Date: Last updated on May 11, 2020
From: Crowe BGK Tax Group
Subject: UPDATE: Canada Emergency Response Benefit – Technical Details
In the last days of March 2020, legislation was adopted to provide technical details pertaining to the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to provide urgently needed financial support to workers who have lost their source of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CERB is a taxable benefit of $500 a week for a maximum period of 16 weeks. It will be paid in blocks of four weeks at the time ($2,000). The CERB can be claimed at any point in time between March 15, 2020 and October 3, 2020.
The CERB is available to workers who:
Examples of workers targeted by this measure would include but are not limited to:
On April 6, 2020, Service Canada has updated its website on the CERB. Pursuant to Service Canada, in applying the above-mentioned $5,000 test pertaining to prior income, a worker may include into this any non-eligible dividends that he/she received within the relevant period. It is important to note that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit Act which implements the CERB received royal assent on March 25, 2020, and that it does not include non-eligible dividends in the list of sources of income that are considered to determine if a worker is eligible to receive the CERB.
On April 15, the Federal Government announced changes to the eligibility rules to the CERB to:
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has indicated that the $1,000 a worker can earn while collecting the CERB includes employment and/or self-employment income. Per the CRA, this includes among others: tips earned while working, non-eligible dividends, and royalties. This does not include pensions, student loans and bursaries earned by a worker.
The legislation implementing the CERB has yet to be amended to accommodate these changes.
How to claim the CERB
Eligible workers can submit their application to the CERB to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) starting April 6, 2020. There are 2 ways to apply:
To help manage this, the CRA has set up specific days to apply.
Day to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit
If a worker was born in the month of
CERB applications should be filed on
Best day to apply
January, February or March
April, May, or June
July, August, or September
October, November, or December
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
A CERB application must be made for each 4-week period during which a worker is eligible to the CERB. There are no pre-established 4-week periods, and the start and end dates of each 4-week period that can decided by each worker.
Benefits will start within 10 days of submitting an application and will be retroactive to the eligibility date. There is no waiting period. Payments will be made through direct deposit or by cheque.
For more details regarding the CERB, please consult the Service Canada website:
The CRA’s website also provide useful information on the application process:
Moreover, please note that the Federal Government has also implemented the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). For more details regarding the CESB please consult our publication on the Highlights of the Canada and Quebec COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.