COVID-19 Support for Individuals & Families

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

On April 15, the CRA 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.

What is CERB?

This is a taxable benefit for eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Who can Apply?

  • You must resident of Canada and at least 15 years of age
  • You stopped working because of Covid-19 and did not voluntarily quit your job or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefit
  • You had an income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 12 months prior to your application
  • You expect to be without employment or self employment for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period and do not expect to have any employment or self employment income for the subsequent benefit periods.
  • Income of $5,000 includes self employed income and non-eligible dividends paid to owner-managers and family members.
  • Students who are not currently working but expected to have a job this summer cannot apply for the CERB.  The government is looking at programs to address this support gap.
  • Self employed individuals who have experienced significant income decline but are still earning some income do not currently qualify for the CERB.

What’s it worth?

  • $500 a week for up to 16 weeks. The 75% wage subsidy maximum benefit is $847 a week so if you might qualify for both make sure you apply for the one that is most beneficial.
  • CERB will be paid first before EI, if you are still eligible for EI at the end of 16 weeks then EI will be available as normal.
  • Benefit is available from 15th March to October 3, 2020.
  • To apply for CERB click on this link.
  • Here are a couple of videos with information on the program. Video 1 Video 2

Employment insurance (EI) sickness benefit

EI sickness benefits provide up to 15 weeks of income replacement and is available to eligible claimants who are unable to work because of illness, injury or quarantine. The government has enhanced access to this benefit by:

  • waiving the one-week waiting period for new claimants who are quarantined that claim EI sickness benefits, effective March 15, 2020; and
  • waiving the requirement to provide a medical certificate.

Note that sickness and regular EI benefits will be rolled into the Canada Emergency Response Benefit discussed above.

Special GST Credit Payment

A one-time payment starting on 9 April, through the Goods and Service Tax credit for low to modest income families.

  • Average additional benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and $600 for couples.
  • For some people who perhaps didn’t previously qualify for regular payments whose income was too high will be eligible for this one-time payment.

How do I apply?

No need to apply for this payment, if you are eligible it will be sent to you automatically.

Help for Seniors

Registered Retirement Income Funds minimum withdrawals have been reduced to 25%, be sure to discuss this option with your financial institution.


Loan repayments and interest under the Canada Student Act, Canada Student Financial Assistance Act, and Apprentice Loans are suspended until September 30, 2020.

How do I apply?

It’s done automatically so you don’t need to apply, however you should check with your provincial or territorial student loan provider to see if payment is required on the provincial or territorial portion.


The preceding information is for educational purposes only. As it is impossible to include all situations, circumstances and exceptions in a post such as this, a further review should be done by a qualified professional.

No individual or organization involved in either the preparation or distribution of this letter accepts any contractual, tortious, or any other form of liability for its contents or for any consequences arising from its use.


2020-04-24T12:35:47-04:00 April 9th, 2020|