Federal and Provincial Support for People during COVID-19

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FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SUPPORT (This information is as of October 14, 2020 and will be updated as governments provide further update)

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is now closed. People who would like to apply for CERB retroactively for period starting August 30 to September 26 2020 can still do so by clicking here 

Transition from CERB to EI (Modified EI)

As of Sept. 27, almost all CERB claimants who qualify for Employment Insurance will be transitioned onto that program once their CERB runs out.

There are some temporary changes to the EI program. The following changes will be in effect for 1 year (starting Sept. 27 2020) and could apply to you:

  • A minimum unemployment rate of 13.1% applies to all regions across Canada starting August 9, 2020. If your region’s unemployment rate is higher than 13.1%, a higher actual rate will be used to calculate your benefits
  • This means you can receive at least 26 weeks of regular benefits
  • You only need 120 insured hours to qualify for benefits because you’ll get a one-time credit of 300 insured hours to help you meet the required 420 insured hours of work
  • You’ll receive at least $500 per week before taxes but you could receive more
  • If you received the CERB, the 52-week period to accumulate insured hours will be extended
  • Canadians who received CERB through Service Canada will be seamlessly transitioned to EI, without need to reapply. Those who qualify for traditional unemployment benefits but have been receiving CERB through the Canada Revenue Agency will have to file a new EI application.
  • The government is also freezing the EI premium rate for two years.

For more details, click here

Three new benefits 

All three benefits will be administered by the CRA, with applications opening in October. 

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

  • Gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19 and are not entitled to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. The CRB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
  • If you are eligible for the CRB, you can receive $1,000 ($900 after taxes withheld) for a 2-week period.
  • If your situation continues past 2 weeks, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 13 eligibility periods (26 weeks) between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.
  • Details about how you can apply will be available on October 12, 2020. For more details, click here

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) 

  • The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they're sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19. The CRSB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
  • If you're eligible for the CRSB, you can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for a 1-week period.
  • If your situation continues past 1 week, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 2 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.
  • For more details, click here

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

  • It gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care.
  • This applies if their school, regular program or facility is closed or unavailable to them due to COVID-19, or because they're sick, self-isolating, or at risk of serious health complications due to COVID-19. The CRCB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
  • If you're eligible for the CRCB, your household can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for each 1-week period.
  • If your situation continues past 1 week, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 26 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.
  • For more details, click here

Support for Persons with Disabilities: One-time, tax-free, non-reportable payment of $600. The individual must be a recipient of any of the following programs or benefits:

  • holder of a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate,
  • beneficiary as at July 1, 2020 of:
    • Canada Pension Plan Disability
    • Quebec Pension Plan Disability Pension,
    • Disability supports provided by Veterans Affairs Canada

If you are eligible but never applied for the Disability Tax Credit, or your certificate expired in 2019, you must have done so by September 25, 2020.

Seniors who are eligible for the one-time payment for persons with disabilities would receive a total of $600 in special payments. The one-time payment to persons with disabilities would be adjusted to provide a top-up for eligible seniors, including:

  • $300 for Canadians who are eligible for the Old Age Security pension and who received the one-time seniors payment of $300; or
  • $100 for Canadians who are eligible for the Old Age Security pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement or Allowances and who received the one-time seniors payment of $500.

Eligible clients will start receiving payments on October 30, 2020

Support for Seniors

  • The GIS and allowance payments have been temporarily extended if seniors’ 2019 income information has not been assessed. To avoid an interruption in benefits, seniors are encouraged to submit their 2019 income information as soon as possible and no later than by October 1, 2020.
  • The required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) has been reduced by 25 % for 2020.

Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP):

The changes 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.

PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT SUPPORT

ONTARIO    

I. Job protected leave for workers

  • Workers who are sick, in isolation or quarantine, directed not to work, providing care to a person or who are prevented from returning to Ontario because of travel restrictions, cannot be fired
  • Covers most employees and employers in Ontario - full time, part-time, are students, temporary help agency assignment employees, or casual workers.
  • Applicable retrospectively from Jan 25, 2020 till COVID-19 is eliminated
  • No medical note is required but an employer may require other evidence such as a note from the daycare or for evidence that the airline cancelled a flight.        
  • It does not apply to people in sectors that fall under federal jurisdiction.  (banks, airports, inter-provincial and international rail, and federal crown corporations).  

Click here for more details.   

II. Emergency Assistance

For people NOT currently on Social Assistance

  • If you are in an emergency situation and you live in Ontario, you might be eligible for emergency assistance. A crisis or emergency could include situations where you have been affected by COVID-19, are being evicted from your home,  are in or are leaving an abusive relationship or are worried about your safety.
  • The amount you get will depend on your specific situation. You may get: approximately $733 for a month if you are a single person and need help paying for food and shelter, more if you have children
  • The assistance can be up to 48 days of support depending on your specific situation
  • If you think you will need assistance for a month or more, you can apply for Ontario Works online or by calling your local office.
  • You can apply online or by calling your local Ontario Works office.
  • You should submit only one application for you and your immediate family.

For people who are already on social assistance: Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)

If you have exceptional COVID-19-related costs, you may speak with your case worker about discretionary benefits.

III. Assistance for Renters

There are 47 service managers across Ontario that can help you find housing options in your area. Click here to learn more

IV. Help in paying electricity and natural gas bills

Through Low Energy Assistance program (LEAP), low-income customers can get direct support to pay bills and ensure electricity and natural gas services are not disconnected during the COVID-19 outbreak.

If you are behind on your bill and may have your service disconnected, you could qualify for:

  • $500 for electricity bills ($600 if your home is heated electrically)
  • $500 for natural gas bills

For more details, click here

V. Changes to Payday Loans Act

  • As of August 20, 2020, the interest that lenders can charge on payday loans in default will be limited to a maximum interest rate of 2.5% per month (non-compounded) on the outstanding principal. This will provide relief to borrowers who are unable to repay their loans on time.
  • These amendments also establish a maximum fee of $25 that may be charged for dishonoured or bounced cheques or pre-authorized debits, effective August 20, 2020. This fee may only be charged once, regardless of the number of times a payment instrument is dishonoured.

 

BRITISH COLUMBIA

I. COVID-19 crisis supplement

  • Everyone receiving Income Assistance (IA) and Disability Assistance (DA) who is not receiving Employment Insurance (EI) or the emergency federal support program will automatically receive a $300 COVID-19 crisis supplement on their cheques starting in April 2020. This includes people receiving the B.C. Senior’s Supplement
  • The COVID-19 Crisis Supplement is extended for an additional four months for those who are not receiving federal benefits like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. The temporary $300 crisis supplement will continue to be automatically applied to cheques distributed Sept. 23, Oct. 21, Nov. 18 and Dec. 16
  • This supplement will also continue to be provided to low-income seniors receiving the B.C. Senior’s Supplement and income assistance and disability recipients residing in special care facilities. For more details, click here

II. Assistance for Renters

A repayment framework to give renters until next summer to gradually pay back any unpaid rent while staying in their homes. Renters cannot be evicted for any unpaid rent between March 18–August 17 unless they miss a payment on their repayment plan.

For Repayment plan template, click here  

III. BC Senior's Crisis Supplement

  • A $300 supplement for April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December 2020 for eligible seniors. 
  • B.C. seniors who receive the BC Senior's Supplement are eligible.
  • No application required
  • More details here 

IV. Job-protected leave

  • The Employment Standards Act has changed so workers can take unpaid, job-protected leave if they are unable to work because of COVID-19, retroactive to January 27, 2020.
  • Workers now have 3 days of unpaid, job-protected leave each year.
  • For more details, click here 

V. Emergency benefit for workers

  • B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers provided a one-time, tax-free payment of $1,000 to B.C. residents whose ability to work has been affected by COVID-19.
  • Payments started to be issued in May 2020 but continue to be issued. You can apply through October 2020.
  • Click here to know more:

 

QUEBEC

I. Special measures for frontline workers

  • Educational institutions (elementary and secondary schools, training centres, private schools) will be closed until May 1, inclusively. Emergency school daycare services are open for the children (aged 4 to 13) of health care, social services and essential services personnel.
  • Daycare services (CPE and subsidized) will be reserved for the children (from birth to age 5) of health care, social services and essential services personnel until May 1, inclusively.

II. Student loan

  • The government has postponed student loan debt repayment, which means that you will have no payments to make during the next six months. In addition, no interest will be calculated or added to your loan debt. 
  • The measure automatically applies to all Aide financière aux études clients, including those whose accounts are in collection.

III. Temporary Aid for Workers Program: Financial assistance for workers in need.

  • Eligibility criteria:

o   For workers who reside in Québec 

o   Workers who are in isolation because they have contracted the virus or present symptoms; they have been contact with an infected person or they have returned from abroad

o   Workers who are not eligible for either compensation from their employer or private insurance, and that you are not covered by other government programs, such as employment insurance from the federal government.

o   Only applies to adult workers aged 18 or over.

  • Application process: 

o   Workers will get $573 per week, for a period of 14 days of isolation. If justified by your state of health, the coverage period could be extended to a maximum of 28 days.

o   Can apply starting March 19, 2020. 

o   The order to self-isolate must have been given by the Government of Canada, the Gouvernement du Québec or another responsible authority.

o   Fill out the registration form on this link: https://inscription.croixrouge.ca/#/0ABFBD4F-AF68-EA11-A812-000D3AF422F3

o   You will then receive an email confirming that your request for registration has been received.

o   Once your identification is validated, you will receive an email containing a link to the application form for financial assistance. 

  • The email will be sent to you as quickly as possible.
  • Each adult individual should fill their own application form

o   If your application for financial assistance is accepted, the first payment will be made by bank transfer.

o   You can also apply by telephone, by speaking with a Red Cross agent at 1-800-863-6582 (starting at 8:20 a.m., 7 days a week).

o   A detailed list of FAQs about this program is given here or call 1-877-644-4545 (toll free) Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days a week

IV. Suspension of evictions and hearings

  • As announced on March 21, 2020, the Régie du logement has suspended its hearings as long as the state of health emergency is declared.
  • No eviction orders will be issued and enforcement of orders are also suspended.
  • Exception of enforcement of eviction order: If the lessor rented the dwelling again before March 17, 2020 and the suspension would prevent the new tenant from moving to the premises.
  • People can visit this link: filing an application to the tribunal to submit documents related to an ongoing case or to check the status of a case.
  • Telephone numbers for Montréal, Laval and Longueuil: 514 873-BAIL (2245); Elsewhere: 1 800 683-BAIL (2245)

V. Hydro bills

  • No power cut off to anyone for non payment.
  • No planned service interruptions for system maintenance, with the exception of those that are absolutely necessary.
  • Starting March 23, no penalty for unpaid bills. People can enter into a payment arrangement with Hydro Québec to defer payment.

 

NOVA SCOTIA

Leaves, layoffs and other labour questions

If you have questions about the Labour Code, like taking leave or being laid off, contact the Labour Standards Division at 1-888-315-0110.

Support for seniors

Community Links and Seniors’ Safety Programs are programs that respond to the needs of vulnerable older adults across the province. Government is investing $230,000 in these programs to expand their capacity to provide more supports and services like volunteers for delivering groceries,  technological options for keeping people connected by phone and responding to other social issues as they emerge.

If you need non-emergency, non-medical help, call 211 or visit ns.211.ca.

211 is a toll-free helpline that connects you to community and social services in your area. 

This toll-free helpline is available 24/7 in over 140 languages.

 

 

 

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