Financial Assistance

Updated on October 14, 2020


Gesher is Federation CJA's response to support families in helping them withstand the COVID-19 financial crisis.  Our goal is to ensure that the impact is temporary and to make sure community members do not withdraw from participating in Jewish life.

The list of hardships is long and the effect is real. Federation CJA will be the bridge to get our community members back on solid ground. This is Gesher.


Our partner Hebrew Free Loan Association of Montreal is offering interest-free loans for anyone affected by the outbreak who lives in the Montreal area. These loans are intended for lost wages due to being unable to go to work, childcare costs due to school closures, small business losses, cancelled study abroad programs, related medical costs, and more. For more information click here.


Temporary Aid for Workers Program

This program offers financial assistance to meet the needs of workers who, because they are in isolation to stem the spread of COVID-19, cannot earn their full work income and are not eligible for other financial assistance programs. The program is offered by the Government of Québec, in partnership with the Red Cross. Applications commenced on March 19, 2020.

This program is for workers who reside in Québec and are in isolation because they have either contracted the virus or present symptoms, have been in contact with an infected person, or have returned from abroad. These workers are not receiving compensation from their employer and do not have private insurance. An eligible person is entitled to a lump-sum of $573 per week, for a period of 14 days in insolation. The coverage can be extended to a maximum of 28 days.

Additional information is available at 1-877-644-4545 or here.

Concerted Temporary Action Program for Businesses (Government of Québec)

The Concerted Temporary Action Program for Businesses (PACTE) offers guaranteed loans to businesses “whose liquidity is affected by the repercussions of COVID-19.” The minimum funding amount is $50,000. The program is managed by Investissement Québec.

More information is available at 1-844-474-6367 or here.


On March 18, 2020, new economic measures were announced by the Federal Government to provide assistance for individuals and businesses impacted by COVID-19. An overview of some of these measures can be found below. For a full overview of all measures, click here.

Assistance for Individuals

Mortgage Assistance
Together with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the Federal Government is allowing increased flexibility for homeowners who are experiencing financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes special payment arrangements, payment deferrals, and loan re-amortization.

An overview of these changes is available here.

Employment Insurance and EI Benefits (including COVID-19 related benefits):

EI is available to eligible employees facing a reduction in "normal weekly earnings" of at least 40 percent due to illness, injury or quarantine. The Government of Canada has recently announced the following:

  1. The one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived for new claimants who are quarantined so they can be paid for the first week of their claim;
  2. There will be priority EI application processing for EI sickness claims for clients under quarantine;
  3. Individuals claiming EI sickness benefits due to quarantine will not have to provide a medical certificate to qualify.

Employers should be sure to inform any employees on an unpaid leave of their ability to apply for EI benefits and direct them to resources with more information. Employees may apply later for quarantine-related EI sickness benefits and have their EI claim backdated to cover the period of delay.

For more information on EI, click here.

Emergency Care Benefit

On March 18, 2020, the Government of Canada announced that up to $900 biweekly for up to 15 weeks will be made available as income support to workers who must stay home and who do not have access to paid sick leave. This benefit will be available to:

  1. Workers (including the self-employed) who are sick, quarantined, or who have been directed to self-isolate but do not qualify for EI benefits;
  2. Workers (including the self-employed) who are caring for a family member who is sick with COVID-19, but who do not qualify for EI benefits;
  3. Working parents (whether or not they are EI-eligible) who must stay home without pay because of children who are sick or who need additional care because of school closures.

The Emergency Care Benefit will be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Application for this benefit will be available in April, 2020, and will require Canadians to attest that they meet the eligibility requirements. They will need to re-attest every two weeks to reconfirm eligibility. Canadians can apply for the benefit in one of three ways: through their CRA MyAccount secure portal; through their My Service Canada Account; or by calling a toll-free number with an automated application process.

For more information, click here.

Emergency Support Benefit (for non-EI eligible workers)
On March 18, 2020, the Government of Canada announced $5 billion in forthcoming support for workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment due to COVID-19. Further details of this program will be available in the coming days and will be posted here once available.

For more information, click here.

Seniors and Retirees

To support seniors, the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) is reduced by 25% for 2020.

More information on these changes is available here.

Students and Recent Graduates

To assist students and recent graduates currently repaying their loans, the government has placed a six-month interest free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans, as explained here.

Assistance for Businesses 

COVID-19 Wage Subsidy
On March 18, 2020, the Government of Canada announced that eligible small businesses (including corporations who are eligible for the small business tax deduction, non-profit organizations, and charities) will receive a 10% wage subsidy for the next 90 days, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Businesses can immediately benefit from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration.

For more information, click here.

Tax Payment Deferral

On March 18, 2020, the Government of Canada announced that all businesses will be permitted to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing in between March 18 and September 1, 2020. This relief applies to tax balances due, as well as installments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.

The CRA will not contact any small or medium sized businesses to initiate any post-assessment GST/HST or Income Tax audits for four weeks after March 18. For the vast majority of businesses, the CRA will temporarily suspend audit interaction with taxpayers and representatives.

For more information, click here.

Work-Sharing Program Enhancements
The work-sharing program is an adjustment program administered through Service Canada, designed to help employers avoid layoffs during times of temporary economic difficulty. It allows employers to schedule reduced work weeks for their employees who can then access EI for an income supplement.

Due to COVID-19, the length of time that employers are permitted to use the work-sharing program has been increased to 76 weeks, from the usual limit of 38 weeks. The mandatory waiting period has also been waived.

For more information on work sharing arrangements, click here.

Supplementary Unemployment Benefit Plans (SUB Plans)

An employer may establish a SUB Plan, subject to certain requirements, to top up employees’ EI benefits during a period of unemployment during a temporary layoff caused by e.g. sickness due to COVID-19. A SUB plan can be used during a temporary work stoppage, training, injury, illness or quarantine. A SUB Plan needs to be registered with Service Canada and must meet certain requirements in order not to be treated as income that would reduce the worker’s EI benefits. As of March 19, 2020, there have not been any changes to the SUB Plan regulations due to COVID-19.

More information on the SUB Plan can be found here.


Deferral of Tax Filing

Tax filing has been pushed back to June 1, 2020 and payments to September 1, 2020.

More information on tax filing is available here.   

Régie du logement

Rent and flexibility
No policy has been communicated yet regarding rent.

Moving dwellings
No restrictions have been communicated yet.

Evictions and Repossession of Dwellings
The Régie du logement has declared that the “effects of any decision by the Régie du logement or any judgment by a tribunal authorizing the repossession of a dwelling or the eviction of the lessee of a dwelling are suspended, as are the effects of any decision or any judgment ordering the eviction of the lessee or occupant of a dwelling, unless the lessor rented the dwelling again before March 17, 2020 and the suspension would prevent the new lessee from taking possession of the premises.”

Further information is available at this link.

If you, or anyone you know is struggling at this critical time, please call 514-734-1411 or email [email protected].
If you are an existing client with an assigned social worker from Ometz or Centre Cummings, we ask that you please contact them directly.
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