Canadian Government – Updates to CERB FAQs
April 23, 2020 – The CERB FAQ has been updated
New information about the CERB are available.
Are self-employed small business owners eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?
Yes, provided they meet the eligibility criteria including that they stopped working due to COVID-19 and do not earn more than $1000 in a period of at least 14 consecutive days in the first benefit period and for the entire four-week benefit period of any subsequent claim.
Small Business owners can receive income from their business in different ways, including as salary, business income or dividends. In determining their eligibility for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit:
Owners who take a salary from their business should consider their pre-tax salary;
Owners who rely on business income should consider their net pre-tax income (gross income less expenses);
Owners who rely on dividend income should consider this as self-employment income provided it comes from non–eligible dividends (generally, those paid out of corporate income taxed a
Can someone qualify for Canada Emergency Response Benefit if they still have a small amount of income coming into their business account as a sole proprietor to pay some of their business expenses (commercial rent, utility costs, etc.) as long as they are not paying themselves any income from the business?
Yes. To be eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, you must have stopped working as a result of reasons related to COVID-19 and receive less than $1,000 in employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days within the initial four-week period for which you apply. For subsequent periods, you cannot receive more than $1,000 in employment or self-employment income for the entire four-week period.”
There may be other reasons related to COVID-19 beyond these examples why you may have stopped working. However, you cannot voluntarily quit your job.
If you are concerned about the safety of your working conditions, you should discuss the situation with your employer.
If you work in a federally-regulated workplace, you may wish to consult your workplace health and safety committee or health and safety representative as well as the document “Right to refuse dangerous work” at https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/health-safety/reports/right-refuse.html
Otherwise, you may wish to consult the website for the department of labour in your province or territory for further information on your rights and the process you should follow.
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (https://www.ccohs.ca/) is another possible resource
Am I eligible to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit if I have not declared that I earned any money in the last year?
While having filed income tax for 2019 is not an eligibility requirement, you will need to confirm when applying for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit that you had at least $5000 in employment or self-employment income in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of your application. You will also need to confirm that you have not earned more than $1000 in employment and/or self-employment income in a period of at least 14 consecutive days within the first benefit period and for the entire four-week benefit period of any subsequent claim. If you are deemed ineligible for the Benefit at a later date, you will be required to pay it back.
The income of at least $5,000 may be from employment and/or self-employment. For those who are not eligible for Employment Insurance you may also include maternity and parental benefits under the Employment Insurance program and/or similar benefits paid in Quebec under the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan as part of the calculation for income.
Once I receive my first payment, can I assume I will receive my next payment 4 weeks later?
No, the renewal of payments will not be automatic. You must confirm your eligibility for each period for which you apply either online or by phone (1-833-966-2099).
If you are receiving your Benefit through Service Canada you must complete your Employment Insurance Report Card to confirm your eligibility.
The calculation of the 16 weeks begins with the first week for which you are receiving the Benefit. However, the 16 weeks do not have to be taken consecutively. For example, you could receive the Benefit for 4 weeks beginning March 15th and reapply for your second benefit period a few months later based on your personal situation.
As the situation develops further, there may be additional government measures, or modifications to those already announced.
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