As expected, Ottawa changed the details regarding COVID support measures. Here are the items of note:

  • Emergency Response Benefit;
  • GST tax credit special payment;
  • Canada Child Benefit special payment;
  • RRIF minimum withdrawal changes;
  • Temporary wage subsidy for employers;

Additionally, the Alberta government announced they will be doing a one-time payment of $1,146 to support those affected by the COVID virus.


Emergency Response Benefit.
This came out of a merging of the “Emergency Care Benefit” and the “Emergency Support Benefit.” In terms of dollars, applicants will receive up to $2,000/mo (no specifics yet on how they will calculate the payment amount) for up to 16 weeks. You qualify for this if any of the following apply:

  • You are currently sick and not working;
  • You are in isolation;
  • Are caring for family who are sick;
  • You are stuck at home watching the kids because of the daycare/school closures;
  • You still technically have a job, but are furloughed;
  • You are self-employed/contract worker;

To receive this benefit, Ottawa says you need to be an “Eligible Worker” (At least 15 years old, Canadian resident, and have earned at least $5,000 in either 2019, or at some point in the last 12 months prior to the making the application)

Additionally,  the legislation says you have to completely cease work for at least 14 consecutive days.

How to Apply: Details pending. (**Note: I’m assuming this will be through CRA’s “MyAccount” portal**)

GST Credit / Canada Child Benefit.
The details for the one-off GST Credit payment are awkward. It will depend on family composition, and will be based on income (For individuals, if your income is over $37,789, it will be clawed back – $55,000 appears to be when it’s phased out completely.) The application process is automatic, and will be based on your 2018 tax return. (No details as to whether the fact you have filed a 2019 tax return will affect things or not.)

Canada Child Benefit recipients will receive an extra benefit on their May 2020 benefit payment. Each child will trigger an extra $300 payment. (So three kids = $900 in May.) Application for this appears to be automatic, and again appears to be based on your 2018 tax return info.

RRIF Withdrawal Minimums.
No changes appeared here. It still seems that due to the market declines, the minimum RRIF withdrawal amount will be reduced by 25% for the 2020 tax year.

Wage Subsidy For Employers.
This wage subsidy program also did not appear to change, and is a 10% subsidy of the wages paid (with certain conditions – Main one to watch is this is capped at $25k)  For practical purposes, it appears that an employer calculates the 10% on the gross wage, and then will reduce their normal payroll tax remittance by that calculated figure. CPP and EI withholdings will not be affected by this.

To be eligible, you need to meet three criteria:

  • Employ some individuals;
  • Have a payroll number/payroll account opened prior to March 18;
  • Be one of the following:
    • Canadian corp with a small business limit (most clients);
    • An Individual;
    • A partnership;
    • A not-for-profit;
    • Registered charity;

(**NOTE: This appears to indirectly answer the question as to whether or not payroll remittances are included in this “Tax Remittance Deferral” that came out of Ottawa last week – It would seem payroll needs to be remitted like usual and does not qualify.**)


Alberta has rolled out a support payment. You qualify if:

  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • You have been directed by authorities to self-isolate;
  • Are the caregiver for a dependent who is in self-isolation;

You are not eligible if you:

  • were not working immediately before you were advised to self-isolate;
  • can work from home;
  • are not experiencing a significant loss of income as a result of self-isolation;
  • are currently collecting other forms of income support or employer benefits while self-isolated;
  • are staying home to care for a dependent who is home for a reason other than self-isolation;
  • reside outside of Alberta

You’re supposed to be able to apply online using the “MyAlberta” portal, but at the time of writing, this system has crashed and is not working. (The government is off to a great start here…)


That sums up the changes to date, but as before, the details will likely change (again) as we move forward.