1. The six largest financial institutions in Canada have made a commitment to work with personal and small business banking customers on a case-by-case basis to provide flexible solutions to help them manage through challenges, such as pay disruption due to COVID-19, childcare disruption due to school or daycare closures, or those suffering from COVID-19. As a first step, this support will include up to a six-month payment deferral for mortgages, and the opportunity for relief on other credit products. The Government of Canada will continue to monitor evolving economic conditions and seek greater relief measures should it be necessary.
2. The Canada Revenue Agency will defer the filing due date for the 2019 tax returns of individuals, including certain trusts.
- For individuals (other than trusts), the return filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020. However, the Agency encourages individuals who expect to receive a refund, or if you receive or will receive the GST/HST credit, Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) or Canada Child Benefit (CCB), or other income-tested benefits not to delay the filing of their return to ensure their entitlements for the 2020-21 benefit year are properly determined.
- For trusts having a taxation year ending on December 31, 2019, the return filing due date will be deferred until May 1, 2020.
- The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all taxpayers to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. Specifically, the payment of income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18, 2020, (also including installments) and before September 2020. The government documents indicate that payment will be deferred “until after August 31, 2020”, which seems to imply payment will be due on September 1. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.
- In order to reduce the necessity for taxpayers and tax preparers to meet in person during this difficult time, and to reduce administrative burden, effective immediately the Canada Revenue Agency will recognize electronic signatures as having met the signature requirements of the Income Tax Act, as a temporary administrative measure. This provision applies to authorization forms T183 or T183CORP, which are forms that are signed in person by millions of Canadians every year to authorize tax preparers to file taxes.
- Students: A six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all individuals currently in the process of repaying these loans will be provided.
- Minimum RRIF Withdrawals: The required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) will be reduced by 25% for 2020. Similar rules would apply to individuals receiving variable benefit payments under a defined contribution Registered Pension Plan.
3. The CERB
The government has also established the CERB discussed earlier on this page under Employment Standards with updates up to July 8, 2020. The CERB provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks. You can read more on the CRA web page here.
4. A new wage boost for essential workers
On April 15, 2020, the Government of Canada announced that they will work with provinces and territories through a new transfer to cost-share a temporary top up to the salaries of low-income essential workers that the provinces and territories have deemed essential in the fight against COVID-19.
The Government of Canada will cover a portion of the cost of providing temporary financial support to these low-income workers, thereby helping to support employers in keeping their workers on staff, while also ensuring fairness.
Through this new transfer, provinces and territories will be able to provide their low-income essential workers (those who earn less than $2,500 per month), with a top-up. This will provide a much-needed boost to those on the front-line in hospitals, those caring for seniors in long-term care facilities, those working so hard to make sure that there that is food on our shelves and tables, and others. We continue to work with provinces and territories on the delivery of this measure and further details will be released shortly.
Quebec and British Columbia have already implemented direct wage support for low-income workers in the essential service sectors. With today’s announcement, the federal government will be sharing the cost of this wage support through the new transfer to these provinces.