COVID-19/coronavirus update: March 26, 2020
The federal government has streamlined the COVID-19 emergency benefits program and says Canadians struggling financially, including working seniors facing lost wages and unemployment, can now expect payments within weeks.
The application process is scheduled to open in early April, with individual income support payments amounting to about $2,000 a month expected to flow about 10 days later. The benefits will be available for four months.
The government is streamlining the financial support regime as it struggles to cope with an unprecedented volume of employment insurance claims.
The new program collapses two previously announced benefits — the Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit — into one.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) offers income support for up to 16 weeks to those who lose pay because of the pandemic. A government news release says the “simpler and more accessible” program will cover Canadians who lost their jobs, got sick, are under quarantine or have to stay home because of school closures.
It’s available to wage earners, contract workers and self-employed people who don’t qualify for employment insurance (EI).
Want to apply?
The online portal to apply for CERB will be available in early April, and people can expect payments within 10 days. CERB payments will be issued every four weeks, and will be available from March 15, 2020 to Oct. 3, 2020.