Coronavirus Related Benefits Available for Canadians

The federal government this week announced several financial help measures for Canadians facing difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Here’s the quick summary of the main changes:

Tax filing deadlines

The deadlines for filing personal tax returns have been extended until June 1, 2020, which is a one-month extension after the usual April 30 deadline. The payment deadline for the balance owing also has been extended until August 31, which is four months later than the regular date. However, it is still recommended to file your taxes as soon as possible if you are expecting a refund as the CRA will continue to process refunds throughout the tax season.

Tax instalments

The deadline for tax instalment was also changed. You have now until August 31, 2020, to pay your tax instalments which would normally due between March 18 and August 31. It is confirmed that no interest nor penalties will accumulate during this period.

Temporary income support for workers and parents

To support Canadians without paid sick leave the government introduced new measures:

  1. Waiving the one-week waiting period for individuals who claim EI sickness benefits and waiving the requirement for a medical certificate.
  2. Introducing the Emergency Care Benefit (ECB) which will provide bi-weekly support up to $900 for up to 15 weeks.

Special one-time payment

One-time special payment will be given out by early May 2020 through GSTC. The government has estimated that the average payment for those who qualify will be around $400 for individuals and around $600 for couples.

Increased Canada Child Benefit

The maximum annual Canada Child Benefit amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year will be increased by $300 per child. An estimated 3.5 million families will receive the extra benefit in May 2020.

Student Loans

Six-month interest-free payment moratorium has been announced for individuals currently in the process of repaying Canada Student Loans, and no interest will be added on these loans during this period.

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