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 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
September 27 2020: The CERB Program has ended.
The CRA is continuing to accept and process retroactive applications for period 7 (August 30 to September 26, 2020).
You can apply for period 7 through the CRA’s My Account or automated toll-free phone line at 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041.
- When will the program start?
- Where do I apply?
- Should I apply for EI?
- How long is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit
- How soon can the Canada Emergency Response Benefit be paid?
- How much is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?
- Eligibility for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?
- CERB Reporting Requirements
- Share this
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 in||Apply for CERB on|
|January, February or March||Mondays|
|April, May, or June||Tuesdays|
|July, August, or September||Wednesdays|
|October, November, or December||Thursdays|
|Any month||Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays|
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.show less
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.show more
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.
Should I apply for EI?
Refer to the chart above, or ‘show more’ for details.show more
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.show less
How long is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit
Up to four months.show more
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.show less
How soon can the Canada Emergency Response Benefit be paid?show more
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.show less
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.show more
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.show less
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:show more
- 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
- 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
- You are applying for the first time
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.
- Dutton Employment Law
- Canadian Government press release
- Liberty Village BIA
- Government of Canada website