Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that the online application portal for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will be available to Canadians beginning next week.

Trudeau said that starting on Monday, April 6, Canadians will be able to apply online for the CERB program that will provide them with financial support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Prime Minister outlined that Canadians who have been impacted by the COVID-19 situation will be eligible to apply by visiting https://www.canada.ca.

Trudeau said that if you have already applied for Employment Insurance prior to April 6, you do not need to apply again. He also added that “if you are getting the wage subsidy from your employer, you can’t collect the CERB. It’s one or the other. You can’t get both of these benefits.”

There will be options for both direct deposit and by mail. If you choose direct deposit, Trudeau suggests you should receive a payment within three to five days. By mail, cheques are expected to take 10 days.

Trudeau said for anyone who is unable to register for the CERB online, calling the Canada Revenue Agency is an option.

The only requirement in order to keep getting this benefit is to check in every month to say that you are still out of work, according to Trudeau. He added that if you’ve already applied for EI, no action is necessary on April 6.

“We’re putting measures in place so that we don’t overload the system, but I can assure you that everyone will get the money,” said Trudeau at a press conference outside of Rideau Cottage in Ottawa. “We have a plan to protect jobs, to help those who have been laid off, and to support businesses that are having cash flow problems and we’re not done yet.”

The CERB was announced last week as part of the federal government’s economic stimulus package geared toward helping Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will provide $2000 per month for the next four months to workers who have lost their income as a result of COVID-19.

The alternative means for income from the government is through the 75% wage subsidy program. Earlier this week, Trudeau outlined that any business was eligible to apply for the program if they had seen a drop in revenue of 30 percent or more. If approved, the federal government will cover 75% of employee salaries on the first $58,700, which works out to $847 per week. This will be backdated to March 15 and, Trudeau suggested on Wednesday that details on how businesses can apply for the subsidy will be available soon.

“This is the largest economic program in Canada’s history so I’ve asked the House leader and the Deputy Minister to reach out to the other parties about bringing back parliament. This must be a Team Canada effort,” said Trudeau. “Governments of all orders across the country are stepping up to fulfil their responsibilities to Canadians. Canada hasn’t seen this type of civic mobilization since the Second World War.”

Along with the action from various governments across the country, Trudeau once again called upon Canadians.

“The government alone cannot win this fight, we all have to answer the call of duty. This is a service that most of us have never been called upon to do. Each of us have to live up to our end of the bargain,” said Trudeau during his national address. “Listening to public health rules is your duty, staying home is your way to serve, so be smart about what you do and about the choices you make. That is how you will serve your country and how we will all serve each other.”

BC health experts have said that there is “zero chance” that the stay at home measures and restrictions on public gatherings will change during the month of April.

As of Wednesday morning, Canada had reported over 9,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with over 100 deaths.

Graham Cox