NEW EMERGENCY MEASURES IN CANADA DUE TO CORONA
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced today that the federal government intends to spend up to a whopping $82 billion to alleviate Canadian concerns amid the Coronavirus pandemic, out of which $27 billion is intended exclusively to directly support Canadian workers and businesses. This is said to meet the liquidity needs of Canadian households and businesses mainly through tax deferrals. This figure alone accounts for more than 3 % of Canada’s GDP.
The following are some of the highlights and takeaways of his speech today:
SICKNESS BENEFITS BEYOND EI
There are those Canadians amongst us who remain in isolation without paid sick leave or access to Employment Insurance sickness benefits. For them, a new Emergency Care benefit is being introduced which would provide up to $900 bi-weekly for a maximum of 15 weeks. This translates to about $10 billion to the federal government. The coverage is extended to those who are caring for a family member diagnosed with COVID-19 and parents who have to perform childcare duties while schools remain closed.
Applications for the same shall be available in April 2020.
UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS BEYOND EI
Ottawa is also considering providing income supports to workers who lost or will lose their jobs as a result of this pandemic. The estimated cost of this budget is said to be $5 billion.
To avoid businesses from doing lay-offs, the government plans to provide a subsidy equal to 10% of employee wages (that’s up to $1,375 per employee and $25000 per employer). This subsidy could cost around $3.8 billion
Good news for those currently receiving Canada Child Care Benefits (CCB)! Over the coming months, Trudeau has announced that a maximum of $300 extra shall be given per child for the benefit year. Families are expected to receive this extra benefit in May.
Another benefit deduced from his speech is that Ottawa will also double the Goods and Services Tax Credit (GSTC), thereby providing an additional $400 for low-income individuals and nearly $600 extra for couples.
Bill Morneau, the Finance Minister stated to reporters saying that single parents would thus be eligible for roughly $1500 in support thanks to both the measures combined
TAX DEADLINE POSTPONED
Following suit of the US, the tax deadline is now set to be on June 1. However, those with tax balances owing shall be able to defer the respective payments interest-free until July 31. Businesses shall be allowed to defer their tax payments until after August 31 (no interest or penalties will get accumulated).
MORATORIUM ON STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS
The PM also was heard stating that the government will also be proposing a six- month, interest-free moratorium on the repayment of federal student loans.
WHAT’S OPEN & WHAT’S CLOSED NOW:
Listed below is a quick glance at what’s still open and what remains closed in Ontario:
- All publicly-funded schools in Ontario are to remain closed till April 5.
- Gyms and health centers (including YMCAs) to remain closed till at least mid- April
- Bars and restaurants to shift to a drive-through and take-out only mode (no dining in)
- Cinemas will only reopen on April 2 or until further notice.
- Visitor and Cultural Attractions
- Shopping (Costco and other grocery retail chains are exempted. However, restrictions on the number of people that can enter at a time shall be implemented)
- LCBO, the Beer Store, and Cannabis stores remain open
- Banks (till now only CIBC has all of its branches operational with modified hours, along with RBC. Do check in with your respective bank as it changes from city to city)