A new aid package for Canadians called the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which will pay eligible workers $2,000 per month for up to four months; is an easier version of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit programs which it replaces.
The new benefit will cover:
- people who have lost their job
- people who are sick or quarantined or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19
- parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school or daycare closures
- workers who still have their employment not being paid because there is currently not enough work and their employer has asked them not to come to work due to the COVID-19 slowdown but have not yet been officially laid off
- workers who must stop working due to COVID-19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
- employees, contract workers and self-employed workers who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance, but have reduced or lost income due to COVID-19
To qualify, applicants must have had $5,000 in employment income, self-employed income or maternity or parental leave benefits for 2019 or in the 12-month period preceding the day they make the application.
If you’re receiving EI now, you should stay on EI and when your EI runs out, they would move you over to the CERB if it’s still available.
Note: If you’ve received a benefit to which you’re not entitled you’ll be expected to pay it back as soon as possible if they accidentally pay you both CERB and EI simultaneously due to the unprecedented high volume of applications being received in the past week.
When can you apply? The government says (but has not yet been posted) that the online portal will become available on April 6, 2020, with the first CERB payments to come within 10 days of your application, paid every four weeks from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020.
To avoid delays, ensure that you have set up a CRA My Account login or My Service Canada Account and applied for Direct Deposit.
How can you apply? There are three ways to apply for the CERB:
- CRA MyAccount secure online portal
- My Service Canada Account online
- Calling a toll-free number equipped with an automated application process (to be announced).
Canada Child Benefit
Starting in May, your CCB will be increased by $300 per child.
Mortgage Payment Deferrals
All mortgage lending companies allowing customers to defer their payments to help ensure Canadians can avoid further financial stress during this time. You can call into your mortgage company’s general line and they will transfer you to the team managing all requests at this time.
Reduced minimum withdrawals from RRIF’s – Seniors
Reducing required minimum withdrawals from RRIF’s by 25% for all of 2020.
Student loan payment freeze – Interest Free
All Canada student loans will have a six month interest free period effective immediately. Students do not need to apply to become eligible as the program applies to all students with these loans.
Special GST/HST credit payment
Available for low-modest income families, an additional benefit will be paid out early May for close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples. No need to apply for this benefit.
Tax deadline & tax payment dates changed
Just a reminder that the tax deadline has been moved to June 1st with payments due September 1st for all individuals. We are still accepting returns at this time so if you want to get them done before the rush or are anticipating a refund that will help with cash flow, please email for directions on electronically submitting your documents or using our secure onsite drop box.
All communication providers have announced unlimited data through all carriers while this pandemic continues to affect Canada.
We are here to support you and answer any questions you might have!
In an effort to do our part in flattening the curve, we are currently closed to the public but have a skeleton crew onsite with the remainder of our team working remotely. We are doing our best to continue operating full time and as long as our clients continue to need our services and support, our firm will be here to answer questions, file returns and keep sharing updates on new programs as we receive the information.