If you are not working

If you are not working, your employer does not have to pay you. Employers can lay off their workers for up to 6 months. You can ask your employer to let you take your vacation time while your place of employment is closed. If you take your vacation time now, you won’t be able to use it later this year. See below for compensation programs. If you are self-employed, these compensation programs can also apply. (Source: Éducaloi)

If you are still working

If you are still working, either remotely or for an essential service, your employer still has to pay you. If you are an essential worker, please see the Incentive Program to Retain Essential Workers below. (Source: Éducaloi)

Canadian Federal Programs

For the most up to date information and other programs consult the Canadian government website.
This useful tool can help you find which programs you might be eligible for.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit
If you have lost income because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide you with temporary income support of $500 a week for up to 16 weeks. Applications are now open! Consult the FAQ for more information.

Employment Insurance
Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits provide up to 15 weeks of income replacement and is available to eligible claimants who are unable to work because of illness, injury or quarantine, to allow them time to restore their health and return to work. Canadians quarantined can apply for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits.

  • The one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived for new claimants who are quarantined so they can be paid for the first week of their claim.
  • People claiming EI sickness benefits due to quarantine will not have to provide a medical certificate.
  • People who cannot complete their claim for EI sickness benefits due to quarantine may apply later and have their EI claim backdated to cover the period of delay.

Call 1-833-381-2725 for EI inquiries.

Quebec Provincial Programs

Consult this online tool to determine what type(s) of assistance are available to you!

Incentive Program to Retain Essential Workers
A financial assistance program for individuals working essential jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The assistance amount will make up the difference between the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and an eligible individual’s wages. Eligible workers can apply for the program online as ofMay 19. The program provides $100 for each week of qualifying work beginning March 15, 2020, and extending for a maximum of 16 weeks.

Housing Assistance for Rent Payment
The Société d’habitation du Québec is offering an interest-free loan of $1,500, the equivalent of two months’ rent, to tenants whose income has been reduced as a result of COVID-19. Consult the FAQ for this program here. The deadline to apply is July 15, 2020.

Temporary housing accommodation measure
The Quebec government will support households whose plans to move into their main residence or dwelling have been postponed due to COVID-19. Eligible applicants will receive up to $2,000 per month for a maximum of two months. This amount will be provided as reimbursement for the costs of temporary accommodation. More information here (in French only). Consult the FAQ for this program here.

CLOSED – Temporary Aid for Workers Program
To prevent program duplication, and given that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is available to the majority of workers eligible for the PATT, the program ended on April 10, 2020. Since that date, it has no longer been possible to register for the program.


The federal government has announced the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) to help post-secondary students make ends meet but are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). For eligible students, this new benefit will provide $1,250 per month from May through August and $1,750 for those with dependents or permanent disabilities. Students who graduated in December 2019 or who are planning to start their studies in the fall are eligible for this support. Students can receive the benefit and still earn up to $1,000 each month.

The Prime Minister recently announced the new Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) program and the I Want to Help platform. The CSSG program will run from June 25, 2020 until October 31, 2020 and will provide eligible post-secondary students and recent graduates the opportunity to serve their communities and receive a grant of between $1,000 and $5,000. More information here.

The federal government has enhanced its student grant programs. More information here.

The Quebec government has suspended repayments and interest until September 30. The measure automatically applies. More information here.

Grocery Stores

Please refer to West Island Citizen Advocacy’s regularly updated list of grocery stores in the West Island offering delivery and pick-up services.

If you’re doing your grocery shopping in person, here are some helpful guidelines for you to follow.

Food Assistance

Take a look at the CRC’s West Island Food Ressources here.

The information in this section was taken from the Regroupement de comités logements et associations de locataires du Québec’s (RCLALQ) tenant FAQ.

Until August 31st, 2020, West Island residents can call the Comité Logement St-Laurent at 438 728-8759 for questions regarding their lease, their rights and responsibilities, housing research tools, and more.


You must continue paying rent on the date indicated in your lease. You can, however, discuss your situation with your landlord. If you are struggling to pay your rent, please refer to the “Financial Aid” tab for information on government financial assistance programs.

If you cannot reach an agreement with your landlord and you are unable to pay your rent, your landlord currently has no legal means to evict you from your apartment. Until the end of the state of emergency, the Quebec Rental Board has suspended all hearings regarding rent non-payment, as well as all decisions regarding eviction and repossession of apartments. For more information, please consult the Quebec Rental Board website.

Moving and visiting apartments

The government recommends that landlords and tenants limit apartment visits. If a visit must take place, you must follow safety precautions.

Hydro-Québec and Énergir

Electricity service will be maintained for all clients (regardless of payment) until further notice.

Mortgage payments

Several banks and caisses populaires are offering special measures for clients on a case-by-case basis for their mortgage payments, including deferred payments. Please communicate directly with your bank or caisse.

Payment of municipal taxes deferred

Several cities have deferred the payment of municipal taxes. Contact your city to learn if this applies to you.

For more information on maintenance work, extermination, subletting, and more, pleaser refer to the Regroupement de comités logements et associations de locataires du Québec’s (RCLALQ) tenant FAQ.

Housing Hotline
Until August 31st, 2020, West Island residents can call the Comité Logement St-Laurent for questions regarding their lease, their rights and responsibilities, housing research tools, and more. 438 728-8759.

West Island Crisis Centre 24/7 Crisis Line
The crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. It is available to people in distress as well as their support network including loved ones or professionals who want to refer a client. 514 684-6160.

West Island Women’s Shelter 24/7 Crisis Line
This crisis line is available to give immediate support to victims of conjugal violence, to friends, to relatives of the victims and to professionals working with victims. 514 620-4845 x221.

Pairs Aidants J’Écoute
Certified peer helpers are here to listen and help those living with mental health conditions every day between 11am and 9pm. 1 800 425-9301.

Centre St-Pierre Psychotherapy Helpline
A free support line for people living in Greater Montreal that are experiencing anxiety and other difficulties related to the COVID-19 precaution measures (quarantine, social distancing, loss of employment). Monday to Friday, between 9am and 5pm. Language varies, click here for the schedule. 514 315-3656.

AMCAL Family Services
Phone assistance for parents and youth requiring support (behavioural, relational, communication, anxiety, and more). 514 694-3161 x222.

CALACS West Island
Centre d’aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel (CALACS) offers a phone support service for women and teens over the age of 14 who have survived sexual assault. Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm. 514 684-2198.

S.O.S Violence conjugale
Free bilingual helpline for those experiencing domestic violence. 1 800 363-9010.

Confidential listening and referral line for seniors 60+. Services in French only. 514 353-2463 or 1 877 353-2460.

Ligne Aide Abus Aînés
Bilingual helpline for seniors subject mistreatment or abuse, particularly in health & social services networks. 1 888 489-ABUS (2287).

L’Appui — Caregiver support line
Bilingual phone support and reference line for caregivers of the elderly. 1 855 852-7784.

PRO-GAM is offering offering up to 3 free psychotherapy sessions over the phone for adults that are experiencing marital or family related stress during the pandemic. 514 270-8462 | info@pro-gam.ca to book an appointment.

Hope for WellnessSupport Line for Indigenous Peoples
Available in English, French, Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut. 1-855-242-3310.

Justice Quebec Legal Assistance Clinic
You can call for a free consultation with a legal professional to get answers to legal questions about the application and effects of the emergency measures implemented by the Quebec government to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This service is offered Monday to Friday, from 8:30am to 4:30pm. 1 866 699-9729 (toll-free) or 514 789-2755 (Montreal).

Love Your Neighbour Mutual Aid Group
Check out this West Island mutual aid group for posts about how you can help local residents through actions like donations, volunteering and social support.

Volunteer West Island
Fill out Volunteer West Island’s volunteer registration form and they’ll contact you with opportunities to help that match your interests and availability.

Register on JeBénévole, a provincial web platform dedicated to the pairing of volunteer centers and non-profit organizations with potential volunteers.

The TQSOI has compiled a list of online resources to help you stay healthy and occupied during this exceptional time. While most of us are staying at home to reduce the risk of spreading and contracting the coronavirus, there are many online resources that can help us take advantage of our time at home by ourselves or with our family. The list is divided into four sections with free or inexpensive resources that may interest you. Take a look by clicking on the image below!

Colouring pages | Trivia | Podcasts | Games | Live Music | Virtual Tours

eBooks | Online courses | Learning Resources for Children

Physical Health
Yoga | Home Workout

Mental Health
Meditation and Mindfulness | Relaxing music and videos | COVID-19 and Mental Health