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Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
What is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides temporary income support to workers who have stopped working and are without employment or self-employment income for reasons related to COVID-19.

The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit is paid in blocks of four weeks in the amount of $2,000, which is equivalent to $500 per week. A maximum 16 weeks of benefits can be paid.

The benefit is available from March 15, 2020, to October 3, 2020. You can apply no later than December 2, 2020.

Who is eligible?

The benefit will be available to workers

  • Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
  • Who have stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits:
  • Who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and
  • Who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment income.

The income of at least $5,000 may be from any or a combination of the following sources: employment; self-employment; maternity and parental benefits under the Employment Insurance program and/or similar benefits paid in Quebec under the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan.

The Benefit is only available to individuals who stopped work as a result of reasons related to COVID-19. If you are looking for a job but haven’t stopped working because of COVID-19, you are not eligible for the Benefit.

What documents do I need?

You will need to provide your personal contact information, your Social Insurance Number and confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements.

You may be asked to provide additional documentation to verify your eligibility at a future date.

How to apply?

There are two ways to apply:

The portal for accessing this new benefit will launch on April 6. Applicants will be able to apply for the benefit retroactively to March 15, 2020. Applicants will also be able to apply via an automated telephone line or via a toll-free number: 1-800-959-2019. Both services are available 21 hours a day, 7 days a week. Both services are closed from 3:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. (Eastern time) for maintenance.

Whether you apply online or by phone, the CRA wants to provide the best service possible to everyone. To help manage this, the CRA has set up specific days for you to apply. Please use the following guidelines:

Day to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit

If you were born in the month of

Apply for CERB on

Your best day to apply

January, February or March


April 6

April, May, or June


April 7

July, August, or September


April 8

October, November, or December


April 9

Any month

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays

Employment Insurance Regular Benefit
What is the Employment Insurance Regular Benefit?

Employment Insurance (EI) provides regular benefits to individuals who lose their jobs through no fault of their own (for example, due to shortage of work, seasonal or mass lay-offs) and are available for and able to work but can't find a job.

Who is eligible?

The claim must be made within four weeks of your last day of work.

You can apply, even if you haven’t received yet your Record of Employment (ROE).

You may be entitled to EI if you:

  • were employed in insurable employment
  • lost your job through no fault of your own
  • have been without work and without pay for at least seven consecutive days in the last 52 weeks (in some cases, the qualifying period may be extended to a maximum of 104 weeks if you were not employed in insurable employment or if you were not receiving EI benefits. You will need between 420 and 700 hours of insurable employment based on the unemployment rate in your area during the qualifying period to qualify for regular benefits. Look up EI Economic Region by Postal Code to find out the unemployment rate in your region and the number of hours to qualify for regular benefits.)
  • have worked for the required number of insurable employment hours in the last 52 weeks or since the start of your last EI claim, whichever is shorter

To receive any payments, you may be entitled to, you are required to complete by-weekly reports by Internet or by phone.

What documents do I need?

To complete the online EI application for EI regular benefits, you will need the following personal information:

  • your Social Insurance Number (SIN). If your SIN begins with a 9, you need to supply proof of your immigration status and work permit.
  • your mother’s maiden name.
  • your mailing and residential addresses, including the postal codes.
  • your complete banking information to sign up for direct deposit, including the financial institution name, bank branch number, and account number
  • names, addresses, dates of employment, and reason for separation for all your employers over the last 52 weeks
  • your detailed version of the facts (if you quit or have been dismissed from any job in the last 52 weeks)
  • the dates, Sunday to Saturday, and earnings for each of your highest paid weeks of insurable earningsin the last 52 weeks or since the start of your last EI claim, whichever is the shorter period. This information will be used, along with your Record(s) of Employment, to calculate your benefit rate.

You may also have to provide the following details if you are reactivating an existing claim:

  • the salary amount you received, before deductions, for the last week you worked (from Sunday to your last day of work), including insurable tips and commissions
  • any other amount you received or will receive (such as vacation pay, severance pay, pension payments, pay in lieu of notice, and other money)
Would I be able to speak with an EI agent?

Yes, Service Canada EI call center phone number is: 1-800-206-7218. Due to the extreme high volume of the calls, you could be waiting up to 3-4 hours to speak to an EI call center agent.

How long does it take to complete the online application?

It will take about 60 minutes to complete the online application. The website takes you step by step through the application process and provides detailed instructions on how to complete the form.

How much could you receive?

For most people, the basic rate for calculating EI benefits is 55% of your average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum amount. As of January 1, 2020, the maximum yearly insurable earnings amount is $54,200. This means that you can receive a maximum amount of $573 per week.

How long you could receive EI regular benefits?

You can receive EI from 14 weeks up to a maximum of 45 weeks, depending on the unemployment rate in your region at the time of filing your claim and the amount of insurable hours you have accumulated in the last 52 weeks or since your last claim, whichever is shorter.

Employment Insurance Sickness Benefit
What is the Employment Insurance Sickness Benefit?

Employment Insurance (EI) Sickness Benefit provides up to 15 weeks of income replacement and is available to eligible claimants who are unable to work because of illness, injury or quarantine, to allow them time to restore their health and return to work. You could receive 55% of your earnings up to a maximum of $573 a week. Canadians quarantined can apply for Employment Insurance (EI) Sickness Benefit.

What documents do I need?

You must get a medical certificate to show that you’re unable to work for medical reasons. Medical reasons include illness, injury, quarantine or any medical condition that prevents you from working

You must obtain your Records of Employment (ROE).

You may need to provide these documents to Service Canada.

Make sure you have the following information to complete your application:

  • the names and addresses of your employers in the last 52 weeks
  • the dates you were employed with each employer and the reasons you're no longer employed with them
  • your detailed explanation of the facts if you quit or were dismissed from any job in the last 52 weeks
  • your full mailing address and your home address, if they are different
  • your social insurance number (SIN)
  • your mother's maiden name
  • your banking information, including financial institution, branch (transit) number and your account number, to sign up for direct deposit
Am I eligible?

The information below should be used as a guideline. We encourage you to apply for benefits as soon as possible and let a Service Canada agent determine if you're eligible.

You need to demonstrate that:

  • 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

*As an example, 600 hours are equivalent to 20 weeks of work at 30 hours a week.

While you’re receiving sickness benefits, you must remain available for work if it weren’t for your medical condition.

How to apply?

Online: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-sickness/apply.html

To access information about your EI claim, you will need your SIN and access code, which you will find on the benefit statement that is mailed to you after you apply for EI benefits.

Toll-Free: 1-800-206-7218
TTY: 1-800-529-3742

The hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. local time, Monday to Friday.

Would I be able to speak with an EI agent?

Yes, Service Canada EI call center phone number is: 1-800-206-7218. Due to the extreme high volume of the calls, you could be waiting up to 3-4 hours to speak to an EI call center agent.

How long does it take to complete the online application?

The online application takes about an hour to complete. Your information is saved for 72 hours (3 days) from the time you start. If you don't complete the application, you can come back to it later using a temporary password that you receive when you start your application.

If you don't complete the application within 72 hours, it will be deleted, and you'll have to start a new application.

Worker Emergency Bridge Fund
What is the Worker Emergency Bridge Fund?

The Worker Emergency Bridge is a one-time payment of $1,000 for Nova Scotians who are laid off or out of work because of COVID-19, who don’t qualify for Employment Insurance, and earn between $5,000 and $34,000.  It can be combined with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The payment counts as taxable income and you’ll need to include it on your 2020 tax return.

Who is eligible?

You may qualify for the Worker Emergency Bridge if you:

  • are a Nova Scotia resident
  • are 18 or older
  • were employed and laid off, or self-employed and lost all revenue because of COVID-19 on or after 16 March 2020
  • earned between $5,000 and $34,000
  • have applied (or plan to apply) for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

You do not qualify if you’re:

  • receiving Employment Insurance benefits
  • eligible for Employment Insurance benefits – check your eligibility if you’re not sure
  • receiving Income Assistance
  • receiving any income or benefit (like salary, sick leave, disability insurance or workers’ compensation) because you lost your income for reasons other than COVID-19

The Worker Emergency Benefit is for each worker who qualifies – if you and your spouse both qualify, you’ll both receive it.

What documents do I need?

If you were employed and laid off:

You’ll need a copy of your Record of Employment (ROE). You should have received it from your employer. You can also view it online through your My Service Canada Account.

Your Record of Employment needs to show:

  • an issue date of 16 March 2020 or later
  • Box 11: your last workday must be 16 March or the last shift you worked before 16 March
  • Box 15A: hours must be less than what’s needed to qualify for Employment Insurance
  • if you live in Halifax Regional Municipality (except west of Sheet Harbour): must be less than 700 hours
  • if you live in Cape Breton, Antigonish County, Halifax County west of Sheet Harbour or Guysborough County: must be less than 420 hours
  • if you live in the rest of the province: must be less than 630 hours
  • You can check the number of hours needed to qualify for Employment Insurance in your area on the Service Canada website.
  • Box 15B: amount must be greater than $5,000 and less than $34,000
  • Box 16: must show code A (laid off) – if you were fired or you quit, you’re not eligible for this program

If you’re self-employed:

If self employment income is your primary source of income, you’ll need to provide:

  • your Social Insurance Number
  • your CRA business number, if you have one
  • a copy of your 2018 or 2019 tax return (T1, T2, T4002 or T2125) that shows you earned at least $5,000 and less than $34,000 – if you started your business in 2019, provide a copy of your 2019 tax return (if submitted) or your most recent GST/HST remittance.
How to apply?
  1. Make sure you meet all the eligibility criteria.
  2. Gather the supporting documentation you need for your application.
  3. Call 1-800-863-6582 to speak with a Canadian Red Cross agent. Agents are available 7 days a week (including holidays), 8am to 8pm.

When you call, you must consent to your personal information being shared and disclosed with Nova Scotia Provincial Government departments, agents and service providers in accordance with the access and privacy provisions of the Nova Scotia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Nova Scotia Personal Information International Disclosure Protection Act. Such uses may include determining eligibility for the program funding and ensuring compliance with funding agreement terms. Note that if you receive any assistance that you didn’t qualify for, the Government of Nova Scotia may claim it from you.

What happens next?
  • When you speak with a Canadian Red Cross agent to register for the program, they’ll let you know whether your application is proceeding to the next step, or if it needs further review.
  • If your application is proceeding, or if it passes the review, you’ll receive an email within a couple of days. The email will include a link to an application form. You must complete the form to finish submitting your application.
  • If your application is approved, you’ll receive an e-transfer of $1,000 within a couple of days.
  • If we determine that you’re not eligible, the Red Cross will contact you to let you know.
Additional Support

Income Assistance Recipients will receive $50.00 top-up starting on March 20. The top-up is automatic and there is no need to apply.

If you have questions about eligibility for income assistance, call:

Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm - 1-877-424-1177

Monday to Friday 4:30pm to 7pm - 1-833-722-1417
Saturday 8:30am to 4:30pm
Sunday 10am to 2pm

Nova Scotia Hydro: The following measures have been put in place to help those affected:

  • Until further notice, Nova Scotia Power will not be disconnecting power for any missed bill payments.