Canadian Government Introduces Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was announced today by Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

The CERB:

  • Is a taxable benefit
  • It provides $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • It replaces the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.
  • Applies to Canadians who have ceased working due to COVID-19, whether they are EI-eligible or not
  • Covers Canadians who have:
    • lost their job,
    • are sick,
    • quarantined,
    • taking care of someone infected 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.
  • Applies to:
    • Wage-earners
    • Contract workers
    • Self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI)
    • Workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19

 

The CERB & EI

  • 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.
  • Canadians who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits would still be able to access their standard EI benefits, if still unemployed, after the 16 weeks covered by the CERB.
  • The portal for accessing the CERB is targeted to be available in early April.
  • EI eligible Canadians who have lost their job can continue to apply for EI here, as can Canadians applying for other EI benefits.
  • Canadians will begin to receive their CERB payments within ten days of application.
  • The CERB will be paid every four weeks and be available from March 15, 2020, until October 3, 2020.

 

Read the press release here – https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/introduces-canada-emergency-response-benefit-to-help-workers-and-businesses.html.

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