March 28, 2020
This letter was first sent as an email to our constituents. To receive regular updates from our office regarding COVID-19, sign up via the "Get Updates" tab.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit
During these times, uncertain and challenging due to COVID-19, I want to take another opportunity to check in once more with our community.
I hope you are all keeping safe, and taking necessary measures to implement all public health requirements- in particular, by respecting physical distancing, and avoiding getting together with friends and such, to protect yourself and others.
Now is the time to be diligent in our practice of social distancing because together we can and will get through this. The better we do this, the sooner we'll be past it.
My office staff and I have been working hard every day to advocate for you and respond to the concerns of our community.
We are actively helping with many complex situations, such as constituents stranded abroad, as well as answering inquiries regarding the first phase of Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.
We appreciate your patience and understanding, and the words of encouragement we receive. We are receiving an extremely high volume of inquiries, but, rest assured, we are in the process of responding to all constituents.
Today, I'd like to update you on our government's newest measures to protect Canadians from COVID-19 and its economic impacts.
As of midnight Thursday night, all Canadians travellers arriving from abroad are subject to a mandatory quarantine of 14 days (excepting only essential service workers such as truckers and airline crews, where appropriate).
Under the Quarantine Act, this will be enforceable through fines up to $750,000, and even possible jail time. Quarantined Canadians will be monitored to make sure that they are in fact honouring the quarantine. This is imperative to further decrease the spread of COVID-19 within Canada.
The Prime Minister also announced the Emergency Response Plan which provides support to Canadians and businesses that need assistance as a result of COVID-19.
In order to make the process easier to access and more efficient, we combined the two formerly-proposed benefits (Emergency Care, and Support Benefits) into one: The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
You will be able to apply for these benefits through an online portal, which is anticipated to be available by April 6.
Federal Support for Individuals
Support for individuals and families: Increasing the Canada Child Benefit (CCB)
- Providing an extra $300 per child through the Canada Child Benefit
- Eligible families will receive the extra amount with the May payment
- If you already receive the CCB you do not need to re-apply
- Apply for the Canada Child Benefit
Special Goods and Services Tax Credit Payment
- Providing a one-time payment in early May through the Goods and Services Tax credit for low and modest income families
- Those eligible will get this payment automatically and do not need to apply
Extra time to file tax returns
- Deferred filing deadline for the 2019 tax returns of individuals until June 1, 2020
- Any new income tax balances due, or instalments will be deferred until after August 31, 2020 without incurring interest or penalties
- If you expect to receive benefits under the GST credit or the CCB, we encourage you not to delay filing your 2019 return to make sure your entitlements can be properly determined
- Canadian banks are working with their customers on a case-by-case basis to find solutions to assist those impacted by COVID-19
- Canadians who are experiencing financial difficulty as a result should contract their financial institution regarding flexibility for a mortgage deferral
- The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and other mortgage insurers offer tools to lenders that can assist homeowners who may be experiencing financial difficulty
- Canada's mortgage insurers are committed to providing homeowners with solutions to mitigate temporary financial hardship related to COVID-19
- This includes permitting lenders to defer up to six months mortgage payments (interest and principal) for impacted borrowers
- Deferred payments are added to the outstanding principal balance and subsequently repaid throughout the life of the mortgage
Support for people facing unemployment
The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit
We will provide a taxable $2000 a month, for up to 4 months to:
- Workers not working due to COVID-19 who do not have access to paid leave or other income support
- Workers who are sick, quarantined, providing care to someone who is sick with COVID-19
- Working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures
- Workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is presently not sufficient work and their employer has requested they not come to work
- Wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance
Applicants will receive their Emergency Response payments about 10 days after applying
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be accessible through a secure web portal in early April
Applicants can also apply via an automated telephone line or via a toll-free number
Please Note: This benefit replaces the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit
Apply for Employment Insurance
Support for people who need it most
Indigenous Community Support Fund
- Providing $305 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Nation communities
Enhancing the Reaching Home initiative
- Supporting people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak by providing $157.5 million to the Reaching Home initiative
- Funding could be used for a variety of needs (purchasing beds and physical barriers for social distancing and securing accommodating to reduce overcrowding in shelters)
Women's shelters and sexual assault centres
- Supporting women and children fleeing violence, by providing up to $50 million to women's shelters and sexual assault centres to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities
Students and recent graduates
Moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans
- Effective March 30, we are placing a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all student loan borrowers
- No payment will be required and interest will not accrue during this time
- Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause
Support to Businesses
A Few Good Places to Start
- Visit the Small Business, Export Promotion, and International Trade website for businesses for information about supporting your employees and your business. It will be constantly updated as the COVID-19 crisis evolves
- Download the Canada Business App to find tailored supports to address your specific needs and questions about COVID-19
- Consult the Canadian Chamber of Commerce's pandemic preparedness guide to help prepare your business in the days and weeks to come
- Contact your bank. Canada's banks have made a commitment to support businesses and individuals through these difficult times in a responsible, fair, and compassionate way. To help provide some stability for businesses through this time of uncertainty, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OFSI) is lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer requirement, releasing more than $300 billion of additional lending capacity for Canadian financial institutions.
Expanding the Work-Sharing program
- Extending the maximum duration of the Work-Sharing program from 38 to 76 weeks
- The Work-Sharing program is offered to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers
- Apply to the Work-Sharing program
Providing small business with wage subsidies
- Providing eligible businesses a 75% wage subsidy for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020 to help businesses keep and return workers to the payroll
- More information on eligibility criteria will be provided as it becomes available before the end of the month
Deferring all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST)
- Allow businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments until June, as well as customs duties owed for imports
- This will help businesses to keep paying their employees and their bills, and help ease cash-flow challenges across the country
The Canada Emergency Business Account
- Provide up to $25 billion to eligible financial institutions so they can provide interest-free loans to small businesses
- These loans will ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need, at a 0% interest rate, so they can pay for rent and other important costs over the next number of months
Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program
- This program will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank, for guaranteed loans when small businesses go to their financial institutions to help weather the impacts of COVID-19
- This is intended for small and medium-sized companies that require greater help to meet their operational cash flow requirements
Access to credit
Establishing a Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)
- BCAP will provide $10 billion+ in additional support, largely targeted to small and medium-sized businesses, through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC)
- Please Note: Businesses in need of credit support should first contact their financial institution
Support for Farmers
- Increasing the credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector through Farm Credit Canada
Supporting Financial Stability
- Launching an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program through which we will purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
- This will provide long-term stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders, facilitate continued lending to Canadian consumers and businesses, and add to liquidity to Canada's mortgage market
More time to pay income taxes
- Allowing all businesses to defer the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18 and before September 2020 until after August 31, 2020
- No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period
COVID-19 Financial Help for Canadians Abroad
Introduced the Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad
Canadians outside Canada who are impacted by COVID-19 can apply for an emergency repayable loan to facilitate their return to Canada and cover basic essential needs while they work towards their return
If your are still abroad, please ensure you are registered with the Registry of Canadians Abroad and contact the 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1 613-996-885 (collect calls are accepted where available) or email [email protected] to receive emergency consular support
Thank you for your understanding. During these challenging times, my priority and that of my staff remain to work hard to meet your needs and ensure your voice is heard.
For more information follow me Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or visit my website https://rmickinnon.liberal.ca/, where I will be providing up-to-date information as it becomes available.
Member of Parliament for Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam