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Feds announce COVID-19 Emergency Response Act benefits

The federal government has announced its emergency benefits plans to help Canadians struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis said the government of Canada, in consultation with the opposition parties, worked late into Tuesday night to enact Bill C-13, the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act.

“This bill has activated all $82 billion dollars of support measures to assist Canadian families, and Canadian businesses within the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which were previously announced last week.”

There will be a total of $27 billion dollars in direct support offered to Canadian workers and businesses and another $55 billion dollars to meet the needs of Canadian businesses and households through tax deferrals which will also help us stabilize the economy.

The measures, as previously announced include:

Canada Child Benefit payments:
$2 billion in extra support is available for families
$300 top-up, per child, will be added to the May payment

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will comprise of both the care and support streams, announced on March 18, 2020. The CERB will include:

Emergency Care Benefit:
$10 billion dollars allocated to provide income support to workers who must stay home and who do not already have paid sick leave. This measure will give up to $900 biweekly for up to 15 weeks

You are eligible if you are:
Sick, or directed to quarantine/self-isolate, but do not qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits
Taking care of a family member with COVID-19
EI-eligible or non-EI Eligible working parent who must stay home without pay because of children who are sick, or who need additional care because of school closures

Emergency Support Benefit:
$5 billion dollars allocated to provide support to workers who are not eligible for EI, and who are facing unemployment.

You are eligible if you are:
Self-employed, employed on a contractual or part-time basis and have lost your job
An employee who has lost their income but remains attached to an employer

Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit:
$5.5 billion dollars to deliver a special top-up payment to individuals and families with low and modest incomes
$400 per individual, or $600 per couple
As one-time special payment will be delivered by May 2020

EI sickness benefits for workers:
Waiving the mandatory one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits
Waiving the requirement for a medical certificate to apply for EI sickness benefits.

You are eligible if you are:
A worker directed to quarantine or to self-isolate due to COVID-19

Extend the tax filing deadline for individuals to June 1:

All taxpayers may defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.

Payment deferral for homeowner/government-insured mortgage loans and relief on other credit products.

For borrowers in financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Insurers will permit lenders to allow payment deferral beginning immediately.
A six-month payment deferral for mortgages, and the opportunity for relief on other credit products for personal and small business banking customers.

Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs)
Reduce minimum withdrawals by 25 per cent for 2020 in recognition of volatile market conditions and the impact on many seniors’ retirement savings.

Canada Student Loan (CSL) payments
Initiation of a six-month long, interest-free period for all individuals who are actively repaying their CSL loans.

Indigenous Community Support Fund
$305 million dollars to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities.

Support women and children fleeing violence
$50 million dollars to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities. This includes funding for facilities within Indigenous communities.

Reaching Home program
$157.5 million dollars to address the needs of Canadians experiencing homelessness who would otherwise have limited access to preventative measures or supports for COVID-19.

Business Credit Availability Program
$10 billion in credit support for small, medium, and large Canadian businesses.
For businesses experiencing cash flow challenges, support will be provided through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada.

A 10 per cent wage subsidy for eligible small businesses
To help small businesses keep their staff on payroll.
Available for a period of 90 days up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer to

Canada Emergency Response Benefit
Income support to workers who are furloughed.
This benefit will complement the wage subsidy and help both workers and employers avoid a formal layoff situation.

Flexibility to provide further support and stimulus to the Canadian economy, including:

Capacity for further financial support to businesses through EDC, BDC, and Farm Credit Canada.
Flexibility for the Canada Account to better support specific businesses and sectors.
Ability to give additional support to provinces and territories facing significant economic or financial distress.

Business Income Tax
Allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any business income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020.
No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.

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