UPDATE: Trudeau announces transition to EI and plans to end CERB

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This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: frFrancais (French)

Update July 31:

Prime Minister Trudeau has announced plans to transition recipients of the CERB to the EI (Employment Insurance) program this fall. The Federal Government will also create a parallel benefit program similar to EI for people who do not qualify for the unemployment benefit, such as contract and gig workers. Trudeau added: “It will include access to training, and being able to work more hours and earn more money while receiving the benefit”. The last scheduled CERB pay period is set to end on Sept. 26.

Update July 14:

For the second time since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the Federal government has announced that it is extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). The CEWS provides a subsidy of 75 per cent of an eligible employee’s weekly earnings to a maximum of $847 per employee per week. On May 15, an additional 12 weeks were added to the program, extending eligibility to August 29. It has now been extended until December. 

Update June 16: 

Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the eligibility to the CEBA has been expanded to include more companies. Originally, the CEBA was open to businesses that had payrolls between $50,000 and $1 million. Small businesses with payrolls between $20,000 and $1.5 million, sole proprietors receiving business income directly, and family-owned corporations that pay through dividends are now also eligible. To qualify under the expanded eligibility rules, CEBA applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 will need a business operating account at a participating financial institution, a Canada Revenue Agency business number, a 2018 or 2019 tax return. They also must have eligible non-deferrable expenses ranging between $40,000 and $1.5 million. According to Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos, approximately 670,000 businesses so far have applied for these loans, amounting to more than $26 billion in credit being made available. The updated application process set to open on Friday and more information will be available at www.edc.ca

As for the CERB, Prime Minister Trudeau has announced that it is being extended to August 29th. Eligible workers will now have access to the benefit for an extra 8 weeks.

News release from the Prime Minister’s Office

More Canadians are returning to work, but many people still face challenges due to COVID-19. As we begin to take steps to safely restart our economy, we will continue to support Canadians to protect their health and economic well-being.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the government is extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) by eight weeks, to ensure Canadians have the help they need as they transition back to work. This extension will make the benefit available to eligible workers for up to a total of 24 weeks.

The Government of Canada introduced the CERB to immediately help workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, so they could continue to put food on the table and pay their bills during this challenging time. As we begin to restart the economy and get people back on the job, Canadians receiving the benefit should be actively seeking work opportunities or planning to return to work, provided they are able and it is reasonable to do so.

That is why the government will also make changes to the CERB attestation, which will encourage Canadians receiving the benefit to find employment and consult Job Bank, Canada’s national employment service that offers tools to help with job searches. Over the next few weeks, the government will monitor international best practices, the economy, and the progression of the virus and, if needed, make necessary changes to the program so more people can have the support they need. We will also look at ways to ensure all our supports, including the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Employment Insurance (EI), are working effectively to help Canadians get back on their feet.

The CERB is a taxable benefit of $2,000 over a four-week period for eligible workers who have stopped working or whose work hours have been reduced, due to COVID-19.

The CERB is available to workers who:

  • live in Canada and are at least 15 years old
  • have stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19, or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits, or have exhausted their EI regular or fishing benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020
  • had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019, or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application
  • have not earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income per benefit period while collecting the CERB
  • have not quit their job voluntarily

Today’s announcement builds on a number of measures, including the proposed extension of the CEWS announced on May 15. The CEWS is being extended to August 29, 2020, to protect jobs, allow businesses to keep employees on the payroll, and re-hire workers who were previously laid off.

While parts of our economy safely begin to restart, many Canadians are still experiencing the effects of COVID-19. Both the CERB and the CEWS were introduced as part of our plan to rapidly support Canadians through this crisis. The government is committed to continuing to support Canadians across all sectors until they can consistently and safely return to work.


Update April 15: 

Changes to the CERB were announced today to allow seasonal workers and workers who have some revenues (up to $1000) to be eligible. Here is the press release and the condition “Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.” We’ll update this page once the details are confirmed.


Update April 13: 

Applications for the second period (April 12 – May 9) of the CERB is now open. You can apply at the CRA My Account website here.

Note, the $2000 is taxable, so it would be prudent to keep 35% or $700 per $2000 amount for income tax.


Update April 6: 

Applications for the CERB is now open. You can apply at the CRA My Account website here.


Update April 3: 

The government has provided details about the eligibility and procedures for applying to the CERB. Here is the official information page.

When to apply?

Day to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit
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

Update April 1: 

In his April 1 address, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the portal to apply for the CERB will be ready on April 6. Applicants can choose to received the $2,000 by mail (which will arrive within 10 days) or by direct deposit (between 3 to 5 days). Furthermore, to continue receiving the $2000, one needs to check in each month to confirm that they are unemployed. 

Reminder: Applicants should register at the CRA My Account website as soon as possible. If you are registering for the first time, you would need to verify your identity by mail (which could take two weeks) or by phone (which is almost impossible to get through due to the large demand).


In his Wednesday address to Canadians, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the new combined program Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide “$2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 [Coronavirus] pandemic.”

This is good news for workers in the artistic community which has been hit particularly hard by the cancellation of concerts since March 12, and which runs at least until May 1 based upon the Quebec government limits on all public gatherings. According to the press release by the Department of Finance, “The CERB would cover 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 would apply to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI). Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19, would also qualify for the CERB. This would 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.”

The government portal to apply online will be available in early April (starting April 6). Given the high volume of traffic at the Government of Canada website, it’s recommended that workers register at the Canada Revenue  Agency website ahead of time.

Update: The $2000 is apparently free of tax according to a report by the Stratford Beacon Herald.

Eligibility

It’s available to wage earners, contract workers and self-employed people who don’t qualify for employment insurance (EI). The benefit will be available to workers living in Canada who are at least 15 years old and who:

  • Have earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the year before their application from employment, self employment, employment insurance maternity and parental benefits, and/or similar benefits paid in Quebec under the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP), or a combination of these sources.
  • Are without income for at least 14 consecutive days in a four-week period because of COVID-19, because they have temporarily stopped working, lost their jobs, are sick or in quarantine, or need to care for a child or a family member.

How to Apply

  • The online portal to apply for CERB will be available by April 6, and people can expect payments within 10 days (by April 16). CERB payments will be issued every four weeks for a total of 16 weeks, and will be available from March 15, 2020 to Oct. 3, 2020. Some commentators state that applicants will be asked to confirm every 4 weeks that they still need the support.

Here is the full text of the press release. Click here for the French version.

Keywords: artists, musicians, non-profits, Coronavirus


Government introduces Canada Emergency Response Benefit to help workers and businesses

News release

March 25, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Finance Canada

The Government of Canada is taking strong, immediate and effective action to protect Canadians and the economy from the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic. No Canadian should have to choose between protecting their health, putting food on the table, paying for their medication or caring for a family member.

To support workers and help businesses keep their employees, the government has proposed legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB would be a simpler and more accessible combination of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.

The CERB would cover 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 would apply to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).

Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19, would also qualify for the CERB. This would 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.

The EI system was not designed to process the unprecedented high volume of applications received in the past week. Given this situation, all Canadians who have ceased working due to COVID-19, whether they are EI-eligible or not, would be able to receive the CERB to ensure they have timely access to the income support they need.

Canadians who are already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits as of today would continue to receive their benefits and should not apply to the CERB. If their EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, they could apply for the CERB once their EI benefits cease, if they are unable to return to work due to COVID-19. Canadians who have already applied for EI and whose application has not yet been processed would not need to reapply. Canadians who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits would still be able to access their normal EI benefits, if still unemployed, after the 16-week period covered by the CERB.

The government is working to get money into the pockets of Canadians as quickly as possible. The portal for accessing the CERB would be available in early April. EI eligible Canadians who have lost their job can continue to apply for EI here, as can Canadians applying for other EI benefits.

Canadians would begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of application. The CERB would be paid every four weeks and be available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020.

This benefit would be one part of the government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, to support Canadian workers and businesses and help stabilize the economy by helping Canadians pay for essentials like housing and groceries, and helping businesses pay their employees and bills during this unprecedented time of global uncertainty.

Quotes

“We know that people are worried about their health, their jobs and their financial situations. Our government is doing whatever it takes to protect the health and safety of Canadians, and to support workers, families and businesses. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit would make sure that money gets in the hands of workers as quickly as possible to support them in their time of need, and would help businesses keep their employees during this difficult period. Canadians can rest assured that the government stands ready to take any and all necessary actions as we continue to confront these challenging times together.”

– Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance

“Through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, the Government of Canada would be helping support those Canadians who are unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is during these difficult times that Canadians should not have to choose between protecting their health and continuing to support their families. We recognize this, and are there for them.”

– Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

“The government understands that the outbreak of COVID-19 is having a significant impact on all Canadians. Through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, we would provide much-needed financial support to those who have lost their income because of COVID-19. The Canada Revenue Agency is playing an important role by getting benefit payments to Canadians quickly and efficiently.”

– Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue

This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: frFrancais (French)

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