These are unprecedented times…COVID-19 is wreaking havoc around the world, and for many of us it’s taking a toll on our finances. You may be struggling to figure out how you’ll pay your rent or adjust your life to suit a reduced salary. Layoffs have left many people wondering how they will get by from day to day. It can be downright scary, but the good news is that there’s help for Canadians.
We’ve done the legwork for you. This guide gives you the full picture of the measures our governing bodies have put in place to bring economic relief to those who need it most. Throughout Canada, tax credits, payment deferrals and various forms of financial aid are now available. It’s important to understand how it all works and what you’re eligible for, so we’re breaking it down for you here.
Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
The Government of Canada has developed this plan to assist Canadian individuals and businesses who are dealing with financial difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
Benefits for eligible individuals and families include:
- Temporary salary top-up for low-income essential workers
- An increased Canada Child Benefit
- Special goods and services tax credit payment
- Extra time to file tax returns
- Mortgage support
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for people facing a loss of income
- Suspended repayment and interest on student and apprentice loans
Support for businesses includes:
- Subsidies to avoid layoffs and rehire employees
- Access to credit
- Deferred payments
Financial Help for Canadians Abroad
The Government of Canada expects Canadians abroad to attempt to use their own financial means to arrange their return to Canada. However, Canadians who have no available source of funds to return home may apply for assistance from the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad. Each application will be assessed on a case by case basis with consideration given to each individual’s situation and needs.
To learn more:
Beyond the federal programs, there are also various provincial and territory financial assistance initiatives. These initiatives range from childcare support for essential workers to utility payment deferral.
For example, in Ontario for a specific period, residential, farm and small business time-of-use customers will pay the lowest rate for electricity bills. In addition, through the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP), low-income customers can get direct support to pay bills and ensure electricity and natural gas services are not disconnected during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Canadians whose employment has been affected by the pandemic have some options for financial support across the provinces, Here in Ottawa, these individuals can apply to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
Facebook Small Business Grants Program
Facebook recognizes that it’s not business as usual for small businesses right now. Many are on the brink of closure as a result of the global outbreak of COVID-19. In response, the social media giant is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits to up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in more than 30 countries where Facebook operates. To be eligible to apply, your business must:
- Have between 2 and 50 employees
- Have been in business for over a year
- Have experienced challenges from COVID-19
- Be in or near a location where Facebook operates
To learn more:
Hope for the Future
There’s no question, the uncertainty the Coronavirus pandemic has created is real. Hopefully, the provisions that are being offered will eliminate some of the anxiety you or your loved ones may have been feeling. Chin up…let’s set our eyes on the better days that lie ahead.