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What financial support is available province to province for those impacted by COVID-19?

covid19 financial support

Canadians are dealing with a lot of new normals with the global pandemic, COVID-19. Staying healthy and following the advice of medical experts is a significant concern – but for many, the virus impacts more than their well-being. Financial security is a rising concern as many Canadians lose their jobs and businesses close. 

We’ve compiled a list of available financial support province to province and across the country for anyone affected by the coronavirus. 

Financial support available for all Canadians during COVID-19

Temporary income support for workers and parents will be available starting March 15, 2020. The Canadian government will waive the one-week waiting period for E.I. and will be waiving the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access E.I. sickness benefits. 

Starting in April 2020, the Canadian government will officially introduce the Emergency Care Benefit. This benefit provides $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks for employed or self-employed workers who become sick, are taking care of a sick family member and for parents who cannot earn an income due to lack of childcare. 

On March 11, 2020, the Prime Minister announced longer-term income support for workers by introducing the E.I. Work Sharing Program. This program exists to provide E.I. benefits to “workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers, by extending the eligibility of such agreements to 76 weeks, easing eligibility requirements, and streamlining the application process.” 

The Canadian government also announced income support for individuals who need it most, including a boost to income through the G.S.T. credit, and additional funds to the Canada Child Benefit (C.C.B.) by $300 per child in May 2020.

Additional reading to help homeowners and renters during the COVID-19 outbreak:

Canadians who have not yet filed their 2019 taxes will now have until June 1, 2020, to submit, and any Canadian who owes taxes will have until August 31, 2020, to pay the Canada Revenue Agency (C.R.A.). 

The six big banks in Canada have given Canadians mortgage default management tools, such as the option for mortgage deferral for up to six months. (For more on this, see Mortgage deferral, here’s what you need to know.)

To find out more information about what financial support is available for individuals as well as business owners, the Canadian government has a full list on their website. 

COVID-19 financial support available in provinces and territories 

financial support for canadians

Alberta: 

  • All utility companies are offering deferral for up to three months. You must call your utility company to let them know if you’ll be taking this option.
  • The Alberta government has announced emergency isolation support with a one-time payment of $1,146 beginning in April for anyone who is sick and needs financial help.
  • The province has announced six months of student loan repayment deferral that is interest-free starting March 30, 2020.
  • Alberta bank, A.T.B., and all Albertan credit unions are offering solutions for loans and deferrals on a case-by-case basis.
  • Tenants cannot be evicted for unpaid rent or utilities before May 1, eviction ban in place until June 30, and a rent freeze is officially in place as of March 27, 2020.

More information about how Alberta is supporting its residents is available on the government website

British Columbia:

  • StudentAid BC is working to ensure that students who receive financial help will continue to receive payments. Student loans within B.C. have not yet been paused. 
  • B.C. Hydro is offering assistance to help customers defer payments or to arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalties, and the City of Port Coquitlam will not charge a penalty to customers who pay their utility bills after March 31, 2020 deadline. As per their usual policy guidelines, ICBC allows each policyholder a choice to defer one month of payment, per policy term. If you want to postpone a payment, you can do so online.
  • Several rent banks operated by non-profit groups or financial institutions like Vancity credit unions currently offer low or no-cost emergency loans to renters.
  • As for support for childcare support, the B.C. government will give centres that remain open compensation to continue operating with reduced enrolment. Centres that close will also receive support for fixed operating costs, like rent or lease payments.
  • Eviction ban in place with exceptions, and renters to be supported with up to $500 for three months to support their payments

More information about how British Columbia is supporting its residents is available on the government website

Manitoba:

  • As of March 21, 2020, Manitoba has begun new childcare support programs to help parents who are also front-line, essential workers during the COVID-19 response. The program includes grants for independent care services, licensed childcare centres and child care providers.
  • All new traffic and parking tickets are being automatically remanded for 60 days, so individuals will be able to deal with their matters after court reopens.

More information about how Manitoba is supporting its residents is available on the government website

New Brunswick:

At this time, New Brunswick has not announced a plan for financial support in regards to COVID-19, but you can keep up to date on any future updates on their provinces’ government website.

Newfoundland:

  • Effective March 30, 2020, all student loans will be deferred for six months and will not accrue any interest during this time.
  • Newfoundland has announced financial support for families and early childhood educators as of March 22, 2020. The government will fund these regulated centres and day homes to ensure that parents do not have to provide financing while they are unable to use the services. They will provide this support until April 30, 2020, and at that time, they will reassess if closures are still ongoing.

More information about how Newfoundland is supporting its residents is available on the provinces’ government website

Northwest Territories: 

  • All post-secondary students that receive financial assistance will continue to receive those payments uninterrupted. 
  • Student loan repayment has been deferred until September 30, 2020, and will not accrue interest. 
  • The Business Development and Investment Corporation will provide immediate working capital through low-interest loans for businesses in need of financial support through COVID-19. 

More information about how the Northwest Territories is supporting its residents is available on its government website

Nova Scotia:

  • In Nova Scotia, every individual and family member that is currently on income assistance will receive an additional $50 starting March 20, 2020. People do not need to apply.
  • The province has announced $1 million of funding to Feed Nova Scotia to purchase more food and hire more staff.
  • They have also shared $230,000 of funding to Senior Safety Programs and Community Links to help protect the vulnerable.
  • For businesses of all kinds, the Nova Scotia government has deferred all loan payments until June 30. It has made changes to their Small Business Loan Guarantee Program, administered through credit unions, by enhancing the program and making it easier for businesses to access credit up to $500,000. For those who might not qualify for a loan, the government will guarantee the first $100,000.
  • The government will pay small businesses that they work with within five days instead of the standard 30 days.
  • Effective March 30, 2020, student loans will be deferred interest-free for six-months. 
  • With more Nova Scotians working from home, the government is providing $15 million as an incentive to providers to speed up projects under the Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative and complete them as soon as possible.

More information about how Nova Scotia is supporting its residents is available on the provinces’ government website

Nunavut: 

  • Each Nattivak Hunters and Trappers Organization (H.T.O.) in Nunavut will receive $25,000 to supplement harvesting and help provide food to their local communities. 
  • Nunavut will provide $531,000 for childcare workers in licensed facilities to pay for potential lost fees during closures. 

More information about how Nunavut is supporting its residents is available on its government website

Ontario:

  • Ontario Health will waive the cost of COVID-19 services for uninsured Ontarians who do not meet the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) coverage criteria.
  • Ontario launches the Ontario Together website for businesses and their employees to adjust to challenges presented by COVID-19.
  • In a March 23, 2020 release, the Ontario government announced funding to help municipalities and social service providers (shelters, food banks, emergency services, charities and non-profits) to continue essential services and to hire more staff.
  • For individuals and families in financial crisis, funding will be available to help cover basic needs during this pandemic. Individuals can apply online at Ontario.ca/community.
  • For residents who do not apply to the federal program, Ontario has expanded its Emergency Assistance program through Ontario Works (OW) to cover these individuals’ needs. This program includes discretionary benefits available to those who already receive social assistance.
  • The City of Toronto has also announced economic support and recovery to extend grace periods on utility deferral and property taxes.
  • No new evictions to be ordered until stated otherwise by province

More information about how Ontario is supporting its residents is available on the provinces’ government website

Prince Edward Island:

  • The province announced a $500,000 fund for community partners. The United Way, local food banks, the Salvation Army and non-profits will split the funds.
  • P.E.I. has a temporary Emergency Income Relief Fund program to support self-employed workers significantly affected by COVID-19. 
  • P.E.I. has a temporary Emergency Relief – Worker Assistance Program to provide financial support to employees who have been impacted by reduced hours at work as a result of COVID-19. 
  • The province has announced emergency working capital to assist small businesses. On the government website, it states that eligible applicants can receive a loan of up to $100,000 with a fixed interest rate of 4% per annum to be used to assist with fixed operating costs with the principal and interest payments deferred for a minimum of 12 months. 

More information about how Prince Edward Island is supporting its residents is available on the provinces’ government website

Quebec: 

  • As of March 21, 2020, and for six months, all student loans will be deferred, and interest will not accrue during this time.
  • Quebec has opened some emergency daycare services explicitly reserved for health care and essential services personnel who do not have any other options available.
  • As of March 19, 2020, Quebec has begun the Temporary Aid for Workers Program, which offers financial assistance to those who are unable to work due to sickness by COVID-19. 
  • The province has also come up with emergency funding measures for businesses whose income is temporarily struggling due to the global pandemic. 

More information about how Quebec is supporting its residents is available on the provinces’ government website

Saskatchewan:

  • The province announced a Self-Isolation Support Program for workers who become sick and are unable to work, but do not qualify for federal support. Saskatchewan will provide $450 per week for a maximum of two weeks or $900.
  • Businesses unable to remit their PST due to cash flow concerns will be protected by the Saskatchewan government’s three-month PST remittance deferral and audit suspension.
  • Student loans will be deferred, interest-free, for six months, effective as of March 20, 2020.
  • Utility deferral is available for all Saskatchewan residents for up to six months
  • The government has also changed its employment standard regulations during a state of emergency. Businesses will not have to give notice or pay when they lay-off staff if it is for 12 weeks or less in 16 weeks. If the period extends for more than 12 weeks in 16 weeks, the employees are considered terminated and are entitled to pay instead of notice. 

More information about how Saskatchewan is supporting its residents is available on the provinces’ government website

Yukon: 

  • Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board is offering relief for business owners in two ways. One, companies will have the opportunity to revise their annual payroll estimates and two, they will have a chance to defer their assessment premiums without penalty or interest. 

More information about how Yukon is supporting its residents is available on its government website.

Information in this article will be updated as needed.

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Alyssa Davies

Alyssa is an award-winning personal finance blogger and founder of MixedUpMoney.com. She writes about being a mom, overcoming personal debts, and how to get away with affording your ridiculously expensive latte habit. A new homeowner, Alyssa brings her real-life knowledge of the Canadian real estate market and smart money matters to this growing brand.