Given what is happening in the world, we’re all legitimately worried about not only our physical health, but our financial health. I’ve compiled a list of some resources (the majority of these are for Canadians) to point you in the right direction when it comes to getting financial support.As all levels of government are continuing to update and change policies, please be aware that these points are subject to change (last updated April 22, 2020). Let me know if I should add any others:
If you have been laid off by your employer:
- You can apply for Employment Insurance (EI). You’ll receive taxable payments of 55% of your average weekly earnings up to $573. The one-week waiting period is waived. Make sure that you get a Record of Employment from your employer upon termination as you’ll need this to apply for EI. If you have yet to apply for EI, your applications will be directed to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
If you have lost your income due to the pandemic:
You can apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit which supports:
- workers who must stop working due to COVID-19 and don’t have access to paid leave or another other income support
- workers who are sick, quarantined or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19
- working parents who must stay at home without pay to care for children
- workers who are still technically employed but are not being paid
- self-employed individuals, contract workers, etc. who are not eligible for EI
- seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI and are unable to undertake their seasonal work as a result of COVID-19
- workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19
It’s a taxable benefit of $2000 a month for up to four months. To qualify, you had to have had $5000 in income or maternity/parental leave benefits in 2019 or in the 12-month period before you make the application. You are allowed to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB. Visit the government’s CERB FAQ section for more details.
For low- and modest-income families:
- The Canadian government will provide a one-time special payment starting April 9 through the Goods and Services Tax credit, for those who normally receive the GST/HST credit and have filed a 2018 tax return. The maximum amounts that you may qualify for will increase from: $443 to $886 if you’re single, $580 to $1,160 if you’re married or living common-law, $153 to $306 for each child under the age of 19 or $290 to $580 for the first eligible child of a single parent. The CRA’s child and family benefits calculator will give you an estimate of your GST/HST credit.
If you’re a senior:
- RRIF withdrawals reduced by 25% for 2020
- In Ontario, you’ll receive double the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) maximum payment for low-income seniors for six months starting April 2020. This increases the maximum payment to $166 per month for individuals and $332 per month for couples.
If you’re a parent:
- Eligible recipients will automatically receive $300 more per child with their Canada Childcare Benefit.
- In Ontario, you’ll receive a one-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age and $250 for those with special needs, including children enrolled in private schools to help parents with extra costs due to the closure of schools and daycares. You can find out more about applying online here (funds will appear through direct deposit or cheque).
If you’re a student:
- The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) provides support to Canadian students who are impacted by the pandemic. Post-secondary students who are in school, planning to start school in September or who graduated December 2019 are eligible to receive $1,250 a month from May to August 2020 if they’ve lost work or can’t find work because of the pandemic. (The amount will increase to $2,000 per month if you are caring for somebody, or if you have a disability.) More details to follow.
- There’s a pause on the repayment of Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans until September 30, 2020, with no interest accruing
- The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan repayment and interest accrual temporarily suspended between March 30 and September 30, 2020.
If you’re a business:
- Eligible companies can apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy which is a 75% wage subsidy for up to 12 weeks, retroactive to March 15. This is for all Canadian-controlled private corporations, partnerships, non-profit organizations and charities that see a drop of at least 15% of their revenue in March 2020 and 30% for the following months.
- The Canada Emergency Business Account is a new loan program that will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits. To qualify, you’ll need to show you paid between $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019. If you repay the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 , you’ll receive loan forgiveness of 25% (up to $10,000). Small businesses and not-for-profits should contact their financial institution to apply for these loans.
- Export Development Canada is working with financial institutions so that they can issue new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to SME’s.
- The government is also extending the maximum duration of the Work-Sharing program from 38 weeks to 76 weeks. The Work-Sharing program is offered to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers. In the program, the employer and employee agree to a reduction in hours of work. Service Canada will then pay 55% of the lost income.
- The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program helps small businesses with rent assistance for the months of April, May and June. It provides commercial property owners loan to cover 50% of three monthly rent payments; the loans are forgivable if the property owner agrees to reduce rent by at least 75% and to not evict the tenant. The small business tenant would cover the rest (up to 25% of the rent) and is eligible if they’re paying less than $50,000 per month and who’ve temporarily stopped operating or have experienced at least a 70% drop in pre-covid revenues.
- The government is providing support through the Community Futures Network of Canada to help small business services to people living in rural communities.
- For those working in the arts, culture and sports industry, people and organizations can seek wage support and funding through Heritage Canada.
- Advocis, the Financial Advisors Association of Canada, has launched a free online service to connect financial advisors with small business owners in the wake of COVID-19.
If you’re a business looking for funding/grants:
- The federal government also has an online form to see if it can properly match you to some business grants.
- A list of federal funding for business women.
- Here’s a list of funding for Covid-19 projects including better ways to support workers in lockdown and remote education tools.
- Facebook is offering $100-million in grants and ad credits to eligible small businesses. (Stay tuned as they’re still working out the details for Canadians.)
- Shopify has compiled a list of government relief programs around the world, here.
- Intuit Quickbooks has partnered with GoFundMe to create the Small Business Relief Initiative. You can start a GoFundMe page and Intuit Quickbooks is seeding it with $1-million.
If you’re a business looking for info and help operating in these times:
- Statistics Canada is collecting information through the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions to measure the impact of COVID-19 on businesses. Take the survey before April 24 to share your voice.
- The feds and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce established the Canadian Business Resilience Network to provide resources to businesses to help them make it through the pandemic.
- The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety put out this booklet to inform businesses about continuing to operate safely in this environment, with checklists for your continuity plan.
- BDC has some templates for entrepreneurs including action plans for maintaining service. Download here.
- The Retail Council of Canada has an excellent FAQ when it comes to questions you may have as a retailer operating during these times.
- Startup Canada has a list of resources and webinars to view. Futurpreneur which also supports start-ups has a great list of resources and help.
- GoDaddy’s guide for taking your business online.
If you’re looking for help from your financial institutions and for information on how they’re meeting needs during the COVID-19 crisis:
- Canadian Western Bank
- National Bank of Canada
- Laurentian Bank
- ATB Financial
- Manulife Bank of Canada
- Desjardins Group
- Meridian Credit Union
- Simplii Financial
- ICICI Bank Canada
If you’re looking for professional money advice:
- Kind Wealth has assembled a team of financial advisors who are offering pro-bono consultations with anyone who is financially struggling at this time.
If you’re an artist:
- The government said that the arts, culture and sports industry would receive wage support and funding through Heritage Canada.
- The AFC — Provides emergency financial aid for entertainment professionals.
- The Photographer Fund — A $25,000 fund to help self-employed photographers facing hardship.
- The Writers Union of Canada — The Writers’ Trust of Canada and The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) announced the creation of the Canadian Writers’ Emergency Relief Fund to provide support to professional authors financially affected by the COVID-19 health crisis. The fund will begin with an initial amount of $150,000 and distribute grants in amounts of $1,500 to writers that have seen contracted or projected income evaporate due to the current public health crisis.
- MusicTogether — A $300K emergency relief fund for Ontario musicians put together by the provincial government and members of the music community. Musicians can apply for a one-time $1,000 performance fee tied to a livestream.
- For more resources, visit the CBC for it’s extensive list.
If you’re looking for online training resources:
- Skillshare — Browse thousands of free classes for your career, passions and everything in between.
- Access your library online for free materials and films for card holders.
If you’re looking for remote work or freelancing jobs:
- Skillcrush, which offers online classes for digital skills created this blog post: 25+ Sites for Finding Remote Work
- This Google doc lists a slew of resources and job postings for remote work
- If you’re looking to start a freelance career, Fivver is a site that focuses on “gigs” or micro-jobs like designing a logo or editing an image.
- Upwork features freelance remote job listings all over the world.
If you’re looking for work in industries hiring during the COVID-19 crisis
- An article on LinkedIn has a list of companies hiring right now (April 14) from shipping to online learning companies.
If you’re looking for provincial support:
- The BC Emergency Benefit for Workers will provide a one-time $1,000 payment to people who lost income because of COVID-19.
- A one-time enhancement to the climate action tax credit will be paid in July 2020 for moderate to low-income families
- A Temporary Rental Supplement of up to $500 per month will be available to low to- moderate-income renters who are suffering in the pandemic but do not qualify for existing rental assistance programs. The province is also halting evictions and freezing rent increases.
- BC Hydro is: allowing customers to defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans through the COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program, offering grants of up to $600 through the Customer Crisis Fund and awarding three-months bill credit through the COVID-19 Relief Fund.
- ICBC customers on payment plans may defer their payment for up to 90 days with no penalty
- The Self-Isolation Support Program offers $450 per week, for a maximum of two weeks for those who don’t have other government assistance.
- The Government of Alberta has closed applications to its Emergency Isolation Program.
- Individuals, families and businesses can defer utility payments until June 19.
- Residential education property tax rates will be frozen at last year’s level.
- Tenants cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent or utilities before May 1.
- There’s a freeze on rent increases and evictions.
- The province will defer any increases to the Manitoba Pharmacare deductible that were scheduled to take effect April 1.
- Electricity prices are set at the lowest rate, known as the off-peak price, 24 hours a day for 45 days
- Providing $9 million in direct support to families for their energy bills by expanding eligibility for the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP)
- Ontario has suspended evictions.
- Ontario’s Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services has an application (online or by contacting a local Ontario Works office) for help covering basic needs such as food and housing — about $733 for a month for a single person (more if you have children) for up to 48 days.
- The Temporary Aid for Workers Program provides $573 per week for an eligible person for a period of 14 days in isolation, with the coverage possibly extending to a maximum of 28 days.
- The COVID-19 Income Support Fund provides a one-time lump sum of $750 to eligible who’ve lost their job or income.
- For those who are not eligible for other federal and provincial support, there’s the COVID-19 Special Situation Fund for individuals which provides up to $1,000.
- Temporary Rental Assistance Benefit provides $1,000 per household to help cover the cost of rent for a three month period.
- The government has partnered with Sobeys to offer a $100 Sobeys gift card to those laid off through the PEI Employee Gift Card Program.
- Every individual and family member on income assistance will receive an additional $50.
- The City of Halifax has deferred the due date of utility and property tax bills April 30, 2020 to June 1, 202, suspended Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF) fees, and reduced interest rates charged on arrears from 15% per annum to 10% per annum.
- Workers who do not qualify for EI can apply for the Worker Emergency Bridge, and one-time $1000 payment to the gap between layoffs and closures and the federal government’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
- Eligible small businesses can receive a grant of up to 15% of their revenue from sales to a maximum of $5,000. The application deadline for the Nova Scotia Small Business Impact Grant closes April 25.
- Private sector employers will receive compensation to be able to pay for employees affected by the pandemic.
- The Paid Sick Leave Rebate allows Yukon workers without paid sick leave to stay at home by reimbursing employers.
- Eligible businesses can apply for up to $5,000 in support in the form of a non-repayable contribution through the Small Business Support Program.