Ask MoneyTalk: Government financial help during COVID-19



A: The Canadian government has recently instituted measures that may help you and your family during these times. A first phase of financial aid was announced on March 18th, and includes extending benefits to workers, whether or not you are eligible for employment insurance. Here is a high-level overview of some of programs that may help you and your family during this tumultuous time.

Emergency Care Benefit

This will allow Canadians who are sick, in quarantine or caring for a sick loved one to access $450 per week even for workers that are not eligible for employment insurance. The need for a doctor’s note has been eliminated, as well as the one-week waiting period.

Emergency Support Benefit

For freelancers or other business owners who are not eligible for employment insurance and who are facing a downturn in their business, this benefit can potentially cover up to $450 per week, and up to 15 weeks of support. An application will be available in April.

Increased Canada Child Tax Benefit

Families will receive an extra $300 top-up per child, which will be included in an upcoming payment.

Wage subsidies for small and medium-sized businesses

The government is supporting businesses by offering 10% of salaries paid. The subsidy maxes out at $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.

Tax filing and payment deferral

The tax filing deadline has been extended to June 1st for individuals, and July 31st for businesses. As well, Trust filing has also been delayed. In addition, if you owe taxes, the deadline for payment has been extended to August 31st. As long as you pay by that deadline, any penalties and interest are being waived.

Other measures announced

The federal government has also announced additional money for credit support for help with business financing and is working with banks to allow payment deferrals on mortgages and loans. Any student loan payments are being deferred interest-free for six months. The federal government suggests working with your financial institution to see what help and flexibility could be offered.

Many of these new benefits can be applied for online and received by direct deposit to your bank account. There could be more measures announced in the coming days and weeks. For details on these programs and any other announcements, please go to the Canadian Department of Finance website. If you are concerned about your financial situation, speak to a financial professional.

Chris Gandhu provides advanced financial, tax, estate and business succession planning for business owners and high-net-worth families at TD Wealth. Chris has particular expertise in cross-border estate planning, helping Canadians with U.S. connections deal with estate, trust and tax planning issues.