors because of COVID-19 will also be eligible for the program.
  • Students aged 15 and over who earned at least $ 5,000 the previous year will be able to benefit, even if they live with their parents. There is no limit to the number of checks per household, people living under the same roof can all receive the $ 2,000 per month.
  • Foreign citizens who have obtained a Working Holiday Program (WHP) are eligible.
  • A person who has maintained an employment relationship and whose income has decreased due to the crisis may not be eligible. The program is divided into four-week increments. To receive benefits, it will be necessary to demonstrate that you have absolutely no income for a minimum period of 14 consecutive days within each four-week period. You can however receive income on other days. This means that a worker who held two part-time jobs and lost one of them because of COVID-19 is not eligible.
  • You can receive $ 2,000 a month even if your spouse still has his salary.
  • If you became eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits on March 15th or onward, your claim will be automatically processed through the CERB.
  • When you apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, you will receive $500 per week, regardless of what you may have been eligible to receive through Employment Insurance.
  • If you were eligible to Employment Insurance benefits that started before March 15, 2020, and these benefits end before October 3, 2020, you may then apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit if you meet the eligibility requirements, including that you have stopped work because of reasons related to COVID-19.

NOTE:Once you apply, you can expect to get your payment in 3 business days if you have signed up for direct deposit, and approximately 10 business days if you haven’t signed up for direct deposit.

There are two ways to apply:

  • Online with CRA My Account
  • Over the phone with an automated phone service: 1-800-959-2019