Federal and Provincial Support for People during COVID-19

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FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SUPPORT (This information is as of August 11, 2020 and will be updated as governments provide further update)

 

Changes to support workers announced on August 20, 2020

Extension of CERB

CERB has been extended by an additional four weeks, to a maximum of 28 weeks. Hence, those who had been continuously eligible for the CERB since the first period starting on March 15 and were set to run out of benefits by the period ending on Aug. 29 have four more weeks to avail the benefit. 

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 28 weeks of CERB run out.

To apply, workers will need 120 hours of eligible employment (approximately 3.5 weeks of full-time work) to access unemployment and work-sharing benefits. The same threshold applies to maternity, parental, sickness, as well as compassionate care of family caregiver benefits.

The EI benefits rate will be a minimum of $400 a week and a maximum of $573 per week, depending on past earnings.

Claimants also stand to receive at least 26 weeks, or roughly six months, of benefits. Usually, the number of weeks of benefits ranges from 14 to 45 depending on the local unemployment rate.

The reworked EI can be claimed for between 26 and 45 weeks, depending on time worked prior.

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.

Three new benefits (pending approval of the Parliament)

All three benefits will be administered by the CRA, with applications opening in October and claimants able to simply attest that they qualify for the programs, as with CERB. Also like the current emergency benefits, the new payments will be taxable.

Canada Recovery Benefit: 

  • This benefit will provide $400 a week for up to 26 weeks. 
  • Recipients will have an obligation to be available for work and look for employment while on the benefit. However, they will be able to earn up to $38,000 in annual net income from employment or self-employment while receiving payments. Beyond that threshold, they will have to repay 50 cents for every additional dollar earned, like EI recipients need to do when working while on claim. 
  • The benefit is available only to workers who stopped working or saw their incomes reduced because of COVID-19. It is meant to benefit workers who are self-employed, gig or contract workers, or otherwise not EI eligible but still cannot return to work.

 Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit

  • This benefit will provide $500 per week for up to two weeks for workers who do not have access to other types of paid sick leave.
  • As with CERB, applicants will be able to submit an attestation that they qualify for the benefit.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit

  • This benefit will provide help in the instances where someone needs to stay home to care for a loved one such as a child under the age of 12 or a dependent because schools, daycares, or other care facilities are closed due to the pandemic.
  • Families who choose not to send their children to reopened daycares and schools are open will not be eligible for the benefit.
  • It will provide $550 per week per household for up to 26 weeks and is also attestation-based.

 

Federal Benefits

I. CANADA EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT (CERB)

Who can apply for CERB?

You can apply for CERB if you:

  • are residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old; 
  • have stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit your job or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits;
  • had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and 
  • are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, you expect to have no employment income.

CERB has now been expanded to cover the following:

  • People who earn upto $1,000 while collecting the CERB
  • Seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find seasonal work due to COVID-19
  • Workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits but are unable to find work due to COVID-19
  • This is retroactive to March 15, 2020

CERB is available to those who stop working for reasons related to COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits. Examples of stopping to work could include but are not limited to: 

  • You have been let go from your job or your hours have been reduced to zero;
  • You are in quarantine or sick due to COVID-19;
  • You are away from work to take care of others because they are in quarantine, sick due to COVID-19; and/or
  • You are away from work to take care of children or other dependents whose care facility is closed due to COVID-19.

You cannot quit your job voluntarily.

What are the benefits?

  • You will get 2000 dollars every month, to be paid in blocks of 4 weeks for a maximum of 16 weeks.
  • It is taxable, tax will not be deducted at source. Need to report this as income when you file your income tax for 2020 tax year.
  • Benefits will start within 10 days of you submitting an application.
  • Payments will be made through direct deposit or cheque. Payements will be quicker if you choose direct deposit.

How can I apply?

  • You can apply through an online portal that will be available on 6th April.
  • You can also apply by calling the CRA or by accessing your CRA MyAccount portal or My Service Canada Account.
  • There will also be an automated telephone line or a toll-free number - 1-800-959-2019
  • People need to apply based on their month of birth, starting on April 6 i.e. Monday with those born in the first three months of year. Those norn between April and JKune will be asked to apply on Tuesday, to be followed on Wednesday by those born in July, August and September. Those born in the last three months of the year will be asked to apply on Thursday. 

When can I apply?

  • You can apply for the CERB for weeks at a time. If your situation continues, you can re-apply upto a maximum of 16 weeks or 4 periods.
  • You can apply to cover time that starts as early as March 15, 2020 and as late as October 3, 2020.

What all do I need to apply?

  • Personal contact information
  • Valid Social Insurance Number (SIN). This means that temporary foreign workers and students who have a SIN may be able to apply.
  • Confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements
  • You may be asked to provide additional documentation to verify your eligibility at a future date.
  • No medical certificate needed, only an online application.

II. GST TAX CREDIT

  • People who are eligible will automatically get this money into their accounts.
  • This is a one-time special payment which will be made by early May 2020. 
  • Single individuals can get upto $400 and couples can get upto $600.      

III. CANADA CHILD BENEFIT - TOP UP   

  • The amount of Canada Child Benefit has been increased by $300 per child. 
  • Families will receive an extra $300 per child as part of their May payment.  
  • People do not have to apply for the additional amount if they are already getting the benefit.

IV. EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE (EI) REGULAR & SICKNESS BENEFITS

  • The one week waiting period has been waived off for individuals who are in quarantine and apply for EI sickness benefits, as of March 15, 2020.
  • The requirement to provide a medical certificate has also been removed.  

People who are getting EI regular and sickness benefits or have applied for EI

  • If you are already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits, you would continue to receive their benefits and should not apply to the CERB. 
  • If your EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, you could apply for the CERB once your EI benefits stop and you are unable to return to work due to COVID-19. 
  • People who have already applied for EI and whose application has not yet been processed would not need to reapply.   If you applied for EI after March 15, your calim will be handled as if you applied for the CERB. You don't have to do anything more.
  • People who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits would still be able to access their normal EI benefits, if still unemployed, after the 4 month period covered by the CERB

V. SUPPORT FOR SENIORS

  • One-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension and an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). 
  • Seniors will receive this special one-time, tax-free payment during the week of July 6.
  • Temporary extension of GIS and Allowance payments if seniors’ 2019 income information has not been assessed. To avoid an interruption in benefits, seniors need 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.

V. SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

 A special one-time, tax-free payment to individuals who are certificate holders of the Disability Tax Credit as of June 1, 2020, as follows:

  • $600 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate.  
  • $300 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension.
  • $100 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the OAS pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).

VI. SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS

Student Loan Suspension

  • Student loan borrowers will automatically have their loan repayments and interest suspended until September 30, 2020.
  • Students do not need to apply.
  • Moratorium applies to the federal portion of student loans. Check with provincial or territorial student loan provider to see if payment is required on the provincial or territorial portion.

Canada Emergency Student Benefit

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 of $1,250 for each 4-week period or $2,000 for each 4-week period, if you have dependants or a disability.

What are the eligibility criteria for the CESB?

You may be eligible for the CESB if you meet the following criteria.

-       You did not apply, receive, nor qualify, for the CERB or EI benefits for the same

eligibility period

-       You are one of the following:

o  Canadian citizen

o  registered Indian

o  permanent resident

o  protected person

-       You are studying in Canada or abroad

-       One of the following applies:

o   you are enrolled in a post-secondary educational program (at least 12 weeks in duration) that leads to a degree, diploma, or certificate

o  you completed or ended your post-secondary studies in December 2019 or later

o  you completed or expect to complete high school, or received, or expect to receive your high school equivalency in 2020, and have applied for a post- secondary educational program that starts before February 1, 2021

-       One of the following applies:

o  you are unable to work due to COVID-19

o  you are looking for, but cannot find work due to COVID-19

o  you are currently working during the COVID-19 pandemic, but your income from employment and self-employment has been $1,000 or less (before taxes) during the 4-week period you are applying for

What are the eligibility conditions for the benefit top-up?

If you meet all of the conditions above, you may also be eligible for an extra $750 for each 4-week period.

Additional support is available, if at least one of the following applies:

o you have a disability as defined for this benefit

o you have at least one child under the age of 12 or other dependants

Where can I apply for the CESB?

There are two ways to apply:

·      Online: CRA My Account

·      Over the phone with an automated phone service: 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041

Which periods can I apply for?

Each eligibility period is a 4-week period with a specific start and end date. 

You can only apply for one eligibility period at a time. If your situation continues, you must re-apply for another 4-week eligibility period.

If you are able to work, you must be actively looking for a job to be eligible to receive the CESB. If you still cannot find work due to COVID-19, you can re-apply for each CESB eligibility period that you are eligible for.

When is the application deadline?

All applications for this benefit must be submitted before September 30, 2020.

Are CESB payments taxable?

The CESB is taxable. This means you will need to report any amounts you received from the CESB on next year’s income tax return. You will receive a T4A tax slip for the amount of CESB you receive. The tax slip will also be available in your CRA My Account for the 2020 tax year.

Canada Student Service Grant

  • Applicable to post-secondary students and recent graduates
  • For students who choose to do national service and serve their communities, the Grant will provide up to $5,000 for their education in the fall.
  • Payment to be made depending on the hours of work.
  • “I Want to Help” platform over the coming weeks, including more detailed information about eligibility, funding available, how to apply and how applications will be assessed.

Other benefits for students

  • Canada Student Grants doubled 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 also doubled.
  • Eligibility for student financial assistance has been broadened by removing the expected student’s and spouse’s contributions in 2020-21.
  • Canada Student Loans Program enhanced by raising the maximum weekly amount that can be provided to a student in 2020-21 from $210 to $350.
  • Existing distinctions-based support increased for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation students pursuing post-secondary education by providing an additional $75.2 million in 2020-21.
  • Extension of expiring federal graduate research scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships, and supplement existing federal research grants, to support students and post-doctoral fellows, by providing $291.6 million to the federal granting councils. 

For international students

  • Restriction that allows international students to work only a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session has been removed, 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.
  • International students and their employers should consult Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada's Guidance on Essential Services and Functions in Canada during the COVID-19 Outbreak to determine if the work the student is doing would allow them to work more than 20 hours per week during the academic session.
  • This temporary rule change will be in place until August 31, 2020.

 

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).       

II. No Eviction orders - ACORN and Allies WON THIS

  • Enforcement of residential evictions have been suspended until ordered otherwise by the court.
  • Tribunals Ontario will not issue any new eviction orders until further notice. Sheriff's offices have been asked to postpone any scheduled enforcement of eviction orders currently set for this week.

III. 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)

  • Social assistance recipients who are not receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) are eligible for monthly payments of $100 for a single person and $200 for a family until July.
  • Families with a youth under 18 receiving the CERB or a family member in full-time school attendance receiving the CERB may still be eligible for the benefit. Emergency benefits for COVID‑19 related expenses are the same for both programs.
  • People who received the emergency benefit in March/April and who meet eligibility criteria will automatically receive the benefit in May, June and July.
  • For new requests, Ontario Works recipients can access emergency benefits by contacting their local officeODSP recipients can access emergency benefits by calling 1‑888‑444‑2412 or emailing ODSP.EmergencyBenefit@ontario.ca with their member ID and details of their additional costs.
  • Money can be used for a broad range of needs, for example: cleaning supplies, non-medical transportation, food or clothing that individuals and families may require due to COVID‑19.
  • Ontario will partially exempt income received under the CERB for Ontario Works and ODSP clients who were on the program prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

IV. Assistance for parents

  • One-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age - $250 for those with special needs, including children enrolled in private schools. Parents can apply using the link: https://www.iaccess.gov.on.ca/FamilyAppWeb/public/index.xhtmlParents/guardians must submit one application per child and Only one parent / guardian may apply for each child. The parent / guardian who applies should have custody of the child. 
  • If people have already successfully applied to the Support for Parents program and received payment through direct deposit, they will automatically eligible for the Support for Families program. They will receive email confirmation with a reference number and the Support for Families funding through direct deposit within the next two weeks.
  • If you require a cheque, you may submit a special request for one but the payment may take months. 
  • For more information on this child benefit, please contact the Support for Families Helpline at 888-444-3770 open Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Eastern time)
  • Emergency child care options to support parents working on the front lines, such as health care workers, police officers, firefighters and correctional officers.

V. Assistance for seniors

  • Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payment for low-income seniors for six months. It will double (maximum of $332 a month and up from $166).

VIElectricity prices

  • Reduced electricity prices for residential, farm and small business time-of-use customers set at the lowest rate, or off-peak price, 24 hours a day for 45 days
  • Winter ban on electricity disconnections for non-payment for all residential customers extended to July 31, 2020. Low-volume, small business customers will now also be protected by the ban. 
  • LEAP (Low Income Energy Assistance program) is being expanded. For more details, see here

 

BRITISH COLUMBIA

I. Rental support for tenants

  • Temporary rental supplement: 
  • People who have reduced hours of work or are laid off will get upto 500 dollars a month through BC Housing to landlords.
  • This payment will be for the next 4 months. 
  • The process to apply for the rental supplement is under development at present. For the most recent update, please visit this link: https://www.bchousing.org/news?newsId=1479155088004
  • Those on disability and income assistance will not be eleigible for this supplement.
  • Rent Freeze - There will be no rent increases effective April 1st 
  • Landlords will no longer be allowed to enter tenants’ homes.

II. Eviction ban

  • All current and future evictions have been suspended.

III. Emergency benefit for workers

  • One-time payment of $1,000 to people who lost income because of COVID-19.
  • B.C. residents who receive federal Employment Insurance, or the new federal Emergency Response Benefit are eligible
  • Applications will open in April 2020
  • The one-time payment will be paid in May 2020.

IV. Job protected leave

  • Employee can take unpaid, job-protected leave related to COVID-19 if they're unable to work for any of the following reasons:

o   Diagnosed with COVID-19 

o   In quarantine or self-isolation 

o   Employer has directed them not to work due to concern about their exposure to others

o   Need to provide care to a dependent at home or a child due to school, daycare or similar facility closure

o   Unable to return to work due to travel or border restrictions

V. Enhancement to the Climate Action tax credit 

  • Will be paid in July 2020 for moderate to low-income families. 
  • After people have filed their taxes, families of four could receive up to $564 and individuals could receive up to $218.

VI. Hydro-bills deferrals

  • People can defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty
  • People experiencing job loss, illness or lost wages due to COVID-19 can access grants up to $600 to pay their hydro bills through the Customer Crisis Fund.

VII. Additional support for people on ODSP and income assistance

  • People on income and disability assistance will receive an additional $300 for the months of April, May and June.
  • The amount will come with the next round of cheques on April 22. People do not have to apply.
  • This supplement will also be provided to low-income seniors who receive the BC Senior's Supplement and people who receive income or disability assistance and live in a special care facility. 
  • People who receive assistance from the province will not see money calwed back from their cheques if they qualify for the new federal benefit - CERB.

VIII. Assistance for people with a bus pass

  • Those on assistance who are part of the BC Bus Pass Program will have a $52 transportation supplement added to their income cheques.
  • Money will be included on the next cheque and will continue until the companies reinstate fares.

 

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

Income assistance

  • Every individual and family member on income assistance will receive an additional $50 starting Friday, 20 March.
  • People do not need to apply.
  • The hours of toll-free line for income assistance supports, including weekends have been extended.

Moratorium on evictions

Effective March 19, no tenant can be evicted because their income has been impacted by COVID-19, for the next three months

Cell phones for the most vulnerable

Government is partnering with Telus to provide 100 phones and calling plans to the most vulnerable Department of Community Services clients who have no other means of communication, and who may be self-isolated and alone.

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.

Suspending student loan payments

Nova Scotia Student Loan payments are suspended until 30 September 2020. You don't need to make any payments, and your loans won't accrue interest. 

The suspension is automatic – you don't need to apply.

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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