How to Apply for EI and Other COVID-19 Benefits

How to apply for government programs and benefits in Canada?

The Settlement Team at MNLCT cordially invites newcomers, refugees, and immigrants to discover the various programs and benefits available in Canada to assist them in times of need. There are numerous initiatives at the federal, provincial (Ontario), and municipal (Toronto) levels, specifically designed to provide financial support and aid to those who meet the eligibility criteria.  

You can apply for government programs and benefits in Canada by visiting the websites of the Canadian federal government, Canadian provincial governments, and in this case, the city of Toronto’s official website, which offers various forms of assistance to refugees, immigrants, and newcomers.


screenshot of the official website of the benefits Finder tool

The site of the Government of Canada provides information about creating an online account, applying for Employment Insurance, student loans, and grants, calculating child and family benefits, and more. Additionally, you will discover that Benefits Finder is a tool that helps you locate services and benefits you may qualify for, asks questions, and generates searches based on the answers. You are not tracking or collecting information by using it, but the results will be more accurate the more questions you answer. 


The MNLCT Settlement Team wrote this post to encourage individuals to learn more about these programs by highlighting key crucial ones and listing resources arranged by subject to help you learn more, save time, and understand it better. Women offer settlement service in-Arabic-Dari-English-Mandarin-Pashto-Russian-Spanish-Ukrainian for newcomers.


Federal, provincial, and municipal program details

Federal Programs: 

OAS – CPP – Canada Child Benefit 

At the federal level, Canada offers a range of programs and benefits to support its citizens. One such program is the Old Age Security (OAS) pension, which provides a monthly payment for individuals aged 65 and older. While some individuals are automatically enrolled, others must apply to receive this benefit. To determine your eligibility and apply, visit the Application Link Form ISP3550. 

Another crucial program is the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), a monthly taxable benefit that replaces part of your income upon retirement. To qualify, you must be at least 60 years old and have made valid contributions to the CPP. Unlike the OAS pension’s automatic enrollment, you need to apply for this benefit. Find the Application Link and the fillable form ISP1000 to begin the process. 

Also, the Canada Child Benefit is a tax-free monthly payment for families raising children under 18 years of age. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) oversees it and you need to meet eligibility requirements and have supporting documents to apply. Use the Application Link for Form RC66-22E 

Provincial Programs: Ontario 

OESP and OW 

Each province in Canada also offers its own set of programs and benefits. For example, in Ontario, residents can access the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP). This program provides a reduction in electricity bills for lower-income households. Check if you are eligible for this benefit with the Application Form to apply for this benefit online. 

Additionally, if you find yourself in financial need and are willing to work towards finding employment, Ontario Works (OW) offers monthly financial assistance. Make sure you have your identity documents ready before submitting an online application. Whether you are applying for OW or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), both applications are submitted through the same application portal. 

Municipal Programs: Toronto 

Recreation Fee Subsidy and Childcare Fee Subsidy 

At the municipal level, cities like Toronto provide their own programs and benefits. For instance, the Welcome Policy – Recreation Fee Subsidy aims to support families in accessing recreational programs. Eligible applicants receive an annual financial credit that can be used towards fitness memberships, lessons, camps, and more. Review the eligibility criteria and gather the required documents to initiate an online application. 

Moreover, families can avail themselves of the Childcare Fee Subsidy to assist with the cost of licensed childcare. Given the long waiting list, it is advisable to apply as soon as possible. The “Who can apply” page will help you determine your eligibility, while the online application provides direct access and a list of required documents. Utilize the online calculator to estimate your eligibility and estimate your contribution towards childcare fees. 

Government programs and benefits are designed to provide crucial support to individuals and families during various life stages. By exploring these programs, you can potentially unlock opportunities for financial assistance and improved quality of life. Whether it’s federal programs like OAS and CPP, provincial initiatives such as Ontario Works and OESP, or municipal benefits in Toronto, take the first step by checking the websites provided. Apply today and discover the support available to you. 

MNLCT’s support communities

Please keep in mind that the settlement team at Mennonite New Life Center is available to help you create your profile on the official website, so you can access the services you need. We also recommend joining integration groups to connect with others who have been in similar situations and can offer guidance based on their experiences. This is a great opportunity to make new friends and expand your network. 

A list of some of the groups is provided below; click on each title for further details: 

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"The Mennonite New Life Centre and its BEMC program came in very handy for me at the lowest ebb of my life by providing a lifeline and I am eternally grateful for that,”

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