The federal government has unveiled a sweeping emergency plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic worth $82 billion—a full $27 billion is allocated for direct financial support for Canadian citizens and another $55 billion has been allocated to tax deferrals.
We've summarized the provisions that may be most pertinent for WGC members. While we’re working to get you the best information available, we do advise you to assess your individual circumstances and seek professional advice from your accountant or financial advisor to determine how these plans apply to you.
It's estimated that the first benefits will start flowing to applicants within three weeks, after the legislation is passed and approved by Parliament, but some programs will not be open until April (noted below).
1. Emergency Care Benefit (temporary income support for workers and parents) It will provide up to $900 biweekly for up to 15 weeks to support workers who have to stay home, but don’t have access to paid sick leave. Canadians will be able to apply online, do not have to provide a doctor's note, and will receive payment via direct deposit. Applications will be accepted through the Canada Revenue Agency's (CRA's) MyAccount secure portal, the My Service Canada Account, or by calling a toll-free number equipped with an automated application process. Application information will be published in early April. The following people are eligible to receive this benefit:
- Workers, including the self-employed, who are sick, quarantined, or who have been directed to self-isolate but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
- Workers, including the self employed who are taking care of a family member sick with COVID-19, or other dependent(s), but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
- EI-eligible and non-EI-eligible working parents who must stay home without pay because of children who are sick or need additional care because of school closures.
2. COVID-19 Emergency Support Benefit (longer-term income support for workers) Also delivered through CRA, this benefit is for self-employed and part-time workers who do not qualify for EI and are facing unemployment as a result of COVID’s impact. Payments will be comparable with current EI rates. Details regarding the application process and payments will be available in April.
3. Additional Support A number of measures were also enacted to help individuals further manage resources during this time including:
- Boosted payment amounts of the Canada Child Benefit. Those will go out automatically with the next round of payments.
- The big six banks are instituting a six-month mortgage payment deferral program (please speak with your individual banks for details)
- A six-month, interest-free reprieve on student loan payments has been enacted
- The Goods and Services Tax credit (GSTC) will be raised for modest and low- income Canadians, up to $400/individual or $600/couple
- The tax deadline for individuals has been extended to June 1. Taxpayers can defer payments due on taxes until at least August 31, 2020.
Members may wish to explore whether these initiatives apply to them, particularly those who use loan-out companies.
1. Businesses can also defer the payment of income tax amounts until after August 31, 2020. 2. Eligible small businesses will be provided a 10% wage subsidy for the next 90 days. 3. The Business Credit Availability Program will increase the credit available to small, medium, and large Canadian businesses to support businesses with cash flow challenges.
***We will be sending updates as we receive them. In the meantime, a reminder for members who are working on a film or TV production that's been postponed or goes on hiatus on the basis of force majeure, contracts may be suspended. In that case, you should not deliver script material, as payments may also be halted for that time. If you are asked to work remotely, and material is still being requested from you, you should expect to be paid as scheduled. Please contact Director of Industrial Relations, Laurie Channer (firstname.lastname@example.org), if you have any related problems or questions.