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Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

Actionable Information

What is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)?

If you have lost income because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide you with temporary income support.

The CERB will provide you with $500 a week for up to 24 weeks.

The government started accepting applications on April 6, 2020.

Who qualifies for the CERB?

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be available to individuals who meet the following criteria:

  • Reside in Canada, who are at least 15 years old
  • Who have stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits:
    • Who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and
    • Who expect to receive not more that $1,000 employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they do not expect to receive more than $1,000 employment or self-employment income.
  • The income of at least $5,000 may be from any or a combination of the following sources: employment; self-employment; maternity and parental benefits under the Employment Insurance program and/or similar benefits paid in Quebec under the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan.

How much can an eligible individual receive through the CERB?

The Benefit, in the amount of $2,000, will be paid in blocks of four weeks. This is equivalent to $500 per week. A maximum of 24 weeks of benefits can be paid.

The Benefit is taxable although tax will not be deducted at source. You will be expected to report the Benefit as income when you file your income tax for the 2020 tax year.

How to apply

Service Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) deliver this benefit jointly. You can apply through one or the other, but not both.

Prior to April 6, individuals who are without work and are eligible for EI can continue to apply for Employment Insurance. If you applied for EI regular or sickness benefits on March 15, 2020 or later, your claim will be automatically processed through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

If you are not eligible for Employment Insurance, find out how you can get ready to apply for the CERB through the Canada Revenue Agency.

New Recovery Benefits

If you were receiving CERB, you may be eligible for one of the new recovery benefits retroactive to September 27, 2020, and available until September 25, 2021.

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