SUPPORT FOR CANADIANS
The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to support Canadians facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Temporary wage top-up for low-income essential workers
All provinces and territories have confirmed, or are in the process of confirming, plans to cost share wage top-ups for their essential workers.
We will provide up to $3 billion in federal support to increase the wages of low-income essential workers. Each province or territory will determine which workers would be eligible for support, and how much support they will receive.
Increasing the Canada Child Benefit
We are providing up to an extra $300 per child through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-20. This will mean approximately $550 more for the average family.
This benefit will be delivered as part of the scheduled CCB payment in May.
Those who already receive the CCB do not need to re-apply.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit
We will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 every 4 weeks for up to 16 weeks to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19.
An online questionnaire will help us direct you to the service option that best fits your situation (i.e. eligibility for Employment Insurance benefits or not).
Do not apply for the CERB if you have already applied for EI.
Visit my special CERB webpage
Special Goods and Services Tax credit payment
We are providing a one-time special payment starting April 9 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.
Extra time to file income tax returns
The filing due date for 2019 income tax returns for individuals has been deferred until June 1, 2020. Any new income tax balances due, or instalments, are also being deferred until after August 31, 2020 without incurring interest or penalties.
Note: If you expect to receive benefits under the Goods and Services Tax credit or the Canada Child Benefit, we encourage you not to delay filing your 2019 income tax return to ensure that your entitlements are properly determined.
Mortgage payment deferral
Homeowners facing financial hardship may be eligible for a mortgage payment deferral of up to six months.
The deferral is an agreement between you and your lender. Typically, the agreement indicates that you and your lender have agreed to pause or suspend your mortgage payments for a certain amount of time. After the agreement ends, your mortgage payments return to normal and the deferred payments — including principal and accumulated interest – are added to the outstanding principal balance and subsequently repaid throughout the life of the mortgage.
To know if you are eligible for a mortgage payment deferral or to learn what options are available, contact your lender — your bank or your mortgage professional.
Employment Insurance Benefits
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 us. This will allow us 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.
Support for Students
Visit my special 'Support for Students' webpage
Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)
Creating new jobs and opportunities
Launching a new national service initiative
Helping students continue their studies in the fall
Supporting international students working in an essential service
Suspending repayment and interest on student and apprentice loans
Providing youth with mental health support
Support for Seniors
Reduced minimum withdrawals for Registered Retirement Income Funds
The Government is reducing the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020.
A registered retirement income fund (RRIF) is an arrangement between you and a carrier (an insurance company, a trust company or a bank) that we register. You transfer property to the carrier from an RRSP, a PRPP, an RPP, an SPP, or from another RRIF, and the carrier makes payments to you.
The minimum amount must be paid to you in the year following the year the RRIF is entered into. Earnings in a RRIF are tax-free and amounts paid out of a RRIF are taxable on receipt.
You can have more than one RRIF and you can have self-directed RRIFs. The rules that apply to self-directed RRIFs are generally the same as those for RRSPs. For more information, see Self-directed RRSPs.
Additional measures to help Canadian seniors and provide them with greater financial security in this time of crisis. These measures include:
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.
Practical services: delivery of items and personal outreach
The Government is 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.
Immediate and essential services through the New Horizons for Seniors Program
The Government announced that organizations who received funding under the 2019-2020 New Horizons for Seniors Program community-based stream will be able to use their funding to provide immediate and essential services to seniors impacted by COVID-19.
Activities can start immediately and can include:
supporting seniors in staying connected with their community and family by providing electronic devices, virtual activities and remote tutorials;
supporting the delivery of food and medication to self-isolated seniors at home;
assisting seniors to undertake essential activities, such as visits to the doctor;
hiring staff to replace a loss of a senior volunteer due to the outbreak;
providing information to seniors regarding how to care for themselves during the pandemic.
One-time tax-free payment for seniors
The payment for seniors provides support through a one-time payment:
$300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security pension, and
an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement
This measure will give a total of $500 to seniors who receive both the Old Age Security pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, and will help them cover increased costs caused by COVID-19.
The one-time payment for seniors is available to individuals who are eligible to receive the Old Age Security pension or the Guaranteed Income Supplement in June 2020.
How to apply
You do not have to apply. All individuals who are eligible to receive the Old Age Security pension or the Guaranteed Income Supplement in June 2020 will receive the one-time payment for seniors.
Date of payment
We will issue the payment as soon as possible.
Method of payment
The one-time payment for seniors will be paid to your bank account if you are enrolled for Direct Deposit. If you are not enrolled for Direct Deposit, you will receive a cheque.
We encourage recipients of the Old Age Security pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement who currently receive payments by cheque to sign up for direct deposit to avoid payment delays.
Everyone will receive one payment.
If you only receive the Old Age Security pension, you will receive a single payment of $300.
If you receive the Old Age Security pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, you will receive a single payment of $500.
If you receive the Allowance or the Allowance for the Survivor, you will receive a single payment of $500.
Spouse and common-law partner
You and your spouse or common-law partner will each receive $500 if you are both receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
For couples where one partner receives the Guaranteed Income Supplement and one partner (between the age of 60 and 64) receives the Allowance, the partner receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement will receive $500 and the partner receiving the Allowance will receive $500.
Allowance for the Survivor
Recipients of the Allowance for the Survivor will receive the $500 for the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
The one-time payment for seniors is non-taxable. You will receive the full amount (no withholds). You will not receive a tax slip and you will not have to report this amount in your 2020 tax return.
Supports for Canadians with disabilities to address challenges from COVID-19
We know Canadians living with disabilities are facing significant challenges during this difficult time, with some experiencing job insecurity and others seeing increased costs for personal support workers, medication, and medical supplies. As we work together to restart the economy, we must continue to protect health and safety, and ensure the right supports are in place for all Canadians.
On June 5, the government announced support to help Canadians with disabilities deal with extra expenses during the pandemic.
This support includes a special one-time, tax-free payment to individuals who are certificate holders of the Disability Tax Credit as of June 1, 2020, as follows:
$600 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate.
$300 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension.
$100 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the OAS pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).
Combined with the special payments of $300 for Canadians who are eligible for the OAS pension and the additional $200 for those eligible for the GIS, all seniors with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate will receive a total of $600 in special payments. People who are eligible for this special payment will receive it automatically.
The Government of Canada recognizes that people with disabilities are also at higher risk of job loss during economic downturns. To help Canadians with disabilities get and maintain good jobs so they can continue to support themselves and their families, the government will:
Create a National Workplace Accessibility Stream through the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities. A new investment of $15 million in 2020-21 will provide community organizations with resources to improve workplace accessibility and access to jobs in response to COVID-19, including by helping employers set up accessible and effective work-from-home arrangements. This support will also cover expanding accessible online training opportunities and helping connect Canadians with disabilities working from home with employers.
Invest $1.18 million in five new projects across the country through the Accessible Technology Program. With this funding, organizations will develop dynamic and affordable technology, such as accessible payment terminals for retailers and tools to make communication easier for Canadians with disabilities in the digital economy.
Improving access to essential food support
We are providing $100 million to national, regional, and local organizations across Canada to:
Purchase, transport and distribute food and other basic necessities
hire temporary help to fill volunteer shortages
implement safety measures, such as the purchase of personal protective equipment, to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among volunteers and clients.
These organizations – including but not limited to Food Banks Canada, Salvation Army, Second Harvest, Community Food Centres Canada, and Breakfast Club of Canada – will work with partners to meet the urgent food needs of Canadians.
Supporting people experiencing homelessness
We continue to support people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak by providing $157.5 million to the Reaching Home initiative.
The funding could be used for a range of needs such as purchasing beds and physical barriers for social distancing and securing accommodation to reduce overcrowding in shelters.
Supporting women and children fleeing violence
We are supporting women and children fleeing violence, by providing up to $50 million to women's shelters and sexual assault centres, including facilities in Indigenous communities, to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities.
Delivering essential services to those in need
We invested $350 million to support vulnerable Canadians through charities and non-profit organizations that deliver essential services to those in need.
The investment will flow through national organizations that have the ability to get funds quickly to local organizations that serve vulnerable populations. It will support a variety of activities, such as:
Increasing volunteer-based home deliveries of groceries and medications
Providing transportation services, like accompanying or driving seniors or persons with disabilities to appointments
Scaling up help lines that provide information and support
Helping vulnerable Canadians access government benefits
Providing training, supplies, and other required supports to volunteers so they can continue to make their invaluable contributions to the COVID-19 response
Replacing in-person, one-on-one contact and social gatherings with virtual contact through phone calls, texts, teleconferences, or the Internet