Canada Emergency Response Benefit
Yesterday, March 25, the Federal Government issued a news release outlining details of the new “Canada Emergency Response Benefit” (CERB). The CERB replaces the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.
The CERB will provide $2,000 per month for up to four months for Canadians who:
- have lost their job
- are sick
- are quarantined
- are caring for someone who is sick
- is a working parent who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school closures
- are still employed (have not been laid off), but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation
This benefit will apply to Canadians that are employed, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals that would not otherwise be eligible for EI.
Canadians who are already receiving EI will continue to receive their benefits and should not apply for the CERB.However, if their EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, they could apply for the CERB.
A new web portal for accessing the CERB will be available in early April. We will send a link out to this when it is made available. Individuals eligible for EI can continue to apply for EI here.
It should be noted, though the news release doesn’t say so, that this benefit will be Taxable, similar to EI. We have found that Service Canada RARELY withholds enough tax and so anyone receiving EI or the CERB should be prepared to have taxes payable when filing their 2020 tax returns in April next year.
The full release is available here.
BC Government Response
The BC Government has also released details of how they will respond to COVID-19. Some highlights are as follows:
The BC Government is extending filing and payment deadlines until September 30, 2020, for the following:
- Employer health tax
- Provincial sales tax (including MRDT)
- Carbon tax
- Motor fuel tax
School tax created for some commercial properties will be reduced by 50% for 2020.
The BC Emergency Benefit will provide a one-time payment of $1,000 to those who receive EI or the CERB. This looks to be a separate application and will be open “soon”. The payment will be paid in May 2020.
The Province has introduced a BC Temporary Rental Supplement (BC-TRS) of $500 per month which will support renters and will be paid directly to landlords on their behalf. Applications will be made through the BC Housing website in early April. There has also been a halt on evictions and rent increases.
The Climate Action Tax Credit which gets paid with the GST credit to low to moderate-income families will be increased for the July payment only.
BC Hydro will be allowing customers to defer bill payments and arrange flexible payment plans without penalty. They have also provided access to a grant of up to $600 for those who have lost their job, are ill or have lost a family member. Customers are directed to call 1 800 BCHYDRO.
Lastly, ICBC is allowing customers to defer payments up to 90 days without penalty. Application for the deferral can be made through the online resource tool.
More details from the Province can be found here.
Andrew de Verteuil, CPA, CGA
de Verteuil & Company Inc.