Federal Government Support

There are many government plans being made to support Canadian workers. We are working on getting all of the details and will let you know how the new provisions and benefits apply to you. 

 


 

Canada’s New COVID-19 Benefits

The Canadian government has created a new package of benefits for workers left jobless or underemployed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Bill C-4 replaces the $500-per-week Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which ended on September 26.

Workers affected by the pandemic now have access to more flexible and generous employment insurance. For those who don't qualify for EI, a new Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) has been established.

How do I know if I qualify for EI?

You must have been employed for at least 120 insurable hours in the past 52 weeks. If you received CERB, that 52-week deadline can be extended. These changes will also establish a minimum weekly benefit rate of $500 for EI recipients, at the same level as CERB.

Financial Support Eligibility Tool

This easy-to-follow questionnaire from the Government of Canada helps people find the financial supports available to them if they are out of work or working reduced hours due to COVID-19. 

Who can apply for CRB?

CRB is for workers aged 15 and over who don’t qualify for EI or who are self-employed. If you lost your employment because of COVID-19, or if your income has dropped by at least 50 percent, then you may qualify. You must have earned a minimum of $5,000 in 2019, in 2020, or in the 12 months preceding your first application for this benefit. Those earnings can be from employment or from EI or maternity/parental benefits. You must also be available and looking for work.

How much are the CRB payments?

You will receive $500 per week for up to 26 weeks.

What other benefits are there?

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) provides $500 per week for up to two weeks for workers who are sick, or who must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19. People who receive paid sick leave from their employer are not eligible.

The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household for eligible Canadians unable to work because they must care for a child or family member.

You cannot claim CRCB or CRSB while on EI or CRB.

Is CRB taxable?

All benefits received under the three Canada Recovery Benefit programs are considered taxable income.

Where do I apply for CRB

Just like CERB, you will be able to apply for CRB through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) portal.

For more information, see the government’s website.




 

Canada Emergency Student Benefit

The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) provides support to students and new graduates who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or Employment Insurance or unable to work due to COVID-19. This benefit provides $1,250 per month for eligible students or $2,000 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities. This benefit is available from May to August 2020.

Learn more

 


 

Support Finder

This link will help to determine what support may be available to you.



 

May 7, 2020

Wage Top-up for Essential Workers

The federal, provincial, and territorial governments have pledged to provide $4 billion for a wage top-up for essential workers. Details are being finalized, but the federal government will pay 75 percent of the increase.

Learn more




Energy Sector Support

The federal government announced on April 17 that it will invest $1.7 billion to clean up orphan and inactive wells in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. These are wells that are no longer in use and that can be detrimental to both the health of residents and to the environment.

The initiative is expected to help maintain 5,200 jobs in Alberta, which will receive about $1 billion of the funding. Saskatchewan will receive $400 million and BC will get $120 million. A further $200 million to the Alberta Orphan Wells Association (OWA) to support its cleanup work. The OWA will fully repay this amount.

The government will also be working with the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada to expand credit supports for at-risk medium-sized energy companies so they can continue their operations and maintain jobs.

It is estimated that all of these measures combined will help maintain roughly 10,000 jobs across the country in the energy sector.

Learn more

 


 

Canada Child Benefit Increase

The federal government will continue the annual increase of the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) program this summer. This is in addition to the special CCB payment—up to an extra $300 per child—which was distributed in May to help families deal with the added pressures of COVID-19.

Learn more




Tax Filing Deadline Extended

The Canada Revenue Agency has extended the 2019 tax filing deadline to June 1, 2020 and the tax payment date to September 1, 2020. Note that while the deadline has been extended, if you’ll receive a refund, consider filing sooner. Self-employed, corporations, trusts, charities, and other dates have also been extended. See the above link for complete details.

Learn More.



 

RRIF Minimum Withdrawals Reduced

The minimum RRIF withdrawal has been decreased by 25 percent for 2020. This will give people’s portfolios a bit of time to recover from recent market dips.

Learn More.


 

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy has now been extended to December 19, 2020.

It provides subsidies to eligible employers who saw a drop of at least 15 percent in revenues in March 2020 and 30 percent for the following months.

The subsidy aims to prevent further job losses, encourages employers to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, and help better position Canadian companies and other employers to more easily resume normal operations. Legislative changes in July mean the subsidy is now more accessible to a broader range of eligible employers. It also ensures those who have previously benefitted could still qualify, even if their revenues recover and no longer meet the 30-percent decline threshold.

Learn more

 


 

Canada Summer Jobs

Canada Summer Jobs’ employers will be eligible for a subsidy of up to 100 per cent to cover the costs of hiring students. This will help to create up to 70,000 jobs for Canadians between the ages of 15 and 30. The timeframe for job placement will also be extended to the winter, as some jobs will start later than usual. Businesses will also be able to hire students part-time as well.

Learn More.

 


 

Increased GST credit 

The government is proposing a one-time special payment by April 2020 through the Goods and Services Tax Credit (GSTC). This will double the maximum annual GSTC payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year. The average boost to income for those benefitting from this measure will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.

Source: Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

 


 

Mortgage and Credit Payment Relief

The major banks have announced that they will suspend mortgage/rent payments for up to six months, and will give an opportunity for relief on other credit products on a case-by-case basis, to help people manage with pay disruptions. This means that if work ends (or someone goes off for another COVID-19-related reason), each individual would have to contact their bank and arrange to pause their payments.

 


 

Canada Student Loan Payment Deferral

Effective March 30, the government is placing a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all student loan borrowers. No payment will be required and interest will not accrue during this time. Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.

 



New App for COVID-19 News

Health Canada has released a new app to provide up-to-date news on COVID-19 including a self-assessment tool and information on financial supports that are available. It now includes a new portal called Wellness Together Canada, which will connect Canadians to mental health professionals for confidential chat sessions or phone calls, and will make it easier to find credible information and help address mental health and substance use issues.

The app can be downloaded at https://ca.thrive.health/.