Friends, we are in uncharted waters. The COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis unlike any other and I know people across Timmins-James Bay are worried about their health, their families, and paying the bills. My team is fielding emails and calls every day from constituents looking for help - even while we self-isolate, my team is here for you. (read more)
The NDP outlined the eight key measures we are calling on the government to do to help Canadians through the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal government has taken some good steps in response to that pressure, but still many fall through the cracks. The government must do more and do it faster.
You can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by staying home and practicing physical distancing. Together, we can stop the spread of the virus.
What is the latest situation in Canada?
Do I have COVID-19? What are the symptoms and treatment?
Do I need to quarantine?
All Canadians are encouraged to stay home and self-quarantine.
The Government of Canada has put in place an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act. It applies to all travellers arriving in Canada.
All travellers arriving in Canada must self-isolate. This is mandatory. When needed, immediate medical attention will be provided upon arrival in Canada.
IMPORTANT: The Government of Canada warns that “Violating any instructions provided to you when you entered Canada could lead to up to 6 months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.”
- Go to your place of isolation using private transportation only, such as your personal vehicle.
- Stay INSIDE your home.
- Do not leave your place of isolation unless it is to seek medical attention.
- Do not go to school, work, other public areas or use public transportation such as buses and taxis.
- Stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom from others in your home, if possible.
- Do not have visitors and limit contact with others in the place of isolation, including children.
- Do not isolate in a place where you will have contact with vulnerable people, such as older adults and individuals with underlying medical conditions.
- If your symptoms get worse, immediately contact your health care provider or public health authority and follow their instructions.
- Do not go to school, work, other public areas and community settings.
- Monitor your health for symptoms of COVID-19.
- Arrange to have someone pick up essentials like groceries or medication for you.
- Do not have visitors.
- Stay in a private place like your yard or balcony if you go outside for fresh air.
- Keep a distance of at least 2 arms lengths (approximately 2 metres) from others.
What health resources are available?
Resources vary by province and territory. Below you will find links to every province and territory in Canada:
Newfoundland and Labrador
Prince Edward Island
North West Territories
What federal supports are available for individuals?
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
Instead of offering direct support of $2,000 to every Canadian, the government has offered the CERB. It will provide a $2,000 taxable benefit per month for up to 4 months. Workers can apply if they are not working and not receiving income for at least 14 consecutive days because of the pandemic. Workers are eligible if they earned at least $5,000 in income in 2019 or in the last twelve months.
You cannot receive both Employment Insurance (EI) and CERB at the same time. Eligibility for one does not affect the other – you can apply for CERB even if you are eligible for EI. If you are receiving either EI or CERB, you will still be able to apply for the other when your current benefits end.
Applications will be available online through the CRA, and by phone. The Government has promised applications will open in early April, and that benefits will be issued within 10 days of applying.
Click here for more information about this benefit.
EI sickness benefits are available for eligible people who are unable to work because of illness, injury, or quarantine.
For people in quarantine due to COVID-19, the usual one-week waiting period before applying has been waived. The requirement for a medical certificate (the form requiring a doctor’s signature) has also been waived for people in quarantine due to COVID-19. Those eligible for EI sickness benefits who cannot apply due to their quarantine will be allowed to apply later and have their EI backdated to cover the time they were quarantined.
The repayment of Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans has been paused, from March 30 to September 30. There will be no accrual of interest. The pause is automatic – you do not need to apply for the pause.
Canadians eligible for GST rebates and the CCB will receive one time increases to support them through the COVID-19 crisis. There is no need to apply for either of these benefits. If you are eligible, they will be sent to you automatically.
By early May, Canadians eligible for GST rebates will receive a special payment. The Government says payments will average almost $400 for single individuals and almost $600 for couples. Canadians who receive the CCB will receive an extra $300 per child for the 2019-2020 year. This benefit will arrive as part of the regularly scheduled CCB payment in May.
The government moved on this after New Democrats called for it.
The due date for 2019 income tax filings has been deferred until June 1, 2020. Payment of newly owed taxes or instalments to the CRA can be deferred until after August 31, 2020 without incurring interest or penalties.
We have been calling on the federal government to work with all levels of government to put a moratorium on rent, mortgage and utility payments and to make banks waive interest fees and charges on credit cards, bank loans, lines of credit and mortgages for at least the next two payment cycles.
Instead, the government asked the banks to help Canadians, so most of them have said they will work with customers who are having difficulty paying their mortgages due to COVID-19. If you are experiencing financial hardship, you can contact your bank or financial institution regarding deferring your mortgage. Mortgage deferrals can provide payment flexibility, but mortgages still accrue interest when payments are deferred.
The Government has reduced the minimum withdrawal from RRIFs by a quarter for the year 2020. Click here for more information on the federal government’s supports for individuals.
What federal supports are available for businesses?
After initially announcing it at 10%, the government answered our call and increased the wage subsidy to 75%.
The wage subsidy program will support businesses for up to 3 months if they experience a decline in revenue of at least 30%. The subsidy will be 75% of the first $58,700 of an employee’s earnings, or $847 weekly. The subsidies will be backdated to March 15.
The government has slowly released more details on this program and have made a concerning statement that the subsidy will take six weeks to be delivered. We will continue to fight to make sure this money is out the door to support workers and save businesses before it is too late.
The Canada Emergency Business Account will provide loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and nonprofits affected by the pandemic. The loans will be interest free for the first year, and partial loan forgiveness will be available in some circumstances. To be eligible, organizations must have paid between $50,000 and $1 million in total payroll in 2019. Small businesses can apply by contacting their financial institution.
Businesses will be able to defer until August 31 the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing after March 18, without incurring interest or penalties. This applies to tax balances and instalments that fall under Part I of the Income Tax Act.
Businesses, including self-employed people, can defer GST/HST remittances and the payment of customs duties on imports until June 30. Regarding the GST/HST remittance deferrals, for monthly filers this applies to the February, March, and April reporting periods, for quarterly filers the January 1, 2020 to March 31, 2020 period, and for annual filers it applies to the previous fiscal year. Deferral of GST and customs duty payments on imports will apply to March, April, and May.
The Work Sharing Program has been changed to support businesses. The length of agreements has been doubled to 76 weeks. The waiting period has been waived, allowing employers to immediately apply for a new agreement when their previous agreements expire.
Click here for more information on the federal government’s supports for businesses.
Can I still visit other provinces?
While the federal government has banned domestic air travel and inter-city train trips for people with symptoms of COVID-19, the ban won’t apply to commuter trains or inter-provincial buses. Provinces have instituted varying degrees of provincial restrictions as well. Please visit your provincial government site listed above for additional information on inter-provincial travel.
Can I still visit parks?
Currently, all Parks Canada locations are closed. Please visit this link regularly for updates. All reservations up to April 30 will be refunded automatically by the Government. For reservations after this date, a decision will be made in due course.
Can I still visit the US?
Currently, Canadians are restricted from crossing the U.S.-Canada border for non-essential purposes. Click here for additional information.
What are the concerns around Travel?
The Government of Canada advises against all non-essential travel outside of Canada at this time and recommends Canadians abroad should return home. You can find the official notice here
If you are currently outside of Canada, you should start by registering with the Government here
If you are outside Canada and require assistance, you can contact the nearest Government of Canada office or Global Affairs Canada’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1 613-996-8885 (call collect where available). If you need consular help to come home to Canada, email email@example.com with your details including your name, date of birth, passport number, and location.
If you require financial assistance, you may be eligible for an emergency loan of up to $5,000 to help you return to Canada and cover your essential needs. You can contact the above offices, phone number, or email: CAN.finances.CV19@international.gc.ca.