In one way or another, virtually all households have been, or will be, impacted financially as a result of the economic shutdown caused by “The Virus”. No doubt some people know what the impact is and others are concerned about what the impact may be. Fortunately, this week has brought more clarity around the supports available for those who need it, whether that is from different levels of government or companies. We have compiled a list to help you get an idea of what sort of assistance may be available as you manage your finances during this time:
- Banks / Financial Institutions – on a case by case basis are providing relief from mortgage, auto and personal loan, and credit card payments.
- Auto Companies – again on a case by case basis you may be able pause your payments as you manage interrupted cash flow.
While relief means you may not have to make the payment this month or for a number of months depending on what you negotiate, expect interest to continue to be charged and you do eventually need to resume making those payments! Check with the companies you deal with for what options may be available and what the terms and conditions are.
- Canada Response Benefit – This is new and will provide a $2,000 per month for up to four months in the event you lose income because of this pandemic. This loss of income can be due to job loss, illness, quarantine, caring for others (incl. children) or work disruption. This support is available regardless of EI eligibility.
- Small Business Owners – a temporary wage subsidy is available to eligible employers for three months. Eligible businesses include those employers that get the small business deduction, certain partnerships, charities and non-profit organizations.
- Employment Insurance (EI)
- No longer required to provide a medical certificate if applying for sickness benefits.
- One week waiting period waved for those in imposed quarantine that claim EI sickness benefits.
- Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks for those who qualify. This includes workers, including self-employed who 1) get sick or quarantined with COVID 19 but don’t qualify for EI sickness benefits, 2) take care of a family member such as elderly parent but don’t qualify for EI sickness benefits, or 3) parents with children requiring supervision and are unable to earn employment income, whether or not they qualify for regular EI.
- Tax Filing – Deadline for individuals is now moved to June 1st. Both individuals and businesses can defer paying taxes owed to September. However, if you receive either the GST Credit or the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), you may want to file as soon as possible to ensure you get your full entitlement for 2020-2021.
- GST Credit – if you are eligible, you will receive a one-time special payment of about $400 for a single person and $600 for a couple.
- Canada Child Benefit – for those who receive this benefit, the amount has increased by about $300 per child for the year and will form part of the May payment.
- Federal Student Loans – Payments are paused March 30 – Sept 30. No interest will accrue during this time.
- RRIF Minimums – minimum withdrawal rate has been reduced for 2020 by 25%. Work with your advisor if you would like to reduce the amount you have to take.
Click here for full details of the Canadian Government financial supports announced to date.
Check your provincial government website for supports available in the province you reside. Examples of provincial measures taken include:
- One time payments to families with children
- Support for low income seniors
- Reduced Hydro Rates (a big one in Ontario!)
- Student Loan relief
- Halt in evections for those who can’t pay their rent
- Business Tax Relief
Check your municipality for programs in your area. Examples of financial relief available include:
- Ability to pause property tax payments (again, you will have to still pay them, perhaps just not right now)
- Extending due dates for utility bill payments
Financial stress can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there is help. Hopefully you followed last week’s blog and took the time to assess what you have and what you owe, as well as reviewing your monthly bills with an eye to what choices you may need to make in the event of income disruption. Especially if you have a financial gap, take the time to review the sources of help available to you. This is an unprecedented time and the financial support available in turn is also unprecedented to ensure that this economic shock doesn’t turn into a financial crisis for you, your family, or your business.
All the best to you and your loved ones – stay healthy.