It has been 11 days since the Government of Canada opened the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit to Canadians who are out of work due to COVID-19, and in that time over 7.5 million residents have since been paid through the program.
Given that Canada’s current population is 37.89 million, according to Stats Canada, that accounts for nearly one out of every five Canadians.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement on Friday during his daily coronavirus update, stating that public servants have been processing CERB requests “at record speeds.”
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The CERB is a $24 billion benefit that pays up to $2,000 per month for four months. There are looser restrictions to apply for it compared to Employment Insurance (EI), which is the standard route for laid-off workers to receive government assistance.
Those who are 15 years of age or older, made more than $5,000 in 2019, and are out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic can apply for the benefit.
Trudeau also noted that CERB data will be released through the Canadian government’s open data portal every three days “so academics, researchers, and Canadians can keep track of the work being done,” he said during the press conference.
“We will continue to provide and open up data so that we can get the best advice from experts and continue to help Canadians.”
On April 15, Trudeau announced that the CERB would be expanded to reach seasonal workers, as well as those who are earning $1,000 or less a month.
Applicants will be asked a serious of questions in a streamlined application process, according to the government’s backgrounder.
There’s also a dedicated toll-free line for applicants with CERB questions: 1-800-959-2019.
The benefit is available from March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020. You must apply by December 2, 2020, to receive it.
With files from Megan Devlin