Update on Federal Government Benefit Support Program

On March 25 the federal government announced a new COVID-19 emergency support program. It combines two previously announced benefits – the Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit, into a single, more streamlined program.

The new program which is named The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”) offers up to 4 months of $2,000 payments for individuals who have lost their income due to the pandemic.

Who is eligible for the CERB?

Wage earners, contract workers and self-employed people who don’t qualify for Employment Insurance are eligible to use the CERB. Individuals who quit their jobs voluntarily will not be eligible for the CERB.

Can people access both EI and the CERB at the same time?

No – individuals who qualify for both may apply for either program but not concurrently. Applying for one program will not disqualify an individual from applying to the other. For example, a person could apply for 4 months of CERB, and after that expires may apply for EI (if qualified).

How to apply?

The online portal for CERB applications will be opened on April 6, 2020. Canadian applicants will receive their CERB payments within 10 days and payment will be sent every 4 weeks. The maximum number of weeks that CERB payments are made is capped at 16 weeks.

What’s next?

Federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and change. Be mindful that those changes may impact this and other programs over the coming days.

Engaged continues to monitor the developing situation and will update the information as it becomes available.

If you require support in the workplace with your pandemic response strategy, we are here for you.