skip to main content
March 25, 2020

Federal Government Announces Canada Emergency Response Benefit

Authors Hendrik Nieuwland, Brandin O'Connor and Domenica Moran

Today the Federal Government announced it will establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (the “CERB”).  The CERB will be a taxable benefit that will provide $2,000.00 a month for up to four (4) months to help support Canadians who have lost their income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The CERB will replace the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit, which we previously discussed here.   

The CERB will cover Canadians impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic (including those who are self-employed) who:

  • have lost their job,
  • are sick or quarantined,
  • are unable to work because they are taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19,
  • must stay home to care for their children because they are sick, or because of school and/or daycare closures,
  • are still employed but who are not receiving income because of the disruption to their working arrangements caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Therefore the CERB will likely be available to Ontario workers who are unable to work because of the Ontario Government’s Order to close all non-essential workplaces on March 23, 2019, which we previously discussed here.

Canadians should not apply for the CERB if they are already receiving EI regular or sickness benefits.  If EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, Canadians can apply for the CERB. 

Canadians who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits will still be able to access their normal EI benefits if they are still unemployed after the four (4) month period covered by the CERB ends.

Canadians are to receive their first CERB payment within 10 days of their application.  The CERB will be paid every four (4) weeks and will be available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020.

Prime Minister Trudeau announced today that the online portal for accessing the CERB will be made available on April 6, 2020.

Our firm will continue to provide you with updates as the Federal Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.

The foregoing is for informational purposes only and should in no way be relied upon as legal advice. For legal advice tailored to your circumstances and business, please contact any of SOM LLP’s lawyer’s by email or telephone.
65 Queen Street West, Suite 1800, Toronto, Ontario M5H 2M5
T 416 304 6400 F 416 304 6406