Performers, occasional teachers may not qualify due to income from part-time jobs

Dave Burke performed at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa in February. He said he's lost half his income due to COVID-19-related cancellations, but can't access the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit because he has a second part-time job. (Supplied by Dave Burke/Photo: Danish Anwar)

“Gig economy” workers say they’re worried they’ll fall through the cracks when it comes to federal income support benefits introduced to help Canadians weather the coronavirus pandemic.

Nearly one million people applied for the Canada emergency relief benefit (CERB) on the first day of the emergency program, some of whom juggle multiple jobs to make ends meet.

Toronto-based standup comedian Dave Burke said he doesn’t know when he’ll be able to work again.

“Comedy was completely shut down, and I’m lucky to still be able to work this part-time office job from home,” Burke said.

But Burke said that office job means he can’t qualify for the CERB, which offers about $2,000 a month for up to four months for people who’ve completely lost their income due to COVID-19.

“Half my income is gone and I have no relief on the horizon. It’s just distressing,” Burke said. “I’m going to be in serious financial trouble now unless they announce a decision really soon.”