Economic Measures

Many in our community are wondering how to pay the bills during the COVID-19 outbreak. The federal government has unveiled a number of economic measures to stabilize the economy during the COVID-19 outbreak. These will be available in the coming weeks; some of the measures require Royal Assent, only achieved through the votes of Members of Parliament and the Senate in the House of Commons and Senate. We are expecting to sit in Ottawa during the week of March 23 to pass these measures to help Canadians get the relief they need.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

  • Canadians who have suffered job loss are eligible to receive $2,000 monthly for four months.
  • This money will be deposited directly into bank accounts by the CRA.
  • This benefit covers Canadians who are sick with COVID-19, have lost their job, are quarantined, taking care of someone who is sick and working parents who have to stay home with their children.
  • Recipients can choose to get the money by a mailed cheque or through direct deposit. It will take about 10 days for approved applicants to see the first deposit into their account.
  • The government says Canadians who have already applied for Employment Insurance due to COVID-19 do not need to apply for the CERB.
  • As well, employees who are receiving a wage subsidy through their employers are not eligible for the CERB.
  • You can apply for the CERB by clicking here or by calling the CRA at 1-800-959-8281.
  • The federal government has announced CERB will be phased out in the fall. Those still receiving the CERB will be transitioned to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. A program to help contract workers who don’t qualify for EI will be announced in the coming weeks. 

UPDATE: August 20, 2020

  • The federal government has extended the Canada Emergency Response Benefit until late September.
  • Starting September 27, the millions of Canadians still claiming the CERB will be moved to a revamped Employment Insurance (EI) program.
  • While most people will be transferred to EI, there are three new temporary benefits proposed to help those who don’t qualify for EI.
  • Canadians with 120 insurable hours of work can apply for EI and receive a minimum payment of $400 a week and a maximum of $573 a week, depending on past earnings.
  • This reworked EI can be claimed for between 26 and 45 weeks. EI claimants can also earn income, but their benefits will be reduced by $0.50 for every dollar earned.
  • The three new benefits proposed are:
    • Canada Recovery Benefit: Available for 26 weeks to workers who are self-employed, gig or contract (otherwise ineligible for EI). This program pays $400 weekly and workers will need to repay $0.50 of every dollar earned above $38,000 annually.
    • Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit: This benefit provides $500 per week for those who don’t have paid sick leave through their employer, making it easier to stay home when sick or self-isolating due to COVID-19.
    • Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit: Provides $500 a week for up to 26 weeks for one adult per household to allow for providing care to care for a sick loved one or to provide childcare because schools, day cares or other facilities are closed.

More information on the additional supports can be found here.

Small Business Help

  • Some small- and medium-sized businesses are eligible for a 75% wage subsidy backdated to March 15.
  • To qualify:
    • The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy would apply at a rate of 75 per cent of the first $58,700 normally earned by employees – representing a benefit of up to $847 per week. The program would be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020.
    • Eligible employers who suffer a drop in gross revenues of at least 30 per cent in March, April or May, when compared to the same month in 2019, would be able to access the subsidy.
    • Eligible employers would include employers of all sizes and across all sectors of the economy, with the exception of public sector entities.
    • For non-profit organizations and registered charities similarly affected by a loss of revenue, the government will continue to work with the sector to ensure the definition of revenue is appropriate to their circumstances. The government is also considering additional support for non-profits and charities, particularly those involved in the front line response to COVID-19. Further details will be announced in the near term.
    • An eligible employer’s entitlement to this wage subsidy will be based entirely on the salary or wages actually paid to employees. All employers would be expected to at least make best efforts to top up salaries to 100% of the maximum wages covered.
    • Applications for the wage subsidy are available through the CRA’s website.
  • A special emergency business account for small businesses has been established, allowing banks to offer $40,000 of government-guaranteed loans (interest-free for the first year). If certain conditions are met, the first $10,000 will be forgiven.
  • To qualify:
    • The Borrower is a Canadian operating business in operation as of March 1, 2020.
    • The Borrower has a federal tax registration.
    • The Borrower’s total employment income paid in the 2019 calendar year was between Cdn.$20,000 and Cdn.$1,500,000.
    • The Borrower has an active business chequing/operating account with the Lender, which is its primary financial institution. This account was opened on or prior to March 1, 2020 and was not in arrears on existing borrowing facilities, if applicable, with the Lender by 90 days or more as at March 1, 2020.
    • The Borrower has not previously used the Program and will not apply for support under the Program at any other financial institution.
    • The Borrower acknowledges its intention to continue to operate its business or to resume operations.
    • The Borrower agrees to participate in post-funding surveys conducted by the Government of Canada or any of its agents.
    • Interested businesses can apply through their banks.
  • An additional $12.5 billion is dedicated to “operational cash flow requirements” and HST and GST payments are deferred until June 2020.
  • The government has also announced it will lower base rent by up to 75% for small businesses, if landlords agree to take part. While few other details have been released, the government said the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program will help businesses cover rent for April, May and June.
  • To apply for the wage subsidy, click here or call 1-800-959-5525 with your business number and mailing address ready. Applications open on April 27.


Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)

Students not receiving the CERB could receive up to $1,250 per month for up to four months (May – August 2020). Students with disabilities and students with dependents could receive an additional $750.

The CESB will be available to:

  • students who are enrolled in a post-secondary education program leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate;
  • students who ended their studies or graduated no earlier than December 2019;
  • high-school graduates who have applied for and will be joining post-secondary programs in the coming months; and
  • Canadian students studying abroad meeting one of the above criteria.

Students who have been unable to find employment or self-employment due to COVID-19 during the four week period for which they are applying for the CESB would be able to do so starting on May 15 through CRA MyAccount.



  • The government announced on May 12 that eligible seniors will get a one-time tax-free payment of $300 for  the Old Age Security (OAS) pension, with an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). This will give a total of $500 to eligible individuals. These payments were issued in July 2020.
  • The government will also expand 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 for seniors and help them maintain a social support network.
  • There will also be a temporary extension of GIS and allowance payments if seniors’ 2019 income information has not been assessed.
  • The government has announced minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020.

GST Credit

  • Adults currently receiving the GST credit will receive up to $300, and up to $150 per child.
  • We will update this page as more details become available.
  • Payments for this credit were issued in early April 2020.


Enhanced Canada Child Benefit

  • The government is increasing the maximum annual CCB payment by $300 per child for the 2019-20 benefit year.
  • We will update this page as more details become available.
  • Parents will likely see this benefit in early May 2020.


Canada Student Loan Payments

  • This is a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans.
  • No action is required on the part of the borrower.
  • Payments between March 30, 2020 and September 30, 2020 are suspended.


Support for Indigenous Communities

  • A new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund of $305 million has been created to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation Communities.
  • A portion of these funds will be set aside to support regional, urban and off-reserve Indigenous organizations.
  • Indigenous leaders can design and implement community-based solutions to prepare for and address the spread of COVID-19 in their communities. The funds can be used for:
    • support for Elders and vulnerable community members
    • measures to address food insecurity
    • educational and other support for children
    • mental health assistance and emergency response services
    • preparedness measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19


Support for people experiencing homelessness (through Reaching Home)

  • Additional funding for the Reaching Home Initiative, for supplies like additional beds and physical barriers for social distancing, to continue to support people experiencing homelessness.
  • We will update this page as more details become available.
  • This will be effective in April 2020.


Support for women’s shelters and sexual assault centres, including on reserve

  • Supporting women and children fleeing violence to help shelters with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities.
  • We will update this page as more details become available.
  • This will be effective in April 2020.


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, with supporting legislation to follow.


Other supports:

  • Flexibility for individual and corporate taxpayers (tax payment deferral until September)
    • New individual tax filing deadline: June 1, 2020
    • Deferral of any income tax owing until August 2020.
  • Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) through BDC and EDC
    • Available immediately
    • More information is available here or through your lending institution.
  • Credit and liquidity support through financial Crown corporations 
    • Available through the Bank of Canada, OSFI, CMHC and commercial lenders (e.g., Domestic Stability Buffer, Insured Mortgage Purchase Program, Banker’s Acceptance Purchase Facility)