Updated June 17, 2020, Created May 14, 2020
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provides temporary income support for individuals who have stopped working as a result of COVID-19. It provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks. On June 16, the government announced that the benefits period would be extended from 16 weeks to up to 24 weeks. The government also announced changes to the attestation form, no other changes to eligibility were announced.
- The CERB 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.
- Applying for the CERB
- The CERB may impact receiving other social assistance benefits. Individuals receiving provincial or territorial Social (Income or Disability) Assistance, may want to consult your Provincial or Territorial Social Assistance Office before applying for the CERB. First Nations living on-reserve should contact their Band Administration Office.
- If an individual applied for EI regular or sickness benefits on March 15, 2020 or later, their claim will be automatically processed through the CERB.
- Only apply for the CERB through either Service Canada or the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) – not both.
- 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.
- FAQs on the CERB are available: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application/questions.html
UPDATES TO THE CERB
- The Prime Minister clarified on April 15, 2020 that the CERB would extend to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, and workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19.
- The CERB is now available if you earned $1,000 or less during an eligibility period. This means individuals in this situation may be eligible to apply for a previous period, starting March 15, 2020 and moving forward.
- On June 16, the government announced it would extend the benefits period from 16 weeks to 24 weeks.
- On June 16, the government made changes to the attestation form to encourage Canadians receiving the benefit to find employment and consult Job Bank, Canada’s national employment service that offers tools to help with job searches.
More details are available on the portal.