Today morning, the federal government announced that it is loosening the eligibility criteria for emergency federal pandemic aid to cover seasonal workers without jobs and workers whose hours have been drastically cut but who still have some income.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provides $2,000 every four weeks for up to four months to workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CERB covers 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 also applies to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) and are unable to work due to COVID-19.
Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19, also qualify for the CERB. This will 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.
April 15 Changes:
- Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
- Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Extend the CERB to workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR CERB
The CERB is available to workers who meet all of the following conditions:
- live in Canada and are at least 15 years old
- stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits
- have not voluntarily quit their job
- had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application through employment income, self-employment income, provincial or federal benefits related to maternity or paternity leave
- You stopped or will stop working due to COVID-19,
- and: You are applying for the first time: For at least 14 days in a row during the 4-week payment period, you do not expect to receive more than $1,000 (before taxes) from employment and self-employment income
- You are re-applying for another period: You do not expect your situation to change during this 4-week period and you do not expect to receive more than $1,000 (before taxes) from employment and self-employment income
- OR You received regular EI benefits for at least 1 week since December 29, 2019 and You are no longer eligible for EI benefits
APPLICATION DATES – WHEN TO APPLY
The Benefit is available for the period from March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020 for a maximum of four months(16 weeks). Eligible workers can apply no later than December 2, 2020.
- First Period: March 15 to April 11
- Second Period: April 12 to May 9
- Third Period: May 10 to June 6
- Fourth: June 7 to July 4
- Fifth Period: July 5 to August 1
- Sixth Period: August 2 to August 29
- Seventh: August 30 to September 26.
If you were born in the months of January, February or March, apply for CERB on Mondays
If you were born in the months of April, May, or June, apply for CERB on Tuesdays
If you were born in the months of July, August, or September, apply for CERB on Wednesdays
If you were born in the months of October, November, or December, apply for CERB on Thursdays
If you are applying on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, month of your birth does not matter.
HOW TO APPLY FOR CERB
These changes will be retroactive to March 15, 2020. You cannot apply for the CERB with CRA if you already applied through Service Canada.
Applicants will be asked simple questions that help direct them to one of two service options:
- Canadians who would generally be eligible for EI benefits will be directed to apply for the CERB through Service Canada through Appliweb; or
- Canadians who would generally not be eligible for EI benefits will be directed to apply for the CERB through the CRA’s MyAccount or CRA’s automated toll-free line at 1-800-959-2019.