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INCOME SUPPORT FOR CANADIANS (Min. of Fin. response to COVID-19)

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Many thanks to Irmina M Koza, Chartered Professional Accountant for sharing this info:


For Canadians without paid sick leave (or similar workplace accommodation) who are sick, quarantined or forced to stay home to care for children, the Government is:

  • 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.
  • INTRODUCING the Emergency Care Benefit providing up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks. This flat-payment Benefit would be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and provide income support to:
    1. Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
    2. 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 qualify for EI sickness benefits.
    3. Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school or daycare closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.

APPLICATIONS for the Benefit will be AVAILABLE IN APRIL, 2020, and require Canadians to attest that they meet the eligibility requirements. They will need to re-attest every two weeks to reconfirm their eligibility.

HOW TO APPLY for the Benefit:

  1. by accessing it on their CRA MyAccount secure portal;
  2. by accessing it from My Service Canada Account; or
  3. by calling a toll free number equipped with an automated application process.

Income Support for Individuals Who Need It Most

  1. GST Tax Credit (GSTC) - the Government is proposing to provide a one-time special payment by EARLY MAY 2020); 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.
  2.  Canada Child Benefit (CCB) - 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.
  3. Other targeted help proposed by the Government:
    • CANADA STUDENT LOANS repayment - 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.
    • SENIORS - Reducing required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020, in recognition of volatile market conditions and to provide flexibility to seniors.
    • HOMELESSNESS - Providing the REACHING HOME initiative with $157.5 million to continue to support people experiencing homelessness. 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.
    • WOMEN’S SHELTERS and SEXUAL ASSAULT CENTRES - 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.

Workers who lost jobs OR face reduced hours

Those who lose their jobs or face reduced hours as a result of COVID’s impact, the Government is:

  • INTRODUCING an EMERGENCY Support Benefit delivered through the CRA to provide up to $5.0 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.
  • IMPLEMENTING the EI Work Sharing Program, which 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. This was announced by the Prime Minister on March 11, 2020.

Mortgages and Financial Institutions

  1. 6-month payment deferral for mortgages and relief on other credit products
    Banks in Canada have affirmed their commitment to working with customers to provide flexible solutions, on a case-by-case basis, for managing through hardships caused by recent developments. This may include situations such as pay disruption, childcare disruption, or illness. Canada’s large banks have confirmed that this support will include up to a 6-month payment deferral for mortgages, and the opportunity for relief on other credit products.
  2. Mortgage Default Management Tools
    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.

The Government, through CMHC, is providing INCREASED FLEXIBILITY for homeowners facing financial difficulties to defer mortgage payments on homeowner CMHC-insured mortgage loans.


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