Understanding the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

The CERB supports Canadians by providing financial support to employed and self-employed Canadians who are directly affected by COVID-19.

It provides a payment of $2,000 for a 4-week period (the same as $500 a week) for up to 16 weeks.

Are there limitations to the program?

An applicant cannot have earned more than $1000 in employment or self-employment for 14 or more consecutive days within the four-week benefit period of the claim.

When applying for additional claims, an applicant cannot have earned more than $1000 in income (employment or self-employment) for the entire four-week benefit period of the claim.

What is considered income?

  • Tips that you may earn while working
  • Non-eligible dividends
  • Honoraria (e.g. amounts paid to emergency service workers)
  • Royalties (e.g. paid to artists)

What is not considered income?

  • Pensions
  • Student loans
  • Bursaries

If I am in receipt of dividends, am I eligible for the CERB?

Thanks to Video Tax News for this explanation:

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.

How does this interact with any of the wage subsidy programs?

Please see our wage subsidy summary.

How long until the CRA distributes the funds?

After you apply, you should get your payment in 3 business days if you signed up for direct deposit. If you haven’t, you should get it in about 10 business days.

What is available for essential workers?

The program will temporarily top up the pay of low-income (e.g. less than $2,500 per month) essential workers.

Additional information

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