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The CERB and You

The Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) includes money designated for distribution to sole-proprietor and small business owners who don’t qualify for EI.

The CERB applies to an extremely broad group of workers in Canada.

The following is a list of questions and answers, which will be updated as new information comes up.

Update April 1: added navigation chart and filing instructions
Update April 18: You may now apply if you have made less than $1000 in the 14 days
chart source: Liberty Village BIA

When will the program start?

The program will be retroactive to 15 March 2020, and applications start 6 April 2020. Your application days depend on your birth month:

If you were born inApply for CERB on
January, February or MarchMondays
April, May, or JuneTuesdays
July, August, or SeptemberWednesdays
October, November, or DecemberThursdays
Any monthFridays, Saturdays and Sundays
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The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be in place, retroactively from March 15, 2020, until October 3, 2020. No worker is permitted to file an application after December 2, 2020.

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Where do I apply?

Sign into your CRA MyAccount online or call 1-800-959-2019 (have your Social Insurance Number ready and your postal code)

Both services are available 21 hours a day, 7 days a week. Both services are closed from 3:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. (Eastern time) for maintenance.

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You can also sign in using your Service Canada GCkey

After you sign in to My Service Canada Account:

Look for the link to “Switch to Canada Revenue Agency” and then “I agree” on the Registration and authentication page. This transfers you to CRA My Account.
Update your address and direct deposit with CRA (CRA does not have your personal information from your My Service Canada Account)
You can then complete the application when it becomes available on April 6.

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Should I apply for EI?

Refer to the chart above, or ‘show more’ for details.

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If you were laid-off from an EI eligible job prior to 6 April 2020, then you should apply for regular EI.

If you were sick with COVID-19 or required to care for a sick family member, or required to stay home to provide care for children as a result of school closures, and are EI eligible, then you can apply for sickness benefit EI.

If neither of these apply, but you made $5000 in taxable earnings last year in any work that is no longer available due to COVID-19, you will qualify for the CERB benefit, through Revenue Canada.

See Eligibility for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

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How long is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit

Up to four months.

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This Canada Emergency Response Benefit would provide income replacement for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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How soon can the Canada Emergency Response Benefit be paid?

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Canadians can expect to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of application beginning after April 6. There is no one-week waiting period “deductible” like regular Employment Insurance (“EI”).

People have reported receiving their direct deposit within 2 business days of application.

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How much is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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All workers who are approved will receive $2000 per month.

If you applied for EI after March 13, you will automatically be migrated to the CERB, managed by Service Canada. After the CERB runs out, your EI eligibility will begin.

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Eligibility for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

The CERB is now available if you earned $1,000 (before taxes) or less during an eligibility period. If this applies to your situation, you may be eligible to apply for a previous period, starting March 15, 2020.

The CERB applies to an extremely broad group of workers in Canada. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit would cover these Canadians:

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  • You did not apply for, nor receive, CERB or EI benefits from Service Canada for the same eligibility period
  • You did not quit your job voluntarily
  • You reside in Canada
  • You are 15 years old or more when you apply
  • You earned a minimum of $5,000 (before taxes) income in the last 12 months or in 2019 from one or more of the following sources:
    • employment income
    • self-employment income
    • provincial or federal benefits related to maternity or paternity leave

AND

  • You stopped or will stop working due to COVID-19, and:
    • You are applying for the first time
      For at least 14 days in a row during the 4-week payment period, you do not expect to receive more than $1,000 (before taxes) from employment and self-employment income
    • You are re-applying for another period
      You do not expect your situation to change during this 4-week period and you do not expect to receive more than $1,000 (before taxes) from employment and self-employment incomeOR
    • You received regular EI benefits for at least 1 week since December 29, 2019
      You are no longer eligible for EI benefits
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CERB Reporting Requirements

If you applied through Service Canada (as an EI claim), you must continue to report bi-weekly. You are still allowed to report $1000 a month in additional income without penalty.

If you applied through Revenue Canada (as a self-employed or uninsured claim), you must re-apply monthly and complete an attestation that you are still eligible for support.

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