In his daily press briefing, the prime minister announced the new combined Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). He says, “If you’re sick or quarantined or looking after someone sick or at home taking care of your kids - it’s there for you.” The new package offers $2,000 per month for the next four months for workers who are not getting a paycheque. “If you’ve lost your job, were on a contract or self-employed, this benefit will be there for you.” Workers who are still employed but not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19 would also qualify for CERB.
If you are already receiving regular EI and sickness benefits you will continue to receive those benefits and should NOT apply to CERB. Nearly 1 million people applied for EI last week alone. Out of those 1 million, Service Canada processed 143,000 EI requests in that week.
The application portal for the new CERB fund will be open as “quickly as possible”, most likely early April and money will flow 10 days after applying. Trudeau also said the government is looking at programs in countries like Denmark and Germany as possible models to replicate here in Canada. Trudeau says the government will also announce support for Canadian media companies.
Who is defined as a worker? You have to be at least 15 yrs of age, a resident of Canada and has had at least $5,000 in income in 2019 (or in the 12 months before applying) either from employment or self-employment or certain EI benefits.
On another note, Canada is testing 10,000 people per day for COVID19. Health Minister Patty Hajdu says anyone returning to Canada MUST go into self-isolation for 14 days, and this will be enforced through the Quarantine Act, including criminal sanctions or fines if necessary. Essential workers will be exempt from this isolation.