In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both our federal and the provincial government have released several benefit programs to help our society navigate through this difficult time.
The amount of information we receive via television, online, and on social media can sometimes be overwhelming, leaving a lot of us questioning: which, if any, of the benefit programs available apply to us?
We put together a list of the measures adopted by the federal and provincial government that will guide you through the benefits that may apply to you. You can come back and continue to check this page as we will update it frequently with the most recent updates about the programs available.
1. Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB): This benefit will apply to you if you have lost any income or your job due to COVID-19 (you must not have quit your job voluntarily). You must also have earned at least $ 5,000 in 2019 or in the last 12 months to be eligible for this program and be at least 15 years-old and residing in Canada. Another condition is that you have not earned more than $1,000 in employment or self-employment income for two weeks within the four-week benefit period you will claim. The CERB will provide you with $ 500 a week for up to 16 weeks.
2. Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS): Employers can receive a 75% wage subsidy for their workers. To be eligible, employers must show that their revenues have been reduced significantly due to COVID-19. For an employee to be eligible, he/she must be employed in Canada by an eligible employer during the claim period. If an employee has been laid off due to COVID-19, the employer may apply for that employee as long as the employee is rehired. The subsidies will run from March 15, 2020 to June 6, 2020. For more details, please visit https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/subsidy/emergency-wage-subsidy.html
3. 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers: Employers can reduce the amount of payroll deductions. This is a three-month program and the subsidy is equivalent to 10% of the remuneration paid from March 19, 2020 to June 19, 2020. The subsidy is up to $1,375 per employee and up to $25,000 total per employer. To check your eligibility, please visit https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/frequently-asked-questions-wage-subsidy-small-businesses.html
4. Emergency help to small and medium-size businesses (Quebec): Eligible small and medium-sized business can receive up to $ 50,000 in funding. To be eligible:
1. a business needs to have been actively doing business in Quebec for one year;
2. be temporarily closed or at risk of closing;
3. demonstrate a causal link between the business financial difficulties and COVID-19. For more information, please visit https://www.quebec.ca/entreprises-et-travailleurs-autonomes/aide-urgence-pme-covid-19/
5. Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA): This program aims to help small businesses navigate the current situation. This program will be implemented by eligible financial institutions and will provide loans of up to $ 40,000 to small business which revenues have been temporarily reduced due to COVID-19. To apply to the CEBA, small business should contact their financial institution directly. 25% of the loan will be forgiven (up to $10,000) if repaid by the small business before December 31, 2022.
6. Incentive Program to Retain Essential Workers (Quebec): The province of Quebec is providing financial assistance for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. This program will be available as of May 19, 2020 and will provide $ 100 per week beginning March 15, 2020 for a maximum period of 16 weeks. To be eligible, essential workers must receive gross wages of $ 550 or less per week, have an annual employment income of at least $ 5,000 and no more than $ 28,600 for 2020. For more information, please visit https://www.revenuquebec.ca/en/press-room/news/details/167331/2020-04-03/
7. Canada Child Benefit (CCB): An increase of $ 300 per child will be automatically paid to anyone already enrolled to the CCB as off May 2020. If you are not enrolled, you can apply if you have an eligible child in your care in May 2020. To apply please access https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/child-family-benefits/canada-child-benefit-overview/canada-child-benefit-apply.html#How
8. Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB): This program will pay $ 1,250 per month from May to August to eligible post-secondary students. To be eligible you must be not be eligible for the CERB or Employment Insurance and are unable to find full-time employment or to work due to COVID-19. More information is expected by the federal government soon.
9. Tax deferrals: All businesses can defer GST, HST, and customs duty payments for March 2020 to May 2020 can be paid as late as June 30, 2020. They are also allowed to defer income taxes owed after March 18, 2020 until August 31, 2020. The Income tax return filing deadline for individual’s personal taxes has also been extended to June 1, 2020.
10. Rent relief for small businesses: Recently announced by the Federal government, a new rent subsidy program will help small businesses that have experienced a revenue decline of at least 70% due to COVID-19 or were forced to close doors due to the current restrictions. In addition, small business tenants monthly rent must be less than $ 50,000. The landlord can agree to cut the tenants rent by 75% for April, May and June and must cover the remaining portion of the rent (up to 25%). In return, the landlord will receive a non-repayable loan to cover 50% of the rent payments for April, May and June 2020. More details will be provided soon.