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Canada Emergency Response Benefit applications now open

The CERB will provide residents who have lost their jobs or income with a temporary benefit of $500 a week for up to 16 weeks
Photo: Pixabay

Support is coming for those who have lost their jobs because of COVID-19.

Canada’s Prime Minister announced on Sunday that the government’s pandemic emergency response benefit is kicking in this week.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide residents who have lost their jobs or income with a temporary financial benefit of $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.

CERB will be available to Canadians workers who are over the age of 15 and must have an income of at least $5,000 last year or 12 months before their date of application.

Applicants must have stopped worked because of COVID-19 and did not voluntarily quit their job. They are or are expecting to be without any income for at least 14 consecutive days in the first four-week period.

The benefit is taxable but will not be taxed at source. Instead, the benefit amount received must be declared on recipients' 2020 income tax return.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also announced Monday (April 6) that the CERB's eligibility rules will change "over the coming days" to make provisions for those who have had their working hours dramatically reduced, but have not stopped working entirely. He added that provisions would also be made for students or workers who have made less than $5,000 over the past year.

Canadians who are qualified for employment insurance (EI) benefits can still apply for EI. Eligible applicants who apply for EI regular or sickness benefits on March 15 or later will have their claims automatically processed through the CERB portal, which will assess whether the applicant will receive EI or CERB.

Applications for CERB will begin on April 6 with applicants being asked to apply over four days depending on their month of birth as follows:

 Month of birth  Apply for CERB on  Best day to apply on      
 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  

For more information and to apply, visit

- With files from Joannah Connolly, Glacier Media Real Estate