Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

Financial & Government Supports by Province

Federal

Financial Assistance: For post-secondary students and recent graduates who are ineligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or for Employment Insurance, but who are unable to find full-time employment or are unable to work due to COVID-19, the government proposes to introduce the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). The CESB would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students from May through August 2020, and $1,750 for students with dependents and those with permanent disabilities. As of April 23, no details about how and when to apply for the CESB have been announced. 

To encourage students to participate in the COVID-19 response, the government will launch a new national service initiative to recognize students' significant contributions to the COVID-19 efforts, and provide support through a new Canada Student Service Grant which will provide up to $5,000 to support student's post-secondary education costs in the fall. 

More details will be made available on the I Want to Help platform over the coming weeks, including more detailed information about eligibility, the levels of funding available under the grant, how to apply for a national service position, and how applications will be assessed. This new grant would provide income support to post-secondary students who will experience financial hardship over the Summer due to COVID-19. The CESB will be delivered by CRA and more details will be communicated.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will allow applicants to receive $2,000 per month for the next four months. If you have lost your income as a result of the pandemic or if you are still employed but are not receiving income or are receiving reduced income you would also qualify for the CERB. Starting April 6th, applications for the CERB can be made online if you haven’t already applied for EI. Anyone who has applied for a previous relief funding program, including EI, will automatically be migrated to the CERB and does NOT need to reapply.

The government is asking people to apply on a certain day of the week based on their birth month as follows;

Mondays – January, February & March birthdays

Tuesdays – April, May & June birthdays 

Wednesdays – July, August & September birthdays 

Thursdays – October, November & December birthdays 

Friday, Saturday, Sunday – Any birth month

Direct deposits will be made within 3-5 days of applying. Cheques will be delivered within 10 days. If an individual wants the money as quickly as possible, they need to register for direct deposit through the CRA My Account online web portal. Applications will also be through the CRA My Account web portal or by calling in to an automated telephone hotline at 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041.

The government is placing a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans. No loan payments need to be made and no interest will be accrued before September 30th, 2020.

A one-time special payment will be made to low-income families through the Goods and Services Tax Credit, individuals will receive close to $400 and couples around $600. Payments should be made in early May 2020.

Registered Retirement Income Funds have had their minimum withdrawals reduced by 25% for 2020 allowing retirees more flexibility in their financial planning.

The maximum annual Canada Child Benefit for 2019-2020 has been increased to $300 per child.

To view supports for a province simply click on the province in the list below:

Alberta

Financial Support: The Government of Alberta has closed their emergency isolation support program as of Monday April 6th, 2020 and has not announced any new programs.

The provincial Government is working with utility companies to offer a 90-day utility bill deferral program by applying directly with your utility. This applies to individual residences as well as to farm and small commercial customers.

Alberta Student Loan Repayments will be paused for 6 months starting on March 30, 2020. No application is necessary.

British Columbia

  • BC Centre for Disease Control FAQ’s on COVID-19
  • General health questions about COVID-19, call 811 or BC Hotline: 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) or via text message at 604-630-0300 (open from 7:30am – 8pm)
  • BC Government's COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

Financial Support: BC Emergency Benefit for Workers provides a one-time payment of up to $1,000. Qualification for the benefit is based on being able to qualify for any of the available federal benefits.

Families with low or medium incomes will receive a larger-than-usual Climate Action Tax Credit in July, and the province will also provide up to $500 a month to renters who are at risk of losing their homes.

BC Hydro customers can defer payments or access grants to help pay their hydro bills

The BC Government has announced a Temporary Rent Supplement of up to $500 available to low to- moderate-income renters who are facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, but do not qualify for existing rental assistance programs. Applications can be made by clicking here and the money will be paid directly to landlords.

Manitoba

  • Manitoba General Information
  • General health questions about COVID-19, call 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free)
  • Manitoba COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool
  • Manitoba has asked pharmacies to limit individuals to a 30-day supply of medication

Financial Support: The Manitoba Government has announced that Manitoba Hydro, Centra Gas and Manitoba Public Insurance have been asked not to charge interest or penalties on any missed payments between April 1st and October 1st, 2020. The utilities (hydro and gas) have also been told not to disconnect customers during this time period.

As of April 7, the Government of Manitoba has suspended repayment of Manitoba Student Aid loans for six months to help reduce the financial burden on post-secondary students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Brunswick

  • New Brunswick COVID-19 General Information
  • General health questions about COVID-19, call 811
  • New Brunswick COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool
  • The government has partnered with Canadian Red Cross to support anyone required to self isolate – call 1-800-863-6582 to access supports.

Financial Support: As of April 15, applications for the New Brunswick Workers Emergency Income Support program have closed. Workers requiring financial support in New Brunswick are encouraged to apply for the CERB through the Federal Government.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Financial Support: Newfoundland & Labrador residents are reminded that individuals cannot receive both provincial Income Support and the CERB at the same time. Should Income Support clients receive the CERB, they will no longer qualify for Income Support, and benefits will be suspended immediately.

The provincial government in Newfoundland and Labrador announced March 14 that it will compensate private-sector employers to ensure employees do not go without pay during the pandemic.

The validity of Medical Care Plan cards has been extended to June 30th, 2020 for those whose cards would have expired as of March 1, 2020 and beyond.

Northwest Territories

Northwest Territories COVID-19 General Information

General questions about Covid-19 call:

  • Yellowknife: 867-767-9120
  • Inuvik: 867-490 –2225 or 867-777-7246
  • Fort Smith: 867-872-6219 or 867-872-6221
  • Hay River: 867-874-7201

Financial Support: A one-time emergency allowance of $500 for an individual or $1,000 for a household with or more people will be paid to anyone receiving income assistance. In addition, gifts or unearned income are being removed from the calculation of earned income for program qualification until June 30th, 2020.

The Provincial government has announced that student loan payments are deferred until September 30th, 2020 an no interest will be accrued.

Nova Scotia

Financial Support: Nova Scotians on income assistance will receive an extra $50 with each payment as of March 20.

Nova Scotia Student Loan payments are suspended until 30 September 2020. You don't need to make any payments, and your loans won't accrue interest. The suspension is automatic – you don't need to apply.

The Government of Nova Scotia is contributing $20 million to help self-employed people and laid-off workers who don’t qualify for Employment Insurance. They will provide a one-time payment of $1,000 to bridge the gap between layoffs and closures and the federal government’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit. As of April 7th no announcement has been made about how to apply. Information about who is eligible for the Worker Emergency Bridge Fund and a link to the application can be found by clicking here.

Nunavut

Financial Support: As of April 23, the Nunavut government has not announced any specific direct financial assistance for residents affected by COVID-19.

Ontario

Financial Support: The Ontario government said March 25 that it will offer one-time payments to parents of children who are affected by school and daycare closures. These payments will be $200 per child up to the age of 12, or $250 if the child is considered to have special needs. Low-income seniors will also see increases in their usual payments from the province for six months, some families will be newly eligible to receive support paying hydro bills, and access to the Ontario Works income support program will be expanded as well. The Ontario government is making additional resources available to recipients of Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) funding through their individual caseworkers.

Starting on March 30th, 2020 the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) will not require any payments and no interest or penalties will be accrued for 6 months to September 30th, 2020.

Prince Edward Island

Financial Support: Anyone who lives and works in P.E.I., earns $25 per hour or less and lost their job between March 13 and March 31 is eligible to receive a $100 gift card for Sobeys. According to the province, the grocery giant is helping fund this program. Other measures announced in P.E.I. include as much as $250 a week for workers who have kept their jobs but at reduced hours and a fund for the self-employed with a maximum payment of $500 per week.

The province has announced rental assistance for residents and commercial businesses. Landlords are being encouraged to defer rent payment for three months (May-July) and would be eligible for financial assistance of up to $50,000 per landlord and $15,000 per tenant if the deferred monies can’t be recovered.

The Government has announced a COVID-19 Income Support Program that provides financial support to residents of Prince Edward Island to bridge the gap between the loss of their job/lay-off, loss of their primary source of income, Employment Insurance benefits have expired or loss of all revenues through self-employment as a result of COVID-19. This emergency income fund is a one-time lump sum payment of $750 from the Government of Prince Edward Island. This emergency income is taxable. More information and the application can be found by clicking here.

Quebec

  • Quebec COVID-19 General Information
  • General health questions about COVID-19, call toll free 418-644-4545 in the Québec City region, 514-644-4545 in the Montréal area and 1-877-644-4545 elsewhere in Québec.

Financial Support: Temporary Aid for Workers Program those who are unable to work due to COVID-19-related reasons and do not qualify for federal assistance can apply to the province's Temporary Aid for Workers Program, applications for which opened March 19. Recipients will receive $573 per week for up to four weeks.

Hydro-Quebec will not be charging late payment fees for those who cannot pay their bills. Hydro customers who think they will have difficulty paying their bill are encouraged to contact the utility by visiting hydroquebec.com or calling 1-888-385-7252 to negotiate a deferral of payment.

The Québec government has announced a new financial assistance program for individuals working essential jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The assistance amount will make up the difference between the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and an eligible individual's wages. Eligible workers can apply for the program online beginning on May 19. The program provides $100 for each week of qualifying work beginning March 15, 2020 and extending for a maximum of 16 weeks. This means that, in addition to their wages, a worker could receive a taxable benefit of $400 per month, for a total of $1,600 for the full 16-week period. Payments will be made every two weeks starting on May 27, 2020. Further information about how and when to apply can be found by clicking here.

Saskatchewan

Financial Support:Saskatchewan residents who have been ordered to self-isolate and are not eligible for the federal supports can apply for the province's self-isolation support program, which was announced March 20 and provides recipients with $900 over two weeks. More information and the application can be found by clicking here.

All employees in the province can access unpaid, job protected, public health emergency leave. The provisions requiring 13 consecutive weeks of work and a doctor’s note to access the leave have been waived.

Student loan repayments and interest have been put on a 6-month moratorium lining up with the Federal Government announcement of the same. This will last until September 30th, 2020.

Effective March 19, 2020, Income Assistance has lessened reporting requirements across all of its programs. If a client is late reporting certain non-critical information, Income Assistance will still process the payment so that the client receives it on or before April 1, 2020.

The Saskatchewan government will make up to $1.5 million in emergency financial aid available to help at-risk post-secondary students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The amount of emergency funding will depend on each students’ circumstances. Emergency bursaries for students will be available from April 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020. Eligibility requirements and application details will be available to students through their post-secondary educational institution.

Yukon

Financial Support: The Paid Sick Leave Rebate allows workers without paid sick leave to stay at home including the self employed. Employers and the self-employed can apply for the rebate here. As of April 23, no direct financial supports to residents have been announced.

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