FirstOntario Community Assistance Program
In these uncertain times, it’s important as a community based credit union that we provide support to our Members. FirstOntario’s Community Assistance Program provides information to our Members who have been impacted by COVID-19 and summarizes some of the financial support and assistance programs available.
Payment Relief Programs
Personal Members – Loan and Mortgage Payment Deferrals
FirstOntario offers loan and mortgage payment deferrals for up to six months, to assist Members with cash flow for living expenses.
FirstOntario offers personal loans to Members, including discounts on interest rates for Members who protect their loans with payment protection.
Together with our credit card provider Collabria Financial, we offer a number of options to our personal and business Members who hold a FirstOntario Visa credit card. Members can discuss the various options directly with Collabria by calling 1-855-341- 4643.
- INTEREST RATE RELIEF - A reduced interest rate of 10.9% for Members that have been impacted by COVID-19
- EXPEDITED OVER LIMIT TRANSACTIONS APPROVALS - A temporary limit increase for Members who need additional funds to meet their basic living requirements.
- DEFERRING PAYMENTS - The minimum required payment on a FirstOntario Visa card can be deferred on a monthly basis for up to six months
- IMPROVING ACCESS TO PERMANENT CREDIT LIMIT INCREASES - Waiving the mandatory requirement of an account being active for six months to be considered for a permanent limit increase
- INCREASE TAP/FLASH LIMITS - The maximum transaction limit for Tap/Flash has been increased to $250 from $100 for pharmacies, grocery and convenience stores
Personalized Financial Advice
FirstOntario employees are available to assist Members in managing their finances in light of financial distress they may be experiencing. Our branch staff can help with:
- Completing a household budget to identify ways to improve cash flow and identify cost reduction or elimination.
- Reviewing current debt for opportunities to consolidate
Personalized Investment and Insurance Advice
The financial markets have seen a decrease since the start of COVID-19. Our Wealth Advisors are available to meet with Members and discuss their investment portfolios, retirement savings, and estate planning. They can also work with Member to create a financial plan. We have insurance experts to discuss overall insurance needs with Members.
Government Relief Programs
The Government of Canada is providing a variety of financial programs to support Canadians negatively affected by COVID-19. Some conditions will apply to the benefits listed below.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
This new financial aid provides temporary emergency income support of $500 per week for up to 16 weeks to eligible workers who have stopped working and are without employment or self-employment income for reasons related to COVID-19. This Benefit would apply to those workers who do not qualify for Employment Insurance. Individuals can apply for the CERB as of April 6, 2020.
Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)
From May – August, 2020 the government is providing $1,250 ($1,750 if they have dependents) per month for students who are unable to find full time employment or unable to work due to COVID-19. They also must be ineligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance. More information about the CESB.
*FirstOntario offers the CRA Direct Deposit Setup Service in online banking, to arrange to have these payments deposited into Members’ chequing account.
FirstOntario will be supporting our Members by offering this new government guaranteed credit solution. Eligible businesses can receive loans of up to $40,000 to help cover operating costs for small businesses and not-for-profit organizations during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced. Visit our website for more information or to submit your application.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
This subsidy is intended to help small businesses keep and return workers to their payroll. It will pay eligible employers a 75% wage subsidy for up to 24 weeks, retroactive to March 15, 2020. To qualify, businesses and non-profit organizations must have decreased gross revenues of at least 30% as a result of COVID-19. An eligible employer’s entitlement to this wage subsidy will be based entirely on the salary or wages actually paid to employees. Visit the government website for more information.
Managing Your Financial Health
Food Banks and Emergency Food Services
- Oxford County
- Brantford Food Bank
- Feed Brant
- Cayuga Food Bank
- Fare Share Food Bank Oakville
- Halton Community Services Directory– Kerr Street Mission
- Burlington Food Bank
- Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Health Line– Food Banks Burlington
- Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Health Line– Food Banks Hamilton
- Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Health Line– Food Banks Niagara
- Neighbour to Neighbour Food Bank
- Hamilton Food Share
- United Way Halton & Hamilton
- Halton Food for Thought
- Brant Food for Thought
- Niagara Nutrition Partners
- Child Nutrition Network (R.E.A.C.H.)
- Southwestern Public Health
- Niagara Region Shelters listing
- Women’s Place
- Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Health Line – Shelters Niagara
- Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Health Line - Shelters in Hamilton
- Mission Services
- Interval House
Other Resources for Families
Government of Canada - COVID-19 resources for parents and children
Educational and recreational resources, as well as information on children’s mental health.
Ontario Association for Children’s Aid Societies
Resources for caregivers, parents, youth and service providers.
Children First Canada
Resources for children and families impacted by COVID-19, including resources for First Nations children and youths.
The Child Mind Institute
Resource page for families. Special focus on wellness and mental health.
This is provided for information purposes only. Programs, resources and offers may change over time. We aren’t necessarily recommending any organizations or programs, we are helping with access to information.