Did you know you can access financial benefits and support during the COVID-19 outbreak? All First Nation people have access to these financial benefits, regardless of where you live.
Service Canada launched a dedicated toll-free phone line for First Nation members who need help with applications and benefits related to COVID-19. Service Canada’s Outreach Support Centre line is 1-877-631-2657.
IMPORTANT: To access some of the benefits below, a tax return must be filed.
Indigenous Specific Supports can be found by visiting COVID19 and Indigenous Communities.
For a comprehensive list of all financial benefits that may apply to you, your family and community, visit: Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
Support for people facing unemployment, who are sick, quarantined, impacted by self-isolation or are unable to work
- After CERB: Transitioning to new benefits
- Answer a few questions to get a list of benefits and supports
- If you are sick, quarantined or have been directed to self-isolate, the Government of Canada will waive the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits. Click here to apply.
The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19 and are not entitled to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. The CRB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
If you are eligible for the CRB, you can receive $1,000 ($900 after taxes withheld) for a 2-week period.
If your situation continues past 2 weeks, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 13 eligibility periods (26 weeks) between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.
This benefit is for employed and self-employed individuals who cannot work because they are caring for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care. This applies if their child or family member's school, regular program, or facility is closed or unavailable to them due to COVID-19, or because they're sick, self-isolating, or at risk of serious health complications due to COVID-19.
If you're eligible for the CRCB, your household can receive $450 after taxes for each one-week period.
The CRSB is for employed and self-employed individuals who can no longer work because they're 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.
If you're eligible for the CRSB, you can receive $450 after taxes for a one-week period, for up to a total of two weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021. You will have to re-apply for the second week if your situation continues beyond one-week.
- Apply online first for regular EI benefits at Employment Insurance or call toll-free.
Support for individuals and families
- Canadian banks have committed to work with their customers on a case-by-case basis to find solutions to help them manage hardships caused by COVID-19.
- If that is your situation, contact your financial institution to ask about flexibility for a mortgage deferral.
- If a lender approves a payment deferral on a Ministerial Loan Guarantee, no extra approval from ISC is needed, unless the terms and conditions of the payment deferral exceed the existing Ministerial Loan Guarantee.
Support for Indigenous communities
- Funding for community public health needs in First Nations and Inuit communities can be submitted to First Nations and Inuit Health Branch offices in each of the regions.
- Funding applications can be for measures including but not limited to:
- Identified needs to update and/or activate pandemic plans
- Public health and primary health care capacity to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak
- Align response efforts with evidence
- Address immediate needs in the short term
- A community guide has been developed to assist First Nations with accessing these funds and regular discussions are occurring with the Inuit Public Health Task Group
- Support for Emergency Management on reserve
- First Nation communities on reserve may need emergency assistance services that can be provided through the Emergency Management Assistance Program (EMAP).
- At this time, EMAP assistance is dedicated to ensure the immediate health and safety response of First Nations related to COVID-19, in addition to other expenses that would typically be supported by the EMAP.
Support for students and recent graduates
Starting October 1, 2020, you can apply for medical and parental leave if you are a student taking temporary leave from your studies for medical or parental reasons, including mental health reasons. Your loan will be interest and payment-free for six-month periods, up to a maximum of 18 consecutive months.
To help students continue their studies, the government will:
- increase existing distinctions-based support for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation students pursuing post-secondary education by providing an additional $75.2 million in 2020-21.
- double the Canada Student Grants for all eligible full-time students to up to $6,000 and up to $3,600 for part-time students in 2020-21. The Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependents would also be doubled.
- broaden eligibility for student financial assistance by removing the expected student’s and spouse’s contributions in 2020-21, in recognition that many students and families will struggle to save for school this year.
- enhance the Canada Student Loans Program by raising the maximum weekly amount that can be provided to a student in 2020-21 from $210 to $350.
- extend expiring federal graduate research scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships, and supplement existing federal research grants, to support students and post-doctoral fellows, by providing $291.6 million to the federal granting councils. In addition, the government intends to enhance work opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows through the National Research Council of Canada.
The First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy will support work experience opportunities for First Nations and Inuit post-secondary students until February 28, 2021 for the 2020-2021 program year.
Support for vulnerable populations
- Shelters and other non-profit organizations can apply for funding here.
Support for Indigenous businesses
The federal government will provide funding to help small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses suffering the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will allow for short-term, interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions through Indigenous financial institutions.
The Indigenous Business Stabilization Program (IBSP) will be administered in Manitoba by the First Peoples Economic Growth Fund or call (204)-942-6026 or 1-888-942-6026 for more information including an application form.
The IBSP can provide up to a maximum of $40,000 comprised of a 75% interest-free loan and a 25% non-repayable contribution. The loan and contribution are issued together. The loan portion will have to be repaid within 48 months from the time you receive the funding.
- First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities and collectives can access funding to support their community-owned businesses whose revenues have been affected by COVID-19.
- The Indigenous Community Business Fund will provide $117 million in non-repayable financial contributions to help support operating costs for First Nation, Inuit and Métis community-or collectively-owned businesses and microbusinesses whose revenues have been affected by the COVID-19pandemic. The fund seeks to provide support for businesses that do not qualify for other Government of Canada COVID-19 relief measures.It is intended to relieve financial pressure and allow these businesses and microbusinesses to strengthen operations and support their viability during the pandemic, with the goal of positioning them for recovery.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy: eligibility extended to include Indigenous government-owned corporations that are carrying on a business, as well as partnerships where the partners are Indigenous governments and eligible employers
- The Government of Canada will provide up to $306.8 million in interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis businesses.
Support for businesses: access to other direct support through Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
Business support finder: access all programs your business might be eligible for in Canada including provincial programs
Support for Fishers
The new Fish Harvester Benefit provides up to $267.6 million in income support for this year’s fishing season to eligible self-employed fish harvesters who cannot access the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. This support will be provided to those that experience fishing income declines of greater than 25% in the 2020 tax year, compared to the average of their 2018 and 2019 fishing income. This Fish Harvester Benefit is available to self-employed Indigenous fish harvesters and sharespersons crew able to supply the necessary tax records. This measure covers 75% of fishing income losses beyond a 25% income decline threshold, up to a maximum individual entitlement equivalent to what is provided under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.
The new Fish Harvester Grant is a program worth up to $201.8 million that will provide grants to fish harvesters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic who cannot access the Canada Emergency Business Account or equivalent measures.
Employment and Social Development Canada-Service Canada will administer both of these programs on behalf of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Its administration will be based on the Social Insurance numbers of individuals and associated tax records. Application details will be available soon.
Given earnings may not be enough to allow independent harvesters to claim Employment Insurance (EI) this year, self-employed fish harvesters and sharespersons will also be allowed to file an EI claim based on insurable earnings from last year.
If someone is not eligible or does not fit the criteria for the above programs listed, inland fishers are eligible for the a suite of financial support measures in place, including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for fishers who have lost their income due to COVID-19 or exhausted their Employment Insurance benefits. Additional benefits are available for fishing enterprises including the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP), and the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA).
Under the new Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund, independent processors that are not affiliated with the FFMC will be eligible for this fund through Western Economic Diversification : https://www.wd-deo.gc.ca/eng/39.asp