Since early 2020, many Canadians have struggled to keep their job due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you have lost your full-time salaried job or the part-time income, CRA responded to the pandemic by offering multiple benefits to cover you during this difficult time.

Employment Insurance (EI) Benefit

The EI program offers a temporary income while you look for another job. Workers receive EI benefits only if they have paid premiums in the past year and meet qualifying and entitlement conditions. Self-employed workers may participate in EI and receive special benefits.


CERB was a taxable benefit of $2,000 paid every 4 weeks up to 28 weeks. Although CERB’s last qualifying period ended on September 26th, 2020, CRA replaced the program with CRB.

CRB is a new and improved CERB that was effective on September 27th, 2020. The benefit pays $450 per week ($500 before taxes) for up to 26 weeks assuming you are not eligible for EI. CRB is available for employees and self-employed individuals who experience a 50% reduction in their weekly income compared to the previous year.

Other benefits available during COVID

If you lost your income temporary or reduced your working hours because you were sick with COVID-19, had to look after a sick family member, or had to isolate due to COVID-19, you can apply for either the Canada Recovery Sickness benefit (CRSB) or the Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit (CRCB). Both programs pay a $500 benefit per week (up to two weeks) that is paid to workers who can’t work 50% of the scheduled regular hours.

Students were able to benefit from the Canada Emergency Student Benefits (CESB). The application for CESB was closed on Sep 30th, 2020. Most students who lost their jobs after this date can apply for CRB instead if they fit the eligibility criteria.

For more information on CRA response to COVID-19, visit this link.

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