Justin Trudeau unveils $82bn in aid for families, small businesses amid coronavirus uncertainty – National

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday announced additional economic measures to help Canadians affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Trudeau said the government will spend up to $82 billion, including $27 billion in direct support for Canadian workers and businesses.

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“These are extraordinary times, our government is taking extraordinary measures,” Trudeau said. “The measures we’re announcing today will provide up to $27 billion dollars in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses, plus $55 billion to meet liquidity needs of Canadian businesses and households through tax deferrals to help stabilize the economy.”

Trudeau said combined, the $82 billion in support represents more than three per cent of Canada’s GDP.

He said the economic measures will ensure that Canada’s economy rebounds after the pandemic.

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“While we are taking a significant step today to help families get through these challenging times, our government is prepared to do more,” he said.

Here’s what the government has announced:

Sickness benefits beyond EI

For Canadians without paid sick leave or access to Employment Insurance sicknewss benefits, the government is introducing a new Emergency Care Benefit that will provide up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks. The benefit, which the government estimates could cost up to $10 billion, is for worker who must self-isolate, those who are caring for a family member sick with COVID-19 and parents who are unable to earn income while schools are closed as a result of childcare duties.

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Applications for the benefit will be available April 2020, the government said.

Unemployment benefits beyond EI

Ottawa will also be extending income supports to workers who lose their jobs or see their hours reduced as a result of the pandemic.

The Canada Revenue Agency will provide up to $5 billion for unemployed workers without access to EI through a new Emergency Support Benefit.

Wage subsidy

To help prevent lay-offs, the government is also eyeing a measure that would provide businesses struggling with the economic impact of COVID-19 with a subsidy equal to 10 per cent of employee wages, up to $1,375 per employees and $25,000 per employer.

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The wage subsidy would cost $3.8 billion, Ottawa estimates.

Income supports

Trudeau said Ottawa will also temporarily boost the Canada Child Benefit (CBB) over the coming months. The government is proposing to boost the maximum annual CBB payment amounts by $300 per child for the 2019-2020 benefit year.

Families receiving the CBB will get an extra $300 per child as part of their May payment, the government said.

Ottawa will also double the maximum annual Goods and Services Tax Credit (GSTC), providing an average income boost of $400 for low-income income individuals and close to $600 for couples.

Tax deadline postponed

Ottawa is moving the tax-filing deadline from April 30 to June 1 for individuals, mirroring a similar move implemented in the U.S. However, Canadians who discover they owe taxes will be allowed to postpone payment until August 31.

Moratorium on student loan payments

Trueau said the government is also proposing a six-month, interest-free moratorium on the repayment of federal student loans.

Help for Canadian businesses

The Canadian government will allow businesses to defer payments of income tax amounts until after Aug. 31. No interest or penalties will accumulate.

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The government will also increase the tax credits available to small, medium and large businesses.

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On Monday, Trudeau announced the new Business Credit Availability Program, which will provide more than $10 billion in additional support to businesses through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada.

And, the government said it will “further expand Export Development Canada’s ability to provide support for domestic businesses, and provide flexibility on the Canada Account limit, so the government can support Canadian businesses of national interest.”

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Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says goal of stimulus is to help people no longer receiving income

The government will also augment the credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector through Farm Credit Canada.

Lastly, the government will launch an Insured Mortgage Protection Program to purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through CMHC.

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The Government said it will do this by raising CMHC’s legislative limits to “guarantee securities and insure mortgages by $150 billion each,” the release said.

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