person holding two 20 Canadian dollar banknotes


The Canada Emergency Response Benefit is the flagship program launched by the Government of Canada for the benefit of individuals. It is meant to be a temporary income support to individuals whose livelihoods have been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 Pandemic. People who qualify for CERB are entitled to receive a payment of $500 per week for upto 16 weeks.

CERB is available to workers who meet all of the following conditions[1]:

  • 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.

 Essentially eligible individuals are those who have become unemployed due to termination of employment;  sick, quarantined;  are taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19; working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures; or are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19; and contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for EI.

An employee who quits voluntarily is not eligible for the CERB.

How to Apply?

The application process for CERB has been simplified by the Government. The CRA and Service Canada are the agencies jointly administering the benefit and people can apply through either but not both. An online questionnaire directs the applicant to whether CERB or EI Benefits.

The CERB benefits can be applied for through ‘CRA My Account’ or by phone. Individuals who do not have a ‘CRA My Account’ but have a ‘My Service Canada Account’ do not need to register for a new CRA My Account[2]. There will be a mechanism to switch the My Service Canada Account to CRA My Account but applicants must ensure that they update their address and direct deposit details to start receiving the benefit. The payments will be delivered by either direct deposit or through check.  

Applicants are advised to apply according to the months they were born.

The table below highlights the process for the current applicable period:

If you were born in the month ofApply for CERB onYour best day to apply
January, February, or MarchMondaysApril 20
April, May, or JuneTuesdaysApril 21
July, August, or SeptemberWednesdaysApril 22
October, November, or DecemberThursdaysApril 23
Any monthFridays, Saturdays, and SundaysNot applicable

Every 4 Weeks

CERB participants will need to apply and confirm their eligibility for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit every 4 weeks if they remain out of work and pay because of COVID-19 before they get their next CERB payment. It is not automatically renewed. Individuals can apply for any of the periods that they become eligible for the payment.

The 4 week periods are:

    CERB period #1: March 15, 2020, to April 11, 2020

    CERB period #2: April 12, 2020, to May 9, 2020

    CERB period #3: May 10, 2020, to June 6, 2020

    CERB period #4: June 7, 2020, to July 4, 2020

    CERB period #5: July 5, 2020, to August 1, 2020

    CERB period #6: August 2, 2020, to August 29, 2020

    CERB period #7: August 30, 2020, to September 26, 2020

While workers do not need a doctor’s note to complete an online application, individuals may be asked to provide additional documentation to verify their eligibility at a future date after CERB payments have been made.

Disclaimer: Please note that this post is not meant to be legal advice. Please contact a lawyer or legal professional for advice.



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