Financial Resources for Covid-19

Financial Resources for Covid-19

If you are struggling financially due to Covid-19 related illness, caregiving, or layoffs, you are not alone. There are a number of resources available, and we’ve assembled the following links to help you find which resources best suit your situation. This is not an exhaustive list, but should help point you in the right direction. Please note that the COVID-19 pandemic response is changing rapidly, and the information here may change without notice. It is always best to go directly to the source to verify information.

Who can I call for information or to ask a question about financial support from the government right now?

Your number one resource for information on government and community based assistance is 2-1-1 Ontario. Visit https://www.211oncovid19.ca/ to Live Chat online, or simply dial 2-1-1 on your phone.

For questions related specifically to federal government assistance such as Employment Insurance (EI) or the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB), call 1-800-O-Canada (1-800-622-6232)

Canada Revenue Agency:
1-800-959-8281 for assistance with MyAccount (required to apply for CERB)
1-800-387-1193 for help with benefits

You can also contact the office of our Barrie-Innisfil Member of Parliament, John Brassard, at 705-726-5959.

I need to take sick leave because I’m ill, self-isolating, or have to quarantine. I have worked at least 600 hours in the past 52 weeks and have paid into Employment Insurance (EI).

EI sickness benefits are available. You can apply online (using a computer or mobile phone) using the Application for Employment Benefits.

If you can’t apply online, call 1-833-381-2725. Note that this line can be overloaded.

Note: If you have already applied for EI but have not received payment yet, you will automatically be assessed for the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB).

Find out more by reading this Outline of Employment Insurance Sickness Benefit.

I need to take sick leave because I’m ill, self-isolating, or have to quarantine, but I have NOT worked at least 600 hours in the past 52 weeks and/or have NOT paid into Employment Insurance (EI).

You can apply for assistance through the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB). Applicants will be able to apply for the benefit retroactively to March 15, 2020.

If you can apply online (using a computer or mobile phone) make sure you have a MyAccount with the Canada Revenue Agency first.

If you can’t apply online, you can call either 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041.

Note: You must have your Social Insurance Number and postal code ready. If you were born in January, February, or March – apply on a Monday. If you were born in April, May, or June – apply on a Tuesday. If you were born in July, August, or September – apply on a Wednesday. If you were born in October, November, or December – apply on a Thursday. If you miss your day, you can apply on any Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

I can’t work because I’m caring for someone who is sick.

If you worked at least 600 hours in the past 52 weeks and paid into Employment Insurance (EI), you can apply for Employment Insurance benefits. However, there is a large backlog of applications, so please consider applying for the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) instead. NOTE: If you have already applied for EI but are not yet receiving payments, you will automatically be assessed for CERB.

If you are unable to apply for EI online, you can call 1-833-381-2725. Note that this line can be overloaded.

If you are unable to apply for CERB online, you can call either 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041.

Note: You must have your Social Insurance Number and postal code ready. If you were born in January, February, or March – apply on a Monday. If you were born in April, May, or June – apply on a Tuesday. If you were born in July, August, or September – apply on a Wednesday. If you were born in October, November, or December – apply on a Thursday. If you miss your day, you can apply on any Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

I’ve been laid off because of Covid-19.

If you worked at least 600 hours in the past 52 weeks and paid into Employment Insurance (EI), you can apply for Employment Insurance Benefits. However, there is a large backlog of applications, so please consider applying for the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) instead. NOTE: If you have already applied for EI but are not yet receiving payments, you will automatically be assessed for CERB.

If you are unable to apply for EI online, you can call 1-833-381-2725. Note that this line can be overloaded.

If you are unable to apply for CERB online, you can call either 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041.

Note: You must have your Social Insurance Number and postal code ready. If you were born in January, February, or March – apply on a Monday. If you were born in April, May, or June – apply on a Tuesday. If you were born in July, August, or September – apply on a Wednesday. If you were born in October, November, or December – apply on a Thursday. If you miss your day, you can apply on any Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

Additional Note: If you receive any pay from your employer, including a subsidized paycheque or pick up an extra shift, or if you quit or voluntarily left your job, you will be considered ineligible for CERB.

I’m at home because my children can’t go to school or daycare and I need help making ends meet.

In May, the federal government will automatically make a lump sum payment to top-up your Canada Child Benefit (CCB).

If you’re unsure whether you’re already receiving a CCB, check your bank account. If you are, you do not need to take any other steps.

If you are not receiving a CCB, you (and your spouse, if applicable) need to file a tax return for 2018 as soon as possible. You can do so for free online. You can search a list of Canada Revenue Agency approved free software to help you complete your tax return.

The Government of Ontario is providing extra Support for Families for each child up to 12 years of age, or up to 21 years of age for a child with special needs. Note: only one parent may apply per child, and an application must be submitted for EACH child.

I’m already receiving the Canada Child Benefit, but I need immediate assistance.

If you need immediate assistance while staying home to care for children who can’t go to school or daycare, you can apply for the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB). Applicants will be able to apply for the benefit retroactively to March 15, 2020.

If you can apply online (computer or mobile phone) make sure you have a MyAccount with the Canada Revenue Agency first.

If you can’t apply online, you can call either 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041.

Note: You must have your Social Insurance Number and postal code ready. If you were born in January, February, or March – apply on a Monday. If you were born in April, May, or June – apply on a Tuesday. If you were born in July, August, or September – apply on a Wednesday. If you were born in October, November, or December – apply on a Thursday. If you miss your day, you can apply on any Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

Additional Note: If you receive pay from an employer of any kind, you will be considered ineligible for CERB.

I have not been laid off, but my employer cannot pay me.

Ask your employer if they have looked into their eligibility for the Federal Emergency Wage Subsidy Program.

In the meantime, you can apply for the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB). Applicants will be able to apply for the benefit retroactively to March 15, 2020.

Note: If you receive any pay from your employer, including a subsidized paycheque or pick up an extra shift, or if you quit or voluntarily left your job, you will be considered ineligible for CERB.

If you can apply online (using a computer or mobile phone) make sure you have a MyAccount with the Canada Revenue Agency first.

If you can’t apply online, you can call either 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041.

Note: You must have your Social Insurance Number and postal code ready. If you were born in January, February, or March – apply on a Monday. If you were born in April, May, or June – apply on a Tuesday. If you were born in July, August, or September – apply on a Wednesday. If you were born in October, November, or December – apply on a Thursday. If you miss your day, you can apply on any Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

I’m not sure that my employer is following the rules. What can I do?

Do you work in any of the following?

• A bank

• Air transportation including airlines and airports

• Telephone, cable or TV services

• Radio or TV

• Marine shipping or ports

• Rail or road transportation across provincial borders

• Other federally-regulated work

If yes, then you are likely covered by the federal labour code and have a specific set of rights.

If you are not covered by the federal labour code, you are covered by provincial rules. Find out more about Ontario’s labour rules and regulations by calling 1-800-531-5551.

I’m self-employed. What kind of benefits can I access?

If you pay yourself a salary using payroll deductions including Employment Insurance premiums, you can apply for Employment Insurance sickness benefits. If you do not pay yourself a salary with payroll deductions including EI premiums, OR you cannot wait for the EI sickness benefit application backlog to be processed, you can apply for the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) instead.

If you cannot apply for EI online, you can call 1-833-381-2725. Note that this line can be overloaded.

If you can’t apply for CERB online, you can call either 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041.

Note: You must have your Social Insurance Number and postal code ready. If you were born in January, February, or March – apply on a Monday. If you were born in April, May, or June – apply on a Tuesday. If you were born in July, August, or September – apply on a Wednesday. If you were born in October, November, or December – apply on a Thursday. If you miss your day, you can apply on any Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

Additional Note: If you have children, ensure that you are receiving any Canada Child Benefit and GST Credit that you are entitled to. These are going to be topped up soon. See the information above under “I’m staying home to care for children…”

If you do not have children, depending on your income you might still qualify for the GST Credit or the Canada Workers’ Benefit.

I’m a college or university student and I was counting on a summer job to pay for tuition in the fall. What can I do?

If you worked for pay in the last 12 months and made at least $5,000 in that work (including self-employment or gig work), and you’ve gone at least 14 days in a row without pay since March 15, 2020, you may qualify for the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB).

If the above description does not fit you, you may not be eligible for the CERB. Please consider applying for grants or an Ontario student loan to assist you.

Read about federal grants or the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) for more options.

I’m having trouble keeping up with rent. What can I do?

The province has suspended evictions (approving new ones or enforcing evictions) in the current health emergency so that you cannot be evicted during the Covid-19 crisis. Remember that under the Residential Tenancies Act, landlords cannot charge fees or penalties for late rent payments.

You can contact the Ontario Landlord Tenant Board that handles tenants’ rights by calling 1-888-332-3234.

Please ensure that you are receiving any benefits you are entitled to by clicking on any of the above headings that describe you. If this is an emergency situation or you are in financial crisis, you can check your eligibility and apply for social assistance through Ontario Works.

I own a small business and I have concerns about meeting obligations (rent, paying employees, purchasing supplies, etc.) What resources are available to me?

Both the federal government and the government of Ontario have instituted a number of measures to provide relief.

Find out more about federal support for Canadian businesses, including the Canada Emergency Business Account loan program, or the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to help pay your employees.

You can also consult a list of the latest provincial relief efforts for businesses, or call 1-866-668-8297 for more information.

I’m a low-income senior. What benefits do I qualify for?

If you’re a low-income senior, you may qualify for monthly Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payments.

On March 25, 2020, the Ontario government announced a temporary top-up to payments made through the Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS). Beginning in April 2020, monthly GAINS payment amounts will be automatically doubled for a period of six months. Payments are made on or around the 25th of each month.

If you already receive an Old Age Security (OAS) pension and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), you do not need to apply. Your GAINS benefits will automatically be determined based on information received from Employment and Social Development Canada and the details provided on your personal income tax and benefit return.

Contact the Ontario Ministry of Finance for more information at 1-866-668-8297 or TTY: 1-800-263-7776

I’m worried that this additional federal funding won’t be enough to make ends meet and I am facing a financial crisis. What else can I do?

You can check your eligibility and apply for Emergency Assistance due to Covid-19 through Ontario Works.

You can also contact the office of our Barrie-Innisfil Member of Provincial Parliament, Andrea Khanjin, at 705-722-0575.

If you have concerns about eligibility or other questions regarding the Employment Insurance sickness benefit, you can refer to this fact sheet created by the City of Toronto.

If you’re having trouble navigating the online system for submitting an EI sickness benefit claim, this instructional video may be helpful.

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