Governments and institutions have announced new ways to help support Canadians through this challenging time. We recommend checking government and official sites provided for the most up-to-date information. However, we know it can be overwhelming, so we’ve made a list to help you understand some of the options both federally and provincially during COVID-19.
There are also a variety of payment deferral programs being offered by banks and lenders. You can learn more about what it means, the potential impact on your credit score and whether it is the right fit for you here.
CANADA EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT (CERB)
The federal government is providing temporary income support in the amount of $2,000 per month for up to 16 weeks to all those that have stopped working or are without employment due to COVID-19. (Note- this is a taxable benefit)
You will need to apply every 4 weeks to continue to get benefits.
NOTE: If you applied for yo don't need to re-apply for the CERB. If you became eligible for EI before March 15th, your request will be dealt with under EI rules. If you became eligible for EI after March 15th you will automatically be processed under the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
There is now additional clarity on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). This allows employers impacted by COVID-19 to get up to 75% of employee wages subsidized for up to 12 months (spanning from March 15, 2020- June 6, 2020).
The 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy aimed at reducing the amount of payroll deductions is still available for a three-month period and is required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency.
According to a recent news release, The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program (CECRA) will provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners experiencing rent shortfalls that have been impacted by the COVID-19. To be eligible, property owners must reduce the rental costs of small business tenants by at least 75% and agree to a moratorium on evictions for three months.
CANADA CHILD BENEFIT
The maximum annual Canada Child Benefit (CCB) is increased by $300 per child as part of the May payment.
Students will be automatically given a six-month interest-free payment deferral on student loans effective March 30, 2020.
There is a proposed to change the Canada Student Loan Program’s eligibility requirements in 2020-21 to allow more students to qualify. Updates will be released shortly.
UPDATE: Although still awaiting final approval, the Canada Emergency Student Benefit will offer $1,250 a month to Canadian and permanent resident post-secondary students and graduates. This benefit is to be available from May to August 2020. The amount of $1,750 will be provided to students with dependents and permanent disabilities.
The CRA is extending the tax filing deadline for personal income returns to June 1, 2020. If you think you’ll be eligible for a return, you can still submit early. Get tips on getting the most from deductions here
You will also have until August 31, 2020 to pay your tax balance with no penalties or interest
The federal government is reducing the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020.
For more details on government financial support, visit : Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. There is also a new virtual assistant available online to answer questions.
If you’ve lost income due to self-isolation, you can access a one-time payment of $1,146 via Interac e-transfer (Emergency Isolation Support Payment)
Six-month deferral on ATB loans, lines of credit, and mortgages
The Education Property Tax for homeowners and tenants will not be increased and will be frozen at last year’s level
90-day payment deferral for electricity and natural gas bills
If you’ve been required to self-isolate or to care for a dependant, you may be eligible for job-protected leave for 14-days for full-time and part-time employees (amended Employment Standards Code)
Note: No medical note is required and you don't need to have worked for an employer for more than 90-days.
For more details on Alberta’s financial support, visit : Support for Albertans
If you lost income as a result of COVID-19, you could be eligible for a one-time payment of $1,000 (Emergency Benefit for Workers)
The Climate Action Tax Credit could be enhanced up to $218 for adults and $564 for families
ICBC members can get a 90-day payment deferral on a monthly payment plan.
If you are receiving any of the following: Income Assistance Disability Assistance, Comforts Allowance or BC Senior’s Supplement, but not eligible for EI or CERB you will automatically receive a $300 supplement on cheques issued in April, May, and June. Read more here.
There is a freeze on rent increases being implemented across the province. ‘Non-payment of rent’ related evictions in subsidized and affordable housing will also be temporarily suspended
Tenants will be offered $500 in emergency relief that will be paid directly to landlords. To learn more and apply, visit BC Housing.
If you’ve lost income to COVID-19, you could get a grant of up to $600 to pay hydro bills (BC Hydro Customer Crisis Fund)
Payment flexibility plans with BC Hydro (Customer Assistance Program)
The Manitoba government announced freezes on any rent increases slated past April 1. They are also postponing all non-urgent eviction hearings. Read more here
One-time payment of $900 through the Red Cross for workers or self-employed residents who lost work due to COVID-19. Check here for updates on how to apply.
Drug coverage relief for patients to only be responsible for the first co-payment on a prescription fill or refill series.
Child-care fees could be covered for those that have lost income due to COVID-19
Support is available through the CERB on a federal level. If you are currently receiving Income Support from the province, you cannot receive both at the same time. Previous Income support benefits are continuing to be issued with direct deposits. Find more here.
As of March 30, 2020, all Newfoundland and Labrador student loan borrowers will automatically have their repayments suspended until September 30, 2020. No application is necessary. You can find more here.
Three-month payment deferral program for loan payments with BDIC with no penalties or additional charges.
If you're at risk of becoming homeless, you can request one-time emergency funding.
Payment deferrals for renting programs with Northwest Territories Housing Corporation. Evictions will not be carried out unless there is a significant health and safety issue.
Additional $50 is being offered to anyone on income assistance starting March 20, 2020.
To support businesses, many program and service fees are deferred until 30 June 2020. This includes workers compensation premiums and licence, permit, registration, renewal and service fees.
Landlords are not permitted to change locks or seize property of businesses who cannot pay rent, if the business closed as a result of COVID-19.
The government is investing $230,000 in Community Links and Seniors’ Safety Programs to respond to the needs of vulnerable older adults across the province. If you’re an older Nova Scotian (or if you’re concerned about one) and you need non-emergency, non-medical help, call 211.
Small businesses, non-profits, charities and social enterprises who have had to close or reduce operations because of the public health order may be eligible for a flexible grant. Through this new $20-million program, eligible applicants can access a one-time grant (equal to 15 % of revenue from sales) either from April 2019 or February 2020, up to a maximum of $5,000.
Low-income seniors could apply for double the monthly benefit through the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) benefit for up to six-months
Grants up to $500 for electricity bills ($600 if your home is heated electrically) and $500 for natural gas bills available for low-income residents.
Employees in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, who need to be away from work to care for children due to school and daycare closures, or who care for other relatives can apply for job-protected leave . Note: No medical note is needed.
For more details on Ontario’s financial support, visit : Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19
Employees who experienced a significant drop in working hours can get a temporary allowance of up to $250 per week.
Sobeys is offering a gift card valued at $100 given to any resident who received a lay-off notice directly due to COVID-19 (Employee Gift Card Program).
$573 per week for up to four-weeks (Temporary Aid for Workers)
Three-month moratorium for repayment of existing loans with Fonds local d’investissement Note: Interest still accrues during the time and will be added onto the loan balance.
The homeowner property tax instalment will be postponed to July 2 (Montreal only).
Administrative charges on unpaid invoices with Hydro Quebec will be suspended until further notice, banned from disconnecting electricity for non-payment.
Weekly payments of $450 for up to two-weeks for residents forced to self-isolate (Self-Isolation Support Program)
Introducing unpaid public health emergency leave and removing 13-week employment and medical note requirement to access sick leave (amended Saskatchewan Employment Act).
10-days of sick leave entitled to self-employed or workers without leave options, which is intended to cover a 14-day quarantine period
If you’re not sure what a relief program means, contact the number listed on their website or get in touch with their customer support. They should be able to give you more information about what they’re doing to help during COVID-19. The best source of current information is on the Government of Canada’s website.
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