From coast to coast, Canadians are facing financial uncertainty as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, with countless residents out of work and many others fearing they may be unemployed soon.
Thankfully, Canadians currently without work are able to receive financial support from the government, with applications for the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) set to open next week, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
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The CERB, which will provide $2,000 a month for the next four months to anyone affected by COVID-19, combines two previously announced benefits programs in an effort to streamline the application process. Those who have lost their job, are home ill with coronavirus, or simply not receiving payment from their job, will be eligible.
During Trudeau’s COVID-19 update on Wednesday, he said starting April 6, if you haven’t requested Employment Insurance (EI), you will be able to apply for the CERB. However, those who have already requested EI won’t need to register for the CERB.
Trudeau said CERB applications will be available online through the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA). Those who apply online can request a direct deposit and expect their payment within three to five days.
Anyone who can’t apply online can call CRA and have their cheques mailed. And for anyone who does apply, they’ll be required to check-in online monthly and confirm they are still out of work to continue receiving the payment.
Trudeau added that there will be “stiff and severe penalties” for those who try to take advantage of the system.
PM Trudeau provides details on Canada Emergency Response Benefit:
– cannot get both wage subsidy & CERB
– register online or by calling CRA
– direct deposit in 3–5 days; 10 days by mail
– once-a-month check-in
– no action needed if applied already via EI#cdnpoli #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/GER4kuS2Rn
— CPAC (@CPAC_TV) April 1, 2020
Additionally, Trudeau said the CERB cannot be combined with the wage subsidy from small and medium-sized businesses that the federal government announced last week.
The Liberal government said it would offer a 75% wage subsidy for qualifying businesses that have suffered at least a 30% loss in wages as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak in Canada. The subsidy would be available for three months, retroactive to March 15, to help businesses keep and return workers to the payroll.