Dear Constituents:

Thank you for contacting my office regarding your concerns about the COVID-19 and the resulting economic circumstances. As a precaution, and to encourage physical-distancing, my office is currently closed for inperson meetings with myself or my staff. However, we are still available through email, mail, phone and teleconferencing. We remain actively involved in the lives of the people in our community. We are here to help.

The Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide a taxable benefit of $2000 a month for up to 4 months to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19. Applications open today, April 6th, 2020. If you have stopped working because of COVID-19, you should apply for the CERB, whether or not you are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI). The Benefit is available for the period from March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020. If you applied for EI regular or sickness benefits on March 15, 2020 or later, your claim will be automatically processed through the CERB. Starting now, there will be a single portal to assist you with the application process.

If you applied for EI before March 15th, 2020, and wish to receive the CERB level of payment the Official Opposition is currently pressing the Government on this issue to implement a top up for those on EI. The Prime Minister has also stated that the government will be planning to help those working 10 hours a week or less and need financial support and those who are working and making less than with the CERB benefit. More information will be forthcoming. Further provisions include:
• Families can receive further funds through top ups on their Canada Child Benefits (CCB) and the GST Credits. CCB will provide up to an extra $300 per child. Those who already receive CCB do not need to re-apply.
• Individual tax filing deadline is extended until June 1st 2020 and tax payment deadline extended until after August 31st, 2020. This will not incur any penalties or interest.
• Mortgages: Canadian Banks have committed to work with their customers on a case-by-case basis. Please contact your mortgage provider directly for more information.
• For seniors: Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) have reduced minimum withdrawals of 25% for 2020 to help increase profit after investment losses.
• Students: Suspension of repayments and interest on Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans have been automatically applied. This applies to the Federal portion of student loans. Please see Provincial student loan providers for more information.

In regards to financial help for those who may not be able to return to Canada immediately, as a result of COVID-19, they should contact their nearest Canadian Consulate or Embassy for help with health care and essential needs. The registration page for Canadians abroad is below. You must register to receive information about help for Canadians abroad. The government has set up a loan program of up to $5,000 per person to assist Canadians who need to either book an emergency flight or extend their stay abroad and may need medical assistance. The Prime Minister has requested all Canadians to return home. Flights to bring Canadians back to Canada are being organized through the registration process provided on the links below.

The Government of Canada is also providing financial help to essential food support, the homeless through the Reaching Home initiative, women’s shelters and sexual assault centres, and youth support for mental health initiatives. Locally, United Way Centraide is providing different kinds of individual support including food support. Please see details below.

For further information please see:

Main Page for Economic Response Plan

Employment Insurance & COVID-19

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) Questions Page

CERB Application Page

CERB Application Phone Number
1 800 959 2041

Travel Loan for Canadians Abroad

Registration for Canadians Abroad

Essential & Non-Essential Businesses Ontario Provincial Government

United Way Centraide Windsor-Essex County
Food Helpline: 888 488 1578

Canada has been, and will continue to be, a resilient country economically. I know the situation is evolving quickly and it can be stressful, especially for the elderly. Please continue to reach out and check on your neighbours. Together we will pull through this, stronger than ever.

Please keep up to date with all announcements from all levels of Government daily on your news outlets and webpages as information is updated constantly. Do not hesitate to contact my office with any further questions.

May God bless and protect our nation.


Chris Lewis
Member of Parliament for Essex