Personal Financial Support

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.

 

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.
  • There is no need to apply for this payment. If you are eligible, you will get it automatically.

 

Enhanced Canada Child Benefit:

  • 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.

 

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.

 

Lower Registered Retirement Income Fund Minimum Withdrawal Amounts:

  • Reducing required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020.
  • This benefit is available immediately,

 

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 for 45 days.

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