Newsletter – 9 April 2020

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It’s CERB Week – should we celebrate??

The Canada Emergency Relief Benefit is rolling out, and the initial results seem positive. Members on our Facebook page report getting deposits in the bank within 48 hours, and EI-eligible applications since mid-March have been migrated to the CERB as well. The application process for freelance self-employed is only a few questions long, and broken web services that have plagued the Service Canada EI system don’t seem to have affected Revenue Canada, who is managing CERB for non-EI claimants.

Your CERB questions, answered

Wait, CERB is taxable?

Just like employment insurance (EI), the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) is a taxable benefit. This means that at tax time it is listed as income.With EI, the tax is withheld (just like an employee’s paycheque), so you don’t need to worry about paying it later. In fact, you might even get a refund!

However, the CERB pays you the full taxable amount ($2000 per month), which means you will owe taxes (minimum rate 15%) on it in 2021.

Did I get paid twice by mistake?

You may have received two payments. The first is a retroactive payment from 15 March to 11 April, and the second is for the following month. This is not an overpayment but there will not be another deposit for four weeks.

“So from March 15 to April 11 is the first four week period, during which a $2,000 payment would have been made yesterday or perhaps today.”

Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos

Can I earn any income while on CERB?

Currently, once you are earning no income for 14 days, you can apply for CERB, but “for subsequent periods, you must expect to have no employment or self-employment income.”*

The Prime Minister announced Monday that he was looking into opening up CERB to underemployed and gig workers (<10 hours a week, under $500 a month), but for now, DO NOT JEOPARDIZE YOUR CERB benefit.


Can I collect a cheque for past invoices?

According to Service Canada regarding EI claims, “self-employment earnings from services performed … are allocated to the week or weeks when the services were performed”*

Our recommendation? Have time sheets, invoices and emails/texts ready to provide RevCan to show that any cheques you deposited after 15 March were for work completed prior to the CERB no-income period.


I applied for EI and heard nothing back.

If you applied for EI after 15 March, your case should have automatically been moved to CERB, and been paid out this week. If not, please contact Service Canada:

An SSO will get back to you within 48 hours.



The Ontario government provides funding that families can apply for if they have children who are not in school or child care because of coronavirus (COVID-19). [more information]


Did you know that there are over 100 free training opportunities online on our website? Check out our searchable database, and increase your industry knowledge during this forced hiatus. [more information]

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