COVID-19 Support Programs

Difficult Times

In these difficult times understanding how the various government support programs work can help bring financial stability and reassurance.

Canadian households and businesses are suffering from a cash flow crisis which is caused by a drop in income paired with expenses that are staying similar to what they were pre-COVID-19. In worse case situations, expenses can exceed income leading to a household and business withdrawing from their savings/investments and using debt to pay for their expenses.

Below you can find these government programs that have been designed to alleviate this crisis by increasing income or reducing expenses.

Table of Contents

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

  • A taxable $2,000 benefit payment for each four-week period
  • Payments last for up to seven periods (28 weeks)
  • Available from March 15th, 2020 to October 3rd, 2020
  • Available to those recently employed, employed but with no income, and those that are self-employed (includes contractors, free lancers, and more)

Qualification

  • Residing in Canada and is at least 15 years old
    • Do not need to be a citizen or a permanent resident but must be residing in Canada and have a valid SIN number
  • Had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12-months prior to date of application
    • Can come from multiple sources
  • Must not have quit job voluntarily
  • Must have stopped working due to reasons related to COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) regular or sickness benefits or have exhausted their Employment Insurance (EI) regular benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020
  • Income sources for the program include
    • Employment income, Self-employed income, tips, commissions, royalties, non-eligible dividends
    • Pensions, student loans and bursaries are not employment income
    • Date that income is included is the date that it was earned and not paid

Application Periods

  • Applications are made for seven pre-determined application periods
    • For the first claim, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income over 14 or more consecutive days within the benefit period.
    • For subsequent claims, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for the entire benefit period.
4-Week Period CycleDate Range
1March 15th to April 11th, 2020
2April 12th to May 9th, 2020
3May 10th to June 6th, 2020
4June 7th to July 4th, 2020
5July 5th to August 1st, 2020
6August 2nd to August 29th, 2020
7August 30th to September 26th, 2020

Application Process

  • Applications can be made on CRA MyAccount or Service Canada or by phone: 1-800-959-2019
  • Direct deposit payments arrive in 3-5 days and mail in 10 days
  • Must fill out an attestation when apply to confirm details
  • Will need to fill out attestation before every period
  • Confirmation is not required at this point and details will be confirmed afterwards

Tips/Important Details

  • Payments are not taxed at source but payments will be due when file 2020 income taxes
  • No verification process is made and ineligible payments are stated to be clawed back
  • If uncertain about income, consider applying near the end of the application period

Canada Emergency Student Benefits (CESB)

  • Taxable $1,250 per period for regular benefits
  • Taxable $2,000 per period if disabled or taking care of a dependent under the age of 12 or a dependent with a disability
  • Payments last for four periods from May to August 2020
  • Applications must be made by August 30, 2020

Qualifications

  • Available to full, part-time, and summer students
  • Must be a student in Canada or abroad at an eligible institution
    • Enrolled in a recognized post-secondary educational program (minimum 12 weeks in duration) that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate
    • Completed or ended your post-secondary studies in December 2019 or later
    • 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
  • Individuals in apprenticeship programs can also qualify as long as they do not receive the CERB
  • A Canadian Resident, Permanent Resident (PR), Indian status, or protected person
    • International students, temporary workers (SINs beginning with a 9) and non-resident students with tax numbers do not qualify
  • No age restrictions
  • Do not qualify or applied for CERB, and EI
  • One of the following (must still be looking for work is able to work, CRA may ask for proof afterwards) for each period
    • Unable to work due to COVID-19
    • You are looking for work, but unable to find any due to COVID19
    • Currently working, however income is below $1,000 for each 4-week period

If Have a Disability

  • Must attest to have an impairment (such as a physical, mental, or cognitive that hinders a person’s full and equal participation in society.
  • Can be either permanent or episodic, or evident or not
  • government sources have stated that you do not need to have been approved for the disability tax credit
  • Please contact the CRA with further question

If Graduated or Expect to Graduate From High School in 2020

  • Qualify for CESB if completed or expected to complete High School in 2020 and have applied for a post-secondary education that begins by Feb. 2021
  • Special rules based on HS graduation date
    • Complete High School before June 7th, 2020?
      • Date of completion must be before CESB period applied to
    • After June 7th ?
      • You can apply for two eligibility periods beginning from July 5th

Application

  • Application made through CRA MyAccount or by phone 1-800-959-2019
    • Must apply for each period
    • If never filed taxes, must phone 1-800-959-8281 to register the SIN number
    • CRA will verify application

Application Periods

PeriodDate Range
OneMay 10th to June 6th, 2020
TwoJune 7th to July 4th, 2020
ThreeJuly 5th to August 1st, 2020
FourAugust 2nd to August 29th, 2020

Tips/Important Details

  • Payments are not taxed at source but payments will be due when file 2020 income taxes
  • No verification process is made and ineligible payments are stated to be clawed back

Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG)

General

  • “Students helping in the fight against COVID-19 this summer will soon be eligible for $1,000 to $5,000, depending on your hours, through the new Canada Student Service Grant,”
  • The new Canada Student Service Grant, which will help students gain valuable work experience and skills while they help their communities during the COVID‑19 pandemic.
  • Covers volunteer work completed from June 25th to October 31st, 2020 (18 weeks)
  • Must be registered by August 21st, 2020
  • Grant is taxable and does not need to be used to pay for educational costs

Qualifications

  • Must be a student or recent graduate
    • Student: Part-time or full-time student that is/was registered in Spring/Summer, and/or Fall 2020 semesters at a registered educational institution
    • Graduates: Completed studies in Dec. 2019 or later
  • Must be under 30 as of Dec. 31st, 2020
  • Open to Canadian Residents, Permanent Residents, Refugees, First Nations, Meti, or Inuit
  • Students abroad also qualify, but must be living in Canada
  • Is available to those that are receiving the CESB but no CERB

Qualifying Organizations

  • non-profit organization (inc. charities and non-corp.) located in Canada
  • Work must be meaningful for student and a response to COVID-19
  • Must meet workplace guidelines
  • Can be in-person or virtual
  • For profit and governmental organizations do not qualify

Payment Amount

  • Amounts are based on hours of volunteer work and are in 100 increments (rounded down)
    • 100hrs = $1,000
    • 200hrs = $2,000
    • 300hrs = $3,000
    • 400hrs = $4,000
    • 500 hrs = $5,000

How to Apply

  • Ensure eligible
  • Look for opportunities (all have been verified by portal)
  • Register to apply
  • Requires a valid ID
    • Proof of education enrollment or graduation
  • Must Track volunteer Hours

OAS/GIS/Allowance Additional Payment

  • Additional non-taxable payment bonus for eligible seniors on June 26th, 2020
  • A $300 bonus payment for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security pension (OAS)
  • An extra $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for a total payment of $5000
  • An additional $500 for a spouse that is eligible for Allowance (aged 60 to 64 and spouse receives GIS)
  • No application necessary

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) – Proposed

  • $500 per week for up to 26 weeks
  • Available to those that are self-employed and not eligible for EI
  • Available to those that are;
    • The benefit would be available to residents in Canada who:
    •  Are at least 15 years old and a Social Insurance Number (SIN)
    • Stopped working due to the COVID-19 and are available & looking for work; or are working and have a reduction in employment/self-employment income due to COVID-19
    • Are not eligible for Employment Insurance;
    • Had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020; and not quit their job voluntarily.
  • Applications must be made every two-week period with an attestation that they continue to meet the requirements
  • Can continue to earn money, but will be required to repay 50 cents of every dollar earned above $38,000 (excludes CRB in equation)

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) – Proposed

  • $500 per week for up to two weeks
  • The benefit would taxable.
  • For workers who are sick or must self-isolate due to COVID-19.
  • Effective September 27, 2020 for one year
  • The benefit would be available to:
    • Residents in Canada who are at least 15 years of age and have a Social Insurance Number
    • Employed or self-employed at the time of the application
    • Earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020.
  • No medical certificate to qualify for the benefit
  • Cannot claim the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and receive other paid sick leave for the same benefit period
  • Need to have missed a minimum of 60% of their scheduled work in the week for which they claim the benefit
  • Workers would apply after the one-week period in which they are seeking income support and attest that they meet the requirements

Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit (CRCB) – Proposed

  • $400 per week for up to 26 weeks per household
  • Benefit is taxable
  • Effective from September 27, 2020 for one year,
  • Qualifications
    • Reside in Canada;
    • At least 15 years of age on the first day of the period for which they apply for the benefit
    • Valid Social Insurance Number
    • Be employed or self-employed on the day immediately preceding the period for which the application is made;
    • Earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020;
    • Unable to work for at least 60% of their normally scheduled work within a given week because of one of the following conditions:
      • To take care of a child who is under 12 years of age on the first day of the period for which the benefit is claimed:
        • Their school or daycare is closed or operates under an alternative schedule for reasons related to the COVID-19
        • Cannot attend school or daycare under the advice of a medical professional due to being at high risk if they contract COVID-19
      • Caregiver who usually provides care is not available for reasons related to the COVID-19
      • Provide care to a family member with a disability or a dependent:
        • Their day program or care facility is closed or operates under an alternative schedule for reasons related to COVID-19
        • Cannot attend their day program or care facility under the advice of a medical professional due to being at high risk if they contract COVID-19
        • Caregiver who usually provides care is not available for reasons related to the COVID-19
  • Not be on paid leave from an employer in respect of the same week; and
  • Not receive CERB, the EI Emergency Response Benefit (ERB), the Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, short-term disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, or any EI benefits or Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits in respect of the same week.
  • Workers would apply after the period in which they are seeking income support and complete attestation
  • Two members residing in the same household could not be in receipt of the benefit for the same period

Simplified EI Program

  • Effective September 27th, 2020
  • The Government of Canada recognizes that the pandemic has prevented many Canadians from accumulating the number of insurable hours that is normally required – This measure is effective for one year starting on August 9, 2020
  • Receive at least $400/week or $240/week for those on extended parental benefits
  • Minimum duration of benefits for 26 weeks
  • A minimum unemployment rate of 13.1% is being used for all EI economic regions in order to lower the hours required to qualify for EI regular benefits
    • set 14 as the number of best weeks of earnings used in the calculation of the weekly benefit rate.
  • 120 hours to qualify
    • One-time credit of 300 hours for regular benefits or 480 hours for special benefits
    • Credits last for one year
  • The hours credit will also be made retroactive to March 15, 2020 for claimants who were looking to transition early from the CERB to EI maternity, parental, compassionate care, family caregiver or work-sharing benefits but could not establish their EI claim due to insufficient hours. For these claimants, the qualifying period will also be extended.
  • EI Premium freeze for the next two years
    • Premium rate for employees at the 2020 level of $1.58 per $100 of insurable earnings for two years. The rate for employers, who pay 1.4 times the employee rate, will also remain unchanged at $2.21 per $100 of insurable earnings.