March 19, 2020 – To our Members,
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to evolve and today we want to share what we understand of the relief available outside of TMA149. We expect that tomorrow we will be ready to let you know more about TMA149 relief and an advocacy project intended to restore the live arts during and after this pandemic.
On March 18, 2020 the Government of Canada released more details on a $83 billion relief package, that already helps with some of the most pressing needs of our members, including support for independent and dependent contractors.
- The most immediate relief available is the ability for individuals to file their 2019 tax return by June 1, 2020 instead of April 30, 2020. If you owe tax you will not have to make the first payment until August. If you are due a return likely the best decision will be to file as early as you can.
- Immediately, small businesses, not-for-profits and charities may take 10% of their payroll up to certain maximums per employee, and per business, and reduce the amount of income tax they remit to CRA by that amount.
- Additionally there are loans available from the Business Development Bank of Canada for those who operate as businesses, and we understand that these loans will not leverage your personal assets.
- There are a number of measures that will be implemented in April and May, including increased GST benefit per child, increased Canada Child Benefit, and a moratorium on student loan payments.
- Also available in April and May is likely the most important supports for our membership as those who are deemed independent and dependent contractors may apply without having paid into Employment Insurance: The Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit. The Emergency Care Benefit supports those who are quarantined, sick, as well as those taking care of the quarantined and sick, and those taking care of children. The Emergency Support Benefit supports those who have been gigging and where all gigs have been cancelled.
- Applications are not yet open for either benefit as legislation must be passed, and therefore details may change.
- However it is known that the applications will be processed through My Service Canada – it is highly recommended that if you are considering an application to these funds you set up, or access, your My Service Canada account now and ensure all of your information is up to date in order that you may apply as early as possible.
Our office remains open as we have sufficient space for social distancing, but we ask that members only visit the office if absolutely necessary, and not at all if you have traveled to affected areas or have any cold or flu like symptoms. Instead please continue to access services by phone or email.
We will also wanted to repeat and add to our original list of resources:
- Toronto Hydro, Ontario Energy Board, Toronto Utilities, Toronto Property Taxes, resources for bill assistance – City of Toronto has announced a 30 day grace period for taxes and other City of Toronto payments as of March 16, 2020
- Bill Payment arrangements for Rogers (also Fido), Telus, Bell, Koodo, Freedom
- Financial Assistance from the AFC
- Financial Assistance from Unison Benevolent Fund
- Province of Ontario Social Assistance
Again feel free to reach out to myself or any of our office staff with specific requests and I expect to be sending another email shortly outlining specific TMA149 relief and initiatives in response to Covid-19.
In Solidarity, Michael Murray, Executive Director