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Today, the Government of Canada announced the first phase of Canada’s $27 billion COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. It includes a number of measures that, in these extraordinary circumstances, will help Canadians pay bills, pay rent, and put food on the table without worry.
Measures include:
  • Temporarily boosting Canada Child Benefit payments to deliver $2 billion in extra support to families with children.
  • Extending the tax filing deadline for individuals to June 1st and deferring income tax payments to August 31st for individuals and businesses. No interest or penalties will accumulate during this period.
  • Introducing a $10 billion Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks for workers who must stay home and do not have access to paid leave. This benefit applies to:
    • Workers (including self-employed) who are sick, quarantined, or who have been directed to self-isolate but do not qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits
    • Workers (including self-employed) who are caring for a family member who is sick with COVID-19, but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits
    • EI-eligible and non-eligible working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or have faced school closures
  • Introducing a $5 billion Emergency Support Benefit via the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to provide support to workers not eligible for EI and facing unemployment.
  • Providing a $5.5 billion GST credit special top-up payment to provide additional assistance to individuals and families with low and modest incomes.
  • Waiving the one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits (for a minimum of 6 months) for those in imposed quarantine or who have been directed to self-isolate, as well as waive the requirement for a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.
  • Providing a 10% wage subsidy to small businesses for the next 90 days, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. This applies to corporations eligible for the small business reduction, not-for-profit organizations, and charities.
  • Providing flexibility to defer mortgage payments, beginning immediately, on homeowner government-insured mortgage loans to those experiencing financial difficulty related to the outbreak.
  • Implementing a six-month, interest-free, moratorium on Canada Student Loan payments.
  • Reducing minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020.
  • Providing up to $50 million to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres to increase their capacity to manage and prevent an outbreak in their facilities.
  • Providing an additional $157.5 million to the Reaching Home program to support Canadians experiencing homelessness.
  • Providing $305 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund to address the immediate needs of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities.
  • Increasing the credit available to businesses through the Business Credit Availability Program through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC). This will provide more capital to aid in cash flow challenges.