UPDATE Government of Canada actions on COVID-19 – Wednesday March 18
Good afternoon. Today Prime Minister Trudeau announced a comprehensive $27.4 billion package of support for individuals and businesses to manage the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Parliament will be recalled to pass this package of measures.
The federal government is also allowing individuals and businesses to defer $55 billion in tax payments until December to provide for additional liquidity in the market. This is in addition to $10 billion in credit that was made available to businesses via EDC and BDC last week.
The Prime Minister also announced that Canada has reached an agreement with the United States to close the border for non-essential travel:
- All non-essential travel across the Canada US border will temporarily be suspended. Travellers will no longer be able to cross the border for recreation and tourism
- The government recognizes it is critical to preserve supply chains, ensure food, fuel and medicine. Trucking and cargo will not be affected.
- Essential work or travel for urgent reasons will not be impacted. Measures on how to enforce and how to define urgent and essential are coming soon.
Details of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan:
- Those without paid sick leave will have access to the new Emergency Care Benefit for workers who have to stay home because of COVID-19, paid out every two weeks for 15 weeks and comparable to the amount of EI ($900 bi-weekly). This fund applies to those who need to self-isolate or who need to care for someone who is sick. It also applies to Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.
- For those who lose their job and don’t qualify for EI, they will be eligible to receive the new Emergency Support Benefit. This also applies to self-employed workers who need to cease their business.
- The government will supplement the GST credit so that every adult who qualifies for GST payments will see nearly $400 for each adult or nearly $600 for couples.
- The Canada Child Benefit will be boosted in the coming months by $300 per child.
- Business will be offered a temporary wage subsidy equivalent of 10% of salary paid to employees for length of 3 months to encourage business to keep staff on payroll.
- For those who filed their taxes and owe money, they will have until August 31, 2020 to pay their taxes. The return filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020.
- Providing $305 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities. Details of eligibility for this fund will be announced soon.
- Student loans will be interest free for 6 months.
- The government is doubling the Reaching Home program funding for homelessness. For anyone fleeing domestic or gender-based violence, funding for shelters will be boosted.
- The government is planning support for worker in the oil and gas sector and will create a program to clean up orphaned wells.
- EDC and BDC will have a tailored set of tools to support the airline industry, with details to come.
- The banks have announced up to 6 months deferral of mortgage loans. The government is encouraging people who have difficulties making mortgage payments to contact their bank.
The full news release detailing the government’s measures can be found here:
Here is the costed table of the government’s measures announced today: