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What we know so far about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit

Last Updated Mar 29, 2020 at 7:47 pm EDT

Over the past week, the federal government has been making announcements about financial aid for Canadians who have suffered losses due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The biggest aid measure that has so far been unveiled is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) which replaces the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit.

What is the CERB?

The CERB is a taxable government payment meant to help those grappling with job loss or other circumstances that have resulted is sudden loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It offers $2000 per month for up to four months.

Who is eligible for the CERB?

You can apply for the CERB if you:

  • must stop working and do not have paid leave or other income support
  • still have your job but have been temporarily laid off and asked not to come to work
  • are sick or quarantined
  • are taking care of someone who has contracted COVID-19
  • are a working parent who has to stay home, without pay, to care for your children
  • are self-employed and would not otherwise qualify for employment insurance (EI)
  • are a contractor and would not otherwise qualify for EI

In addition, the federal government says since there is a backlog to receive EI benefits, you can apply for the CERB if you meet some basic qualifying criteria, which will be made clear soon.

“Those employees will get a direct payment from the government,” said Finance Minister Bill Morneau. “Primarily what we’re saying to Canadians is … we have your back during a difficult time and that’s critically important.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said an application portal will launch on the federal government’s website on April 6. Applicants can also apply via phone or a toll free number to be announced soon.

People should start receiving money within 10 days of applying.