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What You Need to Know: Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

Last updated June 17, 2020: Please note that tax policies are changing rapidly. We are updating this article as details are made available.


If you are eligible, you can receive $2,000 for a four-week period (the same as $500 a week).
If your situation continues past four weeks, you will need to apply for the CERB again. You may re-apply for up to a total of 24 weeks.




Who can apply?

To be eligible, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You did not apply for, nor receive, CERB or EI benefits from Service Canada for the same eligibility period.

  • You did not quit your job voluntarily.

  • You reside in Canada and are at least 15 years old.

  • You earned a minimum of $5,000 (before taxes) in the last 12 months, or in 2019, from one or more of the following sources:

    • employment income

    • self-employment income

    • provincial benefit payments related to maternity or parental leave.

  • One of the following:

    • Your work hours have been reduced because of COVID-19 (see last checkbox below for more details).

    • You have stopped or will stop working because of COVID 19.

    • You are unable to work because of COVID-19, for example because you are taking care of someone.

    • Your regular or fishing EI benefits have run out (any time between December 29, 2019, and October 3, 2020).

  • One of the following:

    • If you are applying for the first time:

      You have stopped or will stop working, or you are working reduced hours due to COVID-19 and don’t expect to earn over $1,000 in employment or self-employment income for at least 14 days in a row during the four-week period.

    • If you are applying for a subsequent period:

      You are still not working, or you are working reduced hours due to COVID-19, and don’t expect to earn over $1,000 in employment or self-employment income, and you expect this to continue during the entire four-week period. What counts towards the $1,000 income? The $1,000 includes employment and/or self-employment income. This includes among others: tips you may earn while working; non-eligible dividends; honoraria (e.g. nominal amounts paid to emergency service volunteers); and royalties (e.g. paid to artists). However, royalty payments received from work that took place before the period for which a person applies for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit do not count as income during that specific benefit period. Pensions, student loans and bursaries are not employment income and therefore should not be included in the $1,000.

How to Apply:

You need to submit a separate application for each four-week period that you are eligible for.

Eligibility periods:

  • March 15, 2020, to April 11, 2020

  • April 12, 2020, to May 9, 2020

  • May 10, 2020, to June 6, 2020

  • June 7, 2020, to July 4, 2020

  • July 5, 2020, to August 1, 2020

  • August 2, 2020, to August 29, 2020

  • August 30, 2020, to September 26, 2020

You can apply online or by phone.

  • If you are applying online you will need a CRA my Account. If you do not have a CRA My Account, you can get started here. Have a copy of the last year’s tax return on hand.

  • If you are applying by phone, please have your social insurance number and postal code on hand. The number to call is 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041.

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