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COMMUNITY SERVICES | Working with Scarborough residents to build strong and healthy communities

Q & A: Covid-19 Supports

The ACSA Legal Assistance Centre Project compiled questions and answers in lieu of the various supports introduced/implemented by the Government of Canada and Province of Ontario.  To get the most updated answers to these questions, please visit the resources provided on this page. 


Please note that this is for information purposes only and should not be treated as legal advice.  To get the most up-to-date information surrounding Covid-19 benefits, financial assistance and other resources, please vist  For further legal advice, please contact us at (416) 292-6912 ext. 335 and we will connect you with one of our volunteer lawyers.  


1. Are Workers earning cash, eligible to apply for CERB?  If they are not, what other income support can they apply for?

YES. Cash income qualifies but applicant has to reflect this income in tax filing with the CRA to support the claim in the future should CRA require documentation to prove income.  Applications will be verified against tax records to confirm income. 

2. Do EI regular benefit payments and Cash income count towards the $5,000 income requirement to qualify for CERB?

 EI regular benefit payments will not qualify as income but, but Cash income will but this income has to be reflected in tax filing with the CRA to support the claim in the future should CRA require documentation to prove the income

3. How does CERB impact students receiving OSAP? 

OSAP looks at the total income of the student for the year when assessing eligibility to qualify for OSAP, CERB may impact assessment of OSAP eligibility.Know more about OSAP eligibility.

4. Can a worker who is receiving CERB because of reduced work hours (only works 10 hours a month) apply for EI Regular Benefits if the worker gets laid off at the time when the 4 month CERB payments are completed? 

  A Worker can apply for EI Benefits after receiving CERB provided that they meet EI eligibility requirements.

5. What other income supports are available to workers who are in precarious jobs/statuses: contractors, refugee claimants?

  • Essential workers top off for salary 
  • Ontario Works support
  • CERB  
  • Support for Families.  Parents can apply for direct funding to offset the cost of buying materials to support their children’s learning, while they practice self-isolation and physical distancing. Eligible parents will receive a one-time per child payment of $200 for children aged 0 to 12 and $250 for children or youth aged 0 to 21 with special needs
  • Ontario's Frontline workers are getting a pay hike of $4/hour during the pandemic according to the Province of Ontario.  Details will come soon. 

6. Can Workers who work part-time AND receive OAS (Old Age Security) and CPP (Canada Pension Plan) qualify for CERB? 

 OAS/CPP payments will not affect eligibility to qualify for CERB.However, the Worker must meet CERB eligibility to qualify.

7. What income supports are available for seniors who are not currently qualified to receive OAS or CPP?

 If a senior has been working and meets the eligibility criteria for EI or CERB, this Worker can apply for either one of them. There is no special provisions for income support for seniors due to Covid-19.

8. What other income supports are available for full-time students?

For post-secondary students and recent graduates who are ineligible for the CERB or EI but who are unable to find full-time employment or are unable to work due to COVID-19, has introduced the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB).        The CESB would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students from May through August 2020, and $1,750 for students with dependents and those with permanent disabilities.This new grant would provide income support to post-secondary        students who will experience financial hardship over the Summer due to COVID-19. The CESB will be delivered by CRA and more details will be communicated.  

9. All EI applications starting March 15 are automatically rolled over to CERB. Which reporting shall take place? EI reporting every 2 weeks or CERB re-applying every 4 weeks? 

 Workers should continue with EI reporting system every two weeks; there is no need to re-apply for CERB. (Source: )

10. If a Worker who completed EI Maternity/Parental leave and scheduled to come back to work but unable to due to Covid-19 eligible to apply for CERB?

YES. Provincial or federal benefits related to maternity or paternity leave qualifies as income earned to meet the $5,000 income requirement to apply for CERB.(Source: and )

11. If a Worker has exhausted EI benefits and unable to find work due to Covid-19, is the Worker eligible to apply for CERB? 

A Worker qualifies for CERB if a Worker has exhausted Employment Insurance regular benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020. (Source: )  

12. If a Worker is on OW and works part-time and reports it to the Caseworker, is the worker eligible to apply for CERB?

YES. The Worker must also meet eligibility requirements to qualify for CERB.(Source: Ontario Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services)

13. Is there any claw back for CERB payments received by people on OW and ODSP?

Ontario will partially exempt income received under the CERB for OW and ODSP clients who were on the program prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. This approach enables existing clients to partially stack CERB and SA payments, and to continue to access health and other benefits while receiving CERB. (Source: Ontario Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services)

It means people on social assistance who are eligible for the emergency federal cash will be allowed to keep $1,100 on top of their regular monthly provincial benefits of up to $733 for a single person on OW and up to $1,169 for an individual on ODSP. 

14. What other income supports are available for individuals on OW and ODSP?

Ontario has made additional resources available to enable Ontario Works administrators and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) staff to provide additional assistance for those currently receiving social assistance, who are facing additional costs related to the COVID-19 outbreak. This funding can be used to meet a broad range of needs, for example: cleaning supplies, transportation, food or clothing that individuals and families may require due to COVID-19.Ontario Works and ODSP recipients can access emergency benefits by calling their caseworker.Emergency benefits for COVID-19 related expenses are the same for both programs: up to $100 for single individuals and up to $200 for families.(Source:)

15. What income types count towards the $5,000 in employment and/or Self-employment income?

The $5,000 includes all employment and self-employment income.  This includes among others: tips you have declared as income; non-eligible dividends; honoraria, and royalties (e.g. paid to artists), and maternity and parental benefits received from EI.  Pensions, student loans and bursaries ARE NOT considered employment income and should not be included.  Applications will be verified against tax records to confirm income. (Source: Government of Canada)

16. Does the minimum income of $5,000 for CERB income requirement have to be earned in Canada?

NO. The income does not have to be earned in Canada, BUT you need to reside in Canada once you apply for CERB. (Source: Government of Canada)

17. If I am already receiving EI regular benefits should I reapply for the CERB?

 NO.  If you are already receiving EI regular benefits, you will continue to receive these benefits until the end of your benefit period.  You cannot be paid EI and CERB for the same period.  

18. Can a Worker apply for CERB before their EI ends?

NO. You have to complete your EI before applying for CERB.  

19. What is the reporting system for CERB?

There is no reporting system for CERB.  However, you have to apply for CERB every 4 weeks to receive payment.  

20. What income support is available for a contractor whose business is not registered? 

Contractors can apply for CERB if they meet the eligibility requirements.  





Government of Canada

Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services

CERB Portal

Service Canada

Toronto Star

City of Toronto




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"My experience in both Silver Spring Park Reading Circle and Beyond Academics has taught me that to create social change and empower these children I need to be more proactive in the solution"
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