COVID-19: Payment Deferrals for Self-Employed Workers
Get information about the available government assistance
The federal and provincial governments have implemented measures to support individuals. Some of these measures apply to the self-employed. These include:
– Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), a federal $2,000 per month benefit (4-week period) for a maximum period of 16 weeks, from March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020;
– Temporary Aid for Workers Program (PATT COVID-19), financial assistance to meet the needs of workers who, because they are in isolation to counter the propagation of the COVID-19 virus, cannot earn all of their work income and are not eligible for another financial assistance program.
For more information on government relief measures, go to our regularly-updated webpage.
Here are some useful phone numbers:
Government of Quebec information line: 1-877-644-4545
Temporary Aid for Workers Program (PATT): 1-800-863-6582
Special employment insurance line: 1-833-381-2725
Canada Revenue Agency: 1-800-267-6999 (GST and Canada Child Benefit)
Some customers may not have paid you yet. This is the time to collect from them. It’s not always easy to request payment, but in times of crisis, you have no choice.
A 30-day payment term is normal. Beyond 45 days, the delay is less reasonable, and over 90 days, can even be cause for concern. Make sure this does not happen. If it does, talk to your customer. You may be able to find a solution.
1. Your mortgage loan
You should negotiate an arrangement with your financial institution. The six major Canadian banks, Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank, Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Bank, have offered the possibility of stopping mortgage payments for up to six months. You may also be able to defer payments on your other loans, credit cards and lines of credit.
Nevertheless, a payment deferral is not a cure-all. This can help you temporarily make up for a loss of income, but the interest will still continue to accrue, since it is calculated on the loan balance. If you opt for this solution, it would be preferable to do so for a short period, otherwise the loan repayment amount may cost you more.
2. Your municipal taxes
Quebec’s largest cities, Montréal, Québec City, Laval, Gatineau and Longueuil have proposed measures to defer property tax payments. For Québec City, payments have been deferred to August 4, and November 3. In Montréal, the tax payment deadline has been deferred to July 2, 2020.
Contact your municipality to find out about the payment terms put in place for citizens.
3. Your car loan
Negotiate with your car dealer to request a payment deferral. Some companies such as Toyota, Nissan, Ford and Honda offer their customers relief measures, including interest relief on loans.
4. Your Hydro-Québec bill
A late payment to Hydro-Québec will not result in penalties or a service interruption. Hydro-Québec has announced the extension of the winter moratorium on service interruptions, which normally extends from December 1st to March 31st, until further notice.
5. Your phone package
During this quarantine period, you’re spending a lot more time at home. You may want to start by reducing your cell phone plan, since you’re using your wireless internet instead of your cellular data. Analyze your actual phone usage in the last few weeks to negotiate a lower plan.
You could save up to $20 per month on your bill depending on your plan, which is better than nothing. Many internet providers have removed data limits on all their customers’ residential and business internet packages during the crisis.
You should also go through your monthly subscriptions to see if some are less relevant. This is the time to focus on what’s essential and save some money.
Consider a mortgage line of credit
This is the least expensive form of credit, since the rates are much lower than for credit cards. In addition, you can pay back the interest every month, but not the principal.
You could use your mortgage line of credit to pay off your credit card faster. You should know that financial institutions have decided to lower credit card interest rates to 10.99% for customers experiencing financial difficulties during the COVID-19 crisis.
Another option is a personal line of credit. Don’t hesitate to call your financial institution for advice and to discuss the best solutions for your financial situation.
All solutions are worth considering during this crisis period. Finally, avoid instant money loans offering money that appears easy to borrow but actually comes with very high interest rates. As a result, they can be very difficult to pay back.
We hope we’ve helped you to see things more clearly.
Meet with one of our counsellors for free
Don’t ignore a debt problem that’s ruining your life. Let’s work together to help you regain control of your finances.