During these unprecedented times, the Government of Canada has created many programs which are targeted towards individuals and families who are facing financial hardships due to COVID-19. While there are many forms of financial assistance available, it may be difficult to keep track of what you are eligible for. Whether you have lost income or work, are struggling to pay for your housing, have ill family members and children who are out of school, or you are a student who is unable to keep afloat, there is financial assistance available.
Loss of Income
The Government of Canada established the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to aid workers which have been affected by COVID-19. CERB provides $2,000 every four weeks (up to four months) to workers who face a loss of income during the pandemic.
A loss of income has many definitions. Individuals who have been laid off due to the affects of COVID-19 are eligible for CERB. At the same time, workers who have experienced reduced hours may also be able to receive financial assistance. Furthermore, individuals who are forced to quarantine or self-isolate are also eligible for CERB.
Keep in mind, renewal payments for CERB are not automatic. This means that those who still require financial assistance after four weeks will need to reapply. You can apply online here. Lastly, it is important to know CERB payments are taxable; how much you will need to pay back will depend largely on your overall income during 2020.
For more information and eligibility criteria, please visit the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit.
Home owners who are facing loss of income will undoubtedly face problems when paying their mortgage. These homeowners may be eligible for a mortgage deferral because of the COVID-19 Mortgage Payment Deferral program. Mortgage payment deferrals allow you to skip your mortgage payment for up to six months. Please note, you will still need to repay the skipped payments afterwards, including both principal and interest. If you are interested in mortgage deferral, it is recommended you speak with your lender to learn about your options.
For more information about the COVID-19 Mortgage Payment Deferral program, please visit the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
Families already receiving support from Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payments will receive an addition $300 per child. There is no need to apply for this additional payment which is expected to begin for the May 2020 payment.
For more information, visit Canada Child Benefit.
If you are caring for someone who is ill due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for CERB (see above). This is to help cover the costs or loss of income which may arise when you are caring for another person who is sick.
All student loan borrowers can defer their repayment six months. This interest-free moratorium is available until September 30, 2020. Those who are eligible will automatically receive this deferral; there is no need to apply.
There is also a proposed Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) which will allow post-secondary students who are unable to find employment or self-employment to claim $1250 a month through May to August. Furthermore, the total could increase to $1750 if the student is taking care of another person with disability. More updates about the CESB will be available in the near future.
Other resources are available as well. Learn more at Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.
Internationally trained newcomers in Alberta and Saskatchewan who are looking to continue their career may be eligible for Career Loans’ free services. By signing up for Career Loans, newcomers have the chance to speak with expert counsellors to develop their career in Canada. Counselling and career support services are completely free and done virtually. Furthermore, if required, clients may be eligible for a microloan of up to $15,000 to help with costs associated with schooling and accreditation. Sign up today!