Skip to main content

COVID-19 financial support: What do Canadian physicians qualify for?



Since the start of the pandemic, federal and provincial governments have announced and revised various economic measures to support Canadians through these times.

If you’re a Canadian physician who is experiencing a reduction in income due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which of the government support measures are you eligible for?

Find yourself on the flow chart below and see what financial support you might qualify for:

Because each physician’s situation is different, you won’t necessarily receive the financial support that you apply for.

Find your employment scenario

Icongraph shows the different scenarios for Canadian physicians.


1. Medical residents / fellows

If you’re sick with COVID-19 or you’ve been asked to quarantine due to exposure, you should continue to receive your salary while you are off work.

If you travelled after being advised not to, check with your residency association to determine if you will be paid during your quarantine period. If not, you may be eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit during this time.

Other support measures (if applicable):

  • GST/HST credit: a one-time extra payment in April 2020
  • Canada Child Benefit: an extra $300 per child, in May 2020
  • Canada Student Loans: six-month pause (March 30 until September 30) on repayments (interest-free)
  • Tax-filing deadline extended to June 1, 2020 (from April 30)

2. International medical graduates


If you are a resident of Canada, you should be eligible for the “Other support measures” in box 1. Otherwise, you may not qualify.

3. Employee

  • You work in a community health clinic, health service organization, academia, ministry of health, as a hospitalist, etc.

If you earn a salary and you’ve been laid off or you’re sick or in quarantine due to COVID-19:

  • If you’re sick, check if your employer offers sick leave or a short-term disability program and apply for those first
  • Apply for Canada Emergency Response Benefit
  • Apply for employment insurance if you’re still unemployed after your 24-week Canada Emergency Response Benefit period has expired 

See also “Other support measures” in box 1.

4. Self-employed — no employees

If you have temporarily closed your practice:

  • Apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit for yourself
  • Apply for loans through the BDC BCAP or EDC BCAP to help with operating expenses

If you have reduced your practice hours:

See also “Other support measures” in box 1.

5. Self-employed — with employees

  • Employees are laid off

 If you have temporarily closed your practice or reduced your practice hours, and laid off your employees:

  • You can apply for the Canada Emergency Business Account 
  • Your employees can apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit
  • You can apply for loans through the BDC BCAP or EDC BCAP to help with operating expenses

6. Self-employed — with employees 

  • Employees are retained
  • Revenues declined less than 30%

If you have kept your employees but your revenues have declined less than 15% in March 2020 and less than 30% in subsequent months:

7. Self-employed — with employees

  • Employees are retained
  • Revenues declined 30% or more

If you have kept your employees but your revenues have declined 15% or more in March 2020 and 30% or more in subsequent months:

  • You can apply for the Canada Emergency Business Account
  • You can apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
  • You can apply for loans through the BDC BCAP or EDC BCAP to help with operating expenses

back to the top

Details about the federal emergency support programs



Canada Emergency Response Benefit

Up to 24 weeks of benefits

Covers the period March 15, 2020, to October 3, 2020

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit is for Canadians whose income has been affected by COVID-19. In particular:

  • You have been laid off or let go due to COVID-19.
  • You are still employed but not being paid (there is not enough work and you have been asked to stay home).
  • You have stopped working because you are sick, quarantined or taking care of someone with COVID-19.
  • You are a working parent who must stay home without pay to care for your children who are sick or at home due to school and day care closures.
  • You are a wage earner or self-employed individual who would not normally be eligible for employment insurance.
  • Note: You can earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.

To be eligible

  • You had 14 consecutive days of no income in each four-week period you apply for.
  • You had at least $5,000 in earnings from one of the following in 2019 or the past 12 months:
    • self-employment
    • employment
    • EI/QPIP maternity, parental or adoption benefits

How to apply:

  • Applications start April 6
  • Go to Canada Revenue Agency’s My Account portal
  • Direct deposit will take 3-5 days; cheques will take up to 10 days

back to the top



Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

Up to 24 weeks of subsidy

Available on wages paid between March 15, 2020, and August 29, 2020

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy helps employers pay their employees instead of laying them off.

To be eligible

  • You have experienced at least a 15% decline in gross revenues in March 2020 and at least a 30% decline in subsequent months when compared to a reference period.

How to apply:

back to the top



Canada Emergency Business Account

Availability depends on the financial institution  

The Canada Emergency Business Account is an interest-free, government-guaranteed loan to help small businesses and non-profits with their operating costs during COVID-19. This will be made available through financial institutions.

  • A $40,000 line of credit with:
    • 0% interest until December 31, 2022
    • no minimum monthly principal payments until December 31, 2022
    • $10,000 eligible for loan forgiveness if $30,000 is fully repaid on or before December 31, 2022

To be eligible

  • You paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019.
  • If your payroll was below $20,000, you have eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance.

How to apply

  • Contact your financial institution
  • If you’re a Scotiabank customer, you can apply through Scotia OnLine, Mobile Banking or For details, please see business banking support at

back to the top


Talk to an MD Advisor* if you have any questions about Canada’s emergency economic measures during COVID-19.

* MD Advisor refers to an MD Management Limited Financial Consultant or Investment Advisor (in Quebec), or an MD Private Investment Counsel Portfolio Manager.

The above information should not be construed as offering specific financial, investment, foreign or domestic taxation, legal, accounting or similar professional advice nor is it intended to replace the advice of independent tax, accounting or legal professionals.