Video Update: Canada Emergency Response Benefit Review

Video Update: Canada Emergency Response Benefit Review

Hello everyone, Brittany Taylor here with another Rudner Law vlog update.

Today I’m going to be giving you a summary of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, or CERB.

My goal is to provide you with a brief summary of how the program works and what your entitlements may be underneath this program.

So first of all, what is it? The CERB is designed to provide financial support to workers who have either stopped working as a result of COVID19 or are still working but are earning less than $1000 per month as a result of COVID19. So it’s available from the period from March 15 2020 to October 3 2020. Applications have to be submitted by December 2 2020 in order for individuals to be eligible. So basically the CERB provides eligible workers with $2000 a month or $500 per week for up to a maximum of 16 weeks. Now keep in mind that these amounts are taxable, so even though no tax is being withheld at the time that the CERB benefit is paid to you, it will have to be declared as income for 2020, so you will be taxed on it eventually.

Eligibility for the CERB is very very broad. So you have to be a Canadian citizen, with a valid social insurance number, you have to be at least 15 years of age, and in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to submitting your application, you have to have earned at least $5000, either through employment income, self employment income, or through the receipt of maternity or parental benefits through EI. You also must have stopped working as a result of COVID19, or like I mentioned, be earning less than $1000 per month due to COVID19. The CERB is also available for seasonal workers who have exhausted their regular EI benefits and are unable to undertake their usual seasonal work as a result of COVID19. So this would include summer students who are maybe returning from university, expecting to have a job, but that job is no longer available for them. It’s also available for workers who have recently exhausted their regular EI benefits but are still unable to find a job or return to work because of the COVID19 pandemic.

Applications for the CERB are currently open through the CRA’s My Account portal or through Service Canada, as well as by phone. Now it’s important to note that anyone who qualified for regular EI benefits, or EI sickness benefits as of March 15 2020, is being automatically funneled into the CERB program. So what this means is that individuals who have already applied for EI benefits don’t need to reapply for the CERB program, they are going to be automatically transferred into that program if they qualified as of March 15 2020. So once an individual’s CERB benefits expire, it is open to them to apply for EI benefits, so if you utilized the entire 16 weeks of CERB benefits, you can then apply for EI regular benefits if you’re still unable to work as a result of COVID19.

Now finally, you cannot receive both the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy at the same time. So if your employer recalls you to work and intends to take advantage of this program, you may end up having to repay amounts that you received under the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit program. So just keep that in mind when you’re receiving your payments.

I hope this was helpful, of course if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Brittany Taylor

Since being called to the Ontario Bar in 2013, my practice has been dedicated to assisting both employers and employees to manage their workplaces. My approach to workplace issues is one that is pro-active and preventative. I take great satisfaction in assisting employees and employers to identify and deal with potential issues before they have an opportunity to evolve into serious headaches for both parties. I also take great pride in acting as a vigorous advocate on behalf of my clients, whether at the bargaining table or beyond to the trial stage.