Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

Last updated August 27th

For a translated version of this information, please see: COVIDhelpTO  

Please note, as of August 2020, the federal government is preparing to transition as many Canadians as possible from CERB back into the Employment Insurance program in the coming weeks.

If you have not already applied for EI, you can apply for the CERB. You can do this with the CRA or with Service Canada, but not both. A few questions will guide you to the right form for you. Answer the questions under Get Started, on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit page. 

There are two ways to apply:

  • Online with CRA My Account
  • Over the phone with an automated phone service -1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041

If you can, get ready to apply by setting up a MyAccount with the Canada Revenue Agency and giving your banking information for direct deposit. Another way to set up direct deposit can be through your bank if you use online banking.

From the Government of Canada website:

We announced changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program and new income support benefits to better support all Canadians looking for work.

  • We have established a minimum unemployment rate for the EI program of 13.1% across Canada.
  • We are allowing Canadians with 120 hours of insurable work or more to qualify for benefits by providing a temporary, one-time credit of:
    • 300 insurable hours for those claiming EI regular benefits
    • 480 insurable hours for those claiming EI special benefits (maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care, and family).
  • We are freezing the EI premium rate for employees at the 2020 level of $1.58 per $100 of insurable earnings for two years. The rate for employers will also remain unchanged at $2.21 per $100 of insurable earnings.
  • We are implementing temporary measures to support self-employed fish harvesters who rely on EI fishing benefits in the off-season. These measures will allow EI fishing benefits for these workers to be calculated using either their fishing earnings for their current claim, or their fishing earnings from their claim for the same season from the previous year, whichever is higher.

As of September 27, if you are eligible for EI benefits, you will receive a minimum benefit rate of $400 per week, or $240 per week for extended parental benefits.

If you are not eligible for EI benefits, you may be eligible for:

As of April 6, there is just one starting application site for EI sickness and CERB. If you have stopped working because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) may provide you with temporary income support.

The CERB provides taxable benefit of $2,000 every 4 weeks for up to 28 weeks.

This benefit applies to:

  • Parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of closures.
  • Those who need to take sick leave 
  • Those who are ill, in self-isolation or quarantine
  • Those who are caring for someone who is sick with COVID-19
  • Workers who are still employed but are not receiving income, or workers who have lost their job and meet the following additional criteria; 
    • Have ceased working for at least 14 days within the four-week period during which you will receive a CERB payment for reasons relating to COVID-19;
    • Individuals who are at least 15 years old
    • You have not voluntarily quit your job; and
    • You are not receiving income from employment or self-employment; benefits from a provincial plan for pregnancy or adoption and any other income identified by the government
  • You must also have earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the past 12 months (maternity, parental, or adoptions benefits count) 

Learn more about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit including eligibility, and how to apply here.

If you are not yet receiving EI benefits, your application will automatically be assessed for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. You do not need to send in a new application.


As of April 15th, you are now eligible to apply for the CERB. This includes Musicians and artists.

As of April 15th, seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their usual seasonal work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak are eligible to apply for the CERB.

As of April 15th, workers who recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19 are eligible to apply for the CERB.

Phone: 416-392-7903
Constituency Office: 100 Queen St W A5, Toronto, ON, M5H 2N2