The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to support Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of the global COVID-19 outbreak.
Unsure what benefits you qualify for? Complete the questionnaire here to see what best fits your current situation.
Federal Supports for Individuals
The federal government will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 every 4 weeks for up to 16 weeks to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19.
The CERB is available to workers who meet all of the following conditions:
- live in Canada and are at least 15 years old
- stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits
- have not voluntarily quit their job
- had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application.
On April 15, changes were announced to the eligibility rules to:
- Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
- Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work because of COVID-19.
- Extend the CERB to workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job because of COVID-19.
An online questionnaire will help us direct you to the service option that best fits your situation (i.e. eligibility for Employment Insurance benefits or not).
Do not apply for the CERB if you have already applied for EI.
All provinces and territories have confirmed, or are in the process of confirming, plans to cost share wage top-ups for their essential workers.
The federal government will provide up to $3 billion in federal support to increase the wages of low-income essential workers. Each province or territory will determine which workers would be eligible for support, and how much support they will receive.
The federal government is providing up to an extra $300 per child through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-20. This will mean approximately $550 more for the average family.
This benefit will be delivered as part of the scheduled CCB payment in May.
Those who already receive the CCB do not need to re-apply.
The federal government is providing a one-time special payment starting April 9 through the Goods and Services Tax credit for low- and modest-income families.
The average additional benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.
There is no need to apply for this payment. If you are eligible, you will get it automatically.
The filing due date for 2019 income tax returns for individuals has been deferred until June 1, 2020. Any new income tax balances due, or instalments, are also being deferred until after August 31, 2020 without incurring interest or penalties.
Homeowners facing financial hardship may be eligible for a mortgage payment deferral of up to six months.
The deferral is an agreement between you and your lender. Typically, the agreement indicates that you and your lender have agreed to pause or suspend your mortgage payments for a certain amount of time. After the agreement ends, your mortgage payments return to normal and the deferred payments — including principal and accumulated interest – are added to the outstanding principal balance and subsequently repaid throughout the life of the mortgage.
To know if you are eligible for a mortgage payment deferral or to learn what options are available, contact your lender — your bank or your mortgage professional.
The federal government is providing $100 million to national, regional, and local organizations across Canada to:
- Purchase, transport and distribute food and other basic necessities
- hire temporary help to fill volunteer shortages
- implement safety measures, such as the purchase of personal protective equipment, to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among volunteers and clients.
These organizations – including but not limited to Food Banks Canada, Salvation Army, Second Harvest, Community Food Centres Canada, and Breakfast Club of Canada – will work with partners to meet the urgent food needs of Canadians.
The federal government continues to support people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak by providing $157.5 million to the Reaching Home initiative.
The funding could be used for a range of needs such as purchasing beds and physical barriers for social distancing and securing accommodation to reduce overcrowding in shelters.
The federal government is supporting women and children fleeing violence, by providing up to $50 million to women's shelters and sexual assault centres, including facilities in Indigenous communities, to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities.
The federal government has invested $350 million to support vulnerable Canadians through charities and non-profit organizations that deliver essential services to those in need.
The investment will flow through national organizations that have the ability to get funds quickly to local organizations that serve vulnerable populations. It will support a variety of activities, such as:
- Increasing volunteer-based home deliveries of groceries and medications
- Providing transportation services, like accompanying or driving seniors or persons with disabilities to appointments
- Scaling up help lines that provide information and support
- Helping vulnerable Canadians access government benefits
- Providing training, supplies, and other required supports to volunteers so they can continue to make their invaluable contributions to the COVID-19 response
- Replacing in-person, one-on-one contact and social gatherings with virtual contact through phone calls, texts, teleconferences, or the Internet
The Government of Canada is continuing to take significant and decisive action to support Canadians and protect jobs during the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was an important and necessary temporary response to support Canadians who had to stop working due to the pandemic. As we safely restart Canada’s economy, the Government will be transitioning to a simplified Employment Insurance (EI) program, effective September 27, 2020, to provide income support to those who remain unable to work and are eligible, and introducing a new suite of temporary and taxable recovery benefits to further support workers.
Hours Credits to Enhance Access to EI Regular Benefit and EI Special Benefits
Access to EI benefits is normally based on the number of insurable hours an individual has worked in the year prior to their application, or since their last claim. This is known as their qualifying period. However, the Government of Canada recognizes that the pandemic has prevented many Canadians from accumulating the number of insurable hours that is normally required, and is taking action to address this. To help individuals qualify with a minimum of 120 hours of work, EI claimants will receive a one-time insurable hours credit of:
- 300 insurable hours for claims for regular benefits (job loss)
- 480 insurable hours for claims for special benefits (sickness, maternity/parental, compassionate care or family caregiver)
The hours credit will also be made retroactive to March 15, 2020 for claimants who were looking to transition early from the CERB to EI maternity, parental, compassionate care, family caregiver or work-sharing benefits but could not establish their EI claim due to insufficient hours. For these claimants, the qualifying period will also be extended.
The hours credit will be available for new EI claims for one year, in recognition that labour market conditions remain uncertain and will take time to stabilize.
Minimum EI Unemployment Rate Across Canada
As a first step to help eligible Canadians transition from CERB back into the EI system and into the labour force, a minimum unemployment rate of 13.1% is being used for all EI economic regions in order to lower the hours required to qualify for EI regular benefits. This measure is effective for one year starting on August 9, 2020. Individuals in EI regions with an unemployment rate lower than 13.1% will have their EI benefits calculated on the basis of the 13.1% rate, while those in regions with a higher rate will have their benefits calculated using the actual higher rate.
Normally, the unemployment rate in the region in which a claimant resides at the time they file their claim determines:
- The number of hours of insurable employment a claimant needs to have accumulated in their qualifying period to be eligible for EI regular benefits – ranging from 420 to 700;
- The number of weeks of EI regular benefits a claimant may be entitled to – ranging from 14 to 45; and
- The number of best weeks of earnings that will be used to establish their weekly benefit rate – ranging from 14 to 22.
The EI system uses regional unemployment rates to determine access to EI regular benefits, given that it is generally more difficult for individuals to find new work when unemployment is higher.
In recognition that the pandemic has negatively impacted labour markets in ways that extend beyond traditional measures of unemployment, this measure will set a uniform eligibility requirement for EI regular benefits at 420 hours of insurable employment (before the hours credit is applied), provide a minimum entitlement of 26 weeks of regular benefits, and set 14 as the number of best weeks of earnings used in the calculation of the weekly benefit rate. Combined with the hours credits noted above, individuals can qualify for EI with 120 hours of work.
Minimum Benefit Rate
To further support clients and in addition to the above measures that will increase access to the program, new EI claimants as of September 27, 2020 will receive a minimum benefit rate of $400 per week (or $240 for extended parental benefits), if this is higher than what their benefits would otherwise be.
The EI benefit rate is typically based on a worker’s average weekly earnings before their EI claim. However, the COVID-19 pandemic may have had a negative impact on a worker’s weekly earnings either because they lost their job or saw their hours of work reduced. The minimum benefit rate of $400 will reduce the negative impact on EI benefit rates for these workers and align with the weekly benefit rate for the new Canada Recovery Benefit.
How to apply
Canadians already receiving benefits through Service Canada will be transitioned to the EI program once they have received the maximum CERB benefits for which they are entitled, if they are EI eligible and continue to need income support.
Canadians who are currently receiving the CERB from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) who believe they are entitled to EI will need to apply through Service Canada after September 26.
The new Canada Recovery Benefit would be effective from September 27, 2020 for one year and would provide a benefit amount of $400 per week for up to 26 weeks to workers who are not eligible for EI, mainly the self-employed and including those working in the gig economy. These individuals may still require income support if they continue to be unable to return to work due to COVID-19 or had their income reduced relative to pre-COVID-19 pandemic (attestation-based).
The benefit would be available to residents in Canada who:
- are at least 15 years old and have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN);
- have stopped working due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are available and looking for work; or are working and have had a reduction in their employment/self-employment income for reasons related to COVID-19;
- are not eligible for Employment Insurance;
- had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020; and,
- have not quit their job voluntarily.
Workers would apply after every two-week period for which they are seeking income support and attest that they continue to meet the requirements. In order to continue to be eligible for the benefit the claimant wound need to look for and accept work when it is reasonable to do so. The benefit is taxable.
To encourage claimants to return to work, they would be able to earn income from employment and/or self-employment while receiving the benefit, as long as they continue to meet the other requirements. However, to ensure that the benefit targets those who need it most, claimants would need to repay some or all of the benefit through their income tax return if their annual net income, excluding the Canada Recovery Benefit payment, is over $38,000. In other words, claimants would need to repay $0.50 of the benefit for each dollar of their annual net income above $38,000 in the calendar year to a maximum of the amount of benefit they received.
This means that for a worker who received 10 weeks of the Canada Recovery Benefit in 2020 for a total of $4000, they would have to repay all of the benefit if their net income exceeded the threshold by $8000 (twice the benefit payment amount). In this example, the worker would have to repay the full benefit amount if their net income was greater than $46,000 (not including the Canada Recovery Benefit) in 2020.
The Government of Canada intends to introduce legislation to support the delivery of the new recovery benefits.
Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit
The new Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit would provide $500 per week, for up to two weeks, effective September 27, 2020 for one year, for workers who are unable to work because they are sick or must self-isolate due to COVID-19. This new benefit would fulfil the Government of Canada’s commitment as part of the Safe Restart Agreement with provinces and territories to provide up to two weeks of sick leave to all Canadians in the context of COVID-19.
The benefit would be available to:
- Residents in Canada who are at least 15 years of age and have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN);
- Workers employed or self-employed at the time of the application; and
- Workers who earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020.
Workers would not be required to have a medical certificate to qualify for the benefit. Workers could not claim the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and receive other paid sick leave for the same benefit period. Workers would need to have missed a minimum of 60% of their scheduled work in the week for which they claim the benefit.
Workers would apply after the one-week period in which they are seeking income support and attest that they meet the requirements. The benefit would taxable.
Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit
The new Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit, would be effective from September 27, 2020 for one year, and provide $500 per week, for up to 26 weeks per household to eligible Canadians.
The closure of schools and other daycare and day program facilities to prevent the spread of COVID 19 has meant that many Canadians have been unable to work because they needed to provide care to children or support to other dependents who had to stay home. While it is anticipated that facilities will gradually re-open as the economy restarts, the Government of Canada recognizes that access may vary over time and across communities. The Government is committed to ensuring that parents and others with dependents do not need to choose between caring for them and paying the bills.
In order to be eligible for the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, individuals would need to:
- reside in Canada;
- be at least 15 years of age on the first day of the period for which they apply for the benefit;
- have a valid Social Insurance Number;
- be employed or self-employed on the day immediately preceding the period for which the application is made;
- have earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020;
- have been unable to work for at least 60% of their normally scheduled work within a given week because of one of the following conditions:
- they must take care of a child who is under 12 years of age on the first day of the period for which the benefit is claimed:
- because their school or daycare is closed or operates under an alternative schedule for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic;
- who cannot attend school or daycare under the advice of a medical professional due to being at high risk if they contract COVID-19; or
- because the caregiver who usually provides care is not available for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic; or
- they must provide care to a family member with a disability or a dependent:
- because their day program or care facility is closed or operates under an alternative schedule for reasons related to COVID-19;
- who cannot attend their day program or care facility under the advice of a medical professional due to being at high risk if they contract COVID-19; or
- because the caregiver who usually provides care is not available for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic;
- they must take care of a child who is under 12 years of age on the first day of the period for which the benefit is claimed:
- not be in receipt of paid leave from an employer in respect of the same week; and
- not be in receipt of the CERB, the EI Emergency Response Benefit (ERB), the Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, short-term disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, or any EI benefits or Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits in respect of the same week.
Workers would apply after the period in which they are seeking income support and attest that they meet the requirements. Two members residing in the same household could not be in receipt of the benefit for the same period. The benefit is taxable.
How to Apply
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) would administer the Canada Recovery Benefits, and Canadians would be able to apply through the CRA. In the coming weeks, the CRA will provide more details on how and when Canadians can get ready to apply at www.canada.ca/coronavirus.
Federal Supports for Post-Secondary Students & Recent Graduates
The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) provides financial support to post-secondary students, and recent post-secondary and high school graduates who are unable to find work due to COVID-19.
This benefit is for students who do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance (EI).
From May to August 2020, the CESB provides a payment to eligible students of:
- $1,250 For each 4-week period; or
- $2,000 For each 4-week period, if you have dependants or a disability
For more information on the CESB, go to https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/emergency-student-benefit.html
Changes to the Canada Student Loans Program
The federal government is proposing changes to the Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP) to allow more students to qualify for support and be eligible for greater amounts.
The changes would include:
- doubling the Canada Student Grants for all eligible full-time students to up to $6,000 and up to $3,600 for part-time students in 2020-21. The Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependents would also be doubled.
- broadening eligibility for student financial assistance by removing the expected student’s and spouse’s contributions in 2020-21.
- raising the maximum weekly amount that can be provided to a student in 2020-21 from $210 to $350.
Support for student researchers and post-doctoral fellows
The federal government is providing $291.6 million to support student researchers and post-doctoral fellows through the federal granting councils.
Funding would support a one-semester extension for eligible students whose research scholarships or fellowships end between March and August 2020 and who intend to continue their studies. It would also provide a 3-month extension in funding for holders of federal research grants to support eligible trainees and staff paid out of these awards.
The federal government is removing the restriction that allows international students to work only a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session, provided they are working in an essential service or function, such as health care, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food or other critical goods.
This temporary rule change will be in place until August 31, 2020.
All student loan borrowers will automatically have their loan repayments and interest suspended until September 30, 2020.
Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.
This moratorium applies to the federal portion of student loans. Borrowers should check with their provincial or territorial student loan provider to see if payment is required on the provincial or territorial portion.
Federal Supports for Indigenous Peoples
In addition to the supports listed above, Indigenous peoples are eligible for the following supports:
The federal government is providing $305 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities.
These funds could be used for measures including, but not limited to:
- support for Elders and vulnerable community members,
- measures to address food insecurity,
- educational and other support for children,
- mental health assistance and emergency response services,
- preparedness measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The federal government is providing $100 million to support a range of federal health measures, including support for preparedness in First Nation and Inuit communities. These funds will:
- respond to identified needs to update and activate pandemic plans
- support an effective allocation of public health and primary health care capacity to respond to the COIVD-19 outbreak
- align response efforts with scientific evidence as determined by a medical officer of health
- address immediate needs in the short term
The federal government is providing an additional $25 million to Nutrition North Canada to increase subsidies so families can afford much-needed personal hygiene products and nutritious food.
The federal government is providing $75.2 million to offer additional distinctions-based support to First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation post-secondary students
The federal government is providing $44.8 million over five years to build 12 new shelters, which will help protect and support Indigenous women and girls experiencing and fleeing violence.
This funding will help build 10 shelters in First Nations communities on reserve across the country (funded through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Shelter Enhancement Program) and two in the territories (funded through National Housing Co-Investment Fund), to support Indigenous women and children.
They will also provide $40.8 million to support operational costs for these new shelters over the first five years, and $10.2 million annually ongoing.
They are also announcing $1 million a year ongoing, starting this year, to support engagement with Métis leaders and service providers on shelter provision and community-led violence prevention projects for Métis women, girls, and LGBTQ and two-spirit people.
The process to access the funding for the shelters will be through an Expression of Interest. First Nations on reserve across the country and Indigenous governments and/or organizations in the territories will be eligible to submit proposals.
The federal government is providing $270 million to supplement the On-Reserve Income Assistance Program to address increased demand on the program, which will help individuals and families meet their essential living expenses. It will also help hire additional staff to better serve First Nations communities and connect individuals to other government programs.
First Nations administer the On-Reserve Income Assistance Program. Program staff members play an important role in helping individuals with other needs, including providing referrals to mental health and addictions counselling, and helping families find and apply for appropriate government benefits, such as Employment Insurance, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, and the Canada Child Benefit.
For further information on federal supports for individuals, go here.
Federal Supports for Businesses
We are creating up to 116,000 jobs, placements, and other training opportunities to help students find employment and develop valuable skills this summer and over the coming months.
We also made temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program to allow employers to:
- receive an increased wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 % of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee;
- extend the end date for employment to February 28, 2021;
- adapt their projects and job activities;
- hire staff on a part-time basis.
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) supports employers that are hardest hit by the pandemic, and protect the jobs Canadians depend on.
The subsidy generally covers 75% of an employee's wages – up to $847 per week - for employers of all sizes and across all sectors who have suffered a drop in gross revenues of at least 15% in March, and 30% in April and May.
The program will be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to August 29, 2020.
Employers who are eligible for the CEWS are entitled to receive a 100% refund for certain employer contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan paid in respect of employees who are on leave with pay.
For employers that are eligible for both the CEWS and the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for a period, any benefit from the Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy for remuneration paid in a specific period will generally reduce the amount available to be claimed under the CEWS in that same period.
The Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy is a three-month measure that will allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deduction required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
You are an eligible employer if you:
- are a(n):
- individual (excluding trusts),
- non-profit organization,
- registered charity, or
- Canadian-controlled private corporation (including a cooperative corporation) eligible for the small business deduction;
- have an existing business number and payroll program account with the CRA on March 18, 2020; and
- pay salary, wages, bonuses, or other remuneration to an eligible employee.
Note: Partnerships are only eligible for the subsidy if their members consist exclusively of individuals (excluding trusts), registered charities, or Canadian-controlled private corporations eligible for the small business deduction.
We are extending the maximum duration of the Work-Sharing program from 38 weeks to 76 weeks for employers affected by COVID-19. This measure will provide income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers.
The federal government has established a Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to provide additional support through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC).
BDC and EDC are working with private sector lenders to coordinate on credit solutions for individual businesses, including in sectors such as oil and gas, air transportation, exports and tourism.
This program includes:
Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
- EDC is working with financial institutions to issue new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs.
Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
- BDC is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements.
Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts of up to $6.25 million through the program.
These programs are now available at various financial institutions and credit unions.
The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced.
To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019.
Business owners can apply for support from the Canada Emergency Business Account through their banks and credit unions.
The federal government has reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This program will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.
The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50% of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June.
The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the small business tenants’ rent by at least 75% under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25% of the rent.
Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70% drop in pre-COVID revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.
Applications will be accepted through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation website beginning on May 25.
The federal government is providing nearly $962 million through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) to help more businesses and organizations in sectors such as manufacturing, technology, tourism and others that are key to the regions and to local economies. This fund is specifically targeted to those that may require additional help to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, but have been unable to access existing support measures.
The federal government is allowing all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18 and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act.
No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.
The federal government is allowing businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer until June 30, 2020 payments of the GST/HST, as well as customs duty owing on their imports.
Any GST/HST payment that becomes owing from March 27 until the end of May can be deferred until the end of June. For GST and customs duty payments for imported goods, deferral will include amounts owing for March, April and May.
These amounts were normally due to be submitted to the Canada Revenue Agency and the Canada Border Services Agency as early as the end of March 2020.
The federal government has announced up to $306.8 million in funding to help small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses, and to support Aboriginal Financial Institutions that offer financing to these businesses.
The funding will allow for short-term, interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions through Aboriginal Financial Institutions, which offer financing and business support services to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis businesses.
These measures will help 6,000 Indigenous-owned businesses get through these difficult times.
Financial support for Indigenous businesses will be provided through Aboriginal Financial Institutions, and administered by the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association and the Métis capital corporations in partnership with Indigenous Services Canada.
The federal government has established the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) to provide bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing, in order to keep their operations going.
The additional liquidity provided through LEEFF will allow Canada’s largest businesses, their workers and their suppliers to remain active during this difficult time, and position them for a rapid economic recovery.
This program is delivered by the Canada Development Investment Corporation, in cooperation with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and the Department of Finance.
Through the Business Credit Availability Program, Business Development Canada (BDC) is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements.
The program offers differing maximum finance amounts based on business revenues.
This support is available until or before September 30, 2020.
For further information on federal supports for businesses, go here.
*AECEA makes every effort to ensure this information is up to date. Please consult original documentation/website to confirm accuracy*