There are several government programs to help you make ends meet if you have lost income during the COVID-19 crisis. These are listed below. There are also income supplements listed on another page.
A Legal Advocate at Sunshine Coast Resource Centre can assist you (at no cost) with the government benefits applications and answer your questions by phone and email:
The existing EI benefit continues to be available. This provides up to $573/week to people who have lost income.
EI Sickness Benefits
“Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits can provide you with up to 15 weeks of financial assistance if you cannot work for medical reasons. You could receive 55% of your earnings up to a maximum of $573 a week.
You must get a medical certificate to show that you’re unable to work for medical reasons. Medical reasons include illness, injury, quarantine or any medical condition that prevents you from working.”
Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
Initial Information about CERB
“This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CERB would cover Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures.
The CERB would apply to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).
Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19, would also qualify for the CERB.”
Retroactive Changes made to CERB in mid-April
On April 15, the Government of Canada has recently announced that people who make up to $1,000 a month are also eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
If you have not yet applied, go to your My Service Canada account, and you can apply through the Revenue Canada portal on that page. Or call 1-800-959-8281 to speak with an agent.
BC Emergency Benefit
“A new BC Emergency Benefit for Workers will provide a tax-free $1,000 payment to British Columbians whose ability to work has been affected by COVID-19. The benefit will be a one-time payment for B.C. residents who receive federal Employment Insurance (EI), or the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit.”