Questions and Answers on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit

2020-04-18
What is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides temporary income support to workers who have stopped working related to COVID-19.

Individuals who are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits may also be eligible.

The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $500 per week for a maximum of 16 weeks.

The Benefit is available from March 15, 2020, to October 3, 2020. You can apply no later than December 2, 2020 for payments retroactive to within that period.

How do I know whether to apply for EI benefits or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

If you have stopped working because of COVID-19, you should apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

A single portal is available to assist you with the application process. You will be asked to answer a few simple questions which will help direct you to complete the application best suited to your situation.

For anyone who became eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits on March 15, 2020 or later, your Employment Insurance claim will be automatically processed through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

For other Employment Insurance benefits, including maternity, parental, caregiving, fishing and work-sharing, you should continue to apply as you normally would.

Where can I apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

You can apply here.

What are the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

The Benefit is available to workers:

  • Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
  • Who have stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits or have exhausted their Employment Insurance regular benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020;
  • Who had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and,
  • Who have not quit their job voluntarily.

When submitting your first claim, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for 14 or more consecutive days within the four-week benefit period of your claim.

When submitting subsequent claims, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for the entire four-week benefit period of your new claim.

Provided it is allowed in your province or territory, you may also receive provincial or territorial support payments at the same time you receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

What income types of count towards the $5,000 in employment and/or self-employment income?

The $5,000 includes all employment and self-employment income. This includes among others: tips you have declared as income; and non-eligible dividends. If you are not eligible for Employment Insurance, you may also include maternity and parental benefits you received from the Employment Insurance program and/or similar benefits paid in Quebec under the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan.

Pensions, student loans and bursaries are not considered employment income and should not be included.

What counts towards the $1,000 in income I can earn?

The $1,000 includes employment and/or self-employment income. This includes among others: tips you may earn while working; and non-eligible dividends you may receive within the four-week benefit period.

Pensions, student loans and bursaries are not employment income and therefore, should not be included in the $1000.

Applications will be verified against tax records to confirm income.

Do I need to be laid off to access the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

No.

Workers who remain attached to their company can receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit if they meet the eligibility requirements.

Do I need to provide any documentation when I apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

You will need to provide your personal contact information, your Social Insurance Number and confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements.

You may be asked to provide additional documentation to verify your eligibility at a future date.

Under what circumstances can I apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit is available to those who stop working for reasons related to COVID-19, for example:

  • You have lost your job;
  • You are in quarantine or sick due to COVID-19;
  • You are taking care of others because they are in quarantine or sick due to COVID-19; and/or
  • You are taking care of children or other dependents because their care facility is closed due to COVID-19.

There may be other reasons related to COVID-19 beyond these examples why you may have stopped working. However, you cannot voluntarily quit your job.

Alternatively, you can apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit if:

  • You are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits; or
  • You are a former Employment Insurance claimant who used up your entitlement to your Employment Insurance regular benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020.

To get the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, you may not earn more than $1,000 for a period of at least 14 consecutive days within the initial four week period of your claim or $1000 in total for each subsequent claim.

How much could I receive through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

If you meet the eligibility requirements, you would receive $500 per week to a maximum of 16 weeks.

The Benefit is taxable -- you will be expected to report it as income when you file your income tax for the 2020 tax year.

When and how will I receive my Canada Emergency Response Benefit payment? Is there a waiting period?

There is no waiting period so you will receive your Benefit within 10 days of applying.

Payments will be made through direct deposit or by cheque; however direct deposit is faster.

Your payments will be retroactive to the date you became eligible.

Do I need a medical certificate to receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit if I am in quarantine or sick from COVID-19?

No.

Can you receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit if you are not a citizen or permanent resident?

Yes if you meet the eligibility requirements, which includes residing in Canada and having a valid Social Insurance Number.

Does the minimum income of $5,000 have to be earned in Canada?

No.

The income does not have to be earned in Canada, but you need to reside in Canada.

If I am already receiving Employment Insurance regular benefits, should I reapply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

No.

If you are already receiving Employment Insurance regular benefits, you will continue to receive these benefits until the end of your benefit period.

You cannot be paid Employment Insurance benefits and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit for the same period.

I have applied for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits, but my claim hasn’t been processed yet, do I need to reapply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

No. You should not submit another application for the same benefit period.

Service Canada is processing all of these claims as quickly as possible.

If I would be entitled to more than the $500 per week under Employment Insurance, will I get the higher amount?

No.

You will receive $500 per week, regardless of what you may have been eligible to receive through Employment Insurance.

However, once you are finished receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, you will still be eligible to receive Employment Insurance at the higher rate provided you cannot find a job. Getting the Canada Emergency Response Benefit does not affect your EI entitlement.

If I would have been entitled to less than the $500 per week under Employment Insurance, will I get the $500?

Yes.

You will receive $500 per week, regardless of what you may have been eligible to receive through Employment Insurance.

What if I stopped working before March 15th but only applied for Employment Insurance after March 15th – which benefit will I receive?

If you became eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits before March 15th, your claim will be processed under the pre-existing Employment Insurance rules. You will not receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

If I am on special benefits such as maternity/parental am I eligible to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

If there is no work available when you finish collecting maternity/parental benefits, you would be considered to have stopped working due to COVID-19. If you meet the other eligibility requirements you may receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

If I am in receipt of dividends am I eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

Yes as long as the dividends are non-eligible dividends (generally those paid out of corporate income taxed at the small business rate) and you meet the eligibility criteria.

Non-eligible dividends count towards the minimum $5000 in income required for eligibility. Non-eligible dividends also count toward the $1000 income threshold for a benefit period.