Financial Support Available to Learners during COVID-19

For CPAWSB learners who have been impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have a list of government resources that may be available to you, depending on your circumstances. Thank you to CPA British Columbia for sharing their research!

Employment Insurance and Benefits

Canada Emergency Response Benefit

For those who are unable to work due to COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 every four weeks for up to 16 weeks. Individuals who qualify for this benefit include those earning less than $1,000/month, those whose EI benefits ran out in January 2020, and seasonal workers who do not have work to return to.  

Canadians already receiving Employment Insurance (EI) regular and sickness benefits as of March 25, 2020, will receive their benefits and should not apply to the CERB. If their EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, they can apply for the CERB once EI benefits cease, if they are unable to return to work due to COVID-19.

How to apply: Applications can now be made using “My Account” or via an automated telephone line or a toll-free number. CERB payments should be received within 10 days of application. The CERB will be paid every four weeks and be available from March 15 to October 3, 2020.

Employment Insurance

Waivers for the Employment Insurance program related to COVID-19 include:

  • The one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived for new claimants due to Covid-19 and the requirement to provide a medical certificate will be waived.
  • How to apply: Visit the Employment Insurance section of Employment and Social Development Canada.

Record of Employment

  • When completing your Record of Employment forms due to COVID-19 situations, use the new code categories. For details, visit the Employment Insurance-Record of Employment section of Employment and Social Development Canada.

Supplementary Unemployment Benefits Plan (SUB)

The SUB is an existing plan that allows employers to “top-up” employees’ EI Benefits without penalty to the employee (i.e. additional income does not reduce EI benefits). The plan is available when employees are unemployed due to a temporary stoppage of work, training, illness, injury, or quarantine. SUB plans must be registered with Service Canada before they go into effect.

Work-sharing Program for Employees

This program helps employers and employees avoid layoffs when groups of employees with similar jobs all reduce their hours by the same percentage. Employees’ reduction can be 10%-60%. Due to COVID-19, the maximum duration has been extended from 38 to 76 weeks. Employees can apply for EI benefits for workdays lost due to the work share reduction.

IMPORTANT: COVID-19 temporary layoff period– To ease financial hardship on businesses and to keep employees connected with their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, the BC government has extended the temporary layoff period to 16 weeks for COVID-19 related reasons. This aligns with federal benefit programs and other province’s measures. Employers are also able to request an extension through section 72 for a longer period than 16 weeks on application to the Employment Standards Branch.  

Support for Students

Canada Emergency Student BenefitThis benefit of $1,250 per month for the months of May to August 2020 will be available for qualifying students. The amount is increased to $1,750 for students with dependents and those with permanent disabilities. Payments are received from CRA. The following students may be eligible:

  • College or university students currently in school, planning to start in September, or who graduated in December 2019.
  • Students who have a job but are earning less than $1,000 a month.
  • How to apply: Applications now open through CRA’s My Account.

Canada Student Service GrantStudents contributing to the fight against COVID-19 are eligible for up to $5,000 to support student’s post-secondary education costs in the fall.

Canada Student LoansEffective March 30, a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all student loan borrowers. No payment will be required, and interest will not accrue during this time. This will include pre-authorized debits.

How to apply: Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.

For additional information, check out the CPA Canada blog post COVID-19 financial literacy: I’m a post-secondary student. What’s next?

Scholarships and Bursaries

Contact your CPA provincial body to find out what may be available for you.

Check out our blog post Scholarships and Bursaries for more information.