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Personal PlanningCanada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)


This article was reviewed by Chris Singer, CFP®.

New Government Benefits Available for those affected by COVID-19

This morning the federal government unveiled the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), an update to the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan just announced one week ago.

Replacing the Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Allowance, individuals will be able to apply via a new online application portal promised for early April. Trudeau said applicants can expect to receive funds within 10 days of applying. For additional info, read the Press Release here.

What is the CERB?

  • A $2,000 per month taxable benefit to employees who have lost income due to COVID-19, including contract workers or self-employed individuals who do not normally qualify for EI benefits
  • The benefit will be available for up to 4 months, starting March 15th

Do I qualify for the CERB?  YES, if you:

  • Are sick or quarantined due to COVID-19
  • Must take time off work without pay to take care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, or to look after children who are at home because of school or daycare closures
  • Are not receiving income because your workplace has shut down or is temporarily closed due to COVID-19

Additional BC Provincial Government Initiatives

  • A new BC Emergency Benefit for all individuals who are unable to work due to COVID-19, and who qualify for federal emergency EI benefits, will also receive an additional $1,000 tax-free benefit from the BC provincial government
  • Continued funding for non-profits, service delivery agencies and child care providers, even if closed or operations interrupted
  • Payment deferral programs for ICBC premiums or BC Hydro bills
  • Business owners will not have to remit PST or other provincial taxes until September 30, 2020
  • Businesses & industry properties will have their school taxes cut by 50% for 2020
  • Delayed implementation of the proposed increase to the provincial carbon tax which was scheduled to take effect on April 1, 2020

See our previous article about the Government of Canada’s previous Covid-19 announcement last week.