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March 30, 2020

Canadian Parliament Passes COVID-19 Relief Act

The Canadian Parliament has passed the Trudeau government’s emergency financial legislation, the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Act The $107 billion bill, which is now law, includes several measures that provide the federal government with enhanced authorities, including:

  • Supporting Canadian businesses through Export Development Canada (EDC) by temporarily providing the Minister of Finance with more flexibility in setting EDC’s capital and liability limits – as well as the Canada Account limit – and expanding EDC’s ability to engage in domestic financial transactions so that it can more effectively deliver financial and credit insurance support to affected Canadian businesses.
  • Supporting Canadian businesses through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) by temporarily providing the Minister of Finance with more flexibility to determine BDC’s capital limit, allowing it to provide further financial support to Canadian businesses when they need it.
  • Providing eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. Eligible employers would include small businesses (including co-operative corporations) eligible for the small business deduction, unincorporated employers, certain partnerships, non-profit organizations and charities.
  • Adding assistance to families with children by temporarily boosting Canada Child Benefit payments, delivering almost $2 billion in extra support.
  • Providing additional assistance to individuals and families with low and modest incomes with a special top-up payment under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit, delivering $5.5 billion in support.
  • Establishing a Canada Emergency Response Benefit that will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to four months to support workers who lose their income as of result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The benefit would cover Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation related to COVID-19, would also qualify for the CERB. The CERB is available to Canadian workers affected by the current situation whether or not they are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).

Click here to read a full summary of the bill.