Canada Wide Resources

Canadian-flag-620x310Financial Help from the Canadian Government

Please use the following links and resources as a starting point and if you discover additional programs, tips or tricks, let us know.

Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits:

EI – sick benefits are for 15 weeks and the amount you receive will depend on your salary and the number of hours you have worked.

  • Benefits are available to people who have lost their employment because of illness – meaning you were not fired or quit your job, cannot find work, and have contributed to the Employment Insurance Program.
  • EI is a contribution-tested program, and is only available to those who meet the minimum contribution period, and have worked the required number of hours.
  • There are two EI Benefit Programs: Regular Benefits for those who are able to work and Special Benefits including Sick Benefits and Compassionate Care Benefits for those who are not able to work.
  • Your eligibility or entitlement is not impacted by any of your liquid or acquired assets.

Qualifying Criteria:

In order to be eligible for EI Sick Benefits, you must be medically unable to work due to sickness or injury, have your earnings decrease by more than 40%, and have worked a minimum of 600 insured hours in the last 52 weeks or since your last claim.

Waiting Period:

The first two weeks following the date you left work is considered a waiting period, and no benefits are paid for this period. EI Benefits start four weeks after applying.


  • Apply immediately
  • You can apply without a record of employment
  • Usually a 2 week waiting period after you apply
  • Provides up to 55% of an individual’s salary, to a maximum of $514 a week.
  • Maximum of 15 weeks duration
  • Must have worked at least 600 hours in last 52 weeks

CPP-Disability Benefit (CPP-D):

This is a taxable monthly benefit payment that is available for people who have contributed to CPP and who are not able to work regularly at any job because of disability. “The CPP disability benefit is not designed to pay for such things as medications and assistive devices”.

Qualifying Criteria:

  • You should apply as soon as you develop a severe and prolonged or terminal medical condition that prevents you from working regularly at any job.
  • Do not delay in sending your completed application forms. You must apply for the CPP disability benefit in writing. The date your application is received affects the date your benefit begins.


  • To qualify for this benefit, your disability must be (very) severe and prolonged, but apply anyway. (Be honest and present the worst case, this is not an opportunity for optimism.)
  • If you do not have or may not qualify for Long Term Disability from work, consider applying for this benefit while on EI sick benefits.
  • If you have Long Term Disability at work – check your policy. It may require you to apply for CPP – D and then deduct the amount you qualify for from your disability benefit from work.
  • You may also want to phone CPP and discuss implications for your pension plan in case you do not return to work for an extended period of time (or ever).
  • Even if you are successful and receive CPP Disability benefits, you need to apply for the Disability tax credit separately so that you can get this tax credit when you file your income tax (see below).



Disability and Other Tax Credits

There are several tax credits that a disabled or sick person can apply for:patriot-1019851_960_720

  • You must apply separately from CPP – D and other disability benefits
  • Keep all receipts for medications, prescribed supplements, travel, accommodation, etc.
  • Application for a Disability tax credit certificate:
  • There are over 20 possible tax deductions and credits for persons considered disabled
  • Apply a couple of months before the end of the tax year
  • Link to get started:


Charitable Organizations

Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society has created a website that summarizes many of the federal and provincial programs that provide financial assistance as well as their own support programs and serviced.  You can choose your province/territory at the top and see what is available in your region by clicking the ‘Support and Services” links in the bar below.

We also include links to many of the support services provided by the Canadian Cancer Society in your region (see provinces).

But I don’t have cancer…

If there is a foundation for your specific illness, contact them.  For example, the Kidney Foundation of Canada also has a system of resources in many regions.

For patients who have other conditions the information provided by other agencies like the Canadian Cancer Society, Kidney Foundation websites, can be relevant and very helpful. Often, when there is space available, society lodges will open their doors to other patients from out of town requiring short stays.

Many other local foundations and societies have limited resources available for patients. There are small societies struggling to fill gaps.  For example, the Happy Liver Society in Vancouver has a one-bedroom facility called Stacey House, for liver transplant patients.

It is beyond the scope of our website to seek out and keep up to date with the efforts of local resources.  If you are aware of such resources in your area, Please let us know through our website:


Provincial Assistance

Each province and territory has a social assistance program and programs for people with disabilities.  As noted in the Canadian Cancer Society 2012 Financial Hardship of Cancer Report the small amount of funding does not meet the needs of people dealing with a medical crisis. In addition, the expectation in several provinces is that you exhaust most of your assets to be eligible including; cash, investments, (including RRSP’s, but not RESP’s or RDSP’s), a second vehicle, property that is not your primary residence, etc. The total remaining assets cannot be over a certain amount depending on the province where you live.

The craziness of this is that many patients deplete their financial situation to the point that they cannot afford the stability, nutrition, and clean environment to make a full recovery

Some people who have been denied all other sources of income, take the drastic step of putting all assets in trust in order to receive social assistance. It may be worth talking to a lawyer to see what options are available, before you go into this kind of financial crisis.


First Nations and Inuit

totem-pole-438538_960_720First Nations and Inuit health benefits are covered under the Health Canada Non-insured Health Benefits.

Note: These programs are not very impressive. Some provinces have stepped up to assist First Nations health resources such as BC.

In 2013, the BC program became the First Nations Health Benefits Health Authority

In addition to provincial programs, some First Nations have programs and services throughout Canada to help their members with critical illness and other health issues.  Please contact your First Nations offices for the most recent information.  Listing all of the programs is beyond the scope of our website.