Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) FAQS

WHAT IS CANADA EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT (CERB)?

On March 25, 2020 the government announced a CERB program which will replace the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit. 

CERB is a taxable benefit that would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

AM I ELIGIBLE FOR CERB?

The CERB would cover Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. The CERB would apply to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).

Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19, would also qualify for the CERB.

Qualification Note: 

  • $5,000 in employment income, self-income, or maternity or parental leave benefits for 2019 or in the 12-months period preceding the day of the application.

 WHAT IF I HAVE ALREADY APPLIED FOR EI BUT AM WAITING FOR MY APPLICATION TO BE PROCESSED? DO I APPLY FOR CERB?

If you have already applied for EI but your application has not yet been processed you DO NOT need to also apply for this new CERB benefit. The EI claim will automatically be moved over to the CERB and the you will receive the 16-week benefit. 

Canadians who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits would still be able to access their normal EI benefits, if still unemployed, after the 16-week period covered by the CERB.

The EI system was not designed to process the unprecedented high volume of applications received in the past week. Given this situation, all Canadians who have ceased working due to COVID-19, whether they are EI-eligible or not, would be able to receive the CERB to ensure they have timely access to the income support they need.

WHAT IF I AM RECEIVING EI (COLLECTING EI INCOME) – DO I APPLY FOR CERB?

No. You will continue to receive EI benefits. Canadians who are already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits as of today would continue to receive their benefits and should not apply to the CERB. If your EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, you could apply for the CERB once your EI benefits cease, if you unable to return to work due to COVID-19. 

WHEN CAN I APPLY FOR CERB?

The portal for accessing the CERB would be available in early April. EI eligible Canadians who have lost their job can continue to apply for EI here, as can Canadians applying for other EI benefits.

HOW DO I APPLY FOR CERB?

The program will be available early April through My CRA: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/cra-login-services.html

and My Service Canada:

https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/my-account.html

DO I NEED AN ROE TO APPLY FOR CERB?

Yes. Payroll provides your ROE directly to Service Canada. You will not need to ask for a paper copy, however you can request one if you would like. You will need a My Service Canada Account to view your ROE electronically. This is the link to My Service Canada and setting up your account: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/my-account.html

HOW QUICKLY CAN I RECEIVE CERB PAYMENTS?

Canadians would begin to receive their CERB payments within 10-14 days of application. The CERB would be paid every four weeks and be available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020. The earliest an employee will receive the benefit through direct deposit is April 16th or slightly later by mail. 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CERB AND EI BENEFIT PAYMENT?

CERB: is a taxable benefit that would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

EI: is a taxable benefit. The basic rate for calculating EI benefits is 55% of your average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum amount. The maximum yearly insurable earnings amount is $54,200. This means that you can receive a maximum amount of $573 per week.

***This information is current as of March 26, 2020 and may be subject to change in accordance with gov’t legislation****

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON CERB VISIT:

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/introduces-canada-emergency-response-benefit-to-help-workers-and-businesses.html