In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has provided various benefits and tax measures, including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”), the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (“CESB”), the Canada Recovery Benefit (“CRB”), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (“CRSB”), and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (“CRCB”). If you received any of these benefits you must include the amount in your income. You will receive a T4A slip indicating the amount you must report on your tax return.
The CERB was provided to certain employed and self-employed individuals who were unable to work because of the pandemic. If you qualified, you received $2,000 for each four-week segment of the eligibility period. There were seven eligibility periods, for a total of 28 weeks, starting on March 15 and ending on September 26, 2020.
In general terms, you qualified for the CERB if you fell into the following criteria:
- You were resident in Canada and were at least 15 years old;
- You stopped working because of the COVID-19 situation or were eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits or exhausted your Employment Insurance regular benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020;
- You had employment income, self-employment income, or a combination of both (including non-eligible dividends), of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of your application; and
- You did not quit your job.
(Certain other conditions applied.)
If you received the CERB, it is fully included in your income for 2020.
The CESB was available to post-secondary students, and post-secondary and high school graduates who were unable to find employment because of the COVID-19 situation. It was available only if the students did not qualify for the CERB or Employment Insurance.
From May to the end of August 2020, the CESB was $1,250 per four-week period, and increased to $2,000 for certain disabled individuals and those with dependants. If you received it, it is fully included in your 2020 income.
If you have to repay some of the CESB (say, if it turned out you did not qualify at some point in time), any repayment made by the end of 2020 will reduce your amount taxable for 2020.
If you qualify, the CRB pays you up to $400 per week for up to 26 weeks. It is available to certain employees and self-employed individuals who are not eligible for Employment Insurance. It applies as of September 27, 2020 and is in effect for one year.
If you qualify, the CRSB pays you $500 per week for up to two weeks, if you are sick or have to self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19. As noted, this amount is taxable. It applies as of September 27, 2020 and is in effect for one year.
If you qualify, the CRCB pays you $500 per week for up to 26 weeks, if you are unable to work for at least 60% of a working week because you have to attend to:
- a child under age 12 because of the closure of a school or daycare;
- a family member with a disability or a dependent because their day program or care facility was closed;
- a child, a family member with a disability, or a dependent who was not attending school, daycare, or another care facility under the advice of a medical professional
It applies as of September 27, 2020 and is in effect for one year.