TORONTO — The extraordinary economic hit caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has governments of all stripes offering unprecedented assistance to affected Canadians.
It can be a lot to sort through, even for those who were already familiar with the social supports set up by the federal and provincial governments before the crisis hit.
To clarify the situation, CTVNews.ca has compiled a cross-country guide to exactly what each jurisdiction is directly offering residents whose jobs have been affected.
Every Canadian who is losing income due to the pandemic is eligible to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which offers $2,000 per month for up to four months. Applications are expected to open in April. The government has said that applications will be able to be made through CRA MyAccount or My Service Canada Account or by calling a toll-free number that has not yet been announced.
Here is a look at measures that have been announced at the provincial and territorial levels:
British Columbia: B.C. Premier John Horgan announced on March 23 that the province is introducing the BC Emergency Benefit for Workers, which will provide a one-time payment of up to $1,000. 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.
Alberta: Anyone in Alberta who is self-isolating or the sole caregiver of someone who is self-isolating can apply for the province’s emergency isolation support payments. Announced on March 18, the program offers one-time payments of $1,146. Applications opened March 25.
Saskatchewan: 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. The province has said this will mainly benefit self-employed workers.
Manitoba: As of March 26, the Manitoba government has not announced any specific direct financial assistance for residents affected by COVID-19.
Ontario: 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.
Quebec: In Quebec, 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.
New Brunswick: Workers who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 state of emergency in New Brunswick, including the self-employed, are eligible for one-time payments of $900. The province announced these payments March 24 and said they are aimed at bridging the gap between the loss of work and federal benefits kicking in.
Nova Scotia: Nova Scotians on income assistance are receiving an extra $50 with each payment as of March 20.
Prince Edward Island: 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.
Newfoundland and Labrador: 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.
Yukon: As of March 26, the Yukon government has not announced any specific direct financial assistance for residents affected by COVID-19.
Northwest Territories: Funding to the income assistance program in the Northwest Territories is being increased, the territory announced March 20.
Nunavut: As of March 26, the Nunavut government has not announced any specific direct financial assistance for residents affected by COVID-19.
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