CERB now open to those making $1,000 a month or less

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is being expanded to include workers who make less than $1,000 a month.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday announced the new eligibility criteria for the CERB, a taxable benefit of $2,000 every four weeks for up to four months for eligible workers who have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Previously, the CERB was available only to those who lost all of their income, which left many Canadians ineligible or forced them to choose between their dramatically reduced income or the benefit.

“Maybe you’re a volunteer firefighter or a contractor who can pick up some shifts, or you have a part-time job in a grocery store. Even if you are still working or want to start working again you probably need help making ends meet,” Trudeau said Wednesday.

“So if you earn $1,000 or less a month you’ll now be able to apply for the CERB.”

The new criteria also applies to anyone who is self-employed.

Additionally, the CERB is being expanded to include seasonal workers who have exhausted their employment insurance (EI) regular benefits and are unable to undertake their usual seasonal work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, and to workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits since Jan. 1 and are unable to find a job or return to work due to the pandemic.