Federal COVID-19 benefits program portal opens today: Here’s how to apply

If applying by phone, Canadians can call the toll-free line at 1-800-959-2019

CBC News · Posted: Apr 06, 2020 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated: 11 hours ago

The federal government is launching an application portal on Monday where Canadians facing unemployment due to the COVID-19 crisis can apply for emergency income support benefits. 

Canadians can go to Canada.ca for information about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Service Canada and Canada Revenue Agency are jointly administering the CERB.

Applicants who set up a direct deposit are expected to receive the first payment within three to five days. Those who use mail should receive the first payment within 10 days. Payment is $2,000 a month for up to four months.

People can apply beginning at 6 a.m. ET on Monday.

People who are normally eligible for employment insurance (EI) can continue to apply through EI and Service Canada, and they will automatically be enrolled in CERB.

The CERB offers income support for people who have stopped working due to the pandemic, including those not eligible for EI, contract employees, and freelancers.

To ensure the portal can handle the expected high volume of applications and the system is not overloaded, the government has staggered application periods over the workweek based on an applicant’s month of birth. 

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