COVID-19: How to Access Support

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The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit


  • Introducing a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to:
  1. workers who must stop working due to COVID19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
  2. workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
  3. people working who earn less than $1000 a month
  4. seasonal workers who have lost work due to COVID-19
  5. working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.
  6. workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.
  7. wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.


This benefit replaces the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit.


Increasing the Canada Child Benefit

  • Providing an extra $300 per child through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-20.
  • This benefit will be delivered as part of the scheduled CCB payment in May.
  • Those who already receive the Canada Child Benefit do not need to re-apply.

Special Goods and Services Tax credit payment

  • Providing a one-time special payment by early May 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.

Extra time to file income tax returns

  • Deferring the filing due date for the 2019 tax returns of individuals.
  • For individuals (other than trusts), the return filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020.  
  • Any new income tax balances due, or instalments, can be deferred until after August 31, 2020 without incurring interest or penalties.
  • Note: If you expect to receive benefits under the Goods and Services Tax credit or the Canada Child Benefit, the Government of Canada encourages you to not delay your 2019 return filing to ensure that your entitlements are properly determined.

Support for seniors

  • Reducing the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020.

Support for students and recent graduates

  • Effective March 30, placing a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all student loan borrowers.
  • No payment will be required and interest will not accrue during this time.
  • Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.

Mortgage assistance

  • The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation will offer tools to lenders that can assist homeowners who may be experiencing financial difficulty. These include payment deferral, loan re-amortization, capitalization of outstanding interest arrears and other eligible expenses, and special payment arrangements.
  • Canada’s mortgage insurers will provide homeowners with solutions to mitigate temporary financial hardship related to COVID-19. This includes permitting lenders to defer up to six monthly mortgage payments (interest and principal) for impacted borrowers. Deferred payments are added to the outstanding principal balance and subsequently repaid throughout the life of the mortgage.

Improved access to Employment Insurance sickness benefits

  • Waiving the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.
  • Waiving the one-week waiting period for those individuals in imposed quarantine that claim Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits.

A new Indigenous Community Support Fund

  • Providing $305 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities.

Enhancing the Reaching Home initiative

  • 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.

Support for women’s shelters and sexual assault centres

  • Providing up to $50 million to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities.

Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
Fact Sheet (this is what we know at this time)

Who can apply for the CERB?
• Any resident of Canada who is 15 years old or older, and who, for 2019 or in the 12-month period preceding the day on which they make an application has a total income of at least $5,000 from:
o employment; or
o self-employment; or
o EI maternity benefits; or
o EI parental benefits.

Who qualifies for the CERB?
• The CERB applies to an extremely broad group of workers in Canada. CERB covers Canadians including those who:
o lost their job or make less than $1000 a month
o are sick,
o quarantined,
o taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19,
o working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who
are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures; and
o wage-earners, salary-earners, as well as contract workers and self-
employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) who lost their income because of COVID-19

How much will I get?
• $2,000 for every 4 weeks you are eligible, up to a maximum of 16 weeks, between March 15, 2020 (retroactive) and October 3, 2020.

Can foreigners benefit from it?
• Foreign citizens who have obtained a Working Holiday Program (WHP) are eligible.

Frequently Asked Questions:

If I have kept my employment relationship but my income has decreased because of the crisis, do I qualify?
• Not in all cases. The program is divided into four-week increments. In order to receive benefits, you will have to show that you have absolutely no income for a minimum period of 14 consecutive days within each four-week period. However, income can be received on the other days.
• This means that a worker who had two part-time jobs and loses one of them because of COVID-19 is not eligible.

If my spouse still has his or her salary, does that affect my claim?
• No. You're still entitled to the $2,000 a month.

I have already applied for Employment Insurance. Am I eligible?
• Yes, if you applied after March 15, CERB will then replace the Employment Insurance you were supposed to receive. You do not need to apply again. Your current application will be converted into an application for CERB.
• If you applied before March 15, you will have to wait until your EI benefits have expired. You may then be eligible for CERB.

If I'm already on EI, will I get the $2,000 a month?
• Not immediately. You will have to wait until your EI benefits run out before you are able to collect the CERB. The two amounts are not cumulative.

Is there a limit to the number of cheques per household?
• No. For example, if five people who live in the same household meet the criteria, they can all receive the $2,000 per month.

Will I be entitled to $2,000 a month even if I earned less than that amount before I lost my income?
• Yes, you will receive $2,000 per month if you earned at least $5,000 in the previous 12 months. So your monthly income may increase temporarily, but keep in mind that the program is for a maximum of 4 months.

When can I apply?
• It will be possible to apply from the week of April 6.

When will I receive my cheque?
• The first cheque should be received approximately 10 days after you apply.

And when will I stop receiving my cheque?
• You will stop receiving this cheque after four months, or sooner if you return to work.

What steps do I need to take to register?
• You will need to register on a new website that will be set up the week of April 6 by the federal government. The address of this site has not yet been released.

Will I be able to call a phone number to register if I don't have access to the Internet?
• Yes, but the federal government has not yet released the number.

Will it also be possible to apply in person?
• Federal government has not yet indicated whether this will be possible.

How often will the money be paid out?
• The money will be paid every four weeks.

Is the $2,000 taxable?

• The CERB is a taxable benefit, but the Government has announced that tax recovery will be deferred. Further details are unavailable at this time


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