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COVID-19: Tax and economic assistance for individuals

Article updated on 26/03/2020
In the current context resulting from the coronavirus, the federal and Quebec 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 updates and keep you informed about the new measures.

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

FEDERAL

Canada Emergency Response Benefit

The federal government has introduced the benefit of $2,000 per month (4 weeks) for up to 16 weeks, for the period of March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020. This lump-sum benefit will support qualified workers who:

  • Are at least 15 years of age;
  • Have earned employment or self-employment income, or maternity or parental benefits under employment insurance (EI) or any equivalent provincial program (e.g. QPIP) totaling at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12-month period preceding the application;
  • Have ceased to receive such income and any kind of EI benefit for a period of at least 14 consecutive days included in the four-week period for which an application is made, for reasons related to COVID-19.

This benefit cannot be claimed for a period during which the beneficiary receives employment income, any kind of EI benefits, or pregnancy or parental benefits under a provincial plan (e.g. QPIP).

It is expected that the benefit will be paid within 10 days of the application, which should be available online as of April 6, 2020 on a portal to be deployed for this purpose. No application will be accepted after December 2, 2020.

For more details, clik here.

 

Canada Revenue Agency: flexibility measures for citizens and businesses (filing income tax returns)

For individuals, the return filing due date has been extended to June 1, 2020.

The deadline for paying any amount due on your 2019 tax and benefits return has been deferred from April 30, 2020 to September 1, 2020. This means that there will be no penalty or interest if your balance due is paid before September 1, 2020.

Fore more details, click here.

 

Employment Insurance sickness benefits

In the case of Canadians who do not have paid sick leave (or a similar workplace accommodation) and who are sick, quarantined or forced to stay home to care for children, the government is waiving the mandatory one-week waiting period for quarantined individuals who apply for EI sickness benefits. This temporary measure comes into effect on March 15, 2020.

For more info, click here.

 

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.

Application 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.

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 maximum annual Canada Child Benefit payment amounts will be increased by $300 per child for the 2019-20 benefit year.

Increase in the GST credit

The maximum annual GST credit payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year will be doubled, boosting income for those benefitting from this measure by close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.

Student loans

The federal government is 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. This measure does not apply to Quebec Student Loans or any other provincial program.

 

For more details, click here.

PROVINCIAL

Revenu Québec: flexibility measures for citizens and businesses (filing income tax returns)

The deadline for producing and filing TP-1 income tax returns has been postponed to June 1, 2020.

For individuals and individuals in business, the deadline for paying balances due related to income tax returns for the 2019 taxation year is postponed to September 1, 2020;

For those who must pay tax instalments, the payment of the June 15, 2020 tax instalment is also postponed until September 1, 2020.

For more details, click here.

 

Temporary aid for workers program (TAWP COVID-19)

This program offers 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.

Eligibility

This program is for workers who are in isolation for one of the following reasons:

  • they have contracted the virus or present symptoms;
  • they have been in contact with an infected person;
  • they have returned from abroad.

In addition, workers who are in isolation or likely to be under the above criteria are eligible for the PATT COVID-19 if:

  • they are not receiving compensation from their employer;
  • they do not have private insurance;
  • they are not covered by another government program, such as employment from the federal government.

The lump-sum amount granted to an eligible person is $573 per week, for a period of 14 days of isolation. The payment will be made by bank transfer or pre-paid card. The program is offered in partnership with the Red Cross.

For more details, click here.

 

Emergency daycare services for children of health care and essential services personnel

Emergency daycare services are special services reserved exclusively for children of health care and essential services personnel who have no other alternatives.

 

RRIF: Protection measure for retirees

Quebec will also reduce the amount of the mandatory withdrawal from a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF). This measure will protect RRIF holders who are at a disadvantage due to the state of the stock markets.

 

Student financial assistance – Student loan debt repayment has been postponed for six months

In order to lessen the negative impacts of the COVID-19 situation and individuals with student loans, the Québec government is postponing student loan debt repayment for six months. Measures are in progress for this initiative, which represents estimated financing of some $48 million, to come into effect on April 1, 2020.

Fore more dtails, 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.

Fore more details about RBC decisive actions, click here.

Measures put in place by Hydro-Québec

Hydro-Quebec will not cut off power in the coming weeks. The suspension of service interruptions, which lasts from December 1 to March 31, will thus be extended until further notice.

 Property tax payment postponement measures

  • Measures announced by several municipalities:
    • Québec City: May 4th payment postponed to August 4th, July 3rd payment postponed to September 3rd and final payment postponed to November 3rd.
    • Ville de Montréal: Deadline for paying taxes postponed one month to July 2nd.

For more information on paying your tax bills, go to your municipality’s web site.

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