How to access emergency funds if you can't work during the COVID-19 pandemic

·3 min read

As the COVID-19 pandemic rolls on, many people are no doubt wondering what happens if they can't go to work — be it because of illness, testing and isolation protocols, or child-care issues.

At a city news conference Monday, Mayor John Tory said Greater Toronto and Hamilton mayors and chairs are now calling on companies and governments to reassure workers that self-isolation after a positive test will not result in job loss or loss of income.

They are also seeking additional assurances from the province that workplaces will be inspected to guarantee that they are following public health protocols, protecting workers and not requiring employees to be on the job while ill.

Coun. Joe Cressy, who is also the chair of the city's board of health, said testing hesitancy continues to be an issue communities hardest-hit by the virus are grappling with.

"For many residents, they're worried that a positive test result will mean staying home, which can mean lost income," he said.

With that in mind, here are the short-term federal resources available for people who might not be able to work because of the pandemic.

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit

If you're unable to work because you're sick or need to self-isolate because of COVID-19, then you want to apply for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB).

If you're deemed eligible, you can receive $450 a week for up to two weeks — but you'll need to apply again to access the second week.

If approved, direct deposit payments take three to five business days to land in your bank account, while a cheque takes about 10 to 12 business days.

The federal government says there have been 260,780 approved applications to date from 156,600 individual applicants.

You can access more information about the program and how to apply here.

The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit

If you're unable to work because you have to care for a child under 12 or a family member who needs supervised care, then you can apply for the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB).

This program applies if the person you care for has had their school, regular program or facility close because of the virus, or if they are sick, self-isolating, or at risk of serious health complications.

If eligible, your household can receive $450 for each one-week period. If your situation goes past a week, you have to apply again, with a cap on the program at 26 weeks.

You can access more information about CRCB and how to apply here.

The Canada Recovery Benefit

People who are self-employed and not entitled to Employment Insurance can apply for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB).

People who are eligible can receive $900 a week for a two-week period.

If your situation stretches past two weeks, you have to apply again, for a total of up to 13 eligibility periods.

For more information on CRB, and the other funding Canada is offering, visit the federal government's website.