COVID-19: Federal Financial Assistance Measures for Individuals
[This article was last updated on April 27, 2020 and will be updated as new information becomes available]
Several measures have been announced in recent weeks to provide financial support to individuals during the COVID-19 crisis. You will find in this article a description of three measures, the Canada Emergency Benefit, the enhancement of the Canada Child Tax Benefit and the special payment of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit.
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
- Enhancement of the Canada Child Allowance (CCA)
- Goods and Services Tax (GST) Credit Special Payment
The financial assistance offered by CERB is $2,000 for a period of four weeks, for a maximum of 16 weeks.
For Indigenous people with Indian status, the tax treatment of CERB will be the same as the income that entitles you to it. In other words, if your income earned before claiming CERB is exempt from income tax under section 87 of the Indian Act, your CERB will also be exempt. If a portion of your income is exempt, your CERB will also be exempt from income tax in the same proportion.
You are entitled to this benefit if you meet all of the following conditions:
- You have not applied for and are not receiving Employment Insurance benefits for the same eligibility period;
- You did not quit your job voluntarily;
- You have earned at least $5,000  in 2019 or in the 12 months before the date you apply. This income does not need to have been earned in Canada. This income can come from employment, self-employment contracts, Employment Insurance benefits, or maternity, paternity or parental benefits;
- You are at least 15 years old when you apply.
- You have earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months before the date you apply. This income does not have to have been earned in Canada. This income can come from employment, self-employment contracts, Employment Insurance benefits, or maternity, paternity or parental benefits.
- You stopped or will stop working because of COVID-19 and you are in one of the following situations:
- First application: For at least 14 consecutive days in the 4-week period for which you are applying, you do not expect to receive more than $1,000 in employment or self-employment income;
- Subsequent applications: During the 4-week period for which you are applying, you do not expect to receive more than $1,000 in employment or self-employment income.
- You have received regular Employment Insurance benefits for at least one week since December 29, 2019, and you are no longer entitled to these benefits.
Note that earned income does not have to be taxable to be considered for the $5,000 minimum threshold.
Examples of situations where ECP may apply
- You lost your job after March 15, 2020;
- You still have your job, but you are not being paid and your employer has asked you not to come to work (temporary layoff);
- You are self-employed or on contract and you do not pay into Employment Insurance;
- You are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19;
- You are not working because you are caring for someone with COVID-19;
- You are returning from abroad and are in isolation for 14 days;
- You have to stay home because the school or daycare is closed or your child needs care;
- You are on or returning from maternity or parental leave and have lost your job;
- You are a seasonal worker and will not have a job this year due to the pandemic.
How to Apply
There are two ways to apply:
- Online in My CRA Account
- By telephone using an automated telephone service: 1-800-959-2041 or 1-800-959-2019
If you are not registered for My CRA Account, you can go through My Service Canada Account.
Specific days have been designated to apply, depending on the month of birth:
|Month of Birth||Designated day to apply|
|January, February or March||Mondays|
|April, May or June||Tuesdays|
|July, August or September||Wednesdays|
|October, November or December||Thursdays|
|Every month||Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays|
You must reapply every 4 weeks to validate that your situation has not changed.
If you need help accessing services, you can fill out the online service request form. A Service Canada officer should contact you within 2 business days.
In addition, the CRA has published Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) most frequently asked by Indigenous communities and organizations about this program.
An additional maximum of $300 per child will be paid through the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) for 2019-2020. This amount will be paid as part of the projected Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) for May.
Individuals already receiving the CEA do not have to reapply, they will receive this additional amount automatically.
A one-time special amount will be paid through the GST credit for low- and modest-income families beginning April 9. The average additional benefit will be $400 for singles and almost $600 for couples.
No application is required to receive this payment. If you are eligible, you will automatically get it. However, you must have filed your 2018 income tax return to receive this amount. If you have not filed your 2018 tax return, you can still file your 2018 tax return in order to receive any payments to which you may be entitled.
Note: The information presented has been simplified for communication purposes. We refer you to the Government of Canada site for detailed information.
To assess your eligibility for the various assistance measures announced by the governments, we invite you to consult our tool COVID-19 Assistance Programs. To consult articles on other assistance programs and measures, please refer to the section of our Web site dedicated to COVID-19.