This Version Posted: June 26, 2020

Getting Help

Worried about your job, income or housing due to COVID-19? Do you own a business or employ staff in an operation affected by COVID-19?

All levels of governments are taking steps to support and protect people and businesses affected by coronavirus. The following information is current at the time of this posting. Please check official government websites for the most recent updates (Do not visit offices. Access services on-line or call in advance to confirm whether offices are open).  

NEW! – Click on the Financial Relief Navigator to see if you’re eligible for COVID-19 emergency benefits and financial support from governments, banks, utility, telecom and internet providers. It’s the one-stop access point to quickly see what’s available.

Federal Support Programs

For Workers/Employees

Visit Service Canada for full details or access the Find Financial Help During COVID-19 Online Tool to see what federal supports are available to you. Read further for more specific program supports: 

Temporary Wage Top-Up for Low Income Essential Workers – All provinces and territories have confirmed, or are in the process of confirming, plans to cost-share wage top-ups for their essential workers.

Increasing Canada Child Benefit – An extra $300 per child is available through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-20. This will mean approximately $550 more for the average family. This benefit will be delivered as part of the scheduled CCB payment in May.

Special Goods and Services Tax Credit Payment: A one-time special payment will be available by early May through the Goods and Services Tax credit for low- and modest-income families. The average additional benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.  

Mortgage Support: Canadian banks have committed to work with customers on a case-by-case basis to find solutions to help them manage hardships caused by COVID-19. Canadians who are impacted by COVID-19 and experiencing financial hardship as a result should contact their financial institution regarding flexibility for a mortgage deferral. For more information visit  tools to lenders.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB): This new taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to four months is available to eligible workers who meet certain conditions. Learn more here.

CERB is accessible through a secure web portal. Applicants can also apply via an automated phone line or via a toll-free number. Call 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041 or 1-833-699-0299. This benefit replaces the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.

Employment Insurance: If you have lost your job through no fault of your own and qualify for Employment Insurance benefits, you can submit your request today.  

If you are sick, quarantined or have been directed to self-isolate, the federal government will waive the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.

Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs): The required minimum withdrawals from RRIFs are being reduced by 25% for 2020

Support for Low-Income Seniors: A one-time, tax-free payment of $300 is being given to seniors who qualify for Old Age Security. An additional $200 will also be paid to seniors who currently receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement. This measure would give up to $500 in one-time payments to eligible seniors. Payments are expected to be made in early July.

Canada Student Loans: Effective March 30, the federal government is placing a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all student loan borrowers. No payment will be required, and interest will not accrue during this time. Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.

Canada Emergency Student Benefit – This provides support to students and new graduates who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or Employment Insurance, or who are unable to work this summer due to COVID-19. The benefit provides $1,250 per month for eligible students or $2,000 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities. This benefit is available from May to August 2020.

For Businesses/Employers – Federal

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy: This subsidy program covers 75% of an employee’s wages for eligible employers of all sizes and sectors. This program is in place until August 29.

Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy: This three-month measure allows eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deduction required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency.

Extending Work-Sharing Program: This support program is extended from 38 to 76 weeks. It provides income support to employees eligible for EI who agree to reduce their normal working hours due to COVID-19.

Temporary Changes to Canada Summer Jobs Program: Employers can receive up to 100% of the provincial/territorial minimum hourly wage to hire student employees under this program. The end date for employment under this program is now extended to Feb. 28, 20201.

Other sector-specific business support programs may also be available. Learn more here.

Small Business COVID-19 Hotline – Is your small business facing pressing financial needs? Call this support hotline operated by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce at 1-866-989-1080 (toll-free) seven days a week (8 am to 8 pm).

Provincial Support Programs

For Individuals/Workers:
  • Evictions:  No new eviction orders will be issued until further notice. Enforcement of current eviction orders will be postponed  
  • Protected Leave:  Employers must ensure protected leave for workers who have to be off work due to COVID-19. This includes workers who are: self-isolating, getting treated, following medical direction or caring for a loved one. 
  • Medical Notes: Employees do not need to provide a doctor’s note to take unpaid sick leave 
  • Support for Families – Learn about funding that families can apply for if they have children who are not in school or child care due to COVID-19. Eligible parents will receive a one-time payment of: $200/child ages 0-12 years; $250/child or youth aged 0-21 years with special needs. Note: If you are already receiving Support for Parents payments, you will automatically be eligible for this program and do not need to apply for it.
  • Doubled GAINS payments for seniors: If you are a senior receiving monthly Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payments, we will be doubling your payment, making it up to $166 per month for individuals and up to $332 per month for couples. If you are a GAINS recipient, you will receive this extra support automatically for six months, with the first payment on April 24, 2020.
  • Ontario’s Community Support Program to assist low-income seniors and people with disabilities during COVID-19.
  • Additional funding for supplies is now offered to current recipients of Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program. Funding of up to $100 for single individual and up to $200 for families is available.
  • Help for electricity bills is here. Through the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program, low-income consumers can get direct support to pay bills and ensure electricity and natural gas services are not cut off during COVID-19. If you are behind on your payments and face having your service disconnected, you could qualify for $500 in relief for electricity bills ($600 if your home is heated by electricity) and $500 for natural gas bills.

Extensions on validations and deadlines:

OSAP Payments:

Learn more about the temporary deferral of  OSAP  payments. 

  • From March 30, 2020 to September 30, 2020: 
    • You do not need to make any loan payments 
    • Interest will not be added to your student loans 
    • If your loans are in good standing, visit the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) or the Canada student aid page for more information.  If your  OSAP  debt is in collections, contact the Ministry of Finance at 1-877-535-0554 or the private collection agency assigned to your account to discuss your options. 

COVID-19 Emergency Assistance: 

  • If you are not currently getting social assistance 
  • If you need help paying for food and housing and are not already on Ontario Works or ODSP, you can  apply for COVID-19 emergency assistance

Click here to apply for any of the following provincial programs:

For Businesses/Employers – Provincial

The Ontario government is providing various relief programs to support businesses, including interest and penalty relief, tax relief, WSIB payment deferrals and reduced electricity bills.

Local Support Programs

For Businesses/Employers – Local

Getting Help To Apply For Programs 

The Help Centre and Legal Centre of Northumberland: The Help Centre and Legal Centre provide free services to residents of Northumberland County on the topics of income, employment and housing.   

Additional Resources

211 Community Support – Easily find/search government and community-based services during COVID-19.  Call or text 2-1-1 day or night to find support for all of life’s challenges. Live Chat also available Monday to Friday from 7 am to 9 pm.