• Morag McIntosh

Financial supports for Canadians during COVID-19 pandemic.

This is a compilation of everything I could find for Federal Government supports of individuals during this crazy crazy time. I hope it helps.


Supports that should be Automatic:


Canada Child Benefit (CCB)

The Federal Government is paying an additional $300 per child through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-20. Should be part of the May CCB payment. Automatic for anyone who is receiving the CCB now.


Special Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit payment

This is a one-time special payment by early May through the GST credit for low- and modest-income families. Here is a link to what the cut off amounts are for income. The amount you get is based on both your income and the size of your family unit. The government has said on average a single person would get close to an additional $400 and couples would get close to $600. If you qualify then you will get the support automatically.


Supports you need to ask for or apply for:

Mortgage support

The Government of Canada site says:


“Canadian banks have committed to work with their customers on a case-by-case basis to find solutions to help them manage hardships caused by COVID-19. Canadians who are impacted by COVID-19 and experiencing financial hardship as a result should contact their financial institution regarding flexibility for a mortgage deferral. This allows flexibility to be available − when needed − to those who need it the most.”


So this is something you need to take up with your mortgage lender. It is at the discretion of the Mortgage lender although it seems as if the Federal Government is providing those lenders with money and incentives so that they can pass that along to us. I’m not sure what you can do if your lender turns you down, so I’ll check in to that.

Extra time to file 2019 income tax returns and pay amounts owing

You now have until June 1, 2020 to file your personal income tax. If you owe money for 2019 (not previous years) you can defer payment until September 2020 without incurring interest or penalties. Technically this is an interest free loan of whatever you owe for 4 months.


EI

The Employment insurance program seems to be running as normal for Canadians who qualify. If you lose your job for a reason unrelated to Covid-19 it looks like the application process and eligibility requirements are unchanged. If you lose your job as a result of COVID-19 then you can apply for EI- Sickness Benefits which I’ve added below. You can get 55% of your previous wages (max of $573/week) from 14 weeks up to a maximum of 45 weeks, depending on the unemployment rate in your region.


EI – Sickness Benefits

This program is for any Canadian who qualifies for EI and has Covid-19, is quarantined because of Covid-19 or is taking care of someone who has Covid-19. The program offers 55% of your previous wages (max of $573/week) for a maximum of 15 weeks. The Federal Government is reducing some of the requirements to access Employment Insurance due to COVID-19 for those who qualify. It should be noted that if your employer lets you go because of something related to COVID-19 they are legally responsible to provide you with a Record of Employment.


From the website:

  • 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*

  • Establishing a new dedicated toll-free phone number to support enquiries related to waiving the EI sickness benefits waiting period*

  • 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


* If you had previously applied for this benefit before they were waiving the 1 week waiting period you can call 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free) to get them to waive it. They are pretty clear on the website that it’s only for the waiving and not for any other EI related issues.


Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)


Replaces previous planned programs (Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit). If you are eligible you can apply for CERB regardless of whether you also qualify for Employment Insurance (EI). CERB is only for Canadians who have had their income cut to nothing. If you are still earning money no matter how small you don’t qualify.


What is it?

A taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months ($8,000 total).

Who can apply?


  • workers who must stop working due to COVID19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.

  • workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.

  • working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.

  • workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.

  • wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not be eligible for Employment Insurance.


How do you sign up?

A secure web portal or a Toll Free number to access an automated telephone system.


When can you apply?

Starting in early April.


Initiatives for specific populations:


Indigenous Community Support Fund

The federal government is providing $305 million to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities.


Enhanced ‘Reaching Home’ initiative

The Federal Government is providing $157.5 million to the Reaching Home initiative which is aimed at helping people who are dealing with homelessness.


Support for women’s shelters and sexual assault centres

The Federal Government is providing up to $50 million to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities.


Students with loans

Starting March 30, 2020 the Federal Government is waiving the requirement for students with Canada Student Loans to pay them back until September 2020. Students do not have to pay on their loans and there will be no interest accruing during that time.


Disclaimer

Clearly all of this information could change in the next hour, day or week. I’ll do my best to keep it up to date, but there’s no guarantee I won’t miss something. To get the truth straight from the horse’s mouth as it were here are a list of links you can follow.


From Health Canada:

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html

How the Federal Government is responding:

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/canadas-reponse.html

The federal Government’s Economic response plan:

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html

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