COVID-19: Government Relief
The measures from the Government of Canada to support you during COVID-19.
The Ultimate Financial Guide to COVID-19
As this situation is constantly evolving, we have set up an online article that we update several times per day. The steps in this checklist will give you an overview of the details to be found in the article.
As many Canadians are either not working or only partially working at this time, Employment Insurance (EI) benefit access rules have changed. Everybody is not eligible for EI. If you are over 65, you might not be eligible, if you are self-employed, you need to be registered here.
If you are sick or unable to work due to injury, illness or quarantine, you can apply for EI sickness benefits here. If you have been placed in quarantine and cannot work, Service Canada has committed to the following measures:
Priority EI applications for quarantined Canadians
No medical certificate requirement
Reviews of the waiting period on a case-by-case basis
A new telephone line established to assist with applications and the waiver of the waiting period. Call 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free)
For updated income relief information, including the CERB read:
Small Business Supports
If you have a small business or are self-employed, the Government of Canada has announced several proposals, not many are confirmed.
For updated on federal supports for small businesses:
Click here for an FAQ for small businesses.
Taxes for Businesses and Individuals
Tax Filing Deadlines have changed from April 30th until June 1st 2020 for personal taxes.
The deadline to pay off outstanding taxes interest-free is extended to August 31st or later (at this time). This applies to income tax due as well as installments. No interest or penalties will apply during this period.
Warning! If you are expecting any benefits or entitlements, you should file your taxes on time to ensure that you receive those entitlements in a timely manner. This includes GSTC and the Canada Child Benefit.
August 31st is the new deadline for corporate tax payments to be made, including any scheduled installments that would otherwise be due. Liaison officers that were typically available to small businesses in person will now be available over the phone to help them understand their tax implications. There is also a temporary suspension on collections and audits.
Due to additional risk in meeting with tax preparers at this time, the CRA is recognizing electronic signatures temporarily. This applies to authorization forms T183 and T183CORP
Steps to create your MyCRA account here. This takes some time, if you haven’t created one yet, do so now.
For updated tax information:
Mortgage Payment Relief
Don’t be fooled by news headlines of rent or mortgage halts. The lenders, banks or landlords are the ones who make the decision, based on recommendations of governmental organizations, insurers and more. This is being updated constantly.
Big bills like your mortgage or rent are the most frightening. While you may have some savings, most Canadians don’t have enough to cover more than 1 month of their rent or mortgage if their earnings were to decrease, or worse, stop.
Making your upcoming mortgage payment
If you have a mortgage payment coming up that you either cannot make, or that would use up a lot of your cash available right now, we recommend speaking to your mortgage company about a break. Read the update below for the most current information.
More details here.
A mortgage deferral is not a mortgage break
Mortgage insurers (such as CMHC, Genworth and CG) typically have programs in place with the different lenders that can allow up to 4 months of deferral or capitalization, many of which have extended to 6 months. It’s important to understand what deferral/capitalization means. It is not a “mortgage break”. Instead, the lender takes the total amount of monthly payments that were missed and adds that amount back to the total mortgage balance. New mortgage payments are calculated, making the loan current. This is a measure that is helpful in a time of very tight cash flow, but it does result in a more expensive mortgage over the long term.
For updated mortgage relief information:
Rent Payment Relief
Do not assume your rent payment can be missed because of COVID-19. You can be evicted and your landlord may seek collection. It is best to speak with and work with your landlord directly to come up with a payment plan or other arrangement for your rent payments if you cannot make them at this time. Be sure to get any agreed-upon arrangements in writing.
For updates on eviction halts, relief for renters and new guidelines, read: Your Ultimate Guide to COVID-19: How to Protect your Money During the Coronavirus Crisis
Redo your Budget
We cannot stress enough how critical it is to eliminate any unnecessary expenses at this time. Conserve your cash, do not buy anything you don’t need, recalculate your budget to reflect your new reality. As we don’t know how long or how severe the isolation will be, it is going to be critical to make the money you have now work best for you. Organizations that are employing workers today may not be able to continue doing so. Consider living on less, try a no-spend month, order in food less and, if possible, find ways to reduce your bills.
Expenses you had before have disappeared and new costs have likely increased. The goal is to recreate a budget that takes the money saved from entertainment, travel, dining out, gifts and more and redirect it to an emergency fund. Check out the top budgeting tools here. Learn how to improve your spending habits here.
Utility companies for power, cable, internet, hydro, gas and more are offering different measures to help their clients through the crisis. Take the time to reduce expenses where you can.
Remember, just because there is an announcement of refunds, it doesn’t guarantee that you will get one. There are many cases of fine print or delays in these refunds. Now is the time to be very careful and focused on your financial life.