COVID-19 Supports from the Federal Government

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.

Apply for the CERB

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.

Learn more about mortgage payment deferral

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.

Learn more about the Reaching Home initiative

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.

Learn more

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

 

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.

Learn more about Canada Student Grants and Loans


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.

Learn more about the Federal Granting Agencies

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.

Guidance on Essential Services and Functions in Canada During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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.

Learn more on the moratorium on repayment of student loans.


 

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.

Learn more about the Indigenous Community Support Fund.

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

Learn more

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.

Learn more about Nutrition North Canada

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.

LEARN MORE

 

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.

APPLY NOW


 

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.

Learn more about the programs.

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.

More information on CEWS.

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),
    • partnership.
    • 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.

Learn more about the Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy

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.

Learn more about the Work-Sharing Program

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.

Learn more

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.

Learn more

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.

GET READY TO APPLY FOR CECRA

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.

Get help through your Regional Development Agency

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. 

Learn more

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.

Learn more

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.

FIND OUT MORE

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.

This program is now available at various banks and credit unions.

LEARN MORE


 

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*