To help Canadians through this difficult time, the Federal Government created the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and made changes to the Employment Insurance Program (EI). For those whose employment has affected by the Coronavirus, we have created a chart to help you figure out which program you qualify for and provide links to apply for each program.
The Federal Government has already made numerous changes to these programs so we will be updating this document whenever a change to the program is made.
March 27, 2019 – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced programs and measures focused on helping Small & Medium Sized Businesses and Entrepreneurs cope with the economic consequences caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With these new measures, our hope is that employers being pushed to laying off people due to COVID-19 will think again,” Trudeau said. “And for those of you who have already had to lay off workers, we hope you will re-hire them.”
Wage Subsidy increased to 75%
The Prime Minister has been under pressure from the small business community to boost the wage subsidy beyond the 10% initially announced to help keep people employed. Today, Mr. Trudeau announced the government will increase the wage subsidy from 10% to 75% to help keep employees on the payroll. This increase will be backdated to Sunday, March 15th.
“It is clear we have to do more, much more so we are bringing that percentage up to 75 per cent for qualifying businesses”
– Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
The CEBA will allow banks to offer $40,000 loans that will be interest-free for the 1st year which will be guaranteed by the government. If you meet certain conditions, $10,000 of the loan can be forgivable.
“To help you bridge to better times, we are launching the Canada Emergency Business Account. With this new measure banks will soon offer $40,000 which will be guaranteed by the government”
Defer GST, HST, Duty
The government will defer GST & HST payments, as well as duty and taxes owed on imports until June 2020.
“This is the equivalent of giving $30-billion of interest free loans to businesses”
Bank of Canada Rate Cut
Bank of Canada slashed its key overnight interest rate to 0.25%.
Full details and qualification requirements will be available on Monday.
To support people and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Province is introducing a new temporary rental supplement, halting evictions and freezing rents, among other actions.
The new rental supplement will help households by offering up to $500 a month towards their rent, building on federal and provincial financial supports already announced for British Columbians facing financial hardship.
“Nobody should lose their home as a result of COVID-19. Our plan will give much-needed financial relief to renters and landlords. It will also provide more security for renters, who will be able to stay in their homes without fear of eviction or increasing rents during this emergency.” – Premier John Horgan
The funds will support renters experiencing a loss of income by helping them pay their rent and will be paid directly to landlords on their behalf, to ensure landlords continue to receive rental income during the pandemic. Benefiting people with low to moderate incomes, this supplement will be available to renters who are facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, but do not qualify for existing rental assistance programs.
The Province is implementing a number of additional measures to keep people housed and protect their health. The full list of immediate measures includes:
The new temporary rent supplement will provide up to $500 per month, paid directly to landlords.
Halting evictions by ensuring a landlord may not issue a new notice to end tenancy for any reason. However, in exceptional cases where it may be needed to protect health and safety or to prevent undue damage to the property, landlords will be able to apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch for a hearing.
Halting the enforcement of existing eviction notices issued by the Residential Tenancy Branch, except in extreme cases where there are safety concerns. The smaller number of court ordered evictions are up to the courts, which operate independently of government.
Freezing new annual rent increases during the state of emergency.
Preventing landlords from accessing rental units without the consent of the tenant (for example, for showings or routine maintenance), except in exceptional cases where it is needed to protect health and safety or to prevent undue damage to the unit.
Restricting methods that renters and landlords can use to serve notices to reduce the potential transmission of COVID-19 (no personal service and allowing email).
Allowing landlords to restrict the use of common areas by tenants or guests to protect against the transmission of COVID-19.
$2,000/month for 4 months – Canada Emergency Response Benefit to help workers and businesses
To support workers and help businesses keep their employees, the government has proposed legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB would be a simpler and more accessible combination of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.
The CERB would cover Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. The CERB would apply to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).
Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19, would also qualify for the CERB. This would help businesses keep their employees as they navigate these difficult times, while ensuring they preserve the ability to quickly resume operations as soon as it becomes possible.
The EI system was not designed to process the unprecedented high volume of applications received in the past week. Given this situation, all Canadians who have ceased working due to COVID-19, whether they are EI-eligible or not, would be able to receive the CERB to ensure they have timely access to the income support they need.
Canadians who are already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits as of today would continue to receive their benefits and should not apply to the CERB. If their EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, they could apply for the CERB once their EI benefits cease, if they are unable to return to work due to COVID-19. Canadians who have already applied for EI and whose application has not yet been processed would not need to reapply. Canadians who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits would still be able to access their normal EI benefits, if still unemployed, after the 16-week period covered by the CERB.
The portal for accessing the CERB would be available in early April.
Canadians would begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of application. The CERB would be paid every four weeks and be available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020.
BC’s Finance Minister Carole James delivered the province’s 2020 budget on February 18, 2020. The budget projects:
For 2020, a surplus of $227 million
For 2021, a surplus of $179 million
For 2022, a surplus of $374 million
Personal Tax Changes
Personal income tax rates
Effective January 1, 2020, a new top British Columbia personal income tax rate of 20.5% (up from 16.8%) that will apply to individuals with taxable income exceeding $220,000. As a result, the charitable donation tax credit will also increase to 20.5% for charitable donations over $200 for taxpayers in the new bracket.
Home Owner Grant
BC will decrease the threshold for the phase-out of the home owner grant from $1.65 million to $1.525 million. For properties above the threshold, the grant is reduced by $5 for every $1,000 of assessed value in excess of the threshold.
Real property contractors
Effective February 19, 2020, the budget allows real property contractors who perform value-added work to goods and then install those goods into real property outside the province to apply for refunds of PST paid on those goods.
Training Tax Credit
Extended to the end of 2022
Farmers’ Food Donation Tax Credit
Extended to the end of 2023
Corporate Tax Changes
Film Incentive BC and production services tax credit
Effective February 19, 2020, the budget increases the accreditation certificate fee for the Production Services Tax Credit from $5,500 to $10,000.
Production Services Tax Credit Pre-Certification Notification Introduced
Effective July 1, 2020, corporations intending to claim the production services tax credit
must notify the certifying authority of their intent within 60 days of first incurring an
expenditure eligible for the tax credit.
Training Tax Credit
Extended to the end of 2022
Farmers’ Food Donation Tax Credit
Extended to the end of 2023
New Mine Allowance
Effective date to be specified, extended to the end of 2025
PST Registration Requirement
Effective July 1, 2020, Canadian sellers of goods, along with Canadian and foreign sellers of software and telecommunication services will be required to register as tax collectors if specified B.C. revenues exceed $10,000. Additionally, all Canadian sellers of vapour products will be required to register if they
cause vapour products to be delivered to B.C. consumers.
Sales Tax Changes
Effective July 1, 2020, carbonated beverages that contain sugar, natural sweeteners or artificial sweeteners will no longer qualify for the PST exemption for food products. PST will also apply to beverages that are dispensed through soda fountains, soda guns or similar equipment, along with
all beverages dispensed through vending machines (except vending machines wholly
dedicated to dispensing beverages other than sweetened carbonated beverages, e.g., coffee
or water machines)
Carbon Tax Rates Aligned with Federal Carbon Pricing Backstop Rates
Effective April 1, 2020, the B.C. carbon tax rates for 2020 and 2021 are aligned with
the federal carbon pricing backstop methodology, where applicable. As part of this
alignment, the current B.C. rates for shredded and whole tires are also being replaced
with a new category for “combustible waste”. Combustible waste includes tires in
any form, asphalt shingles as a new taxable combustible and any prescribed material,
substance or thing.
B.C. carbon tax rates are being updated to ensure they are in line with the latest science
on emissions. The previous rates were set in 2008 and are today considered to be based
on old science. For some fuel types, the rates are lower than their original scheduled rates.
For example, the tax rate for gasoline will be 9.96 cents per litre on April 1, 2020, rather
than 10.01 cents per litre. For some fuel types, the rates are higher than their original
scheduled rates. For example, the tax rate for natural gas will be 8.82 cents per cubic
metre on April 1, 2020, rather than 8.55 cents per cubic metre. The new rates will be
available on the Ministry of Finance’s website.
The B.C. carbon tax rates will be reviewed as part of the federal government’s review of
the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change in 2022.
Tax Rate for Heated Tobacco Products Introduced
Effective April 1, 2020, a default tax of 29.5 cents per heated tobacco product is
introduced. For specific heated tobacco products, this default can be changed by
regulation. A heated tobacco product is a product that contains tobacco and is designed
to be heated, but not combusted, in a tobacco heating unit to produce a vapour for
Property Transfer Tax
Exemption from Additional Property Transfer Tax for Certain Canadian-Controlled
Limited Partnerships Introduced
Effective on a date to be specified by regulation, a new exemption from additional
property transfer tax will be introduced for qualifying Canadian-controlled limited
partnerships. This exemption will treat Canadian-controlled limited partnerships in a
manner more consistent with Canadian-controlled corporations. It will ensure that new
housing developments are treated similarly irrespective of whether the development is
being undertaken by a Canadian-controlled corporation or Canadian-controlled limited