“These are extraordinary times and we must take extraordinary measures,” Prime  Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier this week, announcing $27 billion in direct financial support and $55 billion in tax deferrals for workers and businesses impacted by COVID-19.

“No matter who you are or what you do, this is the time where you should be focussed on your health and that of your neighbours,” Trudeau said. “No Canadian should have to worry about paying their rent or buying groceries during this difficult time.”

Some of the measures:

  • $2 billion in additional temporary Child Care Benefits;
  • Up to $900 bi-weekly in Emergency Care Benefit for 14 weeks for people without paid sick leave who have to stay home to self-isolate, to care for someone who is sick;
  • $5 billion Emergency Support Benefit for workers, including the self-employed, who wouldn’t otherwise be eligible for unemployment insurance;
  • Special GST credit supplement for low to modest income families, up to $300 per adult and up to $150 per child;
  • Six-month waiver of the mandatory one-week waiting period for EI sick benefits for workers told to self-isolate;
  • Waive the requirement for a medical certificate to access EI sick benefits;
  • For all individuals: income tax deadline delay until June 1, and tax payment deferral until September;
  • Six month interest-free moratorium on Canada Student loan payments.

For small businesses:

  • For the next 90 days, a 10 per cent wage subsidy, to a maximum $1,375 per employee and a total of $25,000 per employer;
  • Income tax owed deferral until August;
  • $10 billion in available credit to help with cash flow, under the Business Credit Availability Program;
  • Top up credit available for farmers and agri-food businesses through Farm Credit Canada.

Mortgage relief for individuals and small businesses:

  • $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to provide stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders for continued lending;
  • The six big banks in Canada have committed to mortgage payment deferral up to six months and ‘the opportunity for relief’ on credit products for individuals and small businesses on a case-by-case basis.

Also announced, was $305 million for Indigenous communities; $50 million to manage or prevent outbreaks in women’s shelters and sexual assault centres; and $157.5 million to help the homeless.

As an example, Trudeau said the GST top up and increase in Child Benefits funding could mean an extra $1,500 payment by the end of May for a single mother with two children.

“Our response will evolve as the situation continues to evolve. Whatever the future holds, Canadians can rely on us,” said Trudeau. “In Canada, public health should never hinge on financial considerations.”

For more information, visit the Canada government website at www.canada.ca