How We Can Help

Covid-19 is impacting everyone in Saint John and we are all trying to figure out how to get by on limited resources. We hope this page will help you find the most up to date and relevant information. Please share this info with your friends, family and neighbours, because we are all in this together.



Romero House will be serving hot (take-away only) meals through their dining room window from 9:30am-1:00pm. If you need an extra bag for your children at home or a self-isolating neighbour, please ask and they will do their best!

Call: 642-7447

Bee Me Kids  is helping families and you can order a grocery box online. Check their FB page for updates and to find the form.


Meals on Wheels has been provided additional funding to allow them to provide free meals for seniors in need. Seniors can call directly and to be signed up.

Saint John: 658-1888
St. Stephen: 466-1759
St. Andrews: 529-5240

Independence Plus will expand their Handi-Bus service to seniors to transport them for essential items such as the grocery store, pharmacy, and bank. The cost is $5/ride, some subsidies available.

Handi-Bus:  648-0609

Nick Nicolle Center will have grab & go breakfast that you can pick up from 8:30 -10 a.m. and lunch you can pick up from 12-1 p.m. from Monday-Friday as supplies last. Please do not send children to pick up food and only send one adult to pick up for your family. For seniors and more vulnerable folks, if you need support, there are volunteers that may be able to help with delivery. Just call the centre. Please bring your own bags when picking up lunches.

Call: 658-2980


Greater Saint John Emergency Food Program: A collaboration of not for profits are responding to emergency food needs of residents and complementing the work of local food banks by delivering grocery packs to doorsteps city wide. They are supporting individuals who have mobility barriers, individuals who have no local support networks, and those experiencing economic crisis.

To Request Food Support Call (506)-647-9813

For Questions/Details About the Program Email


The Greater Saint John Emergency Food Program has been responding to the emergency food needs of residents for eight weeks now, as of May 5th they have served 36,350 meals to people in need during the COVID-19 crisis:

The Saint John Local Immigration Partnership (SJLIP) has put together a comprehensive list of grocery and meal options available in our community. Click the images people below to open a list with clickable links.

Food Banks

Community Food Basket:  Open Wednesdays and Fridays 10:00 – 11:00AM and 12 Noon to 2:00 PM. There are changes to operation; only one person at-a-time will be admitted; everyone else will need to line up outside the entry door in an orderly manner. “CLIENT CHOICE” service is suspended; 3 bags of food with 3 choices of protein products will be distributed.

Call: 652-2707

Saint John East Food Bank is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 1pm to 3pm Call: 633-8298


West Side Food Bank will be open Tuesdays and Fridays 1pm-3 pm for those who live in the West Side. Please keep in mind the process will be different and the wait could be longer than usual. There will be minimal amounts of volunteers to ensure less exposure and if weather is permitting you may be asked to stand outside.

Call: 635-1060          

North End Food Bank

Open Tuesday at 10 am – 1:00pm.

Call: 634-7403

KV Food Bank

Open on Tuesdays from 9:30am to 12pm. They are offering regular food bank service, however have adopted a new process during the pandemic. A volunteer will come and take their order from the car. Clients are assigned a number as they enter the parking lot and remain in the vehicle until their order is available for pickup at the back door. They are allowing people to get more than one order per month during COVID-19.

Call: 847-5854

River Valley Food Bank

Open Tuesdays 9am to 12pm. Deliveries are available.
Call: 738-2088

Hampton Food Bank

Only doing deliveries.

Call: Chris Randell – 333-3962 or Dee Dee Holland – 333-1651

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)


What is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

  • The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is a new benefit that was announced by the federal government and is for workers who are without employment or self-employment income due to COVID-19.
  • For more detailed information, click here.

Who qualifies for the CERB?

  • To qualify for the CERB you must meet the following criteria:

o You are at least 15 years old

o You reside in Canada

o You did not quit voluntarily

o You have earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the year prior to your application.

The income can come from any or a combination of the following sources:

– Employment

– Self-employment

– Employment Insurance Maternity and Parental benefits

o You stopped working or will stop working due to COVID-19, and:

– You are applying for the first time – For at least 14 days in a row during the 4-week payment period, you do not expect     to receive more than $1000 (before taxes) from employment or self-employment income

– You are re-applying for another period – You do not expect your situation to change during this 4-week period and you    do not expect to receive more than $1000 (before taxes) from employment and self-employment income.


– You received regular EI benefits for at least 1 week since December 29, 2019 and you are no longer eligible for EI benefits

How much can I expect to receive?

  • You will receive a flat weekly rate of $500. Eligibility periods are fixed in 4-week periods, and you can receive the CERB for 4 periods, up to a maximum of 16 weeks.
  • If you register for direct deposit you can expect to receive the CERB 3 to 5 business days after you apply
  • If you will be receiving a cheque in the mail you can expect to receive the CERB 10 business days after you apply

Is there a waiting period?

  • There is no waiting period for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

What documents do I need to apply?

  • You will only need to complete an online application form For this you will need your personal contact information, Social Insurance Number (SIN), and confirm you meet the eligibility criteria.

When should I apply?

  • Applications are now open!
  • To help manage this, the CRA has set up specific days for you to apply. Please use the following guidelines:

o If you were born in the month of January, February or March, apply for the CERB on Mondays.

o If you were born in the month of April, May or June, apply for the CERB on Tuesdays.

o If you were born in the month of July, August or September, apply for the CERB on Wednesdays.

o If you were born in the month of October, November or December, apply for the CERB on Thursdays.

On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays anyone can apply.

  • If your situation continues, you can reapply for CERB for multiple 4-week periods, to a maximum of 16 weeks.
  • If you start working again after you get a CERB payment, then stop working, you need to re-apply for the CERB.

What are the 4-week eligibility periods?

How do I apply?

  • There are two ways to apply:

o Online with CRA My Account – click here to apply.

o Over the phone with an automated phone service

– Telephone number: 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041

– To verify your identity, you will need your Social Insurance Number and postal code

  • If you have already applied for Employment Insurance before April 6th you do not need to re-apply.
  • For a step-by-step guide (along with images of what to expect on your screen) please click here.
Other CERB Questions

Can I apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit even if I could qualify for EI benefits?

  • Yes. Both EI and non-EI eligible individuals will be able to access the new benefit through a new portal.

Does the CERB take away from eligible weeks of benefits if I qualify for EI?

  • No, the CERB will not have an impact on future eligibility of EI claims.

What if I am already on EI? How does that impact my ability to access the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

  • If you are already receiving EI regular and EI sickness benefits you will continue to receive your benefits. You should not apply for the CERB.
  • If your EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, you can apply for the CERB once your EI benefits end.
  • If you have already applied for EI and your application has not yet been processed do not need to reapply.

I’ve been paying into EI. Which benefit should I apply for?

  • You should apply for the CERB. The intent is to streamline EI Sickness, EI Regular, and the Emergency Care and Emergency Support Benefits into the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
  • For other EI benefits (maternity, parental, caregiving) you will need to apply for these benefits through the normal processes. For more information on maternity and parental leave, click here. For more information on caregiving benefits, click here.

Can I apply for EI Regular and Sickness benefits after the 16-week period covered by the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

  • Yes, if you are eligible for EI Regular and EI Sickness benefits and still unemployed after the 16-week period covered by the CERB you can apply for these benefits.

I have applied for EI, but my claim hasn’t been processed yet. Do I need to reapply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

  • No. Any current claims that have not been processed will be transferred over to Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
  • Even though your claim will be transferred over to the CERB you must continue to file your bi-weekly reports by Service Canada. This only applies to those that applied for EI after March 15. Anyone who directly applied for the CERB does not need to fill out bi-weekly reports.

I applied for EI before the CERB applications opened and my claim was transferred over to the CERB. I received more than $2,000 from the government. Is this a mistake?

  • Yes this is a mistake and the government is working on this. They will reconcile this and ensure that no one receives more than $8,000 over the course of 16 weeks.

Can I work while receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

  • The CERB now applies to people who are earning $1000 or less in a two-week period. If you can work and receive the CERB if you do not expect to earn more than $1000 in employment or self-employment income for 14 days in a row.


If I apply for the New Brunswick Workers Emergency Income Benefit will if affect my eligibility for the CERB?

  • No. If you apply, or plan to apply for the New Brunswick Workers Emergency Income Benefit it will not effect your CERB payments.

Will workers who are not citizens or permanent residents (e.g. temporary foreign workers) be eligible?

  • The eligibility criteria states that workers who are residing in Canada are eligible. Workers who are not citizens or permanent residents – including temporary foreign workers and international students – may be eligible to receive the benefit if they stop working for reasons related to COVID-19 and meet the other eligibility criteria.

What if I am a senior who receives federal support (such as OAS, GIS and/or CPP) and have stopped working due to COVID-19. Can I receive the CERB?

  • Yes. OAS, GIS and CPP do not affect eligibility for the CERB. You will still receive the flat rate of $500/week.

What if I would have received more than the flat rate through EI regular or sickness benefits, can I still receive that amount?

  • No, you will receive the flat rate benefit.

What if I would have received less than the flat rate through EI regular or sickness benefits, how much will I receive?

  • You will receive the flat rate of $500 a week.

Do I have to have been without work for 14 days before I can apply for the Benefit?

  • No, do not wait 14 days to apply. You will be asked to certify that you have not quit your job and have been without income for at least 14 consecutive days within a four-week period as a result of stopping work for reasons related to COVID-19.

Do I need to be laid off to access the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

  • No, you can remain employed but must be without income for at least 14 consecutive days within a four-week period or have employment/self-employment income that is less than $1000 for 14 consecutive days due to reasons related to COVID-19.

What if I receive an employer top up, do I qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

  • These details are being finalized. Check back often for more information.

Is the CERB a taxable benefit?

  • You will need to report any CERB payments you received when you file your taxes next year. You will receive a Tax Information Slip in My Account under Tax Information Slips (T4 and more)

I returned to work earlier than I expected. What should I do about the CERB payment I received?

  • You have the option to return you CERB payment now. You can mail your repayment (or the original cheque if you received a cheque and have not deposited it yet) to the CRA with the following information:

o Make payment out to “Receiver General for Canada”

o Indicate it is for “Repayment of CERB”

o Include your Social Insurance Number (SIN) or your Temporary Tax Number (TTN)

o Send to the following address:

Revenue Processing – Repayment of CERB

Sudbury Tax Centre

1050 Notre Dame Avenue

Sudbury, ON P3A 0C1

Canada Child Benefit

  • Most families with children under 18 receive the Canada Child Benefit (CCB).
  • In May, the federal government will automatically pay a lump sum top-up to the CCB of up to $300 per child. The amount per child depends on household income. Low income families will receive the most.
  • For more information, please click here.
  • To ensure you will receive the lump sum top-up, follow these steps:

o Step 1: Check your bank account to make sure that you’re getting CCB.

– Yes – you’re all set. You’ll be getting an extra payment with your CCB in May.

– No – Did you file a tax return for 2018?

  • Yes – If you have a computer or a mobile phone, you can also check to see if you are getting the benefit or click here to apply to get the CCB.
  • No – Follow Step 2

o Step 2: You need to file a tax return ASAP and then apply.

– If you can file a return by yourself using a computer, look for free software certified by the Canada Revenue Agency. Click here for more information.

– After you file your return, if you still have computer or mobile access, apply for the CCB online. Click here to start your application.

– If you need help to file your taxes, the agencies that do free income tax clinics are working to find ways to help without breaking public health orders on COVID-19. You can try contacting a clinic near you by searching online or call 1-800-O-Canada (1-800-622-6232).

Special GST Payment

  • In May, the government is providing a one-time special GST payment to those that receive GST credit payments
  • You do not need to apply for this payment, if you are eligible for the GST credit you will automatically receive this payment
  • For more information, please click here.

Local Income Supports and Other Incomes

Saint John Energy

Saint John Energy has several payment options to help their customers through COVID-19. Payment options include:

  • Customized payment plans
  • Effective immediately, waiving interest fees for past due balances until June 30, 2020
  • There will be no power disconnects for nonpayment until further notice

For more information, click here.

Saint John Water

Saint John Water has a Payment Deferral Program for customers in need:

  • Residents and businesses who have are experiencing financial hardship can defer payments until May 31, 2020. No late payment fees or interest will be applied.

For more information, click here.

NB Power

NB Power has the following options for customers needing

  • NB Power has suspended disconnections for non-payment and collection efforts until further notice.
  • NB Power will work with residential and small business customers on a case by case basis and make payment arrangements to help those impacted by COVID-19. Payments may be deferred for up to 90 days.
  • Interest on late payment charges after March 19, 2020 will be waived

For more information, click here.

Mortgage Support

If you are having difficulty paying your mortgage due to COVID-19 you can apply to your bank for mortgage relief. For more information and to find the link to your bank’s information, click here.

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