Earlier this year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada launched the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, otherwise known as the CERB.

The benefit was created to provide support to Canadians during the ongoing pandemic, particularly those who were out of work or working reduced hours.

After seven months, the benefit was replaced by new financial support programs on October 3, 2020.

A month after the CERB was ended by the federal government, official data has provided an insight into how many people applied for the emergency funds, as well as how much was paid out.

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Why was the CERB created?

Back in March, during the early days of the pandemic, the federal government introduced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

The taxable benefit provided eligible applicants with up to $2,000 per month, for up to four months.

The funds were there to support Canadians who may have lost income as a result of COVID-19.

Per a statement from the government, this included people who had lost their job, people who were sick or quarantined, people caring for others and working parents who had to stay at home due to school or daycare closures.

Those who did not qualify for Employment Insurance (EI), such as contract workers and self-employed individuals, were also eligible to apply.

How many people applied for the CERB?

According to data shared by the Government of Canada, 8.9 million Canadians applied for CERB payments between March 15 and October 3, 2020.

The total number of applications received during the same period was a significant 27.57 million.

The data also showed the general age group of those who applied.

Canadians aged between 25 and 34 years old applied for the most CERB benefits, with 2,114,750 unique applications filed to Service Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Per the government’s statistics, 1,756,020 applications from people aged between 35 and 44 years old were also received.

Those younger than 25 years old submitted 1,600,980 applications for the funding.

How much money was paid out?

According to the data, the total dollar value of CERB benefits paid out was a whopping $81.64 billion.

While a significant amount of cash was given out, plenty of CERB benefits have already been paid back, too.

The Canada Revenue Agency told Narcity on November 5 that over 900,000 voluntary CERB and CESB payments had been received via the government’s “My Account” service.

In addition, the benefit is taxable, so the federal government is expecting to get some of the money back come tax-time.

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