The Canadian Government has taken swift action to help Canadians who are most vulnerable to financial setback a result of the COVID-19 situation. Here’s a quick reference guide to some of the more commonly sought after financial-related benefits that are available at this time. For a more inclusive list, or for more specific information on any of the items listed below, please visit the Government of Canada website.
Benefits to Families and Individuals
• Canada Child Benefit (CCB): An increase of $300 per child is available through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-20. This will be delivered as part of the scheduled CCB payment in May. If you’re already receiving the Canada Child Benefit, you don’t need to re-apply.
• Special GST payment: A one-time special payment through the GST credit is available for low and modest-income families starting April 9. The average additional benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples. There’s no need to apply for this payment. If you’re eligible, you will get it automatically.
• Income Tax Returns: The tax filing deadline for individuals has moved to June 1, 2020 and the payment deadline is now August 31, 2020
• Mortgage Support: Homeowners who are financially impacted by COVID-19 are encouraged to contact their financial institution regarding flexibility for a mortgage deferral of up to six monthly mortgage payments (interest and principal). Arrangements are made on a case-by-case basis and differ amongst financial institutions.
Benefits to Employees
• Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB): A taxable benefit of $500 a week for up to 16 weeks is available to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19. Applications began on April 6. Prior to April 6, individuals who are without work and are eligible for EI can continue to apply for Employment Insurance.
To manage heavy call volumes by applicants for the CERB, the government is asking Canadians to contact the call centre based on their birth month.
The CERB is available to workers who:
– Reside in Canada and are at least 15 years old
– Have stopped working because of COVID-19
– Have not voluntarily quit their job unless doing so was a result of reasons related to COVID-19
– Had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application
– Are, or are expect to be, without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment income
If you’re looking for a job but haven’t stopped working because of COVID-19, you are not eligible for the Benefit.
There are two ways to apply:
1. Online, with CRA My Account
2. By phone, with an automated phone service, at 1 (800) 959-2019
• Employment Insurance/Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits: If you are sick, quarantined or have been directed to self-isolate, the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits is currently waived.
Apply for EI here:
Benefits to Students and Recent Graduates
• Student Loan Interest Relief: Effective March 30, there’s a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all student loan borrowers. During this time, no payment will be required and interest will not accrue. Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.
Benefits to Retirees
• RRIF Minimums: The annual required minimum withdrawal will be reduced by 25%. No further details have been released on this.
• Support and personal outreach: The Canadian government is contributing $9 million through United Way Canada to assist local organizations in supporting Canadian seniors with such services as the delivery of groceries, medications, or other needed items. This support includes personal outreach to assess other needs and connect seniors to community supports. Senior’s should contact their local organizations to see what specific support is available to them.
Scott Mckenzie, Senior Vice President & Financial Consultant
These articles are for general informational purposes only. Please obtain professional advice before taking any action based on this information. No endorsement or approval of any third parties or their advice, information, products or services should be implied by any references to third parties contained in any article. Trademarks cited in these articles are the respective properties of their owners.