Funding available to Canadians during COVID-19
The Canadian federal and provincial governments have announced financial aid programs to people to offset loss of income during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most benefits are tax deferrals but some direct financial assistance is available. Here is a list of the programs that have been announced thus far. Please note that governments have not yet announced all of the details, and some programs may take some time before they are up and running. See links at the bottom of the page for more information.
Canada Child Benefit. Eligible families will receive an extra $300 per child for 2019-2020. Funds will be provided as part of the scheduled CCB payment in May. There is no need to re-apply if you already receive this benefit. See below if you are a new applicant.
GST credit. Lower income families will receive a one-time payment (about $400 for individuals, about $600 for families). No application is necessary.
Deferred income tax filing. The deadline for submitting federal tax returns is June 1. Income tax payments/installments can be deferred to August 31 without penalty. (People who receive the CCB or GST credit should not defer because their entitlements are based on the tax return.)
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). A taxable benefit of $2000/month for up to 4 months is available if you meet any of the following criteria: a) You had to stop working due to COVID-19 and don’t have paid leave or other income support; b) You are sick, quarantined or taking care of someone with COVID-19; c) You are a working parent who has to stay home without pay to take care of your children; d) Employed people who are not being paid because the employer hasn’t asked them to come into work; e) People who are not eligible for Employment Insurance (self-employed, contract workers, etc.). Eligible people can apply for this benefit in April via a government website or a toll-free number (not set up yet).
Employment insurance. You may qualify for EI if you’ve been recently laid off or have reduced hours.
Indigenous Community Support Fund. Additional funds will be provided to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities for COVID-19-related expenses.
Student loans. Students will not be required to may payments for six months interest-free. No application is required.
Emergency Benefit for Workers. Provides a one-time $1,000 payment to B.C. residents who lost income because of COVID-19. People will need to apply once the program starts accepting applications. Payments will be made in May.
Climate Action Tax Credit. Low-income families will receive a one-time higher amount ($218 for adults, $64 for children).
Suspension of evictions. Tenants in subsidized and affordable housing will not be evicted for the moment due to non-payment of rent.
Electricity bills. Payments can be deferred without penalty through the BC Hydro Customer Assistance Program. People who have lost their job/wages or are ill due to COVID-19 can obtain a grant up to $600 through the Customer Crisis Fund.
Emergency isolation support. Eligible working people can receive a one-time emergency isolation support payment of $1,146 if they have total or significant loss of income due to self-isolation or are the sole caregiver of someone self-isolating and have no other source of income.
Utility bill deferral. Electricity and gas bills can be deferred for 90 days if you’re experiencing financial hardship. Individuals should contact their utility provider.
Job-protected leave. Full- and part-time employees can take 14 days without a medical note if they are required to self-isolate or must care for a child or dependent adult who is self-isolating.
Employment insurance. Provides up to 15 weeks of assistance for people unable to work due to self-isolation. The one-week waiting period will not be applied.
Self-Isolation Support Program. Will provide $450 per week for a maximum of two weeks to residents forced to self-isolate if not covered by federal support programs and are not eligible for other forms of compensation (e.g. sick or vacation leave, private insurance.
PST deferral for businesses. Businesses unable to remit PST will not be charged interest or penalties.
Utility bills. No interest charges on late payments for up to 6 months.
Student loans. No payments due for 6 months.
Pharmacare. Planned increases to the deductible will not be imposed.
Evictions. Eviction hearings and rent increases have been postponed.
Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS). GAINS payments to low-income seniors will double (max. $166/month for individuals, $332 for couples).
A one-time payment of $200/child up to age 12, $250/child with special needs.
Job-protected leave. Those eligible are employees in isolation/quarantine or who need to be away from work to care for children. No further details available.
Student loans. Student loan repayments are deferred interest-free until September 30.
Indigenous people. Emergency financial assistance will be available for individuals and families in cities or indigenous communities.
Ontario Works. Will provide financial support for people facing economic hardship to meet basic needs.
Electricity bills. Eligibility criteria for the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) have been expanded. The cost of electricity will be set at the lowest rate province-wide.
Property tax deferral. Planned deferral of scheduled property and school tax payments.
Temporary Aid for Workers Program. Will pay $573/week for 14 days to eligible people if they are required to self-isolate/quarantine (up to 28 days if required). a period of 14 days of isolation. Application required.
Tax deferral. Deadline for filing provincial income tax is June 1. The deadline to make installment payments for 2020 is deferred to September 1. The deadline to pay provincial pension, insurance or drug plans is delayed to September 1.
Student loans. No payments required for 6 months.
Home care support services. A direct allowance may be paid for homecare services. Arranged through the local CLSC.
Electricity bills. No penalty charges will be incurred for unpaid bills.
Financial aid. A one-time payment of $900 to self-employed workers and employees who have lost their job due to COVID-19 to bridge them until federal aid is available.
Provincial drug plan. People on the provincial drug plan will only need to pay the initial co-payment on a prescription or refill (e.g. 3 x 30-day prescription, the co-pay only payable for the first fill and not the next two). It’s not clear if this applies to the province’s Multiple Sclerosis Plan.
Electricity. Electricity bill payments can be deferred for up to 90 days.
Income assistance. People on income assistance will receive an extra $50 with each payment as of March 20. No application required.
Electricity. NS Power customers will not be disconnected for bill nonpayment for the next 90 days. Extra funding has been provided to the Home Energy Assistance Top-up (HEAT) fund available to low-income individuals and families.
Student loans. Loan repayments are suspended interest-free until September 30.
Senior safety. Additional funding provided to senior safety programs that provide non-medical services (e.g. delivering groceries).
Government loans. Payments can be deferred until June 30 for all government loans (e.g. farming, fishing, business, housing, etc.).
Gift card. People who earn $25/hour or less and lost their job between March 13 and March 31 is eligible to receive a $100 gift card for Sobeys. Applications must be made by the employer.
Emergency Income Relief Fund. Self-employed people who can demonstrate financial losses due to COVID-19 isolation measures are eligible to receive up to $500/week.
No direct financial assistance for individuals announced.
Loan payment deferral. BDIC loan payments may be deferred for up to 3 months. Low-interest working capital loans available to new customers.
Student loans. Payments deferred until September 30.
Federal programs: www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html
To apply for Employment insurance: www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-regular-benefit/apply.html
Funding for indigenous communities: https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1584819394157/1584819418553#b
To apply to the Temporary Aid to Workers program: www.quebec.ca/en/family-and-support-for-individuals/financial-assistance/temporary-aid-for-workers-program/
To access a CLSC: http://sante.gouv.qc.ca/en/repertoire-ressources/clsc/
New Brunswick: https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en.html
Nova Scotia: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/#support
To apply for Emergency Income Relief: www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/service/emergency-income-relief-self-employed
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