Backgrounder : Support to Canadians and businesses affected by COVID-19


Canada Emergency Response Benefit

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provides temporary income support to workers who have stopped working due to COVID-19. To help more Canadians benefit from the CERB, workers may earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the benefit.

Individuals who are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits, or who have recently exhausted Employment Insurance regular or fishing benefits may also be eligible.

The CERB provides $500 per week for a maximum of 16 weeks, and is available from March 15, 2020, to October 3, 2020.

As of May 6, 2020, 7.72 million Canadians have accessed the CERB, and $28.82 billion in benefits have been paid out.

For information on eligibility and how to apply, visit

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) supports employers that are hardest hit by the pandemic, and helps protect the jobs Canadians depend on.

The subsidy generally covers 75% of an employee's wages – up to $847 per week - for employers of all sizes and across all sectors who have suffered a drop in gross revenues of at least 15% in March, and 30% in April and May.

The program will be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020.

Employers who are eligible for the CEWS are entitled to receive a 100% refund for certain employer contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan paid in respect of employees who are on leave with pay.

Since the CEWS launched last week, employers have applied for subsidies for almost 2 million workers.

For more information on eligibility and how to apply, visit CRA’s website.

Canada Emergency Business Account

To ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need to see them through the current challenges, the Government of Canada launched the new Canada Emergency Business Account, which is delivered by eligible financial institutions in cooperation with Export Development Canada (EDC).

This program will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 virus.

This will better position them to quickly return to providing services to their communities and creating employment. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).

As of May 7, 564,000 applicants have been approved for CEBA for a total of $21.8 billion in cumulative funds disbursed. Additional applications are received daily.

For information on eligibility and how to apply, visit

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