Income and Other Financial Supports
Visit the Government of Canada website for information on its programs to support individuals and businesses facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Resource: Canadian law firm McCarthy Tétrault is tracking economic federal and provincial relief measures as they are announced.
On this page you'll find:
- resources that promise to help you figure out which of these supports you may be eligible for
- highlights of some of these government supports
- resources to learn more
- a list of emergency and relief funds being offered (e.g., by nonprofits and community groups)
- resources to help you manage your financial well-being at this time
Help finding the benefits relevant to you
Financially affected by the coronavirus and confused about what government aid is available and who should apply for it? Here are three resources that might help.
1. The CBC has produced an interactive tool to help you find which of the benefits the federal government, provinces, and territories are offering are relevant to you.
Get information on what’s available to those who have lost income, renters and homeowners, families, seniors, students, businesses, and Canadians abroad. There’s also a personal finance section with information on tax and utility bill deferrals. This guide provides the basic benefit information you need to apply for subsidies, including:
- Who can apply
- Date available
- How to apply
- Links or phone number to make a claim
2. Corona Support is a 3-minute online survey you can use to determine what government support programs you are eligible for. Answer a few questions and you get suggestions of which programs you should consider applying for.
3. Dr. Jennifer Robson, an Associate Professor of Political Management at Carleton University, has been maintaining a plain language guide to all federal and provincial income benefits to help people figure out which apply to their particular situation.
Details on Some of These Supports
For OW and ODSP Recipients and Low-Income Families
OW and ODSP recipients will continue to receive benefits even if they don’t report on their income. Social assistance recipients who have employment income may qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). See the CERB section below.
OW and ODSP recipients, and all low-income families, have access to discretionary emergency funds to address emergency needs. Visit the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services website, and click the blue "Apply for COVID-19 Emergency Assistance" button.
Low and modest-income individuals and families will receive a one-time special payment in early May through the Goods and Services Tax credit. To receive this, they must have filed their income tax return for 2018.
Families will receive a one-time top-up of $300 per child in the May payment of their Canada Child Benefit.
The Province will also provide parents a one-time payment of $200 per child 0 to 12 and $250 for those 0 to 21 with special needs to offset the cost of buying materials to support children’s learning while families practice self-isolation and physical distancing. Parents can fill out an application.
Rogers, Apple, and the Province have partnered to deliver free iPads and $9.99/mo internet service to vulnerable communities to support online learning. Details here.
For Essential Workers
On April 15, the Government of Canada announced a wage top-up for essential workers earning under $2,500 a month, including those in long-term care facilities. Details are still to be worked out with the provinces and territories.
The Province has temporarily suspended loan and interest payments on Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loans between March 30 and September 30, 2020.
The Government of Canada is expanding the Summer Jobs Program and extending the end date for employment to February 28, 2021.
On April 22, the Government of Canada announced the Canada Emergency Student Benefit. Eligible post-secondary students will receive $1,250 a month from May to August, or $1,750 if they are taking care of someone else or have a disability. College and university students currently in school, planning to start in September, or who graduated in December 2019 are eligible.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide workers affected by the COVID-19 crisis $2,000 a month for up to four months.
Initially, the CERB was available to:
- wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance
- workers who must stop working due to COVID19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support
- workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19
- working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures
- workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work (this will prevent layoffs by struggling small businesses and nonprofits; employees can instead take unpaid leave and apply for the CERB)
Critics pointed out that the program left out millions of workers who still had some work, but had seen much of their income disappear, because to qualify for the CERB a worker must have gone 14 consecutive days without employment since March 15.
On April 15, the Government announced that part-time and contract earning less than $1,000 a month would also now qualify for the CERB program, as would seasonal workers who have exhausted their regular employment insurance benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work due to the outbreak.
As well, other unemployed workers who have run out of their EI benefits and can’t find a job or return to work will be eligible. These changes are retroactive to March 15 and will cover Canadians who have exhausted their EI benefits since Jan. 1.
However, there is still no help for 175,000 workers who did not earn $5,000 last year or in the previous 12 months (another CERB requirement), nor for the 1.4 million workers who earn between $1,000 and $2,000 a month and have seen a majority of their hours lost.
For more information, read this analysis from Jennifer Robson, an Associate Professor of Political Management at Carleton University. (Also see her plain language guide to all federal and provincial income benefits)
How Does the CERB work with other benefits?See
The Good Jobs For All Coalition has analyzed the April 15 changes to the CERB and how it affects EI applicants:
How Do I Apply for the CERB ?
To learn how to apply, visit the Government of Canada website. Applicants must apply on a certain day of the week according to their birth month:
Resources to Learn More
Note: As new benefits and supports are announced, some of these resources may become, or already be, outdated.
- Steps to Justice has Q&A on income assistance and on the law relating to employment and work
- The CCPA has posted resources for workers to help them navigate uncertainty during the pandemic
- East Scarborough Storefront has put together a summary of the financial support programs made available by the Government of Canada, including a section that speaks to Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program recipients, and a section on taxes
- West Scarborough Community Legal Services has made an easy-to-understand video on changes to EI Sickness Benefits due to COVID-19
- Here's news on Ontario Works cheque pickup and payment card replacement
Other Sources of Financial Support
CREation Community Support Fund
Canadian Roots Exchange has launched a national Community Support Fund to enable small organizations and collectives to support youth wellbeing during COVID-19. Groups can apply for up to $5,000 to provide innovative and essential supports, resources, and initiatives to Indigenous youth (ages 14 to 29).
Youth Support Fund
Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada’s COVID-19 Youth Support Fund offers grants of $1,000 to former youth in care to help support them through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Help for Pet Owners
Toronto Animal Services is providing assistance with the purchase of pet food and supplies to pet owners experiencing hardship due to COVID-19. Pet owners can contact TAS by:
- filling in and submitting a survey , or
- emailing email@example.com, or
- calling 416 338 0934 between noon and 4pm
CBC Creative Relief Fund
Spanning three different streams, this $2 million fund will support Canadian creators by providing development and production funding to innovative original storytelling projects — e.g., scripted comedies and dramas, unscripted entertainment, kids and young adult programming, podcasts, play adaptations, and short documentaries — "with compelling perspectives and unique voices that also reflect contemporary Canada, and follow the recommended local and national COVID-19 safety guidelines."
Creators can apply before 11:59 pm ET on Friday, April 24.
Community Support Funds for Vulnerable and Low-Income GTA Populations
(Most of this information provided by Councillor Mike Layton's office)
Black Community Emergency Support Fund
Black Lives Matter is distributing one-time stipends of either $125 or $250 to Black people living across the GTA
Email BLM to be added to the wait list
Glad Day Emergency Survival Fund
Emergency fund for LGBTQ2S artists, performers, and tip-based workers
Canadian Artist + Musician Relief Fund
Weekly financial support for low-income GTA artists and musicians whose livelihoods are affected by COVID-19
Format Photographer Relief Fund
Assistance of up to $500 per person to self-employed photographers facing financial hardship
TOArtist COVID Relief Fund
Provides $1,000 grants for Toronto-based, self-employed artists/arts professionals
Applications accepted until April 30
U of T Emergency Undergraduate Grant
To assist current U of T undergraduate domestic and international students, both full- and part-time, impacted by COVID-19 who need immediate short-term financial relief
Actors Fund of Canada
Emergency support for anyone working in the entertainment industry
Eligible musicians in Ontario can apply to do a livestream performance through MusicTogether, receiving $1,000 in emergency relief funding if selected
Unison Benevolent Fund
Provides emergency financial support to Canadian music-makers recovering from an illness, injury, or other circumstances that result in an inability to work, or facing severe economic or personal hardship
Prisoner Emergency Support Fund
Support for prisoners re-entering the community and those that are still behind bars during the pandemic
One-time stipends of $225 to recently released prisoners and those who are still incarcerated
Maggie’s Toronto Emergency Fund for Sex Workers
One-time emergency fund for GTA sex workers
Managing Financial Well-Being
- Prosper Canada is a charity that expands economic opportunity for Canadians living in poverty through program and policy innovation. Its Managing Financial Well-Being in Tough Times Toolkit contains resources and information on financial benefits, budgeting and spending tools, tips for managing debt and credit concerns, and more.
Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada offers tips for protecting your finances during the pandemic, free credit counselling to help you address any challenges you’re facing with your budget and credit card debt, and a downloadable Financial Guide for Navigating COVID-19 booklet.
- West Neighbourhood House is partnering with the University Health Network to offer free help with finances, such as filing taxes, finding and getting emergency benefits, and budgeting.
Call 416 532 4828 or email FEPS@westnh.org to make a phone appointment with a financial problem-solver.