The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to support Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Find below the summary of those measures and links to apply.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
Government of Canada is providing a taxable benefit of $2,000 every 4 weeks for up to 24 weeks to eligible workers who have stopped working or whose work hours have been reduced due to COVID-19.
Increasing the Canada Child Benefit
An extra $300 per child was delivered through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-20.
This benefit was delivered as part of the scheduled CCB payment on May 20.
Extra time to file income tax returns
The due date for filling individual 2019 income tax returns has been deferred until June 1, 2020. Any new income tax balances due, or instalments, are also being deferred until after August 31, 2020 without incurring interest or penalties.
Mortgage payment deferral
Homeowners facing financial hardship may be eligible for a mortgage payment deferral of up to six months.
The deferral is an agreement between you and your lender. Typically, the agreement indicates that you and your lender have agreed to pause or suspend your mortgage payments for a certain amount of time. After the agreement ends, your mortgage payments return to normal and the deferred payments — including principal and accumulated interest – are added to the outstanding principal balance and subsequently repaid throughout the life of the mortgage.
To know if you are eligible for a mortgage payment deferral or to learn what options are available, contact your lender — your bank or your mortgage professional.
Temporary wage top-up for low-income essential workers
All provinces and territories have confirmed, or are in the process of confirming, plans to provide wage top-ups for essential workers.
The Government of Canada will provide up to $3 billion in federal support to increase the wages of low-income essential workers. Each province or territory will determine which workers would be eligible for support, and how much support they will receive.
Special Goods and Services Tax credit payment
Government of Canada provided a one-time special payment 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.
Special one-time tax-free payment for certified holders of the Disability Tax Credit
Government of Canada is proposing a special one-time-tax payment to individuals who are certificate holders of the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) as of June 1, 2020, as follows:
$600 for Canadians with a valid DTC certificate.
$300 for Canadians with a valid DTC certificate and who are eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension.
$100 for Canadians with a valid DTC certificate and who are eligible for the OAS pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).
Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)
Government of Canada is providing a taxable benefit of $1,250 every 4 weeks to eligible students or $2,000 to eligible students with dependents or with disability who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or Employment Insurance or unable to work due to COVID-19.
This benefit is available from May to August 2020.
You can also look for employment opportunities through the Job Bank.
Changes to the Canada Student Loans Program
Government of Canada made changes to the Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP) to allow more students to qualify for support and be eligible for greater amounts.
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.
Suspending repayment and interest on student and apprentice loans
All student loan borrowers will automatically have their loan repayments and interest suspended until September 30, 2020.
Supporting student researchers and post-doctoral fellows
Government of Canada is providing additional support to student researchers and post-doctoral fellows through the federal granting councils.
Funding will support a one-semester extension for eligible students whose research scholarships or fellowships end between March and August 2020 and who intend to continue their studies. It will also provide a 3-month extension in funding for holders of federal research grants to support eligible trainees and staff paid out of these awards.
Supporting international students working in an essential service
Government of Canada have removed the restriction that allows international students to work only a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session, 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.
This temporary rule change will be in place until August 31, 2020.
Providing a one-time tax-free payment for Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement
Government of Canada is providing a one-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension, with an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).
This measure would give a total of $500 to individuals who are eligible to receive both the OAS and the GIS, and will help them cover increased costs caused by COVID-19.
You do not have to apply. This payment will be issued during the week of July 6.
Temporarily extending the Guaranteed Income Supplement and Allowance payments
Government of Canada is temporarily extending GIS and Allowance payments if seniors’ 2019 income information has not been assessed.
This will ensure that the most vulnerable seniors continue to receive their benefits when they need them the most. 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.
Reduced minimum withdrawals for Registered Retirement Income Funds
Government of Canada has reduced the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25 % for 2020.
Supporting Indigenous communities
Addressing immediate needs in Indigenous communities
Government of Canada is providing $380 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities.
These funds could be used for measures including, but not limited to:
support for Elders and vulnerable community members,
measures to address food insecurity,
educational and other support for children,
mental health assistance and emergency response services,
preparedness measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Supporting public health needs and preparedness
Government of Canada is providing $100 million to support a range of federal health measures, including support for preparedness in First Nation and Inuit communities.
Making personal hygiene products and nutritious food more affordable
Government of Canada is providing an additional $25 million to Nutrition North Canada to increase subsidies so families can afford much-needed personal hygiene products and nutritious food.
Providing support to Indigenous post-secondary students
Government of Canada is providing $75.2 million to offer additional distinctions-based support to First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation post-secondary students
Funding for additional health care resources for Indigenous communities
Government of Canada is providing $285.1 million to fund community-led responses to the pandemic and provide targeted increases in primary health care resources for First Nations communities.
In case of outbreaks, this funding can be used to provide surge capacity and additional support for community-based services in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities.
Boosting the On-Reserve Income Assistance Program
Government of Canada is providing $270 million to supplement the On-Reserve Income Assistance Program to address increased demand on the program, which will help individuals and families meet their essential living expenses. It will also help hire additional staff to better serve First Nations communities and connect individuals to other government programs.
First Nations administer the On-Reserve Income Assistance Program. Program staff members play an important role in helping individuals with other needs, including providing referrals to mental health and addictions counselling, and helping families find and apply for appropriate government benefits, such as Employment Insurance, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, and the Canada Child Benefit.
New shelters to protect and support Indigenous women and children fleeing violence
Government of Canada is providing $44.8 million over five years to build 12 new shelters, which will help protect and support Indigenous women and girls experiencing and fleeing violence.
This funding will help build 10 shelters in First Nations communities on reserve across the country (funded through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Shelter Enhancement Program) and two in the territories (funded through National Housing Co-Investment Fund), to support Indigenous women and children.
Government of Canada will also provide $40.8 million to support operational costs for these new shelters over the first five years, and $10.2 million annually ongoing.
in addition, Government of Canada is also announcing $1 million a year ongoing, starting this year, to support engagement with Métis leaders and service providers on shelter provision and community-led violence prevention projects for Métis women, girls, and LGBTQ and two-spirit people.
The process to access the funding for the shelters will be through an Expression of Interest. First Nations on reserve across the country and Indigenous governments and/or organizations in the territories will be eligible to submit proposals.
Indigenous peoples can also access all other benefits.