Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced a new aid package for Canadians, called the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which will pay eligible workers $2,000 per month for four months.
According to Trudeau, the taxable benefit is for those who lose their income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB is an easier version of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit programs which it replaces.
The federal government’s website details the following eligibility requirements of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which will pay $2,000 per month for up to four months:
- workers who must stop working due to COVID19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
- workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
- working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.
- workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.
- wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.
Ottawa says the Employment Insurance (EI) was “not designed to process the unprecedented high volume of applications received in the past week,” hence the need for the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
When can you apply online for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?
The government says the online portal will become available on April 6, 2020, with the first CERB payments to come within 10 days of your application, paid every four weeks from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020.
How can I apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?
There are three ways to apply for the CERB:
- CRA MyAccount secure online portal
- My Service Canada Account online
- Calling a toll free number equipped with an automated application process
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit says it aims to help Canadians “pay for essentials like housing and groceries, and helping businesses pay their employees and bills during this unprecedented time of global uncertainty.”
The benefit would allow Canadians to continue to pay bills, such as those related to TV, internet and wireless, on top of buying groceries. Trudeau previously suggested Canadians take advantage of Apple’s FaceTime video chat to continue communicating with others during self-isolation.
You may want to bookmark this page on the Government of Canada website which details ‘Support for Individuals’, as part of Ottawa’s COVID-19 Economic Response plan.
Update March 27, 2020: The government has confirmed the CERB will be tax-free: