Expansion of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) now means that some Calgarians in desperate need of financial help during the COVID-19 pandemic can get some relief. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement Wednesday means people making $1,000 or less, season workers and those who have recently run out of employment insurance are now eligible for the benefit. 

That’s the case for local physiotherapist Jessica DeMars who owns and operates the Breathe Well Physio clinic. 

She had to close her doors in mid-March and ended up only making a couple hundred dollars through virtual appointments she offered to her clients online. 

“It’s just a huge relief, she said. 

“I can now follow up with patients that I’ve been waiting to follow up on because the previous money I was making disqualified me.”

DeMars works primarily with vulnerable patients that have respiratory issues and breathing disorders. 

She says her eligibility for the $2,000 CERB means there will be less of a burden on her business and patients will be able to better have their needs addressed. 

“If we all have to sit back in order to qualify for funding, it really puts everything at a halt,” DeMars said. 

“If we’re able to keep going and keep a few of the cogs rolling in the machine but get an income out of it, then we’re going to be able to transition to when we do come out of this.”

Eligible Canadians can apply for CERB here.

Those who apply online are expected to receive funds in three to five business days, while those who mail in an application can expect money within 10 business days of submitting.