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Financial support for Canadians during the pandemic

What you need to know about new government funding,
changes to tax rules and how to make the most of the benefits available.

The COVID-19 outbreak has created unprecedented disruptions across the globe. It’s clear that even more challenges lie ahead as we confront the impact that this pandemic will have on our lives and our community.

For many of us, the financial demands of daily life are going to become more difficult to meet as a result of lost wages due to illness, quarantine, or child care for kids who are home from school. We will all feel the effects of the oncoming recession that experts predict is inevitable.

Please know you’re not in this alone. There are measures being put in place to help Canadians get through this difficult time, and the team at Mylo will do our best to help you navigate them.

That’s why we’ve rounded up a list of everything you need to know about the resources and support available to Canadians right now.

We’ll keep adding to this list as more information becomes available, so check back here for updates. If you have updates or resources that you think we should include, please let us know.


Taxes

The Canadian government has postponed the deadlines for Canadians to file and pay their taxes as part of their COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

  • Federal Tax Filing Deadline: The deadline for filing your taxes has now been delayed by one month from April 30 to June 1.

  • Federal Tax Payment Deadline: The deadline for paying any taxes owing from now until August 31st has been pushed back until August 31st.  Those payments will be due no later than August 31st, including any taxes owing from your 2019 filing.

  • Provincial Tax Deadlines

    Quebec: The deadline for producing and filing income tax returns has been postponed to June 1, 2020. 

    For individuals and individuals in business, the deadline for applying balances due related to income tax returns for the 2019 taxation year is postponed to July 31, 2020.

    For those who must pay tax installments, the payment of the June 15, 2020 tax installment is suspended until July 31, 2020.

The terms and conditions of the flexibility measures can be consulted in the Information Bulletin published by the Ministère des Finances.

Employment Insurance (EI)

The Canadian government is using the EI program as a key backbone to delivering aid to Canadians who are losing income or employment as the result of the crisis. Updates to the EI program include:

  • EI Sickness Benefit provides up to 15 weeks of income replacement. It’s available to you if you’re unable to work because of illness, injury or quarantine. More info here.

  • Emergency Care Benefit is available for workers without paid sick leave who are sick, quarantined or forced to stay home to care for children. The program pays up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks. Applications will be available as of April 2020 via the Canada Revenue Agency MyAccount Portal.

  • Emergency Support Benefit is a program announced in response to the pandemic to support self-employed workers and freelancers. There is very little information about this currently, but the government has committed $5 billion from its recent support package to this envelope. Stay tuned for updates.

  • UPDATE (03/25/2020): The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) has been announced as a simpler and more accessible combination of the Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit. It will provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is available to both salaried / wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed workers.

    UPDATE (04/03/2020): Applications for the CERB open on April 6, either online or by phone. The CRA has set up specific days for you to apply, depending on your birth month.

    UPDATE (04/06/2020): The CERB has been updated to include gig workers, contractors and students, plus people are still working, but are working with reduced hours.

  • Canada Child Benefit (CCB) is an existing program to provide pre-tax funding to Canadians with kids under 18.  The government is increasing the amount available per child by $300 for one month for eligible recipients that have to stay home from work to care for a child that is unable to attend school because of the outbreak. The benefit increase will be paid out on the May 2020 CCB payment. If you already receive the CCB, you do not need to re-apply, however if you are not yet enrolled, you can do so here.

Debt Relief

In a cash flow crisis, many Canadians may struggle to keep up with debt payments including those on their mortgages, credit cards and student loans. Here’s what we know so far:

  • Mortgages & Credit Card Payments
    The big six Canadian banks have announced that they will provide flexible payment arrangements for personal and business customers that experience pay disruption, childcare disruption due to school closures or illness related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    UPDATE (03/23/2020): While postponing debt payments may help in a cash crunch, it’s possible that you will continue to be charged interest on both your outstanding payments as planned and the overdue interest from the deferrals, as reported by the CBC today. This means you could end up paying more interest overall, and deferring a payment could possibly even have an impact on your credit score.

    Contact your bank to see if you are eligible for deferred payments on your mortgage and/or credit card debt, and be sure to find out what the terms are for payment deferrals, and what that means for your overall interest costs.

    UPDATE (04/06/2020): The banks will also be temporarily reducing credit card interest rates for customers who need to defer payments.

Business Support

Here’s what’s been announced to keep businesses stay afloat and prevent layoffs:

  • UPDATE (27/03/2020): The Canadian government has announced a Temporary Wage Subsidy that will cover 75% of payroll wages for eligible small businesses. It will be backdated to March 15 and is a big increase from the 10% previously promised. Employers benefiting from this will include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities.

  • UPDATE (27/03/2020): A new Canada Emergency Business Account will provide one-year interest free loans of up to $40,000 to small and medium-sized businesses.

Loans

As part of a multi-billion dollar relief program, Canada is giving out over $10 billion in loans to individuals and businesses.

  • COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad is an emergency loan of up to $5,000 to help you return to Canada and to cover your short-term needs while you work toward returning. More info available here

  • Business Credit Accessibility Program (BCAP) is available to entrepreneurs that own and operate a viable business.  These are low to no interest loans coordinated through Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) that can help you continue to operate your business in a cash crunch. More info here.

RRIF Withdrawals

If you are over 71 and have a registered retirement income fund (RRIF) which can include an RRSP, Canada is reducing the required minimum withdrawals by 25% for 2020.  

Other Benefits

The Canadian and provincial governments already offer a wide range of services and benefits to Canadians depending on where you are and your specific circumstances or situation.

Use the Benefit Finder to see if you qualify for any additional programs or support.

Provincial Resources

Here’s a list of provincial-level resources in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Only a few of these resources currently include specifics about local economic programs intended to help Canadians through the crisis, but we’re hopeful that updates will come in the days and weeks ahead.

Mylo Advisor

We each have unique financial situations, and there is no “one size fits all” solution for finding ways to overcome the financial challenges that may lie ahead. We recently rolled out a new service, Mylo Advisor, and we’re hard at work expanding our capacity to offer it to all of our users.

Advisor gives you access to real-time live chat with an expert financial advisor that can answer any questions that you may have about your personal finances and help make difficult financial choices easier. Join the waitlist today



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Dave Fortin is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a portfolio manager for Mylo users with Tactex Asset Management, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mylo Financial Technologies.