26 Apr 2020

Sonia on Sundays: COVID-19 financial supports for permanent residents and citizens

So many Canadians and permanent residents have been affected by COVID-19. Many people have lost their jobs and are experiencing a hard time making ends meet. Fortunately, the Canadian government works extremely hard to find ways to assist every one of us in this incredibly challenging situation. (Note: I am writing this on April 24. The programs are always evolving so check the links for the most recent information.)

Sonia Krajewska is the ANC’s Community Settlement and Integration Counsellor (Permanent Residents).

The information below details Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. Please review to see what supports apply to you.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
     • It is a taxable benefit for people who lost their employment due to COVID-19.
     • This benefit equals $500 a week for up to 16 weeks for eligible workers
     • To be eligible, your income in 2019 (or in the 12 months prior to applying for CERB) had to be $5,000
     • If you are still employed, but due to COVID-19 your income was decreased to up to $1,000 (before taxes) per month, you may also collect CERB
     • If you exhausted your EI benefits, you can collect CERB
     • To apply for CERB you can call 1‑800‑959‑2019 or 1‑800‑959‑2041 or do it online at this link.

Temporary salary top-up for essential workers
     • It is a temporary salary top up for those people earning less than $2,500 per month who are considered essential in the fight against COVID-19
     • Those may include front-line workers in hospitals, long-term care facility workers and those ensuring the integrity of the food supply, or providing essential retail.
     • More details will be released by the Federal Government shortly

Increase of the Canada Child Benefit
     • It will include up to $300 extra per child. 
     • This is a one time increase to the May 2020 CCB payment for the 2019-2020 benefit year (July 2019 to June 2020).
     • There is no need to re-apply if you already receive CCB; it will be paid automatically

Special Goods and Services Tax credit payment (GST)
     • One-time special payment for individuals who normally receive the GST/HST credit, and have filed a 2018 tax return.
     • Benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples. There is no need to apply.
     • If you were eligible, you were automatically paid on April 9.

More time to file income tax returns
     • Individuals can file income tax returns until June 1, 2020.
     • You will have until 31st August 2020 to pay any tax balances due on or after March 18.

Mortgage support
     • If you have a mortgage you can work with your bank to find solutions to help manage it during those times of hardship caused by coronavirus.
     • Contact your bank or financial advisor directly to discuss options

Improving access to essential food support
     • Federal government is providing $100 million to national, regional and local organizations across Canada to improve access to essential food support.
     • In our province Food First NL created a database of community food programs (updated weekly during COVID-19)
     • To find out more click here: Food First NL database

Transportation Loan repayment delayed
     • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) decided to suspend Transportation Loan collections for a period of 6 months until September 2020
     • If you already started paying your travel loan, you can suspend it until September 2020

To read more information about Canada’s Economic Response Plan in your first language refer to these links: 
    • Arabic
    • Tigrinya
    • French
    • Somali

We can expect more measures to be implemented and above programs being further developed to assist more people. If you have any questions or you are struggling during recent days with social-distancing and not being able to work, reach out to our team and we will do our best to help!

My email is skrajewska@ancnl.ca so contact me with any questions or concerns you may have.