Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
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,
- 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
How much will I get?
- 2000 dollars 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. Am I eligible?
- Yes, if you applied after March 15. The Canada Emergency Benefit will then replace the Employment Insurance 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.
Is there a limit to the number of cheques per household?
- No. For example, if five people who 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. So your monthly income may increase temporarily, but keep in mind that the program is for a maximum of 4 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 by the federal government. The address of this site has not yet been released.
- Even though you can't apply until April 6th, you can set up your CRA My Account now
- If you don't have a CRA My Account, there are two ways to get the security pin for My Account when setting it up for the first time:
- get it in the mail or
- to in call an agent and have it emailed. But, it's important to note that you don't need to wait for your pin to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. If you apply for your pin and are waiting to get it you will have access to a CRA My Account Lite immediately, and you can put in an application right away.
Will I be able to call a phone number to register if I don't have access to the Internet?
- Yes, but the federal government has not yet released the number.
Will it also be possible to apply in person?
- The federal government has not yet indicated whether this will be possible.
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
Canadians - Special thanks to MP Jenny Kwan who put together this fact sheet