How to Repay CERB

Repaying CERB: A Comprehensive Guide

In the face of the global health crisis prompted by Covid-19, Canadian citizens experienced major impacts, including health issues, job losses, and financial instability. To cushion the blow, the Canadian Government launched the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). However, post-disbursement, some individuals found themselves ineligible, necessitating repayment. In this guide, we delve into understanding how to repay CERB and navigate the complexities of this process.

Understanding CERB

CERB was designed as a lifeline during the pandemic, catering to individuals whose work was disrupted due to Covid-19 related circumstances, and who earned less than $1,000 within the 4-week application period. It is crucial to remember that CERB is a taxable income.

The Repayment Conundrum

Some recipients, unfortunately, have been deemed ineligible after receiving the benefits, leading to the demand from the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) to repay the funds. This has led to feelings of financial stress and confusion among recipients.


Note: If you owe money to the CRA, they will charge penalties and interest on unpaid amounts. This includes a late filing penalty of 5%, plus 1% of your balance owing each month.


Repayment Deadlines

There is a relief in the form of a deadline to repay CERB-related benefits without incurring penalties or interest:


For payments received via Service Canada, the deadline is December 31, 2022.

For payments received via the CRA, the deadline is December 31, 2023.


The Repayment Process

The repayment process of CERB is straightforward. Recipients needing to make a repayment receive a notice from the government indicating the amount to repay. You can log into your CRA account online to make a lump-sum payment through online banking or get information on mailing a cheque.

Repayment Assistance

If you are unable to repay due to circumstances beyond your control, you may be eligible for CERB repayment assistance. This involves completing a simple online form on the CRA website detailing your financial situation and the ability to repay the overpaid benefits. The government will then assess your situation and determine the best repayment option for you.

Potential Wage Garnishment

The CRA has the authority to garnish your wages over tax debt. However, they have indicated that they will not be pursuing this avenue for recovery. This decision could change at any point, underscoring the importance of having a repayment plan in place.

Your Options for Managing CRA Debt

If you’re grappling with CRA debt issues, consulting with a Licensed Insolvency Trustees (LIT) is advisable. LITs are the only individuals who can negotiate with the CRA on your behalf. They will review your financial circumstances and suggest the best solution for your specific needs.

Managing CRA Debt

FAQs on CERB Repayment

Here are some commonly asked questions about how to repay CERB:

1. What is the CERB Repayment program and who is eligible?

The CERB Repayment program allows individuals who received the CERB during the pandemic to repay any amounts they were not eligible for. Eligible individuals include those who received the CERB but were later found to be ineligible due to various reasons.

2. How do I know if I need to repay the CERB?

If you received the CERB and later discovered that you were not eligible, you would need to repay it. An official letter from the government will notify you of this requirement.

3. When is the deadline to repay the CERB?

The repayment deadline differs based on how you received the CERB. For payments received through Service Canada, the deadline is December 31, 2022. For payments received through CRA, the deadline is December 31, 2023.

4. What is the process for repaying the CERB?

The repayment process depends on how you received the CERB. If you received it through the CRA, you can repay it online through your “My Account” portal or by mailing a cheque to the CRA.

5. Can I make a partial repayment of the CERB?

Yes, partial repayment is possible if you cannot repay the full amount.

6. How do I report my CERB repayments to the government?

If you repay through the CRA, the repayment will be automatically applied to your account. For repayments through Service Canada, you will need to provide proof of repayment.


The Covid-19 pandemic posed economic challenges for many Canadians. Understanding how to repay CERB and the available assistance options is crucial for individuals to make informed decisions and avoid future financial difficulties. Always seek professional advice if you have any questions about the repayment process.

Remember, you are not alone. If you need help, reach out to Bankruptcy Canada for free, confidential, no-obligation consultation.

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