COVID and CERB
Like many Canadians, you may be feeling some financial strain due to circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canadian government (as well as provincial/territorial governments) has put several programs into place to help. Here, we’ll discuss the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), as well as some other measures which may provide some relief during these difficult times. If you have any questions or concerns regarding CERB, feel free to reach out to the NorthWise team at anytime – Contact Us.
What is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)?
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit is a government program designed to help those who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For qualified applicants, it can provide payments of $500 weekly for up to 16 weeks. Applications are being accepted through the Government of Canada website beginning on April 6th. In order to avoid overloading the system and causing backlogs, the Government of Canada is opening applications to specific groups of people on different days of the week. For example, those born in January, February, and March will be able to apply on Mondays; those born from April to June on Tuesdays; those born from July to September on Wednesdays; and those born from October to December on Thursdays. Fridays are open to all applicants regardless of their birth month.
Get started here: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html
Who is eligible for the CERB?
If you are a worker over age 15, residing in Canada, with a valid Social Insurance Number, you may qualify for the CERB.
The most important point to consider when considering whether you will be eligible is that you must have stopped working for reasons directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The following are some scenarios where you would be eligible:
- You have been let go from your job or your hours have been reduced to zero because of COVID-19 – if you have quit your job voluntarily, you will not qualify
- You are in quarantine or are sick due to COVID-19
- You are away from work to take care of someone who is in quarantine or sick due to COVID-19
- You are away from work to take care of children or other dependents whose care facility is closed due to COVID-19
You must also have had an income of at least $5000 in 2019 (or in the 12 months prior to application). This $5000 in income can be from any of the following sources, or a combination:
- Maternity/parental benefits under the Employment Insurance program
Additionally, you must be (or expect to be) without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period of your application. This includes income from paid leave, self-employment income, or collection of any Employment Insurance benefits. The CERB is designed to help those who are completely without income during this time – unfortunately, if your income has been reduced but not completely eliminated, you won’t qualify for this benefit.
It’s important to note that the Government of Canada isn’t requiring any supporting documentation for CERB applicants. However, this doesn’t mean that you can defraud the program. It’s expected that, if anyone is discovered to have received the benefit fraudulently, they will be required to repay any benefits they received.
What happens if you don’t fit the criteria for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, but you’re still struggling financially? Here are some other areas where you may find financial relief during these unprecedented times.
Canada Child Benefit increase
Recipients of the CCB will see a one-time payment increase in May equal to approximately $300 per child.
Extended tax filing deadline
The Canadian income tax filing deadline has been extended to June 1st.
GST Credit increase
An extra payment will be made to those people who receive the GST Tax Credit – this will be approximately $400 for individuals or $600 for couples.
Student loan payment deferrals
Government student loans (e.g. OSAP) will not require payments until the end of September. No interest will accrue during this period.
Some lenders are allowing for mortgage payments to be deferred. This will not stop interest from accruing on your mortgage, so deferral should be a last resort.
RRIF minimum reduction
The minimum withdrawal requirement from Registered Retirement Income Funds has been reduced by 25%.
We know that things are difficult right now – every day is unprecedented territory. However, we’ve worked through financial downturns before, and we can help guide you in the right direction to take a little of that stress off your plate. We’re still fully operational, taking calls and emails – we might be doing business a little differently in this non-face-to-face world, but we have the technology and the experience to help you virtually. Please get in touch if you have any financial questions or concerns – we’re here for you!
About the Author
Jordan Richardson, B.Sc, LLQP, QAFP™
Founder - NorthWise Insurance
Jordan was born in London, Ontario, but has lived all over the province, spanning from Windsor to Sudbury. He graduated with Honours, Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in 2013 from the University of Waterloo, and quickly pivoted away from science and to the financial services industry. Jordan acquired his Life Licence Qualification Program (LLQP) in 2014, and more recently obtained the Qualified Associate Planner (QAFP) certification. Jordan is currently one exam away from his Certified Financial Planning (CFP) designation, and the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation. With early success in the financial service industry, Jordan quickly was thrust into management roles, specializing in team building through creating great work culture, and in digital marketing strategies. These skills were utilized in the creation of NorthWise Insurance, where the goal is geared towards an omnichannel advice platform that offers a wide range of financial products, all available digitally.
Jordan is engaged, and has two beautiful daughters. He is the Chair of the Young Professionals Association (YPA) of Sudbury, and mentors a little brother in the Big Brothers, Big Sisters Program. When Jordan isn’t working or with his family, you can find him on the golf course or playing basketball.