Federal government’s COVID-19 response: Income supports for affected workers
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has launched a multi-billion-dollar aid package that provides income supports and benefits for workers who are financially impacted by the crisis.
Below is a summary of the supports and benefits that are being made available to Canadian workers and their families, with details on who qualifies and how you can apply, as well as links to government webpages for further details.
Going forward, this page will be updated as more details become available, and as additional supports are announced.
Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
October 21, 2021
Government announces new COVID-19 support measures as pandemic recovery continues
The federal government has announced targeted COVID-19 support measures as Canada continues to recover from the pandemic:
- The Canada Recovery Hiring Program will be extended until May 7, 2022 for eligible employers with current revenue losses above 10 percent.
- The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit will be extended until May 7, 2022 and the maximum duration of benefits will be increased by 2 weeks.
- The government will establish the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit, which will provide $300 a week in income support to eligible workers unable to work due to a lockdown between October 24, 2021 and May 7, 2022
- The government will deliver targeted support to businesses that are facing pandemic-related challenges through the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program and the Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program:
- The backgrounder on these COVID-19 support measure extensions and established programs can be found here.
- The backgrounder on the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit can be accessed here.
- The backgrounder on the new targeted support to businesses can be viewed here.
October 6, 2021
- As of October 30, the Government of Canada will require employers in the federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation sectors to establish vaccination policies for their employees.
- Also, effective October 30, travellers departing from Canadian airports, and travellers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains, will be required to be fully vaccinated in order to travel.
August 11, 2021
Federal government moves on proof of vaccination for international travel
- The Government of Canada has announced that it is collaborating with the provinces and territories to develop a proof of vaccination system that will facilitate international travel. While the focus is on a digital proof of vaccination, the government is also working on making sure that these documents are accessible for all Canadians who may need to use them.
July 30, 2021
COVID-19 Support Measures Extended
The federal government has announced the extension of COVID-19 support measures, including:
- Extending the eligibility period for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, and Lockdown Support until October 23, 2021 and increasing the rate of support employers and organizations can receive between August 29 and September 25, 2021.
- Extending the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) until October 23, 2021.
- Increasing the maximum number of weeks available for the CRB by an additional 4 weeks, to a total of 54 weeks, at a rate of $300 per week, and ensuring the benefit is available to those who have exhausted their Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.
- The government is also proposing to offer businesses greater flexibility when calculating the revenue decline used to determine eligibility for the wage and rent subsidy programs and the new Canada Recovery Hiring Program.
June 30, 2021
Government launches Canada Recovery Hiring Program calculator
- The federal government has launched an online calculator to help businesses apply for the new Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP). This calculator integrates the new CRHP with the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), automatically showing applicants which subsidy will provide them with more support, based on the information they enter. The CRHP and the CEWS both support the payroll of eligible employers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the CEWS was meant to help eligible employers keep their employees on their payroll and help them rehire, the CRHP is designed to encourage businesses to hire, rehire, and grow as the economy recovers.
June 2, 2021
Bill C-30 seeks to extend CEWS while also reducing subsidy
- With the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) expiring this month, the federal government’s proposed budget aims to extend the program until September 25, 2021. If approved, beginning July 4 the subsidy rate will also be gradually decreased. These changes are included in the proposed Bill C-30.
Government introduces Canada Recovery Hiring Program
- The government has released additional information regarding a proposed program, the Canada Recovery Hiring Program, which is meant to overlap with the (CEWS). This new program would offset a portion of the extra costs that employers will take on as they reopen, either by increasing wages or hours worked or hiring more staff. This support would only be available for active employees and will be available from June 6, 2021 to November 20, 2021.
May 21, 2021
Canada’s temporary travel restrictions extended
- The Government of Canada has extended the temporary travel measures restricting entry into Canada by foreign nationals, as well as the flight and entry restrictions into Canada, including the mandatory pre-arrival, on-arrival, and post-arrival testing requirements, mandatory hotel stopover for air travellers, and mandatory 14-day quarantine for travellers.
May 7, 2021
Government increasing access to rapid tests for COVID-19
- The federal government is increasing access to rapid tests for COVID-19 by encouraging businesses and organizations to apply for free rapid tests for workplace screening.
May 6, 2021
Bill C-14 provides additional economic relief to Canadians
- Bill C-14 has received Royal Assent. It provides additional temporary assistance through the Canada Child Benefit, waives interest on the federal portion of Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans until March 2022, and allows the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy to recognize rent payable as an eligible expense for business owners.
April 14, 2021
Government expands access to permanent residency
- Beginning May 6, 2021, the federal government will begin accepting applications for permanent residency for over 90,000 essential temporary workers working in hospitals and long-term care homes, as well as international graduates.
New funding for ventilation projects announced
- The federal government announces an additional $150 million for ventilation projects in public buildings for all provinces, territories, and Indigenous communities. This additional funding is a top-up to the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure stream announced in August 2020.
March 25, 2020
New funding for urgent health care, vaccine rollout, infrastructure announced
- The federal government has introduced Bill C-25, which would provide an additional $7.2 billion in support for urgent health care needs across the country, including the COVID-19 vaccine rollout ($5 billion) and local infrastructure projects ($2.2 billion).
March 18, 2021
New legislation extends availability of COVID-19, EI benefits
- Bill C-24, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (Additional Regular Benefits), the Canada Recovery Benefits Act (Restriction on Eligibility), and additional legislation responding to COVID-19 have received Royal Assent. These changes implement the proposals the federal government announced on February 19, regarding the extended availability of COVID-19 recovery benefits and Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.
February 26, 2021
Health Canada authorizes AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
- Health Canada has authorized the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, as well as the Serum Institute of India’s version of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
February 19, 2021
Government plans to extend availability of COVID-19 recovery benefits, EI
- The federal government has announced a proposal to introduce legislation that will extend the availability of COVID-19 recovery benefits for several weeks, as some workers will begin to exhaust their benefits in late March. The proposed changes would:
- Increase the numbers of weeks that the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) are available to Canadians, from the current 26 weeks up to 38 weeks;
- Increase the number of weeks that the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) is available to those who need it, from the current 2 weeks up to 4 weeks; and
- Increase the number of weeks that Employment Insurance (EI) regular benefits are available, up to a maximum of 50 weeks.
- The government news release for this issue can be accessed here.
February 12, 2021
Government announces new COVID-19 requirements for travellers arriving to Canada
- The federal government has released further details and dates regarding quarantine requirements for travel to Canada:
- As of February 15: All travellers arriving to Canada by land will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test result taken in the United States within 72 hours of pre-arrival.
- As of February 22: travellers arriving to Canada by land and air will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival and another test toward the end of their 14-day quarantine period. They will be required to submit their travel and contact information, including a suitable quarantine plan. Hotel booking information will be available as of February 18.
- The government backgrounder for this announcement can be found here.
Changes to Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) introduced
- The federal government has introduced temporary changes to the post-graduate work permit (PGWP) to support international students. These measures will assist international students by ensuring studies completed outside Canada will count towards a future PGWP and will allow students to complete their entire program abroad and still be eligible for a PGWP.
- The government news release for this issue can be accessed here
February 9, 2021
Non-essential travelers must show negative PCR test at land border crossings
- The Prime Minister of Canada has announced that as of February 15, non-essential travellers will need to show a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test to enter Canada through a land border crossing. Canadian citizens cannot be legally turned away, but those who show up at the border without proof may face fines of up to $3,000.
New tax relief for CERB recipients announced
- The federal government has also announced that individuals who received federal benefits, such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), and made less than $75,000 annually, will not have to pay interest on 2020 tax debt until April 2022. Additionally, self-employed individuals who accessed CERB based on their gross income, instead of their net income, will not have to repay the benefit if they met all other eligibility requirements.
January 29, 2021
Returning travellers from overseas must take COVID-19 test, quarantine in hotel
- All Canadian travellers returning from overseas will have to take a COVID-19 test at the airport when they land and quarantine in a designated hotel for three days at their own expense while they await the results. This is one of several measures from the federal government aimed at discouraging non-essential trips outside of the country.
Waiting period for EI claimants temporarily waived
- The government has announced that Employment Insurance (EI) regulations will be amended to temporarily waive the waiting period of EI claimants between January 31 to September 25, 2021.
January 11, 2021
International travellers can no longer access COVID-19 recovery benefits
- The government of Canada is proposing new legislation to prevent international travellers from accessing recovery benefits during their mandatory quarantine. Currently, Canadians can access the following supports if confronted by a job or pay loss due to COVID-19: the Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, or the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit. On January 11, the Canada Revenue Agency will update the application process for these benefits and applicants will have to indicate whether they are self-isolating or in quarantine due to international travel. This proposed legislation will be retroactive to January 3, 2021.
January 8, 2021
Eligible international students, graduates can now seek open work permit
- The Government of Canada has announced that former international students who hold or have held a post-graduation work permit are now able to apply for an open work permit. Permits will allow international students and graduates to remain in Canada and continue to seek employment. Applications will be open from January 27 to July 27, 2021.
December 31, 2020
All travellers to Canada must test negative for COVID-19 before arrival
- Effective January 7, the federal government has announced that all passengers five years of age or older are required to test negative for COVID-19 before travelling by air from another country to Canada. The test must be performed within 72 hours prior to boarding a flight to Canada.
December 23, 2020
Health Canada authorizes use of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
- Health Canada has authorized the second COVID-19 vaccine in Canada, manufactured by U.S. biotechnology company Moderna.
December 21, 2020
New tool allows Canadians to identify employers receiving Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy assistance
- The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has launched the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Registry, which allows Canadians to identify which employers are receiving funding from the CEWS program.
December 18, 2020
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy of up to 75 percent available until March 2021
- The regulatory changes regarding the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) have been finalized. The changes raise the maximum wage subsidy rate to 75 percent, from December 20, 2021 to March 13, 2021.
Federal government, province provide financial relief to Ontario beef farmers
- The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $5 million in emergency assistance to help Ontario beef farmers manage costs associated with the impacts of COVID-19. The Canada-Ontario COVID-19 Beef Emergency Feed Maintenance Initiative is being offered through AgriRecovery.
December 15, 2020
Home office expenses can be claimed on 2020 income tax return
- The federal government has introduced a simplified process for claiming home office expenses for Canadians working from home due to COVID-19. Canadians can now claim these expenses on their personal income tax return for the 2020 tax year.
December 10, 2020
Federal government expands voting opportunities
- The Government of Canada has introduced legislation that would temporarily supplement provisions in the Canada Elections Act. New measures include the establishment of a three-day polling period, expanded opportunities to securely vote by mail, flexibility to allow for safe voting in long-term care facilities and facilities with persons living with disabilities, and increased authority for the Chief Electoral Officer to adjust provisions of the Act as needed to ensure the health and safety of voters and election workers.
December 9, 2020
Health Canada approves Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
- Health Canada has authorized the first COVID-19 vaccine, made by U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer.
Refugees in Canada’s health care sector can now apply for permanent residence
- The federal government has announced that Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will begin accepting applications for permanent residence from refugee claimants who work in Canada’s health care sector and who provide direct care to patients.
December 4, 2020
Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can access additional $20K loan
- The federal government announces that beginning December 4, eligible businesses experiencing hardships due to COVID-19 can access a second loan of up to $20,000. The application deadline for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) has been extended to March 2021.
New training program for PSW interns announced
- The federal government announces that $23.2 million in funding will go to Colleges and Institutes Canada (CIC) to develop an accelerated online program to train new personal support worker (PSW) interns to address the increasing shortage of PSWs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The program includes six weeks of online training. It will be followed by a four-month, paid work-integrated learning placement with an employer in long-term care or home care.
- CIC will work in collaboration with provinces, territories, employers, workers’ organizations, unions, and training providers to begin a national dialogue on training standards for the supportive care sector.
- The government news release for this announcement can be accessed here.
December 2, 2020
Government moves to implement new supports for COVID-19 recovery efforts
- The government has introduced Bill C-14, An Act to implement certain provisions of the economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 30, 2020, in the House of Commons. The bill includes measures that would:
- Introduce temporary and immediate support for families who are entitled to the Canada Child Benefit (CCB);
- Eliminate interest on repayment of the federal portion of Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans for one year (2021 to 2022);
- Provide up to $505.7 million in funding to support long-term care facilities;
- Implement funding of up to $133 million to support access to virtual care, mental health tools, and substances use;
- Provide funding of up to $262.6 million for COVID-19 initiatives, including testing, medical research, countermeasures, vaccine funding and developments, border and travel measures, and isolation sites;
- Allow rent to qualify as an eligible expense under the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy so that businesses can access the subsidy before the expense is paid;
- Allow the government to continue making necessary investments to support Canada’s COVID-19 recovery.
- The government news release for Bill C-14 can be found here.
November 30, 2020
Fall Economic Statement provides new funding, supports for COVID-19 recovery
- The government has released key details from their fall economic update. They are proposing new stimulus spending as part of their COVID-19 pandemic recovery plans. The stimulus spending will launch after a vaccine is distributed. In the meantime, the government plans to roll out the following supports:
- $1 billion for provinces to help with long-term care homes, specifically for infection prevention, ventilation improvements, and hiring new staff.
- $1.5 billion over 9 years to replenish Canada’s personal protective equipment (PPE) stockpile.
- $500 million for new PPE this year.
- $685 million for COVID-19 support for Indigenous communities.
- $803 million for Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada.
- The government will extend the highest subsidy rates for the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy of up to 65 per cent and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to 75 per cent until March 13, 2021.
- The CRA will allow employees working from home in 2020 due to COVID-19 with modest expenses to claim up to $400, based on the amount of time working from home, without the need to track detailed expenses, and will generally not request that people provide a signed form from their employers.
- Some middle class and lower income families with children will get an increase in the Canada Child Benefit (CCB). The CCB will be $1,200 per child under the age of 6 for CCB-entitled families with an annual income at or below $120,000. It will be $600 per child under 6 for CCB-entitled families with incomes above $120,000.
- Media coverage of this government announcement can be found here.
- The Federal Government’s Fall Economic Statement 2020 – Supporting Canadians and Fighting COVID-19, can be accessed here.
November 24, 2020
Canada secures new antibody therapy for COVID-19
- The Government of Canada has signed a new agreement for a COVID-19 antibody therapy developed by U.S. pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly.
November 23, 2020
Applications for Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) now open
- Applications are now open for the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS):
- CERS is targeted relief for businesses, non-profit organizations, and charities that continue to face economic impacts due to COVID-19.
- The CERS online calculator can be found here.
- The government news release for this announcement can be accessed here.
November 19, 2020
Legislation implementing rent and wage subsidies receives Royal Assent
- Bill C-9, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy), has received Royal Assent.
November 12, 2020
- The government announces companies that have received funding from the Emergency Processing Fund in the Agri-Food sector.
- These businesses include Les Aliments fontaine sante inc., Premium Brands Holdings Corporation, Goodfood Market Corp., Bassé & Frères Alimentation Orientale, Lantic Inc., Prana Biovegan Inc., Distillerie Blue Pearl Inc., Montpak Products Ltd., and Saputo Dairy Products Canada.
- The backgrounder can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/agriculture-agri-food/news/2020/11/the-emergency-processing-fund.html
November 2, 2020
Mandatory Isolation Support for TFWs extended
- The federal government has extended the Mandatory Isolation Support for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) to November 30, 2020. Temporary foreign workers must undergo a mandatory 14-day isolation period upon arriving in Canada. This government support provides $1,500 to each temporary foreign worker.
Bill C-9 changes rent subsidy, extends wage subsidy
- The federal government has introduced Bill C-9, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy) for businesses. It introduces changes to the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and extends the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.
October 23, 2020
Deadline to apply for Disability Tax Credit extended
- The federal government has announced the extension of the deadline to apply for the Disability Tax Credit, which provides persons with disabilities with a one-time payment to help deal with extra costs related to COVID-19. The deadline to apply for the benefit has been extended to December 31, 2020.
October 13, 2020
New resource can help workplaces craft COVID-19 health and safety plan
- The government launches an online tool that can help workplaces build a customized COVID-19 health and safety plan. It is a resource that is meant to help workplaces operate safely during the pandemic and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
October 12, 2020
Canada Recovery Benefit application portal is launched
- The Canada Recovery Benefit application portal has now been launched.
October 9, 2020
New targeted supports for businesses, charities, non-profits announced
- The government announces targeted support to help businesses, charities, and non-profit organizations through the pandemic.
- The support includes an overhauled rent relief program that will be available until June 2021, provided directly to tenants with businesses that have suffered a revenue drop. This support subsidizes a percentage of their expenses, up to a maximum of 65 percent of eligible expenses.
- Also included is the top-up Canada Emergency Rent Subside of 25 percent. In addition to the 65 percent subsidy, this would be available for organizations that have been temporarily shut down by a mandatory public health order.
- The extension of the Canada Wage Subsidy until June 2021.
- The government news release for these supports can be accessed here.
October 7, 2020
New targeted supports for businesses, charities, non-profits announced
- The government announces companies that have received funding from the Emergency Processing Fund in the Agri-Food sector.
- The businesses include Kawartha Dairy Limited and Mariposa Dairy Limited.
- The government backgrounder can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/agriculture-agri-food/news/2020/11/the-emergency-processing-fund.html
October 5, 2020
Applications for new COVID-19 benefits open today
- Applications have opened today for the following programs: the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit.
- Applications are also now being accepted for the Emergency On-Farm Support Fund in certain provinces and territories. The fund is intended to provide support to farmers for direct infrastructure improvements to living quarters and work stations, temporary or emergency housing (on or off-farm), as well as personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitary stations, work stations, and any other health and safety measures needed to safeguard the health and safety of Canadian and temporary foreign workers from COVID-19.
October 2, 2020
Government announces additional supports
- The federal government announces an additional $600 million to support workers and businesses during COVID-19 through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund.
- The government also announces the continued enforcement of travel restrictions and strengthening of border measures. Additionally, the government is also introducing processes to allow for family reunification, including the entry of extended family members as well as the entry of non-Canadians for compassionate reasons. Finally, some international students will be allowed entry as of Oct 20.
Fish Harvester Benefit and Grant Program extended two weeks
- The Fish Harvester Benefit and Grant Program for COVID-19 has been extended another two weeks. The online portal will close on October 19, 2020.
Bill C-4: The COVID-19 Response Measures Act receives Royal Assent
- Bill C-4: The COVID-19 Response Measures Act, legislation aimed at supporting new COVID-19 recovery benefits, has received Royal Assent.
September 25, 2020
Government announces proposal to extend CEWS
- The federal government announces a proposal to extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy for furloughed employees, from September 27 to October 24, 2020. Following this period, the government will review this program and the possible need to facilitate the extension of the wage subsidy into 2021 as committed to in Speech from the Throne.
September 24, 2020
Government introduces new benefits that will replace CERB
- The federal government has introduced Bill C-2 to create three new and temporary benefits, announced on August 20, that will replace the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which expires on September 27.
- The new programs include: the Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit.
- The legislation also includes an increase of the Canada Recovery Benefit from $400 to $500 a week, which was a response to a specific demand from the New Democratic Party (NDP).
- Bill C-2 also includes proposed amendments to the Canada Labour Code so that that federally regulated employees have access to job-protected leave to ensure that they can avail themselves of these benefits.
- The government news release for this announcement can be found here.
- News coverage of these new benefits can be accessed here.
September 23, 2020
Throne Speech announces expanded supports for COVID-19 recovery
- The Throne Speech includes proposals to expand the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), improve the Business Availability Program, and overhaul the Employment Insurance (EI) system so that it includes Canadians who did not qualify for EI before the COVID-19 pandemic.
September 22, 2020
Government releases latest COVID-19 modelling data
- The federal government has presented its most recent, national COVID-19 modelling data, which reveals accelerating numbers of COVID-19 cases across Canada.
September 16, 2020
New information on use of Safe Restart Agreement funding released
- The federal government has published letters from every premier in Canada outlining how each province is using the $19 billion in funding provided through the Safe Restart Agreement.
September 8, 2020
Rent relief for small businesses extended
- The government announces the extension of rent relief for small businesses. The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) will be extended by one month to help eligible small businesses pay rent for September 2020. This will be the final extension of this program.
September 4, 2020
Government announces new Emergency Processing Fund projects in agri-food sector
- The federal government has announced several projects that have been approved under the Emergency Processing Fund. The fund is meant to facilitate projects aimed at helping companies in the agri-food sector – particularly those that have been impacted by COVID-19 – respond to urgent health and safety needs. The fund will provide $77.5 million for these projects. So far, a total of 32 projects have been approved by the government, accounting for $10.54 million in funding.
August 31, 2020
Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) extended and modified
- The government announces greater flexibility for and an extension of the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). The application deadline for the CEBA is now extended to October 31, 2020. The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) is also being extended to June 2021.
Government of Canada secures millions of COVID-19 vaccine candidates
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces that an agreement has been reached between the Government of Canada and pharmaceutical companies Novavax and Johnson & Johnson to secure millions of COVID-19 vaccine candidates for the Canadian public.
August 26, 2020
Government provides $2 billion in funding to help schools safely reopen
- The federal government has announced $2 billion in funding for provinces and territories to assist with safe school re-openings. The money is meant to help schools with adapting learning spaces, improving air ventilation, increasing hand sanitation and hygiene, and buying personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies.
August 25, 2020
Indigenous communities to receive new funding for mental health services
- The federal government has announced $82.5 million in mental health and wellness supports to help Indigenous communities adapt and expand their mental wellness services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
August 24, 2020
New policy announced for visitors applying for employer-specific work permits
- A new temporary policy will allow visitors to apply for a work permit without having to leave Canada. As part of the federal government’s recovery plan, visitors who are currently in Canada and have a valid job offer will be able to apply for an employer-specific work permit and, if approved, will receive the permit without having to leave the country.
August 20, 2020
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) extended to September 27, new COVID-19 benefits introduced
- The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is being extended for another 4 weeks, until September 27, 2020. After that, the CERB system will be replaced by Employment Insurance (EI), the Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit.
- EI qualification will apply to workers who have worked 120 insurable hours over the last 52 weeks. The minimum benefit rate will be $400 per week.
- The Canada Recovery Benefit will be for self-employed individuals, or those who are not eligible for EI because of COVID-19. Applicants will receive $400 a week for up to 26 weeks but will have to repay $0.50 of every dollar earned above an annual net income of $38,000.
- The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit will be for workers who are ill or who must self-isolate. This benefit provides $500 a week for a maximum of 2 weeks. This benefit is the outcome of the paid sick days agreement that was reached between the Liberal government and the New Democratic Party (NDP).
- The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit will provide $500 per week for up to 26 weeks for individuals who miss work to care for a child under 12, or a family member, if school, daycare, or other facilities are closed because of COVID-19.
- The government news release for these announcements can be found here.
- The government backgrounder for these initiatives can be accessed here.
August 14, 2020
New pathway to permanent residency for asylum seekers working in health care
- The federal government announces a temporary measure that will provide a pathway to permanent residency for asylum claimants working in the health care sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as their in-Canada family members. Quebec will select those qualifying for this measure who wish to reside in Quebec.
August 11, 2020
Eligibility for Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) expanded
- The government has launched an update to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) calculator which includes newly introduced changes to the program. As of August 17, 2020, these program changes and calculator updates will include expanded eligibility criteria, introducing a sliding revenue-decline test to determine the subsidy amount, and providing a top-up subsidy for the most impacted employers.
August 10, 2020
Changes coming to CERB and EI benefits
- The federal government announces that a minimum unemployment rate of 13.1 percent will be applied temporarily for all Employment Insurance (EI) economic regions across Canada. When individuals begin transitioning off of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) back to EI regular benefits at the end of this month, those living in EI regions with an unemployment rate lower than 13.1 percent will have their EI benefits calculated on the basis of that rate, while individuals living in regions with a higher unemployment rate will have their benefits calculated using the actual rate for their region. This temporary measure will establish minimum entry requirements for EI eligibility across the country.
August 5, 2020
Government announces expansion of Canada Infrastructure Program
- The federal government announces the expansion of the Canada Infrastructure Program by establishing the new COVID-19 Resilience Stream. The government will carve out $3.3 billion of existing funds to help fund pandemic-related projects that wouldn’t normally be covered under previous rules. The funding would allow provinces and territories easier access to funding to carry out projects, such as making schools and long-term care facilities safer or creating new bike and walking lanes for public use.
Pfizer, Moderna to provide millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Canada
- The government has entered into two agreements with Pfizer and Moderna to secure millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine candidates. The vaccine will be tested on 30,000 people and the results are expected in the fall. This news comes a day after Dr. Tam warned Canadians that public health officials are still planning for a scenario where public health measures that have been taken so far will remain in place even after a successful vaccine is found.
July 31, 2020
Canada Commercial Rent Assistance extended
- The government announces that the Canada Commercial Rent Assistance is being extended to August.
Changes coming to Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
- The Prime Minister signals more announcements will be coming regarding the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which will include a new system that would transition CERB users to an Employment Insurance (EI) structure that would also cover those who won’t qualify for EI. The last scheduled CERB pay period is set to end on September 26, 2020.
New measures to address COVID-19 outbreaks across Canada
- The government introduces measures to address COVID-19 outbreaks with an investment of $58.6 million. This initiative is also meant to encourage the improvement of employer-provided accommodations, including living accommodations for temporary foreign and migrant farm workers in Canada.
July 27, 2020
CRA extends deadline for tax return payments, waives interest on existing tax debt
- The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announces that it is extending the payment deadline and applying relief to interest on existing debt during the COVID-19 pandemic.
July 24, 2020
Government announces new funding for child care
- The federal government announces $625 million in federal support for Canada’s child care sector in preparation for parents’ gradual return to work. This investment is part of the Safe Restart Agreement.
July 20, 2020
Government introduces bill expanding Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy eligibility
- The federal government has introduced Bill C-20, An Act respecting further COVID-19 measures, in the House of Commons. Upon receiving Royal Assent, the bill would make the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program more targeted and would expand its eligibility.
July 17, 2020
Disability benefit to be expanded
- Last month, the government announced supports for persons with disabilities that would include a one-time, tax-free, non-reportable payment of $600. Today, the government announced it will introduce legislation that will make the benefit available to more people and expand it to include approximately 1.7 million Canadians with disabilities.
More details on Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
- The government also provided more details on the extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). These changes still need to follow consultations with business and labour representatives. Some of the proposed changes include:
- An extension of the program to December 2020.
- Expand employer eligibility to employers with a revenue decline of less than 30 percent.
- Introduce a top-up subsidy for employers that have been most adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The government news release on this issue can be accessed here.
July 16, 2020
New federal funding for economic recoveries, PPE, municipal and health care issues
- The government has announced over $19 billion in funding for provinces and territories to assist with their economic recovery. The funds are also intended to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers and help cities deal with issues surrounding transit, COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, and mental health, substance abuse, and homelessness problems.
- This deal will also provide up to 10 paid sick days for workers, address child care shortfalls, and target the unique pressures the pandemic is placing on Canadian mothers.
- In the beginning of June, the Prime Minister had previously committed $14 billion for the ‘Safe-Restart Agreement’ with provinces and territories.
- News coverage of this latest funding announcement can be found here.
- The Prime Minister has also signaled that new information will be coming regarding help for people with disabilities.
July 13, 2020
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy extended to December
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces another extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), from August to December of this year.
June 29, 2020
Commercial rent assistance extended
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that the federal government will work with provinces and territories to extend commercial rent assistance by one month.
COVID-19 cases declining in most of Canada
- Federal public health officials have released updates to national modeling on the COVID-19 pandemic. The main takeaway is that there are some regional hotspots (Toronto, Montreal, and some pockets in Saskatchewan and Southern Ontario), but overall, the number of cases has declined across the country.
June 25, 2020
Government launches Canada Student Service Grant
- Today the government launched the Canada Student Service Grant, which is intended to help post-secondary students and recent graduates who have been impacted by COVID-19 gain work experience and earn up to $5,000 from June to September 2020.
June 22, 2020
Planning guidelines for easing of COVID-19 restrictions released
- The government provides guidelines regarding how they will support planning for the eventual increased access to federal worksites as health restrictions ease.
June 18, 2020
COVID-19 contact-tracing app announced
- The prime minister announces that a contact-tracing app will soon be available in Canada. Use of the app will be voluntary. The technology works by allowing those who have tested positive with COVID-19 to upload their results anonymously. Other users will then be notified if they have been near someone who has tested positive.
June 17, 2020
Applications for Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund coming soon
- The federal government announces that applications for the Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund will be available as of June 22, 2020. This funding will help fish and seafood processors adapt to the challenges of COVID-19.
Fish and seafood processors can access Opportunities Fund
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also adds that fish and seafood processors may use the Canadian Fish and Seafood Opportunities Fund as a resource during COVID-19.
Parks Canada set to re-open
- The prime minister announces that as of June 22, 2020, Parks Canada will begin re-opening. More details here.
Millions in financial relief for beef and hog farmers in Ontario
- Together, the federal government and the province of Ontario will invest up to $10 million in emergency assistance for beef and hog farmers. Learn more here.
Economic and Fiscal Update coming July 8
- The prime minister announces that Canada’s Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, will present an economic update and fiscal snapshot of the federal government’s finances on Wednesday, July 8. The snapshot will provide information on the current state of the economy and the government’s response to assist Canadians during COVID-19.
June 16, 2020
Canada Emergency Response Benefit extended
- The prime minister has announced that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will be extended for another 8 weeks.
Canada-U.S. border to remain closed
- The federal government announced today that the Canada-U.S. border will remain closed for another 30 days, until July 21.
June 15, 2020
Canada Emergency Response Benefit may be extended
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces that the federal government is looking at extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The government will provide an update on this matter at the end of the week.
Canada Emergency Business Account eligibility expanded
- The government has expanded the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program eligibility to include sole proprietors and farmers. Eligible applicants in these fields will be able to apply to the program this Friday.
Applications for Surplus Food Rescue Program now available
- Applications for the Surplus Food Rescue Program are now available. This program helps organizations that serve vulnerable populations to avoid food waste.
June 12, 2020
Financial relief, new protections for food processing industry
- Today, applications for the federal Emergency Processing Fund (EPF) became available online. This fund provides financial support to employers in the Agriculture and Agri-Food sector – and food processing companies in particular – to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that workers’ health and safety is protected.
June 11, 2020
New funding for Indigenous businesses, tourism industry
- The government announces additional funding, totalling $117 million, for Indigenous businesses and the Indigenous tourism industry as they deal with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
June 9, 2020
New hotline for small businesses in need
- The federal government urges small business owners with pressing financial needs to call 1-866-989-1080 to speak with an accountant or financial business advisor.
June 8, 2020
New exemptions for border crossings announced
- The government announces a limited exemption to allow immediate family members of citizens or permanent residents to come to Canada in the wake of coronavirus-related border closures.
- The federal government is hoping to enact new punishments, including jail time and fines, for Canadians who are found to be defrauding the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
June 6, 2020
Additional funding for disability organizations
- The government announces an additional $1.1 million in funding to support national disability organizations to enhance accessible communications and engagement activities related to COVID-19.
June 5, 2020
Federal government commits to safe-restart agreement with provinces
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commits $14 billion for a ‘safe-restart agreement’ with provinces and for measures to keep COVID-19 at bay. This would go towards personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers, support for municipalities, child care, and paid sick leave.
June 4, 2020
More supports for seniors coming July 6
- The prime minister announces that supports for seniors, in the form of additional payments through Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), will be available the week of July 6.
May 31, 2020
Financial relief for municipalities announced
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces that the federal government will be offering municipalities an advance transfer of $2.2 billion in infrastructure money to help cover COVID-19 budget shortfalls to assist with regional reopenings.
May 29, 2020
Federal government commits to paid sick days
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emphasizes his government’s intent to work with provincial premiers to introduce 10 days of paid sick leave for all workers in Canada.
New funding announced for Indigenous communities
- The government announces $650 million to support Indigenous communities.
- The new funding will go toward the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, on-reserve income assistance, and the construction of new women’s shelters.
- News coverage of the funding can be found here.
May 26, 2020
Youth Employment Skills Program enhanced
- The federal government announced an investment of $9.2 million to enhance the Youth Employment Skills Program (YESP). The government will also fund up to 700 new positions to attract youth in the agricultural industry to help address labour shortages brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The YESP will provide agricultural employers with funding that covers up to 50 percent of the cost of hiring a Canadian youth. Indigenous applicants are eligible for funding of up to 80 percent of the cost of hiring.
- The news release regarding the new funding for YESP can be found here.
May 25, 2020
Commercial rent assistance available; government, NDP to push for paid sick leave
- The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) applications are open as of today.
- The federal government has announced that they have been in talks with the New Democratic Party (NDP) and its leader, Jagmeet Singh, to begin a dialogue with the provinces on introducing 10 days of paid sick leave to help deal with COVID-19:
May 21, 2020
- The federal government announces $75 million in new funding for organizations that address the urgent needs of Indigenous people living in urban centres or off-reserve.
May 20, 2020
- The federal government announces that the application portal for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program will open on May 25, 2020 for landlords with small business tenants.
- The program will be launched on the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) website.
- The government notes that it is also currently working on supports for larger retailers regarding commercial rent.
- The application process for the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) opens today.
May 19, 2020
- The federal government announces expansion of the Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to include the sole owner-operator of a business, for businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned business owners that pay through dividends.
- More details to come about when people can apply.
May 16, 2020
- The government announces that applications to apply for COVID-19 support for charities, non-profit organizations, and community organizations are available as of May 19, 2020.
- The United Way Centraide Canada, the Canadian Red Cross, and the Community Foundations of Canada will disburse the $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund.
- The government is providing $15 million in additional funding to support women entrepreneurs through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES).
- This investment will help thousands of women entrepreneurs and business owners navigate this crisis and get the support they need through things like business workshops, mentorship, and skills training to adapt to a digital marketplace.
- The government news release for this initiative can be found here.
May 15, 2020
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy extended until late August
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) has been extended until August 29, 2020. The government is also expanding eligibility for applicants.
Hiring begins for Canada Summer Jobs program
- The Canada Summer Jobs hiring period begins today for young Canadians, with changes made to the program in response to COVID-19.
Canada Emergency Student Benefit portal now open
- The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) portal opens today.
GST/HST credits to continue until fall; new research funding announced
- The government announces that the GST/HST credit and Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payments will continue until Fall 2020.
- Prime Minister Trudeau has also announced $450 million in new funding for researchers and research institutions.
Bill C-16 receives Royal Assent
- With Bill C-16, the government amends the Canadian Dairy Commission Act and increases the Canadian Dairy Commission’s (CDC) borrowing limit to allow cheese and butter to be temporarily stored and to avoid waste in light of COVID-19.
- The news release for this legislation can be accessed here.
May 14, 2020
New investments in fishing industry and agri-food sector
- The federal government is investing $470 million in fish farmers:
- If producers had a 25 percent drop in income due to COVID-19, they would qualify for the Fish Harvesters Benefit, which will cover up to 75 percent of losses, up to $10,000.
- The government also announces up to $10,000 in non-repayable grants for fish harvesters who own their own business.
- For workers in the fish industry, the government will make changes to Employment Insurance (EI) requirements to allow them to attest to income from the previous year.
- More details can be found here.
- The government has also announced the launch of a $100-million Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund
May 13, 2020
New funding for small and medium-sized businesses announced
- The government announces the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) initiative for small and medium-sized (SMEs) businesses, specifically those in rural and remote areas that are currently unable to access existing COVID-19 support measures.
- This funding is meant to help SMEs retain their employees, pay rent, and pay bills. It will be delivered through Regional Development Agencies (RDAs):
- $110 million for Atlantic Canada through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)
- $211 million for Quebec through Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED)
- $304 million for the Western region through Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD)
- $34.4 million for the Canadian North through the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor)
- A combined $301.9 million for Ontario’s two regions:
May 12, 2020
Government announces new COVID-19 supports for seniors
- Those receiving Old Age Security will get a one-time increase of $300.
- Canadians who are eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will receive a one-time payment of $200.
- The government will be investing $20 million in the New Horizons for Seniors Program, which will provide funding for organizations to deliver better social services for isolated seniors.
New process allows temporary workers to return to work quicker
- The government has also launched a new process that allows temporary workers to get back to work quickly:
- This is for workers with employer-specific work permits who are already in Canada and are out-of-work and/or unable to leave the country due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions.
- Effective immediately, a new, temporary policy is being implemented to expedite the process that allows a Temporary Foreign Worker to begin their job.
- While this policy is in place, a worker in Canada who has secured a new job offer can get approval to start working their job, even while their work permit is being fully processed. This will cut what often takes 10 weeks or more, down to 10 days or less.
- The government news release on the new process for temporary workers can be found here.
May 11, 2020
Benefits navigator launched
- The federal government benefits online navigator is announced:
Business credit programs expanded
- The government is extending the business credit programs available to businesses by including mid-sized businesses. Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada will work with private sector lenders to facilitate this.
- The Prime Minister announces the “Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF)” program:
- This will provide bridge financing or bridge loans for large businesses that can demonstrate they were doing well before COVID-19.
- It is meant to provide support to employers whose credit needs are not being met through conventional means.
- It is available for all sectors, except the finance sector and some not-for-profit businesses.
- The program will be delivered through the Canada Development Investment Corporation (CDEV), with support from the federal innovation and finance departments.
- The government is still working out the details and will provide them in the coming weeks.
- News coverage of the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility program can be found here.
May 8, 2020
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will be extended
- The Prime Minister announces that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will be extended beyond the month of June. Additional details will come next week.
- The government establishes the new Industry Strategy Council, which will serve as an advisory board to assess the depth and scope of COVID-19's impact on industries, and any specific sectoral pressures. Members of the council will be announced soon. The news release can be found here.
- The government announces the Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage, and Sport Organizations. It is a $500 million funding that provides financial support for this sector. More information can be found here.
May 7, 2020
- The Prime Minister announces that the details regarding the top-up for essential workers are being finalized. The provinces and territories will determine who receives the top-up. The federal government will pay 75 percent of the increase, which amounts to $3 billion. The provinces and territories will pay the rest.
- The government provides details on Canadian Armed Forces being deployed to provinces to assist in Long-Term Care facilities as a response to the pandemic, specifically in Quebec and Ontario. More information can be found here.
May 6, 2020
- Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Jon Vance orders the activation of Operation LASER Phase 2, described as “Pandemic/Preparation.” Operation LASER (also known as Op LSSER 20-01 or CONPLAN LASER) is the military contingency plan for the response to a pandemic influenza-like disease. More information can be found here.
- The government waives tariffs on certain medical goods, including personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves. More information can be found here.
May 5, 2020
New funding for the Agri-Food Industry
- The federal government announces $252 million in funding for the agri-food industry:
- $77.5 million will go to food processors to ensure the safety of workers. This money can be used to provide workers with personal protective equipment (PPE), adjust hygiene protocols, implement physical distancing measures, and to expand or adapt plant processing to maintain the food supply chain.
- According to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie Claude Bibeau, details regarding the eligibility of businesses are still being sorted out.
- For pork and beef producing businesses: The government will launch the National Agri-Recovery Initiative, which provides $125 million for farms and processing plants to adapt to market changes – this is an initial investment, and later, if more is needed this amount will be revisited.
- For dairy farmers, the federal government will work with other parties in the House of Commons to increase by $200 million the credit line for the Canadian Dairy Commission.
- The government is launching the Surplus Food Purchase Program with $50 million in funding, which will allow the federal government to purchase products (namely, dairy products and potatoes) at risk of going to waste. The government will then redistribute that food to organizations that deal with food insecurity.
- Details about which organizations and food banks the government will work with are still being sorted out.
May 3, 2020
- The government announces a $240 million commitment to bring mental health and primary care services online:
- This funding is meant to help doctors run appointments online for mental health support and primary care support to reduce pressure on the health care system.
- In May, eligible families will receive an extra $300 as part of their regular Canada Child Benefit (CCB).
- The government establishes the COVID-19 Supply Council, intended to strengthen the country’s existing supply chains for items like masks, gloves, and disinfectants:
- The names of the Supply Council members can be found here.
April 29, 2020
- A $9 billion-dollar aid package for students will be tabled in Parliament today.
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government will boost the Canadian Child Benefit in May. The government will also increase the GST credit for low-income Canadians.
April 27, 2020
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy application now available
- The application for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is now available.
- The CEWS application can be accessed here.
April 25, 2020
- The government announces $62.5 million in new assistance for the fish and seafood processing sector, called the “Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund,” to help address the financial strain and instability that the sector is facing in light of COVID-19.
- Further details on how processors can apply will be confirmed at a later date.
April 24, 2020
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) announced
- The federal government announces the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses:
- The government has reached an agreement with provinces and territories to lower rent for small businesses affected by the pandemic by 75 percent for April, May, and June 2020.
- This assistance is for small business tenants paying less than $50,000/month who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70 percent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This is also available for charities and non-profit organizations.
- Commercial property owners are being offered forgivable loans to cover 50 percent of three monthly payments. The loans will be forgiven if the property owner agrees to reduce eligible business’ rent by at least three months.
- More information can be found here.
- The Prime Minister has signaled that there will be future announcements on rent support for larger businesses. More details to come.
April 23, 2020
The federal government announces $1.1 billion in funding towards a national medical and research strategy for COVID-19:
- $115 million will go towards research on vaccines and treatments in hospitals and universities.
- $662 million will be put towards clinical trials.
- $350 million will be used to expand national testing and modelling of COVID-19, which will include creating a COVID-19 Immunity Task Force.
April 22, 2020
Canada Emergency Student Benefit announced
- The federal government will soon be introducing the “Canada Emergency Student Benefit” through legislation:
- This will give students $1,250 a month from May to August 2020.
- This is for current post-secondary students, students who graduated in December 2019, or those going to post-secondary school in September 2020.
- For those who are taking care of someone, or if you are a student with a disability, the benefit will increase to $1,750 a month.
- Payments will be delivered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) beginning May 1.
- The government is also introducing the Canada Student Service Grant:
- This is for students volunteering to help fight COVID-19. You can receive $1,000 to $5,000 depending on your hours.
- As well, the government has announced that they are creating 76,000 jobs and placements in sectors that need help or are contributing to the COVID-19 pandemic response. These jobs are in addition to the previously announced changes made to the Canada Student Jobs Program (announced on April 8, 2020).
- The government will also invest more than $291 million to extend scholarships, fellowships, and grants for researchers and graduate students.
- In addition, the government is providing more than $75 million to specifically increase support for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation students.
- The government will double Canada Student Grants for the 2020-2021 school year.
- The news release on supports for students can be found here.
- These supports for students are expected to cost the government $9 billion.
- The government has removed the rule that restricts international students to working a maximum of 20 hours per week, provided they are working in an essential service during the pandemic. This is for international students working in health care, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food or other critical goods.
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also signaled that there will help for seniors, but as of right now there are no details on what that that help will look like.
April 21, 2020
- The federal government has set up a $350 million ‘Emergency Community Support Fund’ that will help community organizations, charities, and non-profit organizations continue to provide resources related to COVID-19.
- Today, the government launched the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) online calculator on the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website that will allow employers to calculate wage subsidy amounts.
April 18, 2020
The federal government will provide $306 million in funding to help small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses suffering from the economic effects of COVID-19 access short-term, interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions.
April 17, 2020
The government announces support for the energy sector:
- $1.7 billion towards the clean-up of orphan wells in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia.
- $750 million towards the establishment of an Emission Reduction Fund, intended to “create and maintain jobs through pollution reduction efforts.” In this money, $75 million will help the offshore industry cut emissions in Newfoundland and Labrador.
- Trudeau states that these plans will save 10,000 jobs across the country, including 5,200 in Alberta.
For small businesses and organizations that are not eligible for the wage subsidy programs:
- The government will provide $962 million to regional development agencies and the Community Futures Network – this is meant to help rural and small businesses that do not have a relationship with a traditional financial institution.
- $270 million will be allocated to programs for industrial research to support innovators and start-ups.
- For the arts, culture, and sports industries: the government will provide $500 million towards Heritage Canada to support these sectors.
- The government will now provide data on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) 3 times a week:
The government is directing $1 million in funding towards the Ontario Agri-food sector, to help sustain the food supply chain:
- This funding is for the agriculture, food processing, and grocery retail sectors.
- Funding is intended for recruitment and training of workers to keep our essential food supply chain functioning during COVID-19.
- Applications will be immediately available through the program called “Partnership’s Place to Grow: Agri-Food Innovation Initiative.”
- The news release can be found here.
April 16, 2020
- The government announces modified criteria regarding the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA): businesses that have spent between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019 will be eligible to receive loans through the CEBA program. Details can be found here.
- The government is introducing a new program to support businesses, called Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance:
- This program will provide support for small businesses who have issues with rent for the months of April, May, and June 2020.
- To implement this program, the federal government must work closely with the provinces and territories as they govern rental relationships in their regions. More details to come.
April 15, 2020
- Tonight, Prime Minister Trudeau will speak with provincial premiers to put in place a plan to introduce a temporary wage increase for essential workers earning less than $2,500/month:
- The federal government will work with provinces and territories through a new transfer to cost-share a temporary top-up to the salaries of low-income essential workers.
- This will be for workers who each respective province or territory has deemed essential, although the federal government has also outlined that this is for front-line workers in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and “those working hard to make sure that there is food on our shelves and tables.”
- The government is announcing changes in the eligibility rules for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB):
- If you earn $1,000 per month or less, you can now receive the CERB.
- Workers who recently ran out of Employment Insurance (EI) benefits can now also receive the CERB.
- For those who do seasonal work, but are currently out of employment, the CERB will now be available to them.
- These changes are retroactive to March 15, 2020.
- The backgrounder detailing the 1) top-up and the 2) expansion of the CERB can be found here.
- The government announces relief for federally regulated pension plan sponsors:
- It will provide immediate, temporary relief to the sponsors of federally regulated, defined benefit pension plans.
- This relief will be in the form of a moratorium, through the remainder of 2020, on solvency payment requirements for defined benefit plans.
- More information can be found here.
- This week, the government is launching a new portal that will bring together mental health resources and make them available for Canadians:
April 14, 2020
- Prime Minister Trudeau signals that this week the government will provide more announcements on how they plan to help students and essential workers.
- Trudeau also signals that additional supports will be coming for commercial rent for businesses that have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Trudeau announces $130 million to support Northern communities to deal with COVID-19.
- The government will provide $20 million in funding for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to support critical food inspection:
- This investment will allow the CFIA to hire, train, and equip additional staff to conduct inspections, and help minimize supply disruptions during the pandemic.
- The full news release and additional details can be found here.
- The government has updated some of the mandatory requirements for travellers entering Canada:
- Symptomatic and asymptomatic travellers, upon arrival, must present viable self-isolation plans. Travellers without a proper plan must go to a place designated by the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada. This may also be facilitated by the RCMP.
April 13, 2020
- The government will provide $50 million in funding towards Agriculture and the Agri-Food sector in order to help employers put in place measures necessary to allow the mandatory 14-day isolation period required of all workers arriving abroad.
- More specifically, the government will provide $1,500 for each Temporary Foreign Worker.
- Note: Employers are still required to pay workers for the two weeks during which time they cannot work.
- This program will be available if the Quarantine Act is in force and isolation protocol is followed.
- The full news release and additional details can be found here.
April 11, 2020
- Bill C-14, COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, No. 2, receives royal assent.
- This legislation includes changes made to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program, providing more flexibility for businesses to qualify for wage subsidies.
April 10, 2020
- The government establishes the “COVID-19 Disability Advisory Group” (CDAG), which will advise the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Disability Inclusion (Carla Qualtrough). Names of those on the advisory group can be found here.
- Canada announces its support for a global ceasefire in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The minister’s statement can be found here.
- The RCMP are now playing a major role in enforcing the Quarantine Act:
- Police agencies across Canada are to enforce the mandatory 14-day self-isolation protocol for those arriving into the country.
- Verifications may now be done by phone, text, or e-mail. The RCMP may now also enforce physical verifications to ensure individuals are in their homes.
- The full news release and additional details can be found here.
April 9, 2020
- The government has released the national-level modelling on the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada.
- Slide deck available here
April 6 - 8, 2020
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) application now open
The CERB application portal opened today and workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can begin to apply for the benefit according to their birth month.
- You can access the CERB application here
- To see answers to frequently asked questions about the CERB, click here
Prime Minister Trudeau has also signaled that workers with partial earnings will soon be able to qualify for the CERB. These workers will include:
- Workers whose hours have been reduced to 10 hours or less due to COVID-19 (e.g. gig workers, contract workers, volunteer firefighters)
- Those who are currently working but who are making less than they would if they were receiving the CERB (e.g. home care workers and long-term care workers looking after vulnerable seniors)
- Full-time students who are currently unable to qualify for the CERB
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Updates
- The government has announced flexibility in the criteria for qualifying businesses.
- Businesses now only need to show a 15 percent decline in revenue for March 2020, and a 30 percent decline in April and May 2020, instead of a 30 percent decline for all of March, April, and May 2020 (as compared to 2019 revenues).
- Employers will have to apply each month and attest to the decline each month.
- New benchmarks: Employers can 1) compare revenues to last year’s revenue; or 2) Use the average of revenues in January and February 2020 and compare it to the March, April, and May 2020 average.
- When charities and non-profit organizations are calculating their revenue tests, they can choose whether to use government funding when calculating a loss in revenue.
- More details on how to calculate the subsidy can be found here.
- As well, the government is proposing that employers who qualify for the CEWS should be entitled to a 100 percent refund for certain employer-paid contributions to Employment Insurance (EI), the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan, and the Quebec Pension Plan for furloughed employees.
Canada Summer Jobs Program (CSJ) Changes
- The government has also announced temporary changes to the CSJ. It will give the program a wage subsidy of 100 percent to cover the costs of hiring students.
- It will also extend the time frame for job placement until the winter.
- More details available here.
April 1, 2020
The federal government has released more details on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy:
- It is available to employers for up to 12 weeks (from March 15 to June 6, 2020).
- The subsidy will cover 75 percent of wages of up to $847 a week.
- The announcement also provides additional criteria regarding how to calculate wage coverage and what qualifies as pre-crisis renumeration, but details are still to come.
- This is for employers that see a drop of at least 30% of their revenues in March, April, and/or May, when compared to the same month in 2019.
- Eligible employers will be able to apply through a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) online portal.
- Employers are expected to provide records demonstrating their reduction in revenues as well as records of employee compensation.
- More details regarding the application process are still to come.
- Although Minister Bains stated that this subsidy replaces the 10 percent wage subsidy announced on March 18, the 10 percent subsidy program is still available for small businesses that do not meet the criteria for the newly announced measures. More details here.
The government has provided more information on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) application process. Learn more here.
- Applications will open on April 6, 2020 at https://www.canada.ca/coronavirus/.
- The government has established a dedicated line for CERB applications: 1-800-959-2019.
- You must confirm once a month that you are not working.
- The benefit is only available to individuals who stopped work as a result of COVID-19. If you have not stopped working because of COVID-19, you are not eligible for the benefit.
March 30, 2020
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
The federal government has increased its originally announced 10 percent wage subsidy to 75 percent.
- Under this new measure, businesses with revenues that have decreased by at least 30 percent due to COVID-19 will be eligible for the subsidy, and the number of employees will not matter.
- Non-profit organizations and charities are also eligible for the subsidy.
- For workers, this means that the government will cover up to 75 percent of the first $58,700 that you make, or up to $847 a week.
March 28, 2020
Symptomatic individuals will be denied boarding on domestic flights and trains.
- Anyone showing signs of COVID-19 will be denied boarding on all domestic flights and inter-city passenger trains.
- Enforcement will be the responsibility of airlines and rail operators through new rules from Transport Canada.
- Passengers will be denied boarding for up to 14 days, unless they show a medical certificate that states their symptoms are not COVID-19 related.
- This rule is effective as of noon on Monday, March 30.
- These new measures do not apply to bus travel between provinces.
March 27, 2020
Canada Emergency Business Account
- The account will guarantee small businesses interest-free bank loans of up to $40,000. Under certain conditions, $10,000 of the loans could be non-repayable.
- Increased wage subsidies for employers:
- The government will increase the 10 percent wage subsidy initially announced on March 18 to 75 percent.
- The government hopes this will prevent employers from laying off their employees and/or that it will encourage them to rehire employees that have been laid off due to COVID-19.
- Additional details will be announced on Monday, March 30.
March 26, 2020
The Quarantine Act is implemented
- The Act gives the federal health minister sweeping powers to stop the spread of communicable disease in and out of Canada. These measures include routine screenings conducted by quarantine officers at airports.
- Travelers returning to Canada must self-isolate for 14 days, even if they are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
- Travelers are forbidden from taking public transportation to get to their places of self-isolation.
- The government will make travel arrangements for those who do not have private transportation lined up.
- Travelers are also forbidden from self-isolating with vulnerable people who are at a higher risk of catching the disease.
- The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) will make alternative arrangements for accommodations and meals.
- Penalties for violating these new measures can include a fine of up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment for 6 months. In more serious cases, violators could face a fine of up to $1 million and 3 years of imprisonment.
- Exceptions will be made for essential workers, such as truck drivers and health care workers moving between the U.S. and Canadian border.
March 25, 2020
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is announced
- Federal emergency aid package increases from $27 billion to $52 billion.
- The CERB is a taxable benefit that provides $2,000 per month for up to 4 months for workers who have lost their jobs to due COVID-19.
- The benefit combines the previously announced “Emergency Care Benefit” and “Emergency Support Benefit.”
- It will be available to people who must care for children at home, people who are quarantined, workers who are full-time and part-time, as well as contract and self-employed workers who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).
- This benefit is also available for people who are employed but are not earning income due to disruptions at work because of coronavirus.
- The CERB will be paid every four weeks from March 15, 2020 to Oct 3, 2020, and will be available by April 6, 2020.
- Click here for more info on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
- The government will be implementing the Quarantine Act by midnight to impose a mandatory and legal obligation of a 14-day self-isolation period for all people arriving into Canada from another country – more information forthcoming.
- Bill C-13, the federal government’s COVID-19 Emergency Response legislation, receives Royal Assent.
March 24, 2020
- The Liberal government’s proposed Bill C-13 to respond to the COVID-19 emergency is passed by the House of Commons. It will now go to the Senate.
March 18, 2020
- The government says it is implementing the First Phase of its COVID-19 Economic Responseand has allotted $27 Billion to this aid package.
- More info here.
Temporary Income Support for Workers and Parents
Emergency Care Benefits
These are for Canadians who are 1) quarantined or sick due to COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI; 2) caring for family members who are sick (e.g. an elderly parent); and 3) parents who are unable to work due to school and daycare closures.
- The benefit provides up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks.
- Who qualifies: workers, self-employed workers, contractors, freelancers, part-time and gig-economy workers, cultural workers, and entrepreneurs .
- Will not require medical documentation, only “attestation” every two-weeks.
- Will be available early April 2020.
- Can apply online at home.
- More information:
- How to Apply for COVID-19 Emergency Care Benefits;
- Application for COVID-19 Emergency Care Benefits;
- The government has also set up a separate phone line to answer questions related to EI benefits and COVID-19. The phone number is: 1-833-381-2725
Long-Term Income Support
For Canadians who lose their jobs or face reduced hours as a result of COVID-19.
Emergency Support Benefit
- The government has set $4 billion aside for this benefit but has yet to provide more details.
- Will be available by early April 2020.
Additional Income Support for Canadians
GST Credit for 2019 – 2020
- This is a one-time special payment available by early May through a GST credit for 2019-2020.
- Averaging $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.
- Those with children will receive a Canada Child Benefit top up of $300 per child, also available by May 2020.
For Indigenous Communities
- Providing $305 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities.
- Available by April 2020.
- 6-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for those currently in the process of repaying these loans
- Available by April 2020.
- Reducing required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIF) by 25 percent in 2020.
- Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will continue as usual, with no interruptions.
Homeless and Women & Children Fleeing Violence
- $200 million will be put towards supporting individuals experiencing homelessness during COVID-19.
- Can be put towards purchasing beds and physical barriers for social distancing and securing accommodation to reduce overcrowding in shelters.
- $50 million of this effort will be put towards women’s shelters and sexual assault centres to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities.This includes funding for Indigenous communities.
- Will be available by April 2020.
Support for Businesses
The government intends to help businesses keep their workers.
- It is proposing to provide small business owners with a 10 percent temporary wage subsidy for the next three months.
- The subsidy will be a maximum of $1,375 for each employee and/or $25,000 for every employer.
- More info here
- The federal government will work with the Government of Alberta on how best to support workers in the oil and gas industries. Details forthcoming.
- Additional details here.
March 11, 2020
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the federal government has rolled out a $1 billion package to help the country’s health system and economy.The package includes the following measures:
Elimination of 1-Week Waiting Period for EI Benefits
For people quarantined due to COVID-19, the government is eliminating the one-week waiting period for EI benefits entirely.
- This is for Canadians who are employed, pay EI premiums, and who worked a minimum of 600 hours in the year before the claim or since their last EIclaim.
- Note is not required to get sick-leave benefits.
- Budgeted cost for this program is $5 million.
- More details here.
EI Work Sharing Program
- Provides EI Benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours as a result of developments beyond the control of their employer. More details here.