When Will CERB End? Canada Emergency Response Benefit program details

When will CERB end? For the over 8 million Canadians who applied for the program, this is a question of upmost importance. The Canadian economy has been hit hard by the pandemic and millions of Canadians were left without work. However in recent weeks, different areas of the country are starting to open up. And people are starting to return to work. In spite of that though, there are millions who still cannot go back to work, because they don’t have a job to go back to, and they are wondering how long their benefits will last.

When Will CERB End? The Program Structure

According to the Government of Canada’s website, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) Program goes from March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020. This DOES NOT mean you can collect CERB benefits for this whole time period. Instead, it means you can collect CERB benefits within this time period.

You are eligible to collect $500.00 per week for a maximum of 16 weeks within the above time period. For example if you start collecting CERB on March 15, 2020 and you went 16 consecutive weeks then your payments would end July 4, 2020. Also, these 16 weeks do not have to be consecutive as long as they all fall into the above time period for the program.

When Will CERB End? Do I Only Need to Apply Once?

The answer is yes you only need to apply once, but you have to declare your eligibility to receive payments more than once. From the Government of Canada’s website, when you are applying for CERB, you are declaring eligibility for a four week period. For example, if you applied for CERB to start on March 15, 2020, you would collect CERB payments for a 4 week period from March 15, 2020 to April 11, 2020.

If you want to keep collecting CERB beyond this date than you would have to declare your eligibility for the next 4 week period. For example, if you applied for the CERB program through CRA than you can do this either online or by phone (1-833-966-2099). If you applied for the CERB program through Service Canada, you do this by completing your EI Report Card to confirm your eligibility to receive CERB for next period.

Will There Be an Extension of the CERB program?

Ah the billion dollar question, literally. There is increased talk about extending the CERB program as many Canadians will see their CERB payments end in early July, and many within this group will still not have work. Regarding the possible costs of extending the CERB program, the recent PMO report was highlighted below:

Budget officer Yves Giroux’s report says simply extending the maximum number of weeks to 28, and extending the program through to January 2021, would cost about $57.9 billion.

You add that figure to the $43.51 billion dollars already paid out in CERB and you are looking at a figure of at least $100 billion dollars that would need to be spent. That is an enormous financial commitment from the government which would then open up a myriad of questions such as who pays for this and so on. As a result, the debate goes on.

Conclusion

When will CERB end? The current answer depends upon your circumstances. However, simply put, it ends either by you collecting the maximum 16 weeks or when you return to work. Whichever comes first. Also, the program currently ends October 3, 2020 so even if you haven’t collected your full 16 weeks by this dates, your CERB ends also.

However, as we can see from the above, this could all change and the program could be extended. But for the time being, this is the program’s parameters currently. And that is important to know, as all of us have to make big decisions regarding our life during this pandemic and subsequent economic crisis. Plan well and stay safe.

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