New Canada Emergency Response Benefit to Help Workers and Businesses

Gordon Jessup • March 25, 2020
Gordon Jessup

The Government of Canada today announced details of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to help works and businesses impacted by COVID-19.  Legislation enacting this benefit has passed the House of Commons and is expected to be passed by the Senate later today.

The CERB is a taxable benefit of $2,000 per month for up to four months for workers that lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  It will cover those that have lost their job, are sick, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.  Parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures are also eligible for the benefit.  Wage earners, contractors and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits can receive the CERB.

Workers that are still employed but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19 would also qualify.  This is intended to help business retain their employees while adapting to business changes resulting from the pandemic.  By providing financial support to these workers, employers will be in a better position to resume operations as soon as it becomes possible.

The government will be launching a portal for accessing the CERB in early April.  Individuals will begin receiving their CERB payments within 10 days of application and would be paid every four weeks from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020.

Those that are already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits would continue to receive those benefits and should not apply for the CERB.  If these benefits end before October 3, 2020, they can apply for the CREB once their EI benefits cease if they are unable to return to work due to COVID-19.

Eligible individuals can apply for EI benefits after the expiry of the CREB if they remain unemployed. Those that have already applied for EI and whose application has not been processed would not need to reapply.

Please contact us if you have any questions.