Personal Financial Support

This page was last updated: May 27, 2020**Disclaimer: We strive to update the information on this page as quickly as possible.

 

Recently, the Government of Canada announced a number of measures to provide relief to Canadians as they go through the COVID-19 pandemic.

This page will provide you with an overview of the measures announced, as well as provide answers to some commonly asked questions.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact my office directly.

 

Economic Response Plan Measures for Individuals

Important Note: People already receiving EI should stay on EI and not apply for this benefit. If their EI ends before October 3, 2020, they can apply for this benefit.

All existing applications to EI that aren’t processed by the time the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) opens up will be automatically transferred to the CERB. Applications to EI processed before that time will result in the applicant receiving EI benefits.

If this benefit runs out (after 16 weeks) and a worker is still unemployed and EI eligible, they can apply for EI.

For more information on CERB, please visit the Canada Emergency Response Benefit tab under COVID-19 on this website.

 

Access to Employment Insurance:

  • Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits provide up to 15 weeks of income replacement and is available to eligible claimants who are unable to work because of illness, injury or quarantine, to allow them time to restore their health and return to work. Canadians quarantined can apply for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits.
  • If you are eligible, visit the EI sickness benefits page to apply.
  • Service Canada is ready to support Canadians affected by COVID-19 and placed in quarantine, with the following support actions:
    • The one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived for new claimants who are quarantined so they can be paid for the first week of their claim
  • Establishing a new dedicated toll-free phone number to support enquiries related to waiving the EI sickness benefits waiting period
    • People claiming EI sickness benefits due to quarantine will not have to provide a medical certificate
    • People who cannot complete their claim for EI sickness benefits due to quarantine may apply later and have their EI claim backdated to cover the period of delay

Important: If you are directly affected by the COVID-19 because you are sick or quarantined and you have not yet applied for EI benefits, please submit your application before contacting the department. This will allow them to better serve you and prevent delays in establishing your claim.

  • If you have already completed the application for EI sickness benefits whether you are sick or quarantined and would like to have the one-week waiting period waived, call the new toll-free phone number below. It is important to note that no other request will be actioned on this phone line. We will take action only for sick or quarantined clients affected by the COVID-19 for which the application for sickness benefits has been filed.
    • Telephone: 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free)
    •  Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-800-529-3742

If you are experiencing symptoms such as cough, fever, difficulty breathing or you are in self-isolation or quarantine, do not visit or enter any Service Canada office. As an alternative, you may access our services online or by calling 1 800 O-Canada.

 

Applying for Employment Insurance:

  • If you were recently laid off or have reduced hours and qualify for Employment Insurance benefits, you can submit your request today.

 

Wage Boost for Essential Workers

  • The Government of Canada will work with provinces and territories through a new transfer to cost-share a temporary top up to the salaries of low-income essential workers that the provinces and territories have deemed essential in the fight against COVID-19.
  • The Government of Canada will cover a portion of the cost of providing temporary financial support to these low-income workers, thereby helping to support employers in keeping their workers on staff, while also ensuring fairness.
  • Through this new transfer, provinces and territories will be able to provide their low-income essential workers (those who earn less than $2,500 per month), with a top up. This will provide a much needed boost to those on the front-line in hospitals, those caring for seniors in long-term care facilities, those working so hard to make sure that there that is food on our shelves and tables, and others. We continue to work with provinces and territories on the delivery of this measure and further details will be released shortly.
  • More details to come.
  • For more information: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/04/expanding-access-to-the-canada-emergency-response-benefit-and-proposing-a-new-wage-boost-for-essential-workers.html

 

GST Credit:

  • The Government will be providing a one-time special payment by early May through the Goods and Services Tax credit for low- and modest-income families.
  • The average additional benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.
  • According to the Government, payment is expected to be available on April 9, 2020
  • There is no need to apply for this payment. If you are eligible, you will get it automatically.

 

Enhanced Canada Child Benefit:

  • According to the Government, eligible recipients will receive $300 more per child with their regular May CCB payment.
  • If you have previously applied for the CCB, you do not need to re-apply.
  • For more information on the Canada Child Benefit such as how to apply and eligibility requirements, go to Canada child benefit or call 1-800-387-1193.

 

Support for Seniors:

  • Reducing the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020.
  • Learn more about Registered Retirement Income Funds
  • The government is also contributing $9 million through United Way Canada for local organizations to support practical services to Canadian seniors. These services could include the delivery of groceries, medications, or other needed items, or personal outreach to assess individuals’ needs and connect them to community supports.
  • https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2020/05/12/prime-minister-announces-additional-support-canadian-seniors
  • Providing additional financial support of $2.5 billion for a one-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension, with an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). This measure would give a total of $500 to individuals who are eligible to receive both the OAS and the GIS, and will help them cover increased costs caused by COVID-19.
  • Expanding the New Horizons for Seniors Program with an additional investment of $20 million to support organizations that offer community-based projects that reduce isolation, improve the quality of life of seniors, and help them maintain a social support network.
  • Temporarily extending GIS and Allowance payments if seniors’ 2019 income information has not been assessed. This will ensure that the most vulnerable seniors continue to receive their benefits when they need them the most. To avoid an interruption in benefits, seniors are encouraged to submit their 2019 income information as soon as possible and no later than by October 1, 2020.
  • What additional measures have Conservatives called for to support seniors?
    • Conservatives know that our seniors have been severely impacted by COVID-19, both physically and financially. That’s why we have called on the Liberal government to waive mandatory RRIF withdrawals until December 31, 2020. This way seniors will have the opportunity to recoup some financial loss without being penalized.

 

Support for Students:

  • Canada Emergency Student Benefit:
  • Student Service Grant:
  • Changes to the Canada Student Loans Program:
    • The federal government is proposing changes to the Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP) to allow more students to qualify for support and be eligible for greater amounts.
    • The changes would include:
      • doubling the Canada Student Grants for all eligible full-time students to up to $6,000 and up to $3,600 for part-time students in 2020-21. The Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependents would also be doubled.
      • broadening eligibility for student financial assistance by removing the expected student’s and spouse’s contributions in 2020-21.
      • raising the maximum weekly amount that can be provided to a student in 2020-21 from $210 to $350.
    • More details to come.
  • Canada Student Loan Payments:
    • This is a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans.
    • 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 don’t need to apply for the repayment pause.
    • Learn more about the moratorium on the repayment
    • The Government of Ontario has also announced a six-month interest-free moratorium on OSAP loans.
  • Canada Summer Jobs Program:
    • Canada’s small businesses increasingly depend on the employment of young Canadians. The changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program will help small businesses hire and keep the workers they need so they can continue to deliver essential services.
    • The temporary changes to the program for this year include:
      • an increase to the wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee
      • an extension to the end date for employment to February 28, 2021
      • allowing employers to adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services allowing employers to hire staff on a part-time basis
    • More info:   https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/funding/canada-summer-jobs/temporary-flexibility.html
  • Additional Measures
    • double the Canada Student Grants for all eligible full-time students to up to $6,000 and up to $3,600 for part-time students in 2020-21. The Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependents would also be doubled.
    • broaden eligibility for student financial assistance by removing the expected student’s and spouse’s contributions in 2020-21, in recognition that many students and families will struggle to save for school this year.
    • enhance the Canada Student Loans Program by raising the maximum weekly amount that can be provided to a student in 2020-21 from $210 to $350.
    • increase existing distinctions-based support for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation students pursuing post-secondary education by providing an additional $75.2 million in 2020-21.
    • extend expiring federal graduate research scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships, and supplement existing federal research grants, to support students and post-doctoral fellows, by providing $291.6 million to the federal granting councils. In addition, the government intends to enhance work opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows through the National Research Council of Canada.
    • Link:https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2020/04/22/support-students-and-new-grads-affected-covid-19

 

Lower Hydro Rates:

  • On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, the Provincial government announced that it would be dropping the price of hydro from its peak price of 20.8 cents per kilowatt hour to 10.1 cents per kilowatt hour to help less the financial burden on families and businesses.
  • This price will be in effect until May 31, 2020.

 

RRSPs:

  • Conservatives have called on the Liberal Government to allow Canadians a special one-time withdrawal from their RRSP in 2020, which if repaid by December 31, 2023 will be tax-free.
  • This will allow Canadians to stay afloat during these trying times.

 

General FAQs

If I stay home from work, will I get EI support?

 

Do I need to provide a medical certificate to my employer?

  • Claimants placed in quarantine will not have to provide a medical certificate, if the quarantine is:
    • Imposed on the claimant under the laws of Canada or a province
    • Imposed on the claimant by a public health official for the health and safety of the public at large, or
    • Recommended by such an official for health and safety of the public at large, and the claimant was asked by their employer, medical doctor, a nurse or a person in authority to place themselves under quarantine.
  • However, claimants who fall sick during the quarantine period and collect benefits beyond the period of quarantine will be required to obtain and retain a medical certificate, which is the current practice for all other sickness benefits claims. As these individuals would be under active medical care, getting a medical certificate is expected not to be problematic.

 

Does Service Canada still need a Record of Employment (ROE) from my employer?

  • Employers should use reason Code A (Shortage of work) as the reason for separation on the ROE.
  • When the ROE is not submitted:
    • In situations where fact-finding is required with the employer (i.e. a dismissal); this is the high-level process followed by agents:
      • The agent attempts to obtain the facts concerning the reason for separation by calling the employer. Two telephone attempts are made within 48 hours. Voicemails are left when the employer has one.
      • If the telephone attempts are unsuccessful, a letter is sent to the employer by mail asking to contact the agent. A delay of 10 days is provided.
      • If the employer does not contact the agent after those attempts, a decision is rendered with the facts on file, hence without the facts from the employer.
    • For a situation where the ROE is missing to calculate the claim, and the client is requesting help in obtaining the ROE, this is the high-level process followed by agents:
      • The agents attempt to remind the employer of their obligation to submit an ROE by calling them. Two telephone attempts are made within 48 hours. Voicemails are left when the employer has one.
      • If the telephone attempts are unsuccessful, a letter is sent to the employer by mail asking them to submit the ROE. A delay of 10 days is provided.
      • As soon as the first letter is sent, the processing agents starts the interim ROE process to calculate the claim without the ROE and benefits may begin.
      • If the employer does not submit the ROE after the first letter, a second letter is sent by mail asking to submit the ROE. At this stage, the processing agent does not do a follow-up on the second letter. Instead, the file is referred to Integrity Services for them to follow-up with the employer.

For more information, visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/ei/ei-list/ei-roe.html

 

Has the federal government announced measures to assist with mortgages?

  • https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan/covid19-individuals.html#mortgage_support
  •  Canadian banks have committed to work with their customers on a case-by-case basis to find solutions to help them manage hardships caused by COVID-19. Canadians who are impacted by COVID-19 and experiencing financial hardship as a result should contact their financial institution regarding flexibility for a mortgage deferral. This allows flexibility to  be available − when needed − to those who need it the most.
  • Learn more
  • Contact your financial institution for further mortgage assistance.
  • The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and other mortgage insurers offer tools to lenders that can assist homeowners who may be experiencing financial difficulty. These include payment deferral, loan re-amortization, capitalization of outstanding interest arrears and other eligible expenses, and special payment arrangements.
  • Canada’s mortgage insurers are committed to providing homeowners with solutions to mitigate temporary financial hardship related to COVID-19. This includes permitting lenders to defer up to six monthly mortgage payments (interest and principal) for impacted borrowers. Deferred payments are added to the outstanding principal balance and subsequently repaid throughout the life of the mortgage.
  • Learn more: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC)

 

What individual financial support is the Ontario Government providing?

 

Additional Links:

For general information on benefits and services, visit https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/notices/coronavirus.html

 

This page was last updated: May 27, 2020**Disclaimer: We strive to update the information on this page as quickly as possible.