Find the financial help you need during COVID-19
Here's a quick guide to the types of financial support Canadians might be eligible for during the COVID-19 outbreak.

UPDATED APRIL 2, 2020 

Gen Squeeze has put together a quick guide to the financial support you might be eligible for during the COVID-19 outbreak.

If you see an error or have a suggested addition, email us at info@gensqueeze.ca

Contents

Federal financial assistance:

Additional details about provincial programs are included at the bottom.

Are you sick or quarantined?

Are you helping others and can’t work?

Are you out of work?

Programs

Canada Emergency Response Benefit

    • CERB is available to all workers. It was designed to take pressure off a backlogged EI system and support those who don't qualify for EI.
      • Available to laid-off workers who qualify EI, as well as self-employed, freelance and contract workers no longer receiving income due to the pandemic
      • $2,000 a month for up to four months
      • Applications open the week of April 6
      • First payment should come within 3 days of applying if you’re using direct deposit, 10 days by cheque
      • To qualify, workers must have earned $5,000 in employment income, self-employment income, or maternity or parental leave benefits for 2019 or in the 12-month period before the day they apply
      • After the CERB payments finish, you may be eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits
      • If you’re on Employment Insurance right now and the benefits end before Oct. 3, 2020, you can apply for the CERB after

  • Employment Insurance
    • Provides temporary income for workers who have paid into the employment insurance program, worked the minimum number of hours (between 420 and 700 depending on where you live), and have been out of work for at least seven consecutive days.
      • EI benefits usually equal 55% of your weekly earnings, to a maximum of $573 a week
      • It can take at least 30 days to start receiving benefits
      • Benefits last up to 45 weeks
      • If you’re on EI right now, don't apply for the CERB. If your EI benefits end before Oct. 3, 2020, you can apply for the CERB after

Are you confused about what to apply for?

 

I already applied for EI but I’m also eligible for CERB

  • Either your EI application will be processed or you will be put into the queue to receive support through the CERB

I’m eligible for EI but haven’t applied yet

  • There have been 2.1 million EI applications in the past two weeks. This backlog in EI applications means that you will likely have to wait several weeks before you see any money. The government suggests that you apply for CERB the week of April 6.

I was unemployed before Covid-19

  • If you qualify for EI, you can apply. You are not eligible for CERB.

Not sure which program to apply for? It depends which one will provide you the most support, and how quickly you need the money. Check out this Vice article for one Toronto lawyer's take. 

For more information about how these programs work, check out this article in HuffPost. Also, be sure to check below to see if the province you live in is providing any extra support.

Emergency Wage Subsidy

Your employer may be eligible for the Canada Emergency Wage subsidy which could provide 75% of your wage or salary, up to a maximum of $847 a week. The wage subsidy is retroactive to March 15 and lasts for up to 12 weeks. The government is asking businesses to cover the remaining 25% of employees wages but it is not mandatory. Businesses of all sizes, charities, and non-profit organizations are eligible if they have seen a drop in revenue of at least 30% because of Covid-19.

Worried about paying rent or your mortgage?

  • Ontario has suspended new eviction orders until further notice. Scheduled evictions postponed.
  • British Columbia has halted new and active evictions, frozen annual rent increases.  
  • Alberta has suspended evictions for renters until at least May 1 and frozen rent increases for now.
  • Quebec has suspended most eviction hearings and tenants will not be evicted if they can’t pay rent at this time.
  • Saskatchewan has suspended evictions for non-payment of rent.
  • Manitoba has suspended non-urgent evictions and frozen rent increases for now.
  • Nova Scotia has ordered a 3-month ban on evictions for people who can't afford their rent during the outbreak
  • New Brunswick has suspended evictions for non-payment of rent until May 31
  • Yukon has suspended evictions for non-payment of rent for 90 days (effect March 26) 
  • PEI and NWT have suspended rent-related evictions in social housing
  • Newfoundland and Labrador has suspended evictions for those who have lost income resulting from Covid-19 and not able to pay rent
  • Major banks (Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Bank), and some credit unions, are offering mortgage payment deferrals for up to 6 months.
    • Deferrals are available on a case-by-case basis.
    • Interest accrued during the deferral period could be added to your current balance — check with your lender for details.

Learn more about the latest on eviction bans and suspensions here.

Worried about student loans?

  • Federal student loan auto-payments will be suspended as of March 30, 2020. Payments will begin again Sept 30, 2020. No interest will be charged during these 6 months.
  • Provincial student loan payments also automatically frozen for 6 months, with no interest:
    • Ontario
    • British Columbia
    • Alberta
    • Saskatchewan
    • Quebec
    • Nova Scotia
    • Newfoundland and Labrador
    • (Manitoba doesn’t charge interest on student loans anyway)

Worried about paying taxes?

  • You now don’t have to file income tax until June 1, 2020, and you don't have to pay any owed tax until August 31, 2020.

 


What provinces are doing to help you with COVID-19

 

Ontario

Sick, quarantined, or unable to work?

  • You can’t lose your job for taking unpaid leave, retroactive to January 25
  • You can’t be required to get a sick note to take leave

Facing financial difficulties?

  • You may be eligible for Emergency Assistance under the Ontario Works program
  • To help pay for the extra costs associated with school and daycare closures, Ontario is offering a one-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age, and $250 for those with special needs
  • Some families will now be eligible to receive support paying hydro bills

For renters

For everybody

  • Electricity rates have been reduced
  • Provincial student loan payments have been automatically frozen for 6 months

British Columbia

Sick, quarantined, or unable to work?

  • The BC Emergency Benefit for Workers, a one-time $1,000 payment for British Columbians who have lost income due to COVID-19
  • You don’t need a doctor’s note to use sick leave
  • You can take unpaid leave if you're unable to work without the risk of losing your job, retroactive to January 27

Facing financial difficulties?

  • Defer your ICBC payments for up to 90 days
  • Defer payments or access grants to help pay BC Hydro bills
  • Residential customers who have lost jobs or had wages reduced as a result of Covid-19 will get a three-month bill credit worth three times their average monthly bills over the past year. This will not have to be paid back.
  • People who are on disability or income assistance can also apply to the federal CERB support without any reductions to their monthly payments from the province

For renters

  • Most new and active evictions have been suspended
  • $500 rent rebate available to those facing financial hardship, applied for by renters and paid directly to landlords. Applications open in mid-April on the BC Housing website.
  • Freeze on rent increases
  • Landlords are not allowed to enter a suite without a tenant's permission, for events like showings or routine maintenance
  • Municipal affairs and housing news release

For everybody

  • Transit is currently free to ride in Victoria, Nanaimo and Metro Vancouver
  • In July 2020, most residents will receive extra money through the climate action tax credit
  • BC Hydro rates are cut by 1% for all customers
  • Provincial student loan payments have been automatically frozen for 6 months

Click here for more info

Quebec

Sick, quarantined, or unable to work?

  • If you’re not eligible for federal support, you could receive a lump sum of $573 per week, for up to 28 days if needed

For renters

For everybody

  • Provincial student loan payments have been automatically frozen for 6 months
  • Hydro-Québec suspended charges for unpaid power bills for individuals and businesses starting March 23, 2020. Contact them directly to discuss alternative payment plans.

 

Alberta

Sick, quarantined, or unable to work?

  • You could get a one-time Emergency Isolation Support payment of $1,146 to bridge the gap until federal emergency payments begin in April
    • Online applications should be available next week
  • You are eligible for 14 days of job-protected leave if you are a full or part-time employee
    • You will not be required to have a medical note
    • The leave does not apply to self-employed individuals or contractors

Facing financial difficulties?

  • Defer electricity and natural gas bill payments for the next 90 days
  • Call your utility provider directly to arrange
  • Customers at ATB Financial can apply for up to a six month deferral on loans, lines of credit and mortgages

For renters

  • Ban on non-payment related evictions for renters until at least May 1, including for renters who have been behind on rent for months 
  • Rent increases frozen 
  • No late fees for rent payments between April 1 and June 30
  • Landlords are being advised to negotiate payment plans with tenants who struggle to pay rent

For property owners

  • Residential education property tax rates will be frozen at last year’s level

For everybody

  • Provincial student loan payments have been automatically frozen for 6 months


Click here for more information

Saskatchewan

Sick, quarantined, or unable to work?

  • You could get funding through the Self-Isolation Support Program that provides $450 per week, for a maximum of two weeks
  • You do not need a doctor’s note to access sick leave

Facing financial difficulties?

  • Bill payments to crown utility companies can be deferred; interest will be waived on late bill payments for up to six months

For renters

Click here for more information

Nova Scotia

Sick, quarantined, or unable to work?

  • You can’t be required to get a sick note to take leave

For renters

For everybody

  • An additional $50 for every individual and family member on income assistance, starting March 20. No need to apply
  • Provincial student loan payments have been automatically frozen for 6 months

Click here for more information

Manitoba

For renters

New Brunswick

Sick, quarantined, or unable to work?

To bridge the gap between loss of work and the beginning of federal benefits, workers who have lost their jobs, including the self-employed, are eligible for a one-time payment of $900

For renters

  • Evictions for non-payment of rent have been suspended until May 31

Click here for more information


Prince Edward Island

Sick, quarantined, or unable to work?

  • Emergency Income Relief will provide $500 per week lump sum for self-employed Islanders, delivered through Innovation PEI
  • Emergency Relief Worker Assistance Program helps employers provide temporary financial support to their employees who have experienced a significant reduction in their hours of work
  • Employee Gift Card Program is a temporary program put in place to offer a $100 Sobeys gift card to any employee, living and working on Prince Edward Island, who has received a lay-off notice as a direct result of the impacts associated with COVID-19. The Benefit will provide up to $250 per month per household, paid directly to landlords.

For renters

  • PEI Housing Corporation has suspended all evictions until the end of June
  • Temporary Rental Assistance Benefit to assist Island households that are currently renting and have seen an unexpected loss of income due to COVID-19. The Benefit will provide up to $250 per month per household, paid directly to landlords.
  • For more information, call 1-877-368-5770.

Click here for more information

Newfoundland and Labrador

Sick, quarantined, or unable to work?

  • You can’t lose your job for taking time off work because of Covid-19 and will not require a sick note to take leave. 
  • The province announced that it would financially compensate private-sector workers who are required to self-isolate due to Covid-19 but has not released further details

For families

  • To ensure families do not have to pay child care fees and that early childhood educators can continue to be paid while centres are closed due to Covid-19, the province will provide funding to regulated child care centres and family child care homes until April 30

For everybody

  • Provincial student loan payments have been automatically frozen for 6 months
  • Tenants of rental properties cannot be evicted if they have lost income resulting from COVID-19 and not able to pay rent

Northwest Territories

Facing financial difficulties?

The province has announced increased funding for its Income Assistance program to complement federal assistance but have not released details.

For renters

  • Evictions from public housing will not be carried out unless there is a significant matter.
  • Tenants of public housing can delay their payments until a later date.  

Yukon

For renters

  • Evictions for non-payment of rent have been suspended for 90 days (effect March 26) 
  • Tenants are allowed to pay their rent late if they can't pay it when it is due
  • Tenants have to backpay owed rent by the end of 90 days
  • A tenant who has lost their job or had their income reduced as a result of COVID-19 will be able to end the tenancy early without penalty
  • More information

Nunavut

No information at this time.

Sean Sinden
About
Sean is a public health practicum student at Gen Squeeze. He puts research into everyday language to make it more usable and accessible.
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