NEW INFO: Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) coming Monday

COVID-19 Support - April 2, 20 - Sajitha Nair

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB): This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB would be a simpler and more accessible combination of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.

What is the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)? 

  • Will provide $2000 monthly for as long as your income is affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic, up to 16 weeks (4 months).
  • Payments will be backdated to March 15th  2020.
  • Faster processing time compared to EI – your application should be processed within 10 days and you should receive payment with 3-5 days via direct deposit.

Who is it for? 

  • If you have at least $5000 of income, from any source, in the last 12 months. 
  • If your income has been interrupted for COVID-19 related reasons for at least 14 consecutive days in a month. 
  • If your EI benefits end before October 31st, 2020. 

 How to apply: 

  • Applications will open on Monday April 6th, and those wishing to apply can do so on the CRA website.  
  • It is recommended that you create a CRA online account before Monday if you do not already have one.  

 You can only apply to and qualify for one benefit (e.g. you can’t receive CERB and EI concurrently): 

  • If you applied to EI and your application was processed and approved – do not apply to CERB. 
  • If you applied to EI but haven’t started to receive payments you don’t need to apply to CERB, your application will automatically be flipped over to CERB. 
  • If you are receiving or going to receive a government wage subsidy, do not apply to CERB.

For More information:

Previously published information (March 25th 2020)

Key items to keep in mind about the new benefit includes:


  • The CERB would cover Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures.
  • The CERB would apply to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).
  • Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19, would also qualify for the CERB. So, to any employee who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.


  • Canadians who are already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits as of today would continue to receive their benefits and should not apply to the CERB.
  • If their EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, they could apply for the CERB once their EI benefits cease, if they are unable to return to work due to COVID-19.
  • Canadians who have already applied for EI and whose application has not yet been processed would not need to reapply, applications will be automatically moved over to the CERB.
  • Canadians who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits would still be able to access their normal EI benefits, if still unemployed, after the 16-week period covered by the CERB.

Application portal and payments: The portal for accessing the CERB would be available in early April. Canadians would begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of application. The CERB would be paid every four weeks and be available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020.

Question & Answers

What is the CERB?

The Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit have been merged into the Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). It is also integrated with EI to allow workers to apply for benefits under one single program.

How much is the CERB?

The CERB will pay $2,000 per month for the next 4 months back dated to March 15th.

Who Qualifies for the CERB?

  1. People who have lost their job
  2. People who are sick or quarantined
  3. Parents who must stay home without pay to care for children
  4. Workers who have no income due to COVID-19 but haven’t been officially laid off
  5. Cover Employees employees, contract workers and self-employed workers.

Qualification Note

  • $5,000 in employment income, self-income, or maternity or parental leave benefits for 2019 or in the 12-months period preceding the day of the application.

How to Apply

Applications will be available on April 6th. If an employee has already applied to EI they DO NOT need to also apply for this new benefit, the claim will automatically be moved over to the CERB and the employee will receive the 16-week benefit.

Apply one of three ways:

  1. Accessing My CRA MyAccount portal;
  2. Accessing My Service Canada Account; or
  3. Calling a toll free number (not released yet)

What if an Employee is already receiving EI Benefits?

The employee will continue to receive EI benefits. If EI runs out before October 3rd 2020 and the employee is still unable to return to work then they can apply to the CERB once their EI benefits run out.

When will the Employee receive the CERB?

The application is expected to be available April 6th. Benefits should be delivered within 10 days after submitting the application. The earliest an employee will receive the benefit through direct deposit is April 16th or slightly later by mail.





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