March 30, 2020
Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Families with Children Federal Government
Lefebvre, R., Carradine, J., Fallon, B.
This is a list of current resources available to families and children through the Federal Government. It will be updated as new supports are added.
Summary of measures announced at https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html that will directly affect families.
General Economic Support
- Increases to the Canada Child Benefit
- For families receiving the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), an additional $300 per child will be provided
- There is no need to apply for families who already receive the CCB.
- ASK: Do you receive the Canada Child Benefit on the 20th of every month? If not, help
- For families who are eligible for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit, an additional benefit will be provided in early May. The average amount will be about $400 for single caregiver families and about $600 for dual caregiver families.
- There is no need to apply for families who are already eligible for the GST credit. A family must file their taxes to receive the GST credit.
- ASK: Have you filed your most recent tax return? If not, direct families to resources to help them complete their taxes. There are Free Community Tax Clinics but due to COVID-19, some of these clinics may have closed or changed their hours. Check the directory and call the clinic ahead of time. There are online resources that can help families file their taxes.
- The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is a taxable benefit of $2,000/month for up to four months.
- The CERB benefit will be accessible starting early April through a secure web portal, an automated telephone line, or a toll-free number.
- The CERB is available for the following groups:
- Workers who must stop working due to COVID-19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
- Workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
- Working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.
- Workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.
- Wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.
Support for Families Facing Unemployment/Inability to Work
- The Employment Insurance (EI) benefits program is available to those who have been recently laid off or have reduced hours due to COVID-19.
- If someone qualifies for Employment Insurance benefits, they can apply online.
- If someone is sick, quarantined, or has been directed to self-isolate, the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits has been waived.
- The one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived for new claimants who are quarantined so they can be paid for the first week of their claim.
- People who cannot complete their claim for EI sickness benefits due to quarantine may apply later and have their EI claim backdated to cover the period of delay.
- For homeowners experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19, Canada’s large banks are offering deferred mortgage payments to those who are in good standing on their mortgage. COVID-19 related mortgage deferral is available for an indefinite period, and families do not have a deadline for having to seek mortgage payment relief.
- The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and other mortgage insurers are also offering tools to help homeowners who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19.
Student Loan Holder Support
- As of April 1, 2020, a six-month interest-free moratorium is being placed on the repayment of Canada Student Loans.
- No payment will be required, and interest will not accrue during this time.
- Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.
Support for Indigenous Communities
- Canada is providing $305 million for a new, distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. This funding will also provide support to regional, urban and off-reserve Indigenous organizations.
- Please see here for breakdown of support.
- There is no deadline for communities. The funding will flow as quickly as possible through existing agreements.
- The deadline for the call for the proposals for regional, urban and off-reserve Indigenous organizations will be announced soon.
Support for Women’s Shelters and Sexual Assault Centres
- Canada is providing $50 million to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres to help with their
capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities.
Canada Benefits Finder – This Benefits Finder asks questions and then provides a customized listing of federal and provincial benefits for which families may be eligible.
Child and Family Benefits Calculator – This calculator allows families to estimate how much their monthly CCB and GST credits will be for the next benefit year based on their net income.
Canada Revenue Agency ‘My Account’ Log In/Registration – My Account is a secure portal that lets families view their personal income tax and benefit information and manage their tax affairs online (e.g., setting up direct deposit).
Economic Supports Available to Families in Ontario
Lefebvre, R., Carradine, J., Fallon, B.
This is a list of current resources available to families and children in Ontario. It will be updated as new supports are added.
Summary of announcements in Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 https://news.ontario.ca/mof/en...
Direct Support to Families
A one-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age, and $250 for those with special needs to help families pay for the extra costs associated with school and daycare closures during COVID- 19.
Families with children who attend private school are included.
“The province will open an online application portal by April 6, and payments to parents will begin shortly thereafter, a government official said at a background briefing.”1
Direct Support for Energy Bills
The eligibility for the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) has been expanded to ensure that families’ electricity and natural gas services are not disconnected for nonpayment during COVID-19.
- Low-income customers can get up to $500 in emergency assistance for their electricity bills
- ($600 if their home is heated electrically) and $500 for their natural gas bills.
- This assistance is only available if the family is in arrears on their bill and may face having their service disconnected.
- In order to qualify, household income has to fall below a certain limit. Please see the LEAP Emergency Financial Assistance income eligibility criteria.. If a family qualifies for this program, they must access it through listed intake agencies in Ontario.
- Hydro rates will also be set at the off-peak rate of 10.1 cents per kilowatt-hour 24 hours a day for 45 days to support ratepayers in their increased daytime electricity usage as they respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, addressing concerns about time-of-use metering.
- The new rates will be applied to bills immediately.
Emergency Assistance for Families
Ontario is expanding access to existing Emergency Assistance under the current provisions of Ontario Works. This is available to people with limited income, assets or credit who are in a crisis or an emergency situation to help cover individuals' needs such as food, rent, informal childcare, and services.
Those who are already on Ontario Works (OW) or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), tourists and visitors are not eligible. Individuals can apply for this assistance online or through local Ontario Works offices.
Ontario is suspending the rule that limits emergency assistance provision to only once in a six-month period for individuals and families affected by COVID-19 and allowing people to receive emergency assistance for longer (48 days) without submitting a full Ontario Works application.
Support for Current Social Assistance Clients
Additional resources have been made available to enable Ontario Works administrators to provide
- discretionary benefits to those who currently receive social assistance.
- The funding can be used to meet a broad range of needs, including cleaning supplies, transportation, food or clothing, that families may be experiencing due to COVID-19.
- Individuals can access benefits through their Ontario Works caseworker or online..
- ODSP recipients are also eligible to receive these benefits and can contact their ODSP caseworker for additional information.
- Online resources for social assistance: Online Application for Social Assistance and Ontario Works Offices to contact for more information.
Child Care Support for Parents Working on the Front Lines
Providing emergency childcare options to support parents working on the front lines, such as health care workers, police officers, firefighters and correctional officers.
The centres will not have more than 50 people in a space, and pre-screening will be done for workers.
Once the emergency childcare centres open, a list of locations will be available online.
Support for Indigenous Families
Ontario is providing additional supports of $26 million to Indigenous peoples and communities, including emergency assistance for urban Indigenous people in financial need.
Further information not yet avail