Support for Individuals (COVID-19)

Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan – Support for Individuals

April 22nd, 2020

**This document is valid at time of writing and subject to change as programs evolve. Please contact MP John Barlow’s office or Canada.ca for updates or changes.**

Temporary salary top-up for low-income essential workers

The Federal Government will work with provinces and territories through a new transfer to cost-share a temporary top up to the salaries of low-income workers (those who earn less than $2,500 per month on a full time basis), that the provinces and territories have deemed essential in the fight against COVID-19.

This will provide a much needed boost to those on the front-line in hospitals, those caring for seniors in long-term care facilities, those working so hard to make sure that there that is food on our shelves and tables, and others.

More details will be released shortly.

 

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

The Government of Canada will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 every 4 weeks for up to 16 weeks to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19.

The CERB is available to workers who meet all of the following conditions:

  • live in Canada and are at least 15 years old
  • stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits
  • have not voluntarily quit their job
  • had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application.

 

On April 15, changes to the eligibility rules included:

  • Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
  • Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work because of COVID-19.
  • Extend the CERB to workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job because of COVID-19.

 

Do not apply for the CERB if you have already applied for EI.

To get started, you can apply here: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html 

You can also apply over the phone: 1‑800‑959‑2019 or 1‑800‑959‑2041

 

Increasing the Canada Child Benefit

The Government of Canada is providing up to an extra $300 per child through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-20. This will mean approximately $550 more for the average family.

This benefit will be delivered as part of the scheduled CCB payment in May.

Those who already receive the CCB do not need to re-apply.

 

Special Goods and Services Tax credit payment

The Federal Government is providing a one-time special payment starting April 9 through the Goods and Services Tax credit for low- and modest-income families.

The average additional benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.

There is no need to apply for this payment. If you are eligible, you will get it automatically.

 

Extra time to file income tax returns

The filing due date for 2019 income tax returns for individuals has been deferred until June 1, 2020. Any new income tax balances due, or instalments, are also being deferred until after August 31, 2020 without incurring interest or penalties.

Note: If you expect to receive benefits under the Goods and Services Tax credit or the Canada Child Benefit, we encourage you not to delay filing your 2019 income tax return to ensure that your entitlements are properly determined.

 

Mortgage support

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. This includes permitting lenders to defer up to six monthly mortgage payments (interest and principal) for impacted borrowers. 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 gives flexibility to be available − when needed − to those who need it the most. You are encouraged to visit your bank’s website for the latest information, rather than calling or visiting a branch.

Please consult your banks page for more information: https://cba.ca/mortgage-deferral-to-help-canadians-experiencing-financial-hardship-due-to-covid-19?l=en-us

Contact your financial institution for further mortgage assistance.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation 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.

Canada’s mortgage insurers are committed to providing homeowners with solutions to mitigate temporary financial hardship related to COVID-19. This includes permitting lenders to defer up to six monthly mortgage payments (interest and principal) for impacted borrowers. Deferred payments are added to the outstanding principal balance and subsequently repaid throughout the life of the mortgage.

 

Help for Seniors

Reduced minimum withdrawals for Registered Retirement Income Funds

Reduced the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25 per cent for 2020.

Supporting the delivery of items and personal outreach

$9M announced to the United Way will be distributed through the New Horizons for Seniors Program. This funding will support services and supports for isolated seniors in all parts of Canada, including rural and remote communities. The intent is that it will leverage United Way Centraide’s existing local capacity to quickly address vulnerable seniors’ most urgent needs by solidifying the capacity of the front-line agencies that serve them.

The New Horizon for Seniors program also funds local programs and initiatives in the Foothills community every year. As projects and recipients were approved prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the program has since allowed greater flexibility for how this approved funding will be used. Organizations now have the ability to use NHSP funding for activities that respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, regardless of the nature of their originally-approved project. These are local, community based organizations across Foothills who have been granted up to $25,000 for projects.

 

Support for Seniors

Suspending repayment and interest on student and apprentice loans

All student loan borrowers will automatically have their loan repayments and interest suspended until September 30, 2020.

Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.

This moratorium applies to the federal portion of student loans. Borrowers should check with their provincial or territorial student loan provider to see if payment is required on the provincial or territorial portion.

 

Temporary changes to Canada Summer Jobs program

The Canada Summer Jobs program provides opportunities for youth to develop and improve their skills within the not-for-profit, small business, and public sectors, and supports the delivery of key community services.

We are making temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program to allow employers to:

  • receive an increased wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee;
  • extend the end date for employment to February 28, 2021;
  • adapt their projects and job activities;
  • hire staff on a part-time basis.

 

 

Canada Emergency Student Benefit

[More information to come. What we know so far:]

On April 22nd, the Federal government announced the launch of the Canada Emergency Student Benefit, as part of a $9 billion package of new measures aimed at helping young people. The benefit will see eligible post secondary students 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 also apply.

 

The federal government also announced today for students:

  • Creating an additional 76,000 jobs for young people in sectors that need an extra hand right now, or that are on the frontlines of this pandemic;
  • Investing more than $291 million to extend scholarships, fellowships, and grants for three or four months;
  • Launching a new Canada Student Service Grant of between $1,000 and $5,000 for students volunteering in the COVID-19 fight;
  • Providing more than $75 million to specifically increase support for First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Nation students; and
  •  Doubling the student grants that the government gives out for the 2020-21 school year.