Categories
COVID-19

What to do if you’ve just lost your job

Losing your job is never easy, but you’re not in this alone. Here are some simple steps to help you set up your finances for the months ahead. 

1. Apply for benefits

Some good news: you are very likely eligible for financial aid. Start by applying for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which will give you $500 a week for up to 16 weeks. You should apply for the CERB even if you’d normally qualify for Employment Insurance. 

In addition to the CERB, check the Benefit Finder for pre-existing resources and see what additional programs are being provided by your province. To help you navigate your options, we put together a comprehensive resource of the federal and provincial support programs that are available. 

2. Review your finances

Now that financial support is on the way, it’s time to take stock of your current situation. How much money do you have saved or invested? Is it enough to cover your immediate expenses? Are there any unnecessary expenses you can cut? 

Updating or creating your budget will help you answer these questions and plan for the coming weeks. If you’re short on cash, we recommend dipping into your savings and investments before taking on new debt. If you really need to borrow, read our guide first.

3. Pick up the phone

Need to stretch your money? You may be able to reduce or defer upcoming expenses like monthly bills, debt repayments and rent. Companies all across the country, from banks to mobile providers, have responded to the crisis with financial relief measures for Canadians in need. Contact your service providers to discuss your options, even if they haven’t made any official announcements. 

Prioritize penalty-free deferments and payments on loans that will not accrue interest, such as most government-issued student loans. Deferring other debt repayments could affect your credit score or result in additional interest charges, so only defer these as a last resort.

Here’s a list of providers to contact:

  • Your phone and Internet provider 
  • Your cable TV provider 
  • Your utility providers (both hydro and water)
  • Your insurance providers (car and home)
  • Your landlord or mortgage provider
  • Your credit card company 
  • Your student loan provider
  • Any other creditors

4. File your tax return

The deadline to file income tax has been pushed back to June 1, 2020, but the sooner you file, the sooner you’ll get your refund. More than two-thirds of Canadians will receive an average refund of over $1,700, which is money that can go towards paying expenses or topping up your emergency fund. 

If you’re concerned about potentially owing money, don’t worry. The payment deadline has also been extended. You’ll have until September 1, 2020 to pay off any balance owing. 

5. Stay connected

While you’re getting your finances in order, it’s a good idea to start reaching out to your professional network about new opportunities: many industries are still hiring. To improve your chances of landing a job, do (virtual) practice interviews with a friend and update your resume, website and LinkedIn profile. This may also be a good time to expand your job options by learning a new skill online.

Handling the loss of a job can be challenging, especially now, so be kind to yourself and connect with your family and friends as much as you can. We may be practicing self-isolation, but we are all going through this together. Our Customer Success team and Portfolio Managers are also here to support you through this challenging time and whatever lies ahead. 

Get financial advice

Need personalized advice from an expert? We each have unique financial situations, and there is no “one size fits all” solution for finding ways to overcome the financial challenges that may lie ahead. We recently rolled out a new service that allows you get financial coaching in the app, and we’re hard at work expanding our capacity to offer it to all of our users.

This feature gives you access to real-time live chat with an expert financial advisor who can answer any questions that you may have about your personal finances and help you make the best possible financial choices. Join the waitlist today

Categories
COVID-19

The smart way to borrow money in an emergency

Need money now? If you’re in a tight spot because of COVID-19, you’re not alone and help is available. Here’s everything you need to know.

Before you borrow

Remember: Borrowing usually costs money, so only take on debt as a last resort and borrow as little as possible to minimize interest charges. Before borrowing, make sure you’ve reduced your expenses, accessed any available savings or investments, explored ways to supplement your income and exhausted all financial aid options.

Your borrowing options

In general, the lower the interest rate on the loan, the better. Fees, the repayment period and availability are other important factors to consider. Here are the options that we recommend, listed in order of preference:

Loans from family or friends

We know this isn’t possible for everyone, but if you’re lucky enough to have someone who can help, reach out. These loans usually come with a very low (or zero percent) interest rate, no fees and flexible repayment terms, which make them the best option for borrowing money. 

Mixing money and personal relationships can be tricky, though. Here’s some guidance on how to respect and protect relationships when borrowing from a loved one.  

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

If you have access to a HELOC, then this is probably the next best option. This flexible, low-interest loan uses your property as collateral and allows you to borrow up to a pre-set amount. You only borrow what you need, and you only pay interest on what you use. Since it’s a secured loan, interest rates are usually lower than regular lines of credit.

Opening a new HELOC can take time and cost money, so it’s likely not the right choice if you need cash immediately. But if you’re a homeowner with 20% equity in your home and you can afford to wait, the low interest rate makes it worth considering, especially with the recent rate cuts by the Bank of Canada.

Unsecured line of credit

An unsecured line of credit is a smart choice if you don’t already have a HELOC or real estate to borrow against. Since this kind of loan doesn’t require any collateral, it’s generally quicker to set up and easier to access. Interest rates vary but generally fall somewhere between HELOC and credit card rates. You’re more likely to get a favourable rate if you work with your current bank, and they may even be willing to transfer overdraft fees from your existing chequing account to your line of credit.

Low interest credit cards

If you don’t have access to a line of credit, a credit card may help with cash flow. The big six banks are offering to lower interest rates for anyone who has been approved for payment deferrals. Interest rates will likely still be above 10%, so be careful about how much you put on your card.

Use a comparison tool like RateHub or LowestRates to find the best low fee, low interest credit card for you. If you have existing credit card debt, look for a card with a 0% introductory interest rate on balance transfers, like this one. There may be a fee, but you’ll still save money by not paying interest on pre-existing credit card debt during the promotional period. Also, be sure not to use cash advances from your credit card, as these often have a much higher interest rate than the standard annual interest rate promoted by the credit card issuer.

What to avoid 

We recommend that you stay away from payday loans, RRSP withdrawals, and tax refund loans. Here’s why.

Avoid payday loans at all costs. We repeat: Avoid payday loans at all costs—especially in the current environment. As the name suggests, these loans are short-term advances for money that’s coming on your next payday. If you’ve lost your job and don’t have work lined up, the high fees and interest rates could make a payday loan very expensive. It might not seem that expensive in dollar terms if you only borrow for a few days, but the effective interest rates charged can be as high 500 to 600%.

A tax refund loan, or short-term advance on your estimated tax refund, might seem like a good idea, but we don’t recommend it. There may be high fees associated with this service, and you could end up owing money if your estimate is incorrect. 

Don’t make an RRSP withdrawal. There are penalties associated with making early withdrawals from your RRSP and any money you withdraw is considered taxable income. You’ll also permanently lose the contribution room.

Get financial advice 

Ultimately, the smartest option for borrowing money is the one that works for you. We each have unique financial situations, and there is no “one size fits all” solution for finding ways to overcome the financial challenges that may lie ahead. We recently rolled out a new service which makes it possible to get financial advice in the app, and we’re hard at work expanding our capacity to offer it to all of our users.

This feature gives you access to real-time live chat with an expert financial advisor who can answer any questions that you may have about your personal finances and help you make the best possible financial choices. Join the waitlist today

Categories
COVID-19

Managing your money during uncertain times

Most of us will be financially impacted by COVID-19. The challenges and uncertainties created by the pandemic mean that making the right financial decisions, a complicated task even at the best of times, is currently even more difficult.

We’re here to help with expert recommendations on what to do with your money right now and how to prepare your finances to weather the storm.

Investments

In the past 2 weeks, equity markets have taken a tumble, putting an end to a historic bull market. As of March 23, the TSX (Canada) and the S&P 500 (United States) were down 37% and 34% respectively from their peaks a little over a month ago. 

Perhaps you’ve seen your portfolio diminish as a result, and you’re wondering if it’s time to cut and run. While these concerns about your investments are understandable, our best advice to you is to keep calm and stay the course.

Stay the Course

We recommend leaving your money in your investment accounts if you can afford to do so. In a cash crunch, you can always access your money if you need it using Moka’s next-day withdrawal feature, but wherever possible, we suggest using emergency savings and reducing unnecessary expenses before tapping into your investments.

Ultimately, history has shown us that over time, the equity markets should recover and grow. Withdrawing your money now locks in any short-term losses and prevents you from benefiting from any future gains when the market recovers.

If you have short-term goals with Moka, like going on a trip, your money is likely invested in a Conservative portfolio, which means that you have very low exposure to equity markets and are much less likely to be significantly impacted by market volatility.

If you have long-term goals, like saving for retirement or for a young child’s college education, then you have time to ride out short-term market fluctuations.

However, if you feel that your current portfolio does not accurately reflect your risk tolerance or current financial situation, we’re always available to you. Your dedicated Portfolio Manager will be happy to review it with you or answer any questions.

You can also refer to our previous article about this here.

The Road Forward

We recommend continuing to regularly save and invest towards your financial goals if you can. 

By contributing to your savings goals on a weekly basis, you’re taking advantage of an important concept called Dollar Cost Averaging. Basically, buying into your portfolio gradually and consistently minimizes the impact of market volatility.  

Moka portfolios are balanced weekly. We tend to buy stocks less when the market is outperforming and more when it’s underperforming, which means that your portfolio is taking advantage of the market conditions at different points in time.

Don’t forget that you can always edit the funding rules for your goals in the Moka app, depending on your cash flow needs and spending patterns. Since most of us will be self-isolating for a  while, we might see our roundup contributions decrease. We suggest setting up or increasing your recurring deposits to stay on track with your goals. Of course, you can also reduce your contributions if your financial situation requires it. 

Moving the Goal Post?

It’s never a bad time to be investing towards your future financial goals, but it’s understandable if saving for things like a vacation or a new car is suddenly less of a priority.

Regardless of changes you may be making to your financial goals, we think everyone should have an emergency fund to help weather any unexpected financial situations without going into debt. If you don’t already have one, make sure that an emergency fund goal is at the top of your list.

If you do have an emergency fund, whether it’s in a Moka account or somewhere else, don’t be afraid to rely on it if you’re experiencing a cash flow crunch. It’s there to help you through times like these.

Saving money in a financial downturn

With many people facing a loss of income due to business closures, reduced hours, sickness and quarantine, and a recession on its way, every dollar counts and it can be even harder to put money aside. Here’s what you can do to ensure you’re still making progress towards your savings goals.

  • Prioritize your emergency fund.

I know, we’re repeating ourselves, but only because it’s probably the most important point in this article. Experts recommend having an emergency fund that can cover 3 to 6 months worth of expenses. It’s OK if you don’t already have one, or if saving that much  isn’t possible for you, right away. The important thing is to put aside whatever you can, as soon as you can.

Keep your emergency savings in a separate account from the one you use for day-to-day transactions. By putting your savings in a Moka account, you can easily add to it automatically and still access your money in a pinch with next-day withdrawals.

  • Make a budget. 

It’s time to prioritize your expenses and savings and reduce unnecessary spending. Even if you already have a budget, consider creating an emergency budget that cuts out even more non-essential items. See our guide on how to create one in three easy steps. You can also use an app like YNAB.

Don’t forget to factor savings into your budget. After calculating your expenses, see how much you can afford to put aside each month and then automate the process. By ‘setting and forgetting’ recurring deposits, you’ll have an easy, stress-free way to ensure that you’re saving consistently.

  • Track your spending.

Telling your money where to go is one thing. Seeing where it’s actually going is another. While it’s possible that you’ll spend less money during self-isolation, it’s also easy to overspend on things like online shopping, digital subscriptions and restaurant deliveries. Tracking your spending will allow you to stay on budget and easily identify when and where you need to cut back if you veer off track. 

If the thought of writing down every dollar you spend seems tedious, download an app like Mint or Wally to do it automatically.

  • Identify all opportunities to save.

Take some time to go through your expenses. Are there any subscriptions or memberships that you’re not currently using? Are you spending too much money on services like your cellphone? Can you call and negotiate your bank fees? You might be surprised to find how much money there is to be saved. 

  • Renegotiate or renew your mortgage.

Canada’s major banks have dropped their prime rates by a full 1 percent in the last two weeks, following rate cuts from the Bank of Canada. We recommend speaking to your mortgage broker to see what these new rates mean for you and if you’re in a position to capitalize on them. Keep in mind that if you’re breaking your existing mortgage early, you may need to pay a penalty, but depending on the improvement in your new rate, it could be worth it.

  • Apply for any benefits or financial aid you’re eligible for.

The Canadian government has put in place a huge aid package to support Canadians impacted by the pandemic. Research what you qualify for and submit your applications as soon as you can. Don’t be discouraged if processing times take longer than usual. The main thing is to make sure you take whatever action is required. 

New information is being released constantly, and the team at Moka will do our best to help you navigate them. See our roundup of what’s been announced to date.

Managing Debt

  • Keep on top of your debt payments, if you can.

If your financial situation allows, we recommend continuing to pay off your debt so that you don’t negatively affect your credit score or accrue any additional interest.

If you’re using a credit card, aim to pay it off in full each month if you can afford to. And keep an eye on your transactions—more online purchases during self-isolation could mean that your credit card bill is higher than it usually is.

  • If you can’t keep up with your payments, check what support is available and contact your creditors.

Limited cash flow means that many Canadians may struggle to keep up with payments on their mortgage, credit card or student loans during this crisis. 

Luckily, there’s support available.  

Canada’s big six banks have announced that they will provide flexible payment arrangements. Contact your bank as soon as you can to see if you are eligible for deferred payments on your mortgage and/or credit card debt. Be aware that you are still required to pay interest on your deferred payments, so you may end up paying more in interest payments as a result.

For students, the Canadian government has paused the repayment of Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans for six months until September 30, 2020. Some provincial governments such as Quebec and Alberta have also announced similar measures. 

Stay tuned for additional measures. As mentioned, we will do our best to keep you updated.

  • Don’t take on more debt, unless you really need to.

While we understand that this won’t be possible for everyone, our advice is to reduce your expenses and access all available support before taking on more debt. Please also do not take on extra debt to cover the costs of unnecessary bulk buying. 

We may be feeling the financial impact of COVID-19 for a while. Good financial health and habits are more important now than ever.

Get financial advice

We each have unique financial situations, and there is no “one size fits all” solution for finding ways to overcome the financial challenges that may lie ahead. We recently rolled out a new service that will make it possible for you to get financial advice in the app, and we’re hard at work expanding our capacity to offer it to all of our users.

This feature will give you access to real-time live chat with an expert financial advisor who can answer any questions that you may have about your personal finances and help make you make the best possible financial choices. Join the waitlist today

Categories
COVID-19 Financial aid

Financial support for Canadians during the pandemic

What you need to know about new government funding and relief measures, changes to tax rules, and how to make the most of the benefits available.

The COVID-19 outbreak has created unprecedented disruptions across the globe. It’s clear that even more challenges lie ahead as we confront the impact that this pandemic will have on our lives and our community.

For many of us, the financial demands of daily life are going to become more difficult to meet as a result of lost wages due to illness, quarantine, or child care for kids who are home from school. We will all feel the effects of the oncoming recession that experts predict is inevitable.

Please know you’re not in this alone. There are measures being put in place to help Canadians get through this difficult time, and the team at Moka will do our best to help you navigate them.

That’s why we’ve rounded up a list of everything you need to know about the resources and support available to Canadians right now.

We’ll keep adding to this list as more information becomes available, so check back here for updates. If you have updates or resources that you think we should include, please let us know.


Table of contents

National Financial Aid Resources

Provincial Financial Aid Resources



 
Canadian Financial Aid Resources

For individuals

Financial Support

  • The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide Canadians who have lost income or employment with $500 a week for up to 16 weeks, for the period from March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020.

    If you’ve stopped working due to COVID-19, you should apply for the CERB even if you’re eligible for Employment Insurance.

    UPDATE (04/03/2020): You can begin applying for the CERB on April 6, either online or by phone. The CRA has set up specific days for you to apply, depending on your birth month. Sign up for CRA direct deposits to get your money within 3 business days of applying. Otherwise, you should get your money in about 10 business days.

    Remember to apply every 4 weeks to keep receiving the benefit.

    UPDATE (04/06/2020): The CERB is being expanded to include gig workers, contractors and students, plus people are still working, but are working with reduced hours. 

    UPDATE (04/15/2020): The CERB eligibility criteria now also includes seasonal workers, those who have recently run out of employment insurance, and anyone making less than $1,000 a month due to reduced work hours.
  • The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) is an existing program to provide pre-tax funding to Canadians with kids under 18. The government is providing an extra $300 per child, to be paid out on the May 2020 CCB payment. If you already receive the CCB, you do not need to re-apply. If you are not yet enrolled, you can do so here.
  • The government will provide a one-time payment through the Goods and Services Tax credit to low- and modest-income families. The average increase will be close to $400 for single individuals and $600 for couples. You will receive this payment automatically if you’re eligible. 
  • The COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad is an emergency loan of up to $5,000 to help you return to Canada and to cover your short-term needs while you work toward returning. More info available here

Taxes

The Canadian government has postponed the deadlines for Canadians to file and pay their taxes as part of their COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

  • Federal Tax Filing Deadline: The deadline for filing your taxes has now been delayed by one month from April 30 to June 1.
  • Federal Tax Payment Deadline: The deadline for paying any taxes owing from now until August 31st has been pushed back until August 31st. Those payments will be due no later than August 31st, including any taxes owing from your 2019 filing.

Debt Relief

In a cash flow crisis, many Canadians may struggle to keep up with debt payments including those on their mortgages, credit cards and student loans. Here’s what we know so far:

  • Mortgages & Credit Card Payments
    The big six Canadian banks have announced that they will provide flexible payment arrangements for personal and business customers that experience pay disruption, childcare disruption due to school closures or illness related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    UPDATE (03/23/2020): While postponing debt payments may help in a cash crunch, it’s possible that you will continue to be charged interest on both your outstanding payments as planned and the overdue interest from the deferrals, as reported by the CBC today. This means you could end up paying more interest overall, and deferring a payment could possibly even have an impact on your credit score.

    UPDATE (04/06/2020): The banks will also be temporarily reducing credit card interest rates for customers who need to defer payments.

    Contact your bank to see if you are eligible for deferred payments on your mortgage and/or credit card debt. Be sure to find out what the terms are for payment deferrals, and what that means for your overall interest costs.

Monthly Bills

Companies across Canada are announcing measures to help customers facing financial hardship during the pandemic. 

  • Phone and internet service providers such as Bell, Rogers, Telus, Videotron, Cogeco and Shaw have announced measures such as flexible payment arrangements. Many are also suspending non-payment disconnections and waiving data overage, long distance and roaming fees. Check with your provider to see what they’re offering. 

RRIF Withdrawals

If you are over 71 and have a registered retirement income fund (RRIF) which can include an RRSP, Canada is reducing the required minimum withdrawals by 25% for 2020.  

Other Benefits

The Canadian and provincial governments already offer a wide range of services and benefits to Canadians depending on where you are and your specific circumstances or situation.

Use the Benefit Finder to see if you qualify for any additional programs or support.

For businesses

Here’s what’s been announced to keep businesses stay afloat and prevent layoffs:

  • UPDATE (03/27/2020): The Canadian government has announced a Temporary Wage Subsidy that will cover 75% of payroll wages for eligible small businesses. It will be backdated to March 15 and is a big increase from the 10% previously promised. Employers benefiting from this will include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities.
  • UPDATE (03/27/2020): A new Canada Emergency Business Account will provide one-year interest free loans of up to $40,000 to small and medium-sized businesses. If the company can repay the balance of the loan by the end of 2022, up to $10,000 will be forgiven.

    UPDATE (04/16/2020): The CEBA eligibility criteria has been expanded. The minimum total payroll spend requirement has been decreased to $20,000 from the original $50,000, while the maximum total payroll spend has been increased from $1 million to $1.5 million.


Provincial Resources



 
Alberta Financial Aid Resources

For individuals

Financial Support

  • The Emergency Isolation Support program, now closed, provided one-time funding to over 79,596 eligible Albertans who lost income because of COVID-19. It was designed as a stop-gap measure until CERB benefits began.

Debt Relief

  • Mortgage & Line of Credit Payments
    ATB Financial customers can request a deferral on their loans, lines of credit and mortgages for up to 6 months.
  • Student Loans
    Alberta Student Loan repayments will be automatically paused for 6 months, beginning March 30, 2020. Interest will not accrue during this period. 

Monthly Bills

For businesses

  • Corporate income tax balances and instalment payments due between March 18, 2020 and August 31, 2020 have been deferred until August 31, 2020.

  • The deadline for corporate income tax returns due between March and June 1, 2020 has been extended to June 1, 2020.

  • Collection of non-residential education property tax for businesses will be deferred for 6 months.

  • Agri-businesses and small businesses can defer electricity and natural gas bill payments for the next 90 days, regardless of the service provider.



 
British Columbia Financial Aid Resources

For individuals

Financial Support

  • The B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers will provide a one-time, tax-free, $1,000 payment for B.C. residents who are unable to work due to COVID-19. It will complement the support being provided by the federal government. More details will be released soon, so stay tuned.
  • The B.C. Climate Action Tax Credit (BCCATC) is a non-taxable credit given to offset the impact of the carbon taxes. The government has announced a one-time enhanced payment for July 2020 to assist with COVID-19. You could get up to $218 for you, your spouse or common-law partner, or your first child in a single parent family, and up to $64 for each additional child. Just file your income tax return for 2019 and the CRA will determine your eligibility for the payment. 

Rent and Housing

The BC-Temporary Rental Supplement (BC-TRS) Program has been introduced to ensure people can maintain their housing in the event of job or income loss.

  • B.C. will halt evictions for non-payment of rent and freeze rent increases for the duration of the pandemic. 
  • A temporary rent supplement will provide a monthly rebate of up to $500 for three months to help tenants who are struggling to make payments. The rebate will be paid directly to landlords. Applications will open soon on the BC Housing website.

Debt Relief

  • Mortgage & Credit Card Payments
    Vancity, a credit union in Vancouver, will allow deferred payments of mortgages and other loans for six months on a case-by-case basis. They are also cutting credit card interest rates to 0% and deferring minimum payments for up to 6 months for eligible cardholders. 

Monthly Bills

  • BC Hydro
    The COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program allows BC Hydro customers to defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty.

    The COVID-19 Relief Fund gives residential customers who have lost jobs or had wages reduced as a result of COVID-19 a credit worth three times their average monthly bill which will not have to be paid back. You can apply until June 30.

    The Customer Crisis Fund will grant customers up to $600 to pay their hydro bills.
  • FortisBC
    The COVID-19 Customer Recovery Fund will allow residential customers to defer their bill payments from April 1 to June 30, 2020. An interest-free repayment schedule will be set up to spread bill payments out over the next 12 months.

    Late payment fees and disconnections have been suspended for all customers.

For businesses

  • B.C. has extended filing and payment deadlines for the following taxes until September 30, 2020:

    • Employer Health Tax
    • Provincial Sales Tax (including municipal and regional district tax)
    • Carbon tax
    • Motor fuel tax
    • Tobacco tax
  • BC Hydro has announced the following measures to support struggling businesses:

    Small businesses forced to close due to COVID-19 may be eligible to have their charges waived for up to three months. Applications are expected to open the week of April 13.

    Large businesses will have the option of a three-month deferment.

    Major industry partners, including pulp mills and mines, can defer 50 per cent of their bill for three months.
  • FortisBC 

    Under the COVID-19 Customer Recovery Fund, small businesses who are unable to operate due to COVID-19 may be eligible for bill credits or bill payment deferrals from April 1 to June 30, 2020, or both. Businesses are encouraged to speak to their key account manager.

    Large commercial and industrial customers are encouraged to speak to their key account managers about flexible payment options. 

    Late payment fees and disconnections have been suspended for all customers.



 
Manitoba Financial Aid Resources

For individuals

Rent and Housing

Debt Relief

Monthly Bills

  • As part of the Manitoba Protection Plan, residents can defer payments to Manitoba Hydro, Centra Gas and Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) until October 1, 2020 without incurring interest or penalties.
  • Manitoba Hydro and Centra Gas have been instructed to suspend disconnections until that time.
  • MPI has been instructed to relax ordinary practices on policy renewals and collections.

Taxes

  • Municipalities will not charge interest on provincial education taxes and school division fees, and are being encouraged to to waive their own taxes. 

For businesses

  • Under the Manitoba Protection Plan, the government will provide the following measures until October 1, 2020:

    Businesses can defer payments to Manitoba Hydro, Centra Gas, Workers Compensation Board and Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) without incurring interest or penalties.

    No Manitoba Hydro and Centra Gas customers will be disconnected.

    Ordinary practices on policy renewals and collections at MPI will be relaxed.

    No interest will be charged through Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries receivables from restaurants, bars and specialty wine stores.

    No interest on education property taxes will be charged.
  • Manitoba businesses hit by the economic downturn from COVID-19 will have more time to submit provincial taxes.

    The April and May tax filing deadlines for the Retails Sales Tax (RST) have been extended until June 22, 2020 for small and medium businesses with monthly RST remittances of up to $10,000. 

    Quarterly business taxes due April 20 have been postponed to June 22, 2020.

    Provincial income tax and corporate income tax filing deadlines have been extended to August 31, 2020.



 
New Brunswick Financial Aid Resources

For individuals

Financial Support

Monthly Bills

  • NB Power

    Non-payment disconnections and collection efforts have been suspended until further notice.

    Residential and small business customers can enquire to defer bill payments for up to 90 days, extend existing payment arrangements, or waive interest on past due balances and late fees issues after March 19, 2020. 

For businesses

  • NB Small Business Emergency Working Capital Program gives small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 access to working capital loans up to $100,000. Interest payments will begin in month 7, and principal and interest payments will begin in month 13. Apply online here.

  • Opportunities NB will provide medium to large businesses with working capital loans of more $100,000, up to $1 million.

  • The government will defer loan and interest repayments on existing provincial loans for up to six months. Deferrals are granted on a case-by-case basis.

  • Businesses who are unable to make the property tax payment due by May 31, 2020 can apply to have the penalty waived. 

  • Under the revised Mandatory Order COVID-19, landlords cannot evict commercial or other non-resident tenants for non-payment of any rent due after March 19, 2020.



 
Newfoundland and Labrador Financial Aid Resources

For businesses

  • Loan payments on business loans administered by the Innovation and Business Investment Corporation have been deferred for three months.
  • A number of tax return filing deadlines have been deferred to support businesses impacted by COVID-19.

    The deadline for International Fuel Tax Agreement returns for the first quarter of 2020 has been pushed back from April 30, 2020 to June 1, 2020.

    Any tax returns under the Revenue Administration Act and Regulation, normally due March 20, 2020, are now due June 23, 2020. These include:
    • Gasoline Tax
    • Carbon Tax
    • Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax
    • Insurance Companies Tax
    • Mining and Mineral Rights Tax
    • Tax on Insurance Premiums
    • Tobacco Tax



 
Northwest Territories Financial Aid Resources

For individuals

Financial Support

Income Security Program benefits have been increased to support the NWT’s most vulnerable residents and their families. These include:

  • Residents eligible for Income Assistance will receive a one-time emergency allowance of $500 for individuals and $1,000 for families. This allowance is to cover costs like food and cleaning supplies amid the pandemic.
  • Eligible low-to-modest income seniors receiving the Seniors Home Heating Subsidy will receive an increase beginning April 1, 2020.

Debt Relief

  • Student Loans
    Repayment of all student loans from the Government of Northwest Territories will be suspended until September 30, 2020. No interest will accrue during this time period. 

For businesses

  • Deferred Loan Payments
    BDIC loan payments can be deferred for a period of up to three cumulative months, between April 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020, with no penalty or additional interest charges.



 
Nova Scotia Financial Aid Resources

For individuals

Financial Support

  • The Worker Emergency Bridge Fund is a one-time $1,000 payment for Nova Scotians who are laid off or out of work because of COVID-19, who don’t qualify for Employment Insurance, and earn between $5,000 and $34,000. It can be combined with the CERB. Applications opened April 10 , 2020.
  • An additional $50 will be given to anyone on income assistance starting Friday, 20 March. You do not need to apply.

Debt Relief

  • Student Loans
    Nova Scotia Student Loan payments are automatically suspended until 30 September 2020, with no accrual of interest. 

Monthly Bills

  • Nova Scotia Power
    Non-payment disconnections have been suspended for at least 90 days.

    Customers can also contact Customer Careto discuss flexible payment timelines and getting fees and penalties on unpaid bills waived.

    The Home Energy Assistance Top-up (HEAT) Fundis available to low-income families to help pay their energy bill. In response to COVID-19, the application deadline has been extended indefinitely and the restriction on applying only every 24 month has been waived.

For businesses

  • The Small Business Impact Grant will provide eligible businesses who have been ordered to close or greatly reduce operations with a one-time grant equal to 15% of sales revenue, either from April 2019 or February 2020, up to a maximum of $5,000. It can be used for any purpose. Apply by April 25, 2020.
  • The Nova Scotia government will defer payments for all government loans until June 30, 2020.
  • The Small Business Loan Guarantee Program will defer loan payments until June 30.
  • The Small Business Loan Guarantee Program will make it easier for businesses to access credit up to $500,000. The government will also guarantee the first $100,000 for users who might not qualify for a loan.
  • Small business fees will be deferred until June 30, including registration renewal fees and workers’ compensation premiums.



 
Nunavut Financial Aid Resources

For businesses

  • The Small Business Support Program will provide immediate short-term relief to businesses through a one-time grant of up to $5,000. The grant is available to small businesses and entrepreneurs who have lost income due to COVID-19, as well as Nunavut artists and craftspeople who make all or most of their income through product sales. 



 
Ontario Financial Aid Resources

For individuals

Financial Support

  • Ontario will double the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) maximum payment for low-income seniors for six months, starting in April 2020. Individuals can now get up to $166 per month, or up to $332 per month for couples.
  • Parents will receive a one-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age, or $250 for those with special needs up to 21 years of age. Parents already receiving Support for Parents payments will receive the money automatically. Otherwise, apply online here.

Debt Relief

Monthly Bills

  • The Low‑income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is being expanded to provide up to $500 in emergency assistance for electricity bills ($600 if your home is heated electrically) and $500 for natural gas bills. This is only to cover any money that you already owe.
  • Non-payment disconnections for resident customers are banned across the province until July 31, 2020. 
  • Off-peak electricity pricing of 10.1 cents per kilowatt will apply no matter what time of day the electricity is consumed. This pricing will remain in place for 45 days and will be applied automatically to electricity bills.
  • Hydro One

    A Pandemic Relief Fund has been announced to offer customers financial assistance and increased payment flexibility. Call the Customer Contact Centre at 1-888-664-9376 to see what’s available to you.

    Late payment fees have been suspended for all customers until May 7, 2020.

For businesses

  • The Ontario government announced an automatic five-month interest and penalty-free period for Ontario businesses who are unable to file or pay certain provincial taxes on time. See the full list here.



 
Prince Edward Island Financial Aid Resources

For individuals

Financial Support

  • The Prince Edward Island COVID-19 Income Support Fund provides a one-time $750 lump sum payment to residents who are without income due to COVID-19. Applications close on April 30, 2020. 
  • The Emergency Income Relief for the Self-Employed provides temporary support to self-employed workers who have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 and are not eligible for EI. You can receive up to $500 per week for the period of March 16 to March 29, 2020.
  • The COVID-19 Special Situation Fund will provide up to $1,000 to residents who are in urgent need and are not eligible for other federal or provincial support. 
  • The Employee Gift Card Program will provide a $100 Sobeys gift card to any employee who has been laid off directly due to COVID-19. Employers must complete the application on behalf of their employers. 

Rent and Housing

  • The Temporary Rental Assistance Benefit will provide temporary rental assistance to renters who are struggling to pay their rent. The benefit is $1,000 per household to help cover the cost of rent for a three month period, and is paid directly to landlords. If you are a resident of Prince Edward Island eligible for either EI or the CERB, and are not receiving any other government rental assistance, you can apply.
  • There is currently a moratorium on evictions from provincially-owned social housing units until June 2020.

For businesses

  • The Emergency Working Capital Financing program has been developed to provide emergency working capital loans to assist qualifying small businesses maintain normal business operations during the pandemic. Eligible applicants can apply to receive a working capital loan of up to $100,000 with a fixed interest rate of 4% per year. Principal and interest payments will be deferred for a minimum of 12 months. 



 
Quebec Financial Aid Resources

For individuals

Financial Support

  • The Temporary Aid for Workers Program offers financial assistance to workers who are in isolation and unable to work, but are not covered by any employer or private insurance, or other government programs. Eligible recipients are granted $573 per week, for 2 weeks. 
  • The Incentive Program to Retain Essential Workers (IPREW) offers financial assistance for individuals working essential jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The benefit provides $100 for each week of qualifying work beginning March 15, 2020, and is available for a maximum of 16 weeks. Eligible workers can apply online from May 19, 2020. 

Taxes

The following measures have been announced to help individuals meet their tax obligations:

  • The deadline filing income tax returns has been postponed to June 1, 2020. 
  • For individuals and individuals in business, the deadline for applying balances due related to income tax returns for the 2019 taxation year is postponed to July 31, 2020.
  • For those who must pay tax installments, the payment of the June 15, 2020 tax installment is suspended until July 31, 2020.

Debt Relief

  • Student Loans
    The government is postponing student loan debt repayment for the next six months. There will be no accrual of interest, and the measure will automatically apply to all Aide financière aux études clients.

Monthly bills

  • Hydro-Quebec
    Non-payment disconnections have been suspended.

    Starting from March 23, penalties for unpaid bills have been suspended until further notice for all residential customers.

    Customers can contact Hydro-Quebec to make flexible payment arrangements. 

For businesses

  • The Concerted Temporary Action Program for Businesses provides financial assistance to Quebec businesses facing cash flow issues due to problems with acquiring supplies of raw materials or products, or whose ability to deliver goods, products or services is affected. 
  • The following measures by Revenu Quebec have been announced to help businesses meet their tax obligations:

    The deadline for filing corporate tax returns has been postponed to June.

    The deadline for payment of the balance of tax payable by corporations is now September 1, 2020.

    For corporations who must pay tax installments, the payment deadline has now been deferred to September 1, 2020.



 
Saskatchewan Financial Aid Resources

For individuals

Financial Support

  • The Self-Isolation Support Program offers financial assistance to workers who are in isolation and unable to work, but are not covered by any employer or private insurance, or other government programs. Eligible recipients are granted $450 per week, for 2 weeks. 

Debt Relief

Monthly Bills

For businesses

  • The Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment (SSBEP) provides a one-time grant for small and medium-sized enterprises directly affected by government public health orders. The grant will be equal to 15% of a business’s monthly sales revenue, with a maximum of $5,000. More information will be released soon.

  • Saskatchewan businesses which are unable to remit their PST due to cashflow concerns will have three-month relief from penalty and interest charges.

    Audits and compliances have also been suspended.
  • Saskatchewan Workers Compensation Board (WCB) is waiving premium penalties for employers effective April 1 until June 30, 2020.



 
Yukon Financial Aid Resources

For individuals

Rent and Housing 

  • New regulations under the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act will prevent evictions for 90 days of residential tenants who are self-isolating or unable to pay their rent on time due to COVID-19.
  • The regulations will also allow tenants to pay their rent late if they are unable to pay it when it is due.