COVID-19 Federal Benefits Access Tool

Support for Workers

ProgramWho Is Eligible?How Much?When Does It Start?How Do I Apply?More Information

Employment Insurance (Sickness Benefits)—Expanded Access

You are eligible if you meet all of these conditions:

  • You are unable to work for medical reasons
  • Your regular weekly earnings have decreased by at least 40% for at least 1 week
  • You accumulated 600 insured hours of work in the 52 weeks before the start of your EI claim
  • You can get a one-time credit of 480 hours to help you meet the 600 hours, so you actually only need 120 hours
  • 52-week period can be extended if you received CERB

You must remain unavailable for work for medical reasons while receiving the EI sickness benefit

55% of average insurable weekly earnings, up to $573/week for up to 15 weeks
  • Minimum benefit rate is $500/week
March 15, 2020

*New minimum benefit rate began September 27, 2020*
  1. Apply online here 
  2. Provide supporting documents: you will need a medical certificate and a record of employment (ROE)
  3. Benefit statement and access code will arrive by mail

Employment Insurance (Regular Benefits)

You are eligible and you meet all of these conditions:

  • You lost your job and not your fault
  • You are actively looking for work
  • You accumulated 420 insured hours of work in the 52 weeks before the start of your EI claim
  • You can get a one-time credit of 300 hours to help you meet the 420 hours, so you actually only need 120 hours
  • 52-week period can be extended if you received CERB
55% of average insurable weekly earnings, up to $573/week for 14-45 weeks
  • Minimum benefit rate is $500/week




Immediately, but must be without work and pay for 7 consecutive days before eligible
  1. Apply online here
  2. Complete bi-weekly reports to prove continuing eligibility
Canada Emergency response Benefit (CERB)—New Program

*PROGRAM ENDED OCTOBER 3, 2020*

Must be:

  1. Minimum 15 years old;
  2. Resident in Canada;
  3. Total income of at least $5000 in 2019 or preceding 12 months; and
  4. Stops work because of COVID-19 for 14 consecutive days and does not receive income or benefits.

$2000 per month for up to 28 weeks

March 15, 2020

Program ended September 26, 2020

CRA is continuing to accept and process retroactive applications for period 7 (August 30 to September 26, 2020)

Questions and Answers on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit

Canada Recovery Benefit - New Program

You are eligible if you meet all these conditions:

  • At least 15 years old
  • Resident in Canada
  • Valid SIN number
  • Total income of at least $5000 in 2019 or preceding 12 months
  • You are not working because of reasons related to COVID-19, or had a reduction of at least 50% in your weekly income because of COVID-19
  • You are willing to work and actively looking for work
You are not eligible for EI
$450/ week after taxes, up to a maximum of 26 weeksSeptember 27, 2020
  • Apply online through CRA My Account
  • Or apply by phone: 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041
  • You will need to re-apply every 2 weeks to continue receiving the benefit
The 2-week periods you apply for do not have to be consecutive (you can go off the benefit and then go back on later if you need to do)

Canada Recovery Benefit

Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit – New Program

You are eligible if you meet all these conditions:

  • At least 15 years old
  • Resident in Canada
  • Valid SIN number
  • Total income of at least $5000 in 2019 or preceding 12 months
  • You are not able to work at least 50% of your scheduled work week because:
  • You have or may have COVID-19, or
  • You are self-isolating because of COVID-19, or
  • You have a medical condition that puts you at high risk for COVID-19
  • You are not getting paid leave from your employer
  • You are not eligible for EI
You are not receiving the Canada Recovery benefit
$450/ week after taxes, up to a maximum of 2 weeksSeptember 27, 2020
  • Apply online through CRA My Account
  • Or apply by phone: 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041
  • Each application is only for 1 week of benefits. If your situation lasts for more than 1 week, you will have to apply again
You are eligible for a maximum of two 1-week periods but they do not have to be consecutive

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit

Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit – New Program

You are eligible if you meet all these conditions:

  • At least 15 years old
  • Resident in Canada
  • Valid SIN number
  • Total income of at least $5000 in 2019 or preceding 12 months
  • You are not able to work at least 50% of your scheduled work week because you are caring for a child or a family member who needs supervised care, because:
  • the child or family member’s school, daycare or care facility is closed due to COVID-19, or
  • the child or family member is sick or self-isolating due to COVID-19, or is at high risk for COVID-19
  • You are not getting paid leave from your employer
  • You are not eligible for EI
  • You are not receiving the Canada Recovery Benefit or the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit
  • You are the only person in your household applying for this benefit
$450/week after tax, up to a maximum 26 weeksSeptember 27, 2020
  • Apply online through CRA My Account
  • Or apply by phone: 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041
  • You have to apply separately for each 1-week period
  • You can apply up to 60 days after the period you are applying for has ended
You are eligible for a maximum of 26 1-week periods but they do not have to be consecutive
Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
Goods and Services Tax Credit (GSTC)—Temporary Additional Payment
  • Individuals and families with low income.
  • See eligibility criteria here.

GSTC doubled for the 2019- 2020 benefits year, so additional benefit of ~$400 for singles and ~$600 for couples

May 2020

  • No application required
  • If you did not file your 2019 taxes yet, you will not receive the additional payment
Canada Child Benefit (CCB)—Temporary Additional Payment

Increase of $300 per child for the 2019-2020 benefits year

May 2020

No application required if you already receive CCB. Otherwise, apply for CCB:

  1. Register the birth
  2. Online: CRA MyAccount
  3. Mail: Form RC66
  4. Individual must file tax return for the year
If you did not file your 2019 taxes yet, you will not receive the additional payment
Canada child benefit overview

Support for Workers and Businesses

ProgramWho Is Eligible?How Much?When Does It Start?How Do I Apply?More Information

Work Sharing Program—Temporary Special Measures

  • Employers + employees in any industry affected by temporary work reduction (minimum 10%)
  • See eligibility conditions for employers and employees here

Employees who agree to reduce normal working hours and share available work can receive EI benefits based on employee’s normal average weekly earnings

Deductions may apply

Agreement can last up to a maximum of 76 weeks

March 15, 2020 - March 14, 2021

  • Apply 10 days before start date
  • Agreements last up to 76 weeks
  • No wait between agreements
  • Employer and employees (and union, if applicable) must agree to participate in Work-Sharing Agreement and must apply together.
  • Find forms here, and submit by email.

Support for Businesses

ProgramWho Is Eligible?How Much?When Does It Start?How Do I Apply?More Information
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy—Temporary - extended

To be eligible to receive the wage subsidy, you must:

  • be an eligible employer;
  • have experienced an eligible reduction in gross revenue of at least 15% in March, and 30% in April and May and;
  • have had a CRA payroll account on March 15, 2020.

Read more about who is an eligible employer

The subsidy covers a portion of your employees’ wages, varying based on the decrease in your revenue and on the period you are claiming for, up to a maximum of 85% of wages or $959/week in claim periods 5 and 6. The maximum decreases in later claim periods (currently set at 65% maximum until December 19, 2020)

Emergency Wage Subsidy calculator here - calculate wage subsidy amount

Applications opened April 27.

Claim periods:

  1. March 15-April 11, 2020
  2. April 12-May 9, 2020
  3. May 10-June 6, 2020
  4. June 7-July 4, 2020
  5. July 5-August 1, 2020
  6. August 2-August 29, 2020
  7. August 30-September 26, 2020
  8. September 27-October 24, 2020
  9. October 25-November 21, 2020

The federal government announced in October 2020 that the program will continue through to June 2021.

  1. If you haven’t already, register for ‘My Account’, the Canada Revenue Agency’s secure web portal, here
  2. Calculate subsidy on the CRA’s website with its CEWS calculator here
  3. Sign in and apply through my Business Account.

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)—Through BDC and EDC

All credit-worthy small and medium-sized businesses whose activities fall within the mandate of Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) or Export Development Canada (EDC)

Additional credit available

March 13, 2020Contact your financial institution directly and it will contact BDC or EDC where appropriate
Canada Emergency Business Account - expanded

Must be:

  • Small businesses or not- for-profit;
  • In operation as of March 1, 2020;
  • Revenues temporarily reduced by COVID-19; and
  • Paid $20,000-$1.5 million in total payroll in 2019
  • Interest-free loans up to $60,000
  • Up to $20,000 of the loan will be forgiven if the balance is repaid balance by December 31, 2022

April 9, 2020

  • Application period extended until December 31, 2020
Contact your financial institution

Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium Enterprises—Export Development Canada (EDC)
  • Small and medium enterprises
  • Applies to export sector + domestic companies

Guarantee operating credit and term loans up to $6.25 million

March 27, 2020

Contact your financial institution
Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium Enterprises—Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)Small and medium enterprises

Incremental term loans up to $6.25 million

March 27, 2020

Contact your financial institution
10% Temporary Wage subsidy—Temporary

To be eligible to receive the temporary wage subsidy, you must:

  • Have had a CRA payroll account as of March 18, 2020
  • Paid salary/wages/bonuses to an eligible employee from March 18 to June 19, 2020
  • Be one of the following:
  • individual or sole proprietor (excludes trusts)
  • partnership
  • non-profit organization
  • registered charity
  • Canadian-controlled private corporation (including a co-op)

10% of remuneration paid to eligible employees from March 18 to June 19, up to $1,375 for each employee and a total maximum of $25,00 for each eligible employer

May be combined with the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
This subsidy applied to the period March 18 – June 19, 2020
  1. Calculate your subsidy amount according to the rules here.
  2. Reduce the payroll remittances you make to CRA by the amount of the subsidy.
If income taxes you deduct from employee’s wages are not enough to offset the amount of the subsidy, you can reduce future payroll remittances
10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers
Canada Emergency Rent SubsidyBusinesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop due to COVID-19
  • Subsidy will be provided directly to tenants, covering a percentage of eligible expenses, on a sliding scale up to a maximum of 65% of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020.
  • Program will continue until June 2021
  • Businesses or organizations temporarily shut down by a mandatory public health order can also get a 25% top-up subsidy in addition to the 65% maximum
Eligibility begins as of Sept 27, 2020More details coming soonOct 14 announcement on support for businesses
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance

Commercial landlords and small business tenants. The small business tenant must:

  • Have opened before March 1, 2020
  • Pay no more than $50,000 in monthly rent per location
  • Generate no more than $20 million in gross annual revenue
  • Have experienced at least a 70% decline in pre-COVID-19 revenue
50% of your commercial rent; tenant pays up to 25% of rent and landlord forgives at least 25%

March 1, 2020

  • Program extended to end of September 2020
Apply online hereCanada Mortgage and Housing Corporation – CECRA for small business
Northern Business Relief Fund

Small and medium-sized businesses who:

  • Operate predominantly in one or more of the territories
  • Have been in operation since October 1, 2019
  • Have fewer than 100 employees
  • Were solvent before COVID-19
  • Are currently operating at a loss and expect to continue operating at a loss
Non-repayable grant from $2,500 up to a maximum amount of $100,000 to cover eligible costs

Covers 4 month period from April 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020

  • Current eligible recipients may continue to receive support for period beyond July 31
  1. Get the Application form and guidelines here
  2. Apply by email to your regional CanNor office:

Nunavut: [email protected]

NWT: [email protected]
Northern Business Relief Fund Guidelines
Regional Relief and Recovery Fund - Quebec
  • Small- and medium-sized business registered in Quebec
  • Short on cash flow due to COVID-19
  • Have not been able to secure adequate relief from other sources
Repayable contributions, covering a maximum of 6 months; for contributions under $40,000, 25% is non-repayable if the other 75% is repaid by December 31, 2022March 15, 2020

Start the funding request process here

Program details
Regional Relief and Recovery Fund – Atlantic Canada
  • Small- and medium-sized business registered in NL/NB/NS/PE prior to March 1, 2020
  • Short on cash flow due to COVID-19
  • Have not been able to secure adequate relief from other sources such as CEBA
Up to $40,000, repayable after December 31, 2022; up to $10,000 non-repayable under certain conditionsMarch 15, 2020Get application form here and submit onlineAtlantic Canada Opportunities Agency - Regional Relief and Recovery Fund

Support for Children

ProgramWho Is Eligible?How Much?When Does It Start?How Do I Apply?More Information

Inuit Child First Initiative (CFI)—Indigenous Services Canada

All Inuit children, no matter where they live in Canada that are:
  • recognized by an Inuit land claim organization (or have least one parent who is); and
  • under the age of majority in their province/territory of residence
The amount approved is based on the request and the individual or group needs of the child or children.

Funding is ongoing

  • Submit your request for Inuit children to Indigenous Services Canada through the regional representative for your province or territory; or
  • call the national call centre at 1-855-572-4453, which is available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.
https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1536348095773/1536348148664

Support for Students

ProgramWho Is Eligible?How Much?When Does It Start?How Do I Apply?More Information
Canada Student Grants and Loans increased amounts
  • Maximum Canada Student Grant amount increased to $6,000 for full-time students and $3,600 for part-time students
  • Maximum weekly loan limit increased from $210/week to $350/week
August 1, 2020Apply through provincial/territorial student aid offices – links here

Financial Assistance Resources Across Canada

Canada Revenue Agency

Help with MyAccount: 1-800-959-8281
Help with Benefits: 1-800-387-1193
Help with Benefits for Callers in the North: 1-866-426-1527

Your Member of Parliament

You can also call the constituency office of your Member of Parliament. They can often help answer questions and get information to you. You can look up your local MP (using your postal code) here.

British Columbia

You might also contact the constituency office of your MLA. You can look up your MLA here.
Call 2-1-1 for information about support in your community.

Alberta

Call: 1-310-0000 toll free in the province
You might also contact the constituency office of your MLA. You can look up your MLA here.
Call 2-1-1 for information about support in your community.

Saskatchewan

You might also contact the constituency office of your MLA. You can look up your MLA here.
Call 2-1-1 for information about support in your community.

Manitoba

You might also contact the constituency office of your MLA. You can look up your MLA here.
Call 2-1-1 for information about support in your community.

Ontario

Call: 1-888-789-4199 (Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services—they handle benefits and financial help for Ontarians)
You might also contact the constituency office of your MPP. You can look up your MPP here.
Call 2-1-1 for information about support in your community.

Quebec

Special line operated by the Red Cross: 1-800-863-6582
Financial Assistance: 1-877-644-4545
You might also contact the constituency (electoral division) office of your MNA. You can look up your MNA here.
Call 2-1-1 for information about support in your community

New Brunswick

Call: 1-800-442-9799 (for emergency financial help)
You might also contact the constituency (electoral division) office of your MLA. You can look up your MLA here.
You can find local information here.

Nova Scotia

You might also contact the constituency (electoral division) office of your MLA. You can look up your MLA here.
Call 2-1-1 for information about support in your community.

Prince Edward Island

Call: 902-368-6440 (for social assistance)
You might also contact the constituency (electoral division) office of your MLA. You can look up your MLA here.
Call 2-1-1 for information about support in your community.

Newfoundland and Labrador

You might also contact the constituency (electoral division) office of your MLA. You can look up your MLA here.
You might also contact your local municipal office or 3-1-1.

This text has been adapted from information compiled and published freely by Dr. Jennifer Robson, Associate Professor of Political Management at Carleton University. You can read the original document here. Dr. Robson is not affiliated with ITK. Any errors or omissions are unintended.

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