The global pandemic, COVID-19, has impacted every Canadian. If you are unsure of what options are available to you financially or to help support social distancing requirements in your city, you’re not alone. It can be challenging to navigate the internet for reliable information or to find a bare-bones answer. If you aren’t able to find your COVID-19 FAQ answers, we’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions that Canadians should know.
Additional reading to help homeowners and renters during the COVID-19 outbreak:
- COVID-19 FAQ: What do Canadians need to know?
- What financial support is available for Canadian homeowners impacted by COVID-19?
- What financial support is available province to province for those impacted by COVID-19?
- How to balance financial guilt during a global pandemic
- How will COVID-19 impact real estate
- Special: 10 steps on how to financially prepare for Coronavirus
- Worried about paying your mortgage or qualifying for deferral? Here’s what you need to know
- How landlords can help tenants during COVID-19 (letter templates included)
- Renter to Landlord: How and why to ask for a rent moratorium or reduction
- How to Budget as a Renter
- 5 Key Responsibilities as a Renter
- How Tenant Insurance Protects your Belongings
- How to Protect Yourself as a Tenant
- Life insurance and estate planning in the age of COVID-19
When is the 2019 tax deadline?
The new due date for individuals filing tax returns is now June 1, 2020. For taxpayers who owe any 2019 income tax, the payment date is now September 1, 2020.
The March 2, 2020 RRSP deadline remains the same, and any RRSP contributions made past this date will be for the 2020 tax year.
For more information about the 2019 tax deadlines, visit the Government of Canada website.
What kind of financial support is available for me as a homeowner?
The following banks are offering mortgage deferral on a case-by-case basis in Canada: BMO, CIBC, National Bank, Scotiabank and TD. Some mono-lenders, such as MCAP and Canada Guaranty, are also offering options for those impacted by COVID-19.
To learn more about what financial support is available for homeowners, it is best to go directly to your lenders’ website to find out how best to contact their support team.
If you are unsure whether or not a mortgage deferral is best for you, or whether or not you qualify for deferral, check out a more detailed breakdown here.
What kind of financial support is available for those dealing with job loss or lost hours?
If you are one of the many Canadians dealing with sudden job loss or have lost pay due to a decrease in hours, there are two options available. Employment Insurance (EI) is available to Canadians who have lost their job or been laid off at no fault of their own. The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides a taxable benefit of $2000 a month for up to four months.
Should I apply for Employment Insurance or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?
The eligibility requirements for Employment Insurance benefits are to anyone who:
- Lost their job through no fault of their own
- Was employed through insurable employment (not self-employed)
- Are capable of working each day
- Are actively looking for work
If you do not fall under one or all of these requirements, consider the Emergency Response Benefit.
The eligibility requirements for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit are to anyone who:
- Must stop work due to COVID-19
- Individuals who are sick or quarantined or taking care of someone who is ill or quarantined
- Working parents who have to stay home without pay due to school and daycare closures
- Workers who have had reduced hours by employers
- Workers who have temporarily been laid off, but still have the opportunity to return to work in the future
- Self-employed individuals who are not eligible for E.I.
What kind of financial support is available for our most vulnerable population?
The government has created a new Indigenous Community Support Fund and is providing $305 million for immediate needs within First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities.
For shelters, the Canadian government has provided $157.5 million to the Reaching Home Initiative to support homeless shelters and reduce overcrowding. They have also offered up to $50 million to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres to help with capacity levels and prevention of outbreaks within the centres.
As for seniors, the government has reduced the minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for the remainder of 2020.
Do I have to continue to pay my student loans?
As of March 30, 2020, Canadians do not have to make payments on their federal student loans for six months. Interest will not accrue during this time, and you do not need to apply for this pause to go into effect. To find out if your provincial student loans are paused, check our province by province guide for what support is available.
How can I protect myself as a tenant?
If you are currently a tenant and are waiting for income support from E.I. or the E.R.B., check for rental assistance programs available within your province. Manitoba and British Columbia now have options available for their residents.
If there is no current financial support available in your province, do your best to communicate with your landlord and find a solution that works for both parties to protect yourself as a tenant.
What are the current travel advisories and restrictions in Canada?
Currently, there is a global travel advisory that prevents all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice.
What are my options for getting home to Canada during COVID-19?
If you are currently outside of Canada and are trying to get home, the government has announced the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program. This repayable loan will help Canadians organize their return back and help to cover essential needs during this travel. Applications will be assessed on a case-by-case review.
To apply, you can contact the nearest Government of Canada office or Global Affairs Canada’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa by phone at +1 613-996-8885 or by email at CAN.finances.CV19@international.gc.ca.
What are considered essential services?
Essential services vary province to province, but according to most provincial government websites, the following services are included on this list: health-care workers, first responders, hydro and natural gas workers and any other service that is critical to preserving life, health and basic societal functioning.
To see what services are seen as essential in your province, this Global News story has a full breakdown. If you are curious about what essential services can receive emergency childcare support, check this comprehensive list on the Quebec government website.
What essentials should I stock up on?
If you are considered high-risk and are not advised to leave your home, the CDC has a full list of what supplies are essential to buy.
For a grocery list, or for a breakdown on how you can prepare for self-isolation or quarantine, check out our guide for 10 steps on how to financially prepare for Coronavirus.
What stores or companies are offering curbside or doorstep delivery?
If you’d like to order grocery pick up, or are looking for grocery delivery, here are a few of the options currently available to Canadians:
If you still plan to do online shopping during this time, here is a list of online stores that are doing safe drop off and delivery.
This list of frequently asked questions will be updated on an ongoing basis.