As we adapt to new ways of living and working amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, here’s a library of some of the public and private initiatives announced so far to support your financial, physical and mental well-being.
The Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provides $2,000 monthly for up to four months to Canadians who have lost their income as a result of COVID-19. You may also qualify for employment insurance (EI). Before you apply for income support, be sure to look at both options, the CERB and EI, to decide which one fits your situation. Please see our infographic for additional details on the available government programs.
RRIF minimum withdrawal reduction
To help retirees, the government has lowered the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020. This allows seniors to avoid selling investments in a low market. Whether you take this reduction depends on your situation and cash flow needs. As your Advisor, I can help you determine the amount to withdraw from your RRIF that makes sense for you and your long-term goals.
Increased Canada Child Benefit (CCB)
An extra $300 per child is expected to be provided through the CCB in 2020. This benefit would be automatically delivered with the scheduled CCB payment in May.
The federal government has taken steps to make it easier for Canadians who may be experiencing financial hardship to work with their mortgage providers to defer mortgage payments for up to six months. Just understand that this isn’t mortgage forgiveness. Your mortgage will continue to accrue interest, and you’ll have to make up any skipped payments in the future. Lenders may also be able to help homeowners through other mortgage default management tools. Before considering any option for relief, understand your lender’s rules and read the fine print on your mortgage.
Municipalities across Canada have also introduced property tax relief in the form of payment deferrals or extended grace periods for both residents and businesses. Be sure to understand your options based on where you live.
Support for small businesses
To support Canadian businesses facing hardship due to COVID-19, the Government of Canada is taking the following action:
- Temporary wage subsidy: To help employers keep and retain workers, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy provides a 75% wage subsidy to qualifying businesses, for up to three months, retroactive to March 15, 2020.
- Tax filing flexibility: All businesses can defer paying any income tax owing between March 18 and September 1 of this year. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts over this period. Payments are scheduled to resume September 1. If you’re self-employed, you also have until September 1 to pay any income taxes owed, but you still need to file a tax return by June 15.
- Access to credit: Among other measures to ensure businesses have access to credit, the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) will allow government provisions to support small and medium-sized businesses.
Our infographic outlines all support available to businesses with details on how to apply for relief.
Health check: If you think you might have symptoms of COVID-19, this self-assessment can help you understand how to proceed and get the most up-to-date information.
Wellness: Free, no-equipment online fitness classes are widely available to help you maintain your physical and mental health. Whether you’re looking for yoga classes or calorie-burning home workouts without the need for extra equipment, there are plenty of free apps and videos available to help you keep fit. For instance, the Nike Training Club app offers programs from professional trainers to help you keep up with your fitness goals. Fit Squad Training is another example. While the well-known center is closed, it’s offering classes designed to build muscle.
Free audiobooks: For as long as schools are closed, Audible is offering hundreds of kids’ titles for free across six different languages, from folk and fairy tale classics to newer releases like Harry Potter.
Free art and music tutorials: Nurture your creativity and make life indoors more inspiring with free online art lessons and experiences from a range of artists and organizations. Even the lead singer from the Canadian band Arkells has been giving live tutorials for his songs via the group’s Instagram account.
Temporary lifting of internet data caps: Major Canadian internet service providers (ISPs) have removed monthly data caps on their internet subscriptions. Check with your ISP for other services you may be able to get for free or at a discount, including software trials and long-distance calling.
Here for you
The global effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 is reshaping the way we live our lives. We hope you find these online resources helpful to ease the sense of isolation as everyone practices physical distancing. Call our office today if you need any support or guidance to get you through this challenging period. We’re here to help.
Disclaimer: Investment Planning Counsel Inc. provides this publication for informational purposes only and it is not and should not be construed as professional advice to any individual. The information contained in this publication is based on material believed to be reliable at the time of publication, but IPC cannot guarantee the information is accurate or complete. Individuals should contact their IPC Advisor for professional advice regarding their personal circumstances and/or financial position.