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How to apply for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

In response to COVID-19 and the significant impact it’s had on workers, the Canadian Government has made the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) available to all Canadian workers that have lost employment as a result of this outbreak. This document provides information on the CERB program and guidance on how eligible individuals can apply.

Benefit overview

  • The CERB is available to Canadian workers (see eligibility below) that have stopped working due to COVID-19 whether or not they are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).
  • The CERB provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.
  • Income received through the CERB will be considered taxable income.
  • The benefit is available for the period from March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020.

Who is eligible to apply?

The benefit will be available to individuals:

  • Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
  • Who have stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit their job or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits;
  • Who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and
  • Who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment or self-employment income.

Note: Individuals that have not stopped working are not eligible for this benefit.

How to apply?

Applications for the CERB began on Monday, April 6, 2020. There are two ways to apply:

  1. Online through CRA My Account
  2. Over the phone with an automated phone service

Application reminders

  • The benefit is retroactive to March 15, 2020.
  • Individuals will need to reapply every four weeks to confirm their eligibility for the benefit.
  • An employer ROE is not required to apply for the CERB.
  • Service Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) deliver this benefit jointly. Individuals can apply through one or the other, but not both.

Employment Insurance (EI) and the CERB

  • Individuals that are already receiving EI benefits will continue to receive those benefits until the end of the benefit period.
  • EI claims that have been submitted prior to March 15, 2020 will be processed under pre-existing EI rules.
  • If the EI benefit period ends before October 3, 2020, individuals may apply for the CERB only after the EI benefit period ends.
  • Individuals that apply for EI on March 15, 2020 or later will automatically be processed through the CERB.

When and how to expect funds

For individuals who have direct deposit, payments are estimated to be made within three days of applying. Individuals who do not have direct deposit can expect a cheque within 10 days of applying.

To learn how to set up direct deposit, click here.

CERB application and other resources

Click here for more information or to apply for the CERB.

Click here for more information on Canada’s Economic Response Plan and other support programs.

By summarizing this information, we hope to make the application process for the CERB easier for you. Please continue to stay in touch so that we can provide additional updates and information as they become available.