Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB): Closed

Status: Closed

Find support after CERB

If you continue to need income support, find out if you are eligible for Employment Insurance or other Recovery benefits.

Find COVID-19 financial assistance

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provided financial support to employed and self-employed Canadians who were directly affected by COVID-19.

If you were eligible, you could have received $2,000 for a 4-week period (the same as $500 a week).

On this page

Sending your CERB payment back

You may want to return or be required to repay the CERB if you:

  • returned to work earlier than expected or received retroactive pay from your employer
  • applied for the CERB but later realized you were not eligible
  • received a CERB payment from both Service Canada and the CRA for the same period

Return or repay the CERB to CRA

Return or repay the CERB to Service Canada

How the CERB is taxed

CERB payment amounts are taxable. You must report the CERB amounts that you receive as income when you file your personal income tax return. How much tax you must pay will depend on how much income you earned.

For more information, go to COVID-19 benefits and your taxes.

Who was eligible

The Benefit was available to workers:

  • residing in Canada, who were at least 15 years old
  • who stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19 or were eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits or have exhausted their Employment Insurance regular benefits or Employment Insurance fishing 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 did not quit their job voluntarily

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

Note: Federally regulated workers taking the new leave related to COVID-19 may have been eligible for this benefit.

You may be eligible for support via other programs

You may be eligible for support via other programs as well.

Answer some questions to find financial help during COVID-19.

Determine if you were eligible

If you are unsure about your eligibility, please look at the following scenarios and choose the one that best described your situation.

Expectant mother/parent

You must have met all eligibility criteria to be eligible.

You were an expectant mother who lost your job. You were eligible for EI before March 15th 2020. You were planning to go on EI maternity benefits later.

No, you were not eligible for the CERB.

You were eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits until you switched to EI maternity and parental benefits.

In total, you could have got up to 50 weeks of EI regular, maternity and standard parental benefits. If you chose the extended parental benefits, you could have received more weeks at a lower benefit rate.

You were an expectant mother who lost your job. You were eligible for EI after March 15th 2020. You planned to go on EI maternity benefits later.

You may have been eligible for the CERB.

You may have been eligible for the CERB until you switched to EI maternity and parental benefits.

The number of weeks you received the CERB would not have affected the number of weeks you received EI maternity and parental benefits.

You were an expectant parent who lost your job. You were eligible for EI after March 15th 2020. You planned to go on EI parental benefits later.

You may have been eligible for the CERB.

You may have been eligible for the CERB until you switched to EI parental benefits after your child was born or after your adopted child was placed with you.

The number of weeks you received the CERB would not have affected the number of weeks you received EI parental benefits.

You were an expectant mother who continued to work and planned to go on EI maternity benefits.

You were not eligible for the CERB if you were still working.

You may have been eligible for EI maternity and parental benefits when your maternity and parental leave began.

New mother/parent

You must have met all eligibility criteria to be eligible.

You were a new mother/parent who received EI maternity/parental benefits. After the end of your planned leave, you could not go back to work because your job was lost as a result of COVID-19.

You may have been eligible for the CERB.

Your maternity and parental benefits counted toward the $5,000 (before taxes) income eligibility requirement.

You were a new mother/parent who received EI maternity/parental benefits. You returned to work at the end of your planned leave, but lost your job a month later as a result of COVID-19.

You may have been eligible for the CERB.

Your maternity and parental benefits counted toward the $5,000 (before taxes) income eligibility requirement.

Caring for family member(s)

You must have met all eligibility criteria to be eligible.

You were a parent who stopped working to take care of your child(ren) while the schools were closed because of COVID-19.

You may have been eligible for the CERB.

You may have been eligible if you stopped working to care for a child because their school was closed due to COVID-19.

You were a family member who stopped working to care for your relative who had COVID-19.

You may have been eligible for the CERB.

You may have been eligible if you stopped working to care for a family member who is sick because of COVID-19.

You were a family member who stopped working to care for your relative who has a disability. Their usual care was not available because of COVID-19.

You may have been eligible for the CERB.

You may have been eligible if you stopped working to care for a family member with a disability whose usual care was not available because of COVID-19.

Change in job status/income

You must have met all eligibility criteria to be eligible.

You remained employed. However, you were advised to stay at home/go into quarantine.

You may have been eligible for the CERB.

You may have been eligible if you were told to stay home by a medical professional (e.g. doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner).

You were an individual who stopped working because of COVID-19. However, you were rehired by your employer and earned less than $1,000 (before taxes) per month.

You may have been eligible for the CERB.

You may have been eligible if you stopped working because of COVID-19 and did not earn more than $1,000 (before taxes) for the weeks in which you applied to the CERB.

You were an individual who stopped working because of COVID-19. However, you were rehired by your employer and earned more than $1,000 (before taxes) per month.

No, you were not eligible for the CERB.

You could not have earned more than $1,000 (before taxes) for the weeks in which you were applying to the CERB.

You were an individual who stopped working. But you got a bonus from your employer in May 2020 for work you did earlier (e.g. in January and February).

You may have been eligible for the CERB.

You may have been eligible as long as you do not earn more than $1,000 (before taxes) for the weeks in which you were applying to the CERB. This is because the bonus was for work that was not done during those weeks.

You were a volunteer firefighter. You received a small amount of money for every week you worked.

You may have been eligible for the CERB.

You may have been eligible as long as you did not earn more than $1,000 (before taxes) for the weeks in which you were applying to the CERB.

You were an artist who received royalties for your work.

You may have been eligible for the CERB.

You may have been eligible provided you did not earn more than $1,000 (before taxes) for the weeks in which you were applying to the CERB.

The $1,000 (before taxes) includes royalties earned for work you did during those weeks you were applying for the CERB, but not for work you did in other weeks.

Canadian abroad

You must have met all eligibility criteria to be eligible.

You are a Canadian worker who normally lives in Canada. But you were on vacation outside Canada and, because of COVID-19, you could not come back to work in Canada.

You may have been eligible for the CERB.

You may have been eligible if you planned to return to work and you normally live in Canada.

You were a Canadian who was living abroad working for a Canadian company/organization.

No, you were not eligible for the CERB.

You must have been living in Canada to be eligible.

You were a Canadian international aid worker who returned to Canada. However, you made humanitarian trips abroad and received living allowances.

You may have been eligible for the CERB.

You may have been eligible as long as you were living in Canada when you stopped working.

You were a Canadian international aid worker. You worked on a humanitarian trip abroad and you did not have a home in Canada.

No, you were not eligible for the CERB.

You must have been living in Canada to be eligible.

Unable to work/unemployed

You must have met all eligibility criteria to be eligible.

You were unemployed and were eligible for EI regular benefits before March 15th 2020.

No, you were not eligible for the CERB.

If you lost your job and became eligible for EI regular benefits before March 15th 2020, you would have continued to receive EI under the existing rules.

You were unemployed and you may have been eligible for EI regular benefits after March 15th 2020.

You may have been eligible for the CERB.

If you lost your job and were eligible for EI regular benefits after March 15th 2020, you would have been automatically be processed for the CERB.

You were unable to work because you were diagnosed with a serious illness. You were eligible for EI sickness benefits before March 15th 2020.

No, you were not eligible for the CERB.

If you stopped working and were eligible for EI sickness benefits before March 15th 2020, you would have continued to receive EI under the existing rules.

You were unable to work because you were diagnosed with a serious illness. You were eligible for EI sickness benefits after March 15th 2020.

You were unable to work because you were diagnosed with a serious illness. You were eligible for EI sickness benefits after March 15th 2020.

You may have been eligible for the CERB.

If you stopped working and were eligible for EI sickness benefits after March 15th 2020, you would have been automatically be processed for the CERB.

You may be eligible for EI sickness benefits if you were still sick after the CERB.

Student

You must have met all eligibility criteria to be eligible.

You are a student who was working part-time throughout the school year, but your job was lost because of COVID-19.

You may have been eligible for the CERB.

You must have stopped working for reasons related to COVID-19 and met the other requirements for the benefit.

You were a student who worked in the summer. You were supposed to start at a job in May 2020 but the job was lost because of COVID-19.

No, you were not eligible for the CERB.

You must have stopped working because of COVID-19. Having a job lined up was not the same as having already started working and stopping. However, you may have been eligible for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit.

You were an international student who was working part-time through the school year, but the job was lost because of COVID-19.

You may have been eligible for the CERB.

You must have stopped working for reasons related to COVID-19 and met the other requirements for the benefit.

You were an international student who was studying in Canada and working part-time. You returned to your home country when the pandemic started because you lost your job and classes were done virtually.

No, you were not eligible for the CERB.

You must have been living in Canada to be eligible.

Senior/retired person

You must have met all eligibility criteria to be eligible.

You were a senior with a pension who worked part time. You lost that job because of COVID-19.

You may have been eligible for the CERB.

You must have stopped working for reasons related to COVID-19 and met the other requirements for the benefit.

You were a senior with a pension but had no employment income.

No, you were not eligible for the CERB.

You must have stopped working for reasons related to COVID-19.

Self-employed/independent contractor

You must have met all eligibility criteria to be eligible.

You were an individual who owned a business. You were forced to close your doors because of COVID-19.

You may have been eligible for the CERB.

You may have been eligible as of March 15th 2020.

You were an independent contractor who has no work because of COVID-19. However, you earned more than $1,000 (before taxes) after March 15th 2020 for work done in February.

You may have been eligible for the CERB.

You may have been eligible as long as the money you received was for work done outside the weeks in which you were applying for the CERB.

You were a self-employed person who got sick with COVID-related symptoms and you could work.

You may have been eligible for the CERB.

You may have been eligible if you met the eligibility criteria. This includes that you stopped working because of COVID-19.

You were a self-employed person who got sick but it was not COVID-related after March 15th 2020 and you could work.

No, you were not eligible for the CERB.

You were not eligible as you were not sick because of COVID-19.

You were a self-employed person eligible for EI who got sick, but not necessarily with COVID-19, after March 15th 2020.

You may have been eligible for the CERB.

If you stopped working after March 15th 2020 and were eligible for EI sickness benefits, these benefits would have automatically processed through the CERB.

Previously received EI benefits (exhausted)

You must have met all eligibility criteria to be eligible.

You were an individual with a seasonal job. You received EI regular benefits during the winter months and they were running out (before October 3rd 2020). You could not find work because of COVID-19.

You may have been eligible for the CERB.

You would have been eligible if you used up your EI regular benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020.

You were an individual who received EI regular benefits. You exhausted them in late fall 2019. You could not find work because of COVID-19.

No, you were not eligible for the CERB.

You must have used up your EI regular benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020.

You were an individual who received EI fishing benefits. You exhausted them in early 2020. You would not find because of COVID-19.

You may have been eligible for the CERB.

You would have been eligible if you used up all your fishing benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020.

You were an individual who received EI fishing benefits. You exhausted them in late fall 2019. You could not find work because of COVID-19.

No, you were not eligible for the CERB.

You must have used up your EI fishing benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020.

Contact us about your application

You must contact the department you applied with.

If you are not sure who you applied with

You should contact CRA if:

  • the application you filled was very short
  • you applied through CRA My Account or applied with an automated phone service
  • you were encouraged to apply on a specific day of the week, depending on your month of birth
  • you were asked what period of eligibility you were applying for and then had to certify that you met the eligibility requirements

Note: It is possible you may have logged in to My Service Canada Account and then switched to CRA My Account

You should contact Service Canada if:

  • you applied online and did not need to enter a user ID or password. The application by telephone was not available
  • you were asked several questions, similar to an employment insurance (EI) application, including the type of EI benefits you were applying for and the name of your former employer
If you applied for the CERB with CRA
Ask about the status of your CERB payment

Contact the CRA at:
1-800-959-8281

If you applied using Employment Insurance (Service Canada)
Ask about the status of your CERB payment

Contact Service Canada at:
1-800-206-7218

All inquiries for applications on or after March 15th 2020

Contact Service Canada at:
1-800-206-7218

All inquiries for applications before March 15th 2020

Contact Service Canada at:
1-800-206-7218

Questions about the CERB

Please read these questions and answers for more details.

Find information about the CERB with CRA

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