Government of Canada economic support: Outline and links to the programs and benefits (as at March 31)

If you have concerns or problems as you deal with your employer’s responses to Covid-19, don’t hesitate to contact your GSU staff rep.

The Government of Canada has released more details about economic programs to support Canadians during the Covid-19 pandemic. We expect that more specifics and details will continue to roll out so GSU will only provide an outline in this bulletin as well as a links (where possible) to the programs and benefits.  

  • The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) of $2000 per month for up to 4 months is available for people who are uanable to work and are experiencing loss of income as a result of being ill with the COVID-19 virus, or who are quarantined or self-isolating as a public health measure, or are caring for an ill loved one or required to provide child care. Please click on the link below to find out more details and conditions for coverage/eligibility
  • Workers who are laid off can still apply for Employment Insurance and where eligible receive EI top up it is provided in collective agreements
  • There is improved access to Employment Insurance sickness benefits
  • The Canada Child Benefit has been increased
  • There is a special Goods and Services Tax credit payment
  • Extra time for filing income tax returns has been provided
  • Mortgage support is in the works

Link to Government of Canada Covid-19 Individual Support page:

It is also important that GSU members utilize the benefits in their respective collective agreements from Family Leaves to Sick Leave to Pressing Necessity Leave as these benefits will often be more beneficial to members in the short term.

GSU members who have questions on the following types of situations should contact GSU staff representatives;

  • Members who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.
  • Members who are concerned with current workplace Health and Safety measures.
  • Members who have a pre-existing condition that might put them at an increased risk from Covid-19.
  • Members who are sick, quarantined, or are unable to work because of Covid-19.
  • Members who have questions or concerns about work, work load, working from home and/or other effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

GSU will continue to work for members to ensure they have access to up to date information and assistance with any workplace issues that surface.

Take care or yourself, your family and friends and your co-workers. Be safe and follow all safety and health directives.

Link to government Support for Individuals and Families:

Support for individuals and families

Increasing the Canada Child Benefit

Those who already receive the Canada Child Benefit do not need to re-apply.

Special Goods and Services Tax credit payment

The Canadian Government are providing a one-time special payment by early May through the Goods and Services Tax credit for low- and modest-income families.

There is no need to apply for this payment. If you are eligible, you will get it automatically.

Extra time to file income tax returns

The Canadian Government are deferring the filing due date for the 2019 tax returns of individuals.

For individuals (other than trusts), the return filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020.  

Note: If you expect to receive benefits under the Goods and Services Tax credit or the Canada Child Benefit, The Canadian Government encourage you to not delay your 2019 return filing to ensure that your entitlements are properly determined.

Mortgage support

Contact your financial institution for further mortgage assistance.

Support for people facing unemployment, who are sick, quarantined, or in directed self-isolation, who are unable to work

The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) Summary:

The Canadian Government will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to:

  • workers who must stop working due to COVID19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
  • workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
  • working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.
  • workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.
  • wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be accessible through a secure The Canadian Government portal starting in early April. Applicants will also be able to apply via an automated telephone line or via a toll-free number.

Apply for Employment Insurance

If you have lost your job through no fault of your own and qualify for Employment Insurance benefits, you can submit your request today.

Improved access to Employment Insurance sickness benefits

If you are sick, quarantined or have been directed to self-isolate, the Canadian Government will waive the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.

We appreciate your work and we are here to help

A large proportion of GSU members are employed in businesses deemed essential and during the Covid-19 pandemic GSU members are in the workplace working hard and doing vital work while so many others are working at home or are at home as a result of closures, layoffs and other responses to the pandemic.

This can be difficult to do with all the talk about staying home and self-isolation and keeping your family safe. The pressures people are experiencing are immense and can lead to anxiety, burn out and fatigue.

  • Make sure your workplace is following proper pandemic policies and guidelines.
  • Make sure your employer respects your right to rest and recuperation.
  • Rely on the rights you have in GSU’s collective agreement with your employer.
  • Insist on your rights under OH&S legislation.

GSU is working hard to support members who are still working in the workplace and feeling vulnerable or worried.

Give us a call or send an email if you have questions, or concerns or need help.