March 19, 2020

Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses

On March 18, 2020, Prime Minister Justine Trudeau announced the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan that will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses. 

Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses

Direct Support to Canadian Workers
Included in the plan is the provision of income support for those who need it most. This includes:

  • a one-time special payment by early May 2020 through the Goods and Services Tax credit (GSTC) amounting to around $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples. 
  • increase the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payment amounts, only for the 2019-20 benefit year, by $300 per child.
  • Waiving the one-week waiting period for those individuals in imposed quarantine that claim Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits. This temporary measure will be in effect as of 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.
In addition, Canadian Government will provide greater flexibility to Canadians who may be experiencing hardships during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Canada Revenue Agency will defer the filing due date for the 2019 tax returns of individuals.

For those with house mortgage, the Government, through CMHC, is providing increased flexibility for homeowners facing financial difficulties to defer mortgage payments on homeowner CMHC-insured mortgage loans. CMHC will permit lenders to allow payment deferral beginning immediately.

Support For Businesses
The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to support Canadian businesses facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes:

  • Temporary wage subsidy for a period of 3 months to eligible small employers to help prevent lay-offs
  • allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020
  • ensuring businesses have access to credit. The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) will allow the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to provide more than $10 billion of additional support, largely targeted to small and medium-sized businesses.
Full details of Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan is available here.