Food for Thought Blog

Government Resources Available During COVID-19

April 9th, 2020COVID-19

We have gathered information about government resources and supports available, and how to apply during this time of uncertainty. A complete list of supports and resources available to individuals, businesses and industries can be found at:

Unable to Work due to COVID-19

Many individuals are facing unique and unprecedented set of challenges through unexpected job loss, layoffs or illnesses. If you are unable to work due to COVID-19 because you have:

  • Stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit your job.
  • Stopped working because you are sick, quarantined, or in medically directed self-isolation.
  • Otherwise lost your income due to COVID-19.

Apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

Canada Emergency Response Benefit

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19.

  • You reside in Canada and are at least 15 years old.
  • You are employed or self-employed and have stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit your job.
  • You did not apply for, nor receive, Employment Insurance (EI) benefits from Service Canada for the same eligibility period (scroll down for note on EI Benefits).
  • For at least 14 days in a row for the period you are applying for, you will not receive:
    • Employment income
    • Self-employment income
    • Provincial or federal benefits related to maternity or paternity leave.
  • You eared a minimum of $5,000 income in the last 12 months or in 2019 from one or more of the following sources:
    • Employment income
    • Self-employment income
    • Provincial or federal benefits related to maternity or paternity leave.
  • You are, or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days during the initial four-week benefit period. For subsequent benefit periods, you expect to have no employment or self-employment income.
What CERB provides:
  • CERB provides a payment of $2,000 for a 4-week period (the same as $500 a week) for up to 16 weeks.
  • Funding is distributed in 4-week increments. You will have to apply again after 4 weeks. You can apply up to 4 times.
How to apply:
When to apply:
  • The government is staggering applications by month of birth and has outlined the following schedule for applications:
Birth Month Date to Apply
January, February or March Mondays
April, May, or June Tuesdays
July, August, or September Wednesdays
October, November, or December Thursdays
Any month Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
When you will receive your funding:
  • After you apply, you should receive your payment in 3 business days if you signed up for direct deposit. If you haven’t, you should get it in about 10 business days (you will receive a cheque in the mail).NOTE: These benefits are taxable and you will need to report any payments received on next year’s tax filing.

Do not apply for Employment Insurance (E.I.): If you applied for EI regular or sickness benefits on March 15, 2020 or later, your claim will be automatically processed through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

The Government of Ontario is providing a variety of financial, social, mental health supports during COVID-19. For the most up-to-date information please visit:

Government of Ontario Supports

If you have children

The new Support for Families initiative offers a one-time payment of $200 per child 0 to 12 years of age, and $250 for those 0 to 21 years of age with special needs.

  • If you have a child 0-12 years of age, or 0-21 years of age with special needs.


  • Only one parent can apply for each child.
  • The parent who applies should have custody of the child.
  • If you have more than one child, you must submit one application per child.
  • You are still eligible if you are a health care or front-line worker who is using emergency, 24-hour child care centres.
  • Parents already receiving Support for Parents* payments through direct deposit will be automatically eligible for this financial support and do not need to submit a new application.
    *Support for Parents is financial support that was available to parents during the recent education strikes.
How to Apply:
How you will receive funding:
  • You will receive the payment through direct deposit.
    • It will take a minimum of 2 weeks to receive your payment.
  • If you are unable to provide banking information and require a cheque, you may submit a special request for one. Simply indicate this on the application.
    • Processing cheques may take up to several months from the date you apply.

If you are behind on your electricity or natural gas bill and face having your service disconnected

You may qualify for emergency financial help through the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP)

What it provides:
  • Low-income customers can get up to $500 in emergency assistance for their electricity bills ($600 if your home is heated electrically) and $500 for their natural gas bills.
  • The assistance is only available if you are behind on your bill – or in arrears – and may face having your service disconnected. You cannot receive more money than you owe on your bill. Therefore, you may not receive the full amount of the grant.

Note: Emergency financial assistance is provided on a first-come first-served basis. Funds may be limited. Grants are issued on your behalf and paid directly to your utility. You will not receive a cheque.

If you are looking for employment

  • In order to ensure grocery store shelves remain full and families have food on the table during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government of Ontario is launching a new web portal, connecting workers with employers looking to fill positions in the agri-food sector. This new online tool will make it easier to match people to essential jobs and training resources throughout the provincial food supply chain.
  • Ontario is seeking those with experience in providing health care who are available to help provincial efforts to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19.

Mental Health and Addictions Supports

For Ontario residents currently receiving mental health and addictions services and supports, please contact your current service provider, including community-based mental health and addictions agencies to learn about potential virtual care options. Many are modifying their services to move towards virtual care, meeting clients by phone or secure video-conferencing, if appropriate.

Waterloo Region Supports

For a list of COVID-19 emergency supports, including open spaces and public washrooms for the most vulnerable, emergency shelters, and emergency childcare (for children of eligible essential workers who have no other alternatives):