2020-03-27 - Canada Emergency Response Benefit

Thank you to the Cox & Palmer Employment and Labour Group in Fredericton for providing the following information regarding the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB):

Canada Emergency Response Benefit

Bill C-13, COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, received Royal Assent yesterday, allowing the federal government to implement income support programs by enacting legislation such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit Act. This support includes the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which combines the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit. The amount of support available through the CERB will be specified in Regulations to the Act that are not yet available. However, the federal government announced that the CERB will provide $2,000 per month for up to 16 weeks to eligible workers who lose their income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who is Eligible?

According to the Act, to qualify for the CERB a worker must:

  • Be resident in Canada;
  • Be at least 15 years of age; and 
  • Have, in the 12 months preceding their application, a total income of at least $5,000 (or an amount to be fixed by the Regulations) from employment, self-employment, pregnancy or parental EI benefits, and provincial benefits for pregnancy or parental leave.

Eligibility is further restricted to those who cease working for reasons related to COVID-19 for at least 14 consecutive days and in those 14 days do not receive:

  • Income from employment or self-employment, subject to the coming Regulations;
  • Employment Insurance benefits;
  • Pregnancy or parental benefits paid under a provincial plan; or
  • Any other income that is identified in the coming Regulations.

Workers are not eligible for the CERB if they voluntarily quit their employment. Further, workers cannot simultaneously receive both Employment Insurance benefits and the CERB. 

According to the Government of Canada, the CERB will be available to those including:

  • Workers who have to stop working due to COVID-19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support;
  • Workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19;
  • Working parents who have to stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need care due to school or daycare closures;
  • Workers who still have employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer asked them not to go to work; and
  • Wage earners and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.

Individuals will be able to apply for the CERB in early April and benefits will be available from March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020.