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Canada’s banking sector

Speed, Scale and Efficiency: Emergency Government Payments via Direct Deposit

May 05, 2020 • 5 min

Andrew Ross

By Andrew Ross

Director, Payments
Canadian Bankers Association

Banks in Canada have worked in lockstep with the federal government to align our collective efforts aimed at easing the financial impact of COVID‑19. This challenging and evolving situation has shown that close collaboration between government and the banking sector can lead to extraordinary outcomes. Indeed, a prime example of this is standing up broad‑based relief programs in a matter of weeks to help respond to the immediate needs of Canadians.

To that end, Canada’s banks have again partnered with the Government of Canada to facilitate and expedite access to emergency payments for those affected by COVID‑19 by enabling enrollment for, and updates to, direct deposit with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) via banks’ secure online and mobile banking channels. This new service is the fastest and most efficient way to sign up to CRA direct deposit.

sign up for direct deposit

Once enrolled, eligible individuals and employers will receive their benefit payments quickly, securely and directly to their bank accounts, rather than waiting on a physical cheque to arrive. Speed, scale and efficiency are paramount when confronting a crisis, and CRA direct deposit via financial institutions is key to achieving all three when delivering the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), and later this month, the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). Individuals and employers must first determine if they are eligible for CERB and CEWS and apply directly with the CRA.

Direct deposit is a reliable and consistent way for individuals and employers to receive the funds they need to stay strong and help navigate their way out of the current emergency as the situation begins to stabilize. Canadians are encouraged to visit their bank’s website or business portals for information on how to enroll for CRA direct deposit or, for those already registered for the service, update their account information.

Government payments transferred through direct deposit are inherently more secure and efficient than receiving a cheque in the mail. Individual benefit and business payments made through direct deposit take much less time to process, are transferred directly into a personal or business account, and can be verified by checking online bank statements, or by logging into CRA’s My Account or My Business Account. Further, direct deposit technology dramatically lowers the risk of fraud and virtually eliminates potential for cheque fraud, which is among the oldest and most common forms of financial crime.

Remember: neither your bank nor the CRA will ever send you an email, text or a link directing you to a page asking for your personal information to receive your emergency benefit or business payment. These are scams and people should never respond to these fraudulent communications or click on any of the links provided. The direct deposit enrolment is only available to customers through your financial institution’s secured online or mobile banking channels.



Banks Facilitate Access to Relief Funds Through CRA Direct Deposit

Banks in Canada are working collaboratively with the Government of Canada to offer online enrollment of Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) direct deposit.

Banks Facilitate Access to Emergency Wage Subsidy Through CRA Direct Deposit

Business customers are encouraged to enroll in direct deposit for quick and direct access to the CEWS

Canada’s Banks are Standing by Canadians

Canada’s banks have launched comprehensive programs to make a positive difference for those who need our help and support.

How to spot the latest government benefits scam

Scammers are sending fraudulent texts and emails that attempt to trick you into believing you have received a government benefit such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).