How to get Canada Emergency Response Benefit

By Vijay Lala



Immiboards ― CERB is Canada Emergency Response Benefit. If you have lost income due to COVID-19, you may qualify for $2000/month Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

What is CERB?

Canada Emergency Response Benefit is a CA$2000/month short term (4-months) basic income for people who have lost income due to Covid-19 pandemic.

The benefit scheme was launched on 6th April 2020 for Canadian residents. It provides for a taxable monthly income of CA$2000/month in order to tide over the current crisis. More than 3 million Canadians have already applied for Canada Emergency Response Benefit

CERB eligibility requirements:

Did not apply for, nor receive, CERB or EI benefits from Service Canada for the same eligibility period
Did not quit job voluntarily
Resident of Canada
15 years old or more
Earned a minimum of $5,000 (before taxes) income in the last 12 months or in 2019 from one or more of the following sources:
employment income
self-employment income
provincial or federal benefits related to maternity or paternity leave


Stopped all work or will stop working due to COVID-19, and:
You are applying for the first time
For at least 14 days in a row during the 4-week payment period, you do not expect to receive more than $1,000 (before taxes) from employment and self-employment income
You are re-applying for another period
You do not expect your situation to change during this 4-week period and you do not expect to receive more than $1,000 (before taxes) from employment and self-employment income


You received regular or fishing EI benefits for at least 1 week since December 29, 2019
You are no longer eligible for EI benefits

How to apply for CERB:

There are two ways to apply for CERB:

You can apply online through CRA – My Account
Sign in to CRA My Account

Automated phone service
1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041
Before you call, keep the following information handy:
Social Insurance Number
Postal Code
Select language: English or French
Follow instructions to enter your information
Declare that you are eligible for the benefit
Benefits of CERB:

If you are eligible, you will start receiving CA$2000 per month for a 4-week period. CERB is paid by direct-deposit unless your direct-deposit information is not available on file. In that case, it will be sent via cheque. Payment is usually deposited via direct deposit after 3 business days of application or within 10 business days for other method.

Returning CERB payment:

It is important to assess your eligibility before you apply or else you may have to return the benefit amount that has been paid out. Most people can assess their eligibility quickly using the online tools provided by the official site:

You may need to return the payment if you:

Return to work earlier than expected
Applied for CERB but were found ineligible
Applied and received same benefit from both CRA and Service Canada

Frequently asked questions around CERB:

Who is eligible for CERB?

Any Canadian resident (Citizen, PR, Student, Temporary worker) may apply for CERB. As long as you reside in Canada and have a Social Insurance Number (SIN), you may apply for CERB subject to eligibility criteria

Is the CERB Taxable?

Yes, CERB is taxable income and you which you will have to declare in the tax season of 2021

Can you get both CERB and EI?

No. You should apply for EI if you are eligible otherwise apply directly for CERB. You cannot receive Employment Insurance benefits (including fishing benefits) and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit for the same period.

What is the difference between CERB and EI?

CERB is Canada Emergency Response Benefit and EI is Employment Insurance. CERB is designed to adult workers that are out of work as a result of Covid-19 pandemic. It is meant for anyone who is currently not working and otherwise not eligible for Employment Insurance.
Employment Insurance has 3 different types of benefits:
EI Regular Benefit – designed to provide income to those individuals who are out of work due 
EI Sickness Benefit – designed to provide income to those individuals who are out of work due to sickness/illness
EI Maternity, Parental and Caregiver benefit – designed to provide income to those individuals who are off work

What is the eligibility period for applying to CERB?

CERB provides benefits is fixed 4-week blocks. An individual can apply for multiple periods for a maximum of 16 weeks. 
Eligibility Period 1: March 15, 2020 to April 11, 2020
Eligibility Period 2:  April 12, 2020 to May 9, 2020
Eligibility Period 3: May 10, 2020 to June 6, 2020
Eligibility Period 4: June 7, 2020 to July 4, 2020
Eligibility Period 5: July 5, 2020 to August 1, 2020
Eligibility Period 6: August 2, 2020 to August 29, 2020
Eligibility Period 7: August 30, 2020 to September 26, 2020

Can you receive the CERB if you are not a citizen or permanent resident?

Yes, you can receive the CERB payments if you are residing in Canada and have a Social Insurance Number

Am I eligible for the CERB if I am a student who was working part-time?

Yes, if you lost your job due to Covid-19 and you meet all eligibility criteria, you are eligible for receiving CERB payment

By Vijay Lala

Vijay Lala is the founder and editor-in-chief of Dual master's degrees in Political Science and Economics, along with a decade of Canadian immigration research experience, have equipped him with a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of immigration law, policy research, and settlement issues. Linkedin  Twitter

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