Verbal confirmation of a valid work permit sufficient for CERB application

The government is making the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) application process easier for temporary foreign residents. According to the National Post, a memo was sent to Employment and Social Development officials allowing temporary foreign residents to give verbal confirmation that they have a valid work permit or have applied for a renewal of an expiring permit. 

This change is expected to simplify and accelerate the application process allowing temporary residents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to get the financial support they need. It also demonstrates Canada’s willingness to accommodate and support immigrants during this crisis in order to encourage them to stay in Canada. 

The government launched the CERB program to provide financial support to Canadian residents who have lost income due to COVID-19. The benefit provides recipients with $500 per week for up to 16 weeks. It is distributed as $2,000 for specified four-week benefit periods.

To be eligible for CERB all applicants, including temporary residents, must:

  • Be living in Canada with a valid Social Insurance Number
  • Be at least 15 years old
  • Have stopped working due to COVID-19 or be eligible for Employment Insurance
  • Have made at least $5,000 in 2019 or the 12 months prior to their application
  • Have not earned more than $1,000 for 14 or more consecutive days within the four-week benefit period that they are applying for
  • Have not quit their job voluntarily 

If an applicant needs to apply for a subsequent four-week benefit period, they must not have earned more than $1,000 from employment or self-employment during the four-week benefit period they previously claimed. 

In addition to these eligibility requirements, temporary residents used to be required to email Employment and Social Development Canada proof that they had a valid work permit or that they were renewing an expiring permit to receive the CERB. Now, verbal confirmation will be sufficient.    

Maya Dura, spokeswoman for the office of Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, told the National Post that CERB claimants “may be asked to provide additional documentation to verify their eligibility at a future date.” Right now, the government’s goal is to make sure that people losing income due to the pandemic are getting the financial assistance they need as quickly as possible. 

Sources: CIC News

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