ECONOMIC-RESPONSE-PLAN

In light of the recent threat of COVID-19 to the livelihoods of  employees, families and self-employed individuals, the Prime Minister announced on March 18th, 2020 the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response plan which will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses.

Here are some of the main highlights for individuals and families of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, with many details and updates still to come:

For Individuals/Families:

  1. CRA Deadline Extensions
    • For individuals (other than trusts), the return filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020
    • CRA encourages individuals who expect to receive benefits under the GSTC or the Canada Child Benefit not to delay the filing of their return to ensure their entitlements for the 2020-21 benefit year are properly determined
    • CRA will allow all taxpayers to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period
    • For trusts having a taxation year ending on December 31, 2019, the return filing due date will be deferred until May 1, 2020
  2. EI Sickness Benefit Changes
    • Applicable to Canadians without paid sick leave who are sick and quarantined
    • Waiving the one-week waiting period for those individuals in imposed quarantine that claim Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits. This temporary measure is in effect as of March 15, 2020
    • Waiving the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits
  3. Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) – Replacing Emergency Care Benefit & Emergency Response Benefit
    • MARCH 25th UPDATE: The Canada Emergency Response Benefit is a simpler and more accessible combination of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Response Benefit
    • Provides $2,000 a month for up to four months for Canadians who are:
    • Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits
    • Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not quality for EI sickness benefits
    • Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not
    • To qualify you must be a Canadian Resident and is 15 years of age or older, have earned $5,000 in 2019 or 12 months before application and experienced for at least 14 consecutive days in a four-week period, there is no income from employment, self-employment, benefits as defined in 2 of the Employment Insurance Act, provincial maternity/parental benefits, and other sources of income at government’s discretion
    • APRIL 15th UPDATE: Canadians making up to $1,000 a month are now eligible to receive the CERB, this will include those who may have ran out of E.I. since January, seasonal workers who may have had jobs lined up for the summer who won’t be able to work due to the virus, artists and creators who are making $1,000 or less a month
    • An individual could count dividend income towards these income requirements, as long as the dividends are non-eligible dividends (generally, those are paid out of corporate income taxes at the small business rate)
    • Application for the Benefit will be available April 6, 2020. You can register online at Canada.ca. By selecting direct deposit, you should receive your payment within three to five days. If you can’t apply online,you can call the Canada Revenue Agency for help over the phone. By mail, you’ll get your cheque within 10 days
    • Canadians who are receiving or have already applied for EI should not apply for CERB
    • If you are getting the wage subsidy from your employer, you can’t collect the CERB
  4. EI Work Sharing Program
    • Provides EI benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hour as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers, by extending the eligibility of such agreements to 76 weeks, easing eligibility requirements, and streamlining the application process
  5. Goods and Services Tax credit (GSTC) One Time Payment
    • For over 12 million low- and modest-income families, who may require additional help with their finances, the Government is proposing to provide a one-time special payment by early May 2020 through the Goods and Services Tax credit (GSTC)
    • This will double the maximum annual GSTC payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year. The average boost to income for those benefitting from this measure will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples
  6. Canada Child Benefit (CCB) Increase
    • For over 3.5 million families with children, who may also require additional support, the Government is proposing to increase the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payment amounts, only for the 2019-20 benefit year, by $300 per child
    • The overall increase for families receiving CCB will be approximately $550 on average; these families will receive an extra $300 per child as part of their May payment
  7. Interest-free Moratorium for Canada Student Loans
    • Placing a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all individuals currently in the process of repaying these loans
  8. Canada Emergency Student Benefit 
    • APRIL 22 UPDATE: Eligible post-secondary students can soon claim the Canada Emergency Student Benefit. Students could receive $1,250 a month from May to August, and if you are taking care of someone else or have a disability, that amount increases to $1,750 monthly
    • College and university students currently in school, planning to start in September, or who graduated in December 2019 are eligible
    • As well, working students earning less than $1,000 per month can apply
  9. Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG)
    • MAY 8 UPDATE: The federal government is launching he Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG), which will help students gain valuable work experience and skills while they help their communities during the COVID‑19 pandemic
    • For students who choose to do national service and serve their communities, the new CSSG will provide up to $5,000 for their education in the fall
    • More details will be made available on the “I Want to Help” platform soon on the Government Canada Website
  10. Changes to Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) and Registered Pension Plan (RSPs) Withdrawal Minimum
    • Reducing required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020, in recognition of volatile market conditions and their impact on many seniors’ retirement savings
    • This will provide flexibility to seniors that are concerned that they may be required to liquidate their RRIF assets to meet minimum withdrawal requirements
    • Similar rules would apply to individuals receiving variable benefit payments under a defined contribution Registered Pension Plan
  11. The Bank of Canada Lowered Interest Rates
    • Cutting the interest rate to 0.75% as a proactive measure considering the negative shocks to Canada’s economy arising from COVID-19
  12. Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation
    • The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and other mortgage insurers offer tools to lenders that can assist homeowners who may be experiencing financial difficulty
    • These include payment deferral, loan re-amortization, capitalization of outstanding interest arrears and other eligible expenses, and special payment arrangements
  13. Reaching Home Initiative
    • $157.5 million to continue to support people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak
    • The funding could be used for a range of needs such as purchasing beds and physical barriers for social distancing and securing accommodation to reduce overcrowding in shelters
  14. For Women and Children Fleeing Violence
    • 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
    • This includes funding for facilities in Indigenous communities
  15. Indigenous Community Support Fund
    • Providing $305 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities

Visit the CRA website for more details. Many details and updates are still to come; please check our social media pages for more information.

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