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(Updated 04.16.2020)

 

To support workers and help businesses keep their employees, the government has proposed legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The CERB is a sixteen-week federal government program designed to supplement income for those who are unable to work, are sick, quarantined or in self-isolation, and those facing unemployment. This taxable benefit will be paid every four weeks from March 15, 2020, through October 3, 2020.

Applications can be made online, through the Canada Revenue Agency website using CRA My Account, or they can be done over the phone at 1-800-959-2019. You will need your SIN and postal code to use the phone option. Both services will be available seven-days-a-week, 21-hours-a-day (they will be closed from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. ET each day).

If you are eligible for the CERB, the Canada Revenue Agency recommends that you register now with CRA My Account and choose the direct deposit option to receive your payments within 3 business days from the day you submitted your application. If you did not choose direct deposit, you should receive the benefit in about 10 business days. If your situation continues, you can re-apply for a payment for multiple 4-week periods, to a maximum of 16 weeks (4 periods). Canadians who have earned less than $1000 per month are now also eligible to apply for the program.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is for:

  Apply if you are:

People Facing Unemployment

  • someone who must stop working due to COVID-19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
  • someone who is sick, quarantined or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
  • a parent who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.
  • someone who still has their employment but is not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and your employer has asked you not to come to work.
  • a wage earner or self-employed individual, including a contract worker, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.
  • Someone who has absolutely no income for a minimum period of 14 consecutive days within each four-week period. However, income can be received on the other days
People who are sick, quarantined or in self-isolation
People who are unable to work

 

Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) Quick Facts:

Who can apply for the CERB?

Any resident of Canada who is 15 years old or older, and who, for 2019 or in the 12-month period preceding the day on which they make an application has a total income of at least $5,000 from:

  • employment; or
  • self-employment; or
  • EI maternity benefits.
  • EI parental benefits.

 

Who qualifies for the CERB?

The CERB applies to an extremely broad group of workers in Canada. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit or CERB covers Canadians including those:

  • lost their job,
  • are sick,
  • quarantined,
  • taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19,
  • working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures.
  • wage-earners, salary-earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) who lost their income because of COVID-19
  • Canadians who have exhausted their employment insurance (EI) benefits since January 1, 2020,
  • Seasonal workers who can’t find work because of COVID-19,
  • And those who earn up to $1,000 a month.

 

How much will I get?

$2000 for every 4 weeks you are eligible, up to a maximum of 16 weeks, between March 15, 2020 (retroactive) and October 3, 2020.

 

Can foreigners benefit from it?

Foreign citizens who have obtained a Working Holiday Program (WHP) are eligible.

 

If I have kept my employment relationship but my income has decreased because of the crisis, do I qualify?

Not in all cases. The program is divided into four-week increments. In order to receive benefits, you will have to show that you have absolutely no income for a minimum period of 14 consecutive days within each four-week period. However, income can be received on the other days.

This means that a worker who had two part-time jobs and loses one of them because of COVID-19 is not eligible.

 

If my spouse still has his or her salary, does that affect my claim?

No. You’re still entitled to the $2,000 a month.

 

I have already applied for Employment Insurance (EI). Am I eligible?

Yes, if you applied after March 15. The CERB will replace the EI you were supposed to receive. You do not need to apply again. Your current application will be converted into an application for CERB.

If you applied before March 15, you will have to wait until your EI benefits have expired. You may then be eligible for CERB.

 

If I’m already on EI, will I get the $2,000 a month?

Not immediately. You will have to wait until your EI benefits are due. The two amounts are not cumulative, see above.

 

Is there a limit to the number of cheques per household?

No. As an example, if five people live in the same household meet the criteria, they can all receive the $2,000 per month.

 

Will I be entitled to $2,000 a month even if I earned less than that amount before I lost my income?

Yes, you will receive $2,000 per month if you earned at least $5,000 in the previous 12 months.

 

When can I apply?

It will be possible to apply from the week of April 6.

 

When will I receive my cheque?

The first cheques should be received approximately 10 days after you apply.

 

And when will I stop receiving my cheque?

You will stop receiving this cheque after four months, or sooner if you return to work.

 

What steps do I need to take to register?

You will need to register on a new website that will be set up the week of April 6, however, prior to that you need to determine a few things:

Thinking about your main source of income in the last year: were you an employee or self-employed?

If you were an employee:

If not…

And if not, then you should prepare to apply through the CRA.

 

How often will the money be paid out?

The money will be paid every four weeks.

 

Is the $2,000 taxable?

Yes, this is considered taxable income. Income taxes are not deducted from the payments and therefore, if you have other sources of income during the year, you may have income taxes to pay when filing your 2020 personal income tax return.

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