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Ontario Horse Racing Update: Canada’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Benefit

TORONTO, April 3, 2020 – As part of its mandate, the Ontario Racing task force, dedicated to addressing the financial impacts of COVID-19 as it relates to the industry, will provide regular updates to the Ontario horse racing community. 


During this time of uncertainty, including the temporary suspension of live racing throughout the province, the task force would like to share an update regarding Canada’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) (below), which may be of help to certain participants in the Ontario horse racing industry. 


Applications for these benefits can be started beginning April 3, 2020. 


Please note: those who qualify for this benefit can begin the application process April 3 and will be able to submit their application on April 6. This is designed to reduce the impact on the system by allowing people to enter early and compile their applications ahead of time. 


Visit for further updates from the Ontario Racing task force, and comprehensive coverage of horse racing in Ontario. 


Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) 

The CERB supports Canadians by providing urgently needed financial support to employed and self-employed Canadians who have been directly affected by COVID-19. It provides a payment of $2,000 for a 4 week period (equivalent to $500 a week) for up to 16 weeks. 


Following is a summary of measures, which may be of benefit to participants in the Ontario horse racing industry. 


Who Can Apply 


The CERB will be available to workers:

  • residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
  • who have stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits;
  • who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and
  • who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period.

The income of at least $5,000 may be from any or a combination of the following sources: employment; self-employment; maternity and parental benefits under the Employment Insurance program and/or similar benefits paid in Quebec under the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan. 


The Benefit is only available to individuals who stopped work and are not earning employment or self-employment income as a result of reasons related to COVID-19. If you have not stopped working because of COVID-19, you are not eligible for the Benefit. 


Once you apply, you can expect to get your payment in 3 business days if you have signed up for direct deposit, and approximately 10 business days if you haven’t signed up for direct deposit. 


If your situation continues, you can re-apply for a payment for multiple 4-week periods, to a maximum of 16 weeks (4 periods). 


How to Apply 


Application submissions for the CERB will begin the week of Monday, April 6, 2020. 


There are two ways to apply:


Online with CRA My Account


Over the phone with an automated phone service


Get ready now

Although you can't apply yet (applications begin April 6), you can get ready now to ensure your application will be as easy and quick as possible. Check the government website here for more details on how to set up your application, what documentation is needed, and how to make sure you can access the funds when they become available.


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