A Covid-19 Resource for Clients: Government of Canada Support for Individuals and Families

Joette Fielding Real Estate Group has compiled information regarding the support available to individuals and families to help clients in need of assistance during this time.

INCREASING THE CANADA CHILD BENEFIT (“CCB)
The Government of Canada are providing up to an extra $300 per child through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-20. This will mean approximately $550 more for the average family.

This benefit will be delivered as part of the scheduled CCB payment in May. Those who already receive the CCB do not need to re-apply. Click the link for the application: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/child-family-benefits/canada-child-benefit-overview/canada-child-benefit-apply.html

SPECIAL GOODS AND SERVICES TAX CREDIT PAYMENT
The Government of Canada is providing a one-time special payment by early May through the Goods and Services Tax credit for low- and modest-income families. The average additional benefit will be 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.

EXTRA TIME TO FILE INCOME TAX RETURNS

The Government of Canada is deferring the filing due date for the 2019 tax returns of individuals. For individuals (other than trusts), the return filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020. The Government will also allow any new income tax balances due, or instalments, to be deferred until August 31, 2020 without incurring interest or penalties.

Note: If you expect to receive benefits under the Goods and Services Tax credit or the Canada Child Benefit, the Government is encouraging you to not delay your 2019 return filing to ensure that your entitlements are properly determined.

MORTGAGE SUPPORT
Canadian banks have committed to work with their customers on a case-by-case basis to find solutions to help them manage hardships caused by COVID-19. Canadians who are impacted by COVID-19 and experiencing financial hardship as a result should contact their financial institution regarding flexibility for a mortgage deferral. This allows flexibility to be available − when needed − to those who need it the most.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and other mortgage insurers offer tools to lenders that can assist homeowners who may be experiencing financial difficulty. These include payment deferral, loan re-amortization, capitalization of outstanding interest arrears and other eligible expenses, and special payment arrangements.

Canada’s mortgage insurers are committed to providing homeowners with solutions to mitigate temporary financial hardship related to COVID-19. This includes permitting lenders to defer up to six monthly mortgage payments (interest and principal) for impacted borrowers. Deferred payments are added to the outstanding principal balance and subsequently repaid throughout the life of the mortgage.

SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE FACING UNEMPLOYMENT, UNABLE TO WORK, SICK, QUARANTINED, OR IN DIRECT SELF-ISOLATION 
The New Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
The Government of Canada will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 16 weeks to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit is currently accessible online. You must reapply every 4 weeks to continue to receive the benefit. Click the link for the application: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html. You can also apply over the phone: 1‑800‑959‑2019 or 1‑800‑959‑2041.

Apply for Employment Insurance
If you have lost your job through no fault of your own and qualify for Employment Insurance benefits, you can submit your request today. At this time, the government is allowing Canadians that would typically qualify for E.I to receive CERB first. Once those benefits are depleted, then it would switch to E.I.

Improved Access to Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits
If you are sick, quarantined or have been directed to self-isolate, the Government will waive the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.

SUPPORT FOR SENIORS
Reduced Minimum Withdrawals for Registered Retirement Income Funds
The Government of Canada is reducing the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020. Click the link for more information: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/registered-retirement-income-fund-rrif.html

Practical Services: Delivery of Items and Personal Outreach
The Government of Canada is contributing $9 million through United Way Canada for local organizations to support practical services to Canadian seniors. These services could include the delivery of groceries, medications, or other needed items, or personal outreach to assess individuals’ needs and connect them to community supports.

Immediate and essential services through the New Horizons for Seniors Program

The Government of Canada announced that organizations who received funding under the 2019-2020 New Horizons for Seniors Program community-based stream will be able to use their funding to provide immediate and essential services to seniors impacted by COVID-19.

Activities can start immediately and can include:

  • Supporting seniors in staying connected with their community and family by providing electronic devices, virtual activities and remote tutorials.
  • Supporting the delivery of food and medication to self-isolated seniors at home.
  • Assisting seniors to undertake essential activities, such as visits to the doctor.
  • Hiring staff to replace a loss of a senior volunteer due to the outbreak.
  • Providing information to seniors regarding how to care for themselves during the pandemic.

SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS AND RECENT GRADUATES
A Moratorium on the Repayment of Canada Student Loans
Effective March 30, the Government of Canada is placing a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all student loan borrowers. No payment will be required, and interest will not accrue during this time. Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.

Temporary Changes to Canada Summer Jobs Program

The Canada Summer Jobs program provides opportunities for youth to develop and improve their skills within the not-for-profit, small business, and public sectors, and supports the delivery of key community services.

The Government of Canada is making temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program to allow employers to:

  • Receive an increased wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee.
  • Extend the end date for employment to February 28, 2021.
  • Adapt their projects and job activities.
  • Hire staff on a part-time basis.

SUPPORT FOR YOUTH
Mental Health Support
The Government of Canada is giving $7.5 million in funding to Kids Help Phone to provide young people with the mental health support they need during this difficult time. Click the link to contact Kids Help Phone directly: https://kidshelpphone.ca/

This information is regularly updated by the Government of Canada and was valid as of April 15, 2020. For up to date information please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html

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