Canadians who lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 crisis can apply for emergency income support benefits as of today. More than 240,000 people have already signed up for the benefits as of Monday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during his daily briefing in Ottawa.
You can go to Canada.ca for information about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
The CERB will provide $2,000 a month ($500 a week) for up to four months to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19.
To be eligible for the program you have to be:
- Residing in Canada and be at least 15 years old;
- You must have stopped working because of COVID-19 and not voluntarily quit your job or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits;
- You had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and you are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period.
People who are normally eligible for employment insurance (EI) can continue to apply through EI and Service Canada, and they will automatically be enrolled in CERB.
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The CERB also offers income support to contract employees and freelancers.
If you have further questions, the federal government has created a special web page to answer the most frequently asked questions regarding CERB.
Applications staggered by your birth month
To ensure the portal can handle the expected high volume of applications and the system is not overloaded, the government has asked Canadians to apply by birth month.
Those born in January through March are asked to apply on April 6, the first day the web portal opens. People born in April through June are to apply April 7, those born in July through September on April 8, and Canadians with birth months October through December can sign up on April 9.
Applications for CERB, which is jointly administered by Service Canada and Canada Revenue Agency, can be made online with CRA My Account or over the phone with an automated phone service 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041.
Both of these services are available 21 hours a day, seven days a week. Both services are closed from 3:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. (Eastern time) for maintenance.
The federal government expects successful applicants to start receiving CERB payments within three to five days if they sign up online and include banking information for direct deposit, or within 10 days of a telephone application.