Canadian Emergency Response Benefit:
The Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”) provides those who have stopped working because of COVID-19 with temporary income support.
|Canadian Emergency Response Benefit|
|Amount||$500 per week or $2,000 per month
Paid every 4 weeks.
|Duration||Up to 16 weeks
The benefit is available from March 15, 2020 to October 2, 2020.
You can apply no later than December 2, 2020.
|Eligibility||All workers who:
· reside in Canada and are 15 or older;
· stopped working for at least 14 consecutive days because of COVID-19;
· had an income of $5,000 or more in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to their application.
|Application||Service Canada will begin accepting applications on April 6, 2020, but those are encouraged to:
1. Sign up for My Account through the CRA to speed up your application
2. Sign up for Direct Deposit
Once your application is made, you can expect payment in 3 business days if you signed up for direct deposit or approximately 10 business days if you are waiting for a check.
Who Can Apply:
The CERB will be available to all workers who:
- Reside in Canada
- Are at least 15 years old
- Have stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits. Note: if you have not stopped working because of COVID-19 you are not eligible for this benefit;
- Had an income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application from any of the following sources:
- Maternity and/or parental benefits under the EI program
- Are without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial 4 week period.
For example, CERB benefits are available to those who:
- Have been let go from their job or have had their hours reduced to 0;
- Are in quarantine or sick due to COVID-19;
- Are away from work to take care of others because they are in quarantine or are sick due to COVID-19; and/or
- Are away from work to take care of children or other dependents whose care facility is closed due to COVID-19.
You are NOT eligible for CERB if you quit your job voluntarily. You do NOT qualify for CERB if you receive employment income.
How to Apply:
Service Canada will begin accepting applications on April 6, 2020. Once you have applied, if your situation continues, you will have to reapply and confirm your eligibility every 4 weeks.
Prior to April 6, 2020 those who intend to apply are encouraged to:
- Sign up for My Account through the CRA to speed up your application
- Sign up for Direct Deposit
At present, you will only need to provide your personal contact information, your social insurance number, and confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements. However, you may be asked to provide additional documentation to verify your eligibility at a future date. If an applicant is later determined to not have qualified for the CERB, they will be required to pay the benefit back.
For those who cannot access the online portal, they may apply over the phone using an automated phone service.
To help manage the applications, Service Canada has set up specific days for you to apply on using the following guideline:
|If you were born in the month of||Apply for CERB on||Your best day to apply is|
|January, February or March||Mondays||April 6|
|April, May, or June||Tuesdays||April 7|
|July, August, or September||Wednesdays||April 8|
|October, November, or December||Thursdays||April 9|
|Any month||Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays|
- Sign into your CRA My Account.
- Go to COVID-19: Canada Emergency Response Benefitin the alert banner at the top of the page
- Select the period you want to apply for
- Declare that you qualify for the benefit
- Confirm we have the right payment information
Applications by Phone:
For those who cannot access the online portal, they may apply over the phone using an automated phone service, which can be reached at 1-800-959-2019. Applications can be made 7 days a week. The services will be closed and unavailable daily between 3:00 am and 6:00 am.
Before you call be sure you have the following easily accessible in order to verify your identity:
- Your social insurance number (SIN)
- Postal code
- Dial 1-800-959-2019
- Select your language preference: English or French
- Follow the prompts to enter your information, including:
- your SIN
- confirmation of your postal code
- the period you are applying for
- Declare that you qualify for the benefit
The payments will be made once per month, and will cover a 4-week period.
Employment Insurance vs. CERB:
If you have stopped working because of COVID-19 you should apply for the CERB, whether or not you are eligible for EI.
If you have already applied for EI regular benefits or sickness benefits on March 15, 2020 or later, your claim will automatically be processed through the CERB, you do not need to take any actions.
If you applied for EI regular benefits or sickness benefits before March 15, 2020, you will continue on those EI benefits until the end of your benefit plan. If your current benefit plan ends before October 3, 2020, you may then apply for the CERB if you meet the eligibility requirements, including that you have stopped work because of COVID-19.
You cannot be paid EI benefits and CERB for the same period of time.
Everyone who qualifies for the CERB will receive $500 per week, regardless of what you may have been eligible for under EI.
Therefore, if you would have been entitled to less than $500 per week under EI, you will still get the full $500 under CERB.
Similarly, if you would have been entitled to more than $500 per week under EI you will be limited to $500 per week for the 16 week CERB period. However, once the CERB period is over, you retain your eligibility to receive EI and the amount received from the CERB will not impact your EI entitlements.
Maternity/Paternity Leave and CERB:
If you are scheduled to return from your maternity/paternity leave between March 15, 2020 and October 3, 2020, and there is no work available to you as a result of COVID-19, you are eligible to apply for CERB.
You may not transition from your maternity/paternity leave benefits to the CERB until your maternity/paternity leave is over and you are scheduled to return to work.
These payments are taxable, and you will need to report all payments received on your next year’s tax filing. An information slip will be made available for the 2020 tax year in your My Account under Tax Information Slips.
Author - Extraordinary Damages in Canadian Employment Law