Written by Letitia Fluit
As the situation surrounding COVID-19 changes rapidly each week, day and even hour, new measures are being announced to support Canadians financially.
But with all of the information — and sources — out there, it can be hard to know what's true and what's not. And when you do find a reliable source, such as the Government of Canada website, sifting through the details can be overwhelming.
As the ravages of COVID-19 continue to take their toll on health, healthcare systems, and financial markets, the Bick Advisors' team has been watching the economic stimulus plans announced in the past weeks with interest. This post will dive into the plan's specifics — and how they will impact our clients and their families.
What we know — and how it will impact you
Before we begin to look closer, we'd like to stress caution before making any assumptions. Our recommendation is never to assume too much about financial support until you've read details from official sources.
As for what we know currently, based on the Government of Canada website, these are the highlights:
- For individuals and businesses — There have been measures introduced to alleviate tax burdens. Individuals now have an extended deadline — until June 1, 2020 — to file income taxes without interest or penalty. You may wish to file earlier should you be eligible for credits such as HST, Child Tax Benefit or Trillium Benefit, as the CRA calculates these once taxes are filed. Both individuals and businesses have until August 31, 2020, to pay their owed income taxes (or instalments) without interest or penalty.
- For small businesses (CCPCs), charities and not-for-profit organizations — There are wage subsidies in place for up to 75% of the remuneration you pay between March 15 and June 20, 2020, for qualifying businesses. More details on this are forthcoming.
- For employers or employees — The government initially released an Emergency Care Benefit available to workers impacted by COVID-19. This has now been replaced with the Emergency Response Benefit, which provides a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to four months to workers who meet specific criteria. Check your or your employees’ eligibility on the Government of Canada’s website here. Applications can begin in early April.
- For the financial markets — The markets are made up of businesses that keep our economy going. For as long as I type this on a computer and my kids keep eating us out of house and home, we’ll continue to have businesses to invest in. There have been details of federal and provincial packages announced that will help keep businesses in place. The best way to help is to continue purchasing goods and services.
What should you do next?
How can you keep learning about the economic relief we can expect in Canada in the meantime?
- Consider the source. — Reliable sources are essential. We encourage you to continue to check the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan landing page, which is updated frequently. We also encourage you to talk with advisors and experts in the field to discuss how these changes might impact you personally.
- For businesses, talk with your accountants to determine what options you have for your employees.
- For individuals, talk with your managers to determine what options you have for staying employed, or alternative working arrangements that still allow you to accomplish your tasks.
If you’d like to speak with an advisor about the economic relief the government is planning to provide, please reach out to us to schedule a phone call.
In the meantime, keep an eye on our blog for more posts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.