For the most up to date information on the pandemic, and to find resources that can help you and your family, please visit: canada.ca/coronavirus.
PUBLIC HEALTH INFORMATION
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB): This Benefit will provide $2,000 a month for workers who lose income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Canadians would begin to receive their CERB payments within 3-5 days if registered with direct deposits (within 10 days by mail). CERB extended from 24 weeks to 28 weeks for workers who:
- stopped working due to COVID-19 or
- are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits or
- have exhausted their Employment Insurance regular benefits or Employment Insurance fishing benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020.
- EI Sickness Benefits: The one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived for new claimants who are quarantined, so they can be paid for the first week of their claim. The requirement to provide a medical certificate will also be waived.
- EI Work Sharing Program: We are implementing the EI Work Sharing Program, which provides EI benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hour as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers, by extending the eligibility of such agreements to 76 weeks, easing eligibility requirements, and streamlining the application process.
- Fish Harvester Benefit offers income support to self-employed fish harvesters and sharepersons. The benefit covers up to 75% of income losses beyond a 25% threshold for the 2020 tax year when compared to 2018 or 2019. The maximum benefit is $10,164.
- Fish Harvester Grant is a non-repayable grant to self-employed fish harvesters with a valid commercial fishing licence in 2020 (issued by DFO or their Province or Territory for freshwater commercial harvesters). The Grant provides a maximum non-repayable support of up to $10,000, dependent on the level of the fish harvesters’ historic fishing revenue in 2018 or 2019.
- The Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund will provide $62.5 million in new temporary funding to the fish and seafood processing sector.
- These investments will help applicants:
- increase storage to deal with excess inventory
- ensure the health and safety of workers and of the local food supply
- adopt advanced manufacturing technologies
- adapt to changing requirements and demand
- Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement Top-Up: We will be providing additional financial support of $2.5 billion for a one-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension, with an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). This measure would give a total of $500 to individuals who are eligible to receive both the OAS and the GIS, and will help them cover increased costs caused by COVID-19. It was distributed to eligible seniors during the week of July 6th.
- Registered Retirement Income Funds: We are reducing the minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020 in recognition of volatile market conditions and their impact on many seniors’ retirement savings. This will provide flexibility to seniors that are concerned that they may be required to liquidate their RRIF assets to meet minimum withdrawal requirements. Similar rules would apply to individuals receiving variable benefit payments under a defined contribution Registered Pension Plan.
- Assessments: Temporarily extending GIS and Allowance payments if seniors’ 2019 income information has not been assessed. This will ensure that the most vulnerable seniors continue to receive their benefits when they need them the most. To avoid an interruption in benefits, seniors are encouraged to submit their 2019 income information as soon as possible and no later than by October 1, 2020.
- New Horizons for Seniors Program: We will be expanding the New Horizons for Seniors Program with an additional investment of $20 million to support organizations that offer community-based projects that reduce isolation, improve the quality of life of seniors, and help them maintain a social support network. These services could include the delivery of groceries, medications, or other needed items, or personal outreach to assess individuals’ needs and connect them to community supports.
- GST Credit Top-Up: For low and modest income seniors we are providing a supplementary payment under the GST Credit of close to $400 per adult and $600 per couple.
Our Government knows that this pandemic has deeply affected the lives and health of all Canadians, and disproportionately affected Canadians with disabilities in particular. That is why we announced a one-time payment of $600 for persons with disabilities to address these expenses.
This payment will go to valid Disability Tax Credit certificate holders, which includes parents with children or dependents with disabilities, seniors, veterans, and many other Canadians that we know have costs associated with severe and prolonged disabilities. This payment will also go to individuals who are recipients of the Canada Pension Plan disability benefit and veterans who receive disability supports provided by Veterans Affairs Canada. This funding will be distributed in Fall 2020.
SAFE RESTART AGREEMENT
As we gradually restart the economy and take the initial steps to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, the Government of Canada continues to work with the provinces and territories to ensure Canadians stay safe and healthy, and have the support they need in these challenging times. The Safe Restart Agreement will help address the key priorities, agreed upon by Canada’s First Ministers, for the safe restart of Canada’s economy over the next six to eight months. PEI will receive over $46,053,000.
- Safe Return to Class Fund: We have announced up to $2 billion - including over $10.4M for Prince Edward Island - in support for provinces and territories through the Safe Return to Class Fund. This will provide the complementary funding they need, as they work alongside local school boards to ensure the safety of students and staff members throughout the school year.
- For example, the Fund will help provinces and territories by supporting adapted learning spaces, improved air ventilation, increased hand sanitation and hygiene, and purchases of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies.
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS): Applications are now open, and an extension to the program has been announced through December 2020. The subsidy will cover 75% of an employee’s wages for employers of all sizes and across all sectors – including not-for-profits and charities – who have suffered a drop in gross revenues of at least 30%. Companies will have the option of using January and February as reference periods to show a 30% loss, and businesses will only need to show a 15% decline in revenue for March instead of 30% because most of us only felt the impact of COVID-19 halfway through the month. For this reason, they will have the choice to include or exclude government funding when calculating loss in revenue. A calculator for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy can be found here.
- Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA): The new Canada Emergency Business Account will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced. To support even more small businesses, we are expanding the eligibility requirements of CEBA to allow businesses with between $20,000 and $1.5 million in annual payroll to apply.
- Business Resilience Service Hotline: This service will help entrepreneurs and small business owners in need of financial planning advice, particularly those who may not have access to an accountant. The service will also be open to not-for-profit organizations and charities. The hotline is a national, bilingual service operated by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. As of today, small business owners with pressing financial needs can call 1-866-989-1080 (toll-free) seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m Atlantic time.
- Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA): Applications are now open. The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, June, and July. The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25 per cent of the rent. Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.
- Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF): The RRRF will be delivered through our six Regional Development Agencies and is open for applications from businesses and communities, specifically targeted towards businesses that need help but haven’t qualified for existing programs. Businesses are encouraged to consult the Application Guide and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) before applying, and can contact ACOA by phone at 1-800-561-7862
- National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program: Starting on April 22nd at 7:00am, small and medium-sized Canadian businesses unable to secure funding under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Business Credit Availability Program can apply for financial assistance.
- Emergency Community Response Fund: We are setting up a $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund to support charities and nonprofits in their important work and get vulnerable Canadians the resources they need. The money will flow through national organizations like the United Way, Community Foundations Canada, and the Red Cross that can get funds to local organizations and vulnerable people quickly. This is money for things like training volunteers, increasing at-home deliveries for seniors or driving people with disabilities to appointments.
- Work Sharing Program: The Work-Sharing program is implementing temporary special measures to support employers and employees affected by the downturn in business caused by COVID-19. The temporary special measures will extend the Work-Sharing agreements by an additional 38 weeks, waive the mandatory waiting period between agreements, and ease the recovery plan requirements.
- Canada Account: There will be new measures to provide flexibility on the Canada Account limit, to allow the Government to provide additional support to Canadian businesses, when deemed to be in the national interest, to deal with exceptional circumstances.
- Insured Mortgage Purchase Program: We are launching an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program to purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
- Tax Filing: The CRA will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. They will not contact any small or medium (SME) businesses to initiate any post assessment GST/HST or Income Tax audits for the next four weeks. For the vast majority of businesses, the CRA will temporarily suspend audit interaction with taxpayers and representatives. The Liaison Officer service, traditionally available in-person, will be made available over the phone.
- Industry and Innovation: Since the outbreak, many businesses have put their hand up and asked us what they can do to help. We announced a new strategy that will make it easier for companies to help out during this critical time. We launched Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to Fight COVID-19 to ensure that we can quickly produce, here in Canada, the things we need to prevent the spread of the virus.
- Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses: CFIB has set up a website that answers some commonly-asked questions regarding COVID-19 relief measures for small businesses.
SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS AND YOUTH
- Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB): This benefit will provide $1,250 per month from May through August for eligible students, and $2,000 for students with dependents or permanent disabilities. Applications can be accessed by clicking here.
- Tuition Supports: In order to ensure that post-secondary students are confidently able to continue their studies in the fall, our Government is proposing significant measures to support their financial needs, including:
- Doubling the Canada Students Grants Program
- Broadening the eligibility for Student Financial Assistance
- Enhancing the Canada Student Loans Program
- Increasing support for Indigenous Post-Secondary Education
- And extending expiring federal graduate research scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships as well as federal research grants
- Student Loans: A six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all individuals currently in the process of repaying these loans will be put into place.
- Kids Help Phone: The Government of Canada will give $7.5 million in funding to Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) to provide young people with the mental health support they need during this difficult time.
- Canada Summer Jobs: We will now give CSJ employers a subsidy of up to 100% to cover the cost of hiring students. We will also extend the timeframe for a job placement until the winter because we know that some jobs will start later than usual, and because many businesses have had to scale back their operations, they will be able to hire a student part time.
- Temporary Canada Child Benefit (CCB) Increase: The overall increase for families receiving CCB will be approximately $550 on average; these families will receive an extra $300 per child as part of their May payment.
- GST Credit: For low and modest income families who may require additional help with their finances, the government is proposing to provide a one-time special payment by early May 2020 through the Goods and Services Tax credit (GSTC). This will double the maximum annual GSTC payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year.
Together, the proposed enhancements of the GSTC and CCB will give a single parent with two children and low to modest income, nearly $1,500 in additional short-term support.
SUPPORT FOR OUR LOCAL COMMUNITY
- United Way: If you are not currently receiving funding from United Way and want to receive emails about upcoming United Way funding opportunities, fill in the contact information on the form linked.
- Cultural, Artistic, Heritage, and Sporting Sector: We have announced funding of $500 million to establish a new COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations. The Fund is an additional temporary measure created to provide financial support to organizations in these sectors, which complements the Government’s existing COVID-19 support measures for wages and fixed costs.
- Payment of Tax Returns: The CRA is allowing all taxpayers, including businesses, to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment deadline of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.
- Canada Revenue Agency Support: Effective immediately, the CRA will recognize electronic signatures as having met the signature requirements of the Income Tax Act, as a temporary administrative measure. This provision applies to authorization forms T183 or T183CORP. The CRA also is adapting its Outreach Program to provide support over the phone and through webinars, where possible.
TRAVEL ADVISORIES AND THE UNITED STATES BORDER
Anyone returning to Canada from any country, including the United States, is legally required to proceed immediately home and self-isolate for 14 days. Violating any instructions provided to you when you entered Canada could lead to up to 6 months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines. If asymptomatic travellers cannot explain a credible quarantine plan, they will be required to quarantine in a hotel.
- Emergency Contacts: Global Affairs Canada has a 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre for Canadians abroad, available by phone at 613-996-8885 (collect calls are accepted where available) or by email [email protected]
- United States Border: A restriction on non-essential travel is in place at all points of the Canada-U.S. border. Essential travel includes the maintenance of supply chains – ensuring that food, fuel, and life-saving medicines can be reached on both sides of the border. Canadians and Americans who cross the border each day for essential work or for urgent reasons will also not be affected by this closure.
- United States Border Exemptions: An exemption to the essential travel requirement for immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are asymptomatic and seeking entry into Canada for a minimum of 15 days has been announced. Public health requirements, such as the mandatory 14 day quarantine will remain in place. An immediate family member refers to a person’s: a) spouse or common-law partner b) dependent child, as defined in section 2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, or dependent child of the person’s spouse or common-law partner; c) dependent child, as defined in section 2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, of a dependent child referred to in paragraph (b); d) parent or step-parent or the parent or step-parent of the person’s spouse or common-law partner; or e) the guardian or tutor of the person.
- Entry into Canada: The Canadian border is open to Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents and their immediate family members (who hold a valid visa to Canada). The definition of an immediate family member includes: (a) the spouse or common-law partner of the person; (b) a dependent child of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner; (c) a dependent child of a dependent child referred to in paragraph (b); (d) the parent or step-parent of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner; or (e) the guardian or tutor of the person.