Let’s Get Through This Together: Financial Help to Cope with COVID-19

The ongoing impact of the COVID-19 crisis has brought with it much uncertainty for many Canadians. People are worried about their health, livelihoods and managing through this unprecedented event which can make already challenging financial circumstances harder.

But there is help available. Our prime minister is working to help ensure that resources are available for Canadians during this time and many provinces and cities are working hard to follow suit.

“No matter where you live, what you do, or who you are, you will get the support you need during this time,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The federal government is putting money into the economy that’s meant to flow directly to you. The plan is to help Canadians put food in the fridge as well as pay rents and mortgages. They are also giving financial breaks to businesses, which might benefit you as a worker or a business owner.

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What Does This Mean For You?

Here is a look at what you may be eligible to receive.

How to get a break with Employment Insurance (EI)

There are fewer restrictions to getting EI now in order to help you manage through sickness, quarantine, job loss or the need to stay home and look after children. The government is waiving the one-week waiting period for those who are in imposed quarantine, and waiving the requirement to have a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.

The government is also introducing the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which provides $2,000 a month for 4 months for Canadians who are affected by COVID-19, either due to self-isolation or layoffs and did not receive a salary. It is available starting April 6 through a new online portal and funds will be paid within 10 days of application. The applicable period is between March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020.

Access is through the Canada Revenue Agency MyAccount secure portal, your secure My Service Canada account or by calling a toll-free number that will be made available.

How to get a break on the Canada Child Benefit

If you’re a parent, you may get an extra $300 per child starting in May and this benefit should last until the end of the year. The government estimates the average increase for families receiving the benefit will be about $550. The extra benefit will come as part of your May 2020 payment.

How to get a break with a one-time GST payment

You can get what amounts to twice the Goods and Services Tax credits (GSTC) this year, which, if you qualify, can add up to a total of $400 per person or $600 for couples for the 2019-20 benefit year. This one-time special payment is expected to be paid out early in May through the GSTC.

How to get a break on filing your federal taxes

The federal government has pushed the tax filing deadline to June 1, 2020, instead of the usual April 30 deadline.

How to get a break on your student loan

If you’re a student who is in the process of repaying a student loan, there’s a break. The government is introducing a six-month moratorium on replaying Canada Student Loans – and no interest will be added on these loans for six months.

How to get a break on your mortgage

The federal government is allowing, through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and other mortgage insurers, various options including the opportunity for you to defer mortgage payments.

The big banks have promised mortgage help for Canadians, as well. It’s a good idea to connect with the institution that holds your mortgage for more information.

How to get breaks from other payments and services

  • Rogers has waived its data caps for internet plans for both its home and business internet customers. Same goes for its long-distance and roaming fees, and it has offered free channels to its Ignite television customers.
  • Bell is waiving additional usage fees for Bell residential Internet customers until the end of April. 
  • Shaw has also added TV channels. If you need WIFI, Shaw is giving everyone access to its Shaw Go WiFi network hotspots whether you’re a customer or not.
  • Telus has waived home internet overage charges until the end of April for customers who aren’t on unlimited plans.
  • Media outlets, including The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star have been providing free access to select COVID-19 stories to keep you informed.
  • Amazon: Amazon has canceled the subscription of books and audio stories for children and students of all ages as long as schools are closed, kids everywhere can instantly stream an incredible collection of stories, including titles across six different languages, that will help them continue dreaming, learning, and just being kids. All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet using the following link https://stories.audible.com/start-listen

If you are looking for more information, please visit Canada’s Economic Response Plan page

We are likely still dealing with just the first stages of financial breaks but many companies are pitching in already to help and more are likely to in the days ahead. Think of all the companies you pay for services, and reach out to see what relief they are offering.  Learn about what programs you might qualify for, and reach out to your service providers, landlord, lenders or anyone else you normally pay every month.

If you need support, remember that we are all in this together. We are here to help too, visit  easyfinancial.com to learn more or call us at 1-888-502-3279 with questions.

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