Tax Measures Under Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

The Response Plan initially contained a CERB to support workers who have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB replaced the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit. The CERB was available from March 15, 2020 until September 26, 2020. The last date to apply is December 2, 2020.

The CERB[46] provided $2,000 over a four-week period for up to 28 weeks, which is accessible online through CRA’s My Account or over the phone by automated service starting April 6, 2020. Canadians will begin to receive CERB payments by direct deposit or by cheque within 10 days of submitting an application. Payments are retroactive to the individual’s eligibility date. The CERB is a taxable benefit and must be reported in the 2020 income tax return.

Eligibility criteria for the CERB are as follows:

  • Canadian resident with a social insurance number (workers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents – including temporary foreign workers and international students – may be eligible to receive the Benefit if they meet the other eligibility requirements.).
  • At least 15 years old.
  • Eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits or stopped working due to COVID-19, for example:
    • Let go or hours reduced to zero.
    • Quarantined or sick with COVID-19 or taking care of others who are sick or quarantined.
    • Taking care of dependents whose care facility is closed due to COVID-19.
  • Income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of application.
  • Did not receive more than $1,000 in combined employment and/or self-employment income for 14 or more consecutive days in the initial four-week benefit period. For subsequent claims, the applicant cannot have earned more than $1,000 in income for the entire four-week benefit period of the new claim.
  • If allowed by the province or territory, workers can receive provincial or territorial support payments in addition to the CERB.

The income of at least $5,000 can be from income earned outside of Canada and can come from any or a combination of the following sources:

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