Proposed Changes and Extension to the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

Published: June 10, 2020


In response to a request from Dan Albas, MP (Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola) the PBO estimated the cost of a proposal modifying the CERB to: extend the program to January 2021; expand the eligibility for benefits by an additional 12 weeks (to 28 weeks total); and, adopt a phase-out for the benefit of $0.50 for each dollar of employment income above $1,000 per month.
The parliamentarian also asked that this modified CERB be compared against another option to extend the existing program over the same time period (to January 2021) and enhancing the benefits duration by the same amount (12 weeks). Extensions and modifications to the CERB program are assumed to be implemented on June 1, 2020. PBO estimates the cost of the proposed measure to extend and modify the CERB program to be $64.0 billion from June 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021. Compared to a counterfactual scenario where the current CERB program is extended until January 31, 2021, where recipients can receive up to 28 weeks of CERB payments, the modified CERB program costs an additional $6.1 billion.