For low and modest-income individuals and families, seniors and students who may require additional financial help during these times, the government will be providing a number of benefits and courtesies:
A special, one-time payment through the Goods and Services Tax credit (GSTC) will be made available by early May, 2020. This increase will double the maximum annual GSTC payment amount, boosting the benefit for those who qualify from between $400 (for individuals), to $600 (for couples), on average.
In addition, the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payment amounts will also increase, and families collecting this benefit will be receiving an extra $300 per child as part of their May CCB payment.
To ensure that those most vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19 have the support they need, the government has also committed to the following measures:
- Placing a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all individuals currently in the process of repaying these loans.
- Reducing required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020.
For those Canadians who are sick, quarantined or forced to stay home to care for children, the following governmental support has been extended to them:
- Waiving the one-week waiting period for those individuals in imposed quarantine that claim Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits (effective March 15, 2020).
- Waiving the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.
- Introducing the Emergency Care Benefit, providing up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks to qualified workers and parents. This flat-payment will be provided through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Information on eligibility and applying can be found here.
Canadians can apply for the Emergency Care Benefit through one of the three available options:
- by accessing it on their CRA MyAccount secure portal;
- by accessing it from their secure My Service Canada Account; or
- by calling a toll free number equipped with an automated application process.