Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

Have you lost work or income because of COVID-19?

You can get money from the Federal government’s emergency fund (CERB) if you have:

  • valid or expired Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • OR
  • An Individual Tax Number (ITN)

Even if your Social Insurance Number has expired and you do NOT have valid immigration status in Canada, you can still apply for CERB if you meet the rest of the criteria.

This is a taxable benefit. That means the government expects you to declare it on your tax return in 2021. It also means that CERB is not considered “social assistance” and will not impact your immigration applications, such as a Humanitarian and Compassionate, Sponsorship, or other Permanent Residency application. We do not know if your name or address will be shared with immigration (CBSA).

You do not need to have filed taxes in the past and you will not be asked to submit any documents at this time. However, you may be asked to provide proof that you were eligible for CERB at a later date or when you file your taxes in 2021.

If you qualify, you will receive $2,000 for four weeks. If you continue to qualify, you can re-apply three more times (for a maximum of 16 weeks). This benefit has been available since March 15th. If you met the criteria to receive CERB at any time since then, you can still apply now for these past weeks.
This information is accurate as of June 1. Things are changing constantly. Check back here regularly for updates


  • You can apply online or by phone. To apply online you need to set up a profile with the Government of Canada

ONLINE (if you already have “MyAccount” or “MyServiceCanada”)

  • You will be asked if you were self-employed or an employee. If you click “employee” then you will be asked if you were full time or part time. These questions will not disqualify you, they simply direct you to either the EI or CRA pathway for applying. You will then be asked to sign into your MyAccount / MyService Canada.
  • Once you have signed in, you will see the list of requirements to qualify. Click “I confirm that I meet the requirements set out above…”. You will not need to provide any documents at this time. The minimum $5000 income in the past 12 months or in 2019 can be from within or outside Canada.
  • If you are having trouble applying online, you can try to apply by phone. If your Social Insurance Number has expired, you may be more successful by phone.


If you have filed taxes in the past, call 1-800-959-2019

  • You will be asked for your SIN, Temporary Tax Number or Individual Tax Number.

If you have never filed taxes, call 1-800-959-8281

  • You will be asked for your SIN, Temporary Tax Number or Individual Tax Number.

Whether you apply online or by phone, you will not need to submit documents at this time to prove you meet the requirements. The phone service is only available in English or French. If you need help to apply in another language, contact us using the form at the bottom of this page.


  • You earned a minimum of $5,000 (before taxes) in the last 12 months or in 2019, inside or outside Canada. This can be employment or self-employment income.
  • You have lost work or income due to COVID-19, and you have earned less than $1,000 in employment or self-employment income for at least 14 days in a row.
  • CERB is taxable income, which means it is not considered social assistance. You can receive CERB and it will not reduce your chances of getting permanent resident status in the future or impact your H&C application.
  • Your immigration applications may be impacted if you misrepresent the facts to other branches of government, including when applying for CERB.
  • When you claim CERB on your taxes in 2021, if the government decides you were not eligible to receive CERB, you will be asked to repay the money. It is not a crime. The government has said there are no other consequences. It should not impact your immigration status or future applications.
  • If you have “MyAccount” set up with CRA, you can choose to receive money by direct deposit. Otherwise, you can receive the money by cheque mailed to the address you provide.
  • If you do not have a bank account, you can have a cheque mailed to you. You can then try to sign the cheque over to someone else (“endorse”) to cash at a bank. Or you can cash your cheque at a payday loan or cash store. These businesses might keep a large part of your money as a fee for this service. Not everyone may be able to cash a cheque, consider your options before you apply.
  • We do not know if the address you provided will be shared with immigration enforcement. You have to make the best decision for you about your own safety. It is important to use an address where you can receive the cheque.
  • We do not know if your personal information will be shared with immigration enforcement. You have to make the best decision for you about your own safety. Contact us if you need help.
  • If you ever had a work permit, study permit, or applied for refugee status in Canada, you would have received a Social Insurance Number (SIN). This is a nine-digit number that started with a ‘9’. Even if your SIN has been expired for many years, you can use it to apply for CERB if you meet all other criteria.
  • The government expects you to claim CERB on your tax return in 2021.
  • If you have not filed taxes recently or ever, you may want to get help filing your tax return in 2021.

Employment Insurance (EI)

EI sickness benefits are available to people who are unable to work due to illness, injury or quarantine.

Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits can provide you with up to 15 weeks of financial assistance if you cannot work for medical reasons. You could receive 55% of your earnings up to a maximum of $573 a week.

To qualify you must demonstrate:

  • you're unable to work for medical reasons
  • your regular weekly earnings from work have decreased by more than 40% for at least one week
  • you accumulated 600 insured hours* of work in the 52 weeks before the start of your claim or since the start of your last claim, whichever is shorter


Gather supporting documents, and complete the online application:

Workers Compensation in Ontario (WSIB)

COVID-19 FAQs for temporary foreign agricultural workers and their employers:

  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should tell your employer about your illness and get tested as soon as possible. If you test positive for COVID-19 (with or without symptoms), you should file a claim for benefits with the WSIB. WSIB will work with you and your employer to help you recover and return to work safely.
  • If the WSIB allows your claim, you will receive loss-of-earnings benefits (and other benefits as necessary) while you are recovering and until you are able to return to work.
  • It is your employer’s responsibility to provide accommodation for you while you are recovering. WSIB will work with you and your employer to help you recover and return to work safely.
  • You do not need an OHIP number to be tested for COVID-19. Please speak to staff at the testing centre to find out how to receive your test results.

Workers Compensation in British Columbia – WorkSafe BC

Migrant workers in BC who are quarantined during their course of employment by their employer or by a Provincial Health directive are encouraged to submit a claim with WorkSafeBC (WSBC) if you exhibit symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

  • If you have a positive test or show symptoms, your claims will be adjudicated based on the merits of the claim and available evidence (which may include worker statement, test results, employer evidence, or other evidence). When considering the merits of the claim the officer will also consider work-related factors such as housing conditions provided by employer.
  • If you have no symptoms, WorkSafeBC will hold the claim for 14 days, if symptoms develop, they will go through same adjudication process as above. If no symptoms develop over the 14 days, then the claim will likely be disallowed as no there would be no evidence of disease.


Call Teleclaim @ 1-888-WORKERS (1.888.967.5377) or click the button below to file online.

Workers required to quarantine can also submit a claim through their private medical insurance provider at the same time. If the claim is approved, the payments will be coordinated

Questions or concerns about workplace exposure to COVID-19? Call WorkSafeBC’s Prevention Information Line at 604.276.3100 in the Lower Mainland (toll-free within B.C. at 1.888.621.SAFE) to speak to a prevention officer to get answers to your questions.

Photo by Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (CC BY NC SA 3.0)