List of financial relief measures to help you through the COVID‑19 crisis
Learn about the financial assistance measures that have been put in place to support you during the coronavirus crisis, based on your situation.
Article published on 2020-04-07 | Updated on 2020-10-13
COVID‑19 has drastically disrupted the daily lives of all Québecers. If you're wondering how the spread of the coronavirus in Québec will affect your personal finances, you should know that the provincial, federal, and municipal governments and financial institutions have all taken steps to support you. Here are a few of the initiatives that you may find useful.
The Fonds is here for you
Since our inception, we have stood in solidarity with Québec workers and businesses. In these times of uncertainty, solidarity is more important than ever. Together, we will contribute to our collective well‑being by actively participating in the local economy and supporting the financial health of our businesses.
Our portfolio is diversified, and we are prepared to adapt and focus on the long term. We have the resources to support our partner companies all over Québec by participating in relief measures that aim to limit the economic and financial impacts of COVID‑19. In this regard, we offered in March 2020 to all the companies in our portfolio, which includes the Fonds régionaux (regional funds) and Fonds locaux (local funds), a six‑month deferral of payments related to loans, including principal and interest. This measure is intended to relieve the financial pressures on businesses in the short term to enable them to continue their activities and preserve jobs.
Our model is unique and allows us to ensure that the money invested in the Fonds can help save jobs and businesses in the province.
True to its mission and values, the Fonds is here for Québec.
Data as of May 31, 2020.
General support measures for individuals
Increased access to Employment Insurance and the end of the CERB
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) ended in September 2020. To continue to support Canadians, the federal government announced changes to the EI program that will be in effect for one year.
If you received the CERB through Service Canada, you do not have to apply for EI benefits. After you receive your final CERB payment, complete your reports as usual. The government will automatically review your file. If you are eligible, you will start receiving EI benefits. If you are not eligible, you will be notified by mail.
If you received the CERB through the Canada Revenue Agency, you must wait until the end of the final CERB eligibility period and have received all your payments before you apply for EI.
As of September 27, 2020, you may be eligible for EI if you have worked at least 120 insurable hours in the last 52 weeks. If you were receiving the CERB, the 52-week period to accumulate insured hours will be extended.
If you qualify for EI benefits, you could receive at least $500 per week before taxes, or $300 per week before taxes for extended parental benefits.
You may also receive regular EI benefits if you lost your employment or if you are ready, willing, and capable of working each day. Similarly, if you are unable to work because you need to take care of someone else or yourself, then you could receive sickness, maternity, parental, compassionate care, or family caregiver benefits.
If you want to receive EI benefits, you must complete your application online.
Economic recovery benefits
Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)
If you do not qualify for Employment Insurance but still need financial assistance, you may be eligible for the CRB. This benefit provides $1,000 ($900 after taxes withheld) for a two-week period. If your situation continues past two weeks, you will need to apply again. You can use it a maximum of 13 times for a total period of 26 weeks. The eligibility period is from September 27, 2020, to September 25, 2021. Applications can be submitted as of October 12, 2020.
You must reside and be present in Canada during the application period. You may be eligible for the CRB if you meet the following criteria:
- You earned at least $5,000 in 2019, 2020, or in the 12 months before the date you applied for this benefit from maternity and parental benefits from EI or Québec Parental Insurance Plan benefits.
- You are available to work and are seeking work, or you are working but your income has decreased due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- You did not quit your job voluntarily.
Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)
The CRSB is available to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they are sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19. Eligible individuals can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for a one-week period. If the situation continues, you will need to apply again. You can apply for the CRSB for up to a total of two weeks between September 27, 2020, and September 25, 2021. To receive the benefit, you can fill out your application form online or by phone.
The eligibility criteria for the CRSB includes the following:
- You are unable to work at least 50 percent of your work week because you are sick or because you have to self-isolate due to COVID-19.
- You are not eligible for paid leave from your employer for the same period.
- You are not receiving any other financial assistance for the same period, such as the CERB, the CRB, workers' compensation benefits, or Québec Parental Insurance Plan benefits.
Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)
The CRCB provides $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) per week for up to a total of 26 weeks per household. Each application is valid for one week. If your situation lasts longer than one week, you must reapply. This benefit is for employed individuals who must stop working to provide care for children or family members due to the closure of schools, daycares, or care facilities. To receive the benefit, you can fill out your application form online or by phone.
You may be eligible if you have to miss at least 50 percent of your work week for the following reason:
- You must care for a child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care because of school, daycare, or care facility closures or modified schedules due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the child must remain at home as advised by a medical professional (because they are at greater risk of getting COVID-19), or the person who normally cares for the child is unavailable due to the pandemic.
To apply for the CRCB, you must also, among other things:
- Be the only person in your household (residents of the same address) applying for the benefit for the week.
- Not be eligible for paid leave from your employer for the same period.
- Not be receiving certain other financial assistance, such as the CRB, the CRSB, EI benefits, or short-term disability benefits.
Special GST/HST credit
This credit is paid automatically to individuals who have filed their income tax return for 2018 and whose income is considered low or modest. The maximum amounts for the 2019–2020 payment period have been increased as follows:
- $443 to $886 if you're single
- $580 to $1,160 if you're married or living common-law
- $153 to $306 for each child under the age of 19 (excluding the first eligible child of a single parent)
- $290 to $580 for the first eligible child of a single parent
Measures adapted to different realities
Measures for different situations have been put in place to help you get through the next few months.
New wage supplement for essential workers
If you work in a sector offering services that are deemed essential—for example, if you work at a hospital, nursing home, or priority retail business—and your total annual income is $28,600 or less for the year 2020, you may be eligible for the Incentive Program to Retain Essential Workers (IPREW). The assistance amount will make up the difference between the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and your salary. The program provides $100 in taxable income for each week of qualifying work beginning March 15, 2020, and extending for up to 16 weeks. Eligible workers can apply online from May 19 to November 15, 2020. Payments started on May 27, 2020. To be eligible, you must not have received any payments under the CERB or Temporary Aid for Workers Program (PATT).
Landlords: Mortgage debt support
If you are a landlord and are experiencing financial hardship, be aware that the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and a number of mortgage insurers are working with Canadian banks to find ways to help you. This may involve deferring your payments, obtaining further amortization for a loan, or negotiating personalized payment agreements. Contact your financial institution to discuss the options available to you.
Tip: Many auto insurers are moving in the same direction, offering discounts of up to 25 percent on monthly payments. Check with your insurance company for details.
Easier access to the Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP)
In an effort to help post-secondary students affected by COVID-19 cover back-to-school expenses, CSLP eligibility requirements will be revised to allow more students to qualify and receive greater amounts.
Changes include doubling Canada Study Grants for all eligible students in 2020–2021 up to a maximum of $6,000 for full-time students and $3,600 for part-time students. The maximum amount that can be granted to a student each week will increase from $210 to $350 for the 2020–2021 school year.
You can contact the Government of Canada for more information.
Persons with disabilities: One-time payment
The Government of Canada is providing a non-taxable, non-reportable, one-time payment of $600 to assist Canadian citizens with disabilities. To qualify, you must be a beneficiary of one of the following benefits or programs as of July 1, 2020:
- Canada Pension Plan Disability
- Québec Pension Plan Disability Pension
- One of the disability supports provided by Veterans Affairs Canada
You must also have a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate.
Families: Increase to the Canada Child Benefit
Do you have kids under the age of 18? The federal government will be increasing the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) amount by $300 per child for 2019‑2020 only. If you already received this payment, the adjustment was made automatically in May 2020.
Retirees: Reduced minimum annual withdrawal from registered retirement income funds (RRIFs)
If you are 70 or older and wondering how the current economic situation will affect your retirement savings as well as how you will manage your RRIF withdrawals, know that the federal government has reduced the minimum annual withdrawal from your RRIF* by 25 percent for the year 2020. This could allow you more flexibility in how you manage your retirement income. Talk to your personal finance specialist to adjust your withdrawal plan, if necessary.
Furthermore, in an effort to serve you better and help you save time, the Fonds is now offering shareholders aged 65 and older the option to fill out the redemption request form online.
These measures are intended to alleviate the financial burden that may come with the economic instability caused by the COVID‑19 pandemic. This list is not exhaustive, which is why it's a good idea to regularly consult the websites of the governments of Québec and Canada to stay on top of the latest information. You can also ask your personal finance specialist to help you plan for the next few months if your situation has changed.
If you have any questions about the Fonds de solidarité FTQ and its management of the COVID‑19 situation, feel free to visit our FAQ section.
For updates on the measures announced to support workers, visit the following government websites.
*The Fonds de solidarité FTQ is currently working to implement this measure.