Ontario residents have a few reasons to feel relieved at news that the Canadian government might expand an already heavy $82 billion dollar aid package while Coronavirus runs its course throughout the planet. Ontario has also unveiled an additional $17 billion dollar package for the benefit of the province. With so much happening all at once, it can be hard to understand what aid is currently available for Canadian workers, and how it will affect their long-term wealth prospects.
Here’s what the Ontario package means for residents of the province, and how it can help assist you and your family during this difficult time period.
Senior Income Assistance
Ontario is considering an increase on the GAINS (Guaranteed Annual Income System) payment by twice the current amount, for an additional six months. This will primarily affect low-income seniors and give them a financial boost to wait out the virus until numbers drop down, and a vaccine is produced.
Small Business Relief
$6 billion dollars worth of interest and penalty relief regarding provincial taxes has been greenlit by the government for up to five months, which should take some of the strain out of the current situation. A property tax deferral has been implemented to help residents, businesses and school boards continue to receive funding, with WSIB employers able to defer payments up to six months. This allows any employer covered by WSIB can defer reporting and payments until August 31st of 2020, with no opt-in required.
Ontario will be lowering the cost of electricity between 2020 and 2021 with $5.6 billion in cost relief programs. Over the next month and a half, Ontario will be changing hydro’s pricing model to 50% of what it currently stands at. Low-income families will also receive expanding eligibility for LEAP (Low-Income Energy Assistance Program) to guarantee that the heating and lights stay on.
In addition to this province-based assistance program, it’s important to note the highlights of the federal government aid package, as well. These include the following.
Employment Insurance Expansion
Canadians will now get easier access to Employment Insurance without the need to go through much of the hassle normally involved. If you’re quarantined, sick or caring for someone which has caused you to lose income, you can take advantage of the revised EI system. The federal government has discarded the routine one-week waiting period for individuals in quarantine, as well as the need to provide a medical certificate to receive additional benefits. In addition, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will grant $2,000 per month for four months for anyone with lost income due to the pandemic.
Tax Credits And Other Benefits
A GST credit will be available for low-income singles and couples at $400 and $600 dollars, respectively. In addition, individual tax return filing dates will be extended to June 1st, 2020, as well as deferring of any owed income tax until after August 31st of 2020. Small and Medium sized businesses can take advantage of a temporary wage subsidy, which the federal government has increased to 75%, and will be backdated to March 15th.
In addition, the government has allowed banks to offer $40,000 loans with $10,000 forgiven off the top, and interest free for the first year in order to stimulate the economy. In order to qualify, these businesses must prove that they paid between $50,000 and $1 million in total payroll throughout the course of 2019.
In conclusion, Canada has taken some good steps to mitigate the fallout of the Coronavirus pandemic. All indications point to the virus already hitting its peak before it begins to taper off, which means the methods implemented here should help get many through these turbulent times, and back onto the road of recovery. For more questions regarding your wealth management in the era of this global pandemic, please contact us today.
*Please note that these programs are changing daily, so please check in with our team to ensure you have the most up to date information*