CERB Is Ending. Here's What You Need To Know About EI And The New Emergency Benefits

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is about to go quietly into the night. 

After six months of financial assistance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government is phasing out the CERB in favour of an amended employment insurance program and several new emergency benefits. 

Over 8.5 million Canadians haved accessed the CERB, and many will still need financial assistance going into this next phase. 

“As we carefully and gradually reopen parts of our economy, we are transitioning to more nimble and flexible programs that will help get Canadians back to work, while ensuring we are able to quickly respond to any further labour market impacts due to the ongoing pandemic,” Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough said in a release. 

But some of these new benefits and programs will require a little work on your end, whether you’re receiving the CERB right now or not. While Service Canada has upped its capacity in anticipation of an influx of calls and EI claims, they’re still saying to expect long waits when you call. 

Here’s what you need to know for when you do make that call.

What’s happening to CERB?

It’s ending. And if you’re on it, the money you’ll receive stops when you’ve received 28 weeks of benefits or on Oct. 3, 2020, whichever comes first.

What benefits are available to me now that CERB is done?

First up is a modified version of our existing Employment Insurance (EI) program.

If you apply and receive EI, you’ll get a taxable benefit of at least $500 a week, or $300 a week for extended parental benefits. EI claimants are eligible for at least 26 weeks.


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The government has created three new benefits for Canadians who don’t qualify for EI, providing a payment of $500 a week:

-The Canada Recovery Benefit, for the self-employed or gig workers up to 26 weeks.

-The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, for workers who are sick or must self-isolate due to COVID-19 up to two weeks. 

-The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, for people who can’t work because they need to care for a child or dependant for reasons related to COVID-19 up to 26 weeks. 

All three of these benefits will be in effect for one year.

How do I apply for EI and these new benefits?

You can check out which EI benefits you qualify for here. Like CERB, you’ll have to keep track of your earnings. 

Recipients must make “reasonable and ongoing job search efforts” while receiving EI, so be prepared to reach out to employers, prep resumes and search job applications. 

Legislation to enact the three new benefits passed early Wednesday morning, so expect more information on how to apply in the coming days. 

I was on CERB and still need support.  Is there anything I need to do?

According to the government, if you’ve been receiving CERB through Service Canada and still need income support, you most likely do not have to reapply for the new EI benefit. After you receive your last CERB payment, continue completing your reports as you have been. The government will review your file and start you on EI if you qualify. If not, expect notification over the mail. 

You will still need to apply for EI after your CERB ends, however, if you have a SIN that starts with a 9, you’re self-employed, or you have declared that you have returned to work full-time on your CERB report.

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If you received your CERB through the Canada Revenue Agency, you’ll need to apply for EI through the Service Canada. You can apply after the end of your last CERB eligibility period.

You must receive all of your CERB payments before applying for EI payments.

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