Federal Government Expands Access to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and Announces plans for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)
April 17, 2020
On April 15, 2020, the Federal government announced changes to the CERB eligibility rules so that more Canadians qualify.

The following individuals can now apply for the $2,000 monthly CERB:

  • Individuals that are earning up to $1,000 per month;

  • Seasonal workers who have exhausted their employment insurance (EI) benefits and whose regular seasonal work has not materialized due to the COVID-19 pandemic;

  • Individuals that have recently exhausted their EI benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These changes are retroactive to March 15, 2020. Individuals now eligible for the CERB can apply using their Canada Revenue Agency My Account or by phone using the CERB automated phone service. If you do not have a My Account for Individuals you can click on the link above to register.

On April 16, 2020 the Prime Minister announced additional support for small businesses facing economic hardship and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement included new measures to support Canadian businesses so they can keep their doors open and their employees on the job.

The Government of Canada is:

  • Expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to businesses that paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019. This will replace the previous range of between $50,000 and $1 million, and will help small businesses to cover non-deferrable operating costs.

  • The Government also announced its intent to introduce the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. The program will seek to provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or waive the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. The execution of the program will require a partnership between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships. More details to be shared soon.
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