What to do if you’ve just lost your job

Losing your job is never easy, but you’re not in this alone. Here are some simple steps to help you set up your finances for the months ahead. 

1. Apply for benefits

Some good news: you are very likely eligible for financial aid. Start by applying for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which will give you $500 a week for up to 16 weeks. You should apply for the CERB even if you’d normally qualify for Employment Insurance. 

In addition to the CERB, check the Benefit Finder for pre-existing resources and see what additional programs are being provided by your province. To help you navigate your options, we put together a comprehensive resource of the federal and provincial support programs that are available. 

2. Review your finances

Now that financial support is on the way, it’s time to take stock of your current situation. How much money do you have saved or invested? Is it enough to cover your immediate expenses? Are there any unnecessary expenses you can cut? 

Updating or creating your budget will help you answer these questions and plan for the coming weeks. If you’re short on cash, we recommend dipping into your savings and investments before taking on new debt. If you really need to borrow, read our guide first.

3. Pick up the phone

Need to stretch your money? You may be able to reduce or defer upcoming expenses like monthly bills, debt repayments and rent. Companies all across the country, from banks to mobile providers, have responded to the crisis with financial relief measures for Canadians in need. Contact your service providers to discuss your options, even if they haven’t made any official announcements. 

Prioritize penalty-free deferments and payments on loans that will not accrue interest, such as most government-issued student loans. Deferring other debt repayments could affect your credit score or result in additional interest charges, so only defer these as a last resort.

Here’s a list of providers to contact:

  • Your phone and Internet provider 
  • Your cable TV provider 
  • Your utility providers (both hydro and water)
  • Your insurance providers (car and home)
  • Your landlord or mortgage provider
  • Your credit card company 
  • Your student loan provider
  • Any other creditors

4. File your tax return

The deadline to file income tax has been pushed back to June 1, 2020, but the sooner you file, the sooner you’ll get your refund. More than two-thirds of Canadians will receive an average refund of over $1,700, which is money that can go towards paying expenses or topping up your emergency fund. 

If you’re concerned about potentially owing money, don’t worry. The payment deadline has also been extended. You’ll have until September 1, 2020 to pay off any balance owing. 

5. Stay connected

While you’re getting your finances in order, it’s a good idea to start reaching out to your professional network about new opportunities: many industries are still hiring. To improve your chances of landing a job, do (virtual) practice interviews with a friend and update your resume, website and LinkedIn profile. This may also be a good time to expand your job options by learning a new skill online.

Handling the loss of a job can be challenging, especially now, so be kind to yourself and connect with your family and friends as much as you can. We may be practicing self-isolation, but we are all going through this together. Our Customer Success team and Portfolio Managers are also here to support you through this challenging time and whatever lies ahead. 

Get financial advice

Need personalized advice from an expert? We each have unique financial situations, and there is no “one size fits all” solution for finding ways to overcome the financial challenges that may lie ahead. We recently rolled out a new service that allows you get financial coaching in the app, and we’re hard at work expanding our capacity to offer it to all of our users.

This feature gives you access to real-time live chat with an expert financial advisor who can answer any questions that you may have about your personal finances and help you make the best possible financial choices. Join the waitlist today