The past few weeks have been difficult for everyone and the uncertainty and stress of what is to come may be equally difficult. The impact of COVID-19 is particularly acute on individuals, business, and household finances. The Government of Canada is offering financial relief to individuals and businesses to lessen some of the economic shock felt during this time. Below I have summarized some of the most pertinent announcements from the Government’s relief efforts. To apply please visit the appropriate government website. For mortgage payment relief, please contact your financial institution.
For complete details of the government’s response please refer to the following link: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html
Please see highlights below:
- Waiving the waiting period and medical certificate requirement to receive EI sickness benefits. Effective March 15, 2020. No medical certificate required.
- Creating a new Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 bi-weekly (available April 2020) to provide support for workers (including the self-employed) but do not qualify for sickness benefits for:
- workers who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19
- workers who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19
- parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures.
- Extending agreements under the EI Work Share program to 76 weeks.
- Creating a new Emergency Support Benefit for workers that lose their job and are not eligible for regular EI benefits.
- Increasing the monthly GST credit for low income individuals and families until June 2020.
- Increasing the monthly Canada Child Benefit for the 2019-20 benefit year by $300 per child.
- Implementing a 6-month interest-free period on repayment of Canada Student Loans.
- Temporary reduction of minimum required RRIF withdrawals by 25%.
- Extending the individual income tax filing deadline to June 1, 2020 (NOTE: For taxpayers with business income the deadline is unchanged at June 15, 2020).
- Extending the tax payment deadline for individuals to August 31, 2020 for both final tax payments and quarterly tax instalments – no interest will accrue before September 2020.
- In order to encourage small business to keep workers employed during the crisis the government is proposing to create a temporary wage subsidy for the next three months. The subsidy is equal to 10% of employee wages up to a maximum of $1,375 per worker and $25,000 per company. This benefit is open to companies that are eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities. More details are coming on this so please stay tuned.
- Extending the tax payment deadline for corporations to August 31, 2020 for both final tax payments and corporate tax instalments – no interest will accrue before September 2020. (NOTE: This extension is for corporate income taxes only. HST, payroll taxes, WSIB, EHT, etc. which will continue to be due on their normal due dates).
- The CRA will not initiate any new taxpayer audits for the next 4 weeks and audits currently in progress will be temporarily suspended.
Access To Credit
- Canadian banks have confirmed that they will provide Canadian individuals and businesses with up to a 6-month deferral of mortgage payments and other credit relief. Please contact your advisor at your financial institution for more details.
- The CRA is working with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) to provide additional loans to small and medium sized businesses affected by COVID-19. No information has been publicly released yet so please stay tuned.
We wish everyone good health and future prosperity.