In order to protect Canadian economy, citizens and permanent residents from the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government has taken a number of strong, strict and effective measures including travel restrictions, border closures, establishment of Emergency Care Benefit and so on.
In another effort to support Canadian workers and businesses, the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau announced a proposal to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for those who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
A more simpler and accessible combination of the previously announced Emergency Care and Emergency Support Benefits; this taxable benefit will provide $2,000 a month for up to four months to workers who:
- have lost their job
- are sick or quarantined,
- are unable to work because they are taking care of someone sick with COVID-19
- are working parents but have to stay home without pay to care for their children who are sick or at home due to closures of school and daycare
- are employed but are not receiving income because there is currently not sufficient work and due to other disruptions to their work situation, would also qualify for the CERB
Wage earners, contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) would be covered under the CERB.
Canadians should not apply for the CERB if they are already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits. If their EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, they could apply for the CERB.
They would continue to receive their EI regular and sickness benefits, if still unemployed after the 4 month period covered by the CERB.
Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the CERB will be accessible through a secure web portal that will be made available on April 6, 2020. Applicants will also be able to apply via an automated telephone line or via a toll-free number.
Canadians would begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of application. The CERB will be paid every four weeks starting from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is part of the federal government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which is designed to support Canadian workers and businesses impacted by this unprecedented event.