The Canada Emergency Response Benefit - Amended

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Friday April 17 2020
2019-2023/113 - Amended



  1. What is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)?

  2. The CERB is a temporary income support for workers who have ceased working or who are earning less than $1000 per month due to COVID-19 and do not have access to paid leave.

    It provides a monthly benefit of $2,000 for workers who have been out of work for 14 consecutive days in any four-week period for reasons relating to COVID-19 or have seen a loss or serious reduction in work related to COVID-19.

  3. What situations does the Canada Emergency Response Benefit address?

  4. To get the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, you may not earn more than $1,000 for a period of at least 14 consecutive days within the initial four week period of your claim or $1000 in total for each subsequent claim.  It is meant to address situations where workers, for reasons relating to COVID-19:

    o  Have not quit their job voluntarily; or

    o   Are sick, quarantined, in self-isolation or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19; or

    o   Are working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children due to illness or school/daycare closures; or

    o   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.

    The CERB applies to wage earners, including contract workers and self-employed individuals regardless of their eligibility for Employment Insurance (EI).

  5. Am I eligible for CERB benefits?

  6. To qualify for CERB benefits, applicants must (a) be a resident of Canada, (b) be 15 years or older, and (c) have had a total income of at least $5,000 (combined) in 2019 or in the 12 months immediately preceding the application, from any of the following sources:

    o   Employment income,

    o   Self-employment income, and

    o   Maternity or parental leave benefits.

    To get the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, you may not earn more than $1,000 for a period of at least 14 consecutive days within the initial four week period of your claim or $1000 in total for each subsequent claim.


    Is your employer refusing to grant you leave to care for your children or self-isolate despite public health agency guidelines? You may be faced with the difficult decision of having to continue working or voluntarily leave your employment.

    Beware! If you leave your job, your record of employment will say, “voluntary termination of employment.” Workers who leave their job voluntarily without their employer’s authorization are not entitled to employment insurance benefits (regular or sickness) or to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

  7. How much will I get?

  8. The CERB will pay out $2,000 per four week period, to a maximum of 16 weeks. The same $2,000 amount will be paid to all recipients.

  9. Is the CERB a taxable benefit?

  10. The CERB is a taxable benefit, but the Government has announced that tax recovery will be deferred. Further details are unavailable at this time.

  11. How will I be paid under the CERB?

  12. The CERB will be paid every four weeks, and be available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020.

  13. Where can I apply?

  14. Applications will go through the Canada Revenue Agency web site. Benefit claims will take 10 days to process.

    The CERB covers the period of March 15 to October 3, 2020, and applies for a maximum of 16 weeks, in four-week increments. You will need to renew your application for benefits every four weeks. 

  15. I have already applied for EI, what do I do?

  16. If you have already applied for EI, you do not need to apply for this new benefit.

  17. I haven’t yet applied for EI or the CERB, what should I do?

  18. EI benefits paid to workers who apply on or after March 15 will mirror CERB payments for the first 16 weeks.

    If a worker is not eligible for EI, the only option available to them is to apply directly to the CERB when applications open.

  19. Should I apply to both EI and the CERB?

  20. No.

  21. When will I start receiving my CERB payments?

  22. The application process began during the week of April 6, 2020. Applications will be processed within 10 days from when an application form is submitted. Applications can be back-dated to March 15, 2020.

  23. I started receiving Employment Insurance benefits prior to March 15. Do I qualify for the CERB payments?

  24. At this point, the answer is no. You will continue to receive your EI benefits. However, if your EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, and if you meet the CERB eligibility criteria, and if you are still unable to return to work for reasons relating to COVID-19, you can apply to receive CERB benefits.

  25. What if I am still sick or unemployed after October 3, 2020?

  26. If you have enough EI insurable hours, you will still be able to access your normal EI benefits after the 16-week period covered by the CERB.

In solidarity,

Jean-Philippe Grenier
3rd National Vice-President