Arguably more than most governments worldwide, Canada has taken an almost no-questions-asked approach to helping millions of its citizens impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provides $2,000 every month for up to four months to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19. The government has not ruled out extending the payments if needed.
The funds are available to workers who meet all of the following conditions:
On April 15, eligibility rules were broadened to:
A fast and simple online questionnaire has already been completed by millions of Canadians, who have already seen the first payments land in their accounts. The government has announced that the priority is making speedy payments now, with abuses of the system to be dealt with later.
The CERB is only one of a range of emergency measures rolled out in Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan for individuals, businesses and sectors.
Canada should be lauded for this rapid and meaningful economic support to its citizens and companies, which recognizes the scale of the economic disruptions caused by the pandemic, prepares for the post-pandemic economy, and which in the meantime shrewdly mitigates the risks that flow from the painful effects of economic catastrophe.