Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians

Updated July 29, 2020

Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)

The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) provides financial support to post-secondary students, and recent post-secondary and high school graduates who are unable to find work due to COVID-19.

Please read our blog post for full details on this benefit at:

Support for Seniors

One-time non-taxable payment for seniors:

  • $300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security pension, and
  • an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement

This measure will give a total of $500 to seniors who receive both the Old Age Security pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, and will help them cover increased costs caused by COVID-19. You do not have to apply.  All individuals who are eligible to receive the Old Age Security pension or the Guaranteed Income Supplement in June 2020 will receive the one-time payment for seniors.

Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) minimum withdrawal reduced:

The minimum withdrawals requirement from RRIFs will be reduced by 25% for 2020, in recognition of volatile market conditions and their impact on many seniors’ retirement savings.

Temporary extension of 2019 OAS payments

OAS payments to non-resident seniors have been temporarily extended if their 2019 OASRI has not been assessed. This will ensure that the most vulnerable seniors continue to receive their benefits when they need them the most. To avoid an interruption in your benefits, you are encouraged to submit your 2019 OASRI as soon as possible and no later than October 1, 2020.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

This is a $2000/month taxable benefit for up to 16 weeks between March 15 and October 3, 2020, for workers who lose their income as a result of COVID-19


  • Applications will start to be accepted April 6th
  • Funds expected to be direct deposited into bank accounts within 3 -5 business days, or 10 business days if no direct deposit
  • Payment to be made every 4 weeks
  • For those individuals who have no income as a result of COVID-19
  • Available to those individuals who have no income because:
    • Lost their job
    • Are sick/quarantined or taking care of someone who is sick
    • Working parents that must stay home without pay because of children who are sick, or because of school/daycare closures
    • Others who may not otherwise be eligible for EI, but have lost their income


  • Applies to wage earners, contract workers & self-employed individuals who wouldn’t be eligible for EI
  • Any resident of Canada who is 15 years old or older and for 2019 or inthe 12 month period preceding the day on which you make an application has total income of at least $5000 from:
    • Employment
    • Self employment
    • EI Maternity Benefits
    • EI Parental Benefits
  • You are not eligible if:
    • Your income has only decreased. You must show that you have NO income for a minimum period of 14 consecutive days within each four week period.
    • You are currently collecting EI.  

Application process:

  • Applications to start being accepted April 6th.
  • You will be able to apply in one of these three ways:
    • by accessing it on your CRA MyAccount secure portal;
    • by accessing it from your secure My Service Canada Account; or
    • by calling a toll free number equipped with an automated application process. (Phone number not yet available)
  • Canadians receiving EI already (regular or sickness) should not apply to CERB
    • If benefits end before Oct 3, they could apply for the CERB once the EI benefits end, if they are still unable to return to work
    • Canadians who have applied for EI but application not yet processed would not need to reapply.
  • Canadians eligible for EI would be able to access their normal EI benefits after the 16 week period covered by CERB
  • If you have already applied for EI but not yet received any benefits your application will automatically be transferred over.
  • You must reapply every 4 weeks

There are two ways to apply:

  1. Online
  2. Over the phone with an automated phone service:
    1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041

Both of these services are available 21 hours a day, 7 days a week. Both services are closed from 3:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. (Eastern time) for maintenance.

Employment Insurance Applications

Here is the information and links to apply online for EI depending upon your situation:

Employment Insurance Regular Benefits (Layoff due to shortage of work – closure not due to quarantine/sickness) – There is a 1 week waiting period before you will receive benefits

Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits (Layoff due to quarantine or self-isolation)

For Canadians without paid sick leave (or similar workplace accommodation) who are sick, quarantined or forced to stay home to care for children, the Government is:

  • Waiving the one-week waiting period for those individuals in imposed quarantine that claim Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits. This temporary measure is in effect as of March 15, 2020.
  • Waiving the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.
  • Introducing the Emergency Care Benefit providing up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks. This flat-payment Benefit would be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and provide income support to:
    • Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
    • Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not quality for EI sickness benefits.
    • Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.

Application for the Benefit will be available in April 2020, and require Canadians to attest that they meet the eligibility requirements. They will need to re-attest every two weeks to reconfirm their eligibility. Canadians will select one of three channels to apply for the Benefit:

  1. by accessing it on their CRA MyAccount secure portal at;
  2. by accessing it from their secure My Service Canada Account at; or
  3. by calling 1-800-531-7555 or 1-800-206-7218 for an automated application process.

Payment Deferrals and Loan Relief

  • The major banks are allowing Mortgage payment deferrals.  You would need to call the bank and request this.  We have been told that wait times are ridiculously long, but they are allowing deferral between 4 and 6 months on personal mortgage payments. Interest will still continue to accrue on your mortgage, it is only principal payments that are being deferred
  • Other lenders such as car leasing agencies and credit card companies are making payment arrangements on a case by case basis (you will need to call) and have deferred or lessened payments with little or no interest impact.
  • There is a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all individuals currently in the process of repaying these loans.

GST and Child Tax Benefit Payments

  • On May 15, it was announced that eligible Canadians who are presently receiving the Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit and/or Canada child benefit (CCB) payments will continue to receive these payments until the end of September 2020. Benefit payments starting in July 2020 and those scheduled for August and September won’t be interrupted.
  • Increase of the Child Tax Benefit for 2019-2020 by $300 per child. Beginning April 2020.
  • No need to apply, you will receive these payments automatically if you qualify
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GST Tax Credit Increase and Payment Changes

You will get an extra GST payment amount automatically if you normally receive the GST/HST credit and have filed a 2018 tax return. Payments will be issued on April 9, 2020.

If you were previously not entitled to the GST/HST credit, but have filed your 2018 tax return, you may also get the one-time credit amount based on your family net income.

The amount you receive will be calculated based on information from your 2018 income tax and benefit return. Therefore, if you didn’t file taxes for 2018, you won’t receive this payment.

If you’re late in filing your 2018 taxes, we encourage you to file as soon as possible. You may be eligible for retroactive benefits and credits. The only way to get them is to file.

If you’re not entitled for the extra GST/HST credit amount, you may be eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

How much is the increase?

The one-time payment will be calculated based on information from your 2018 tax return.

The maximum amounts for the 2019-2020 benefit year will increase from:

  • $443 to $886 if you’re single
  • $580 to $1,160 if you’re married or living common-law
  • $153 to $306 for each child under the age of 19 (excluding the first eligible child of a single parent)
  • $290 to $580 for the first eligible child of a single parent.

There will be no changes to:

  • The family net income used to calculate the amount.
  • The family net income used to calculate the single supplement.

The current shared custody rules apply (shared custody parents get half of the amount they would otherwise receive in respect of a shared custody child).

Here’s the link with all of the details –