Key Points of the Financial Assistance Announced by the Government to Assist with the COVID-19 Pandemic

On March 18, 2020 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as well as the Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, and the Governor of the Bank of Canada, Stephen Poloz held press conferences to outline the measures that the government will be taking to assist Canadians as uncertainty surrounding the effects of COIVD-19 mounts. A significant portion of the press conferences was devoted to addressing how the government would assist Canadians who may find themselves out of work and the assistance that will be provided to small businesses.

The Prime Minister announced the introduction of the Emergency Care Benefit (“ECB”) for those who do not qualify for EI. The ECB will be paid every two weeks up to a period of 15 weeks. Under the ECB, individuals will receive approximately $450 per week. This program is intended to support those who are unable to work because they are ill, quarantined, required to self-isolate, or are caring for a family member who is ill or must self-isolate or quarantine. An online application is available for this program and no doctor’s note is needed. Individuals must complete an attestation in order to qualify.

As was revealed earlier this week, the one week waiting period for EI has been waived and no doctor’s certificate is required. The Prime Minister also stated that legislative changes would be coming to allow for more people to receive EI.

The government will also be taking steps to assist small businesses with maintaining their payroll. They will provide employers of small businesses with a temporary wage subsidy of 10% of salaries paid to employees for a period of three months. There were no details as to when this program would roll out.

Although there were few details offered, the government is also introducing an emergency support benefit if an individual is self-employed and has to stop work due to COVID-19 or if an individual loses their job and does not qualify for EI.

Canada Child Benefit will also temporarily be increased by $300 per child. The GST credit will also be subsidized for all adults who qualify, they will receive up to $300 and up to $150 per child.

Lastly, taxes will also be deferred this year. Individuals will have until June 1, 2020 to file tax returns and until August 2020 to pay personal taxes. Corporations with a December year end will have until July 31, 2020 to file returns and September 1, 2020 to pay taxes.

This updated was authored by Deanna Froese. Want more information about this new development and other helpful tips in for managing the Coronavirus pandemic? Contact Deanna at dfroese@harpergrey.com or anyone else listed on our authors page.