Applying for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

What it is:

A taxable benefit of $2000 per month for a maximum of 4 months to Canadians who are unable to work due to COVID-19.

This benefit applies to self-employed and agency/spa/dungeon/cam-site/content-site employed Sex Workers and adult entertainers who have been unable to work due to COVID-19. However, only those who are able to meet the criteria below will receive the benefit.

Keep in mind that while the application process is relatively low barrier, there is a possibility that recipients will be audited later. If you are audited, you may be asked for documentation to verify your eligibility regarding your financial and employment situation. This is especially important to consider if you received income from working in a criminalized sector such as sex work. This is also important to know that giving false information may lead to consequences such as the government reclaiming the funds.

To Qualify

  1. You must have filed $5000 or more in your 2019 income taxes, or your income was $5000 or more within the last 12 months prior to the date of your application Deadline to file 2019 income tax has been extended to June 1, 2020
  2. You must be at least 15 years old
  3. You must have stopped working due to COVID-19
  4. You cannot have applied for Employment Insurance or sickness benefits prior to March 15 If you applied for EI after March 15, you will automatically be enrolled in CERB
  5. You must be without employment for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four week period
  6. You must expect to be without employment for all subsequent benefit periods for which you apply

How to Apply

You can apply for CERB 4 weeks at a time. At each 4-week period you will need to re-certify that you are still eligible for the program. You can apply to cover time that starts as early as March 15, 2020, and as late as October 3, 2020. Applications went live April 6th. You may apply now,but no later than December 2, 2020.

By Phone with CRA’s automated service: 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041

  • Have your SIN ready
  • Have your postal code ready

Online: via ‘CRA My Account’ @ Canada.ca

You will need your tax return information to create a ’CRA My Account’

When to Apply:

  • Mondays: Your birthday is in Jan / Feb / March
  • Tuesdays: Your birthday is April / May / June
  • Wednesdays: Your birthday is in July / Aug / Sept
  • Thursdays: Your birthday is in Oct / Nov / Dec
  • Fridays + Saturdays + Sundays: any birthday month

Payment Details and Dates

  • Direct deposit (must sign up via online banking) - payment 3-5 business days after application
  • Cheque through mail - payment 10 business days after application

Benefits will be retroactive according to date of eligibility.

Payment cycles (2020):

  1. March 15 - April 11
  2. April 12 - May 9
  3. May 10 - June 6
  4. June 7 - July 4
  5. July 5 - Aug 1
  6. Aug 2 - Aug 29
  7. Aug 30 - Sept 26

Hotlines for general inquiries FAQ:

Thanks to PACE Society and Maggie's for collecting this important information!