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Financial Relief Programs: Part 1 – Federal Support for Individuals

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This article is about the financial relief programs made available through the Federal Government to assist its citizens with financial support while they are unemployed or unable to work.  

The Government of Canada has implemented several support resources to ensure Canadians are taken care of in instances where they lost their job due to organizational changes and/or outcomes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Employment Insurance (EI) program is an employment insurance program that allows individuals who have recently lost a job to temporarily receive financial assistance. EI can also be extended to instances where individuals are unable to work because of illness or who are caring for a child or seriously ill family member. In addition to financial assistance, the program also supports the unemployed with job search services.  

In instances where an individual may not be eligible for EI, the unemployed may be eligible for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), or the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB). 

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) provides financial support to employed/self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19 and are not entitled to EI benefits. The CRB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).  

If you are eligible for the CRB, the individual can receive $900 (after taxes withheld) for a 2-week period for which they are applying. The CRB does not auto renew, and you must apply for each 2-week period. For a maximum of 19 pay periods. Applications can be made retroactively up to 60 days after the pay period has ended 

During this period, the individual must be unemployed for reasons related to COVID-19 or have a 50% reduction in their average weekly income compared to the previous year due to COVID-19 pandemic. 

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) provides financial support to employed/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. 

If the individual is eligible for the CRSB, they can receive $450 (after taxes withheld) for a 1-week period. If the situation continues past 1 week, individuals have the option to apply again, up to a total of 2 weeks. 

Note: Individuals are not eligible to apply for periods that are closed. 

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care.  

If you are eligible for the CRCB, your household can receive $450 after taxes withheld for each 1week period you are applying. Applicants may apply up to a total of 38 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021. 

Mortgage Payment Deferral gives homeowners facing financial hardship the opportunity to apply for a mortgage payment deferral. This agreement is between the mortgage holder and the lender. It is important to note that in most cases the mortgage that is deferred is added to your principle and is not simply paused or forgiven. The lender is still charging you mortgage payments, you just aren’t paying them at this moment. This will mean either higher mortgage payments in the future or a longer payment term because your debt on your house has increased. 

These existing programs are subject for review by the Federal Government, we recommend staying current with these programs and how they are administered since the COVID-19 pandemic is an evolving situation which has changed our world and affected everyone living within Canada.  

To learn more about the numerous Federal and Provincial government financial relief programs made available for individuals and businesses, see Part 2, “Saskatchewan Government Support for Individuals”.

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