• PHTCC Team

What do I need to know about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)?

What is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides temporary income support to workers who have stopped working related to COVID-19.

Individuals who are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits may also be eligible.

The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $500 per week for a maximum of 16 weeks.

The Benefit is available from March 15, 2020, to October 3, 2020. You can apply no later than December 2, 2020 for payments retroactive to within that period.

Reference site:

How much money will I get?

A flat rate of $2,000 a month for up to four months.

Is CERB taxable?

Yes the benefit is taxable, but you will receive the $2000 upfront. When the time comes for you to prepare your income tax return for the year 2020 you will need to claim it as income.

Am I eligible?

You must reside in Canada and have a valid social insurance number (tfws included)

You are 15 years of age or older at the time of application

You are earning employment income of $1,000 a month or less for reasons related to covid-19, or because you are unable to work due to illness, or because you lost your employment for other reasons beyond your control

You have not quit your job voluntarily

You are not receiving nor have you applied for the CERB from the Canada Revenue Agency nor are you receiving Employment Insurance benefits for the same benefit period

You have earned a minimum of $5,000 in income within the last 12 months or in the 2019 calendar year from one or more from the following sources:

Employment income

Self-employment income

Dividend, under certain conditions.

When can I start applying?

Application portals and phone lines are open now. CERB will be available until October 3, 2020.

EI eligible applicants should apply through the E-Service Canada portal.

Non EI eligible applicants should apply through the CRA's My Account.

To avoid overloading the CRA portal, CRA has recommended that the day to apply will depend on your month of birth. If you were born in:

January, February and March, you can apply starting April 6

April, May and June, you can apply starting April 7

July, August and September, you can apply starting April 8

October, November and December, you can apply starting April 9

In order to receive your benefit faster, make sure that you have signed-up for direct deposit with CRA and that the information you provided is up to date.

Direct deposit - Canada Revenue Agency

How do I apply?

There are three ways to apply:

Online with E-Service Canada portal (recommended for those eligible for EI)

Online with CRA's My Account (recommended for those non-eligible for EI)

Over the phone with an automated phone service:

If you have Portal Account issues:


If you have filed tax returns prior to 2018



If you have never filed a tax return before


Note: Ensure that your have your SIN, your postal code and you know the period that you are applying for when you call.

I’m locked out of my portal! What should I do?

The fastest way to apply to CERB would be to call 1-833-966-2099.

You will have to re-apply for each claiming period.

Service Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) deliver this benefit jointly so if you have already applied for Employment Insurance, you do not need to re-apply.

What are the periods for receiving the CERB?

The CERB is available in 4-week periods, during which claimants must have no income:

*periods open for applications currently as applications for each period are being staggered.

When will I get my CERB payments?

Applicants will begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of their application.

Can I be employed and receive the CERB?

The Federal Government has announced that if you are earning less than $1000 per month, you can work and claim CERB. More information is to come. Anyone earning more than $1000 per month will not be eligible for CERB.

I’m a seasonal employee – do I still qualify for CERB?

Yes, if you have seasonal employment and can’t find a job due to COVID-19 you are eligible for CERB provided you meet all the eligibility criteria.

My EI ran out, do I qualify for CERB?

The federal government announced that anyone whose EI claim ran out after January 1, 2020, will be eligible for CERB.

Are employers still required to file ROEs for their employees to receive the CERB?

As an employer, you are required to file an ROE whenever an employee experiences or anticipates an interruption of earnings. This is generally 7 consecutive days of no earnings or if the employee has fallen below 60% of their regular weekly earnings for reasons like illness, pregnancy or caring for an ill family member. All to say, an employer still needs to submit an ROE for their employee to Service Canada (the fastest way to do this is through ROE web, not PaperROEs).

Employees applying for CERB do not need their ROE to apply to CERB.

Employees applying for EI, can use their previous 12 month paystubs to create an interim ROE. This will allow them to start and process their ROE while waiting for employers to submit their ROE.

Please note that all EI applications received after March 15th are automatically being treated as CERB applications.

How do we deal with employees asking to be laid off for the CERB?

If an employee quits their job/takes a leave of absence voluntarily, they will be not eligible for the CERB. This program is designed for employees who are no longer able to work due to COVID-19. People will have to self-attest multiple times during the CERB payment period, and post-mortem audits may occur.

Are independent contractors eligible for the CERB?

Yes, if they meet the eligibility criteria above.

How is government going to track employment income for the CERB?

This will be done purely by attestations. Government will reserve the right to ask to see bank statements, check CRA T4s and T4Sums, and post-mortem audits may occur.

Can I receive benefits from my province and the CERB at the same time?

Yes. For example, in Quebec you can receive the temporary aid for workers from the Quebec government and the CERB from the federal government.

Emergency benefits: What each province is offering during the COVID-19 pandemic.

British Columbia: B.C. Premier John Horgan announced on March 23 that the province is introducing theBC Emergency Benefit for Workers, which will provide a one-time payment of up to $1,000. Families with low or medium incomes will receive a larger-than-usual Climate Action Tax Credit in July, and the province will also provide up to $500 a month to renters who are at risk of losing their homes.

Alberta: Anyone in Alberta who is self-isolating or the sole caregiver of someone who is self-isolating can apply for the province's emergency isolation support payments. Announced on March 18, the program offers one-time payments of $1,146. Applications opened March 25.

Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan residents who have been ordered to self-isolate and are not eligible for the federal supports can apply for the province's self-isolation support program, which was announced March 20 and provides recipients with $900 over two weeks. The province has said this will mainly benefit self-employed workers.

Manitoba: As of April 2, the Manitoba government has not announced any specific direct financial assistance for residents affected by COVID-19.

Ontario: The Ontario government said March 25 that it will offer one-time payments to parents of children who are affected by school and daycare closures. These payments will be $200 per child up to the age of 12, or $250 if the child is considered to have special needs. Low-income seniors will also see increases in their usual payments from the province for six months, some families will be newly eligible to receive support paying hydro bills, and access to the Ontario Works income support program will be expanded as well.

Quebec: In Quebec, those who are unable to work due to COVID-19-related reasons and do not qualify for federal assistance can apply to the province's Temporary Aid for Workers Program, applications for which opened March 19. Recipients will receive $573 per week for up to four weeks.

New Brunswick: Workers who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 state of emergency in New Brunswick, including the self-employed, are eligible for one-time payments of $900. The province announced these payments March 24 and said they are aimed at bridging the gap between the loss of work and federal benefits kicking in. Applications are open.

Nova Scotia: Nova Scotians on income assistance are receiving an extra $50 with each payment as of March 20.

Prince Edward Island: Anyone who lives and works in P.E.I., earns $25 per hour or less and lost their job between March 13 and March 31 is eligible to receive a $100 gift card for Sobeys. According to the province, the grocery giant is helping fund this program. Other measures announced in P.E.I. include $750 to bridge the gap between a layoff and the first federal benefit payments, as much as $250 a week for workers who have kept their jobs but at reduced hours and a fund for the self-employed with a maximum payment of $500 per week.

Newfoundland and Labrador: The provincial government in Newfoundland and Labrador announced March 14 that it will compensate private-sector employers to ensure employees do not go without pay during the pandemic.

Yukon: As of April 2, the Yukon government has not announced any specific direct financial assistance for residents affected by COVID-19. However, the territory is providing rebates to employers to cover workers' time off due to self-isolation requirements, up to a maximum of 10 days and $378.13 per day per employee.

Northwest Territories: Funding to the income assistance program in the Northwest Territories is being increased, the territory announced March 20.

Nunavut: As of April 2, the Nunavut government has not announced any specific direct financial assistance for residents affected by COVID-19.

Reference site:

Can I get EI or the CERB if I am working under a temporary work permit?

You are eligible for EI if you meet the regular eligibility criteria.

You are eligible for the CERB if you have a valid social insurance number and meet all the criteria.

Can I get EI and the CERB at the same time?

No, applicants cannot receive EI regular or sickness benefits and the CERB at the same time but:

Those who are already receiving EI regular benefits will continue to receive the same benefits until the end of their benefit period. If these benefits end before October 3, 2020, they may then apply for the CERB if they meet the eligibility requirements.

EI claims of those who became eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits March 15th onward will be automatically processed through the CERB. After 4 months of receiving the CERB, they will still be able to apply for their regular EI benefits if they are still unemployed. Receiving the CERB first will not affect their eligibility to receive EI benefits after.

Can I get CPP and the CERB at the same time?

Yes, you are eligible for CPP and CERB at the same time. However, you must meet all the other eligibility criteria for CERB.

I still have questions about CERB or CRA My Account!

Agents are available to speak to about CERB or CRA My Account at 1-800-959-8281.

Reference site:

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