COVID-19 Update: Benefits Available

MARCH 26, 2020

Yesterday the government passed legislation regarding previously announced measures, which resulted in more details becoming available.

The key benefits available to you and/or your business may include the following:

  • Temporary wage subsidy – please see our previous email from March 25th regarding this wage subsidy along with an Excel workbook to calculate your subsidy. It has been clarified that partnerships and sole-proprietor businesses may be eligible for this subsidy. Eligibility of CCPC’s (Canadian Controlled Private Corporations) requires that the CCPC had a business limit for purposes of the small business deduction to be greater than $Nil. Please note that each corporation in an associated group may be eligible for the subsidy.
  • Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) – this replaces the two previously announced measures of an EI emergency fund and EI for self-employed people who get sick from COVID 19 or are quarantined. The CERB combines these two benefits and simplifies eligibility (mainly being that you are unable to work for a period of 2 weeks prior to applying, are over 15, a Canadian Resident, and have at least $5,000 of employment income in 2019 or the last 12 months). The benefit is up to $2,000 per month for four months.
  • Canada Child Benefit special payment – up to $300 per child (depending on family income), one-time payment to be paid May 2019 (this payment is automatic and nothing has to be done other than ensuring CRA has current information on the number of children you have).
  • GST tax credit special payment – for low income earners eligible for the quarterly GST credit, a one time payment equal to your annual GST credit. There are some families who previously did not qualify and may qualify for a portion of this one-time payment.
  • RRIF minimum withdrawal – the minimum RRIF withdrawals for 2020 will be reduced by 25% to account for the substantial recent declines in the investment markets. Please work with your Fort Group advisor and investment advisor to look at adjusting your payment and working out the optimal taxable income for 2020.

For further details on these announcements, please visit this link to a great resource that explains things in fairly simple terms:

Our Manitoba provincial government also announced some relief for businesses including:

As always, please contact us if you have any questions. Please note that our office continues to stay open to pick up or drop off information including personal income tax returns. Information can also be submitted online through our secure portal (please contact your partner's executive assistant or call 204-942-0861 to request an invitation).

We have several people working remotely and others in the office. Meetings are being scheduled via telephone while government social distancing recommendations remain in place.

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