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What is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

The CERB supports Canadians by providing financial support to employed and self-employed Canadians who are directly affected by COVID-19.

It provides a payment of $2,000 for a 4-week period (the same as $500 a week) for up to 16 weeks.

After you apply, you should get your payment in 3 business days if you signed up for direct deposit. If you haven’t, you should get it in about 10 business days.

How to apply for CERB

Applications open April 6, 2020. There are two ways to apply:

If you apply for CERB through the CRA, you will need to re-certify that you’re still eligible for the program every 4 weeks. If you apply via Service Canada, you need to follow their directions about reporting your income.

Application Instructions – via phone:

Before you call, please ensure you have the following information:

To verify your identity, you’ll need

  • your social insurance number (SIN)
  • postal code

If you are calling the CRA on behalf of someone else, you must be an authorized representative

Application Instructions – online application:

Before you apply for CERB online, you must have an active CRA My Account. For instructions on how to register, please click here.

Once you have logged in via your CRA My Account:

1. Go to COVID-19: Canada Emergency Response Benefit in the alert banner at the top of the page
2. Select the period you want to apply for
3. Declare that you qualify for the benefit
4. Confirm your payment information online

If you are not normally eligible for Employment Insurance, please register for your CRA My Account and direct deposit in advance of the application launch.

Who is eligible for CERB?

To be eligible, you must meet the following requirements:

AND

    • OR

You cannot apply for the CERB with CRA if you already applied through Service Canada

If you have already applied for Employment Insurance (EI) or for the CERB through Service Canada, you cannot apply for the CERB with the CRA.

If you are applying for the CERB for the first time, and not sure where to apply, answer the questions under Get Started, on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit page.

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.

Get more details under Who can apply.

Eligibility periods

Eligibility periods are fixed in 4-week periods.

If your situation continues, you can re-apply for CERB for multiple 4-week periods, to a maximum of 16 weeks (4 periods).

If you start working again after you get a CERB payment, and then stop working, you need to re-apply for the CERB. When you re-apply, you must confirm that for at least 14 days in a row, during the period you are applying for, you won’t receive:

  • employment income
  • self-employment income
  • provincial or federal benefits related to maternity or paternity leave
4-week period cycle Period dates
1 March 15, 2020 to April 11, 2020
2 April 12, 2020 to May 9, 2020
3 May 10, 2020 to June 6, 2020
4 June 7, 2020 to July 4, 2020
5 July 5, 2020 to August 1, 2020
6 August 2, 2020 to August 29, 2020
7 August 30, 2020 to September 26, 2020

After you apply

If you are eligible for the CERB, you can expect $2,000 ($500 per week) for a 4-week period.

The CERB is paid by direct deposit or by cheque if your direct deposit information is not on file.

After you apply, you should get your payment in 3 business days if you signed up for direct deposit. If you haven’t, you should get it in about 10 business days. If your situation continues, you can re-apply for a payment for multiple 4-week periods, to a maximum of 16 weeks (4 periods).

These benefits are taxable

You will need to report any payments received on next year’s tax filing. An information slip will be made available for the 2020 tax year in My Account under Tax Information Slips (T4 and more).

Return or repay CERB

You may want to return or repay the CERB if you:

  • return to work earlier than expected
  • applied for CERB but later realize you’re not eligible

Information courtesy of The Government of Canada .

When should you apply for CERB?

Service Canada anticipates a high level of applications, to help manage this, the CRA has set up specific days for you to apply. Please use the following guidelines:
If you were born in the month of: Please apply on:
January, February or March April 6
April, May, or June April 7
July, August, or September April 8
October, November, or December April 9
Any month Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays

Questions about CERB?

Unsure if you should apply for CERB with Service Canada or CRA?

Questions about applying for CERB with CRA?

Find answers to common questions with this automated helpline:
1-833-966-2099

To speak with an agent about CERB, or CRA My Account:
1-800-959-8281

For more information on CERB and the application process, please click here. 

For additional information on CERB, please visit the Government of Canada’s website, here. 

Financial Supports for Individuals 

Support Description How to Access or Apply
Employment Insurance (EI) Existing benefits continue.Up to $573/a week, for a maximum of 45 weeks. Apply online, here.
Employment Insurance (EI) Sickness Benefit Up to $573/a week, for a maximum of 15 weeks.One week waiting period waived.No medical certificate required (unless tested positive beyond the quarantine time period) Apply online, here
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) A taxable benefit of $2000 a month (for up to four months) for workers who have lost their income and do not qualify for EI. Apply online, here.
Mortgages (CMHC-insured) CMHC and other mortgage insurers will be applying new measures to help homeowners who may experience financial difficulty. CMHC will permit lenders to allow payment deferral beginning immediately Check with your lender for additional information.
Mortgages (non-CMHC) Canadians who are impacted by COVID-19 and experiencing financial hardship as a result should contact their financial institution regarding flexibility for a mortgage deferral. Check with your lender for additional information.
Canada Student Loans effective March 30 a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans was put in place for all student loan borrowers. No payment will be required and interest will not accrue during this time. Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.
Special Goods and Services Tax credit payment a one-time boost of up to $600 per eligible couple, $400 for eligible individuals in May. Benefit is paid out according to your income tax return. No application necessary, eligible recipients will receive this payment automatically.
Canada Child Benefit an extra $300 per child through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-20. If you are already registered for CCB you will receive this benefit automatically. Otherwise, apply online.
Income tax return The filing due date has been deferred to June 1. Payments owed are deferred until after August 31. No application necessary.
Registered Retirement Income Funds the required minimum withdrawals from (RRIFs) has been reduced by 25% for 2020. No application necessary.
Emergency Travel Loan Canadians abroad directly impacted by COVID-19 will have the option of applying for an emergency loan of up to $5,000 to help secure their timely return to Canada. Call Global Affairs Canada’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 1-613-996-8885, or send an email to CAN.finances.CV19@international.gc.ca
Old Age Security (OAS) The OAS pension is a monthly payment available to seniors aged 65 and older who meet the Canadian legal status and residence requirements. Apply online, here.
Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) The Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) provides a monthly non-taxable benefit to Old Age Security (OAS) pension recipients who have a low income and are living in Canada. Apply online, here.
Allowance/Allowance for Survivor The Allowance for the Survivor is a benefit available to people aged 60 to 64 who have a low income, who are living in Canada, and whose spouse or common-law partner has died. Apply online, here.
BC Emergency Benefit for Workers a tax-free $1,000 payment to British Columbians whose ability to work has been affected by COVID-19. Additional information to come. Contact your MLA for further details.
Disability Assistance disability assistance can help you if you need financial or health support. Existing Disability Assistance program continues to be available. See also full list of additional supports here. Apply online, here.
Freeze on rental rates no rent increases are allowed in BC, effective April 1. Contact the Residential Tenancy Board for more information, or with questions.
Rental supplement the BC Temporary Rental Supplement Program gives tenants and landlords temporary support towards rent payments for renters impacted by COVID-19. Payments are made directly to the landlords of eligible households. Apply online, here.
BC Student Loans effective March 30, 2020, all British Columbia student loan borrowers will temporarily have their repayments suspended until September 30, 2020. No action needed.
BC Hydro bill deferrals, payment plans, as well as crisis funding is available. Call 1-800-BC-HYDRO
Emergency Housing existing shelters still active and additional emergency options may be available. Call 2-1-1 or search online.
Climate Action Tax Credit a one-time boost of up to $564 for eligible families of 4 and $218 for eligible individuals in an enhanced payment in July. No other action is needed; benefit is paid out according to your income tax return.
For a full list of financial supports available for individuals, please click here.
While our office is closed to the public, we are still working remotely. If you need any assistance or have any concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this difficult time.