Protecting Canadians and Their Families

Through Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the Government of Canada has taken strong, immediate, and effective action to protect Canadians from the impacts of the pandemic, prevent layoffs, and provide emergency income support to families.

Supporting Individuals and Families

From the beginning of the crisis, the government recognized that an unprecedented number of Canadians were going to need income support. Unlike many other countries, Canada swiftly established emergency programs to ensure that the millions of Canadians who lost their jobs, lost hours, or lost income due to the pandemic could get help to cover their essentials.

A Middle-Income Family of Four

Nathan and Emily live with their two young children.

  • Nathan is a self-employed barber who makes an annual income of approximately $34,000. When the lockdown began, he was unable to provide services to any of his clients due to the closure of the barbershop where he works, leaving him with no income for the month of April.
    • Nathan was able to access the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and received $2,000 a month during April and May which represents just over 70 per cent of his regular monthly income before taxes. As a result of the expanded eligibility rules announced in April, Nathan was also able to take on a small contract (less than $1,000) mid-May providing haircare tutorials online without affecting his CERB eligibility. Should he require it, Nathan will be able to access the CERB up to a maximum of 24 weeks. Nathan was also able to take advantage of the GST/HST deferral, which provided much-needed cash-flow relief during the initial months of the crisis.
  • Emily is the manager of a local restaurant and she had an annual salary of $60,000. She was furloughed when the restaurant was forced to fully close on March 15 due to COVID-19 health and safety restrictions and was able to return to work at the end of May now that certain public health restrictions in her community have been lifted.
    • Emily has been able to receive paycheques thanks to the CEWS program, receiving the maximum of $847 per week. Her salary was funded while she was furloughed and continues to be funded now that she is an active employee through the CEWS. Emily’s employer may continue to be able to access the CEWS until August 29, 2020. Her Canada Student Loan repayments were also deferred beginning March 30, until September 30, which represents savings of, on average, $160 per month.

In addition to the CERB and CEWS income support, Nathan and Emily received a $600 top-up in their CCB payment for May to help support their family’s needs. Combined, these measures provided Nathan and Emily up to $20,152* in financial support between March 15-July 4 to help them through this difficult time.

*Taxes on this amount are not reflected.

Supporting Students and Recent Graduates

Students and recent graduates are uniquely impacted by the pandemic. They are at a critical stage of life, needing income at the end of the school year to help with living expenses or to save for next semester’s tuition, but are having difficulty finding work due to COVID-19. The government has introduced a series of measures to ensure they have access to the supports they need:

A Low-Income Student (Post-Secondary)

Anna is a 20 year old student who recently completed her second year of full-time studies.

Last year, Anna worked full-time during the summer, earning minimum wage ($2,400 per month), in order to cover her living expenses while living away from home and to save for the upcoming school year. Due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 health emergency, Anna did not find a full-time job this summer, leaving her unable to pay for immediate expenses such as rent and food, while also putting in jeopardy her ability to continue her studies in the fall. Anna is not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) or for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), since she was not employed when the health emergency began.

  • To provide much-needed support over the summer, Anna will receive the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), which will provide her with $1,250 per month from May through August 2020.
  • While receiving the CESB and continuing to look for work, Anna decided to volunteer in a service position with a local community organization to support the broader COVID-19 response. Anna’s contribution will be recognized through the Canada Student Service Grant, which will provide up to $5,000 towards her post-secondary education costs in the fall.
  • To further ensure that Anna is financially able to return to campus in September, changes to the Canada Student Loans Program will mean Anna will receive up to $6,000 in non-repayable financial assistance, support that Anna can use to cover tuition, books and living expenses.
  • In April, Anna received a special GST Credit top-up payment of $290 to help her cover immediate expenses.
  • Anna will receive $1,250 for each month she is unable to find work, from May to August 2020, for a maximum of $5,290 in income support. She is also eligible for up to $11,000 in non-repayable grants to cover her post-secondary education costs in the fall.  

Supporting Seniors

The pandemic has been especially difficult for Canadian seniors. They are facing financial vulnerabilities as volatile markets affect their retirement savings. They may also face additional expenses due to public health measures. To support seniors, the government has introduced a range of measures:

A Single Low-Income Senior

Laurence is a 70 year old single senior. She receives a CPP retirement pension as well as income from a workplace pension, besides OAS and GIS benefits as well as the GST Credit. 

  • In April, Laurence received $443 from the special GST Credit top-up payment, the maximum amount for a single adult with no dependent children.
  • Laurence is taking precautions to avoid exposure to the virus and is isolating. She was able to join phone-based get-togethers with friends thanks to the efforts of a local seniors support group. Another community group has arranged to deliver her groceries a couple of times. The government has provided a $9 million contribution to the United Way, and is providing additional new funding of $20 million to the New Horizons for Seniors Program this year, to further support such activities.
  • In the week of July 6, Laurence will be receiving $500 from the one-time payment for seniors eligible for OAS and GIS ($300 in respect of OAS and another $200 in respect of GIS). 

Taken together, the special GST Credit top-up payment and the one-time payment for seniors eligible for OAS and GIS will provide Laurence $943 in financial support.

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