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COVID-19: Tax and economic assistance for individuals

Article updated on 06/08/2020
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 July 27, 2020

FEDERAL

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

Additional support for Canadian seniors

Canada Revenue Agency: flexibility measures for citizens and businesses

EI Work-Sharing Program

RRIF: Protection measure for retirees

Enhancing the Canada Child Benefit

Increase in the GST credit

Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)

Student loans

PROVINCIAL (Québec)

Incentive Program to Retain Essential Worke

Revenu Québec: flexibility measures for citizens and businesses

Emergency daycare services for children of health care

Student financial assistance

OTHER FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE MEASURES

Canada’s six biggest banks take decisive action

Measures put in place by Hydro-Québec

PROVINCIAL (Ontario)

Child benefits and emergency childcare

Property tax payment postponement measures

Student Assistance Program

Electricity relief

Unpaid job protected infectious emergency leave

PROVINCIAL (New-Brunswick)

Student loans

Emergency Bridging Fund for Vulnerable Post-Secondary Students

Job Protection for Workers

 

FEDERAL

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

The government established the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to support workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This taxable benefit provides $2,000 every four weeks for up to six months to workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Benefit is available to workers:

  • Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
  • Who have stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits or have exhausted their Employment Insurance regular benefits or Employment Insurance fishing benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020;
  • Who have not voluntarily quit their job;
  • Who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application;

If you are unsure about your eligibility please look at the scenarios and choose the one that best describes your situation.

Applications are accepted online or by phone (1‑800‑959‑2019 or 1‑800‑959‑2041).

For more details, click here.

Additional support for Canadian seniors
The government is providing a one-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension, with an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). This measure would give a total of $500 to individuals who are eligible to receive both the OAS and the GIS, and will help them cover increased costs caused by COVID-19.

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

For individuals, the return filing due date was 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 30, 2020. This means that there will be no penalty or interest if your balance due is paid before September 30, 2020.

For more details, 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.

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.

Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)

The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) would provide support to students and new graduates who are not be eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or Employment Insurance or unable to work due to COVID-19. This benefit would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students or $2,000 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities. The benefit would be available from May to August 2020. Applications are accepted since May 15.

Eligibility periods for post-secondary students:

May 10 to June 6, 2020
June 7 to July 4, 2020
July 5 to August 1, 2020
August 2 to August 29, 2020

For more details, 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.

Student loans

All student loan borrowers will automatically have their loan repayments and interest suspended until September 30, 2020. Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause. This measure does not apply to Quebec Student Loans (see similar measure introduced by the Quebec government).

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. Payments will be made every two weeks starting on May 27, 2020.

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.

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 30, 2020.

Since the deadline for paying an income tax balance has been postponed to September 30, 2020, you will not be charged a late-filing penalty if you file your income tax return by September 1, 2020. However, you should still file your income tax return promptly to receive the amounts you are entitled to.

For those who must pay tax instalments, the payment of the June 15, 2020 tax instalment is also postponed until September 30, 2020.

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.

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.

No payments are expected during this period. You do not have to take any steps or provide any proof to benefit from this exceptional measure, since it applies automatically to anyone who has incurred a debt with Aide financière aux études.

Fore 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

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.

Since March 23, Hydro Québec stopped applying administration charges for unpaid bills until further notice for all residential customers. Customers unable to pay their electricity bills over the coming months will thus not be penalized. They can enter into a payment arrangement with Hydro Québec to defer payment.

 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 September 1st.

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

PROVINCIAL (Ontario)

Child benefits and emergency childcare

The government is providing a one-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age, and $250 for those with special needs, including kids enrolled in private schools.

For more details, click here.

Childcare options are available to enable parents who are front-line workers to report for work, such as health care workers, police officers, fire fighters and correctional officers.

For more details, click here.

Student Assistance Program

The government is temporarily suspending Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan repayments between March 30, 2020 and September 30, 2020, during which time borrowers will not be required to make any loan or interest payments. In coordination with the federal government’s measures, this will immediately leave more money in the pockets of student borrowers during these challenging economic times.

For more details, click here.

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 recently amended to include an unpaid, job-protected infectious disease emergency leave.

For more details, click here.

PROVINCIAL (New-Brunswick)

Student loans

The Government of New Brunswick is committed to providing financial relief during the pandemic. New Brunswick Student Loan repayment requirements will be suspended between March 31 until September 30, 2020
For more details, click here.

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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