top of page

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) Update and COVID-19 Relief Program Guide - May 5, 2020

Updated: May 13, 2020

On March 18, 2020 the Government of Canada announced a series of programs to support individuals through the COVID-19 crisis. These programs were developed rapidly and updated often. Here at Clearly Financials we continue to support individuals and families in our local Edmonton community by sharing some updates.

The PDF version contains information for both Small Businesses and Individuals

Published on April 9, 2020.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) - Updated May 3, 2020

For employed and self-employed Canadians that have lost income due to COVID-19.

Benefit Amount

$2,000 for a 4 week period

Up to 16 weeks

Who Can Apply


  • At least 15 years of age.

  • Employed or self-employed.

  • Stopped working because of COVID-19, or are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) regular or sickness benefits.

  • Who earned income of at least $5,000 in 2019, or in the 12 months prior to the date of application from:

  1. Non-eligible dividends (Announced April 6, 2020 *)

  2. employment;

  3. self-employment;

  4. certain EI benefits (maternity and parental benefits); and

  5. allowances, money or other benefits paid to the person under a provincial plan because of pregnancy or in respect of the care by the person of one or more of their new-born children or one or more children placed with them for the purpose of adoption.

  • In the initial four-week period had a consecutive period of at least 14 days during which their earned $1,000 or less in income from employment and/or self-employment. (Announced April 17, 2020 **)

  • During subsequent claims, have earned less than $1,000 from employment and/or self-employment, for the 4 week period of the new claim. (Announced April 17, 2020 **)

Explanation of Updates

* On April 6th, the Government of Canada announced that non-eligible dividends would also count towards the $5,000 prior income eligibility requirement. Therefore, owner-managers or their family members compensated only by non-eligible dividends may be eligible for the CERB provided that the other requirements are met.

** On April 17th, the Government of Canada announced expanded eligibility rules to provide CERB access to more Canadians. The updated included the following:

  • Individuals may earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.

  • Workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19 may receive the CERB.

  • Seasonal Workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak may collect the CERB.

  • Artists may receive royalty payments for copyrighted works produced before March 1st while collecting the CERB;

CERB Eligibility Periods

An eligibility period is a fixed 4-week payment period. Each period has a pre-set start and end date. This means when you apply for the CERB, you will receive a payment for a specific 4-week period.

If your situation continues, you can re-apply for another 4-week period, up to a maximum of 4 periods (or 16 weeks in total).

Reminders and Highlights

  • Workers that quit their jobs, or refuse to return to work, are not eligible to receive the CERB

  • Do not apply for CERB twice. Applications may be made through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or through Service Canada. If you received two payments of $2,000 within the same month will need to repay the duplicate payment.

  • Through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) for businesses, employers may be re-hiring workers retroactive from March 15, 2020. If your employer is receiving the CEWS, you may have to repay CERB benefits received during overlapping periods.

  • CERB is a taxable benefit. Tax information slips will be provided to recipients and the income must be reported on your 2020 personal tax returns. The fact that no tax is withheld at source, sometimes gives a false impression that the CERB amount is greater than income earned from employment.

How to Apply

2. My Service Canada Account (Log in and “Switch to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)”)

3. Automated telephone service: 1-800-959-2019

You must re-apply for multiple 4-week periods, up to 16 weeks.

In Closing

We understand that these are challenging times for many individuals and families in Edmonton. We are working diligently at Clearly Financials to support our local communities through these unprecedented changes.

Realize that you are not alone, that we are in this together and most importantly that there is hope.

For other COVID-19 resources please view the COVID-19 resources on our website.

Follow us on Facebook for updates.



This is a summarized version of complex matters that are rapidly changing. We expect further clarification from the government in the coming days. The preceding information is provided for educational purposes only. Speak with one of our advisors if you have any questions about your specific accounting or tax situation.


Clearly Financials Chartered Professional Accountants. Cloud-Based Accounting and Taxation Solutions for you and your small business.

We also provide personal tax return preparation services for individuals and families.

Our office is located in Edmonton, Alberta. Through the power of cloud technology, we are able serve clients throughout Canada.

84 views0 comments
bottom of page