Last updated: April 1, 2021 at 8:17 p.m.

Worried about paying the bills during COVID-19? 

  • Your job is protected if you have to be away from work because you are sick with COVID-19.
  • Your job is protected if you have to care for children or ill relatives due to COVID-19.
  • Paid sick leave and income support programs are available if your work hours have been cut or you have lost your job.

You can also call 211 for financial, community and/or mental health supports.

Here are some supports which can help:

Service Canada has a dedicated phone line for inquiries regarding Employment Insurance (EI) claims related to the COVID-19 pandemic: 1-833-381-2725.

Important information for workers who have lost their jobs or are unable to work:

The Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan provides an overview of the Federal Government’s announced support for Canadians.

Topics include:

  • Income Support for Individuals Who Need it Most
  • Flexibility for Taxpayers
  • Mortgage Default Management Tools
  • Role of Financial Institutions

A list of resources on topics including employment insurance, work-sharing program, the labour program and federally regulated workplaces, and the repayment of student loans can be found at Employment and Social Development Canada.

The City has prepared a fact sheet outlining Employment Insurance. People are encouraged to file a claim as soon as they lose their job.

The City has prepared a fact sheet outlining Employment Insurance Sick Benefits as they relate to COVID-19. People are encouraged to file a claim as soon as they have been advised to quarantine.

Your Employment Rights

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), administered by the Canada Revenue Agency, gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they are 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.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (closed)

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provided financial support to employed and self-employed Canadians who were directly affected by COVID-19. Recipients received $2,000 for a four week period.

Apply retroactively

Although CERB has ended, you can still apply for a period retroactively for period seven (August 30 to September 26, 2020).

Transition to New Benefits

If you still need income support, find out if you are eligible for Employment Insurance or other Recovery benefits.

The Employment Standards Amendment Act provides job-protected leave to employees in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, or to those who need to be away from work to care for children because of school or child care closures or to care for other relatives.

The Government of Canada launched an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program to expand the stable funding available to banks and mortgage lenders in order to ensure continued lending to Canadian consumers and businesses.

Bank of Montreal, CIBCNational Bank of CanadaRoyal Bank of CanadaScotiabank and TD Bank have made a commitment to work with personal and small business banking customers on a case-by-case basis to provide flexible solutions to help them manage through challenges such as:

  • pay disruption due to COVID-19,
  • childcare disruption due to school closures,
  • those facing illness from COVID-19.

This support will include up to a six-month payment deferral for mortgages and the opportunity for relief on other credit products.

More information is available at Canada’s Six Biggest Banks Take Decisive Action To Help Customers Impacted by COVID-19.

Toronto Employment and Social Services (TESS) continues to provide critical services to vulnerable residents and is maintaining a level of service to ensure the provision of critical financial benefits and supports for low-income clients and vulnerable residents.

Provision of critical services primarily by phone include:

  • new applications for Ontario Works (OW) financial assistance (by phone) at 416-338-8888
  • ensuring eligible OW clients continue to receive their monthly payments
  • Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF) requests
  • continuation of benefits such as special diet, employment related expenses, and medical transportation
  • funeral applications

In-person services are restricted at this time and are provided only for clients with no phone/online access, as services can be accessed over the phone by those in need.

Check the Employment and Social Services section on the Changes to City Services page for updates on impacted services and when they may return to normal service.

If you need help paying for food and housing and are not already receiving Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), you can apply for COVID-19 emergency assistance.

There are interest free loans for low-income households for rental arrears or rental deposits. The Toronto Rent Bank provides interest-free loans to Toronto residents who are behind in their rent or need to move to more suitable housing.

Also learn about Toronto Hydro’s COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP), a one-time credit to help with your electricity costs.