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Income Support Benefits

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What kind of income support is available?

The federal government has implemented new programs to support Canadians who have lost all or part of their income due to COVID-19 and who are not eligible for EI. The following benefits are available:

  • The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) is for those experiencing job loss;
  • The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) is for individuals who have contracted COVID-19, or who must isolate;
  • The Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit (CRCB) is for those who have caregiver duties.

These programs replace the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

Most recent update (2021-02-10): Government announces that self-employed people who used gross income to qualify for CERB will not be required to repay their CERB payments. Those who have already repaid will have their money returned to them.

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Income Support Program Overview

What are the programs?

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB): Income support for those who have lost 50% or more of their income due to COVID-19

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB): Income support for individuals who do not have paid sick leave

Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit (CRCB): Income support for individuals who cannot work because they need to care for a child or family member

Employment Insurance (EI): Income support in case of temporary or permanent lay-off

Amount businesses can receive: The business does not receive any money. The individual receives:

  • CRB: $1000 every 2 weeks before taxes
  • CRCB: $500 per week before taxes
  • CRSB: $500 per week before taxes
  • EI: For the year 2021, at least $500 to a maximum of $595 per week before taxes

Program Duration: All three recovery programs run from September 27, 2020 to September 25, 2021. EI is a continuous program and is not COVID-specific.

How to apply: Applications for all three recovery programs can be made online through CRA’s My Account or by calling 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041. Submit an EI application through Service Canada on-line.

Application deadlines: The deadline for all three recovery programs is 60 days after the end of the claim period.

Eligibility criteria: See the FAQ below.

How do I know which program I should apply for?

The table below provides an overview of the eligibility criteria for and benefits of each program. Before applying to any of these programs, please review all the details provided further in this page.

You can also use the government’s financial help finder to learn what programs are available to you.

 

Employment Insurance

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

Purpose of the program

Provide income support in case of temporary or permanent lay off.

Provide income support in case of a 50% or more income loss

Provide income support for people who do not have paid sick leave.

Provide income support for people who cannot work because they need to care for a child or a family member

Who is eligible?

You may be eligible for EI if you:
  • Were employed for at least 120 insurable hours in the past 52 weeks. If you received the CERB, the 52- week period to accumulate insured hours will be extended.
  • Stopped working through no fault of your own.
  • Have not quit your job voluntarily.
  • Are ready, willing, and capable of working each day (EI regular benefits).
  • Are temporarily unable to work while you care for someone else or yourself (EI maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care, and family caregiver benefits).
You may be eligible for one of the Recovery Benefits if you:
  • Are not eligible for EI benefits
  • Reside and were present in Canada
  • Are at least 15 years old
  • Have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Have earned a minimum of at least $5000 in 2019, in 2020, or the previous 12 months.
  • Did not apply for or receive another type of benefit for the same period.
You may be eligible for CRB if you:
  • Have had an average weekly income loss of at least 50% because of COVID-19.
  • Are looking and available for work.
You may be eligible for CRSB if you:
  • Are unable to work at least 50% of your scheduled work week because:
    • You are or may be sick with COVID-19.
    • You are advised to self-isolate due to COVID-19.
    • You have an underlying health condition that puts you at greater risk of getting COVID-19.
  • Are not receiving paid leave from your employer for the same period
You may be eligible for CRCB if you:
  • Are unable to work at least 50% of your scheduled work week because you are caring for a family member.
  • Are caring for your child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care because they are at home for a COVID-19 related reason.
  • Are not receiving paid leave from your employer for the same period
  • Are the only person in your household applying for the benefit for the week.

Benefit

Regular benefit: Minimum of $500 per week

Extended parental benefit: $300 per week

$500 per week

$500 per week

$500 per week

Benefit duration

Between 26 and 45 weeks

Up to 26 weeks

2 weeks maximum

Up to 26 weeks per household

How to apply?

Through Service Canada application portal.

Online, through CRA My Account

By phone: 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

What is the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)?

The Canada Recovery Benefit is a federal program intended to replace the CERB for workers who are not eligible for EI.

Benefit: The amount of the benefit is $1,000 every 2 weeks. This benefit is taxable. Therefore, you may keep up to $900 of the benefit depending on your annual revenue. For some, the tax may be 10% of the benefit, for others, the tax may be more when you file your tax return.

Program duration: September 27th, 2020 – September 25th, 2021

How to apply: Applications are made from CRA MyAccount or by phone (1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041). Applicants need to reapply every two weeks.

Application deadline: 60 days after the end of each CRB period.

Who is eligible for this program?

To be eligible for CRB, you must meet all of the following conditions during the 2-week period covered by your application:

  • Have an average weekly income loss of at least 50% because of COVID-19
  • Have earned a minimum of at least $5000 in 2019, in 2020 or the previous 12 months
  • Be looking and available for work
  • Have a valid Social Insurance Number
  • Be at least 15 years old
  • Be resident and present in Canada

You are not eligible for CRB if you:

  • Are eligible for Employment Insurance benefits
  • Have voluntarily left or quit your job
  • Failed to return to work when requested or failed to resume self-employment, if it was reasonable to do so, or declined a reasonable offer to work
  • Received or applied for another benefit for the same eligibility period (e.g., CRSB, CRCB, short-term disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, QPIP)
How do I calculate the 50% income loss?

The 50% income loss is based on your average weekly income from employment or self-employment in 2019, 2020, or the past 12 months. You must ensure that you meet this criterion for each period for which you are applying.

For example: If your total income for 2019 or the last 12 months was $26,000.

1. Calculate the average weekly income by dividing the total income by 52 weeks.

  • $26,000 ÷ 52 = $500

2. Divide the average weekly income by 50%

  • $500 ÷ 2 = $250

According to this example, you would have to have a weekly salary of $250 or less to be eligible for CRB.

What is the maximum that I can receive through CRB?

The CRB allows a worker to receive the benefit for a maximum of 13 application periods (26 weeks). These periods do not have to be consecutive.

The maximum is based on your total income during the year that you have received CRB benefit.

If your net annual income exceeds $38,000, you will be required to repay a portion of the CRB received. You will be required to repay $0.50 for every dollar of net income earned over $38,000. The government will not ask you to repay more than you have received through CRB. 

Annual income includes the CERB benefit but excludes the CRB benefit.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

What is the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)?

The CRSB is a federal program providing income support to individuals who do not have access to paid sick leave and can’t work because they are sick with COVID-19 or need to self-isolate.

Benefit: $500 per week benefit for a maximum of 2 weeks

Program duration: September 27, 2020 to September 25, 2021

How to apply: Online, through CRA My Account OR by phone (1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041)

Application deadline: 60 days after the end of the claim period

Who is eligible for this program?

To be eligible for CRSB, you must meet all of the following conditions during the 1-week period covered by your application.

  • You are unable to work at least 50% of your scheduled work week because:
    • You are or may be sick with COVID-19.
    • You are advised to self-isolate due to COVID-19.
    • You have an underlying health condition that puts you at greater risk of getting COVID-19.
  • You are not receiving paid leave from your employer for the same period
  • You reside and were present in Canada
  • You are at least 15 years old
  • You have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • You have earned a minimum of at least $5000 in 2019, in 2020 or the previous 12 months.

You are not eligible for CRSB if you:

  • Are eligible for Employment Insurance benefit
  • Have voluntarily left or quit your job
  • Received or applied for another benefit for the same eligibility period (e.g., CRB, CRCB, short-term disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, QPIP)
What is the maximum that I can receive through CRSB?

The CRSB allows a worker to receive the benefit for a maximum of 2 weeks during the period September 27, 2020 to September 25, 2021. The weeks do not have to be consecutive.

Under CRSB, weeks are from Sunday to Saturday. You can apply for a period on the first Monday after the end of that said period.

Example: To receive benefits for the week of November 15 to November 21, you can apply on November 23 at the earliest.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

What is the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)?

The CRCB is a federal program intended to provide income support to help one claimant per household attend to a child under 12, family member, or dependent because schools, daycares, etc. are closed/operating at reduced capacity due to COVID-19. This benefit is not accessible to workers who choose to keep their dependent at home.

Program duration: September 27, 2020 to September 25, 2021

How to apply: Online, through CRA My Account OR by phone (1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041)

Application deadline: 60 days after the end of the claim period

Who is eligible for this program?

To be eligible for CRCB, you must meet all of the following conditions during the 1-week period covered by your application.

  • You are unable to work at least 50% of your scheduled work week because you are caring for a family member.
  • You are the only person in your household applying for the benefit for the week
  • You are caring for your child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care because they are at home for one of the following reasons:
    • Their school, daycare, day program, or care facility is closed or unavailable to them due to COVID-19.
    • Their regular care services are unavailable due to COVID-19.
    • The person under your care is:
      • Sick with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19.
      • At risk of serious health complications if they get COVID-19, as advised by a medical professional.
      • Self-isolating due to COVID-19.
  • You are not receiving paid leave from your employer for the same period.
  • You reside and were present in Canada.
  • You are at least 15 years old.
  • You have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN).
  • You have earned a minimum of at least $5000 in 2019, in 2020 or the previous 12 months.

You are not eligible for CRCB if you:

  • Are eligible for Employment Insurance benefits.
  • Have voluntarily left or quit your job.
  • Received or applied for another benefit for the same eligibility period (e.g., CRB, CRSB, short-term disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, QPIP).
What is the maximum that I can receive through CRCB?

The CRCB allows a household to receive the benefit for a maximum of 26 weeks. These weeks do not have to be consecutive. You will need to reapply for each week.

Under CRCB, weeks are from Sunday to Saturday. You can apply for a week on the first Monday after the end of that said week.

Example: To receive benefits for the week of November 15 to November 21, you can apply on November 23 at the earliest.

Employment Insurance (EI)

What is Employment Insurance (EI)?

EI provides benefits to individuals who lose their job through no fault of their own. The program provides income support in the case of a temporary or permanent lay off.

Eligible applicants will receive at least $500 per week before taxes, although they could receive more.

Applications are made online on the Service Canada website.

Who is eligible for EI?

You may be eligible for EI if you:

  • Were employed for at least 120 insurable hours in the past 52 weeks. If you received CERB, the 52-week period to accumulate insured hours will be extended.
  • Stopped working through no fault of your own.
  • Have not quit your job voluntarily.
  • Are ready, willing, and capable of working each day (regular EI benefits).
  • Are temporarily unable to work while you care for someone else or yourself (EI maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care, and family caregiver benefits).
What are the changes to EI due to COVID-19?

The following are temporary changes to the EI program due to COVID-19, and are effective for one year starting from September 27, 2020:

  • The minimum unemployment rate of 13.1% applies to all regions across Canada.
    • If a region’s unemployment rate is higher than 13.1% then the actual rate will be used to calculate benefits.
  • You only need 120 insurable hours. The government will provide a one-time credit of 300 insurable hours if you’re applying for regular benefits, or 480 insurable hours if you’re applying for sickness, maternity, parental or caregiving benefits.
  • You will receive at least $500 per week before taxes ($300 per week before taxes for extended parental benefits), but you could receive more.
  • You do not need to submit a medical certificate to claim sickness benefits.
  • If you are a fisher, your earnings from 2018, 2019, and 2020 summer or winter will be used to determine your benefit rate and establish your claim for the same season.
  • If you received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the 52-week period to accumulate insured hours will be extended.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to apply retroactively for CRB, CRSB, and CRCB?

Yes, but only for a period of 60 days after the end of the period you want to apply for.

How can I return a CRB, CRSB or CRCB payment?

The procedure will depend on how you received the benefit.

If you were paid by direct deposit OR don’t have the original CRB cheque

1. Login to CRA MyAccount and follow the steps provided.

2. With your financial institution

  1. Sign in to your financial institution's online banking service.
  2. Under "Add a payee" look for an option such as: Canada Emergency Benefit repayment.
  3. Enter your 9-digit social insurance number (SIN) as the CRA account number.

3. By mailing a cheque or money order to CRA

  1. Make the payment out to "Receiver General for Canada".
  2. Indicate it is for "Repayment of Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)/Canada Recovery Sickness benefit/Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit)".
  3. Indicate which eligibility period you are repaying.
  4. Include your Social Insurance Number (SIN).
  5. Mail your payment to the following address:
    Revenue Processing – Repayment of CRB (or CRSB or CRCB)
    Sudbury Tax Centre
    1050 Notre Dame Avenue
    Sudbury ON P3A 0C3

If you still have the original CRB, CRSB, or CRCB cheque

Return the cheque by mail and include:

  • The reason ("not entitled" or "overpayment")
  • Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
I’m self-employed and used gross income to apply for CERB. Do I need to return my payments?

Providing you met all the other eligibility criteria for the CERB, you will not be required to return your CERB payments if you applied using your gross income amount.

If you have already repaid your CERB payments, the money will be returned to you; details on this will be released in the coming weeks.

My employee wants to access the CRB, the CRSB, or the CRCB. Do I need to issue another ROE?

As an employer, you have the obligation to issue an ROE when there is an interruption of earnings which is when an employee is without pay for 7 consecutive days or more.

However, an ROE is not required to apply for any of those programs.

For employees claiming the Canada Recovery Benefit, will work refusals be tracked and monitored?

At this time, they will not be tracked or monitored.

Do the attestation forms for the CRB, the CRSB, and the CRCB look different?

Yes, the self-attestation forms have added points. For example, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) requires an employee to attest that they have been off at least 50% of the normal work week because of COVID-19.

Will a person who has 3 days of vacation be able to use the full 7 days of the CRSB?

The new benefits are administered on a weekly, not daily, basis. Eligibility for the benefit will depend on if the worker is off at least 50% of the normal work week due to COVID-19. If an employee receives 3 days of vacation pay, they will not be eligible for the CRSB for that week, since they would not meet the requirement of a 50% revenue loss.

Are the new programs available to students?

A student could potentially qualify for the new programs (CRB, CRSB, CRCB). However, they are intended for workers. To meet EI eligibility requirements, workers must be laid off and available to work.

What happened to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)?

EI, CRB, CRSB and CRCB are replacing the CERB, which ended on September 26, 2020. For more information on the CERB program, view our previous CERB FAQ. Since the program is no longer available, we have stopped updating our CERB FAQs.

Other Canada Recovery Benefit Resources

How is CFIB advocating for income support?

CFIB is pushing the government to:

  • Allow the use of gross self-employment income to meet the $5,000 minimum income requirement.
  • Review the CRB requirement of attesting to a 50% revenue drop for the self- employed and/or provide an alternative attestation.
  • Create a pathway for small businesses who pay themselves and/or their workers in dividends to receive some COVID-related emergency relief.

What has CFIB achieved on income support?

  • CFIB successfully pushed for the extension of the CERB for those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and to temporarily cover sick leave for people who are required to stay home for COVID related reasons.
  • CFIB has pushed for CERB users to be expected to be available and looking for work, to avoid incentivizing work refusal among employees.

Get more information

  • To see more about what CFIB has achieved during COVID-19, please see our summary of changes to the federal aid programs.

LEARN MORE

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