COVID-19 Government Benefits & Support

Jump to: Accessing Financial Benefits and Support | Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) | Canadian Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) | Ontario Supporting Indigenous-Owned Business | MP Philip Lawrence Outlines Federal Economic Initiatives | Persons with Disabilities

Accessing Financial Benefits and Support

The following information is available here as a PDF.

Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

What is the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)?
Temporary income support being offered by the Federal government to support Canadian workers whose employment income has been impacted by the spread of COVID-19. This program will provide a benefit of $500 per week for a maximum of 16 weeks of the 28 week period, from March 15 to October 2, 2020.
Who is eligible?
All of the following criteria must apply:Canadian Resident15 years of age or olderStopped working for reasons related to COVID-19Employment, self-employment income or certain dividends (discussed later) of $5,000 or more in 2019, or the 12 months before the date of applicationWithout income (or expect to be without employment income) for at least 14 consecutive days within the initial four-week period, and no employment or self employment income in subsequent periods

 What is considered a “reason relating to COVID-19”?
Some examples provided by the government include:You have been let go from your job or your hours have been reduced to zero;You are in quarantine or sick due to COVID-19;You away from work to take care of others because they are in quarantine, sick due to COVID-19; and/orYou are away from work to take care of children or other dependents whose care facility is closed due to COVID-19. 
CERB does not apply if you’ve quit your job voluntarily.
How soon will I start receiving my benefits?
The government of Canada indicated you will begin receiving benefits within 10 days of applying for them.
I’m an owner-manager of a corporation impacted by COVID-19.  Am I personally eligible for CERB?
Provided you meet all of the above criteria, you should be eligible for CERB.  Note that the government acknowledges that some owner-managers would have taken dividend compensation as opposed to salary compensation, and have indicated that non-eligible dividends received can be used to meet the $5,000 income requirement.
Should I apply for Employment Insurance (EI) or the CERB?
If you are no longer working for any reason related to COVID-19, you should apply for the CERB, even if you are eligible for EI. If your unemployment is unrelated to COVID-19, you should still apply for EI as usual. You cannot apply for both the CERB and EI at the same time.
What if I have already applied for EI?
If you have already applied for EI, you do not need to complete the CERB application. If you became eligible for EI from March 15th onwards, your application will automatically be processed under the CERB. If you were eligible for EI prior to March 15th, your application will be processed as usual under the EI rules, regardless of the date that you apply.
Is the CERB taxable?
Yes! All recipients must claim their benefit payments as income when preparing their 2020 income tax return. Income tax is payable on the CERB, however it will not automatically be deducted when dispersed. As a result, recipients should plan for the impact of that on their 2020 personal tax return filed in 2021.
Do I need an ROE or to be laid off to apply for CERB?
You do not need to have been formally laid off in order to apply for CERB, and you will not be asked to submit an ROE at the time of application. If you have been laid off by your employer, they should provide you with an ROE with the reason for dismissal indicated as “Shortage of Work”.
I’m currently self-employed and am making a nominal amount of gross revenue from my business, which is fully offset by expenses.  Will this compromise my eligibility for CERB?
The legislation under the CERB Act refers to a worker “ceasing working” for reasons related to COVID-19 for at least 14 consecutive days and that they do not receive income from self-employment. As a result, if you are still working, but earning insufficient revenue to offset your expenses, our understanding is that you would not be eligible as you have not “ceased” working (therefore you do not meet the first criteria). If you have ceased working but are continuing to earn some residual revenue (interest, royalties, etc.) that do not require you to be actively working, then you may still qualify. Our assumption is that the reference to self-employment income above in the second part of the test is the net income as opposed to gross income. That being said, further guidance on this specific scenario has not been provided from the government.
Applying for CERB
As discussed in our previous release, applications for CERB can start today for individuals with birthdays in January, February or March. In order to apply for CERB, you will need a CRA “My Account”. If your situation continues, you can re-apply for CERB for the next four-week period.
Full details on the application process can be found here.

Canadian 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.

This benefit is for students who do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance (EI).

From May to August 2020, the CESB provides a payment to eligible students of:

$1,250 For each 4-week period


$2,000 For each 4-week period, if you have dependants or a disability

Click here for more information and to apply.

Ontario Supporting Indigenous-Owned Businesses During COVID-19

Government providing loans to struggling small and medium-sized businesses

The government of Ontario is providing up to $10 million to Indigenous-owned small and medium sized businesses to help them with much needed capital as the province begins to safely and gradually reopen the economy. 

Loans of up to $50,000 will be available to businesses that are either ineligible for, or unable to access, existing federal and provincial COVID-19 response initiatives for small businesses. The funding is being delivered through the Support for People and Jobs Fund.

“Indigenous businesses are experiencing revenue shortfalls at this time, as many are located in rural or remote areas and operate in hard-hit service sectors such as tourism, hospitality and retail,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “This funding responds to their unique challenges and will help them get back up and running so they can contribute to the rebuilding of the provincial economy.” 

Loans will be available through Aboriginal Financial Institutions. Up to 50% of each loan will be in the form of a non-repayable grant, with no interest due on the loan portion until December 31, 2022. Businesses may use these funds to cover general expenses such as payroll, rent, utilities and taxes. They may also be used towards increasing production capacity, developing new products, moving to online marketing, or to make improvements to accommodate social distancing requirements, such as the installation of plexiglass barriers. 

“Ontario’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy and their recovery is critical to Ontario’s recovery,” said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. “As many Indigenous small businesses across the province closed their doors and halted business during the COVID-19 outbreak, many struggled to keep the lights on. Today, we are providing these businesses with the support they need to recover and adapt to the challenges of this unprecedented time.”

Quick Facts

  • Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs) are autonomous, Indigenous-controlled, community based financial organizations providing developmental lending, business financing and support services to First Nations, Métis and Inuit businesses in Ontario.

MP Philip Lawrence Outlines COVID-19 Federal Economic Initiatives

The following information is available here as a PDF.

New Loan Programs for Businesses

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
This program is designed for small businesses to have access to capital. It will be implemented by eligible financial institutions in cooperation with Export Development Canada (EDC).
This $25 billion program will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced, due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 virus.
Small businesses and not-for-profits should contact their financial institution to apply for these loans.
To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)
The federal government has established a Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to provide $40 billion of additional support through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC).
BDC and EDC are working with private sector lenders to coordinate on credit solutions for individual businesses, including in sectors such as oil and gas, air transportation, exports and tourism.
This program includes two elements, the Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, and the Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises.
Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
EDC is working with financial institutions to issue new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs.
Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
BDC is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements.
Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts of up to $6.25 million through the program.
These programs will roll out in mid-April and interested businesses should work with their current financial institutions.

New Business Credit Availability Programs

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
Goal: To help businesses keep and return workers to their payroll through the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This would provide a 75 per cent wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks, retroactive to March 15, 2020.

Eligible Employers
Eligible employers would include individuals, taxable corporations, and partnerships consisting of eligible employers as well as non‑profit organizations and registered charities.
This subsidy would be available to eligible employers that see a drop of at least 30 per cent of their revenue. In applying for the subsidy, employers would be required to attest to the decline in revenue.

Amount of Subsidy
The subsidy amount for a given employee on eligible remuneration paid between March 15 and June 6, 2020 would be the greater of:
• 75 per cent of the amount of remuneration paid, up to a maximum benefit of $847 per week; and
• the amount of remuneration paid, up to a maximum benefit of $847 per week or 75 per cent of the employee’s pre-crisis weekly remuneration, whichever is less.

Emergency Wage Subsidy Example: Bruno and Tisha run a floral shop in Burnaby, British Columbia. They have four full‑time employees, each earning $800 per week, and 6 part-time employees, each earning $400 per week, for a total weekly payroll of $5,600. Bruno and Tisha have closed their shop and are only fulfilling online orders during this challenging period. They are keeping all of their employees on the payroll, paying them their full regular wages, despite their revenues being down by 30 per cent. Bruno and Tisha would be eligible for a weekly wage subsidy of $4,200 ($600 for each of their full-time employees and $300 for each of their part-time employees).

Eligible Periods
Eligibility would generally be determined by the change in an eligible employer’s monthly revenues, year-over-year, for the calendar month in which the period began.
• For example, if revenues in March 2020 were down 50 per cent compared to March 2019, the employer would be allowed to claim the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (as calculated above) on remuneration paid between March 15 and April 11, 2020.

The table below outlines each claiming period and the period in which it has a decline in revenue of 30 per cent or more.

Eligible Period
Period / Claiming Period / Reference Period for Eligibility
Period 1 / March 15 – April 11 / March 2020 over March 2019
Period 2 / April 12 – May 9 / April 2020 over April 2019
Period 3 / May 10 – June 6 / May 2020 over May 2019
For eligible employers established after February 2019, eligibility would be determined by comparing monthly revenues to a reasonable benchmark.

How to Apply
Eligible employers would be able to apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy through the Canada Revenue Agency’s My Business Account portal as well as a web-based application. More details about the application process will be made available shortly.

Interaction with 10% Wage Subsidy
On March 18, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a temporary 10% wage subsidy. For employers that are eligible for both the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the 10% wage subsidy for a period, any benefit from the 10% wage subsidy for remuneration paid in a specific period would generally reduce the amount available to be claimed under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy in that same period.

New Programs for Individuals

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
If you stopped working because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) may provide you with temporary income support. The CERB provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.

How to apply
Applications started April 6th through one of two ways:
1) Online through CRA MyAccount: If you set up direct deposit, CRA has said payment can be expected in 3 business days from the completion of your application. Payment by cheque can be expected to take up to 10 business days.
2) Telephone: 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041
Any EI applications after March 15 where the applicant is also eligible for CERB will be automatically moved over to CERB.
You will be required to re-attest once a month to continue receiving CERB. More information is available at the following link:

Eligibility for CERB
The benefit will be available to workers:
• Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
• Who have stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit their job or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits;
• Who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and
• Who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment or self-employment income.

Day to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit
If you were born in the month of | Apply for CERB on | Best day to apply
January, February or March | Mondays | April 6
April, May or June | Tuesdays | April 7
July, August or September | Wednesdays | April 8
October, November or December | Thursdays | April 9
Any month | Friday, Saturday or Sunday

CRA Deferrals – Income Tax Filing & Payment

Deferral of GST Sales Tax Remittance
Deferral of Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) remittances and customs duty payments to June 30, 2020.
CRA will extend until June 30, 2020 the time that:
• Monthly filers have to remit amounts collected for the February, March and April 2020 reporting periods;
• Quarterly filers have to remit amounts collected for the January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020 reporting period; and
• Annual filers, whose GST/HST return or instalment are due in March, April or May 2020, have to remit amounts collected and owing for their previous fiscal year and instalments of GST/HST in respect of the filer’s current fiscal year.

Deferral of Customs Duty and Sales Tax for Importers
Imported goods by businesses are generally subject to the GST, at a rate of 5 per cent, as well as applicable customs duties, which vary by product and country of origin. While most imports enter Canada duty-free, some tariffs remain, especially on consumer goods.
Payment deadlines for statements of accounts for March, April, and May are being deferred to June 30, 2020.

Individuals – Due dates
Filing date for 2019 tax year: June 1, 2020 extended
Payment date for 2019 tax year: September 1, 2020 extended. Includes the June 15, 2020, installment payment for those who have to pay by installments.

Self-employed and their spouse or common law partner – Due dates
Filing date for 2019 tax year: June 15, 2020 unchanged
Payment date for 2019 tax year: September 1, 2020 extended. Includes the June 15, 2020, installment payment for those who have to pay by installments.

Corporations – Due dates
Filing date for current tax year: June 1, 2020 extended. Applies to corporations that would otherwise have a filing due date after March 18 and before June 1, 2020.
Payment date for current tax year: September 1, 2020 extended. Applies to balances and installments under Part 1 of the Income Tax Act due on or after March 18 and before September 1, 2020.

Trusts – Due dates
Filing date for current tax year (including the associated T3 information return): May 1, 2020 extended. Applies to trusts with a tax year end date of December 31, 2019. June 1, 2020 extended. Applies to trusts that would otherwise have a filing due date in April or May.
Payment date for current tax year: September 1, 2020 extended. Applies to income tax balances and installments due on or after March 18 and before September 1, 2020.

Charities – Due dates
Filing date: December 31, 2020 extended. Applies to charities with Form T3010 due between March 18, 2020 and December 31, 2020.
Payment date: Not Applicable

Part XIII non-resident tax – Due dates
Filing date for the 2019 NR4 information return: May 1, 2020 extended
Payment date: The 15th of each month following an amount paid or credited by residents of Canada to non-resident persons. unchanged

Payroll remittances – Due dates
Payment date: See Payroll page for filing deadlines. unchanged

Information returns
Filing date for the 2019 T5013 Partnership Information Return: May 1, 2020 extended
Filing date for the 2019 NR4, Statement of Amounts Paid or Credited to Non-Residents of Canada information return: May 1, 2020 extended
Other information returns: June 1, 2020 extended. Applies to other information returns that would otherwise be due after March 18, 2020, and before June 2020.

CRA Administrative Measures
In addition to remittance & payment deferrals, CRA has implemented other measures:
• Collections activities on new debts suspended until further notice, and flexible payment arrangements will be made available
• CRA will generally not contact SME businesses to initiate any post assessment GST/HST or income tax audits for the next 4 weeks, and interaction with taxpayers will be limited to high risk and exceptional cases
• Objections related to Canadians’ entitlement to benefits and credits have been identified as a critical service and should not experience any delays
• For objections related to other tax matters filed by individuals and businesses, the CRA is currently holding these accounts in abeyance. No collection action will be taken with respect to these accounts at this time.
• For objections that are due March 18, 2020 or later, CRA is are effectively extending the deadline to June 30, 2020.
• For appeals before the Tax Court of Canada, they have ordered the extension of all timelines prescribed by the rules of that Court while it is closed for business until March 30, 2020. More information can be obtained from the TCC.
• Penalties and interest will not be charged if the deferred payment requirements are met by September 1, 2020.

COVID-19 Measures for Persons with Disabilities