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UPDATE (Feb 9th, 2021): The federal government has announced that it will adhere to the original CERB income eligibility rules for self-employed Canadians (ACTRA NEWS RELEASE).

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) began issuing letters in late 2020 to recipients informing them they may or may not have been eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payments they received.

When the CERB was rolled out last spring, the government said eligibility would be based an individual having 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.  The CRA is now interpreting income guidelines to mean net income after expenses, not gross income, which resulted in about 441,000 individuals receiving a letter in late 2020 from the CRA informing them they may or may not have been eligible for the CERB payments they received.  The Financial Post ran an article outlining this issue in more detail.   

It is unjust to change eligibility rules now and suggest recipients may need to repay benefits they have already received.

This is why we are calling on the Government of Canada to adhere to its original eligibility requirements, which allowed self-employed Canadians to use their gross pre-tax income when determining their CERB eligibility.

If you did not receive a letter, you likely know an artists who has. It’s important we all stand together in solidarity for the many self-employed workers who are affected by this unjust CERB clawback.