The Government of Canada passed the new COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, containing their response plan for individuals and businesses.

Some of the items have changed since they were previously announced.

Here are the latest updates:

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB):

  • The Benefit combines the previously announced “Emergency Care Benefit” and “Emergency Support Benefit”.
  • This Benefit covers both employed and self-employed individuals (who had more than $5,000 of total income in 2019, and older than 15 years).
  • Individuals must “have ceased working for reasons related to COVID19 for at least 14 consecutive days with a 4 week period” and not receive “income from employment or self-employment”.
  • Those Eligible for the Benefit can receive it for up to 16 weeks, and the application will be accessable in early April through a secured web portal.
  • The amount of the Benefit will be determined by the Government.
  • Payments are expected to be received within 10 days of application and would be paid every four weeks.
  • You are not eligible to receive this Benefit if you are entitled to receive Employment Insurance benefits (i.e. due to being sick or laid off).

For self-employed individuals: you are required to receive zero income for the period to qualify for the Benefit. It appears, based on public comments by the Minister of Finance, that any revenue would disqualify you from receiving this Benefit.

Temporary Subsidy Amount (“Subsidy”)

  • The Subsidy will be increased to 75% with conditions. Eligibility criteria and caps will be released on Monday.
  • The new Subsidy will be back-dated to March 15th, 2020 (previously was March 18th).
  • Re-hired employees will be eligible for the Subsidy.
  • If you are making business or staffing decisions today, you may want to consider waiting until next week to see if you are eligible to this Subsidy.
  • The amount of the Subsidy will be determined by Regulation. (The Government previously announced that the Subsidy was 10% of remuneration paid, subject to maximums of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.)

Canada Emergency Business Account

  • Banks will offer loans of up to $40,000 to qualifying small businesses to be guaranteed by the Government.
  • These loans are interest-free for the first year.
  • $10,000 of the loan may be forgivable under certain conditions.

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