The Canada Economic Response Plan provides financial support to individuals and businesses in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Justin Trudeau announced Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan in March 2020. This $82 billion plan provides a multitude of credits, payments, and additional supports, like extending the tax filing deadline, to Canadians. Here’s how to get the benefits you qualify for.
Set up a MyAccount with Canada Revenue Agency
If you regularly file your taxes via NetFile, you should already have an online account with the CRA. If you don’t, now is the time to set one up. Set up your MyAccount for Individuals here. Applications for the benefits of the Canada Economic Response Plan will be online via the CRA. You need to have this account in order to apply.
Once you have a CRA MyAccount, you can set up direct deposit to receive any government benefits directly into your chequing account. If you are currently receiving payments like the Canada Child Benefit or a GST/HST rebate, they will be deposited into your account when payment is dispersed instead of being mailed a cheque. Likewise, income tax refunds are automatically deposited this way.
Having a MyAccount with the CRA set up with direct deposit is the best way to ensure you receive any benefits and credits you’re entitled to as soon as they are distributed.
How to apply for Employment Insurance (EI)
If you were laid off from your job because of COVID19, you should apply for Employment Insurance (EI). EI provides up to $573 per week for 52 weeks.
The process for applying for EI is the same. However, now there is no waiting period and no medical certificate is required. You can apply for Employment Insurance (EI) here.
How to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide $500 per week for up to 16 weeks. This benefit provides income support for people who were self-employed, freelancers, and those who do not qualify for EI. If you are not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI), you should apply for the CERB.
You apply via the CRA website based on your date of birth as follows:
To qualify for the CERB, you must be over the age of 15, had to stop working because of COVID19, and earned at least $5,000 in 2019. More details of eligibility are available directly on the Government of Canada website here.
How to receive up to $600 extra via the Goods & Service Tax Credit (GSTC)
If you receive the GST Credit, you will automatically receive up to $400 per single individual and up to $600 per couple in the second week of April.
The regular GST Credit is distributed quarterly on or before the 5th of the month. April’s payment was paid out on April 3, 2020. If you received it, you will be receiving a second payment for the amount you qualify for next week. Your additional GST Credit will be automatically deposited into your bank account or a cheque will be mailed to you next week.
How to receive up to $400 extra per child via the Canada Child Benefit (CCB)
If you are a parent that receives the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for children in your household, your extra payment will be automatically paid to you with your regular payment in May. The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) is regularly paid out on or before the 20th of each month. Your additional CCB payment will be automatically deposited into your bank account or a cheque will be mailed to you on or before May 20, 2020.
How to keep your student loans interest-free and payment-free
If you have student loans with the federal government or your provincial government, they are now interest-free and payment-free until September 30th, 2020. You do not need to apply for this and relief has been implemented automatically.
If you have government student loans, no payment was debited from your account on March 31, 2020. No payments will be debited again until September 30, 2020. If you paid via cheque, online bill pay, or another method, you do not need to submit payment. Your student loans are not accruing interest during this time.