The federal government introduced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) on March 25, 2020. The CERB is to be managed by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). It will take the form of a payment of $500 per week to workers who have lost income because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The amount is taxable, but no tax will be deducted at source.
In government-speak, “workers” include employees and the self-employed, including consultants, Uber drivers, and those who work in the “gig economy”. Under the current plan, workers may receive the CERB for up to 16 weeks. Payments can be effective as far back as March 15, 2020, or can continue until the scheduled program end date, which is October 3, 2020.
The CERB replaces two measures announced previously, namely the Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit. By design, the eligibility for CERB is broad.
The web portal and automated phone application system for CERB applications opened on April 6. The government asks that applicants apply based on their birth month.
- January, February and March: apply on Mondays
- April, May and June: apply on Tuesdays
- July, August and September: apply on Wednesdays
- October, November and December: apply on Thursdays
- EVERYONE CAN APPLY on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.