March 20 update to constituents on COVID-19 response
March 20, 2020
Update on federal government's COVID-19 response
I am writing to provide you with an update on the federal government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But first, I would like to take the opportunity to thank you. It is your positive response that is going to get us through this.
By social distancing and not leaving our homes unless absolutely necessary, by minimizing our contact with high risk individuals, by not hoarding groceries and supplies and only buying what we need, and by helping seniors and those with mobility issues to stay safe and supplied you are going to make a difference. It will be some time before we see the positive effects of the steps we are personally taking. Please persevere. It will make a difference.
And my biggest thanks go to the essential and front line workers that are continuing to do their jobs under the most challenging circumstances. From the medical professionals and police and firefighters to the food service industry, grocery workers and those that keep our supply chains running - thank you.
My Scarborough Centre Community Office
For your safety and that of my team, my Scarborough Centre community office remains closed to walk-ins. However, my team is still on the job to help you as they always have been. If you need assistance with consular affairs, immigration, Employment Insurance, CPP, OAS or other federal government services, please continue to reach out to my office by email or by phone and we will do our utmost to assist you.
: [email protected]
: (416) 752-2358
And if you would like to speak with me personally, I am available to speak to you by phone. Please reach out to my team with your contact information and I will return your call.
The Federal Government Response
All Canadians are in this together, and all levels of government are working together to respond to this COVID-19 pandemic. I want to thank Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his government, as well as Toronto Mayor John Tory and everyone at the City of Toronto, for working so cooperatively and collaboratively with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and our government in the interests of all our citizens.
On Wednesday, our government announced an $82 billion aid package in response to COVID-19.
You can find comprehensive details at these links, but allow me to share a few highlights.
SUPPORT FOR INDIVIDUALS
SUPPORT FOR SENIORS
- For Canadians without paid sick leave who are sick, quarantined or forced to stay home to care for children, we're waiving the one-week waiting period for claiming EI sickness benefits and waiving the need to provide a medical certificate.
- We're Introducing the Emergency Care Benefit providing up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks. This flat-payment benefit would be administered through the CRA for workers including the self-employed who are sick or quarantined, who are taking care of a family member, or who need to stay home to take care of their children due to school or daycare closures -- but don't qualify for EI
- For Canadians who lose their jobs or face reduced hours as a result of COVID's impact, the Emergency Support Benefit delivered through the CRA will provide up to $5.0 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.
- And for low and modest income families, we're proposing to provide a one-time special payment by early May 2020 through the Goods and Services Tax credit. The average boost to income for those benefitting from this measure will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples. We will also increase the Canada Child Benefit for this year by $300/child.
- The deadline to file your taxes is extended to June 1, and amounts owing can be deferred until August 31st. But if you expect to receive benefits like the GSTC or CCB, please file as soon as possible to ensure no interruption to your benefits.
- We have worked with Canada's banks to allow them, on a case by case basis, to work with individuals to defer their mortgage payments for up to six months based on individual circumstances.
- For students, a six-month, interest-free moratorium on Canada Student Loan payments.
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES
- For low and modest income seniors we are providing a supplementary payment under the GST Credit of $400 per adult and $600 per couple.
- To provide seniors flexibility with mandatory withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) we are we are reducing minimum withdrawals from RRIF's by 25 per cent for 2020. This will help preserve RRIF assets during a volatile market.
- We have taken a number of robust measures to support Canadian businesses. This includes increasing access to credit through BDC and EDC, a deferral of federal tax payments without interest or penalty, and a payroll subsidy equal to 10% of remuneration paid during the next three months. More business support and industry-specific support is being developed.
- Canadians overseas have been advised to return home by commercial means. As borders close, the government will have limited ability to assist with repatriation. Canadians needing emergency consular assistance should contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.
- All Canadians returning from outside the country must go directly home and self-isolate for 14 days. This does not mean stopping for groceries first. Please use delivery options or ask friends or family to go shopping for you.
If you have any questions about our government's response, please reach out to my team. I will continue to do my best to keep you up to date and informed. Please bookmark and keep an eye on the government's official COVID-19 information page: canada.ca/coronavirus
Scarborough Centre Community Office
5-2155 Lawrence Avenue East
Scarborough, ON M1R 5G9
Tel. (416) 752-2358 Fax (416) 752-4624