We’ll continue updating this page with resources and information as new details emerge on how Canadian leaders and businesses are responding to COVID-19.
If you’re financially struggling because of the impact of coronavirus, there are financial products and special government support measures that can help you stay afloat.
6 of Canada’s biggest banks have agreed to work directly with those affected by coronavirus on a case-by-case basis to help relieve the pressure of having to keep up mortgage payments while money is tight. These banks include BMO, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC, Scotiabank and TDBank.
If eligible for assistance, you could get your mortgage payments deferred for up to 6 months and possibly get other credit relief as well. Depending on how your situation is evaluated by your bank, interest may continue to accrue on your mortgage during the deferral period – if so, this could result in higher mortgage payments once the deferral period ends.
If you have credit products at these banks and need financial relief due to coronavirus, contact a bank representative using the information below to find out what options may be open to you.
Negotiate a better repayment plan with your lender
One surprisingly effective – but easily overlooked – solution to managing debt is to contact your lender(s), explain that you’re struggling financially and ask if they’ll agree to a new payment arrangement that’ll help you meet your obligations. Be sure to explain the specific factors or circumstances affecting your ability to pay (i.e. illness, unemployment, emergency expenses etc.).
Lenders would rather work with you than risk losing money, so you may be offered an extended term with lower monthly payments, a different interest rate, permission to make a late payment without penalty, deferred payments or some other solution. In so doing, you could protect both your wallet and your credit score.
Thanks to the efforts of the Canadian government, people who have been negatively impacted by coronavirus have a number of new and existing sources of financial support. Here’s the breakdown:
Access the Government of Canada’s total Economic Relief Plan here
Employment Insurance (EI) for unemployment, illness and disability.
If you’ve lost your job through no fault of your own and have worked a requisite number of weeks (varies based on where you live), you could be eligible for payments totaling up to 55% of your average weekly insurable earnings. As of January, 2020, the maximum amount of coverage is $54,200 ($573 weekly), but this can change yearly.
The government is prioritizing processing EI applications for people with coronavirus. If you become infected with coronavirus and get quarantined, the usual 1-week waiting period on receiving your first EI payment will be waived. Essentially, this means you don’t have to pay a deductible and will receive an extra week’s worth of EI benefits. If you’re in quarantine, call the government’s toll-free number to learn more.
The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit
The government is devoting funds to support workers who are facing unemployment, because they’ve lost their jobs or experienced reduced hours due to coronavirus.
According to the government’s plan, this support will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to:
- workers who must stop working due to COVID19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
- workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
- working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.
- workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.
- wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be accessible through a secure web portal starting in early April. Applicants will also be able to apply via an automated telephone line or via a toll-free number.
Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Disability Benefits (long term support).
You can get monthly payments out of your CPP prior to turning 65 as long as you’ve contributed to the plan for a certain number of years and have a severe and prolonged mental or physical disability that prevents your from working regularly. Payments can also be made to child of someone with a disability. Learn more about disability benefit options in our detailed guide.
Extended deadlines for income tax filing and tax payments.
To help ease some financial stress, the deadline for filing individual taxes has been moved to June 1, 2020. The deadline for paying any amounts that become owing between March 18, 2020 and September 1, 2020 has been moved to September 1, 2020 – during this time period, no interest or penalty fees will be applied to taxes (including installments) that you owe the CRA.
Where there is difficulty in making payments, the CRA is very flexible in arranging payment plans. Affected taxpayers may also be eligible to receive relief by submitting Form RC4288 Request for Taxpayer Relief – Cancel or Waive Penalties or Interest; requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Other government financial support.
The government is planning to offer a Goods and Services Tax credit (GSTC) that will be payed out to low- and middle-income Canadians in early May 2020. This one-time payment will provide approximately $400 for single individuals and $600 for couples. Also in May 2020, families eligible for the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) will get $300 more per child.
In March 2019 alone, Canadians paid around 1.1 million visits to over 500 food banks located around the country. Roughly 1 in 8 visitors to the food bank are employed, and nearly half are from single-person households.
The Food Bank network in Canada offers nutritious food thanks to corporate support, individual donors and food producers that produce fresh and frozen products. Additionally, fresh fruits and vegetables are provided by community garden programs that also teach recipients how to grow their own food. Visit foodbankscanada.ca to find a location near you.
Read up on the latest coronavirus news to stay on top of changing information.