New COVID-19 financial aid programs

Updated April 3, 2020

New COVID-19  financial aid programs

In response to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Government of Canada, the Government of Alberta, and the City of Calgary have announced a series of measures and programs designed to financially aid individuals through these challenging times. 

As this is a developing situation, the information on this page may change at any time. For more information on the programs listed below, just click on the hyperlinked title which will take you to the most up to date information or the application page. 

Government of Canada COVID-19 financial assistance* (click for more information)

Canada Emergency Response Benefit

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is an income support payment program for workers impacted by COVID-19.

“Worker” is defined as someone who meets the following criteria

  • who is at least 15 years of age;
  • who is resident in Canada;
  • has worked in the 12 months prior to applying;
  • had a total income of $5,000 in the last year.
  • The application window is open currently from March 15th, 2020 and ending on October 3rd, 2020.

A worker is eligible for an income support payment if:

  • “the worker, whether employed or self-employed, ceases working for reasons related to COVID-19 for at least 14 days within the four-week period in respect of which they apply for payment”

To qualify, you cannot receive any of the following

  • You receive income from employment or self-employment;
  • Receive benefits as defined under the Employment Insurance Act;
  • Parental benefits for the care of a new-born;
  • Any income prescribed in regulation.

How does it work?

  • The Canada Emergency Response Benefit is a taxable benefit that would provide $2,000 a month for up to 4 months for individuals who lose their income “as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic”.
  • CERB recipients will be able to receive payments for a max of 16 weeks.
    • Applicants will begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of applying.
    • The CERB will be paid out to recipients every 4 weeks.
  • The CERB will cover individuals in the following situations
    • Individuals who have lost their job;
    • Who are sick;
    • Who are quarantined;
    • Who are taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19;
    • Who must lose pay to care for children at home because of school and daycare closures;
    • Who are still employed but have lost their income due to work disruptions related to COVID-19.
  • For those who are sick, quarantined, or must stay home to care for children the government is:
    • Waiving 1 week waiting period for EI sickness benefits
    • Waiving requirement for medical certificate
    • Introducing Emergency Care Benefit
      • Access through CRA MyAccount secure portal; My Service Canada Account; calling toll free number
    • For those who have lost jobs/faced reduced hours due to COVID-19:
      • Emergency Support Benefit for those who are not eligible for EI and are facing unemployment
      • EI Work Sharing Program: EI for workers who agree to reduce normal hours because of developments beyond the control of employers

*Information provided by the Canadian Alliance of Students’ Associations (CASA)

Government of Alberta COVID-19 financial assistance (click for more information)

Emergency Isolation Support Payment (Government of Alberta)

  • Albertans who are forced to self-isolate may be eligible to receive a one-time payment beginning in April of $1,146.
  • Total or significant loss of income due to having to self isolate or care for someone who is self isolating
  • Have no other form of compensation
  • 14 days of job protected leave
  • If required to self isolate
  • Caring for a dependent who must self isolate

Utility Payment Deferral (Government of Alberta)

  • Residential customers can defer electricity and natural gas bill payments for the next 90 days to ensure no one will be cut off, regardless of the service provider. Call your utility provider directly to arrange for a 90-day deferral on all payments.

Calgary COVID-19 Resources (click for more information)

  • Aujlia Restaurant – Free dinners between 5 PM and 7 PM to international students and those who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19
  • Calgary Food Bank (403-253-2055) – Emergency hamper distribution with drive-thru pick up (NOTE: you can also apply through SAMRU’s PSC)
  • Canadian Mental Health Association of Calgary– Peer support continues to be offered over the phone
  • Calgary Public Library – Free access to books, movies, and education online
  • Calgary Zoo – Daily Dose at Home videos on Instagram
  • Glenbow Museum – Interactive art sessions three times a week
  • Morneau Shepell – Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy program
  • My Body Couture – Online live classes and pre-recorded movement classes
  • Pen Pals YYC – Send letters to seniors in the city during this time of isolation

SAMRU Emergency Funds

SAMRU provides interest-free Emergency Student Loan (ESL) for Mount Royal part-time and full-time credit students designed to help students during emergency situations. A student is able to receive up to $300 in a 90-day interest-free loan. Emergency Student Bursaries (non-repayable) will be available starting July 1st, 2020. Any awarded funds will be direct deposited into the applicant’s bank account. Our services are confidential and free of charge. As we encourage students to stay home and avoid unnecessary direct contact with others, we are doing our best to provide students with remote access to our programs and services. Consequently, you can now apply for an ESL via an online application form. The repayment schedule/deadline is negotiable at this time.

>>Click here to apply for a SAMRU emergency student loan now<<

Other COVID-19 measures and assistance

Changes to Student Loan Payments (Government of Canada and Government of Alberta)
Beginning on March 30th, the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada will pause student loan repayments for six months. Interest will not accrue during this time. Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.

Tax Filing Date Extension (Revenue Canada)
Revenue Canada has extended the tax filing deadline until June 1st, 2020.  Additionally, the deadline to pay income tax amounts has been extended to August 31st.

Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits (Government of Canada)
Sick or quarantined individuals may be eligible to receive up to 15 weeks of income replacement.

Emergency Care and Emergency Support (Government of Canada)
Those without paid sick leave (or similar workplace accommodation) who are sick, quarantined, or forced to stay home to care for children may be eligible for up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks.

Canada Child Benefit (Government of Canada)
Individuals may be eligible to receive $300 more per child with their regular CCB payment.


Several measures have been implemented to aid businesses.  For more information on these measures please visit the Government of Canada’s, the Government of Alberta’s, and the City of Calgary’s websites. 

More to come

Several additional measures have been proposed by various levels of government and many more are being advocated. It is likely that this list will expand in the future.

Existing Programs

In addition to these new measures several existing programs can also provide financial support to students.

Emergency Financial Assistance (Government of Alberta)
Financial assistance for unexpected emergencies, such as unforeseeable circumstances or severe health risks, is available through the Emergency Needs Allowance.

Income Support (Government of Alberta)
Supports individuals and families to pay for basic expenses like food, clothing and shelter.

As this is a developing situation, the information on this page may change at any time.