Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Mar 26, 2020

COVID-19 and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”)

By Peter C. Straszynski

On March 24, 2020, the Canadian Government passed Bill C-13, introducing (among other measures in response to COVID-19) the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (or “CERB”). The CERB will be available from March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020, and replaces both of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit

The benefit will be a taxable amount of $2000.00 monthly for a period of up to 16 weeks.

This new benefit will be available to workers who lose their income on account of a multitude of possible reasons related to the pandemic, including termination of employment, temporary layoff, sickness, quarantine, the care of a sick relative or child-care obligations resulting from either sickness or school/day-care closure.

Eligible workers include wage earners, contract workers and self-employed persons, whether or not they are otherwise eligible for Employment Insurance (“EI”) benefits.

Workers currently receiving EI benefits are not presently to apply for the CERB. If their EI benefits cease before October 2, 2020, however, these workers may then apply for the CERB if they are still experiencing income loss due to COVID-19.

Similarly, workers otherwise eligible for EI benefits but currently receiving the CERB will be able to apply for EI benefits after they exhaust the CERB, so long as they are still suffering income loss due to COVID-19.

The new CERB does not affect employers in the context of applications for approval of Work Sharing Programs or Supplemental Unemployment Benefits Plans.

If you have questions about the CERB or any other human resource law matter, please contact a member of our team. For more information about dealing with COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 Resource Center.