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COVID-19 // Measures to Help You - DFSIN

COVID-19 // Measures to Help You

Updated: April 21, 2020

In recent weeks, various levels of government as well as major Canadian financial institutions have taken action to ease the financial burden on Canadians caused by the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 08, 2020

While these assistance measures are welcome and timely in helping to reassure everyone, navigating through the many programs to find the right one(s) for you can be a challenge. Whether you are salaried, self-employed or a business owner, the summaries of the measures listed below will help you quickly find information. Web sites of various organizations are also included for easy access.

Other questions? Our financial security advisors are here for you. You can count on them to listen to your concerns and offer sound pragmatic advice.

I am an employee who experienced a drop in salary or total loss of salary

This benefit is only available to people who have stopped working for reasons related to COVID-19 and who meet the eligibility criteria. This is a taxable benefit of $500 per week for up to 16 weeks.

The web site for requesting this new benefit, retroactive to March 15, 2020, will be accessible on April 6.

Visit the Questions and Answers section.
This benefit is for employees who are sick or who cannot work because they are in quarantine (voluntary or mandatory). The CRA will waive the requirement of providing a medical note to access this benefit.
This benefit is for employees who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own and who have worked 420 to 700 hours in the previous 52 weeks.

I am an employee in essential services

This benefit is 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-month period. Payments will be made every two weeks starting on May 27, 2020.

I am self-employed

This benefit is only available to people who have stopped working for reasons related to COVID-19 and who meet the eligibility criteria. This is a taxable benefit of $500 per week for up to 16 weeks.

The web site for requesting this new benefit, retroactive to March 15, 2020, will be accessible on April 6.

Visit the Questions and Answers sections.

I am a business owner

Federal programs


Work-sharing is an agreement between employers, employees and the Government of Canada. To be eligible, both parties (employer and employee) must meet certain criteria, including:

- Employer eligibility: Operate year-round in Canada for at least two years, a private enterprise, a public company or a non-profit organization.

- Employee eligibility: Be part of the permanent staff and be entitled to employment insurance benefits.

Usually for a duration of 36 weeks, this program is extended to 76 weeks.


Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

This wage subsidy aims to prevent further job losses, encourage employers to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, and help better position Canadian companies and other employers to more easily resume normal operations following the crisis. 

This would provide a 75% wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks, retroactive to March 15, 2020. Employers will also be eligible for a subsidy of up to 75% of salaries and wages paid to new employees. There would be no general limit on the amount of wage subsidy an eligible employer could apply for. Employers should do their best to raise employee wages to bring them back to pre-employment levels. The pre-crisis remuneration for a given employee would be based on the average weekly remuneration paid between January 1 and March 15 inclusively, excluding any 7-day periods in respect of which the employee did not receive remuneration.


Provincial program

Concerted Action Program for Maintaining Employment (link only currently available in French)

The purpose of the program is to provide support to businesses that have experienced a decline in their operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It aims to provide direct financial support to businesses in order to promote training and the implementation of good human resources management practices. It also aims to optimize the operation of businesses on the labour market and help them get back on their feet more quickly once the situation has stabilized.

Federal programs

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)

Established through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC), this program includes:

Loan Programs for Businesses

- Canada Emergency Business Account

This measure will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000. To be eligible, your business must demonstrate that it has paid $50,000 to $1 million in total wages in 2019.

- Loan Guarantees for Small to Medium-Sized Enterprises

It provides small to medium sized business with new operating lines of credit and self-financing term loans of up to $6.25 million.

- Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

This program provides term loans to SMEs to meet the operational cash flow needs. Eligible businesses can obtain additional lines of credit amounts of up to $6.25 million.

Provincial programs

Emergency support for small and medium-sized businesses (link only currently available in French)

To support, for a limited period, eligible businesses that are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of COVID-19 and that require cash flow of less than $ 50,000.


Concerted Temporary Action Program for Businesses (PACTE)

This emergency funding measure provides ad hoc and exceptional support for businesses affected by the repercussions of COVID-19.

New Tax-filing Deadlines for Businesses (Announced on March 30, 2020)

- For companies: Filing date for the current tax year: June 1, 2020

  • Payment date for the current tax year: September 1, 2020 


Deferral of Sales Tax and Customs Duty Payments

GST / HST and customs duty payments may be deferred until June 30, 2020.

Other Benefit Programs

Increase in the Canadian Child Benefit Amount

Families will be able to receive an additional $300 per child through the Canada Child Benefit for 2019-20. This benefit will be paid as part of the planned payment in May.


Special Goods and Services Tax Credit Payment

This is a one-time special payment through the Goods and Services Tax Credit for low and moderate income families. The average additional benefit will be close to $400 for single people and almost $600 for couples.


New Tax Filing and Payment Dates

- For Individuals (Announced March 30, 2020) 

  • Filing date for 2019 taxes: June 1, 2020
  • Payment date for 2019 taxes: September 1, 2020


Mortgage Payment Support

Suspension of mortgage payments is available for an indefinite period and there is no deadline for making a request. Customers can contact their mortgage lender.

Reduction of Minimum RRIF Withdrawal

Seniors will benefit from a 25% reduction in the minimum withdrawal requirement for registered retirement income funds (RRIFs) for 2020.

Moratorium on the Repayment of Canada Student Loans

From March 30 to September 30, 2020, no payments on student loans will be required, and interest will not be accrued during this period.

Government of Québec

This tool will help you determine what type of assistance is available in your situation:


Government of Canada

Canada’s Covid-19 Economic Response Plan

This information is given for informational purposes. Although we will monitor for updates, we cannot guarantee that this list of measures is exhaustive. Note the update date on each section.



An SFL advisor will be happy to explore the subject with you.