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March 26, 2020

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Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

The Canadian Government’s CERB program will start on April 6, 2020 and will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 per month for up to 4 months to:

  • workers who must stop working due to COVID-19 and who do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
  • workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
  • working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care due to school and daycare closures.
  • workers who are still employed but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.
  • wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).

Already applied for EI?

  • If you have been laid off and have already applied for EI, you do not need to apply for CERB.
  • All EI claims submitted after March 15 will be moved over to the CERB and benefits will be paid from this fund first.
  • If you require support after the CERB’s 16-week period, you can then apply for regular EI benefits.
  • If you are already receiving EI, you will continue to receive your EI benefits. If your EI benefits end before October 6, 2020, you will then be able to apply to CERB.

How to apply for CERB?

  • The application will be submitted through CRA MyAccount for Individuals, My Service Canada Account, or via telephone.
  • Applications will open on Monday, April 6, 2020 – see below for schedule.
  • Until the applications for CERB are open, EI-eligible Canadians can continue to apply for EI benefits. Important! If you are not eligible for EI, find out how you can get ready to apply for the CERB through the CRA.

Click here for more information about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

Employment Insurance Sickness Benefit

What is Employment Insurance (EI)?

Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits provide up to 15 weeks of income replacement and is available to eligible claimants who are unable to work because of illness, injury or quarantine, to allow them time to restore their health and return to work. Canadians quarantined can apply for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits.

If you are eligible, visit the EI sickness benefits page to apply.

Service Canada is ready to support Canadians affected by COVID-19 and placed in quarantine, with the following support actions:

  • The one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived for new claimants who are quarantined so they can be paid for the first week of their claim
  • Establishing a new dedicated toll-free phone number to support enquiries related to waiving the EI sickness benefits waiting period
  • People claiming EI sickness benefits due to quarantine will not have to provide a medical certificate
  • People who cannot complete their claim for EI sickness benefits due to quarantine may apply later and have their EI claim backdated to cover the period of delay

Important: If you are directly affected by the COVID-19 because you are sick or quarantined and you have not yet applied for EI benefits, please submit your application before contacting the CRA. This will allow them to better serve you and prevent delays in establishing your claim.

If you have already completed the application for EI sickness benefits whether you are sick or quarantined and would like to have the one-week waiting period waived, call the new toll-free phone number below. It is important to note that no other request will be actioned on this phone line. We will take action only for sick or quarantined clients affected by the COVID-19 for which the application for sickness benefits has been filed.

  • Telephone: 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free)
  • Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-800-529-3742

Increased GST Credit

  • A one-time special payment by early May 2020 through the Goods and Services Tax credit (GSTC). This will double the maximum annual GSTC payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year.
  • Those eligible for the GST credit will receive a one-time special payment of about $400 for singles and $600 for couples.

Increased Canada Child Benefit

  • Eligible recipients will receive $300 more per child with their regular May CCB payment.
  • If you have previously applied for the CCB, you do not need to re-apply.

Click here for more information on the Increased Canada Child Benefit.

Extra Time to File Income Tax Returns

The deadline to file 2019 tax returns for individuals has been deferred. For individuals, the return filing due date will be June 1, 2020.

The CRA will also allow any new income tax balances due, or instalments, to be deferred until September 1, 2020 without incurring interest or penalties.

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 provides flexibility, when needed, to those who need it the most – to learn more please click here.

Contact your financial institution for further mortgage assistance.

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.

 

Seniors with RRIF Accounts

The Government of Canada is 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. Similar rules would apply to individuals receiving variable benefit payments under a defined contribution Registered Pension Plan.

Canada Student Loans

Effective March 30, 2020, all student loan borrowers will automatically have their repayments suspended until September 30, 2020. No payment will be required, and interest will not accrue during this time. Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.

Click here for all support available through Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

 

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