OTTAWA – The federal government unveiled a $ 82 billion plan on Wednesday, March 18, to help everyone affected by COVID-19, which represents more than 3% of Canada’s GDP.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has confirmed that $ 27 billion will be spent on direct support for businesses and individuals. Added to this is $ 55 billion to meet the liquidity needs of Canadian families and businesses through tax deferrals.
“Today we’re announcing a plan to help people. We focus on the most pressing needs, but as I said from the start, our response will evolve as the situation evolves. No matter what the future holds, Canadians can count on us, “he said.
These measures will help both workers who are not eligible for employment insurance and parents who have to stay at home to care for their children. They will also help Canadian businesses rebound after the pandemic.
According to Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau, this is a “first phase” to help Canadians affected by COVID-19.
The measures announced in the $ 27 billion plan are to be implemented as early as April or May, but require royal assent. Parliament will therefore have to be convened – with a smaller number of deputies – to adopt them.
Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez said that all opposition parties have agreed on the need to recall the House of Commons and that it could materialize as early as next week.
The proposed measures
The federal government is proposing to introduce the Emergency Care Allowance, which provides up to $ 900 every two weeks, for a maximum of 15 weeks. This benefit would help workers, including the self-employed, who are not eligible for employment insurance.
This allowance also applies to parents who must stay at home to care for their children and who are unable to earn an income, whether or not they are eligible for employment insurance.
To receive this benefit, Canadians will need to certify that they meet the eligibility criteria and renew it every two weeks.
Canadians who are not eligible for Employment Insurance and who are unemployed as a result of COVID-19 will be eligible for an emergency support allowance.
The federal government is also proposing to increase the maximum benefits of the Canada Child Benefit for 2019-2020 by $ 300 per child. For low-income families, the federal government will make a one-time special payment through the GST credit.
It is estimated that a single parent of two low-income children could benefit from additional short-term assistance of almost $ 1,500.
Inorder to avoid layoffs, the Government is also proposing to grant small and medium-sized businesses a temporary subsidy for a period of 3 months.
More targeted assistance is also planned for different groups of people who are in a vulnerable situation, such as the homeless or victims of domestic violence. The federal government promises to increase aid for this purpose.
A new support fund will also be provided to Aboriginal communities to meet the immediate needs of Inuit communities, First Nations and the Métis Nation.
Like Quebec City, the federal government is also extending the deadline for 2019 tax returns.
Individuals will have until June 1, 2020 to file their tax returns and August 31, 2020 to pay them.
The Canada Revenue Agency encourages those who expect to receive GST credit or the Canada Child Benefit benefits not to delay too much.
SOURCE: Catherine Lévesque, The Canadian Press
PHOTO (credit: Prime Minister’s Twitter account): Prime Minister Trudeau made a series of announcements on March 18.