Published: June 23, 2020
On June 16, 2020 the Government announced that eligibility for benefits under the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will be extended by an additional 8 weeks, bringing the maximum to 24 weeks total. The CERB is a taxable benefit that provides $500 a week for workers who lose their income due to reasons related to COVID-19. This includes Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19 as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are at home because of school and daycare closures. Workers are defined as anyone who received at least $5,000 in the previous 12 months in employment income, self-employment income, Employment Insurance benefits, or other provincial benefits as outlined in Bill C-13. Workers who earn less than $1,000 in a 4-week period are eligible for the CERB. Individuals who have exhausted their Employment Insurance regular benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020 are also eligible for the CERB. PBO estimates the cost to extend the maximum duration of benefits from 16 to 24 weeks under the CERB program to be $17.9 billion. This would bring the total estimated program cost to $71.3 billion.