Measures Announced to Respond to COVID – 19 for Individuals

Measures Announced to Respond to COVID – 19 for Individuals

As the situation surrounding COVID – 19 continues to evolve, the government has introduced many new measures to support individuals through these challenging times. For your reference, we have summarized the announcements made as of April 3, 2020 below: 

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

What is it? A measure to provide income support to Canadians who have lost income due to COVID -19 available from March 15,2020 to October 3, 2020.

Who is eligible?

  • If you have been let go or had your hours reduced to zero due to COVID – 19; 
  • If you are in quarantine or sick due to COVID – 19; 
  • If you are taking care of someone who is in quarantine or sick due to COVID – 19;  or
  • If you are taking care of children/dependants because their ordinary care is closed due to COVID – 19.
  • You had employment income or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of application.
  • You are expecting to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week block.  For any future four-week block, you have to be without employment or self-employment income for the whole block.
  • Note – If you are looking for a job but have not stopped working because of COVID-19, you are not eligible for the Benefit.

How is it calculated?

  • Paid in blocks of four weeks up to $2,000 per month as a single payment for a four-week period.
  • If your situation continues you can apply for an additional 4-week period, up to a maximum of 16 weeks.
  • The benefit is available from March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020. Any Employment Insurance (EI) claims made during this period will also be processed under the CERB. If you would have received a higher or lower amount under Employment Insurance, you will still receive the CERB amount of $2,000.

How do you apply? Applications will open the week of April 6 online through CRA My Account or over the phone with an automated service.  If you feel that you may qualify and will be applying for this benefit, please ensure that you setup your My Account with the CRA as soon as possible, if you have not already done so.

Other measures announced to help individuals

  • An extra $300 per child through the Canada Child Benefit – this will be received by parents currently receiving the Canada Child Benefit as part of their May payment. 
  • An increase to the April Goods and Services Tax (GST) payment received quarterly by eligible individuals and families. Those currently receiving the GST payment will see an increase.
  • Extension of the 2019 personal income tax return deadline to June 1, 2020 from April 30, 2020.
  • Any personal income tax balances due, or instalments payable, will be deferred to August 31, 2020 without interest or penalties.
  • Banks have committed to work with customers for any issues or hardships they are facing. This includes eligible borrowers deferring mortgage payments for up to six months.  
  • No  Canada Student Loans or Ontario Student Loan payments are required for six months starting March 30, 2020 without interest accruing.
  • The province of Ontario will be providing a one-time payment of $200 per child. Details for this payment are not yet announced

At SRJ Chartered Professional Accountants we are here for you. Through a cloud infrastructure, we are able to remain operational remotely. Please contact us if you have any questions in relation to navigating your way through the measures above.  Thanks and stay safe!