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COVID-19: Tax and economic assistance for individuals

Article updated on 11/11/2020
In the current context resulting from the coronavirus, the federal and provincial governments have put in place numerous measures to support individuals.

Summary

COVID-19: Tax and economic assistance for individuals*

You will find on this page all the details related to these measures, as well as hyperlinks to the yes for organizations concerned. We remain on the lookout for government announcements in order to continue making regular updates and keep you informed about the new measures.

* This document is subject to change as governments and public bodies make new announcements

Last updated November 11th, 2020

FEDERAL

Canada Emergency Response Benefit is being replaced by other programs to help Canadians

EI Work-Sharing Program

Mortgage payment deferral

RRIF: Protection measure for retirees

Enhancing the Canada Child Benefit

Increase in the GST credit

Changes to the Canada Student Loans Program

PROVINCIAL (Québec)

Incentive Program to Retain Essential Worke

Student financial assistance

OTHER FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE MEASURES

Improvements to the Loans and Bursaries program 

Measures put in place by Hydro-Québec

PROVINCIAL (Ontario)

Property tax payment postponement measures

Electricity relief

Unpaid job protected infectious emergency leave

PROVINCIAL (New-Brunswick)

Emergency Bridging Fund for Vulnerable Post-Secondary Students

Job Protection for Workers

 

FEDERAL

Canada Emergency Response Benefit is being replaced by other programs to help Canadians

The Government of Canada is continuing to take action to support Canadians and protect jobs during the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was an important and necessary temporary response to support Canadians who had to stop working due to the pandemic. As we safely restart Canada’s economy, the Government will be transitioning to a simplified Employment Insurance (EI) program to provide income support to those who remain unable to work and are eligible. However, you can still apply for the CERB retroactively through CRA until December 2, 2020.

As the CERB begins to wind down, the Government plans introduced a suite of 3 new recovery benefits to provide needed support to Canadians who continue to face financial hardship even as the economy starts to re-open. The 3 new benefits are:
Canada Recovery Benefit
Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit
Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit

EI Work-Sharing Program

These benefits are for workers who agree to a reduced schedule of work due to new circumstances beyond the control of their employer.

The measures extend the maximum duration of Work-Sharing agreements from 38 weeks to 76 weeks and provide for relaxed eligibility conditions and a streamlined application process.

For more info, click here.

Mortgage payment deferral

The COVID-19, or coronavirus crisis has left many homeowners in Canada without a job or with reduced hours and wondering how to pay their mortgage. Homeowners facing financial stress may be eligible for a mortgage payment deferral up to 6 months to help ease the financial burden.
The COVID-19 Mortgage Payment Deferral program will be ongoing. You can apply at any time during this outbreak.

For more info, click here.

RRIF: Protection measure for retirees

By reducing required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020, in recognition of volatile market conditions and their impact on many seniors’ retirement savings, this measure will provide flexibility to seniors who are concerned that they may be required to liquidate their RRIF assets to meet minimum withdrawal requirements. Similar rules would apply to individuals receiving variable benefit payments under a defined contribution Registered Pension Plan.

Enhancing the Canada Child Benefit

The Government of Canada continues to provide support to families during this challenging time.
In May 2020, families already receiving the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) got a one-time $300 boost per child. This was in addition to their regular May CCB payment.
Starting in July 2020, the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit will increase once again to keep pace with the cost of living. That means:
– Up to $6,765 per child under age 6 and
– Up to $5,708 per child age 6 through 17

For more info, click here.

Increase in the GST credit

The maximum annual GST credit payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year has been doubled, boosting income for those benefitting from this measure by 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.

For more info, click here.

Changes to the Canada Student Loans Program

Doubling the Canada Student Grants for all eligible full-time students to up to $6,000 and up to $3,600 for part-time students in 2020-21.
• Broadening eligibility for student financial assistance by removing the expected student’s and spouse’s contributions in 2020-21.
Raising the maximum weekly amount that can be provided to a student in 2020-21 from $210 to $350.

For more details, click here.

 

PROVINCIAL (Québec)

Incentive Program to Retain Essential Workers (IPREW)

The Québec government has announced a new financial assistance program for individuals working essential jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The assistance amount will make up the difference between the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and an eligible individual’s wages. Eligible workers can apply for the Incentive Program to Retain Essential Workers (IPREW) online since May 19.

The program provides $100 for each week of qualifying work beginning March 15, 2020, and extending for a maximum of 16 weeks. This means that, in addition to their wages, a worker could receive a taxable benefit of $400 per month, for a total of $1,600 for the full 16-month period.

To be eligible under the program, you must:

  •  work part-time or full-time in one of the essential service sectors during the program period;
  • receive gross wages of $550 or less per week;
  • have an annual employment income of at least $5,000;
  • have a total annual income of no more than $28,600;
  • be at least 15 years old when you apply for assistance under the IPREW; and
  • have been resident in Québec on December 31, 2019, and plan to reside in Québec throughout 2020.

For more details, click here.

Improvements to the Loans and Bursaries program

Improvements to the Loans and Bursaries program will enter into force in the coming weeks to ensure that students’ needs are met and to encourage a return to studies, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more details, click here.

OTHER FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE MEASURES

Canada’s six biggest banks take decisive action to help customers impacted by COVID-19

Effective immediately, Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Bank have made a commitment to work with personal and small business banking customers on a case-by-case basis to provide flexible solutions to help them manage through challenges such as pay disruption due to COVID-19; childcare disruption due to school closures; or those facing illness from COVID-19.

This support could include up to a six-month payment deferral for mortgages, and the opportunity for relief on other credit products.

More details about RBC.
More details about Desjardins.
More details about BMO.
More details about Scotiabank.
More details about TD.
More details about CIBC.

Measures put in place by Hydro-Québec

The suspension of administration charges for unpaid bills will end on September 30, 2020. If you expect to have trouble paying your bill, you can make a payment arrangement online, in your Customer Space or by phone.

For more details, click here.

PROVINCIAL (Ontario)

Electricity relief

The government is supporting people and businesses with the costs of electricity during the COVID 19 outbreak.

For more details, click here.

Unpaid job protected infectious emergency leave

The Employment Standards Act was amended to include an unpaid, job-protected infectious disease emergency leave.

For more details, click here.

PROVINCIAL (New-Brunswick)

Emergency Bridging Fund for Vulnerable Post-Secondary Students

The Emergency Bridging Fund for Vulnerable Post-Secondary Students support students who are directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will be distributed by post-secondary institutions based upon eligibility criteria and will provide a one-time amount of up to $750 per student.

Students must contact their institution directly to be considered and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Funding support will be based upon the need for food, shelter, unanticipated medical costs not covered through health plans, and unforeseen additional academic costs.

To qualify, vulnerable students must not qualify for the one-time $900 provincial emergency fund as of March 30. They must be in a position in which they cannot access money through student loans, Employment Insurance, personal savings, or other COVID-19 related financial assistance programs.

For more details, click here.

Job Protection for Workers

Job protection is now in place, retroactively to March 12, for those who are not able to work because they have COVID-19, are caring for a person with whom they have a close family relationship who has COVID-19 or are following self-isolation or quarantine protocols as directed by public health. The regulation also provides job protection for employees who cannot report to work because they are caring for their children due to school or daycare closures.

Employees must request this emergency leave in writing to their employers as soon as possible. The request must include the reason for the leave, the anticipated start date and the duration of the leave.

For more details, click here.

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