Nathaniel Erskine-Smith

Your member of parliament for


Beaches-East York

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith

Your member of parliament for


Beaches-East York

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Information about COVID-19

Please find a comprehensive breakdown of important information and federal government supports to help you during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The situation with COVID-19 is evolving rapidly. For the most up-to-date information, visit Canada.ca/coronavirus

The Government of Canada infoline is open 7 a.m. – midnight, 7 days a week: 1 (833) 784-4397.

Assistance announcement chronology:

April 6, 2020 – Based on Prime Minister Trudeau’s announcement today, the federal government is working on a solution to ensure people with partial earnings will be eligible for CERB.
If you have lost substantially all of your income (such as a reduction in hours to 10 hours or less) and you are struggling to pay your bills, it makes sense for many people to apply this week as the government works on a solution. You may want to set any eligibility considerations/concerns aside and make sure your application is submitted now, so that you become eligible under any new changed criteria. Applications for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits since March 15 will be automatically moved to the government’s CERB program, a move that could see many EI beneficiaries get more money every week. Read below for more info.

Prime Minster Trudeau suggested that some sort of government support will be made available. “We know that we need to do more for young people as they come out of university and look for projects and ways of securing income this summer,” he said on Sunday, April 5.

March 25, 2020 – The Government of Canada announced a new Economic Response Plan

March 18, 2020 – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses, and additional measures to keep another $55 billion in the economy through deferred tax payments until the end of August. 

Assistance from the Government of Canada announced to date

For coronavirus-affected workers

  • The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will create a short-term basic income: $2,000 per month up to four months for those who have lost income as a result of COVID-19. CERB will be available to regular employees, self-employed, and contract workers who are otherwise ineligible for Employment Insurance (EI). CERB is not intended to replace Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program. There are some challenges with the way the benefit is designed, and I continue to work to ensure that the eligibility criteria is expanded. 
    • The benefit will be available to workers:
      • Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
      • Who have stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits. If you are looking for a job but haven’t stopped working because of COVID-19, you are not eligible for the Benefit. For example, if you are a student who had a job last year and were planning on working this summer you do not qualify for the benefit;
      • Who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and
      • Who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment income.
    • The income of at least $5,000 may be from any or a combination of the following sources: employment; self-employment; maternity and parental benefits under the Employment Insurance program and/or similar benefits paid in Quebec under the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan.
    • Applications will open on April 6, 2020 at Canada.ca/coronavirus, and will be available through My CRA and My Service Canada. Payments should flow within 10 days. Sign up for My CRA and My Service Canada online accounts now to receive the benefits as soon as they’re available. More information can be accessed on the federal government Backgrounder
  • We’re providing a special one-time special payment on April 9 through the Goods and Services Tax credit for low- and modest-income families. $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples. If you’re eligible, you’ll receive this automatically with no need to apply.
  • Waiving the one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits for those in quarantine or those directed to self-isolate. Medical certificates not required to prove eligibility. For information or eligibility, visit the Service Canada website or call 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232)
  • Enhancing the Work-Sharing program to support employers and their workers experiencing a downturn in business due to the virus.

For individuals and families

  • Increasing Canada Child Benefit: an extra $300 per child for the 2019-20 benefit year. Qualifying parents receive the entire extra amount with their scheduled May payment.
  • Special top-up to the GST tax credit in the amount of $5.5 billion. $400 for individuals, $600 for couples.
  • Extending the tax filing deadline to June 1. Allowing tax deferral owing to August 31.
  • Providing increased flexibility to lenders to defer mortgage payments on homeowner government-insured mortgage loans to borrowers experiencing financial difficulties related to the outbreak.
  • Implementing a six-month interest-free moratorium on Canada Student Loan repayments.
  • $305 million to address immediate needs in Indigenous communities.
  • $50 million to support women’s shelters and sexual assault centres.
  • $157.5 million to address the needs of the homeless

For seniors:

  • For low and modest income seniors we are providing a supplementary payment under the GST Credit of $400 per adult and $600 per couple.
  • Withdrawal flexibility from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs), reducing minimum withdrawals from RRIF’s by 25% for 2020. This will help preserve RRIF assets.
  • Boosting federal aid for at-risk Canadian seniors, contributing $9 million through United Way Canada to help the country’s older population get groceries, medication and other critical items.
  • We are allowing any new taxes owing to be deferred until August 31 and extending the deadline to file your income taxes to June 1, 2020

For businesses

  • Launching an Emergency Business Account: $40,000 loans, guaranteed by government, interest-free for first year, and $10,000 forgivable. Speak to your financial institution about eligibility after reading more at BDC’s website.
  • The Bank of Canada has lowered the overnight rate to 0.25%
  • Additional $12.5 billion through BDC and EDC for their credit facilities for business loans
  • Deferral of GST/HST payments, as well as duties and taxes owed on imports until June. Equivalent of $30 billion in interest-free loans.
  • Allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax owing before September 2020. No interest will accrue.
  • Providing a wage subsidy, increased from 10% to 75% for qualifying businesses:
    • Eligible employers would be able to apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy through the Canada Revenue Agency’s My Business Account portal as well as a web-based application. Employers would have to keep records demonstrating their reduction in arm’s-length revenues and remuneration paid to employees. More details about the application process will be made available shortly.
    • Wage subsidy eligibility and calculation info from CRA can be accessed here.
    • Wage subsidy info from Finance will be updated here.
    • Businesses and non-profit organizations seeing a drop of at least 30 per cent in revenue due to COVID-19 will qualify for the wage subsidy.
    • The wage-subsidy will be available to charities and non-profits.
    • The federal government will cover up to 75 per cent on the first $58,700 of earnings, up to a maximum of $847 a week per worker, back-dated to March 15.
    • The size of the company will not bear on whether it qualifies for the help.
    • Businesses are encouraged to top-up their employees’ remaining 25% of wages.
    • A very comprehensive backgrounder for the wage subsidy can be accessed here.
  • Increased financing support through BDC, EDC, Farm Credit Canada.
  • Launch an insured mortgage purchase program to purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through CMHC.
  • The federal government has established a designated website for Resources for Canadian Businesses – for information about supporting employees and business owners. It is constantly updated as the COVID-19 crisis evolves.
  • The Canada Business App has tailored supports to address every business’ needs in the face of COVID-19.
  • Every business is also encouraged to consult the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s pandemic preparedness guide to help prepare their business in the days and weeks to come.
  • A helpful infographic is available for the government support options for business here.
  • Industry interested in helping the government’s response are asked to visit this website.

Canada’s big banks have also announced that they will allow mortgage payments to be deferred by up to 6 months for those affected.

Health response 

The federal government has pledged $1 billion to assist provincial health efforts, to further research and vaccine development, and to support affected workers. This includes:

  • $500 million for provincial health care system needs and to support mitigation efforts
  • $275 million in additional funding for COVID-19 research in Canada
  • $100 million to support health measures such as enhanced surveillance and increased testing
  • $100 million to support the Public Health Agency of Canada’s public education efforts and to support purchases of protective equipment across Canada

What can you do?  Wash your hands, stay home and practise social distancing, where possible. 

Locally, our office has cancelled all planned events and is working remotely. We encourage constituents to stay home (get fresh air, but keep physical distance), and practise physical/social distancing. In addition, here are some best practices from the World Health Organization:

  • All Canadians should stay home as much as reasonably possible
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water
  • Maintain social distance by staying at least one metre away from those you are speaking with
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing, either with a bent elbow or a tissue
  • Seek medical attention if you have a fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing
  • Remain self-isolated for 14 days upon returning to Canada. 

If you have symptoms complete this self-assessment tool: covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment

If you are concerned you may have COVID-19, Michael Garron Hospital has a testing facility.

What’s the difference between social distancing and self-isolation?

S̲o̲c̲i̲a̲l̲ d̲i̲s̲t̲a̲n̲c̲i̲n̲g̲ means keeping a physical distance of 2 metres from others, as much as possible. Stay home, if you can, including for meals and entertainment. Avoid crowded places and non-essential meetings.

You can continue to run essential errands yourself, and you are able to go outside for fresh air, a run, or to walk the dog.

More social distancing info: canada.ca/…/diseases-con…/social-distancing

S̲e̲l̲f̲-i̲s̲o̲l̲a̲t̲i̲o̲n̲ means staying at home and avoiding all contact with other people to help prevent transmission of the virus.

Do not go to school, work, other public areas nor use public transportation. You should ask your family, a neighbour, or friend to help with essential errands, including walking your dog.

More self-isolation info: canada.ca/…/coronavirus-disease-covid-19-how-to…

Travel information

Canadians requiring emergency consular assistance can call the 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1 613-996-8885 (collect calls are accepted where available) or email sos@international.gc.ca

Canadians outside of the country should register in the Registry of Canadians Abroad, plan to return to Canada immediately, find out what commercial options are still available, and check the entry and exit requirements of the countries through which they may be transiting. 

Complete travel information can be found hereAll non-essential travel outside of Canada should be avoided. 

Air operators will prevent all travellers who present symptoms, including Canadians, to board a plane. We urge Canadians to contact their airline or tour operator to determine options for cancelling or postponing their trip. Four airports are designated to receive international visitors in Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto.Canada and the U.S. have come to a mutual agreement to close the border to non-essential travel. Many countries have put in place travel or border restrictions and airlines have cancelled flights and may do so with little warning. 

Only Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be allowed to enter Canada. 

Upon your return to Canada from out of country, you must self-isolate for 14 days.

  • Travellers returning to Canada will be subject to a mandatory 14-day isolation under the Quarantine Act.
  • Failure to comply with this order can result in fines of up to $750,000 and/or 6 months in prison
  • All individuals, with the exception of essential workers, are subject to these measures, regardless of whether you display symptoms.

The government has set up a loan program to assist Canadians who need to extend their stay abroad. For more information, contact the nearest mission, or the 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre at 613 996 8885 or email sos@international.gc.ca to apply for assistance.

Other information and community needs

The Ontario government has called a state of emergency and ordered schools, childcare facilities, and crowd-friendly businesses and organizations to close. Restaurants can only provide take-out and delivery service. Essential services, like grocery stores and pharmacies, will remain open.

Municipal services are accessible here: 211toronto.catoronto.ca/home/covid-19

As we keep our physical distance from one another, we must stay calm and keep the needs of our family, friends, and community in mind. Check in on our neighbours, especially seniors, to make sure they have supplies and to guard against loneliness in isolation.

Make an appointment to donate blood, if possible. Canadian Blood Services donations have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, and they have put systems into place to ensure the blood donation process is safe and secure. Sign up to be an organ donor at beadonor.ca 

Industry interested in helping the government’s response are asked to visit this website: canada.ca/en/services/business/maintaingrowimprovebusiness/manufacturers-needed

Stay in touch

Do not hesitate to contact our office if you have additional questions: nathaniel.erskine-smith@parl.gc.ca

Nate answers your questions on his weekly Facebook Live & Instagram Live streams every Thursday, from 7:30pm.

For general updates, it’s best to sign up to our email newsletter. You’ll stay on top of our work in Ottawa and Toronto, and you may unsubscribe from our infrequent email at any time.

We’re working from home, but we won’t stop working for you. We’re all in this together.