CoVid 19 – Employment Insurance (EI) vs. Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

So many questions circling around…

“Do I apply for EI?”
“Do I need my employer to issue me a ROE”
“When will funds be available to me”
“Covid19 is directly related to my work shortage, do I qualify?”
“How do I apply?”
“Help!!!”

As Income Tax preparers, and bookkeepers, we are frequently asked the same questions daily related to unemployment and layoff. This is all in relation to the closure of non-essential business and reduction of hours. Over the past 3 weeks, the government began announcing new measures to help Canadians through these tough economic times.

As most of you are aware last week Justin Trudeau announced a new Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This benefit replaced the two previous measures announced.

The Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is a taxable benefit that would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months. This benefit is for Canadians who have had their employment income drastically reduced as a result of the Corona Virus. This benefit is a much simpler and accessible combination or the previous announced emergency benefits. It also currently REPLACES EI for those who have and have yet to apply.

The EI system was not designed to process such shear volumes of applicants, a majority received following March 15th, 2020. Given this situation, all Canadians who have ceased working for the reasons listed below, whether they are EI eligible OR NOT, would be able to receive the Emergency Response Benefit in a timely manner.

The CERB would cover Canadians who have lost their jobs, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19. This also applies to working parents who must stay home without pay to care for their children who are sick or who are at home due to care facility closures.

The CERB also applies to wage earners, contract workers and the self-employed who would otherwise be ineligible for Employment Insurance (EI).

Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income, because of disruptions to their work situation due to the pandemic qualify. It is a broad spectrum of applicants who are available for this benefit.

To qualify, applicants must have had $5,000 in employment income, self-employment income, or maternity or parental leave benefits for 2019 or in the 12-month period preceding the day they make the application.

You’ll be able to apply through the CRA MyAccount secure portal, your secure My Service Canada Account or over the phone.

If you’ve already applied for EI and your application hasn’t been processed yet, you’ll automatically be applied for the CERB instead.

Canadians could begin to receive your benefit in as little as 10 days after application.

To note: If you are already receiving EI benefits regular or sickness benefits will continue to receive their benefits and should NOT apply for the emergency response benefit. If your EI benefits end before Oct 3rd, 2020 you can then apply for CERB once your benefits cease, IF they are unable to return to work due to COVID-19.

For more funding sources available from the federal and provincial governments during Covid-19, take a look at our blog later this week.

For more Frequently Asked Questions – https://www.unifor.org/en/faq-new-canada-emergency-response-benefit-cerb