COVID-19 Pandemic | How The Canadian Government is Helping You

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues across the country and across the world, more worry begins to set in. People are going longer without work and businesses are staying closed which is largely impacting our economy. If you follow any of the Government of Canada press releases and news stories, you will have heard that there is a possibility of this becoming “normal” for the next several months. We don’t remind you of this to scare you, but simply to help you be prepared.

The Government of Canada has launched several of its relief programs this month to not only help families and individuals but also to help businesses that would otherwise not make it through. The response from our government has been absolutely outstanding and they are working around the clock to make sure we are all okay. The information online is often overwhelming, so we have broken down each available resource to help you better understand which one is right for you. 

WHAT BENEFITS DOES THE GOVERNMENT HAVE IN PLACE? 

CERB | Canadian Emergency Response Benefit

This is a $2000 a month payment (for up to 4 months) for those individuals who do not qualify for EI. This means, self-employed, contractors or those who were not laid off, but are unable to work. Recipients are receiving a direct deposit in just a few days after applying for this benefit. You can apply here

EI | Employment Insurance 

EI is for anyone who was recently laid off and is out of work or has had a significant loss to their hours. You cannot receive EI and the CERB in the same time period, so please be sure to only apply for one or the other during this time. You can submit your EI application here.  

EI  Employment Insurance Work-sharing

This is an EI program referred to as work-sharing,  for employees who are still able to work in a business that has remained open during COVID-19, but agree to take a significant loss of hours. This allows an owner to still operate and avoid going out of business. It gives them a chance to still earn money while not having to pay their employees a regular wage. The government will then pay the employees this benefit to help make up for their financial loss. You can find an application here. 

CCB | Canada Child Benefit

This offering is an extension of the CCB that families across the country with young dependents already receive. If you currently are getting your monthly CCB payment, there is no need to apply for this benefit. The government will issue a one-time payment (in May) of an additional $300 per child. You can learn more here. 

NSLSC | Canadian Student Loan Repayment Relief 

If you are currently repaying a Canadian student loan, the government has put a halt on those repayments until September 30th, 2020. You do not need to apply for a deferred repayment, they will automatically stop taking payment. If you make your payments monthly without direct withdrawal, you do not need to take any action. However, if you are able to continue making your payments, we encourage you to do so as you will not be charged any interest until September 30th and you’ll be able to pay off more of your principal amount owing. Click here to learn more. 

Canada Mortgage and Housing Protection Program 

If you suffer an income loss and you currently own your home, losing it is often the first thing on your mind. The government is doing everything they can to ensure no one loses their home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Protection Program was immediately put in place to give lenders the tools they need to help homeowners during the crisis. These tools include: deferred payments, loan re-amortization, capitalization of outstanding arrears and other applicable expenses. If you are a homeowner who has been laid off or has suffered a significant loss in your wages, please reach out to your bank as soon as possible. They are working with everyone on a case by case basis to get you the help you need. For mortgage deferrals, read more here and for other mortgage payment issues, click here.

Tax Returns and Payment Deferrals 

The government has provided extensions on filing taxes as well as deferred payments for the following; 

Personal income tax return: NEW file due date is June 1st, 2020. Payments are being deferred until September 1st, 2020.

Partnership return (T5013) and Statement of amounts paid to non-residents (NR4): NEW file due date is May 1st, 2020. 

Trust tax return: NEW file due date is May 1st, 2020. Payments are being deferred until September 1st, 2020.

Corporate income tax return: NEW file due date is June 1st, 2020. Payments are being deferred until September 1st, 2020.

All amounts owing after a tax return are being deferred without any penalties. 

CEWS | Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy 

This benefit is for eligible employers who suffer a drop in gross revenues of at least 30% in March, April or May when compared to their revenues in 2019. Access to the application can be found in the “My CRA Business Account” online. To find out more information about this benefit and if your business may be eligible, click here

Business Wage Subsidy (separate from the CEWS) 

This is a benefit put in place to allow an employer to continue paying their employees. A 10% subsidy is being given per employee for a period of 3 months to provide some relief for the business owner and staff. Details here

CEBA | Canada Emergency Business Account

For small Canadian businesses and not-for-profits to assist with operating costs. The CEBA is an interest-free loan of up to $40,000 that can be applied for directly through your financial institution. Any loans that can be repaid before December 31, 2022, will also receive a loan-forgiveness of up to 25%. Find out more here, or contact your local bank. 

BCAP | Business Credit Availability Program

This benefit was put in place for mainly small to medium-sized businesses. This is a partnership between the government and financial institutions in a co-lending program to offer loans to SMEs for their operational cash-flow requirements. For more information on this benefit and to see if your business may qualify, click here. 

On top of all the benefit programs listed above, the Government of Canada has also put into place help in the following areas; 

This is a stressful and confusing time for people everywhere. If there is any information on support during COVID-19 that you are unsure of or if you have any further questions, the entire BPGS team is standing by. We can chat with you about your concerns and help walk you through the best benefits for you, your business and your family. You can also check out the COVID-19 related Government Relief and Legislation Guide for Canadian Business here. Stay calm, stay safe and stay home.