Financial Aid for Workers Impacted by COVID-19

R&D Partners is compiling a list of financial aid and other measures created or amended to help workers and businesses struggling in the wake of COVID-19.

We will continue to update this list as the situation progresses, so please check back regularly. 

Table of Contents

Federal

Provincial

Municipal

 

Federal


Government of Canada: Employment Insurance Updates

Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits provide up to 15 weeks of income replacement to eligible claimants who are unable to work because of illness, injury, or quarantine. 

Canadians in quarantine because of COVID-19 may benefit from the following amendments and additions to the existing employment insurance policy:

  • Waiving of the one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits for new claimants so they can be paid for the first week of their claim
  • A new dedicated toll-free phone number to support inquiries related to waiving the EI sickness benefits waiting period
  • Priority processing of applications concerning EI sickness benefits for claimants under quarantine
  • No medical certificate needed for people claiming EI sickness benefits due to quarantine
  • Backdating of EI claims for those who cannot complete their claim for EI sickness benefits due to quarantine

Regular eligibility criteria (such as the 600 insured hours of work completed in the 52 weeks before the start of claim) still apply.

Eligible parties should contact one of the following numbers to have their sickness benefits waiting period waived:

  • Telephone: 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free)
  • Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-800-529-3742

Government of Canada: Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

This new benefit replaces CERB along with two new benefits (the CRSB and the CRCB) as of October 2020. The CRB is intended for workers who are self-employed or are not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) and who still require income support. The benefit will provide $500 per week for a maximum of 26 weeks. Many of the conditions of new benefit are similar to the ones that applied to CERB:

Having earned at least $5,000 in 2019, in 2020, or in the 12 months preceding the first application for this benefit and;
Being out of work due to COVID-19 or seeing one’s employment income reduced by at least 50%.
It is not possible to benefit from CRB and any of the following programs in the same program week:

  • Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB);
  • Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB);
  • Short-term disability benefits;
  • Workers’ compensation benefits;
  • Employment Insurance (EI) benefits or;
  • Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits.

Government of Canada: Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

This benefit will provide $500 a week for up to two weeks for workers who cannot work because they are sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19 if they don’t already receive paid sick leave from their employer. Other conditions similar to those of the CRB also apply, most notably the requirement to have earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020 or in the 12 months preceding the first application to the program. An individual cannot benefit from the CRSB and any of the following programs for the same week:

  • CERB
  • EI Emergency Response Benefit (ERB);
  • Canada Recovery Benefit;
  • Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit;
  • Short-term disability benefits;
  • Workers’ compensation benefits;
  • EI benefits or;
  • Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits.

Government of Canada: Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

This benefit will provide $500 per week, for up to 26 weeks, to eligible workers who cannot work because they must provide care to children or family members due to the closure of schools, day cares or care facilities. Only one person per household may claim the benefit in a given week. To be eligible, the caregiver’s work hours must have been reduced by at least 50% due to having to stay home to take care of a child or other dependent. Applicants need to have earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020 or in the 12 months preceding the first application to the program to be eligible.

Claiming the CRCB for a given week is not allowed if the applicant is already benefiting from any of the following programs or benefits for the same week:

  • Paid leave from an employer;
  • CERB;
  • EI Emergency Response Benefit (ERB);
  • Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB);
  • Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB);
  • Short-term disability benefits;
  • Workers’ compensation benefits;
  • EI benefits or;
  • Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits.

Government of Canada: Work Sharing Program

The Government of Canada’s Work Sharing program, which aims to help employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer, has implemented temporary special measures to combat the impacts of COVID-19, including:

  • extending the Work-Sharing agreements by an additional 38 weeks
  • waving the mandatory waiting period between agreements
  • easing the recovery plan requirements
  • expanding the eligibility to include businesses that have been in operation for only one year rather than two.
  • eliminating the need to provide sales and production figures

In order to be eligible, employees must be:

  •  year-round, permanent, full-time, or part-time employees that are needed to carry out the day-to-day functions of the business
  • eligible for EI benefits
  • willing to reduce their normal working hours by the same percentage as other employees and to share the available work with other employees

Revenu Québec: Incentive Program To Retain Essential Workers (IPREW)

Workers will receive $100 for eligible work fees that occur between March 15th, 2020 and the following sixteen weeks. To receive this assistance for any given week, applicants must not have received funding from CERB or the Temporary Aid for Workers Program for that same week. However, workers whose employers receive the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy are still eligible.


Fast Grants: Fast Funding for COVID-19 Science

Grants of between $10k and $500k to help academic researchers speed the completion of projects that could be used to combat COVID-19. Applicants must be:

  • A PI at an academic institution;
  • Already working on a project that could help with the COVID-19 pandemic within the next six months;
  • In need of additional funding to complete the project.

Application here


Government of Canada: Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ)

Companies that have been approved for Canada Summer Jobs 2020 will be able to benefit from the following modifications to the program to better deal with the new realities brought on by COVID-19. 

  • All funded employers will be:
    • eligible to receive a wage subsidy reimbursement of up to 100% of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for their interns. CSJ normally only covers up to 50% of the intern’s wages;
    • able to offer part-time placements (less than 30 hours a week) and/or the usual full-time 6 weeks placements; 
    • And allowed to extend job placements until February 28th, 2021. 

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation: Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses (CECRA)

This program aims to reduce the rent of small businesses that have been significantly affected by COVID-19 by 75% for April, May, and June. Forgivable loans will be provided to commercial building owners whose small commercial tenants, paying less than $50,000 per month in rent, have ceased operations or have seen their revenue reduced by 70% compared to before the pandemic.

Federal and provincial governments will provide a loan of a total of up to 50% of the tenant’s rent to the property owner. The loan will be forgiven if the property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for April, May, and June under a rent forgiveness agreement. The agreement must include a moratorium on evictions for its duration. The property owner would then assume 25% of their tenant’s rent, and the small business tenant would cover the rest, up to 25% of their rent.

 

 

 

Provincial

ALBERTA

Government of Alberta: Emergency Isolation Support

The government is offering a one-time payment of $1,146 to working Albertans who:

  • must self-isolate because of COVID-19  (whether they are sick, ordered to self-isolate, or are the sole caregiver of a dependent who is in self-isolation)
  • have experienced a total or significant loss of income as a result of this isolation
  • do not have access to another source of pay during their isolation while they wait for federal measures to become available in April

Apply here.


Government of Alberta: Job-Protected Leave

Changes to the Employment Standards Code will allow full and part-time employees to take 14 days of job-protected leave if they are:

  • required to self-isolate
  • caring for a child or dependent adult that is required to self-isolate

To be eligible, employees:

  • will not be required to have a medical note
  • do not need to have worked for an employer for 90 days

So far, there is no word on whether financial aid will be offered in tandem with this new measure.


Government of Alberta: Vacation Pay, Leave, or Banked Overtime

Employees may consider using their regularly available leaves should they be required to self-isolate; however, employers are not required to grant the request. Provincial employment rules only require employers to provide vacation pay, vacation leave, or banked overtime within a year of it being earned.

Employers can request employees voluntarily take vacation leave and/or use their vacation pay or banked overtime, but cannot force them to do so under provincial employment rules.


ATB Financial: Bank and Credit Union Measures

ATB Financial is allowing customers to apply for a payment deferral on loans and lines of credit for up to 6 months as well as access additional working capital. 

 

BRITISH COLUMBIA


Government of British Columbia: Changes to Employment Standards Act

The B.C. government will make changes to the Employment Standards Act to protect workers and prevent layoffs; however, no details have been announced so far. 


Government of British Columbia: B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers

This program is aimed at B.C. residents, whether they are EI and/or CERB eligible, who have lost income because of COVID-19. The program will provide a one-time, $1,000 payment to eligible recipients while they wait for other forms of more regular support. 

You can apply online starting May 1st, 2020.


Government of British Columbia: Climate Action Tax Credit

The government of B.C. is enhancing the July payment of the provincial climate action tax credit for moderate to low-income families. 

  • Adults will receive up to $218.00 (increased from $43.50)
  • Children will receive $64.00 (increased from $12.75)

BC Housing: Supporting renters, landlords during COVID-19

Housing BC has introduced a number of measures to support renters and landlords. General measures include: 

  • Landlords may not issue a new notice to end tenancy for any reason at this time. In extreme cases, when health and safety have to be ensured or undue damage to the property prevented, landlords can still apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch for a hearing.
  • Existing eviction orders will also not be enforced at this time, except in extreme cases where there are safety concerns. 
  • Annual rent increases will be frozen for the duration of the state of emergency. 

BC Housing: Temporary Rent Supplement

The new rental supplement will help households that do not qualify for existing rental assistance programs by offering them up to $500 a month to go towards their rent. The funds will be paid directly to landlords on behalf of the household to ensure landlords continue to receive rental income during the pandemic.

To be eligible, a household must:

  1. Have a 2019 gross household income of less than:
    • $74,150 for singles and couples without dependents
    • $113,040 for households with dependents
  2. As a result of COVID-19:
    • Be receiving or eligible for Employment Insurance; or
    • Be receiving or eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit offered by the federal government; or
    • Have experienced, and be able to provide evidence of, a drop of 25% or more in monthly household employment income
  3. Be paying more than 30% of current household income towards rent

The application is two stepped, and must be started by the tenant. Apply here.


Government of British Columbia: Student Loan Payment Deferral

B.C. Student loan payments are frozen for 6 months starting on March 30th, 2020. 


Government of British Columbia: Deferred Tax Payments 

All the following taxes’ filing and payment deadlines are being deferred until September 30th, 2020: 

  • Employer Health Tax
  • Sales taxes
    • Provincial sales tax (including municipal and regional district tax)
    • Carbon tax
    • Motor fuel tax
    • Tobacco tax

What’s more, the carbon tax increase announced in the provincial 2020 budget is being delayed until further notice, and School Tax Rates for Businesses are being reduced by 50% for the 2020 tax year.


BC Hydro: COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program

This program provides customers the option to defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty. They can call the following number to contact BC Hydro’s customer team: 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376).


BC Hydro: Customer Crisis Fund 

Customers facing temporary financial hardship and possible disconnection of their service due to job loss, illness, or loss of a family member may be eligible for grants of up to $600 to pay their bills.


Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada: Call for prototypes to help combat COVID-19

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada is looking for prototypes falling within a technology readiness level (TRL) of 7 to 9 that can help combat current and future outbreaks of COVID-19 and other similar threats. 

Innovative solutions can fall under one of two categories:

  • Medical innovations that will directly support doctors, researchers, and healthcare workers in their efforts to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Non-medical innovations that will assist Government of Canada departments and agencies, including through their partnerships with provinces, territories and municipalities, in addressing the challenges and impacts posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and other public health emergencies in the future.

 

NEW BRUNSWICK


Government of New Brunswick: Income Support for Workers

New Brunswick is investing $4.5 million to support workers who have lost their job due to COVID-19. This benefit is intended to help workers until the CERB and other federal measures are available. 


Government of New Brunswick: Job Protection for Workers

Workers will be able to take up to 15 weeks of upaid leave if they have COVID-19 or are caring for someone with the virus.

 

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR


Government of Newfoundland and Labrador: Urgent Legislative Sitting Supports Social and Economic Well-Being of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians 

Measures include: 

  • Providing employees with protections from losing their job if they must take time away from work as a result of COVID-19. 
  • Ensuring tenants of rental properties cannot be evicted if they have lost income resulting from COVID-19 and are not able to pay rent.
  • Extending interim supply to September 30th, 2020, in the event that the House of Assembly is disrupted until June 2020. This ensures that existing government services such as health care can continue.
  • Introducing $200 million in contingency funding to address the impacts of COVID-19 and reduced oil prices.
  • Providing long-term borrowing authority of $2 billion. This will allow for ongoing government operations, as well as the ability to respond to current revenue volatility.
  • Authorizing the temporary variation of deadlines and time periods for activities such as annual reports and audit reviews.
  • Changing the Hydro Corporation Act, 2007 to authorize additional borrowing capacity to protect against a potential reduction in revenues as a result of COVID-19.

 

NOVA SCOTIA


Government of Nova Scotia: Income Assistance

Every individual and family member on income assistance will receive an additional $50, starting Friday, March 20th, 2020. No application necessary. 


Government of Nova Scotia: Suspension of Student Loan Payments

Nova Scotia student loan payments are suspended until September 30th, 2020. There is no need to apply, and no interests will accumulate for non-payment during this period.


Government of Nova Scotia: Worker Emergency Bridge Fund

The Worker Emergency Bridge Fund will help self-employed and laid-off workers who do not qualify for Employment Insurance. The government will provide a one-time, $1,000 payment, to bridge the gap between layoffs and closures and the Federal Government’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

 

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES


Northwest Territories Government: Emergency Allowance for Income Assistance Recipients 

Income assistance recipients will receive $500 if they are a single recipient and $1000 if they are a household of two or more so that they can prepare for 14 days of isolation in the event that they contract COVID-19 or have symptoms.

 

ONTARIO


Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development: Employment Standards Amendment Act

In light of COVID-19, employees will be able to take a leave of absence without pay, starting on the prescribed date, if the employee will not be performing the duties of his or her position because of various reasons related to a designated infectious disease, including:

  • that the employee is under medical investigation, supervision or treatment
  • that the employee is in quarantine or isolation
  • that the employee is providing care or support to another individual
  • or that the employee is affected by travel restrictions

Government of Ontario: Employment Protection

Employees in isolation or quarantine, or employees that need to be away for childcare, will be able to take job-protected leave.

 

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND


Government of PEI: Employee Gift Card Program

This temporary program is a joint initiative between the PEI Government and Sobeys to provide PEI workers who have been laid off between March 13th, 2020 and March 31st, 2020 with emergency relief while they wait for Employment Insurance. This relief will be provided in the form of $100 gift cards, which can be used at Sobeys, Lawtons Drugs, Foodland and participating Co-Ops. Employers must apply on behalf of their employees.


Government of PEI: Emergency Income Relief for the Self-Employed

The Emergency Income Relief Fund is a temporary program put in place to support self-employed workers who have been significantly affected by COVID-19. 

To be eligible, self-employed individuals must:

  • Have declared business income on their most recent tax return.
  • Business income must be their primary source of income.
  • Be able to demonstrate direct financial losses resulting from the COVID -19 isolation measures at the time of application.
  • Not be EI eligible or receiving any other income support (ie. Business Interruption Insurance).

Applicants can receive a maximum of $500 per week for the period of March 16th, 2020 to March 29th, 2020 (this period will be reviewed as required).

 

QUEBEC


Government of Quebec/Red Cross: Temporary Aid for Workers Program

Starting March 19th, workers residing in Quebec who are in isolation and meet the below eligibility requirements will be able to apply to receive a lump sum of $573 per week for a total of 14 days. If justified, this coverage period could be extended to a maximum of 28 days. 

Eligibility requirements:

  • In isolation by order of the Government of Canada, the Gouvernement du Québec, or another responsible authority because:
    • you have contracted the virus or present symptoms
    • you have been in contact with an infected person
    • you have returned from abroad
  • 18 years of age or older
  • you are not receiving compensation from your employer
  • you do not have private insurance
  • you are not covered by another government program, such as employment insurance from the federal government

Learn more here.


Government of Quebec: Concerted Actions Program for the Maintenance in Employment (PACME–COVID-19)

This program offers financial support to companies affected by COVID-19 to train their employees and adapt their human resources operations to the current crisis. The training could be related to ensuring a faster return to full operations when the crisis ends, improving employees’ technological competences in order to better manage operations during the crisis, or any other training relevant to the companies’ regular or adapted activities.


Tax Deadline Extended

The deadline for filing the personal income tax return has been extended to June 1st, 2020. Both individuals and businesses will have until August 31, 2020, to pay their income tax due for the 2019 taxation year.

 

Saskatchewan


Government of Saskatchewan: Job Protected Leave

Saskatchewan is amending its employment act to ensure that employees can access unpaid public health emergency leave. The amendments include:

  • The removal of the requirement of 13 consecutive weeks of employment with an employer prior to accessing sick leave; and
  • The removal of the provision requiring a doctor’s note or certificate.

Government of Saskatchewan: Self-Isolation Support Program

This program will provide eligible workers who are forced to self-isolate and thus lose their employment income with $450 per week, for a maximum of two weeks. 

To be eligible, applicants must meet one of the following criteria:

  • They have contracted COVID-19 or are showing symptoms; or
  • They have been in contact with an individual infected with COVID-19; or
  • They have recently returned from international travel and have been required to self-isolate

AND

  • They are not eligible for compensation including sick leave, vacation leave from their employer;
  • They do not have private insurance covering such disruptions;
  • They are not covered by other programs such as federal employment insurance (which has been updated)

Government of Saskatchewan: Student Loan Repayment Moratorium

Student loan payments have been suspended for 6 months.

 

YUKON


Government of Yukon: Paid Sick Leave Rebate for Employers

The Paid Sick Leave Rebate supports Yukon workers and self-employed people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, offering them financial support if they become sick or are required to self-isolate and don’t have paid sick leave. This program will reimburse employers who pay their employees to take sick days and self-isolate, up to a maximum of 10 days of wages per employee, and up to $378.13 per day per employee.


Government of Yukon: Paid Sick Leave for the Self-Employed 

The Paid Sick Leave Rebate supports Yukon workers and self-employed people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The rebate allows Yukon workers without paid sick leave to stay at home if they become sick or are required to self-isolate while still meeting their basic financial needs. Self-employed Yukoners can be covered for a maximum of 10 days of documented average daily earnings to allow for a 14-day self-isolation period. The maximum daily rebate will be $378.13 per day.

 

 

Provincial – General

MANITOBA


Government of Manitoba: General Economic Measures

Until October 1st 2020: 

  • Manitoba Hydro, Centra Gas, Workers Compensation Board and Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) will not charge interest or penalties. 
  • Manitoba Hydro and Centra Gas will not disconnect any customers. 
  • MPI will relax ordinary practices on policy renewals and collections. 
  • Interest will not be charged on education property taxes.
  • Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries will not charge restaurants receivables.

ONTARIO


Ontario Ministry of Finance: Economic Support in Response to COVID-19

The government of Ontario has pledged $17 billion to fight COVID-19. Of this amount, $200 million will provide emergency support for individuals experiencing financial difficulties, and to municipalities and other services so they can quickly respond to local needs. How this amount will be divided and administered has yet to be disclosed. 

A $1.5B increase in electricity cost relief will make electricity bills more affordable for eligible residential, farm, and small business consumers. In addition, the Province is also setting electricity prices for time-of-use customers at the lowest rate, known as the off-peak price, 24 hours a day for 45 days, to support ratepayers in their increased daytime electricity usage as they respond to the COVID‑19 outbreak.

Other measures (with no clear guidelines to date) include:

  • $200M for research institutions, industry, and nonprofit scientific partners to develop tools and resources to combat COVID-19 and related diseases.
  • $100M in skills training for workers affected by the outbreak.

 

 

Municipal – For Workers

MONTREAL


Montréal inc.: Support for Montreal Entrepreneurs – COVID-19

Montreal inc., in collaboration with Bonjour Startup Montréal, has created a support initiative reuniting a group of coaches ready to offer crisis management support to businesses of all sectors affected by COVID-19.


PME MTL/Fonds Locaux de Solidarité/Fonds de commercialisation des innovations: Automatic moratorium on capital and interest 

The PME MTL network is offering an automatic, six-month moratorium on capital and interest to private and social economy businesses who have received a loan through the PME MTL fund, Fonds Locaux de Solidarité, and Fonds de commercialisation des innovations.

The city will pay the portion of interest during this period.


Ville de Montréal: Second installment of municipal taxes postponed

  • The deadline for the second instalment of owners’ annual property taxes is now July 2, 2020. 
  •  The deadlines for other invoices, such as SDCs contributions, remain unchanged.

 

TORONTO


Municipal Government of Toronto: Grace Period for Property Taxes & Utility Bills

Property owners can expect the following extensions, depending on their plan: 

  •  For property owners on the regular three-installment payment plan, the April 1st property tax installment due date will be extended to June 1st, 2020.
  • For property owners on the 11-installment pre-authorized payment plan, Interim 2020 installment due dates will be extended by 60 days.
  • Late payment penalties (applied on the first day following the installment due date where payment in full is not received) will be waived for 60 days, starting March 16th, 2020.
  • utility bill deadlines–usually due within 21 days after the billing date–will be extended by an additional 60 days.

Interim 2020 bills with the regular installment due dates have already been mailed. The City will therefore use other means (such as their website, social media, other advertising) to identify this grace period to property owners. Property tax accounts will be adjusted as necessary to reflect these relief measures. Automatic withdrawals scheduled for the next 60 days (starting on March 16) have also been suspended, and customers will be advised of their re-scheduling.


Municipal Government of Toronto: Contingency Fund

The City of Toronto has announced the creation of a “substantial contingency fund to support businesses and affected groups”, however, the details of this fund are still pending.

 

Municipal – General

TORONTO


Municipal Government of Toronto: Economic Support & Recovery Task Force

Toronto has assembled a task force to create immediate and longer-term economic recovery strategies for residents and businesses, with a focus on supporting those industries most impacted by COVID-19, such as tourism, hospitality, and entertainment.

No new federal or provincial programs have been announced to date.


For general information about COVID-19, visit the Government of Canada.

Stay home and stay healthy!

MONTREAL