The Canadian federal and provincial governments are taking actions to offset the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic almost daily, so available news and information is changing quickly. We thought it would be useful to summarize the programs that may apply to WGC members, and outline other services that are currently available during this unprecedented situation.
WGC STAFF IS HERE AND WORKING FOR YOU The physical office is currently closed, but WGC staff are working remotely and available to assist you. They are working to collect outstanding payments due to WGC members. The full list of staff contact information is HERE.
Additionally, if you are having difficulties receiving payment for delivery of script materials for productions please contact Director of Industrial Relations, Laurie Channer (firstname.lastname@example.org), so we can help to hopefully resolve the issue.
AFBS AN ESSENTIAL SERVICE Our benefits provider AFBS Canada has been designated an essential service. It is continuing to process health insurance claims as usual and staff is on-hand and available to help you with claims and answer your questions. You can find all relevant contact numbers and email addresses HERE.
**NEW** SMALL BUSINESS PROGRAMS Members may wish to explore whether these initiatives apply to them, particularly those who use loan-out companies, in consultation with their accountant and/or financial advisor.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has just announced some measures that will have a significant impact on small and medium-sized businesses, including:
- Deferment of GST and HST payments until June, joining the already announced deferment of income tax filing to June 1 and income tax payments for businesses until Aug. 31, 2020.
- A Canada Emergency Business Account that will guarantee up to $40,000 in interest-free loans to individual qualifying businesses.
Full details on these programs should be made available by Monday, Mar. 30.
CANADA EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT This week the federal government announced relief benefits for individual workers affected by COVID-19. Worker in this instance is defined broadly as anyone over age 15 who earned income from employment or self-employment, or received various government or EI benefits, of $5,000 or more in 2019, or in the 12 months immediately before their application.
The benefit will pay out up to $2,000 per month for four months to individuals who qualify. We've summarized the provisions that may be most pertinent for WGC members. **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.**
- wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance
- workers who must stop working due to COVID-19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support
- workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19
- working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures
Application details will be available through My CRA and My Service Canada starting April 6. It is estimated that payments will start flowing by mid-April. If you are not currently registered on either My CRA or My Service Canada, we suggest you sign up now if you are looking to apply for the benefit.
ADDITIONAL HELP FOR INDIVIDUALS
- Boosted payment amounts of the Canada Child Benefit. Those will go out automatically with the next round of payments.
- The big banks are instituting a six-month mortgage payment deferral program (please speak with your individual banks for details).
- The tax deadline for individuals has been extended to June 1. Taxpayers can defer payments due on taxes until at least August 31, 2020.