Answers to questions from Davenport residents can be found below. Please note that as things are changing rapidly, answers to these questions may change after we post them, and as such should be considered for informational purposes only. The most complete, accurate, and up-to-date information from the federal government can be found at Canada.ca/coronavirus.
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Q: What will the government do to protect temporary foreign workers?
A: We know Canada’s food supply and food producers depend on temporary foreign workers. That’s why we exempted them from border controls, while taking steps to make sure they are screened for COVID-19 before they come and self-isolate when they arrive. Employers have a responsibility to take care of their temporary foreign workers, but we want to ensure they are able to quarantine in safe conditions which meet distancing requirements, and we also want to make sure they have proper supplies and are paid for their time in quarantine. That’s why we announced new funding for this on April 13.
Q: I’m on a work permit and I had applied to extend the work permit before the pandemic, but I haven’t heard back. My permit is expiring soon. What should I do?
A: As always, if you are in Canada on a work permit and it is expiring soon, you must apply to renew or extend it 30 days before it expires. If your work permit expires before you apply, you have 90 days to apply for the restoration of your status. Just like before the pandemic, while you have an open application for either of these purposes, you have implied status and you are allowed to stay in Canada. In response to the pandemic, IRCC has opened up certain types of work permits to apply for extensions or renewals that weren’t previously available. The same rules as above apply. And in both cases, if the pandemic delays IRCC’s ability to process your application and it takes them a long time to get back to you, you have implied status for as long as it takes them to get back to you. IRCC has full, up-to-date information here.
Q: If I lost my job before the COVID-19 epidemic, but I can’t find work now, can I apply for the CERB?
A: No, you are not eligible. If you lost your job before March 15, you can still apply for regular EI benefits. If you were fired or released for cause unrelated to COVID-19, unfortunately you are not eligible for the CERB.
Q: I’m not up-to-date on my taxes. Can I still apply for CERB?
A: Yes! However, if you don’t have a CRA My Account, and you haven’t filed taxes for 2018, you may not be able to set one up. In this case, to apply for CERB, click here and scroll down to the tab “No - I don’t have an account, and I have filed tax returns for calendar years prior to 2018”
Q: I made a mistake on my application for CERB (e.g. accidentally applied through both EI and CRA). What should I do?
A: Get in touch with Service Canada. You can try this online service request form at https://sr-ds.
Q: I’m on EI right now, but I don’t want to use it all up while other people are on CERB. Can I switch to CERB?
A: No. If you are on EI now, you will remain on that program until your EI runs out. At that point if you are still unable to work, you will qualify for CERB.
Q: I’ve earned a bit of income. Can I apply for CERB?
A: To help more Canadians benefit from the CERB, the Prime Minister announced on April 15 that the government will be changing the eligibility rules to allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB. This is great news for artists as well as part-time, contract, and gig economy workers.
Q: I am self-employed/own a small business; do CERB’s income requirements refer to my gross income or my net
A: Small Business owners can receive income from their business in different ways, including as salary, business income or dividends. In determining their eligibility for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit:
Owners who take a salary from their business should consider their pre-tax salary;
Owners who rely on business income should consider their net pre-tax income (gross income less expenses);
Owners who rely on dividend income should consider this as self-employment income provided it comes from non-eligible dividends (generally, those paid out of corporate income taxed at the small business rate)
For other questions about CERB eligibility, don’t forget to check the official CERB FAQ, which has recently been updated.
Q: I’m eligible for EI and I applied already. Can I cancel it to apply for CERB?
A: No. If you applied for EI after March 15, you will be automatically moved over to the CERB. Otherwise, if you applied before March 15, your application for EI will be handled as usual.
Q: I am receiving both EI and CERB at once. Is this allowed?
A: If this has happened to you, this is a glitch. You will be asked to pay it back to CRA.
Q: I applied for EI after March 15 and I’ve been moved to CERB. What should I do next?
A: You should receive instructions from Service Canada on how to reaffirm your eligibility for CERB. CERB is a separate program from EI and will not count against the number of weeks you can stay on EI. We understand some people are having trouble getting through to Service Canada, and I have made it clear to my colleagues in government that this is a problem. At the same time, please understand that our civil servants are working as hard as they can, and there are millions of Canadians accessing these programs. If you need to contact Service Canada and can’t get through, you can try this web form. Keep trying, you will eventually get through.
Q: If my EI is running out soon, can I apply for CERB after?
A: On April 15, the Prime Minister announced that CERB eligibility would be expanded to include "workers who recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19."
Q: I’ve heard that people receiving CERB can earn up to $1,000 a month and still get the benefit. If I’m receiving EI can I earn up to $1,000?
A: EI and CERB are separate programs with different rules. If you applied for EI benefits before March 15, then you are still on EI and following the regular rules of the program. If you applied for EI after March 15, or you lost your job or self-employment income due to COVID-19, then you qualify for CERB. The reason that CERB eligibility was expanded to allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month and still receive the benefit is that many contractors, freelancers, artists, and gig-workers (most of whom are not eligible for regular EI benefits) saw their income drastically reduced, but not to zero.
Q: If I’m a retail worker, dealing with the public and still not earning very much money, why can’t I get CERB?
A: Our government absolutely values the work of essential workers during this crisis and wants you to get the payment you deserve. That’s why we announced a partnership with provinces to provide a wage top-up for low-income essential workers who make less than $2,500 per month. It will be up to provinces to determine who exactly qualifies as an essential worker. We will have more to share on this soon!
Q: I applied for CERB in error. How can I cancel my application?
A: Call 1‑800‑959‑2019 or 1‑800‑959‑2041.
Q: Will the new Canadian Emergency Response Benefit be available to permanent residents?
Q: I want to take CERB now, but I also plan to go on EI maternity leave. What should I do?
A: You will need to apply for EI maternity leave when you become eligible. CERB does not disqualify you or reduce the number of weeks you have for maternity leave, but you can't be on both programs at once. You will be transferred between programs.
Q: I’m an expecting mother who lost my job due to COVID. Will taking CERB limit the number of weeks I can take for maternity leave?
A: No! EI and CERB are separate programs, and taking CERB will not count against the number of weeks of parental leave you qualify for. Also, if you were already on parental leave and cannot now return to work due to COVID, you would be considered to have lost your job due to COVID and would qualify for CERB as long as you meet all the other qualifications. Note that you cannot take EI (including parental leave) and CERB at the same time.
Q: Why isn’t the government making CERB universal?
A: There continue to be questions from Canadians on why our federal government is not bringing in a Universal Basic Income now. I want to remind Davenport residents that the objective of the CERB, and our other relief measures, is to target money directly to those who need it as quickly as possible. We have introduced programs and mechanisms that we thought would be fastest, and we prioritized the people most immediately in need, because some of us are lucky enough to be keeping our jobs and working from home. This doesn't mean we can't be gathering data and learning more about our workplace realities in Canada, and using this information as a way to start looking at some form of Guaranteed Annual Income moving forward. This is something I have been very interested in for some time, and a proponent of, and I believe it should be carefully considered after we emerge from the pandemic.
Q: I am an international student already working on campus. Am I eligible?
A: If your visa allows you to work in Canada and you have a valid SIN, then yes.
Q: I am a Canadian reporting my income in Canada, but I’m abroad now. Am I eligible?
A: If you have a valid SIN and you meet all the other requirements, then yes.
Q: Will we be extending the Service Canada phone service?
A: Yes, it’s already been launched.
Q: I collected ODSP/CPP/CDPP. Does this disqualify me from CERB?
A: No. As long as you meet all the other requirements, you may qualify.
Q: I want to apply, but I have limited internet … is there a number I can call?
A: Call 1‑800‑959‑2019 or 1‑800‑959‑2041.
Q: I’m a small business owner interested in Commercial Rent Assistance—but what if I still can’t afford to pay 25% of my rent?
A: Don’t forget, there are lots of other tools in place for small businesses to get help through the pandemic. For significantly affected businesses, CECRA is on top of the already available CEBA ($40,000 loans, up to $10,000 forgivable!), the wage subsidy, and the deferral of income taxes, GST/HST payments, and customs duties. Take advantage of these programs!
Q: All the Commercial Rent Assistance information mentions mortgaged properties. What if my property owner doesn’t have a mortgage?
A: The Commercial Rent Assistance is being administered through the CMHC, and we have been told 97% of commercial property owners do have mortgages. However, as the CMHC states here: “For those property owners who do not have a mortgage, an alternative mechanism will be implemented. Further information will be outlined in the near future.”
Q: I’m a small business owner and I’m worried my landlord won’t agree to take the CECRA rent assistance program. What should I do?
A: We are still waiting for details of this program to be finalized, and for the provincial government to begin rolling it out. Our federal government is providing funding for this program because we know how important it is, but landlord-tenant relationships are ultimately the responsibility of the province and it will be up to the provincial government to encourage as many landlords as possible to participate. We think this program provides good incentives for all parties to come to the table.
Q: I’m a sole proprietor. What kind of help can I get?
A: Much of the help for small businesses is around payroll, but if you are a sole proprietor with no employees and your income has fallen below $1,000 per month due to COVID-19, you should qualify for CERB (as long as you meet all the other requirements!)
Q: I’m a small business owner. Where can I find the latest information about the help I can access?
A: (1) Visit the federal government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan website for information about supporting your employees and your business. It is constantly updated as the COVID-19 crisis and responses evolve. (2) Contact your local financial institution. Since most small businesses have a relationship with their local financial institution already, we’ve worked with the financial sector to increase their lending capability to support you in this challenging time. They are a good first place to start. (3) Consult the Canadian Business Resilience Network and Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s pandemic preparedness guide to help prepare your business in the days and weeks to come.
Q: I applied for Canada Summer Jobs as an employer earlier this year, but circumstances have changed and I need to update my application. Who do I contact?
A: If you want to change your application, contact your CSJ funding representative (see here for useful information). Organizations will be notified of their application status on May 7.
Q: I’m a small business owner and I want to get help through CEBA, but I don’t meet the minimum $50,000 payroll requirement.
A: Great news for you! The requirement has been lowered to $20,000 payroll in 2019. See here full details and contact your bank to apply.
Q: I am a business-owner in Davenport renting a storefront. I know there is a pause on residential evictions in Ontario. Does this apply to commercial tenants as well?
A: Unfortunately, it is the province that can extend this protection to commercial tenants, but they are not protected by this order. However, our federal government announced on April 16 that the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program for small businesses is in the works.
Q: I am a small business owner. Do I qualify for the emergency $40,000 loan program (Canada Emergency Business Account, or CEBA)?
A: These loans are available to all businesses and non-profits and charities, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced. To qualify, organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019. Contact your financial institution to apply.
Q: I’m a student and I want to apply for a job this summer. How can I find available CSJ jobs?
A: You will be able to search for jobs in your area on the job bank.
Q: Do international students qualify for the CERB?
A: Yes, international students may qualify for the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) if they have a valid SIN, made at least $5,000 in income in the last 12 months or in 2019, and meet the other CERB eligibility criteria.
Q: Should we be providing emergency relief to students? Won’t this discourage students from working?
A: Our government understands that students are being impacted by COVID-19, just like everyone else and those who have been in the workforce for years! We are incentivizing and encouraging students to work, volunteer, and get out there to help as much as possible and gain as much experience as possible. That’s why our plan includes Canada Summer Jobs, expanding other job opportunities, and a grant that rewards community service and volunteering.
Q: What general measures can I take to stay healthy?
A: The Government of Canada has prepared a list of things you can do to protect yourself and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Q: I’m worried I have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with somebody who does. What should I do?
A: Take the Government of Canada's self-assessment test and follow its recommendations. More details about symptoms and next steps can be found here.
Q: Why isn’t Health Canada recommending everyone wear masks?
A: It is a good idea to wear a homemade, non-medical mask in public spaces if you want to provide extra protection to others. It is absolutely essential that medical masks are preserved for healthcare workers. Masks are not a replacement for staying in, social distancing, and handwashing, and you should not skimp on those steps as you try to protect yourself. Full guidance on masks from Health Canada here.
Q: Why are we still only testing around 20,000 people per day nationally?
A: We actually have the materials and lab capacity to be testing more people, but the demand for testing is lower than our capacity because many people do not come forward for testing as the epidemic is coming down. One thing we need to look at going forward is how we can widen the net and test a wider group of people, not just those with COVID symptoms.
Q: Should we be ready to reopen schools, given the review from the Public Health Agency of Canada on COVID-19 and children indicating there is little danger of transmission in schools?
A: The information available is somewhat limited, but an increasing number of studies are coming on-line and health officials are reviewing the existing published material available. They are also looking at the countries that are a bit ahead of us in terms of what might happen when opening schools. Dr. Tam said, "What we do know is that children, particularly those under the age of 10, tend to have a milder course of illness." But, in a school setting, we need to also look after teachers and any other adults that may come in contact with the children and we will need to continue maintaining public health measures.
Q: Is Canada studying the drug Remdesivir?
A: Canada does have an ongoing registered clinical trial for Remdesivir. There have been requests from clinicians to use it on an individual basis but Health Canada's recommendation is that, for now, this drug should only be used within the context of the medical trial.
Q: Do we know the number of COVID-19 cases in Davenport?
A: Unfortunately, my office doesn’t have access to that level of breakdown of cases. You can see up-to-date numbers of cases in Toronto on the City’s COVID website, but their breakdown of cases is more by city and region than by specific ridings. Wherever you are in the city, it is very important to follow our public health guidelines, wash hands regularly, and maintain social distance!
Q: What is Canada doing to prevent infection of prison populations?
A: Our federal government is very aware of the extra risk posed to vulnerable populations including those currently in prison. Our Public Safety Minister, the Honourable Bill Blair, has taken steps to release some non-violent inmates early to help maintain distancing within prisons.
Q: What is being done to protect vulnerable Indigenous communities? Why are Coastal GasLink workers considered essential if they are working near vulnerable Indigenous communities?
A: We know that many Indigenous communities are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 because of the remoteness of their communities and limited public health services. The federal government has announced $305 million to help Indigenous groups prepare. Our Indigenous Services Minister, the Honourable Marc Miller, has been doing an amazing job coordinating with Indigenous leaders to rapidly get them the supplies they need, and the Canadian Armed Forces also stand ready to help protect remote communities. Our government is fully seized with the urgency of protecting these communities. In terms of the development of any resources, the provinces have the sole legal authority to decide which projects move ahead and which specific workers are essential. For those who have written about the Coastal GasLink pipeline, that project is under B.C. jurisdiction.
Q: What are you doing to protect vulnerable seniors in our long-term care facilities?
A: Long-term care homes and other medical facilities fall under provincial jurisdiction, but the federal government recognizes how vital it is to protect our seniors. We released guidelines over the weekend after consulting with the provinces and territories. Like you, I have been greatly disturbed and saddened by the news stories about outbreaks in these homes, and I believe every level of government needs to step up and do much more. We need to better value our care-workers and everyone who takes care of those we love.
Q: Will there be more help coming for seniors?
A: Seniors are among the most vulnerable populations to COVID-19, and our government’s top priority has been protecting their health by putting social distancing measures in place, providing provinces with necessary medical equipment to combat the virus, and making the CAF available to help contain outbreaks in vulnerable long-term care homes, which have proven to be a major vulnerability of our support system. Canada’s economic response has prioritized workers who have suddenly lost their income, which is not an issue affecting many seniors—CPP, OAS, and other programs continue uninterrupted. However, we have made changes to protect retirements affected by stock market volatility, including reducing minimum withdrawals from RRIFs. As the Prime Minister has said, our government is looking for other ways to continue supporting seniors.
Q: For low-income seniors who usually go to community centres to get their taxes done, what should they do this year?
A: This is an issue that has been top of mind for me! I’m trying to find a solution for this. The tax filing deadline has been deferred to June 1 for individuals, with payments for those owing delayed until September 1, but I will let Davenport residents know what options are available to them before that deadline.
Q: I need help in a different language—what can I do?
A: The top language in Davenport outside of English is Portuguese. You can find resource in Portuguese on my website. In addition, we have added a page to link to information in Spanish, Italian, and Arabic. If there are any other language needs, please let my office know.
Q: When will things get back to normal?
A: Nobody knows exactly when things will get all the way back to normal, but our federal and provincial governments are working together, with the expert advice of public health officials, on plans to cautiously reopen Canada’s economy in stages. Until we have a vaccine, things will not be completely normal. But health officials think we could have a peak in the first wave of cases in the summer.
Q: What is the government doing to support homeless populations during COVID-19?
A: Our government recognized from the start that people experiencing homelessness would be one of the most vulnerable populations to COVID-19, as did the City of Toronto. That’s why we brought in funding for the most vulnerable, including the $350M Community Support Fund, and it’s also why the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation is helping fund innovative housing solutions like this modular housing project! In this case, CMHC provided 40% of the funding for this exciting new project.
Q: I’ve heard that Canada is giving bailouts to big corporations even if they use tax havens. Is this true?
A: None of the emergency relief measures announced by our government to date are big corporate bailouts. We knew right from the start that our priority had to be on workers. The CERB replaces income for people who have lost it, the wage subsidy (CEWS) goes straight to workers while preserving their tie to their employers, and CEBA and rent assistance (CECRA) are programs designed to help small businesses weather the storm by giving access to credit and help paying rent. We have announced some sector-specific support too, but these are programs that help particularly hard-hit industries, and create jobs, while still advancing our other goals like climate action. The help we’ve given to the oil and gas sector, for example, is for two very specific things: cleaning up orphaned or abandoned wells, and reducing methane emissions. Cracking down on tax avoidance has been a priority since our government took office in 2015, and we have provided extra tools to the CRA to help them do that. But we don’t want to stop any Canadian workers from getting the wage subsidy, or punish workers just
Q: I had to cancel my travel due to COVID-19, but the airline won’t give me a refund. I’ve heard that the U.S. and the E.U. are mandating refunds; why isn’t Canada?
A: In Canada this policy is governed by an arm’s-length agency called the Canadian Transport Agency. They released this statement on the airline voucher policy. One important thing to understand is that airline travel in Canada has gone down almost to zero, and as a result airlines have very little cash-flow. In the United States, airlines have been mandated to give refunds, but also received a $75 billion bailout. The E.U. allows individual countries to override its refund guidelines, and many have. Canada is also considering some sector-specific help for the travel industry, and if we go down that road then there’s a chance of refunds in the future, but this is still very much to be decided.
Q: I’m still having trouble getting through to Service Canada. Can you help?
A: I continue to be in touch with Ministers and government officials on this issue, and I can tell you that every day they are making progress. If you need to get in touch with Service Canada, don’t give up! They are getting through more and more calls and emails every day. While so many places have been forced to close, our public servants are still working around the clock to keep Canada’s emergency response going. It’s the same with my office—we may not have our office open to the public, but we are all working from home for Davenport!
Q: I collect ODSP or OW. These programs give less funding than CERB. Am I eligible for CERB, and if not, why?
A: Collecting ODSP or OW does not stop you from applying and being eligible for the CERB, as long as you meet all the other requirements. In particular, you must have earned $5,000 of employment income (full list here) in the past 12 months or in 2019. Note that federal leaders have recommended to Ontario’s leaders that provincial social assistance programs are not clawed back if they are receiving CERB (but in the end it is up to the province to decide how to proceed.)
Q: What will the government do to support the hospitality industry?
A: Bars and restaurants make our city what it is. Our government recognizes that these businesses, hotels, and the whole hospitality sector have been especially hard hit by COVID-19. All the programs we have brought in to support businesses can help:
Q: The CERB is great, but rent is so expensive I don’t have much left. Will action be taken on rent?
A: I have heard loud and clear that renters need more help, both with commercial and residential rent. Our government has provided a lot of financial support to individuals and businesses already, from CERB to the Wage Subsidy to the Emergency Loan Program, but I have been and continue to advocate for more additional support for renters. The province also has many tools at their disposal that they could activate to help renters in our city, so they also play an important role.
Q: Will the federal government bring in a national shut-down of some kind? Why are there still so many businesses open in Ontario?
A: The provincial government has full powers to decide which businesses can legally stay open in Ontario. Our government has provided this voluntary guidance on what Canada views as essential. As the Prime Minister has said, our federal government is not ruling out more emergency powers at the federal level if necessary.
Q: I have an open application with IRCC and I need to get an update. What should I do?
A: IRCC has a web form which you can find here. It may take some patience and time to hear from them but they will get back to you!
Q: Things are changing so quickly. How do I stay up-to-date and get the latest information on how things are evolving
A: Check Canada.ca/coronavirus, which is kept up-to-date. You can also email questions to [email protected] or call toll-free 1-833-784-4397. Interpretation services are available in multiple languages.
Q: AirBNB has asked for a bailout from the government. Will you bail them out?
A: Our federal government’s priority from day 1 has been supporting workers, protecting the most vulnerable Canadians, and limiting the economic shock to small businesses. AirBNB is not a priority. Any specific rule changes around limiting AirBNBs in the future would have to happen at the municipal level.
Q: How can I best prepare for COVID-19?
A: The Government of Canada has a 'Being Prepared' webpage to answer this question in great detail.
Daily COVID-19 Updates, links to resources in other languages, and more can be found on the main Coronavirus page.