COVID-19 has affected us in many ways, but for Canadians across the country, one of their main concerns is financial security at this time. Amid non-essential business closures and mass layoffs, many Canadians are finding themselves in a precarious financial position. I’ve heard from Canadians firsthand – my own family, friends, and neighbours – about some of the struggles they are facing. We must remember that we aren’t alone in our struggles – there isn’t one person, industry, or country that hasn’t been affected by COVID-19 in some way. While we’re in the midst of a long journey to recovery, here are a few tips I recommend sharing with your employees to help them keep financially afloat during COVID-19.
Inform your employees of available resources
If your organization has had to make cuts to staff due to financial constraints, I recommend not leaving your employees to navigate this journey alone. In response to layoffs, non-essential business closures and reduced hours, the federal government has announced several financial aid programs to support Canadians from every walk of life. I urge you to share these programs with your employees so they can consider enrolling in one of these programs based on their eligibility. One such beneficial program is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). For a full list of COVID-19 related government assistance programs, you can refer your employees to Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.
While many companies have already suspended payments for their paused services, this is a good time to remind your employees to consider cancelling any monthly non-essential services they pay for, such as a gym membership or an additional streaming service. You may also encourage them to take advantage of any relief or payment deferral programs for credit cards, car payments, hydro, rent or mortgages that are available to them. While these programs only offer temporary relief, your employees can have peace of mind knowing they don’t have to worry about paying for additional services for the time being.
Consider additional employment
It may seem like an unconventional thing to do but consider encouraging your employees to apply for a temporary job or additional employment to supplement their income. Many warehouses and grocery stores are hiring temporary workers to keep up with demand, but so are other industries. You may also recommend a “gig” type position such as food delivery or online tutoring where the hours are flexible and can be worked outside of their traditional work hours. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures, and your employees will appreciate you looking out for them in every way possible.
If you’re an employer impacted by COVID-19, you may feel limited in your ability to financially support your employees, but as you can see, there are smaller ways you can encourage your employees to strengthen their financial security. I encourage you to share as many timely resources as possible, and inform them of the financial consultation services and mental health services offered through their Employee Assistance Program (EAP).