COVID-19-Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
To support workers and help businesses keep their employees, the government has proposed
legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit
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.
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. This
would help businesses keep their employees as they navigate these difficult times, while
ensuring they preserve the ability to quickly resume operations as soon as it becomes possible.
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
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 their EI benefits end
before October 3, 2020, they could apply for the CERB once their EI benefits cease, if they are
unable to return to work due to COVID-19. Canadians who have already applied for EI and
whose application has not yet been processed would not need to reapply. 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 government is working to get money into the pockets of Canadians as quickly as possible.
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, as can Canadians applying for other EI benefits.
Canadians would begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of application. The
CERB would be paid every four weeks and be available from March 15, 2020 until October 3,
This benefit would be one part of the government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, to
support Canadian workers and businesses.