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Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

CERB is designed for your employees who have lost their income due to COVID-19. It will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 every 4 weeks for up to 16 weeks to eligible workers. CERB is available to workers who meet all of the following conditions:

  • live in Canada and are at least 15 years old
  • stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits
  • have not voluntarily quit their job
  • had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application.

On April 15, the Government announced changes to the eligibility rules to:

  • Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
  • Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work because of COVID-19.
  • Extend the CERB to workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job because of COVID-19.

Advise your employees who have lost their income due to COVID-19 not to apply for the CERB if they have already applied for EI.

To deliver payments to Canadians in a fast and easy way, the CERB is being jointly delivered by Service Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency.

To begin the application process, applicants need to answer a few simple questions in order to find the service option that best fits their situation.

Applications can also be taken over the phone: 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041

Reference: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for Self-Employed

Self-employed small business owners are eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, provided they meet the eligibility criteria including that they stopped working due to COVID-19 and do not earn more than $1000 in a period of at least 14 consecutive days in the first benefit period and for the entire four-week benefit period of any subsequent claim.

Small Business owners can receive income from their business in different ways, including as salary, business income or dividends. In determining their eligibility for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit:

  • Owners who take a salary from their business should consider their pretax salary;
  • Owners who rely on business income should consider their net pre-tax income (gross income less expenses);
  • Owners who rely on dividend income should consider this as selfemployment income provided it comes from non –eligible dividends (generally, those paid out of corporate income taxed at the small business rate).

A sole proprietor can still qualify for Canada Emergency Response Benefit if they still have a small amount of income coming into their business account to pay some of their business expenses (commercial rent, utility costs, etc.) as long as they are not paying themselves any income from the business.

To be eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, you must have stopped working as a result of reasons related to COVID-19 and receive less than $1,000 in employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days within the initial four-week period for which you apply. For subsequent periods, you cannot receive more than $1,000 in employment or self-employment income for the entire four-week period

Reference: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application/questions.html