CALGARY -- Applications open April 6 for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and affected Canadians are being encouraged to submit based on the month they were born in.

That means people born in January, February and March should apply on Mondays starting April 6; those born in April, May and June should apply on Tuesdays starting April 7; people born in July, August or September should apply on Wednesdays starting April 8; and those born in October, November and December should apply on Thursdays starting April 9.

All affected Canadians are encouraged to apply on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

CERB was launched by the federal government in response to the economic collapse caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Calgary declared a local state of emergency last month — along with cities across the country — and Alberta has declared a state of public health emergency.

As a result, all non-essential businesses have been ordered closed and tens of thousands of people have been laid off.

The local state of emergency is being renewed on Wednesday, officials said.  

CERB is available to all Canadians age 15 and older who have stopped working because of COVID-19, or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits. Applicants had to earn at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months preceding the application.

Applications can be made online, through the Canada Revenue Agency website using CRA My Account, or they can be done over the phone at 1-800-959-2019. You will need your SIN and postal code to use the phone option. Both services will be available seven-days-a-week, 21-hours-a-day (they will be closed from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. ET each day).

Those eligible will receive a single, $2,000 payment, which equates to $500 per week for a four-week period. The first payment is being backdated to March 15. CERB will be paid by direct deposit — which can take up to three business days — or can be done by cheque, which can take up to 10 business days.

Applicants can re-apply a maximum of four times, for a total of 16 weeks and the benefits are taxable.