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The Government of Canada has implemented a number of programs to support charities (including churches) and businesses facing hardship as a result of the global COVID-19 outbreak.

These programs are based on need. If, in the judgment of your congregation or ministry, you can get through without financial help, please consider doing so.

Program details are changing and updated frequently. Please check the Government of Canada’s website often:
canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan

In addition to the government programs, The Presbyterian Church in Canada will work with congregations through these challenging times. Congregations must apply for the government programs before applying for PCC programs.

Churches can access the following government programs, listed on the Government of Canada’s website

Updated Information Re: Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) supports employers that are hardest hit by the pandemic, and protects the jobs that Canadians depend on.

The subsidy generally covers 75% of an employee’s wages—up to $847 per week—for employers of all sizes and across all sectors who have suffered a drop in gross revenues of at least 15% in March, and 30% in April and May.

The program will be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020.

Employers who are eligible for the CEWS are entitled to receive a 100% refund for certain employer contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan paid in respect of employees who are on leave with pay.

For employers that are eligible for both the CEWS and the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for a period, any benefit from the Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy for remuneration paid in a specific period will generally reduce the amount available to be claimed under the CEWS in that same period.

Eligible employers will need to apply monthly and demonstrate revenue losses of at least 15 per cent in March, and 30 per cent in April and May.

How to demonstrate the revenue losses:

  • Revenues can be compared to the same month in 2019, or to the average of January and February 2020—whichever best captures the losses. For example: in April, revenues can be compared to the month of April 2019 or to the average revenue of January and February of 2020.
  • Revenues can be accounted for using the cash basis or accrual basis and can choose whether to include or exclude government funding and extraordinary items (like account of capital) in arriving at the revenues—whichever best captures the losses.
  • Once an approach is chosen, the employer would have to apply it throughout the program period.

Additional information:

  • Calculation of revenue losses is based on calendar month but wage subsidy is calculated based on eligible period. There are 3 eligible periods: Period 1 from March 15 to April 11, Period 2 from April 12 to May 9 and Period 3 from May 10 to June 6.
  • There is no minimum amount and no limit on how much an organization can receive, so even the smallest churches can apply as long as they have a T4 payroll filing account.
  • Employers are expected to make their best efforts to top-up employees’ salaries to their full pay but this is not mandatory.
  • A portal will be established on the CRA website and charities and non-profits can apply through their My Business Account:
    canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/e-services-businesses/business-account.html
  • Payments may take up to three months.
  • Businesses must pay for wages and administer payroll as usual (i.e., net of EI and CPP) and will apply for the subsidy retroactively.
  • Organizations that do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy may qualify for the previously announced wage subsidy of 10 per cent of remuneration paid from March 18 to before June 20, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.

For more information, visit canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan/wage-subsidy.html

Eligible employers can calculate their wage subsidy amount using the CEWS calculation spreadsheet

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

The CEBA is available to charitable organizations only if the organization generates a portion of its revenue from the sale of goods or services. Under this restriction, most congregations would not be eligible to apply for the CEBA.

Deferral of GST/HST Remittances

The CRA will allow all businesses to defer, until the end of June 2020, any GST/HST payments or remittances that become owing on or after March 27, 2020, and before June 2020. This means that no interest will apply if your payments or remittances are made by the end of June 2020.

Temporary Staff Layoffs

If a congregation has to make the difficult decision to temporarily lay off some staff, the government has programs to support the laid off workers including:

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

This benefit is a temporary income support for eligible workers facing unemployment and lost income because of COVID-19. You can apply whether or not you are eligible for Employment Insurance. The benefit is available for the period from March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020. It is a taxable benefit of $500/week for up to 16 weeks.

The benefit is available to workers:

  • who had an income of at least $5,000 in 2019, or the 12 months prior to the date of application.
  • who are expected to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the first four-week period.
  • who, after March 15, are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits.

Depending on your month of birth, you can apply online from April 6.

For more information, visit: canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html

Employment Insurance

Canadians who are eligible for Employment Insurance and who have lost their job can continue to apply for Employment Insurance .

  • Starting April 6, 2020, there will be a single portal to assist you with the application process. From this portal, you will be guided through your responses to a few simple questions to complete the application best suited to you (i.e., eligibility for Employment Insurance benefits or not).
  • If you became eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits on March 15, 2020, or later, your claim will be automatically processed through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
  • For other EI benefits, including maternity, parental, caregiving, fishing and worksharing, you should also continue to apply.

Employees may be entitled to Employment Insurance regular benefits if they:

  • were employed in insurable employment
  • lost their job through no fault of their own
  • have been without work and without pay for at least seven consecutive days in the last 52 weeks
  • have worked for the required number of insurable employment hours in the last 52 weeks or since the start of their last EI claim, whichever is shorter
  • are ready, willing and capable of working each day
  • are actively looking for work (must keep detailed record).

Read Employment Insurance Frequently Asked Questions

Benefits Finder

The Benefits Finder is a customized list of benefits from all levels of government for which individuals may be eligible. This includes:

  • Mental or physical disability
  • Chronic or serious illness
  • Addiction
  • Counselling
  • Dental surgery, prescription drugs or lenses
  • Medical equipment

Also Helpful for Employers and Employees:

Your Guide to the Benefits Available to Canadians Financially Affected by COVID-19 – CBC

Note that this page will be updated as additional information is provided.