CERB – Canada Emergency Response Benefit – announced March 25

==> Click Here to Sign The Save Small Business Petition

There are already over 16k signatures and it’s gaining traction. Teya has contracted the lady that started this petition and offered to provide support and knowledge about what small businesses are facing and need in Vancouver.

What is CERB: a taxable benefit of $2000 per month for up to 4 months specifically targeting those who are not eligible for EI: self-employed and business owners.

Mary NG, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade: “This is just the start.”

Who should apply: 

  • wage-earners, contract workers, self-employed individuals, and business owners who are normally not eligible for EI AND have lost their income/job due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This would also apply to parents who haven’t lost their job but are unable to work due to caring for children that are out of school/daycare.
  • If you have not been laid off, but you have lost income.

Where to apply: The portal to apply for CERB will be available on April 6. You will be able to receive the CERB benefit within 10 days of applying.

Please note that many questions/details with regards to CERB and EI and how they work together are still being ironed out by the government. These are Teya’s comments and insights based on info on the web and what the Minister of Small Business has said:

  • The EI system is not able to process the incredible volume of applications that have been processed to date. CERB will allow all individuals who have ceased working due to COVID-19 to ensure they receive the timely income support they need. Individuals who are still employed, but have had a disruption in income due to COVID-19 are also eligible for CERB.
  • If you are already receiving EI, or have a claim pending, you should not apply for CERB. You can apply for CERB if your EI benefits end before Oct 3, 2020, and you are still unemployed.
  • If the CERB benefits run out and you would still be eligible for EI, you can apply for EI at that time. If you have already applied for EI but haven’t heard back yet, you would not need to reapply.
  • If you are a student: they are still working out the details about this. Currently, students are not eligible for CERB.

The BIG question: how will I pay for my commercial/residential rent:

  • The Minister did not address this specifically
  • She kept coming back to the fact that: Government has given $500 billion dollars in lending capacity for individuals and businesses. Even though incurring debt to get through this crisis is less than ideal, I would suggest that you TALK TO YOUR BANK to get immediate liquidity. Even if you don’t need it now but you think you might need it depending on how long the crisis lasts. Reach out to your bank to get a backup plan in place should you need it. 

A new website dedicated to businesses in the COVID-19 crisis with more info on all government incentives:


Canada business app for smartphones – for employers. Where to access all info and how to apply for various incentives and receive the most up to date information.

BC Covid Action Plan

BC Emergency Benefit for Workers: BC residents that are eligible for EI and CERB (see below) are eligible for this one-time payment of $1000. Applications will open soon and the benefit will be paid in May.

For Business owners:

PST and Employer’s Health Tax payments are delayed until Sept 30.

Commercial rent relief: We know this is a burning question but unfortunately we have not heard any updates regarding this topic. As soon as we do you will be informed.

Residential rent relief:

This benefit will be available to low and medium-income individuals and families who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 who would not qualify for existing rental assistance programs. The $500 monthly supplement will be paid directly to the landlords. There will also be a freeze on annual rental increases during this challenging time.

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