UPDATED AS OF JULY 31, 2020
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 25, 2020, the Canadian government established a new kind of income replacement benefit called the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
The CERB temporarily replaces all new applications for Employment Insurance applications related to COVID-19.
The CERB gives working people who cease working and stop receiving income (other than $1000) because of COVID-19 disruptions for at least 14 days a monthly payment of $2,000.
When does the Canada Emergency Response Benefit start?
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be in place on April 6, retroactively from March 15, 2020, until October 3, 2020. No worker is permitted to file an application after December 2, 2020.
Note, however, the program does not start until April 6. Thus, CERB Payments will not be made until some time shortly after April 6.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed on April 1 that the federal government will start taking CERB applications sometime beginning on the week of April 6, 2020.
Update: On April 6, 2020, the CERB portal opened, and Canadians can start applying for and receiving the CERB immediately.
How long is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?
This Canada Emergency Response Benefit would provide income replacement for up to
four six months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
How soon can the Canada Emergency Response Benefit be paid?
Canadian residents can expect to receive their CERB payments within 3 – 10 days of application beginning after April 6. There is no one-week waiting period “deductible” like regular Employment Insurance (“EI”).
Eligible applicants can expect to get their first CERB payment in 3 business days if they have signed up for a direct deposit, and approximately 10 business days if they have not signed up for a direct deposit.
Apply again every 4 weeks: CERB participants will need to apply and confirm their eligibility for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit every 4 weeks if they remain out of work and pay because of COVID-19 before they get their next CERB payment.
We would encourage all Canadians to get their direct deposit information ready and register for their CRA My Account for direct deposit in advance of the application launch on or around April 6.
Update: On April 6, 2020, the CERB portal opened, and Canadians can start applying for and receiving the CERB immediately. The easiest way to apply for the first CERB payment is to apply online with a CRA My Account. Canadians should use their CRA My Account to make subsequent CERB applications too.
On April 6, 2020 the Canadian government opened up the CERB application
How much is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will provide $2,000 a month for up to
four six months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unlike EI, there is no calculation for the CERB payment in terms of how much money someone normally makes. To that effect, all workers who are approved for the CERB will receive $2,000 per month.
This CERB amount ($2,000) appears to be actually less pay than regular EI for workers who earned over $54,200 per year. This means that instead of receiving $573 maximum per week on EI, workers on this program would only receive $500 per week. However, EI eligibility months will not be deducted while on the CERB. Therefore, once the 4-month CERB is up for a worker, if they are still eligible, they can receive their full number of months of EI at the $573 rate.
When an individual is approved for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, they will receive $2,000 per monthly period, regardless of what they may have been eligible to receive through EI.
The CERB is not a loan. The CERB does not need to be paid back unless it was paid to someone erroneously (i.e. ineligible individuals).
On April 1, the CRA said: “[CERB payments] are taxable and [workers] will need to report any payments received on next year’s tax filing. An information slip will be made available for the 2020 tax year in My Account under Tax Information Slips (T4 and more)”.
|Do I receive the full $2000 per month wit the CERB?||The payments will be taxable income, and there will be a $200 income-tax deduction for a monthly total of $1,800.|
Can you work and earn income while on the CERB?
Yes, individuals can still work and receive at most $1,000 per month in income and still be eligible for the CERB (see the update link below).
In addition, individuals on the CERB can receive “non-eligible dividends”.
Update April 15, 2020: the Government of Canada announced that it will expand the CERB program to include workers who are earning less than $1000/month. Read more here.
Can I receive the CERB if I am currently receiving pension or CPP or OAS payments but was self-employed and had to stop working because of COVID19?
April 24 Update: Yes. The Canadian government has unveiled massive financial support for workers and businesses in the wake of COVID-19. Working retirees are not excluded. For seniors, receiving Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or Old Age Security (OAS) benefits does not rule out receiving CERB.
Can an employer top-up the CERB?
We do know that in the CERB legislation, in section 6(1)(b)(i), as a prerequisite for receiving the CERB, an employee must not receive any “income”, to which a “top-up” is probably included at this time.
However, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit Act does say that the government can make a regulation that can “exclude a class of income” for the purposes of section 6(1)(b)(i). To that effect, perhaps the government will make a regulation that says an employer top-up is permitted, but they haven’t yet. We will update this article when the government releases the regulations to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit Act. Update see the below link for “top-ups” on the CERB.
Employers who wish to top-up employees on EI are encouraged to consider the Supplemental Unemployment Benefit currently at this time.
Update April 15, 2020: the Government of Canada announced that it will expand the CERB program to include workers who are earning less than $1000/month. No new legislation has been drafted yet, but we might assume that employers may be able to top-up employee income by $1000 per month. However, employers are cautioned against making any top ups for employees on the CERB until the legislation is passed and we know more.. Read more here.
What about the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit?
The previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit are scrapped. The CERB replaces the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.
How will the CERB be paid?
The CERB will be paid every four weeks by direct deposit or by check delivered by letter mail. Workers are encouraged to get their direct deposit information ready.
The CERB is a single payment of a $2,000 for a four-week period.
Workers will have to log in to the online CERB portal using their ‘My CRA Account’ monthly and declare they are still eligible for the next CERB payment before every monthly CERB payment is made.
Individuals are entitled to a maximum of
four six $2,000 monthly CERB payments (i.e. $8,000 $12,000 maximum per person).
When are applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit available?
Applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit are available now. The easiest way to apply for the first CERB payment is to apply online with a CRA My Account. Canadians should use their CRA My Account to make subsequent CERB applications too.
What about preexisting EI applications?
Existing EI applications that are still unapproved that came as a result of COVID-19 will be rolled into the Canada Emergency Response Benefit program. There is no need to apply again.
Who can apply for the CERB?
Any resident of Canada who is 15 years old or older, and who, for 2019 or in the 12-month period preceding the day on which they make an application has a total income of at least $5,000 from:
- employment; or
- self-employment; or
- EI maternity benefits;
- EI parental benefits.
Who qualifies for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit is available to those who stop working for reasons related to COVID-19 between March 15 and October 3, 2020. Examples of stopping to work could include but are not limited to:
- Individuals have been let go from their job, laid off, terminated, or put on leave or had their hours reduced to zero;
- Individuals who are in quarantine or ill due to COVID-19;
- Individuals who are away from work to take care of others because they are in quarantine, sick due to COVID-19; and/or
- Individuals who are away from work to take care of children or other dependents whose care facility/school is closed due to COVID-19.
The CERB applies to an extremely broad group of workers in Canada, including full-time employees, part-time employees, contract workers and self-employed people. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit would cover Canadian resident workers who are wage-earners, hourly-earners, salary-earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) who lost their income because of COVID-19.
Here is exactly what the legislation says:
- “(1) A worker is eligible for an income support payment if
- (a) the worker, whether employed or self-employed, ceases working for reasons related to COVID-19 for at least 14 consecutive days within the four-week period in respect of which they apply for the payment; and
- (b) they do not receive, in respect of the consecutive days on which they have ceased working,
- (i) subject to the regulations, income from employment or self-employment,
- (ii) benefits, as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Employment Insurance Act,
- (iii) allowances, money or other benefits paid to the worker under a provincial plan because of pregnancy or in respect of the care by the worker of one or more of their new-born children or one or more children placed with them for the purpose of adoption, or
- (iv) any other income that is prescribed by regulation.
- (2) An employed worker does not cease work for the purpose of paragraph (1)(a) if they quit their employment voluntarily.”
Accordingly, to be eligible for the CERB, employees or self-employed people need to “cease working” and “not receive” income because of COVID-19 disruptions for at least 14 days.
Update om April 15, 2020: workers can work and earn income on the CERB if, for at least 14 days in a row during a 4-week payment period, they do not expect to receive more than $1,000 (before taxes) from employment and self-employment income
To be clear, workers who remain ‘attached’ to their employer can receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. All that is required for a worker to be eligible for the CERB is that their employer reduced their hours and pay to zero-$1,000 per month, even temporarily.
|Can you receive the CERB if you filed for bankruptcy? What about child support?||Yes, you can. Pursuant to the Canada Emergency Response Act, the CERB:|
(a) is not subject to the operation of any law relating to bankruptcy or insolvency;
(b) cannot be assigned, charged, attached or given as security;
(c) cannot be retained by way of deduction, set-off or compensation;
(d) is not garnishable moneys for the purposes of the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act.
How long did an employee need to work for?
Unlike EI, there is no requirement that a worker worked for any set of hours before he or she is eligible for the CERB.
The CERB requirement is that a worker was employed or self-employed and earned $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application.
Accordingly, on its face, it appears that workers who just started at their new employer are eligible for the CERB if their new employment was disrupted by COVID-19. However, the government of Canada could make regulations that change this. We will know more soon.
What is the $5,000 in “income” requirement?
The requirement for workers’ earning “income” of at least $5,000 may be from any or a combination of money from the following sources: employment; self-employment; maternity and parental benefits under the old EI program.
Do I still qualify if I made less than the $5000 requirement? If in 2019 or in the 12-month period preceding the day on which you make the first CERB application, you do not have a total income of at least $5,000 from employment; or self-employment; or EI maternity benefits; EI parental benefits., you would not be eligible to apply.
The $5,000 in income does not have to be earned in Canada, but an applicant does need to reside in Canada.
The $5,000 income could be earned in 2019 or 2020.
|Is CERB based off of net or gross income?||The $5000 requirement is based on “gross” income, not “net” pay,|
Update April 6, 2020: “non-eligible dividends” received by individuals can count towards the $5,000 income requirement to be eligible for CERB.
I am a worker or self-employed person who receives monies at later dates, how does this affect my CERB application?
If you know you will have income from, for example, a transaction (i.e. a realtor or a sole practitioner lawyer etc.) or paycheque for work completed in a CERB period, you cannot apply for that applicable CERB period. However, if you do not have any transactions expected to complete for the next applicable CERB period, you may apply.
Do Workers need a doctor’s note to get the CERB?
No. Workers do not need a doctor’s note to complete an online application. However, the Government of Canada has said that individuals may be asked to provide additional documentation to verify their eligibility at a future date after CERB payments have been made.
Do Self-employed people get the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?
Yes, unlike EI regular benefits, self-employed people are entitled to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
What about people who are still employed?
The CERB covers Canadian residents who have (1) stopped working and (2) lost their income in at least 14 days in a month because of COVID19.
Therefore, workers who are still employed but are not working or receiving pay because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19 will qualify for the CERB.
In other words, workers do not need to be laid off or terminated or on leave. Workers who remain attached to their employer can receive the CERB.
Still, workers must have stopped working as a result of COVID-19, and be without employment income for at least 14 consecutive days within the initial four-week period. For subsequent periods, the Government of Canada said workers must expect to have no employment income.
On the contrary, workers who are sent home with pay would not receive the CERB.
I was laid off from my part-time job but I still have another job full time, am I entitled to CERB? You are allowed to make a maximum of $1000 before taxes and still be eligible for the CERB.
What about people already receiving EI?
Canadians who are already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits as of March 15, would continue to receive their benefits and should not apply to receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. If their EI benefits end, however, they could then apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, and they could be approved if they meet all the above-noted requirements and can show that their continued loss of work and income is related to COVID-19.
To be clear, an individual cannot receive EI and the CERB at the same time.
April 15 2020 update: The Government of Canada announced on April 15 that CERB eligibility will be extended to workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Read more here.
What about people already receiving maternity benefits?
Canadians who are already receiving EI maternity benefits before March 15, 2020, would continue to receive their maternity benefits and should not apply to receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. If their EI maternity benefits end before October 3, however, they could then apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
Also, note that income from maternity benefits makes workers eligible for the CERB.
What about people already receiving parental benefits?
Canadians who are already receiving EI parental benefits before March 15, 2020, would continue to receive their EI parental benefits and should not apply to receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. If their EI parental benefits end before October 3, however, they could then apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
Also, note that income from parental benefits makes workers eligible for the CERB.
What about workers who were planning on receiving EI maternity and EI parental benefits soon?
Canadians who were planning on receiving EI maternity and EI parental benefits sometime after March 15 but before October 3, 2020, should apply to receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit if they lost income because of COVID-19. Then, once their CERB benefit runs out, they should apply for their EI maternity and EI parental benefits.
However, Canadians need to still be aware of timelines for EI maternity and EI parental benefits.
If an individual is pregnant or has recently given birth, they are eligible for maternity benefits. EI maternity benefits can start as early as 12 weeks before the expected date of birth and can end as late as 17 weeks after the actual date of birth.
If an individual is the parent of a newborn, they are eligible for parental benefits. Parental benefits must be used within 52 weeks after the child’s birth or when the child is placed with you.
|Benefit Type||Maximum weeks||Timeframes||Benefit rate||Weekly Pay|
|CERB||up to 16 weeks||March 15 – October 3, 2020||–||$500|
|EI Maternity||up to 15 weeks||12 weeks before due date – 17 weeks after birth||55%||up to $573|
|EI Standard Parental||up to 40 weeks, but one parent cannot receive more than 35 weeks||Within 52 weeks of birth||55%||up to $573|
|EI Extended Parental||up to 69 weeks, but one parent cannot receive more than 61 weeks||Within 52 weeks of birth||33%||up to $344|
If a worker became eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits prior to March 15th, then their claim will be processed under the pre-existing Employment Insurance rules. They will not get the CERB yet, but they will get EI immediately.
What about workers who have applied for EI already but have not received a response?
Canadians who have already applied for EI and whose application has not yet been processed before April 6 would not need to reapply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit – their application will be rolled over.
Note that Canadians who are eligible for EI regular benefits, EI sickness benefits, EI maternity benefits and EI parental benefits will still be able to receive their normal EI benefits, if still unemployed, after the
four-month six-month period covered by the CERB.
What about people who are eligible for EI?
If someone has stopped working because of COVID-19, they should apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit even if they are eligible for EI. Workers can apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit if they are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits.
When someone is approved for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, they will receive $2,000 per month, regardless of what they may have been eligible to receive through EI.
However, individuals will retain their eligibility to receive EI after they stop receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, and the period that they received the CERB does not impact their EI entitlement.
Accordingly, the process is this: workers impacted by COVID-19 after March 15 will get the CERB for up to 16 weeks, and then EI for up to 45 weeks after that.
What happens when the Canada Emergency Response Benefit runs out?
four six months of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, CERB payments will stop, but eligible individuals could be switched-over to standard EI if they are still out of work.
The Government of Canada said individuals on the CERB retain their eligibility to receive EI after they stop receiving the CERB, and the period that someone received the CERB does not impact their EI entitlement.
Where is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit legislation?
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit Act was proposed on March 25, 2020 and received Royal Assent on the same day.
What about people who were looking for work and did not have a job before COVID-19?
People who are unemployed but were actively looking for work are not eligible for the CERB. The CERB only applies to employed or self-employed people who “ceased” work because of COVID-19 and earned at least $5,000 from work in 2019 or the last 12 months before the individual’s CERB application.
The CERB is not for everyone who doesn’t have a job, rather it is only for people who lost their work and income due to the coronavirus. Reports indicate one-third of unemployed Canadians will not receive the CERB.
April 15 2020 update: The Government of Canada announced on April 15 that CERB eligibility will be extended to workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Read more here.
What about people who quit to get these benefits?
A worker is not eligible for the CERB if they quit voluntarily.
The CERB program will only pay benefits to individuals who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the CERB will apply to people who take a temporary, unpaid leave from work because of sickness, quarantine or because they are 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.
However, if an employee quits involuntarily (i.e. a constructive dismissal) for reasons related to COVID-19, then they could be eligible for the CERB.
Employers may likely have to provide the CRA information on a worker’s behalf in an ROE or something like that after the pandemic is over to prove an employee lost their job or took an eligible unpaid-leave because of COVID-19.
What about Students? What about the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)?
On April 22, 2020, the Prime Minister announced the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (“CESB”), which provides income support to students and new graduates who are not eligible for the regular CERB. This new CESB benefit would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students or $1,750 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities.
The CESB benefit would be available for four months from May to August 2020.
It was reported on April 2 that students with jobs who are earning $1,000 or less per month are still eligible for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit.
CESB payments will be made through the Canada Revenue Agency. It was reported that the portal to apply for the CESB will be open on or around May 1.
Students are eligible if they are a postsecondary student, and they are going to school or returning to school in September 2020, or if they graduated after December 2019. More details regarding the CESB are expected in the week of April 27.
The regular CERB will not apply to students who had an offer to start working on a later date that was pushed back because of COVID-19. The regular CERB is only for (1) employed or self-employed (2) workers who (3) “cease” working or those unemployed workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake to find new work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. This means that unless an employee was already working, they are not eligible for the regular CERB. In any event, students are not eligible for both the CESB and the CERB.
What about people seasonal workers whose job start date was pushed back because of COVID-19?
April 15, 2020, Update: The Government of Canada announced on April 15 that CERB eligibility will be extended to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their seasonal work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Read more here.
Do workers get EI and the CERB?
No, eligible workers are entitled to the CERB first, then EI once the CERB runs out. Think of the CERB as being there to replace income instead of EI for the first
four six months of COVID-19 related job loss from March 15 to October 3, 2020.
How will severance pay affect the CERB?
Typically, with regular EI, you cannot get EI until the severance “period” expires. A severance “period” is the amount of “months” of pay a severance package is worth.
When someone goes on EI, and later receives a severance package they will have to pay Service Canada back for all the EI they received in their severance period. Service Canada will backdate a severance package as if someone got this money the day they were terminated from work even if they negotiated it many months later.
However, unlike EI, a severance payment does not impact an individual’s eligibility for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
Will employers have to fill out an ROE for the CERB?
No, the CERB program will not require an employer to fill out an ROE, however, we expect that they will have to submit something similar at a much later date. Employers should still, therefore, complete employee ROEs like normal as soon as an employee’s earnings are interrupted (i.e. layoff, termination, leave, or reduction in hours).
Under the old insurance Employment Insurance laws, employers had five days to complete an ROE. We do not expect the same requirements and deadlines for the CERB. This is because the Government of Canada said all that is required to apply for the CERB is a declaration from a worker that they have stopped working as a result of COVID-19, and are without employment income for at least 14 consecutive days within the initial four-week period.
To be sure, employers should record all information regarding all workers that they have stopped working as a result of COVID-19, and are without employment income for at least 14 consecutive days. Employers may likely have to provide the CRA information on a worker’s behalf after the pandemic is over to prove an employee lost their job or took an eligible unpaid-leave because of COVID-19.
Do I need an ROE to apply for CERB? No – You can file for CERB benefits even if you have not received your ROE from the employer where you worked.
New CERB support for ineligible workers?
On April 6, 2020, the CBC reported that Prime Minister Trudeau said there will be adjustments to the CERB program in the coming days to include people such as gig workers, contractors and volunteer firefighters who work 10 or fewer hours per week. He also said there would be support for workers who continue to work but are making less than they would through CERB, such as home care workers or people caring for vulnerable seniors in long-term care facilities.
On April 8, 2020, in a speech, Trudeau Prime Minister Trudeau did not suggest that the CERB would be adjusted, sort of confirming there is no support coming soon for ineligible workers, except to say the government will pay 100% of the wages paid by employers in the Canada Summer Jobs program.
Update April 15: The Government of Canada announced on April 15 that CERB eligibility will be extended to workers earning $1000 or less and workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Read more here.
How to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?
The website for applying for the CERB is now available.
UPDATE: On April 6, 2020 the Canadian government opened up the CERB application portal. The easiest way to apply for the first CERB payment is to apply online with a CRA My Account. Canadians should use their CRA My Account to make subsequent CERB applications too. If you do not have a CRA My Account or a My Service Canada Account, but have filed taxes in 2018 or 2019 or earlier, call 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041 to apply for the CERB.
The CRA will apparently try and organize applications to try and manage the many CERB applications that are expected to come in. To that effect, the CRA said on April 1 that Canadians residents should apply for the CERB online or on the phone on these specific days:
|If you were born in the month of||Apply for CERB on||Your best day to apply|
|January, February or March||Mondays||April 6|
|April, May, or June||Tuesdays||April 7|
|July, August, or September||Wednesdays||April 8|
|October, November, or December||Thursdays||April 9|
|Any month||Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays||Not applicable|
We do not yet know if individuals cannot apply on the wrong date. We will find out and update this article when we do.
At this time, unlike EI, it appears employers do not need to send anything to the CRA on behalf of a worker for the worker to apply for the CERB. The CERB application process is entirely done by the worker.
Instructions for applying for a CERB payment
Canadian residents will have to apply for the first CERB payment using a My CRA account or by calling a phone number (not yet published) and follow these steps:
- Go to the CRA My Account website.
- Click “sign in with your online banking partner” or “CRA login”.
- Verify it it is the right day of the week to apply.
- Sign in with your banking partner or CRA login.
- Go to the “COVID-19: Canada Emergency Response Benefit alert banner” at the top of the page; and click “Apply”.
- Select the period you want to apply for;
- Declare that you qualify for the benefit (see above eligibility requirements above); and
- Confirm the CRA has the right payment information.
- Click “Apply” under the heading, “COVID-19: Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)”.
- Confirm your eligibility.
- Find the box that says, “Select a Period” and select the 4 weeks of CERB you are eligible for.
- On the next page, click the box certifying you are eligible or the CERB, and then click “NEXT”.Remember, for the first four week period of the CERB you are applying for, you only need to have not worked 14 consecutive days, not every day of the first four week period.
NOTE: Canadian residents will have to then reapply for the CERB every month they are still eligible. Even if an individual is approved once, they will have to make a subsequent application each month.
Once the portal is published, go to My CRA account and follow these same steps noted-above to apply for each subsequent CERB payments.
|Can I cancel my CERB application?||Once the CERB application is approved, the funds will be sent to you. It is best to contact the CRA and speak with an agent to discuss your application. It is doubtful there will be any penalty except that the funds will need to be paid back at some point.|
Only apply for the CERB through either Service Canada or the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), not both.
All of the information in this article is opinion, not fact. Nothing is tested and the CERB hasn’t launched yet. Do not rely on this article for legal advice. We will update this article when the government of Canada releases more information as it comes in.
Can I retroactively apply for a CERB eligibility period?
Applications for the CERB will be accepted up to December 2, 2020, meaning CERB payouts will be available retroactively for the eligibility periods.
Did you get a CERB double payment?
Did you receive two payments of exactly $2,000 each right after you applied for the CERB? Don’t worry, you probably just applied twice – once on the CRA website and once on the Service Canada website.
The Government of Canada said on April 10 that it will reach out to people who accidentally received two CERB payments.
To be clear, individuals who received two $2,000 CERB payments by accident will not have to reach out to the government. The CRA or Service Canada will instead reach out to them.
It is not yet known what the Government of Canada will do about people who were paid the first CERB payment twice by accident. However, we do know that Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos did say that:
“it won’t necessarily be a clawback situation. It might be, but you can’t apply for more than the $8,000.”https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/why-some-people-who-applied-for-federal-aid-received-more-money-than-expected-1.4888721
This statement indicates the Government will not demand the money sent in error during the COVID-19 crisis or institute any penalty, but it may well be that applicable individuals will only receive two more CERB payments, not three. Alternatively, it could be that the double CERB payment will instead by sought next year at tax time once this pandemic is over. However, to be sure, we do not know at this time one way or the other. Once we know more, we will update this FAQ section. In the meantime, consider putting the extra money aside in case the government does limit your next CERB payments or asks for the double CERB payment back.
What if I received two amounts but not $2,000? The Government of Canada said that it was no mistake if someone received two payment amounts from the Government of Canada at first in case the amounts were not identical $2,000 payments. For example, it may be that you received $500 for two weeks of EI benefits and $2,000 in CERB payment for this the first month on the CERB, and that is OK.
What happens if I am found ineligible for the CERB but already received the funds?
If you are subsequently determined to be ineligible, you must repay the benefit. If the CRA determines that a person has received a CERB payment to which the person is not entitled or an amount in excess of the amount of such a payment to which the person is entitled, they must repay the amount of the payment or the excess amount, as the case may be, as soon as is feasible. No interest is payable.
You can return the CERB cheque if you received a cheque or if you received a direct deposit, you can send your own cheque to: Revenue Processing – Repayment of CERB, Sudbury Tax Centre, 1050 Notre Dame Avenue, Sudbury, ON, P3A 0C1.
Can I cancel my CERB application?
Once the CERB application is approved, the funds will be sent to you. It is best to contact Service Canada and speak with an agent to discuss cancelling your application – you cannot cancel it online.
CERB and ODSP
Update: You can receive the CERB if you receive ODSP. However, for all ODSP applicants and recipients, CERB payments are treated as employment income; therefore there will be deductions – but the first $200, and 50 per cent of each additional dollar received is exempt.
What happens when the CERB benefit ends?
Canadians who are still laid off or unemployed and who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits would still be able to access their normal EI benefits, if still laid off or unemployed, after the
16-week 24-week period covered by the CERB.
What is the penalty for CERB fraud?
On June 8, 2020, the Government of Canada proposed new rules that would impose fines and jail time on those who make false CERB claims.
The penalties for claimants whose CERB applications include information that is “false or misleading,” and for those who “knowingly failed” to disclose sources of income or other relevant facts when they applied for the CERB could be a fine of up to $5,000, plus a penalty equal to double the amount of the CERB monies claimed, or a fine plus a period of imprisonment up to six months.
The key to the CERB penalties is that it only applies to people who used false information or knowingly failed to include certain information on the CERB application. To that end, accidents and mistakes will not be penalized, but Canadians are urged to notify Service Canada of accidents and mistakes to avoid any doubt.
Update June 10, 2020: Opposition government blocked the proposed CERB penalty bill, effectively freezing it with no clear path forward.
What happens if someone resumes work or is asked to resume work?
The Government of Canada says Canadians won’t be eligible to claim the CERB if:
- They fail to go back to work when it is reasonable to do so, and their employer asks them to return.
- They fail to resume self-employment when it’s reasonable to do so.
- They decline a reasonable job offer when they are able to work.
CERB End Date (Update July 31, 2020)
On July 31, 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a news conference that CERB recipients will soon be transferred to an updated employment insurance system.
This was just an announcement at a press conference, and there were only a few details released, namely:
- The migration of CERB recipients will occur in September.
- Benefit amounts may shrink for lower-income recipients. The CERB paid $500 per week for everyone, while EI regular and sickness benefits are equal to 55 per cent of one’s income (up to a maximum of $573 a week). On the flip side, higher-income earners are expected to make more on EI than they were on the CERB.
- There will be an EI sickness and caregivers benefit for people not covered at work if they contract COVID-19 or if a family member gets ill and they are required to take care of them.
- For some who don’t qualify for EI right now, like gig or contract workers, there will be a transitional parallel benefit that is similar to employment insurance.
- The new EI system will include the ability to work more hours without a steep clawback in benefit payments.
No other details were released. Importantly, we do not know what the eligibility requirements are for Canadians transitioning from the CERB to EI. However, more details about the shift from the CERB to EI have been promised by the Prime Minister by the end of August 2020.