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Covid-19 Economic Support for Individuals

Since the Prime Minister of Canada announced the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan on March 18th, there has been a steady stream of updates and additions. With so much information to go through, it can be a challenge to stay on top of the programs and supports that are available to you.

To help make it easy for you, 4 Pillars has pulled together all Government programs and supports in one place written in plain language. We regularly update this information when new details are posted to Government websites or when they are announced through press conferences.

Please Note: The programs and benefits detailed below are collected from publicly available Government websites. For further details, see 'Useful links' at the end of this article.


Federal Programs and Financial Support for Individuals:

Here are the main programs and supports available to individuals and families who have been financially affected by Covid-19.

1. Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

Whether you’ve been laid off, are sick or caring for someone who is sick; this benefit supports any person that has lost their income due to Covid-19. The CERB provides $2000/month for up to 4 months (you may need to re-apply monthly) and is also available to the self-employed.

Eligibility criteria include:

  • Must reside in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;

  • Must have stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit your job;

  • Must have had income of at least $5,000+ in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and

  • Those who are or 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 or self-employment income.

On April 15 the Government extended the coverage to include:

  • Seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work because of COVID-19
  • Workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job because of COVID-19
  • Lower income/part-time workers who can earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB

Note: On June 23, the federal government extended the time period for temporary layoffs by up to six months, giving employers more time to recall employees who were laid off due to COVID-19. Before the extension a worker would be deemed terminated if their temporary layoff notice expired before their employer brought them back to work.

Details:

  • Employees who were laid off before March 31: Their employers have six months (or until December 30, 2020) to bring back their worker, whichever comes first.
  • Employees laid off between March 31 and September 30: Their employer will also have until December 30 to bring back their worker, unless a later recall date was given on their layoff notice.

Government made these changes to help protect the jobs of federally regulated private-sector employees and support employers facing economic hardship as a result of the pandemic.

For more details on CERB visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html

For more details on this program visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html

2. Canada Child Benefit (CCB)

Families with children will receive an extra $300 per child through an additional payment of the Canada Child Benefit in May for 2019-20

If you already receive the CCB do not need to re-apply.

You can find out if you already receive the benefit by logging into CRA's ‘My Account' application and confirming the details. If you don’t receive it and think you are eligible visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/child-family-benefits/canada-child-benefit-overview/canada-child-benefit-apply.html

3. Goods and Services Tax Credit

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

Individuals can expect to receive $400 while couples will get $600.

This credit will be provided automatically to those that are eligible, no need to apply.

4. Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)

Providing a monthly benefit of $1,250 ($2,000 for people with disabilities) to students and new graduates who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or Employment Insurance or unable to work due to COVID-19.

The benefit will be available from May to August 2020.

Post secondary students and recent graduates can apply starting May 15: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/emergency-student-benefit.html

*More detail to be provided by Government: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html#individuals

5. Student Support

  • All student loan borrowers will automatically have their loan repayments and interest suspended until September 30, 2020.
  • This freeze only applies to the federal portion of student loans - check with provincial/territorial student loan providers to see if similar programs are in place.

    More details: https://www.csnpe-nslsc.canada.ca/en/what-is-new

  • Post-secondary students between 15-30 (and recent grads) will be eligible to earn up to $5,000 this summer through a volunteer service grant.
  • The grant will be worth between $1,000 and $5,000, depending on the number of hours completed. For every 100 hours worked, the student is eligible for $1,000, which means someone must volunteer 500 hours to receive the full grant.

The program was launched on June 24 and runs until Oct. 31, 2020.

For more information visit the "I want to help" online platform for details.

6. Tax deadline extension

In order to provide greater flexibility to Canadians who may be experiencing hardships during the COVID-19 outbreak, the CRA will defer the filing due date for the 2019 tax returns of individuals, including certain trusts.

  • For individuals (other than trusts), the return filing due date will be 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.

  • Reminder: 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.

  • For trusts having a taxation year ending on December 31, 2019, the return filing due date will be deferred until May 1, 2020.

More details: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/covid-19-filing-payment-dates.html

7. Mortgage support

Those with a mortgage may be entitled to a 6-month deferral of payments as part of the Covid-19 response. Borrowers are encouraged to speak to their banks for further details and to find out if they are eligible.

More details: https://cba.ca/mortgage-deferral-to-help-canadians-experiencing-financial-hardship-due-to-covid-19?l=en-us

Additional benefits for vulnerable Canadians:
  • Indigenous Community Support Fund: $305M has been provided to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities to support their measures during this crisis.

  • Seniors:

    - o Seniors who qualify for Old Age Security (OAS) will be eligible for a one-time, tax-free payment of $300, and those eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will get an extra $200 - those eligible for both will receive $500.

    - o Reducing the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020. Similar rules would apply to individuals receiving variable benefit payments under a defined contribution Registered Pension Plan.

    - o Providing practical services to seniors like delivery of groceries, medications or other essential needs through a $20 million investment in the New Horizons Seniors Program


  • Homeless: The Reaching Home initiative will provide $157.5 million to continue to support people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak by providing beds and physical barriers for social distancing and securing accommodation to reduce overcrowding in shelters.

  • 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.

Useful links:

Last Update: June 25, 2020 ver 1.9

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