Logo StatCan COVID-19: Workers receiving payments from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit program in 2020

by René Morissette, Martin Turcotte, André Bernard and Eric Olson

Skip to text

In 2020, the federal government implemented several programs to provide financial support to students, Canadian workers and businesses affected by the COVID-19 economic lockdowns. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit program (CERB) was one of these programs. It provided financial support to employees and self-employed Canadians who were directly affected by COVID-19.

The CERB was available for individuals residing in Canada; who were at least 15 years old; who had stopped working or had been working reduced hours due to COVID-19; who did not expect to earn over $1,000 in employment or self-employment income for at least 14 days in a row during a four-week period; who had employment or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and who had not quit their job voluntarily.Note 

Applicants received $2,000 for an initial four-week period and could reapply for additional periods, eventually extending to 28 weeks, for a maximum benefit of $14,000. The program covered the period from March 15 to September 26, 2020.

This article examines the characteristics of workers who were most and least likely to have received CERB payments in 2020. The focus of the analysis is on workers who had significant earnings in the year prior to the onset of COVID-19, i.e. who earned at least $5,000 in 2019 (see Note to Readers).

Of all workers who earned at least $5,000 in 2019, about one-third received CERB payments in 2020

Of all Canadian workers who earned at least $5,000 in 2019, 35.2% received CERB payments in 2020.

In line with the fact that they were more affected by economic lockdowns than their male counterparts, women received CERB payments more often than men. The percentage of workers receiving CERB payments amounted to 36.3% for women, compared with 34.2% for men.

Labour Force Survey data indicate that from the March-to-September 2019 period to the March-to-September 2020 period, the total hours actually worked by women fell by 16.3%, compared with a decline of 13.1% for men.

Workers initially employed in industries that were severely affected by economic lockdowns were the most likely to receive CERB payments

In every province or territory, the percentage of workers receiving CERB payments was the highest in industries that were severely affected by the economic lockdowns in 2020. Of all workers earning at least $5,000 in 2019 and employed in accommodation and food services that year, two-thirds (66.6%) received CERB payments in 2020, the highest rate among all sectors. The corresponding percentage for their counterparts employed in arts, entertainment, and recreation was 62.7%.

In contrast, relatively few workers employed in utilities (7.0%), public administration (11.7%), or finance and insurance (12.3%) received CERB payments in 2020.

These patterns are consistent with the changes in total actual work hours observed from the March-to-September 2019 period to the March-to-September 2020 period. During that period, the total actual work hours of workers employed in accommodation and food services or in arts, entertainment and recreation fell by 41.2% and 44.8%, respectively. At the other end of the spectrum, the total actual work hours of workers employed in utilities fell by only 0.2% during that period, while those of workers employed in public administration fell by 1.7%.Note 

Several factors may have influenced the degree to which employment and work hours fell from 2019 to 2020 in various industries, in turn affecting the percentage of workers receiving CERB in these industries. For example, jobs in some industries, such as finance and insurance or public administration, were more conducive to telework than those in other sectors, making them less likely to be impacted by economic lockdowns.Note 

Chart 1 Percentage of workers who received Canada Emergency Response Benefit payments in 2020, by main industry of employment in 2019, Canada

Data table for Chart 1 
Chart 1
Percentage of workersChart 1 Note 1 who received Canada Emergency Response Benefit payments in 2020, by main industry of employment in 2019, Canada
Table summary
This table displays the results of Percentage of workers who received Canada Emergency Response Benefit payments in 2020. The information is grouped by Main industry of employment in 2019 (appearing as row headers), percent (appearing as column headers).
Main industry of employment in 2019 percent
Accommodation and food services 66.6
Arts, entertainment and recreation 62.7
Other services (except public administration)Chart 1 Note 2 50.6
Administrative and support, waste management and remediation services 44.0
Construction 43.4
Retail trade 42.9
UnknownChart 1 Note 3 industry in 2019 41.9
Real estate and rental and leasing 38.8
Transportation and warehousing 37.3
Manufacturing 34.5
Health care and social assistance 31.6
Wholesale trade 28.3
Mining and oil and gas extraction 27.8
Professional, scientific and technical services 26.4
Educational services 26.3
Management of companies and enterprises 23.5
Information and cultural industries 22.4
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting 20.2
Finance and insurance 12.3
Public administration 11.7
Utilities 7.0

In other industries, such as utilities and health care and social assistance, many workers provided essential services. In other sectors, workers did not provide essential services but performed their tasks outdoors in an environment that did not involve close physical proximity with co-workers or customers. Disentangling the contribution of each of these factors requires multivariate analyses and is a task left for further research.

In addition to CERB, the federal government introduced the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program in 2020. The CEWS targeted employers who had experienced a drop in revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic, making them potentially eligible for a subsidy that covered part of their employees’ wages. The degree to which industries that had relatively low proportions of workers receiving CERB had relatively high proportions of businesses receiving CEWS remains to be determined.

Low-wage workers were the most likely to receive CERB payments

The labour market downturn of 2020 predominantly affected low-wage employees. Labour Force Survey data show that from the March-to-September 2019 period to the March-to-September 2020 period, employees in the bottom 10% of the 2019 hourly wage distribution—i.e. who earned at most $14.00 per hour in 2019 dollars—collectively saw their total actual work hours drop by 45.5%. During the same period, their counterparts in the top 10% of the 2019 hourly wage distribution—who earned at least $46.94 per hour in 2019 dollars—experienced a 14.2% increase in aggregate actual work hours.

In line with these employment patterns, workers with relatively low annual earnings were the most likely to receive CERB payments in 2020. Of all workers who earned at least $5,000 in 2019 and who were in the bottom 10% of the employment income distribution, more than half (55.3%) received CERB payments in 2020.Note  In contrast, about 1 in 10 workers (11.3%) in the top 10% of the 2019 employment income distribution received CERB payments in 2020.

In all provinces and territories, workers with relatively low annual earnings received CERB in relatively high proportions.

Chart 2 Percentage of workers who received Canada Emergency Response Benefit payments in 2020, by employment income decile in 2019, Canada

Data table for Chart 2 
Chart 2
Percentage of workersChart 2 Note 1 who received Canada Emergency Response Benefit payments in 2020, by employment income decile in 2019, Canada Table summary
This table displays the results of Percentage of workers who received Canada Emergency Response Benefit payments in 2020. The information is grouped by Earnings decile in 2019 (appearing as row headers), percent (appearing as column headers).
EarningsChart 2 Note 2 decile in 2019 percent
Bottom 10% 55.3
2nd 57.3
3rd 53.7
4th 46.4
5th 37.9
6th 30.2
7th 24.6
8th 19.6
9th 16.1
Top 10% 11.3

Young workers more likely to receive CERB

As the COVID-19 pandemic substantially reduced employment in accommodation and food services and in arts, entertainment and recreation, young workers saw their total actual work hours drop significantly from the March-to-September 2019 period to the March-to-September 2020 period.Note 

During that period, the total hours actually worked by men aged 15 to 24 fell by 22.6%, while those worked by women in the same age group dropped by 27.7%. Meanwhile, the total work hours of men and women aged 35 to 44 fell by 10.1% and 13.6%, respectively.

The percentages of workers receiving CERB are consistent with these differences in the decline in work hours. Of all men aged 15 to 24 who earned at least $5,000 in 2019, 50.4% received CERB payments in 2020, compared with 53.9% of women aged 15 to 24. In contrast, in the 35-to-44 age group, roughly one-third of men (31.2%) and of women (34.0%) received CERB payments in 2020.

Chart 3 Percentage of workers who received Canada Emergency Response Benefit payments in 2020, by age group and sex, Canada

Data table for Chart 3 
Chart 3
Percentage of workersChart 3 Note 1 who received Canada Emergency Response Benefit payments in 2020, by age group and sex, Canada Table summary
This table displays the results of Percentage of workers who received Canada Emergency Response Benefit payments in 2020 Men and Women (appearing as column headers).
Men Women
Age group percent
15 to 24 50.4 53.9
25 to 34 37.3 37.8
35 to 44 31.2 34.0
45 to 54 29.3 31.8
55 to 64 30.3 31.8
65 and older 28.6 28.2

The percentage of workers receiving CERB payments varied across provinces and territories

In general, the provinces most affected by the labour market downturn in 2020 had the highest proportions of workers receiving CERB.

For example, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia, which saw declines in total actual work hours of at least 14.4% from the March-to-September 2019 period to the March-to-September 2020 period, had between 33.7% and 37.7% of their workers receive CERB. In contrast, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, which experienced declines in total actual work hours of at most 10.3%, had between 28.6% and 28.8% of their workers receive CERB. The percentage of workers receiving CERB was even lower in Yukon (25.9%).

All these patterns hold when accounting for the number of weeks that the CERB was received

The degree to which Canadian workers received CERB depends not only on the percentage of CERB recipients but also on the number of weeks recipients received payments. Specifically, the average number of weeks of CERB receipt per worker—including those who did not receive any payments—is equal to the percentage of CERB recipients multiplied by the average number of weeks recipients received CERB.

Since the percentage of CERB recipients was 35.2% in 2020 and since recipients received payments for an average of 17.0 weeks, the average number of weeks of CERB receipt per worker amounted to 6.0 weeks. All the aforementioned patterns—higher percentages of CERB recipients in some provinces, among young workers, low-paid workers and workers employed in accommodation and food services and arts, entertainment and recreation—hold when the average number of weeks of CERB receipt per worker is considered.

Workers in visible minority groups are more likely to have received the CERB

Workers in the population groups designated as visible minorities were hit harder than others by the various social, economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of them were also exposed to the risk of contracting COVID-19 while at work, which may have forced them to stop working and apply for the CERB.

For example, this was the case for Black and Filipino workers, who are overrepresented among nurse aides, orderlies, and patient service associates. This was also observed among visible minority employees working in certain sectors that were affected by COVID-19 outbreaks, such as meat product manufacturing. In 2016, visible minority workers represented 40% of workers in this sector, double their proportion in all employment sectors (21%).

Other workers belonging to population groups designated as visible minorities were especially at risk of becoming unemployed. As a result, they were more likely to be eligible for the CERB.

Among all Canadian workers who had employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019, 41.4% of those who belonged to population groups designated as visible minorities received CERB payments, compared with 32.0% of individuals who do not belong to these groups.

Significant differences in the proportion of workers who received the CERB were observed between specific population groups in the labour market, reflecting the particular situations and sociodemographic profile of these different groups. More specifically, workers who identified as West Asian (50.8%), Southeast Asian (48.3%) and Arab (45.4%) were more likely to have received CERB payments. They were followed by Korean workers (43.3%), Black workers (43.0%), and Latin American workers (41.8%).

The differences between groups were even greater in terms of the proportion of workers who received the CERB for the entire 28 weeks. Among workers who had employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 and who did not belong to a population group designated as a visible minority, 5.7% received CERB payments for this maximum period. In contrast, 18.6% of their West Asian counterparts, 15.1% of Arab workers and 14.5% of Korean workers did so.

These differences can be partly explained by the overrepresentation of workers in these population groups among low-wage workers, who were more likely to have received the CERB, and those working in certain employment sectors that were hit harder by the pandemic, including accommodation and food services.

In 2015, the most recent year for which detailed disaggregated data are available on all population groups designated as visible minorities, the lowest median employment incomes were recorded for certain groups that were more likely to have received the CERB: West Asians ($21,516), Koreans ($22,913), Arabs ($23,253), Blacks ($26,807) and Latin Americans ($28,638).

By comparison, the median employment income of workers not belonging to a population group designated as a visible minority was $35,299. In general, people belonging to most visible minority groups were more likely than the white population to live in poverty before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chart 4 Percentage of workers who received Canada Emergency Response Benefit payments in 2020, by age group and sex, Canada

Data table for Chart 4 
Chart 4
WorkersChart 4 Note 1 in population groups previously with higher median employment income were less likely to have received CERB paymentsTable summary
This table displays the results of Workers in population groups previously with higher median employment income were less likely to have received CERB payments
. The information is grouped by Visible minority status (appearing as row headers), Median earnings in 2015 as reported in the 2016 Census and Percentage who received CERB amounts in 2020 (appearing as column headers).
Visible minority status Median earnings in 2015 as reported in the 2016 CensusChart 4 Note 2 Percentage who received CERB amounts in 2020Chart 4 Note 1
West Asian 21,516 50.8
Southeast Asian 27,944 48.3
Arab 23,253 45.4
Korean 22,913 43.3
Black 26,807 43.0
Latin American 28,638 41.8
South Asian 28,062 41.3
Multiple visible minorities 29,194 41.2
Visible minority n.i.e. 32,860 40.2
Filipino 32,603 39.4
Chinese 29,999 37.4
Japanese 31,484 33.9
Not a visible minority 35,299 32.0

Visible minority workers were also overrepresented in one of the sectors hit hardest by the pandemic: accommodation and food services. In 2016, 30.1% of workers in this sector were visible minority workers, whereas in all economic sectors, they represented 20.8% of workers..

In addition, 6.2% of workers who did not belong to a population group designated as a visible minority worked in accommodation and food services, compared with 19.3% of Korean workers and 13.8% of Southeast Asian workers did. These high concentrations can help explain the different proportions of workers who received the CERB between groups.

In contrast, workers belonging to groups designated as visible minorities were underrepresented in the government sector, which was relatively unaffected by the pandemic.

In 2016, 7.1% of workers who did not belong to a visible minority group worked in the government sector, compared with 2.8% of West Asian workers, 3.2% of Southeast Asian workers, and 3.2% of Korean workers. Taken together, visible minority workers represented 12.9% of government workers in 2016, a lower proportion than their representation in all sectors.

Despite the significant distribution of workers by sector of activity, other factors specific to the employment characteristics of workers from different population groups will also need to be examined to better understand the gaps in the proportion of workers who received the CERB (e.g., possibility of working at home, precarious work, unionization).

Women and youth in visible minority groups are more likely to have received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit

As in the labour force in general, there are significant differences between men and women who belong to population groups designated as visible minorities, and between younger and older workers. Generally speaking, women who belong to population groups designated as visible minorities were slightly more likely than their male counterparts to have received the CERB (42.3% compared with 40.5%).

Among the specific population groups, the difference in the proportion of men and women who received the CERB was greater among Southeast Asians (51.7% of women compared with 44.8% of men), Koreans (45.9% versus 40.6%) and Japanese (37.6% compared with 29.0%). The differences in proportions between women and men were similar among the other groups, ranging from one to three percentage points.

However, Black workers are an exception. In this group, men (44.3%) were slightly more likely than women (41.9%) to have received the CERB. A particularly high proportion of Black women worked in essential occupations in the health care sector (around 30% in 2016), which may have had an impact on their likelihood of receiving the CERB.

As was observed in the general population, workers aged 15 to 24 from populations groups designated as visible minorities were more likely to have received the CERB (59.0% compared with 38.4% of workers aged 25 to 54). Among workers aged 15 to 24 who belonged to specific population groups, West Asian workers (69.9%), Arab workers (63.6%), and Black workers (63.4%) were the most likely to have received the CERB.

Refugees are more likely to have received the CERB

Of all immigrant workers admitted to Canada from 1980 to 2019, 41.2% received the CERB in the first months of the pandemic. However, this rate varied by admission category.

Among immigrants who landed since the 1980s, refugees were most likely to have received CERB payments (51.6%), compared with 46.2% of family-sponsored immigrants and 32.0% of economic immigrants (principal applicants).

Despite the higher likelihood of landed immigrants like refugees to have received the CERB, there may be significant heterogeneity in the labour market outcomes of this population. Additional analyses with a finer level of disaggregation can shed more light on this.

Indigenous workers were more likely than non-Indigenous workers to receive CERB payments in 2020

Previous research has highlighted the disproportionate social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Indigenous people, including a greater impact on their ability to meet financial obligations or essential needs and a slower labour market recovery. In this context, many First Nations, Métis and Inuit workers applied for and received payments from the CERB program in 2020.

Among First Nations workers who earned at least $5,000 in 2019, 41.5% received CERB payments in 2020. The corresponding proportions among Métis and Inuit workers were 36.2% and 40.3% respectively. In comparison, 33.9% of non-Indigenous workers who earned at least $5,000 in 2019 received CERB payments in 2020.

Low-wage workers across Canada were disproportionately impacted by declines in employment and hours worked during the pandemic. The higher proportions receiving CERB payments among Indigenous workers reflect, in part, their overrepresentation in jobs that provide relatively low annual earnings. In 2015, median employment income was lowest among Inuit workers, at $20,984, followed by First Nations workers, at $23,345, and Métis workers, at $31,423. It was $34,013 among non-Indigenous workers.

More than half of First Nations and Métis youth received CERB payments in 2020

Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth were most likely to receive CERB payments, reflecting higher unemployment in the spring and in the wake of a particularly challenging summer job market in 2020. Over half of First Nations (52.8%) and Métis (51.0%) youth aged 15 to 24 who earned at least $5,000 in 2019 received CERB payments in 2020. The corresponding proportion among non-Indigenous youth was similar, at 52.1%. Among Inuit youth aged 15 to 24 who earned at least $5,000 in 2019, 41.9% received CERB payments in 2020.

The greater proportions receiving the CERB among youth across Canada, combined with a significantly younger Indigenous population, partly explains why Indigenous workers were more likely to receive CERB payments in 2020.

More Métis women than men received CERB payments in 2020

Métis women were more likely than Métis men to receive CERB payments. Among Métis women who earned at least $5,000 in 2019, 38.1% received CERB payments. The corresponding proportion among Métis men was 34.4%. The difference in proportions between Métis women and men was highest among those aged 15 to 24.

Inuit men were more likely to receive CERB payments than Inuit women, largely because of higher proportions among core-aged Inuit men. Among Inuit men aged 25 to 54 who earned at least $5,000 in 2019, 43.8% received the CERB, while the corresponding proportion among Inuit women was 39.6%.

Differences between First Nations women and men in the proportions receiving CERB payments were smaller. Among First Nations youth, women were slightly more likely to receive CERB payments, while among core-aged and older First Nations workers, men were slightly more likely to receive CERB payments.

Chart 5 Percentage of workers who received Canada Emergency Response Benefit payments in 2020, by age group and sex, Canada

Data table for Chart 5 
Chart 5
Percentage of workersChart 5 Note 1 who received Canada Emergency Response Benefit payments in 2020 by sex and age group, among First Nations, Métis and Inuit workers, Canada Table summary
This table displays the results of Percentage of workers who received Canada Emergency Response Benefit payments in 2020 by sex and age group Men and Women (appearing as column headers).
Men Women
First Nations
15 and older 42.3 40.7
15 to 24 51.9 53.7
25 to 54 42.1 40.2
55 and older 33.4 31.0
Métis
15 and older 34.4 38.1
15 to 24 47.5 54.7
25 to 54 32.4 35.8
55 and older 29.6 31.4
Inuit
15 and older 41.9 38.7
15 to 24 43.0 40.9
25 to 54 43.8 39.6
55 and older 32.4 32.1
Non-Indigenous people
15 and older 32.7 35.2
15 to 24 50.2 54.0
25 to 54 30.8 33.2
55 and older 29.1 30.5

Looking ahead

To provide more comprehensive analyses of CERB receipt, Statistics Canada integrated data from the CERB program with data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), the Canadian Income Survey (CIS), the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability (CSD), and the 2016 Census of Population.

These integrated data will contribute to subsequent analyses that will focus on specific groups of workers (for example, childcare workers) and/or will provide disaggregated data at the sub-provincial level.


Table 1
Percentage of workersTable 1 Note 1 who received Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payments in 2020 and average number of weeks of receipt, by main industryTable 1 Note 2 of employment and earning decile in 2019 and sex, Canada
Table summary
This table displays the results of Percentage of workers who received Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payments in 2020 and average number of weeks of receipt Percentage of workersin 2019 who received some CERB in 2020, Average number of weeks of receipt for CERB recipients, Average weeks of receipt for all workers including non recipients, Total, Men and Women, calculated using percent and weeks units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Percentage of workersTable 1 Note 1 in 2019 who received some CERB in 2020 Average number of weeks of receipt for CERB recipients Average weeks of receipt for all workersTable 1 Note 1 including non recipients
Total Men Women Total Men Women Total Men Women
percent weeks
All workersTable 1 Note 1 35.2 34.2 36.3 17.0 16.6 17.5 6.0 5.7 6.3
Workers with industry code in 2019 34.2 33.0 35.4 17.1 16.7 17.6 5.8 5.5 6.2
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting 20.2 18.9 23.3 15.1 14.9 15.5 3.1 2.8 3.6
Mining and oil and gas extraction 27.8 29.0 21.9 17.0 16.9 17.2 4.7 4.9 3.8
Utilities 7.0 7.2 6.4 14.1 13.7 15.5 1.0 1.0 1.0
Construction 43.4 44.0 39.9 15.7 15.5 17.3 6.8 6.8 6.9
Manufacturing 34.5 33.3 37.9 14.2 13.8 15.2 4.9 4.6 5.8
Wholesale trade 28.3 26.9 30.9 16.5 16.0 17.3 4.7 4.3 5.3
Retail trade 42.9 40.2 45.4 16.9 16.2 17.5 7.3 6.5 7.9
Transportation and warehousing 37.3 37.1 37.9 17.9 18.0 17.4 6.7 6.7 6.6
Information and cultural industries 22.4 21.0 24.6 18.1 18.0 18.1 4.0 3.8 4.5
Finance and insurance 12.3 12.4 12.2 17.2 17.2 17.3 2.1 2.1 2.1
Real estate and rental and leasing 38.8 38.6 39.0 17.5 17.4 17.7 6.8 6.7 6.9
Professional, scientific and technical services 26.4 24.0 29.3 17.9 17.8 18.0 4.7 4.3 5.3
Management of companies and enterprises 23.5 23.1 24.0 16.8 16.5 17.2 4.0 3.8 4.1
Administrative and support, waste management and remediation services 44.0 42.2 46.5 18.3 17.7 19.1 8.1 7.5 8.9
Educational services 26.3 20.9 28.9 15.6 16.8 15.1 4.1 3.5 4.4
Health care and social assistance 31.6 24.9 33.1 16.6 16.1 16.7 5.2 4.0 5.5
Arts, entertainment and recreation 62.7 61.0 64.5 19.3 19.1 19.6 12.1 11.7 12.6
Accommodation and food services 66.6 66.2 66.8 19.6 19.5 19.8 13.1 12.9 13.2
Other services (except public administration) 50.6 43.5 56.8 18.1 17.4 18.5 9.1 7.6 10.5
Public administration 11.7 10.5 12.6 15.8 15.7 15.8 1.8 1.6 2.0
Unknown industryTable 1 Note 2 in 2019 41.9 42.2 41.7 16.6 16.2 17.1 7.0 6.8 7.1
EarningsTable 1 Note 3 of $5,000 and above in 2019 35.2 34.2 36.3 17.0 16.6 17.5 6.0 5.7 6.3
$5,000 to $11,999 (lowest 10%) 55.3 54.1 56.3 20.0 20.0 20.0 11.1 10.8 11.3
$12,000 to $20,413 57.3 55.7 58.6 19.4 19.3 19.4 11.1 10.8 11.4
$20,414 to $29,649 53.7 52.8 54.4 18.4 18.4 18.4 9.9 9.7 10.0
$29,650 to $39,000 46.4 47.0 46.0 17.0 17.1 17.0 7.9 8.0 7.8
$39,001 to $49,009 37.9 39.6 36.4 15.8 15.9 15.7 6.0 6.3 5.7
$49,010 to $60,829 30.2 32.7 27.6 15.1 15.0 15.1 4.5 4.9 4.2
$60,830 to $76,056 24.6 27.3 21.4 14.3 14.2 14.5 3.5 3.9 3.1
$76,057 to $96,228 19.6 22.7 15.5 13.5 13.4 13.6 2.6 3.0 2.1
$96,229 to $132,516 16.1 18.9 11.7 12.7 12.6 13.0 2.0 2.4 1.5
$132,517 and over (highest 10%) 11.3 12.9 7.6 11.9 11.7 12.6 1.3 1.5 1.0

Table 2
Percentage of workersTable 2 Note 1 who received Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payments in 2020 and average number of weeks of receipt, by selected charcteristics and sex, Canada
Table summary
This table displays the results of Percentage of workers who received Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payments in 2020 and average number of weeks of receipt Percentage of workersin 2019 who received some CERB in 2020, Average number of weeks of receipt for CERB recipients, Average weeks of receipt for all workers including non recipients, Total, Men and Women, calculated using percent and weeks units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Percentage of workersTable 2 Note 1 in 2019 who received some CERB in 2020 Average number of weeks of receipt for CERB recipients Average weeks of receipt for all workersTable 2 Note 1 including non recipients
Total Men Women Total Men Women Total Men Women
percent weeks
WorkersTable 2 Note 1 15 years old and over 35.2 34.2 36.3 17.0 16.6 17.5 6.0 5.7 6.3
15 to 24 52.1 50.4 53.9 16.8 16.4 17.1 8.7 8.3 9.2
25 to 34 37.6 37.3 37.8 16.7 16.4 17.2 6.3 6.1 6.5
35 to 44 32.5 31.2 34.0 17.1 16.5 17.7 5.6 5.1 6.0
45 to 54 30.5 29.3 31.8 17.0 16.5 17.5 5.2 4.8 5.6
55 to 64 31.0 30.3 31.8 17.2 16.8 17.8 5.3 5.1 5.6
65 and over 28.5 28.6 28.2 18.7 18.4 19.1 5.3 5.3 5.4
Canada 35.2 34.2 36.3 17.0 16.6 17.5 6.0 5.7 6.3
Newfoundland and Labrador 33.7 32.8 34.6 16.6 16.3 16.8 5.6 5.4 5.8
Prince Edward Island 32.2 30.7 33.9 15.3 15.0 15.6 4.9 4.6 5.3
Nova Scotia 32.8 31.7 34.0 17.2 16.9 17.4 5.6 5.3 5.9
New Brunswick 31.5 29.7 33.4 16.1 15.8 16.3 5.1 4.7 5.5
Quebec 37.7 38.8 36.4 15.6 15.1 16.3 5.9 5.8 5.9
Ontario 35.8 34.4 37.2 17.7 17.3 18.2 6.3 6.0 6.8
Manitoba 28.8 26.9 31.0 16.4 16.2 16.6 4.7 4.4 5.1
Saskatchewan 28.6 27.4 30.0 16.9 16.8 16.9 4.8 4.6 5.1
Alberta 34.8 32.9 36.9 17.6 17.3 17.8 6.1 5.7 6.6
British Columbia 34.3 31.9 36.8 17.5 17.1 17.9 6.0 5.5 6.6
Yukon 25.9 26.5 25.2 16.6 16.6 16.7 4.3 4.4 4.2
Northwest Territories 29.5 31.4 27.5 18.3 18.4 18.2 5.4 5.8 5.0
Nunavut 34.1 35.9 32.1 18.8 19.1 18.6 6.4 6.8 6.0
Immigrants admitted since 1980 41.2 39.9 42.7 18.4 18.0 18.8 7.6 7.2 8.0
Admission between 1980 and 2009 39.8 38.8 40.8 18.7 18.4 19.0 7.4 7.1 7.7
Admission between 1980 and 1989 35.6 36.1 35.1 18.4 18.2 18.7 6.6 6.6 6.6
Admission between 1990 and 1999 39.0 38.7 39.4 18.8 18.6 18.9 7.3 7.2 7.5
Admission between 2000 and 2009 41.8 39.8 43.8 18.7 18.3 19.1 7.8 7.3 8.4
Admission between 2010 and 2019 43.9 41.8 46.3 17.9 17.3 18.4 7.8 7.2 8.5
Admission between 2010 and 2014 44.4 42.2 46.8 18.1 17.6 18.6 8.1 7.4 8.7
Admission between 2015 and 2019 43.5 41.5 45.7 17.6 17.0 18.2 7.7 7.1 8.3
Immigrants admitted since 1980 41.2 39.9 42.7 18.4 18.0 18.8 7.6 7.2 8.0
Economic immigrant 35.8 34.0 37.8 17.9 17.5 18.3 6.4 6.0 6.9
Economic immigrant, principal applicant 32.0 30.6 34.3 17.5 17.4 17.6 5.6 5.3 6.0
Economic immigrant, spouse and/or dependent 39.6 38.8 40.3 18.2 17.7 18.6 7.2 6.9 7.5
Immigrant sponsored by family 46.2 44.7 47.5 18.6 17.9 19.2 8.6 8.0 9.1
Refugee 51.6 52.1 50.9 19.2 19.0 19.4 9.9 9.9 9.9
Other immigrant or unknown 52.9 52.6 53.2 19.4 19.1 19.8 10.3 10.0 10.5

Table 3
Percentage of workersTable 3 Note 1 who received Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payments in 2020 and average number of weeks of receipt, by visible minority status,Table 3 Note 2 sex and age group, Canada
Table summary
This table displays the results of Percentage of workers who received Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payments in 2020 and average number of weeks of receipt Percentage of worker1 in 2019 who received some CERB in 2020 , Average number of weeks of receipt for CERB recipients , 15 years old and older, 15 to 24 years old, 25 to 54 years old and 55 years old and older, calculated using percent and weeks units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Percentage of workersTable 3 Note 1 in 2019 who received some CERB in 2020 Average number of weeks of receipt for CERB recipients
15 years old and older 15 to 24 years old 25 to 54 years old 55 years old and older 15 years old and older 15 to 24 years old 25 to 54 years old 55 years old and older
percent weeks
Total workersTable 3 Note 1 present in 2016 CensusTable 3 Note 3 34.1 52.1 32.3 29.8 16.9 16.7 16.7 17.4
Total visible minority population 41.4 59.0 38.4 40.6 18.5 19.0 18.2 19.2
South Asian 41.3 57.6 38.4 41.9 18.2 18.8 17.9 19.1
Chinese 37.4 50.0 34.4 40.2 19.6 19.0 19.5 20.4
Black 43.0 63.4 39.6 37.6 18.5 19.2 18.3 18.4
Filipino 39.4 60.7 36.6 34.6 17.0 18.3 16.5 17.6
Latin American 41.8 60.2 39.1 40.4 17.7 18.3 17.4 18.0
Arab 45.4 63.6 41.6 46.3 19.1 19.8 18.7 20.1
Southeast Asian 48.3 60.3 45.9 48.5 18.7 19.0 18.6 18.9
West Asian 50.8 69.9 47.3 52.7 19.9 20.5 19.5 20.5
Korean 43.3 56.2 40.3 46.2 19.5 19.4 19.1 20.7
Japanese 33.9 50.6 32.4 27.7 17.8 17.4 17.9 18.0
Visible minority, n.i.e. 40.2 62.4 37.2 36.4 18.3 19.0 18.1 18.4
Multiple visible minorities 41.2 61.4 35.8 39.6 18.5 19.4 18.0 19.0
Not a visible minority 32.0 50.0 30.2 27.7 16.2 15.9 16.1 16.9
Men 33.0 50.2 31.1 29.2 16.3 16.3 16.1 17.0
Total visible minority population 40.5 58.4 37.1 40.6 18.3 18.9 17.8 19.0
South Asian 39.8 57.0 36.3 42.1 18.0 18.7 17.5 19.0
Chinese 36.1 50.0 32.9 38.9 19.4 19.1 19.2 20.1
Black 44.3 64.0 40.8 40.3 18.5 19.2 18.2 18.4
Filipino 38.1 57.9 34.6 34.6 16.4 18.1 15.6 16.8
Latin American 40.2 59.3 37.5 38.0 16.9 18.0 16.6 17.1
Arab 45.0 65.1 41.1 45.9 19.2 20.2 18.6 20.3
Southeast Asian 44.8 58.7 41.6 45.4 17.9 18.8 17.6 18.1
West Asian 50.1 69.9 46.5 52.3 19.6 20.4 19.2 20.4
Korean 40.6 55.0 37.1 43.4 18.9 19.0 18.5 19.9
Japanese 29.0 45.3 26.6 24.4 16.9 16.8 16.7 17.8
Visible minority, n.i.e. 40.5 60.1 38.0 36.4 18.0 18.8 17.7 18.0
Multiple visible minorities 40.4 60.5 35.0 39.5 18.2 19.3 17.6 18.3
Not a visible minority 30.8 47.7 29.2 26.9 15.6 15.3 15.4 16.4
Women 35.3 54.0 33.4 30.6 17.4 17.1 17.3 17.9
Total visible minority population 42.3 59.6 39.7 40.5 18.8 19.0 18.6 19.5
South Asian 43.1 58.2 40.9 41.6 18.6 18.9 18.3 19.4
Chinese 38.6 50.0 35.9 41.6 19.8 18.9 19.7 20.8
Black 41.9 62.9 38.5 34.9 18.6 19.2 18.4 18.2
Filipino 40.3 63.6 38.1 34.6 17.5 18.6 17.1 18.1
Latin American 43.4 61.2 40.6 43.0 18.4 18.6 18.2 18.8
Arab 46.0 61.9 42.3 47.2 19.0 19.3 18.8 19.8
Southeast Asian 51.7 62.0 49.6 52.4 19.4 19.2 19.3 19.6
West Asian 51.6 69.8 48.3 53.5 20.1 20.6 19.8 20.7
Korean 45.9 57.5 43.2 49.4 20.0 19.8 19.5 21.5
Japanese 37.6 55.9 36.3 30.8 18.3 17.9 18.5 18.2
Visible minority, n.i.e. 40.0 64.6 36.3 36.6 18.7 19.2 18.5 18.8
Multiple visible minorities 42.0 62.1 36.6 39.5 18.8 19.4 18.3 19.8
Not a visible minority 33.2 52.3 31.3 28.6 16.8 16.4 16.7 17.5

Table 4
Percentage of workersTable 4 Note 1 who received Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payments in 2020 and average number of weeks of receipt, by Indigenous identityTable 4 Note 2, sex and age group, Canada
Table summary
This table displays the results of Percentage of workers who received Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payments in 2020 and average number of weeks of receipt Percentage of worker1 in 2019 who received some CERB in 2020 , Average number of weeks of receipt for CERB recipients , 15 years old and older, 15 to 24 years old, 25 to 54 years old and 55 years old and older, calculated using percent and weeks units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Percentage of workersTable 4 Note 1 in 2019 who received some CERB in 2020 Average number of weeks of receipt for CERB recipients
15 years old and older 15 to 24 years old 25 to 54 years old 55 years old and older 15 years old and older 15 to 24 years old 25 to 54 years old 55 years old and older
percent weeks
Total workersTable 4 Note 1 present in 2016 CensusTable 4 Note 3 34.1 52.1 32.3 29.8 16.9 16.7 16.7 17.4
Indigenous people 39.2 51.6 38.2 31.4 17.4 16.7 17.7 17.4
First Nations 41.5 52.8 41.1 32.2 17.9 17.1 18.2 17.6
Métis 36.2 51.0 34.1 30.5 16.8 16.2 16.9 17.2
Inuit 40.3 41.9 41.7 32.3 17.9 16.3 18.5 17.2
Non-Indigenous people 33.9 52.1 32.0 29.8 16.8 16.7 16.7 17.4
Men 33.0 50.2 31.1 29.2 16.3 16.3 16.1 17.0
Indigenous people 38.8 49.7 38.1 31.5 17.1 16.5 17.4 17.1
First Nations 42.3 51.9 42.1 33.4 17.7 17.1 18.0 17.3
Métis 34.4 47.5 32.4 29.6 16.3 15.8 16.2 17.0
Inuit 41.9 43.0 43.8 32.4 18.0 16.6 18.6 17.5
Non-Indigenous people 32.7 50.2 30.8 29.1 16.3 16.3 16.0 17.0
Women 35.3 54.0 33.4 30.6 17.4 17.1 17.3 17.9
Indigenous people 39.5 53.5 38.4 31.2 17.7 16.8 18.1 17.7
First Nations 40.7 53.7 40.2 31.0 18.1 17.1 18.5 17.9
Métis 38.1 54.7 35.8 31.4 17.3 16.6 17.5 17.5
Inuit 38.7 40.9 39.6 32.1 17.7 15.9 18.4 17.0
Non-Indigenous people 35.2 54.0 33.2 30.5 17.4 17.1 17.3 18.0

Note to readers

In March 2020, the federal government introduced emergency measures to provide temporary financial support to workers, students and businesses affected by the economic lockdowns triggered by COVID-19.

These measures included the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), available to Canadians who had lost their job or were working reduced hours, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, to assist businesses, including the self-employed, and the Canada Emergency Student Benefit, to provide financial support to students.

CERB was available to: individuals residing in Canada; who were at least 15 years old; who had stopped working or had been working reduced hours due to COVID-19; who did not expect to earn over $1,000 in employment or self-employment income for at least 14 days in a row during a 4-week period; who had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and who had not quit their job voluntarily.

Because information on employment income in the 12 months prior to the date of application is not available and because information on quits has yet to be integrated in the data, the focus of the analysis is on workers who earned at least $5,000 in 2019. For the same reasons, the proportions of workers receiving the benefit shown in this release equal the percentage of workers who received CERB payments in 2020 among those who earned at least $5,000 in 2019. This percentage should be interpreted as a baseline statistic for workers in a given industry or group. It is not intended to represent workers who could have been eligible to CERB in the case of a job interruption.

The CERB data highlighted in this release come from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and contain information on initial payments from both streams of the program, one administered by ESDC and the other by the Canada Revenue Agency on its behalf.

Earnings in 2019 were gleaned from employee T4 slips and net self-employment income and eligible dividends reported on T1 Income Tax and Benefit Return forms. Main industry of employment was determined from the industry of activity of the business responsible for the most earnings in 2019.

The immigrant status and period of immigration characteristics were obtained from the Longitudinal Immigration Database, which contains immigrants who landed from January 1, 1980, to December 31, 2019.

Other characteristics such as Indigenous identity and visible minority status were integrated from responses to the 2016 Census of Population. Information on CERB payments by Indigenous identity and visible minority status are therefore only available for respondents to the 2016 Census. Therefore the proportions presented for those groups do not include persons who were not in Canada at the time.

In this release, Indigenous people refer to First Nations people, Métis and Inuit. First Nations people include those living on and off reserve, and include both Status and non-Status Indians.

Report a problem on this page

Is something not working? Is there information outdated? Can't find what you're looking for?

Please contact us and let us know how we can help you.

Privacy notice

Date modified: