Federal government’s COVID-19 response: Income supports for affected workers
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has launched a multi-billion-dollar aid package that provides income supports and benefits for workers who are financially impacted by the crisis.
Below is a summary of the supports and benefits that are being made available to Canadian workers and their families, with details on who qualifies and how you can apply, as well as links to government webpages for further details.
Going forward, this page will be updated as more details become available, and as additional supports are announced.
Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
June 29, 2020
Commercial rent assistance extended
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that the federal government will work with provinces and territories to extend commercial rent assistance by one month.
- The link to the commercial rent assistance application can be found here.
COVID-19 cases declining in most of Canada
- Federal public health officials have released updates to national modeling on the COVID-19 pandemic. The main takeaway is that there are some regional hotspots (Toronto, Montreal, and some pockets in Saskatchewan and Southern Ontario), but overall, the number of cases has declined across the country.
- News coverage of these updates can be accessed here.
June 25, 2020
Government launches Canada Student Service Grant
- Today the government launched the Canada Student Service Grant, which is intended to help post-secondary students and recent graduates who have been impacted by COVID-19 gain work experience and earn up to $5,000 from June to September 2020.
- Click here to access the Canada Student Service Grant portal.
June 22, 2020
Planning guidelines for easing of COVID-19 restrictions released
- The government provides guidelines regarding how they will support planning for the eventual increased access to federal worksites as health restrictions ease.
- The backgrounder on these guidelines can be found here.
June 18, 2020
COVID-19 contact-tracing app announced
- The prime minister announces that a contact-tracing app will soon be available in Canada. Use of the app will be voluntary. The technology works by allowing those who have tested positive with COVID-19 to upload their results anonymously. Other users will then be notified if they have been near someone who has tested positive.
- News coverage of this new app can be found here.
June 17, 2020
Applications for Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund coming soon
- The federal government announces that applications for the Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund will be available as of June 22, 2020. This funding will help fish and seafood processors adapt to the challenges of COVID-19.
- The Western Region government backgrounder can be found here.
- The Atlantic Region government backgrounder can be accessed here.
- The Quebec Region government backgrounder can be found here.
Fish and seafood processors can access Opportunities Fund
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also adds that fish and seafood processors may use the Canadian Fish and Seafood Opportunities Fund as a resource during COVID-19.
- The government backgrounder for this announcement can be accessed here.
Parks Canada set to re-open
- The prime minister announces that as of June 22, 2020, Parks Canada will begin re-opening. More details here.
Millions in financial relief for beef and hog farmers in Ontario
- Together, the federal government and the province of Ontario will invest up to $10 million in emergency assistance for beef and hog farmers. Learn more here.
Economic and Fiscal Update coming July 8
- The prime minister announces that Canada’s Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, will present an economic update and fiscal snapshot of the federal government’s finances on Wednesday, July 8. The snapshot will provide information on the current state of the economy and the government’s response to assist Canadians during COVID-19.
June 16, 2020
Canada Emergency Response Benefit extended
- The prime minister has announced that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will be extended for another 8 weeks.
- News coverage of the CERB extension can be found here.
Canada-U.S. border to remain closed
- The federal government announced today that the Canada-U.S. border will remain closed for another 30 days, until July 21.
June 15, 2020
Canada Emergency Response Benefit may be extended
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces that the federal government is looking at extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The government will provide an update on this matter at the end of the week.
- News coverage of the potential CERB extension can be found here.
Canada Emergency Business Account eligibility expanded
- The government has expanded the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program eligibility to include sole proprietors and farmers. Eligible applicants in these fields will be able to apply to the program this Friday.
- The government news release on the CEBA expansion can be accessed here.
Applications for Surplus Food Rescue Program now available
- Applications for the Surplus Food Rescue Program are now available. This program helps organizations that serve vulnerable populations to avoid food waste.
- The backgrounder and application form for the program can be accessed here.
June 12, 2020
Financial relief, new protections for food processing industry
- Today, applications for the federal Emergency Processing Fund (EPF) became available online. This fund provides financial support to employers in the Agriculture and Agri-Food sector – and food processing companies in particular – to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that workers’ health and safety is protected.
- The government news release on the Emergency Processing Fund can be found here.
- The application for the EPF can be accessed here.
June 11, 2020
New funding for Indigenous businesses, tourism industry
- The government announces additional funding, totalling $117 million, for Indigenous businesses and the Indigenous tourism industry as they deal with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The news release for this announcement can be found here.
June 9, 2020
New hotline for small businesses in need
- The federal government urges small business owners with pressing financial needs to call 1-866-989-1080 to speak with an accountant or financial business advisor.
June 8, 2020
New exemptions for border crossings announced
- The government announces a limited exemption to allow immediate family members of citizens or permanent residents to come to Canada in the wake of coronavirus-related border closures.
- The news release for this announcement can be found here.
- The federal government is hoping to enact new punishments, including jail time and fines, for Canadians who are found to be defrauding the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
- News coverage of this announcement can be found here.
June 6, 2020
Additional funding for disability organizations
- The government announces an additional $1.1 million in funding to support national disability organizations to enhance accessible communications and engagement activities related to COVID-19.
- The news release for this announcement can be accessed here.
June 5, 2020
Federal government commits to safe-restart agreement with provinces
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commits $14 billion for a ‘safe-restart agreement’ with provinces and for measures to keep COVID-19 at bay. This would go towards personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers, support for municipalities, child care, and paid sick leave.
- News coverage of the agreement can be found here.
June 4, 2020
More supports for seniors coming July 6
- The prime minister announces that supports for seniors, in the form of additional payments through Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), will be available the week of July 6.
May 31, 2020
Financial relief for municipalities announced
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces that the federal government will be offering municipalities an advance transfer of $2.2 billion in infrastructure money to help cover COVID-19 budget shortfalls to assist with regional reopenings.
- News coverage of this new infrastructure funding can be accessed here.
May 29, 2020
Federal government commits to paid sick days
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emphasizes his government’s intent to work with provincial premiers to introduce 10 days of paid sick leave for all workers in Canada.
New funding announced for Indigenous communities
- The government announces $650 million to support Indigenous communities.
- The new funding will go toward the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, on-reserve income assistance, and the construction of new women’s shelters.
- News coverage of the funding can be found here.
May 26, 2020
Youth Employment Skills Program enhanced
- The federal government announced an investment of $9.2 million to enhance the Youth Employment Skills Program (YESP). The government will also fund up to 700 new positions to attract youth in the agricultural industry to help address labour shortages brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The YESP will provide agricultural employers with funding that covers up to 50 percent of the cost of hiring a Canadian youth. Indigenous applicants are eligible for funding of up to 80 percent of the cost of hiring.
- The news release regarding the new funding for YESP can be found here.
May 25, 2020
Commercial rent assistance available; government, NDP to push for paid sick leave
- The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) applications are open as of today.
- Applications can be accessed here.
- The federal government has announced that they have been in talks with the New Democratic Party (NDP) and its leader, Jagmeet Singh, to begin a dialogue with the provinces on introducing 10 days of paid sick leave to help deal with COVID-19:
- News coverage of the announcement can be found here.
May 21, 2020
- The federal government announces $75 million in new funding for organizations that address the urgent needs of Indigenous people living in urban centres or off-reserve.
- News coverage of this new funding can be found here.
May 20, 2020
- The federal government announces that the application portal for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program will open on May 25, 2020 for landlords with small business tenants.
- The program will be launched on the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) website.
- The government notes that it is also currently working on supports for larger retailers regarding commercial rent.
- The application process for the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) opens today.
- The application portal for LEEFF can be found here.
- The government news release on the application process for LEEFF can be accessed here.
May 19, 2020
- The federal government announces expansion of the Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to include the sole owner-operator of a business, for businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned business owners that pay through dividends.
- More details to come about when people can apply.
May 16, 2020
- The government announces that applications to apply for COVID-19 support for charities, non-profit organizations, and community organizations are available as of May 19, 2020.
- The United Way Centraide Canada, the Canadian Red Cross, and the Community Foundations of Canada will disburse the $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund.
- The government is providing $15 million in additional funding to support women entrepreneurs through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES).
- This investment will help thousands of women entrepreneurs and business owners navigate this crisis and get the support they need through things like business workshops, mentorship, and skills training to adapt to a digital marketplace.
- The government news release for this initiative can be found here.
May 15, 2020
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy extended until late August
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) has been extended until August 29, 2020. The government is also expanding eligibility for applicants.
- The backgrounder on the CEWS extension can be found here.
Hiring begins for Canada Summer Jobs program
- The Canada Summer Jobs hiring period begins today for young Canadians, with changes made to the program in response to COVID-19.
- The Canada Summer Jobs Job Bank can be accessed here.
Canada Emergency Student Benefit portal now open
- The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) portal opens today.
- You can apply for the CESB by clicking here.
GST/HST credits to continue until fall; new research funding announced
- The government announces that the GST/HST credit and Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payments will continue until Fall 2020.
- The government news release on these announcements can be found here.
- Prime Minister Trudeau has also announced $450 million in new funding for researchers and research institutions.
Bill C-16 receives Royal Assent
- With Bill C-16, the government amends the Canadian Dairy Commission Act and increases the Canadian Dairy Commission’s (CDC) borrowing limit to allow cheese and butter to be temporarily stored and to avoid waste in light of COVID-19.
- The news release for this legislation can be accessed here.
May 14, 2020
New investments in fishing industry and agri-food sector
- The federal government is investing $470 million in fish farmers:
- If producers had a 25 percent drop in income due to COVID-19, they would qualify for the Fish Harvesters Benefit, which will cover up to 75 percent of losses, up to $10,000.
- The government also announces up to $10,000 in non-repayable grants for fish harvesters who own their own business.
- For workers in the fish industry, the government will make changes to Employment Insurance (EI) requirements to allow them to attest to income from the previous year.
- More details can be found here.
- The government has also announced the launch of a $100-million Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund
- The news release on the fund can be accessed here.
May 13, 2020
New funding for small and medium-sized businesses announced
- The government announces the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) initiative for small and medium-sized (SMEs) businesses, specifically those in rural and remote areas that are currently unable to access existing COVID-19 support measures.
- This funding is meant to help SMEs retain their employees, pay rent, and pay bills. It will be delivered through Regional Development Agencies (RDAs):
- $110 million for Atlantic Canada through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)
- $211 million for Quebec through Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED)
- $304 million for the Western region through Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD)
- $34.4 million for the Canadian North through the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor)
- A combined $301.9 million for Ontario’s two regions:
- $49.5 million for Northern Ontario through the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor)
- $252.4 million for Southern Ontario through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev)
May 12, 2020
Government announces new COVID-19 supports for seniors
- Those receiving Old Age Security will get a one-time increase of $300.
- Canadians who are eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will receive a one-time payment of $200.
- The government will be investing $20 million in the New Horizons for Seniors Program, which will provide funding for organizations to deliver better social services for isolated seniors.
- News coverage of the government’s COVID-19 support for seniors can be found here.
New process allows temporary workers to return to work quicker
- The government has also launched a new process that allows temporary workers to get back to work quickly:
- This is for workers with employer-specific work permits who are already in Canada and are out-of-work and/or unable to leave the country due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions.
- Effective immediately, a new, temporary policy is being implemented to expedite the process that allows a Temporary Foreign Worker to begin their job.
- While this policy is in place, a worker in Canada who has secured a new job offer can get approval to start working their job, even while their work permit is being fully processed. This will cut what often takes 10 weeks or more, down to 10 days or less.
- The government news release on the new process for temporary workers can be found here.
May 11, 2020
Benefits navigator launched
- The federal government benefits online navigator is announced:
- The benefits navigator can be accessed here.
Business credit programs expanded
- The government is extending the business credit programs available to businesses by including mid-sized businesses. Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada will work with private sector lenders to facilitate this.
- The Prime Minister announces the “Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF)” program:
- This will provide bridge financing or bridge loans for large businesses that can demonstrate they were doing well before COVID-19.
- It is meant to provide support to employers whose credit needs are not being met through conventional means.
- It is available for all sectors, except the finance sector and some not-for-profit businesses.
- The program will be delivered through the Canada Development Investment Corporation (CDEV), with support from the federal innovation and finance departments.
- The government is still working out the details and will provide them in the coming weeks.
- News coverage of the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility program can be found here.
May 8, 2020
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will be extended
- The Prime Minister announces that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will be extended beyond the month of June. Additional details will come next week.
- The government establishes the new Industry Strategy Council, which will serve as an advisory board to assess the depth and scope of COVID-19's impact on industries, and any specific sectoral pressures. Members of the council will be announced soon. The news release can be found here.
- The government announces the Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage, and Sport Organizations. It is a $500 million funding that provides financial support for this sector. More information can be found here.
May 7, 2020
- The Prime Minister announces that the details regarding the top-up for essential workers are being finalized. The provinces and territories will determine who receives the top-up. The federal government will pay 75 percent of the increase, which amounts to $3 billion. The provinces and territories will pay the rest.
- The government provides details on Canadian Armed Forces being deployed to provinces to assist in Long-Term Care facilities as a response to the pandemic, specifically in Quebec and Ontario. More information can be found here.
May 6, 2020
- Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Jon Vance orders the activation of Operation LASER Phase 2, described as “Pandemic/Preparation.” Operation LASER (also known as Op LSSER 20-01 or CONPLAN LASER) is the military contingency plan for the response to a pandemic influenza-like disease. More information can be found here.
- The government waives tariffs on certain medical goods, including personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves. More information can be found here.
May 5, 2020
New funding for the Agri-Food Industry
- The federal government announces $252 million in funding for the agri-food industry:
- $77.5 million will go to food processors to ensure the safety of workers. This money can be used to provide workers with personal protective equipment (PPE), adjust hygiene protocols, implement physical distancing measures, and to expand or adapt plant processing to maintain the food supply chain.
- According to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie Claude Bibeau, details regarding the eligibility of businesses are still being sorted out.
- For pork and beef producing businesses: The government will launch the National Agri-Recovery Initiative, which provides $125 million for farms and processing plants to adapt to market changes – this is an initial investment, and later, if more is needed this amount will be revisited.
- For dairy farmers, the federal government will work with other parties in the House of Commons to increase by $200 million the credit line for the Canadian Dairy Commission.
- The government is launching the Surplus Food Purchase Program with $50 million in funding, which will allow the federal government to purchase products (namely, dairy products and potatoes) at risk of going to waste. The government will then redistribute that food to organizations that deal with food insecurity.
- Details about which organizations and food banks the government will work with are still being sorted out.
May 3, 2020
- The government announces a $240 million commitment to bring mental health and primary care services online:
- This funding is meant to help doctors run appointments online for mental health support and primary care support to reduce pressure on the health care system.
- In May, eligible families will receive an extra $300 as part of their regular Canada Child Benefit (CCB).
- The government establishes the COVID-19 Supply Council, intended to strengthen the country’s existing supply chains for items like masks, gloves, and disinfectants:
- The names of the Supply Council members can be found here.
April 29, 2020
- A $9 billion-dollar aid package for students will be tabled in Parliament today.
- Information on the package can be found here.
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government will boost the Canadian Child Benefit in May. The government will also increase the GST credit for low-income Canadians.
April 27, 2020
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy application now available
- The application for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is now available.
- The CEWS application can be accessed here.
April 25, 2020
- The government announces $62.5 million in new assistance for the fish and seafood processing sector, called the “Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund,” to help address the financial strain and instability that the sector is facing in light of COVID-19.
- Further details on how processors can apply will be confirmed at a later date.
April 24, 2020
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) announced
- The federal government announces the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses:
- The government has reached an agreement with provinces and territories to lower rent for small businesses affected by the pandemic by 75 percent for April, May, and June 2020.
- This assistance is for small business tenants paying less than $50,000/month who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70 percent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This is also available for charities and non-profit organizations.
- Commercial property owners are being offered forgivable loans to cover 50 percent of three monthly payments. The loans will be forgiven if the property owner agrees to reduce eligible business’ rent by at least three months.
- More information can be found here.
- The Prime Minister has signaled that there will be future announcements on rent support for larger businesses. More details to come.
April 23, 2020
The federal government announces $1.1 billion in funding towards a national medical and research strategy for COVID-19:
- $115 million will go towards research on vaccines and treatments in hospitals and universities.
- $662 million will be put towards clinical trials.
- $350 million will be used to expand national testing and modelling of COVID-19, which will include creating a COVID-19 Immunity Task Force.
April 22, 2020
Canada Emergency Student Benefit announced
- The federal government will soon be introducing the “Canada Emergency Student Benefit” through legislation:
- This will give students $1,250 a month from May to August 2020.
- This is for current post-secondary students, students who graduated in December 2019, or those going to post-secondary school in September 2020.
- For those who are taking care of someone, or if you are a student with a disability, the benefit will increase to $1,750 a month.
- Payments will be delivered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) beginning May 1.
- The government is also introducing the Canada Student Service Grant:
- This is for students volunteering to help fight COVID-19. You can receive $1,000 to $5,000 depending on your hours.
- As well, the government has announced that they are creating 76,000 jobs and placements in sectors that need help or are contributing to the COVID-19 pandemic response. These jobs are in addition to the previously announced changes made to the Canada Student Jobs Program (announced on April 8, 2020).
- The government will also invest more than $291 million to extend scholarships, fellowships, and grants for researchers and graduate students.
- In addition, the government is providing more than $75 million to specifically increase support for First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Nation students.
- The government will double Canada Student Grants for the 2020-2021 school year.
- The news release on supports for students can be found here.
- These supports for students are expected to cost the government $9 billion.
- The government has removed the rule that restricts international students to working a maximum of 20 hours per week, provided they are working in an essential service during the pandemic. This is for international students working in health care, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food or other critical goods.
- The news release on this measure can be found here.
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also signaled that there will help for seniors, but as of right now there are no details on what that that help will look like.
April 21, 2020
- The federal government has set up a $350 million ‘Emergency Community Support Fund’ that will help community organizations, charities, and non-profit organizations continue to provide resources related to COVID-19.
- Today, the government launched the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) online calculator on the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website that will allow employers to calculate wage subsidy amounts.
- The calculator can be found on this page.
April 18, 2020
The federal government will provide $306 million in funding to help small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses suffering from the economic effects of COVID-19 access short-term, interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions.
April 17, 2020
The government announces support for the energy sector:
- $1.7 billion towards the clean-up of orphan wells in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia.
- $750 million towards the establishment of an Emission Reduction Fund, intended to “create and maintain jobs through pollution reduction efforts.” In this money, $75 million will help the offshore industry cut emissions in Newfoundland and Labrador.
- Trudeau states that these plans will save 10,000 jobs across the country, including 5,200 in Alberta.
For small businesses and organizations that are not eligible for the wage subsidy programs:
- The government will provide $962 million to regional development agencies and the Community Futures Network – this is meant to help rural and small businesses that do not have a relationship with a traditional financial institution.
- $270 million will be allocated to programs for industrial research to support innovators and start-ups.
- For the arts, culture, and sports industries: the government will provide $500 million towards Heritage Canada to support these sectors.
- The government will now provide data on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) 3 times a week:
- This data will be available here.
The government is directing $1 million in funding towards the Ontario Agri-food sector, to help sustain the food supply chain:
- This funding is for the agriculture, food processing, and grocery retail sectors.
- Funding is intended for recruitment and training of workers to keep our essential food supply chain functioning during COVID-19.
- Applications will be immediately available through the program called “Partnership’s Place to Grow: Agri-Food Innovation Initiative.”
- The news release can be found here.
April 16, 2020
- The government announces modified criteria regarding the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA): businesses that have spent between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019 will be eligible to receive loans through the CEBA program. Details can be found here.
- The government is introducing a new program to support businesses, called Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance:
- This program will provide support for small businesses who have issues with rent for the months of April, May, and June 2020.
- To implement this program, the federal government must work closely with the provinces and territories as they govern rental relationships in their regions. More details to come.
April 15, 2020
- Tonight, Prime Minister Trudeau will speak with provincial premiers to put in place a plan to introduce a temporary wage increase for essential workers earning less than $2,500/month:
- The federal government 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.
- This will be for workers who each respective province or territory has deemed essential, although the federal government has also outlined that this is for front-line workers in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and “those working hard to make sure that there is food on our shelves and tables.”
- The government is announcing changes in the eligibility rules for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB):
- If you earn $1,000 per month or less, you can now receive the CERB.
- Workers who recently ran out of Employment Insurance (EI) benefits can now also receive the CERB.
- For those who do seasonal work, but are currently out of employment, the CERB will now be available to them.
- These changes are retroactive to March 15, 2020.
- The backgrounder detailing the 1) top-up and the 2) expansion of the CERB can be found here.
- The government announces relief for federally regulated pension plan sponsors:
- It will provide immediate, temporary relief to the sponsors of federally regulated, defined benefit pension plans.
- This relief will be in the form of a moratorium, through the remainder of 2020, on solvency payment requirements for defined benefit plans.
- More information can be found here.
- This week, the government is launching a new portal that will bring together mental health resources and make them available for Canadians:
- More information on “Wellness Together Canada” can be found here.
April 14, 2020
- Prime Minister Trudeau signals that this week the government will provide more announcements on how they plan to help students and essential workers.
- Trudeau also signals that additional supports will be coming for commercial rent for businesses that have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Trudeau announces $130 million to support Northern communities to deal with COVID-19.
- The government will provide $20 million in funding for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to support critical food inspection:
- This investment will allow the CFIA to hire, train, and equip additional staff to conduct inspections, and help minimize supply disruptions during the pandemic.
- The full news release and additional details can be found here.
- The government has updated some of the mandatory requirements for travellers entering Canada:
- Symptomatic and asymptomatic travellers, upon arrival, must present viable self-isolation plans. Travellers without a proper plan must go to a place designated by the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada. This may also be facilitated by the RCMP.
April 13, 2020
- The government will provide $50 million in funding towards Agriculture and the Agri-Food sector in order to help employers put in place measures necessary to allow the mandatory 14-day isolation period required of all workers arriving abroad.
- More specifically, the government will provide $1,500 for each Temporary Foreign Worker.
- Note: Employers are still required to pay workers for the two weeks during which time they cannot work.
- This program will be available if the Quarantine Act is in force and isolation protocol is followed.
- The full news release and additional details can be found here.
April 11, 2020
- Bill C-14, COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, No. 2, receives royal assent.
- This legislation includes changes made to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program, providing more flexibility for businesses to qualify for wage subsidies.
April 10, 2020
- The government establishes the “COVID-19 Disability Advisory Group” (CDAG), which will advise the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Disability Inclusion (Carla Qualtrough). Names of those on the advisory group can be found here.
- Canada announces its support for a global ceasefire in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The minister’s statement can be found here.
- The RCMP are now playing a major role in enforcing the Quarantine Act:
- Police agencies across Canada are to enforce the mandatory 14-day self-isolation protocol for those arriving into the country.
- Verifications may now be done by phone, text, or e-mail. The RCMP may now also enforce physical verifications to ensure individuals are in their homes.
- The full news release and additional details can be found here.
April 9, 2020
- The government has released the national-level modelling on the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada.
- Slide deck available here
April 6 - 8, 2020
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) application now open
The CERB application portal opened today and workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can begin to apply for the benefit according to their birth month.
- You can access the CERB application here
- To see answers to frequently asked questions about the CERB, click here
Prime Minister Trudeau has also signaled that workers with partial earnings will soon be able to qualify for the CERB. These workers will include:
- Workers whose hours have been reduced to 10 hours or less due to COVID-19 (e.g. gig workers, contract workers, volunteer firefighters)
- Those who are currently working but who are making less than they would if they were receiving the CERB (e.g. home care workers and long-term care workers looking after vulnerable seniors)
- Full-time students who are currently unable to qualify for the CERB
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Updates
- The government has announced flexibility in the criteria for qualifying businesses.
- Businesses now only need to show a 15 percent decline in revenue for March 2020, and a 30 percent decline in April and May 2020, instead of a 30 percent decline for all of March, April, and May 2020 (as compared to 2019 revenues).
- Employers will have to apply each month and attest to the decline each month.
- New benchmarks: Employers can 1) compare revenues to last year’s revenue; or 2) Use the average of revenues in January and February 2020 and compare it to the March, April, and May 2020 average.
- When charities and non-profit organizations are calculating their revenue tests, they can choose whether to use government funding when calculating a loss in revenue.
- More details on how to calculate the subsidy can be found here.
- As well, the government is proposing that employers who qualify for the CEWS should be entitled to a 100 percent refund for certain employer-paid contributions to Employment Insurance (EI), the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan, and the Quebec Pension Plan for furloughed employees.
Canada Summer Jobs Program (CSJ) Changes
- The government has also announced temporary changes to the CSJ. It will give the program a wage subsidy of 100 percent to cover the costs of hiring students.
- It will also extend the time frame for job placement until the winter.
- More details available here.
April 1, 2020
The federal government has released more details on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy:
- It is available to employers for up to 12 weeks (from March 15 to June 6, 2020).
- The subsidy will cover 75 percent of wages of up to $847 a week.
- The announcement also provides additional criteria regarding how to calculate wage coverage and what qualifies as pre-crisis renumeration, but details are still to come.
- This is for employers that see a drop of at least 30% of their revenues in March, April, and/or May, when compared to the same month in 2019.
- Eligible employers will be able to apply through a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) online portal.
- Employers are expected to provide records demonstrating their reduction in revenues as well as records of employee compensation.
- More details regarding the application process are still to come.
- Although Minister Bains stated that this subsidy replaces the 10 percent wage subsidy announced on March 18, the 10 percent subsidy program is still available for small businesses that do not meet the criteria for the newly announced measures. More details here.
The government has provided more information on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) application process. Learn more here.
- Applications will open on April 6, 2020 at https://www.canada.ca/coronavirus/.
- The government has established a dedicated line for CERB applications: 1-800-959-2019.
- You must confirm once a month that you are not working.
- The benefit is only available to individuals who stopped work as a result of COVID-19. If you have not stopped working because of COVID-19, you are not eligible for the benefit.
March 30, 2020
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
The federal government has increased its originally announced 10 percent wage subsidy to 75 percent.
- Under this new measure, businesses with revenues that have decreased by at least 30 percent due to COVID-19 will be eligible for the subsidy, and the number of employees will not matter.
- Non-profit organizations and charities are also eligible for the subsidy.
- For workers, this means that the government will cover up to 75 percent of the first $58,700 that you make, or up to $847 a week.
March 28, 2020
Symptomatic individuals will be denied boarding on domestic flights and trains.
- Anyone showing signs of COVID-19 will be denied boarding on all domestic flights and inter-city passenger trains.
- Enforcement will be the responsibility of airlines and rail operators through new rules from Transport Canada.
- Passengers will be denied boarding for up to 14 days, unless they show a medical certificate that states their symptoms are not COVID-19 related.
- This rule is effective as of noon on Monday, March 30.
- These new measures do not apply to bus travel between provinces.
March 27, 2020
Canada Emergency Business Account
- The account will guarantee small businesses interest-free bank loans of up to $40,000. Under certain conditions, $10,000 of the loans could be non-repayable.
- Increased wage subsidies for employers:
- The government will increase the 10 percent wage subsidy initially announced on March 18 to 75 percent.
- The government hopes this will prevent employers from laying off their employees and/or that it will encourage them to rehire employees that have been laid off due to COVID-19.
- Additional details will be announced on Monday, March 30.
March 26, 2020
The Quarantine Act is implemented
- The Act gives the federal health minister sweeping powers to stop the spread of communicable disease in and out of Canada. These measures include routine screenings conducted by quarantine officers at airports.
- Travelers returning to Canada must self-isolate for 14 days, even if they are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
- Travelers are forbidden from taking public transportation to get to their places of self-isolation.
- The government will make travel arrangements for those who do not have private transportation lined up.
- Travelers are also forbidden from self-isolating with vulnerable people who are at a higher risk of catching the disease.
- The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) will make alternative arrangements for accommodations and meals.
- Penalties for violating these new measures can include a fine of up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment for 6 months. In more serious cases, violators could face a fine of up to $1 million and 3 years of imprisonment.
- Exceptions will be made for essential workers, such as truck drivers and health care workers moving between the U.S. and Canadian border.
March 25, 2020
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is announced
- Federal emergency aid package increases from $27 billion to $52 billion.
- The CERB is a taxable benefit that provides $2,000 per month for up to 4 months for workers who have lost their jobs to due COVID-19.
- The benefit combines the previously announced “Emergency Care Benefit” and “Emergency Support Benefit.”
- It will be available to people who must care for children at home, people who are quarantined, workers who are full-time and part-time, as well as contract and self-employed workers who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).
- This benefit is also available for people who are employed but are not earning income due to disruptions at work because of coronavirus.
- The CERB will be paid every four weeks from March 15, 2020 to Oct 3, 2020, and will be available by April 6, 2020.
- Click here for more info on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
- The government will be implementing the Quarantine Act by midnight to impose a mandatory and legal obligation of a 14-day self-isolation period for all people arriving into Canada from another country – more information forthcoming.
- Bill C-13, the federal government’s COVID-19 Emergency Response legislation, receives Royal Assent.
March 24, 2020
- The Liberal government’s proposed Bill C-13 to respond to the COVID-19 emergency is passed by the House of Commons. It will now go to the Senate.
March 18, 2020
- The government says it is implementing the First Phase of its COVID-19 Economic Responseand has allotted $27 Billion to this aid package.
- More info here.
Temporary Income Support for Workers and Parents
Emergency Care Benefits
These are for Canadians who are 1) quarantined or sick due to COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI; 2) caring for family members who are sick (e.g. an elderly parent); and 3) parents who are unable to work due to school and daycare closures.
- The benefit provides up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks.
- Who qualifies: workers, self-employed workers, contractors, freelancers, part-time and gig-economy workers, cultural workers, and entrepreneurs .
- Will not require medical documentation, only “attestation” every two-weeks.
- Will be available early April 2020.
- Can apply online at home.
- More information:
- How to Apply for COVID-19 Emergency Care Benefits;
- Application for COVID-19 Emergency Care Benefits;
- The government has also set up a separate phone line to answer questions related to EI benefits and COVID-19. The phone number is: 1-833-381-2725
Long-Term Income Support
For Canadians who lose their jobs or face reduced hours as a result of COVID-19.
Emergency Support Benefit
- The government has set $4 billion aside for this benefit but has yet to provide more details.
- Will be available by early April 2020.
Additional Income Support for Canadians
GST Credit for 2019 – 2020
- This is a one-time special payment available by early May through a GST credit for 2019-2020.
- Averaging $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.
- Those with children will receive a Canada Child Benefit top up of $300 per child, also available by May 2020.
For Indigenous Communities
- Providing $305 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund for First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Nation communities.
- Available by April 2020.
- 6-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for those currently in the process of repaying these loans
- Available by April 2020.
- Reducing required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIF) by 25 percent in 2020.
- Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will continue as usual, with no interruptions.
Homeless and Women & Children Fleeing Violence
- $200 million will be put towards supporting individuals experiencing homelessness during COVID-19.
- Can be put towards purchasing beds and physical barriers for social distancing and securing accommodation to reduce overcrowding in shelters.
- $50 million of this effort will be put towards women’s shelters and sexual assault centres to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities.This includes funding for Indigenous communities.
- Will be available by April 2020.
Support for Businesses
The government intends to help businesses keep their workers.
- It is proposing to provide small business owners with a 10 percent temporary wage subsidy for the next three months.
- The subsidy will be a maximum of $1,375 for each employee and/or $25,000 for every employer.
- More info here
- The federal government will work with the Government of Alberta on how best to support workers in the oil and gas industries. Details forthcoming.
- Additional details here.
March 11, 2020
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the federal government has rolled out a $1 billion package to help the country’s health system and economy.The package includes the following measures:
Elimination of 1-Week Waiting Period for EI Benefits
For people quarantined due to COVID-19, the government is eliminating the one-week waiting period for EI benefits entirely.
- This is for Canadians who are employed, pay EI premiums, and who worked a minimum of 600 hours in the year before the claim or since their last EIclaim.
- Note is not required to get sick-leave benefits.
- Budgeted cost for this program is $5 million.
- More details here.
EI Work Sharing Program
- Provides EI Benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours as a result of developments beyond the control of their employer. More details here.