Last updated: April 17, 2020, 9:25 am
Also available: Frequently Asked Questions
The Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) is designed to assist adults that are out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is an income replacement program, not an income supplement program. It is intended to be accessed by anyone who is not working and is not otherwise eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).
The eligibility periods are fixed in 4-week blocks. You can apply for multiple 4-week periods, to a maximum of 16 weeks (4 periods).
Employment Insurance (regular benefits) is designed to provide income to those that are out of work and meet certain eligibility requirements. There will be an impact on this benefit.
Employment Insurance (sickness benefits) is designed to provide income to those that are off work due to illness and meet certain eligibility requirements. There will be some changes to this benefit.
Employment Insurance (maternity, parental, and caregiver benefits) are designed to provide income to those that are off work and meet certain eligibility requirements. These benefits will continue as they normally would.
For EI eligibility requirements, visit:
Anyone who has applied for or is eligible to apply for regular benefits prior to March 15, 2020, will continue to receive their EI with no changes.
Anyone who has applied for or is eligible to apply for regular benefits on or after March 15, 2020 will be transitioned to a new EI program that aligns with the CERB payments. All EI recipients in this period will receive $500 per week for the next 16 weeks (paid bi-weekly) regardless of the amount approved for the claim. Therefore, if your approved rate was $547 per week, you will now receive $500. If you were approved for $320 per week, you will now receive $500.
After the 16 weeks are complete, you will revert to receiving the original claim amount. The number of weeks you are approved for will be preserved and will begin following the conclusion of the 16 week period.
If you were approved for 30 weeks of entitlement at $547 per week, you will receive $500 per week for 16 weeks and then $547 per week for 30 weeks.
If you were approved for $320 per week for 12 weeks, you will receive $500 per week for 16 weeks and then $320 per week for 12 weeks.
Other changes – EI recipients will still be required to report bi-weekly but will no longer be required to look for work.
For EI Eligibility requirements, visit:
This benefit applies if you are sick, injured or quarantined.
You are no longer required to provide a medical note from a health professional.
The one week waiting period usually required will be waived for this benefit, so once a claim is approved, you will be paid for each week claimed.
A number of other supports will be offered by the Canadian government. See https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan/covid19-individuals.html for the current list.
If you believe you will meet the eligibility requirements for EI, you should use that application even though you will receive the same amount of money. This will establish your EI claim for following the 16 week period. Service Canada is looking at ways to expedite the process for those that are waiting.
If you do not believe you would be eligible for EI but would be eligible for CERB, please apply directly to CERB.