News Article

April 6 COVID-19 Update

April 6, 2020

COVID-19 Update - April 6

During the COVID-19 pandemic we will be providing daily updates to our members with concise, relevant information they need for their businesses, employees and personal health.
For a list of industry resources, government programs, FAQs and more, visit our dedicated COVD-19 website at
For more frequent updates please follow us on Twitter @WCANews.
For past editions of these bulletins please visit the News section on our website.
If you have any questions about the pandemic, please email our COVID-19 hotline at


CERB Applications Open Now

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit portal opened for applications this morning at 5:00 a.m. Central time. Unsure if you're eligible, or how to apply? Here's what you need to know:

Who's Eligible

The CERB is available to workers who:

  • Live in Canada and are at least 15 years old
  • Have stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit their job or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits
  • Had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and
  • 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 or self-employment income.

If you've already applied for EI there's no need to re-apply; you'll automatically be switched over to the CERB.

The government is also asking that people stagger the days they apply for the CERB to prevent CRA from being overwhelmed. Here’s their preferred schedule, starting on April 6:

  • Born in January, February, March: Apply on Mondays
  • Born in April, May, June: Apply on Tuesdays
  • Born in July, August, September: Apply on Wednesdays
  • Born in October, November, December: Apply on Thursdays
  • All are welcome to apply on Friday, Saturday or Sunday

Click here to apply now

Expanding the CERB

During this morning's news conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged certain gaps in the CERB, and said his government would be releasing more aid for those who don't qualify for this benefit. He specifically mentioned the following three examples:

  • Workers who have suffered a significant loss of work but whose income has not dropped to zero. Trudeau said aid would be coming for those who are now working 10 hours a week or less.
  • If you're still working but making less than the $2,000 the CERB would provide you with (eg: a grocery store cashier)
  • University or college students who would have been getting a summer job.

The prime minister said to expect more details on how these cases will be covered "shortly". When we know more, we'll keep you posted.

Expanding the CEWS

The CERB isn't the only relief program that appears to be expanding. While we didn't get any concrete details today, Trudeau also mentioned the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) would be expanded to cover more organizations than previously announced. Whether this means a drop in the 30% loss of revenue requirement, new businesses who can't show revenue from 2019, or other measures remains to be seen.

The prime minister also mentioned that Parliament would have to be recalled to vote on the CEWS. We don't have an expected date for this yet, but we'll continue to update our members. 

Big banks, Credit Unions slash credit card interest rates

Trudeau also mentioned that after conversations with finance minister Bill Morneau, the six big Canadian banks, along with several credit unions, have agreed to slash the interest rate they charge on credit cards by 50%.


WCB Premium Deferral Update

In our March 27 COVID-19 update, we included information on WCB's payment relief program, which allows contractors to defer premium payments until October.

We received several inquiries from general contractor's who wanted to be sure they wouldn't be deemed liable if a sub-contractor deferred payment on their premiums and then failed to pay them once the bill comes due. 

We reached out the WCB on this point, and have receive assurance that the general contractor would not be held liable in this scenario - the risk is being assumed by WCB.

For details on the WCB's payment relief program, click here.