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COVID-19 Financial Help

financial help

The Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and a number of industries are providing programs and initiatives to support individuals, families and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. This page will be updated regularly but please note that information is subject to change. For the most current information on Federal or Provincial initiatives please visit the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario website.

Looking for information on Business Supports? Visit our COVID-19 Business Resources page.

For community information visit our COVID-19 Food and Community Supports page.

Individuals and Workers - Financial Support and Relief Programs

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

The Government of Canada will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 every 4 weeks for up to 16 weeks to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19.

The CERB is available to workers who meet all of the following conditions:

  • live in Canada and are at least 15 years old 
  • stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits
  • have not voluntarily quit their job
  • had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application.

On April 15, changes to the eligibility rules were announced to:

  • Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
  • Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work because of COVID-19.
  • Extend the CERB to workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job because of COVID-19.

Do not apply for the CERB if you have already applied for EI.

Apply for the CERB

You can also apply over the phone: 1‑800‑959‑2019 or 1‑800‑959‑2041

Employment Insurance (EI)

If you have stopped working because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) may provide you with temporary income support. The CERB provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.

Service Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) deliver this benefit jointly. You can apply through one or the other, but not both. To help you determine if you should apply through Service Canada or the CRA, visit the Canada Emergency Response Benefit webpage.

If you have recently applied for Employment Insurance (EI) regular or sickness benefits, do not re-apply. Your application will automatically be assessed to determine if you are eligible for the CERB.

A medical certificate is no longer required for EI claims beginning March 15, 2020 or later. 

If you apply for the CERB through Service Canada, you will receive a $2000 initial payment. You will then be paid $1000 every two weeks based on the biweekly reports you submit. If you choose to only report every four weeks, you will be paid $2000 based on the reports you submit. You will be paid as of the first week of your claim.

Apply as soon as possible after you stop working. Don’t wait for your record of employment.

If you have a new Regular or Sickness EI claim starting March 15, 2020 or after, your benefits will be delivered as part of the Government of Canada’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

  • If you have not already applied to employment insurance or CERB, find more information on the eligibility criteria and how to apply by contacting our automated telephone service at 1-833-966-2099
  • If you have already applied to CERB through the employment insurance and want to ask additional questions, you can reach a Canada Emergency Response Benefit agent at 1-833-699-0299.
Special Goods and Services tax credit payment

 is providing a one-time special payment starting April 9 through the Goods and Services Tax credit for low- and modest-income families.

The average additional benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples. 

There is no need to apply for this payment. If you are eligible, you will get it automatically.

Learn more about the Goods and Services Tax credit

Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs)

The Government of Canada has reduced the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020.

Learn more about Registered Retirement Income Funds

Tax filing - extra time to file income tax returns

The filing due date for 2019 income tax returns for individuals has been deferred until June 1, 2020. Any new income tax balances due, or instalments, are also being deferred until after August 31, 2020 without incurring interest or penalties.

Consult all tax and payment dates

Note: If you expect to receive benefits under the Goods and Services Tax credit or the Canada Child Benefit, we encourage you not to delay filing your 2019 income tax return to ensure that your entitlements are properly determined.

Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS)
If you are a senior receiving monthly Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payments, the Government of Ontario will be doubling your payment, making it up to $166 per month for individuals and up to $332 per month for couples. If you are a GAINS recipient, you will receive this extra support automatically for six months, with the first payment on April 24, 2020.
 Ontario Works

Social assistance payments to ongoing recipients will continue to be issued on the same monthly schedule and by the existing payment method.

New applications for Ontario Works can be started using the online application or by phone at 705-324-9870 or 1-877-324-9870, and press “2”.

There is a temporary one-time discretionary benefit available to those in receipt of Ontario Works to address additional costs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. This benefit provides a maximum of $100 to single individuals or $200 to families of two or more.

COVID-19 Emergency Assistance 

Emergency financial support is also available to Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton County residents who are not in receipt of Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program and are in financial crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This Emergency Assistance may be available to people who haven’t yet accessed other financial supports, such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or Employment Insurance Benefits.

To apply for either of these benefits, call our office at 705 324-9870 or toll free 1-877-324-9870 and press “7” to leave a message with your contact information. You can also email and leave a contact number where you can be reached.

Applications for Emergency Assistance can also be started using the online application.

Children and Students - Financial Support and Relief Programs

 Canada Child Benefit (CCB) Increase
The Government of Canada is providing up to an extra $300 per child through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-20. This will mean approximately $550 more for the average family.

This benefit will be delivered as part of the scheduled CCB payment in May.

Those who already receive the CCB do not need to re-apply.

Apply for the Canada Child Benefit

Ontario Autism Program

Due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, the Government of Ontario has:

 Canada Student Loan Relief

Repayment Assistance

All student loan borrowers will automatically have their loan repayments and interest suspended until September 30, 2020. 

Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.

This moratorium applies to the federal portion of student loans. Borrowers should check with their provincial or territorial student loan provider to see if payment is required on the provincial or territorial portion.

Learn more about the moratorium on the repayment


Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)

You will not have to make payments and no interest will accrue on your Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan between March 30, 2020 and September 30, 2020.

If your loans are in good standing, visit the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) or the Canada student aid page for more information.

If your OSAP debt is in collections, contact the Ministry of Finance at 1-877-535-0554or the private collection agency assigned to your account to discuss your options.

 International Students working in an essential service

The Government of Canada will remove the restriction that allows international students to work only a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session, provided they are working in an essential service or function, such as health care, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food or other critical goods.

This temporary rule change will be in place until August 31, 2020.

Consult the Guidance on Essential Services and Functions in Canada during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Home and Life - Financial Support and Relief Programs

 Mortgage Payment Deferral

Homeowners facing financial hardship may be eligible for a mortgage payment deferral of up to six months.

The deferral is an agreement between you and your lender. Typically, the agreement indicates that you and your lender have agreed to pause or suspend your mortgage payments for a certain amount of time. After the agreement ends, your mortgage payments return to normal and the deferred payments — including principal and accumulated interest – are added to the outstanding principal balance and subsequently repaid throughout the life of the mortgage.

To know if you are eligible for a mortgage payment deferral or to learn what options are available, contact your lender — your bank or your mortgage professional.

Learn more about mortgage payment deferral

 Hydro One
From March 24 up to and including May 7, 2020, residential, farm and small business time-of-use customers will pay the lowest rate — also known as the off-peak price — 24 hours a day. That means you will pay 10.1 ¢/kWh no matter what time of day you use electricity. This rate will be automatically applied to your bill.
 Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP)
Through the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP), low-income customers can get direct support to pay bills and ensure electricity and natural gas services are not disconnected during the COVID-19 outbreak.

If you are behind on your bill and may have your service disconnected, you could qualify for:

  • $500 for electricity bills ($600 if your home is heated electrically)
  • $500 for natural gas bills
 MPAC Assessment Delay

The 2021 assessment update (through MPAC) is being postponed; assessed values for 2021 will be based on the same valuation date as 2020

Learn more:

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