Income benefits during COVID-19

Our COVID-19 Inventory Tool on CLEO Connect provides an overview of key, up-to-date resources and supports available to your clients during the pandemic.​

If you were still in need of financial assistance after the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) ended on December 2, 2020, you may be eligible for the revised Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. As of September 27, 2020, changes have been made to the EI program to help you access EI benefits. Most of these changes will be in effect for one year.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program ended December 2, 2020. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is now reviewing CERB applications. If they decide that you did not qualify for the CERB program, you may have to pay the money back.

Connecting Ottawa - CERB and Taxation Factsheet
CERB and Taxation Information

On April 29, 2021, the Ontario government amended the Employment Standards Act to require employers to provide up to three days of “paid infectious disease emergency leave.” The COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit (WIPB) is a temporary program.

Workers' Action Centre
Temporary Paid Sick Days Factsheet (English and Bengali)

Temporary changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program were made on September 27, 2020 to help workers access EI regular benefits. These changes will be in effect until at least September 2021.

CLEO’s Steps to Justice
EI Benefits During COVID-19

CLEO’s Steps to Justice
EI Regular Benefits Overview
EI Benefits During COVID-19 chart

Service Canada - changes to EI during COVID-19
EI Regular Benefits - Overview -

Employment Insurance (EI) Regular Benefits - Reporting

EI requires you to report every two weeks online or by phone. Online reporting must be done through a My Service Canada Account.

Service Canada: Online and Phone Reporting
My Service Canada Account (MSCA) - or call 1-800-531-7555

Service Canada may require your Record of Employment (ROE) to decide if you’re eligible for EI benefits.

Service Canada
During COVID-19 your employer must give you your ROE as soon as possible after your employment has ended.  Record of Employment – COVID-19 -

Service Canada: “Request for Record of Employment” form
If you have requested your ROE from your employer but are still unable to get it, complete this: Request for Record of Employment

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. EI sickness benefits will be extended from 15 weeks to 26 weeks in the summer of 2022.

CLEO’s Steps to Justice
I am too sick to work. Can I get EI?

EI Caregiving Benefits

Employment Insurance (EI) caregiving benefits can give you financial help to take time off work to care or support a critically ill or injured person or someone needing end-of-life care. You do not have to be related to or live with the person you care for or support, but they must consider you to be like family.

EI Maternity and Parental benefits

If you are going to be a parent and want to receive money while you are on leave, it might be possible to get Employment Insurance (EI) maternity or parental benefits.

CLEO’s Steps to Justice:
I am going to be a parent. Can I get EI?

These three new benefits were created to replace the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). They are for people who don’t qualify for Employment Insurance (EI). If you qualify for EI, you must apply for that instead.

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

This is for people who don’t qualify for EI because they’re self-employed or independent contractors.

CLEO’s Steps to Justice
COVID-19 Recovery Benefits Chart

Service Canada: How to apply for CRB
How to apply: Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) -

Workers’ Action Centre: CHART Canada Recovery Benefits

In Chinese, Spanish, Tamil and Bengali: Resources

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

This benefit gives money to employed and self-employed people who can’t 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. It is only available for 4 weeks in total.

Service Canada: How to apply for CRSB
Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) - or by phone 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959- 2041

Service Canada: CRSB Reporting
Keep getting your payments: Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)
You must apply for each period separately. You may apply for any period you are eligible for that is open for application, including up to 60 days after the period has ended.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefits (CRCB)

This benefit program gives money to people who have to stop working to care for dependents. You can get it if COVID-19 has disrupted your normal care arrangements, for example, due to closures, high risk or caregiver availability.

Connecting Ottawa - COVID-19 Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) Factsheet
COVID-19: Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit - March 2021

Service Canada: How to apply for CRCB
How to apply: Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) - or by phone at 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041.

If your employer is a small business (including not-for-profit and charities), your employer can qualify for a wage subsidy of up to 75% of payroll for a period of three months in order to keep employees on the payroll.

Ontario Works: Discretionary Benefit
Discretionary benefits are provided on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of a caseworker. These could cover additional expenses related to COVID-19
Ontario Works Directives | 7.1: Summary of Benefits

Ontario Works: How to apply
Application form

Ontario Disability Support Program: rate charts
ODSP.INFO - Free ODSP Information |

Ontario Works (OW) and Employment Insurance (EI)

Service Canada: Employment Insurance and Ontario Works
EI and social assistance -

Ontario Works Income Support for Housing

Ontario Works: The Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF) is intended to prevent homelessness by meeting the emergency housing needs of residents who receive financial assistance from Ontario Works (OW) and income support from Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) so that they are able to stabilize their housing situation.
Housing Stabilization Fund

If you are in an emergency situation and you live in Ontario, you might be eligible for emergency assistance. These benefits are administered by the Ontario government.

Ontario Works: How to apply
Apply for emergency assistance

There are other one-time payments for seniors, disabled persons, indigenous persons and others outlined below.

Government of Ontario Child Benefit
This provides financial support to families with young learners to help with associated costs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Get the Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit

Service Canada: COVID-19 Income supports for Seniors
The payment for seniors provides support through a one-time payment. This measure will give a total of $500 to seniors who receive both the Old Age Security pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, and will help them cover increased costs caused by COVID-19.
One-time tax-free payment for seniors -

Service Canada: COVID-19 Income supports for Disabled Persons
This non-taxable, non-reportable, one-time payment provides up to $600 in recognition of the extraordinary expenses incurred by persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
One-time payment to persons with disabilities -

Service Canada: Canada’s Economic Recovery Plan support for individuals and businesses
Government of Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

Service Canada: supports for indigenous peoples
Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Indigenous communities

City of Toronto: supports for indigenous peoples
Fill out this form if you are an Indigenous community member during COVID-19, looking for emergency access to food, resources and/or goods.
TASSC Community Resource Form 2020

Ontario Friendship Centres: Find local supports for urban Indigenous peoples during COVID
Find a Friendship Centre - OFIFC

Community Legal Clinics and Supports

Find your local Community Legal Clinic
Legal Clinics – Legal Aid Ontario

Aboriginal Legal Services

Advocacy Centre for the Elderly
ACE | Welcome to ACE

Black Legal Action Centre
Serving low and no income Black Ontarians who are facing a legal issue directly related to anti-Black racism.
Black Legal Action Centre: Home

The 519 Legal Clinic
The 519 Legal Clinic is for advice and referral purposes only. The clinic does not provide ongoing client relation or legal representation. Serving the 2SLGBTQ community. 
The 519 Legal Clinic - The519

CLEO’s Steps to Justice

Phone Hotlines

Sudbury Workers Education and Advocacy Centre (serves Northeastern Ontario):
The Sudbury Workers Education and Advocacy Centre

Webinars and Videos

CLEO Connect Webinars
CLEO COVID-19 webinars

Free Income Tax Clinics

Service Canada: Income tax clinics for low-income people
Free Income Tax Clinics