COVID-19 Relief Information

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The response of our communities and all levels of government during these unprecedented times has been developing at a rapid pace. Last week we updated you on how the courts are responding, but we also wanted to take some time to discuss the economic relief available to residents of Ontario.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit

The federal government has announced a $2,000 per month (for four months) benefit for people who have lost their income as a result of COVID-19. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will cover Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone with COVID-19, including children. This benefit is available to people who are employed by a business as well as contract workers and the self-employed.

The government has advised that people already collecting Employment Insurance (“EI”) should not apply for the benefit before October 3 (unless their EI runs out before then).

Increases for family support

Another national benefit that will roll out in mid-May is an increase in the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit payment amounts. For this year only, the benefit will increase by $300 per child. It should be reflected in people’s May CCB benefits.

Additionally, the government has announced an increase in the Goods and Services Tax credit, which will double the annual payment of this benefit through the calendar year.

Student loan relief

A six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of student loans has already been put in place. Those set up for automatic payments through their financial institution will find loan payments not being taken out. Anyone who pays manually can stop doing so for six months.

Ontario-specific relief

The Ontario government has introduced a number of measures to help people living in the province. A one-time payment to help families pay for the extra cost of schools and daycares will be available. Families will receive a payment of $200 for each child up to 12 years of age. The payment increases to $250 for children with special needs, including those enrolled in private schools.

Ontario has also proposed doubling the Guaranteed Annual Income System payment for low-income seniors for six months.

People who pay for power, whether residentially, or for a business, will be charged the lowest rate (known as the off-peak price) for the next 45 days.

There are a number of other measures that have been announced. For a complete list of what the Ontario government has planned to date, please click here.

At Jason P. Howie, we remain open, but in a different capacity than we are accustomed to. We are operating with a skeleton staff in our office, with others working from home. Please contact us by phone at 519.973.1500 or online if you need to meet. We are trying to minimize office visits but can meet virtually as well. We are available to help you determine how COVID-19 impacts your family law issue and to guide you through it in these difficult times.

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