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04/23/20 Updates – Supports for Students section added

04/18/20 Updates – CERB Expansion

04/06/20 Updates – Personal Finances & Other Initiatives (support for families) and Canada Emergency Response Benefit (non-eligible dividends now considered part of total income definition)

The federal and provincial governments have released numerous initiatives in recent weeks, which are changing on a day-to-day basis. In an effort to keep our clients updated, we are summarizing the key items for our business clients here. This page will be updated with new information, as it becomes available.

CANADA EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT (CERB)

You will apply for the CERB via the CRA’s My Account service, which you can access here. If you do not currently have access to this service, we highly recommend that you sign up as soon as possible. If you require assistance in setting this up, please let us know.

The CERB was introduced in addition to EI programs already in place. It received Royal Assent on March 25, 2020. Details of this benefit are below.

Who can apply for the CERB?

  • Any resident of Canada who is 15 years old or older, and who, for 2019 or in the 12-month period preceding the day on which they make an application has a total income of at least $5,000 from:
    • Employment, or,
    • Self-employment, or,
    • EI maternity benefits, or,
    • EI parental benefits, or
    • Non-eligible dividends

Who is entitled to the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)?

  • Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures.
  • Workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.
  • Foreign citizens who have obtained a Working Holiday Program (WHP) are also eligible.
  • Applies to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).
  • The Prime Minister expanded the CERB to become available to Canadians who have exhausted their employment insurance (EI) benefits since Jan. 1, seasonal workers who can’t find work because of COVID-19 and those who earn up to $1,000 a month, on April 15, 2020

How much is the benefit?

  • $2,000 dollars for every 4 weeks you are eligible, up to a maximum of 16 weeks.
  • Canadians would begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of application. The CERB would be paid every four weeks and be available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020.

Am I entitled to the CERB if I have already applied for, or are receiving EI?

  • Canadians who applied for EI before March 15, 2020 would continue to receive their benefits and should not apply to the CERB. If their EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, they could apply for the CERB once their EI benefits cease, if they are unable to return to work due to COVID-19.
  • Canadians who applied for EI after March 15, 2020 and whose application has not yet been processed would not need to reapply for the CERB. Your current application will be converted into an application for CERB.
  • Canadians who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits would still be able to access their normal EI benefits, if still unemployed, after the 16-week period covered by the CERB.

When can I apply for the CERB?

  • The portal for accessing the CERB would be available by the week of April 6th. EI eligible Canadians who have lost their job can continue to apply for EI here in the meantime, as can Canadians applying for other EI benefits.

FILING AND PAYMENT DEADLINES

Personal Income Tax

Filing date – 2019 tax yearJune 1, 2020 (extended)

 Payment date – 2019 tax yearSeptember 1, 2020 (extended)
Includes the June 15, 2020, instalment payment for those who have to pay by instalments.

Sole Proprietors and Their Spouses

Filing date – 2019 tax yearJune 15, 2020 (unchanged)
 Payment date – 2019 tax yearSeptember 1, 2020 (extended)
Includes the June 15, 2020, instalment payment for those who have to pay by instalments.

Full list of changes: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/covid-19-filing-payment-dates.html

SUPPORTS FOR STUDENTS

Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)

A new proposal for a program that needs to be passed through legislation.

Availability:

  • Designed to assist post secondary students
  • Covers the periods of May 1st to August 31st
  • Funding of $1250/month or if you care for someone or have a disability, funding is $1750/month

Eligibility:

  • If you are studying now
  • If you are going to school in September
  • If you graduated in December 2019
  • Working now but earning less that $1000/month

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Canada Student Services Grant (CSSG)

Not a lot of information released on this program other than it is designed to encourage volunteering for students.

Availability:

  • Eligible for between $1000 – $5000 dependent upon hours
  • The government will also be doubling the Student grants it would normally give out for the 2020-2021 school year

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Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP)

This program has been available for many years, however as part of the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan an additional $250M has been provided to the program.

Availability:

  • To assist businesses to refine and sell their product or solution to meet a COVID-19 related need.
  • The Public Health Agency and Health Canada will be establishing a number of challenges corresponding to the needs of health providers to deal with COVID-19
  • Calls for proposals will come out over the next few weeks

As we learn more, we will provide updates.

ENHANCED CREDITS

GST Credit

A one-time special payment by early May 2020 for those entitled to the GST Credit. The average additional benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.

Canada Child Benefit (CCB)

Providing an extra $300 per child through the CCB payment scheduled in May 2020.

You do not need to apply for these credits. If you are already eligible to receive the GST Credit and CCB, these entitlements will automatically be paid to you.

PERSONAL FINANCES & OTHER INITIATIVES

Hydro Rates

Hydro has been converted to off peak rates for all consumers for a 45-day period, effective March 24, 2020.

Mortgage Payment Deferrals

Many financial institutions are offering deferral of mortgage payments to those who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. Please note that these are deferrals only, and interest will typically continue to accrue, and will be added to the balance owing on your mortgage.

Contact your lender for more information.

Reduced RRIF Minimum Withdrawals

In support of seniors, the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) has been reduced by 25% for 2020.

Student Loan Payment Deferrals

Federally, and in the Province of Ontario, effective March 30, 2020, a 6 month interest-free period was introduced. No payment will be required and interest will not accrue during this time. Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.

Support for Families

The Province of Ontario is offering eligible parents a one-time per child payment of:

  • $200 for children aged 0 to 12
  • $250 for children or youth aged 0 to 21 with special needs

You can apply for the credit here.