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COVID-19 Resource Centre
Here is the financial relief available to you from the Federal government, Provincial government and lenders. We strive to keep this updated as things change.
Stay in control of your finances by staying informed.
Watch our video on government resources available to you
An update from the Office of Superintendent of Bankruptcy
Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
Government of Canada support for individuals, businesses and industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
If you’ve stopped working because of COVID-19, the CERB may provide you with temporary income support.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit – Application
How to apply for the CERB
Relief provided by lenders
CREDIT CARD INTEREST REDUCTION
Banks have temporarily dropped interest rates to provide you with some relief. Please check with your bank for more information.
Some lenders are allowing borrowers to defer payments for 6 months. Contact your financial institution for details.
PANDEMIC INFORMATION & UPDATES
Global News: Coronavirus: Trudeau announces plans for end of CERB, transition to EI
CBC: Bankruptcies are down, but experts fear good news short-lived
CBC: CERB payments to be extended for 2 more months
Global News: Ontario allows child-care centres to reopen Friday
Global News: Canada to allow family of citizens across U.S. border amid COVID-19 shutdown
CTV News: List of Ontario regions moving forward to Stage 2
CTV News: Feds to send $600 to some Canadians with disabilities
CBC News: Students can apply for COVID-19 emergency aid beginning Friday
Maclean’s: Trudeau’s daily coronavirus update: Seniors to receive additional financial support
CBC News: Ottawa will distribute pandemic money now, ‘clean up’ fraudulent claims later, PM says
Weyburn Review: Ottawa expands CERB, tops up essential workers’ pay as the economy shrinks 9% in March
ipolitics: CERB eligibility expanded to part-time and seasonal workers, Trudeau says
Financial Post: Changes to the emergency-relief program coming to expand eligibility, Trudeau says
Cassels: COVID-19 Impact: New Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
Financial Post: Businesses seeing 30% revenue drop eligible for 75% wage subsidy, Trudeau announces
Global News: Trudeau promises 75% wage subsidy for businesses hit by coronavirus pandemic
ToDoCanada: COVID-19: Eligible Canadians to Get $2000 Under Canada Emergency Response Benefit
Vancouver is Awesome: Here’s everything you need to know about deferring your mortgage right now
Daily Hive: FortisBC offering 3-month bill deferrals for residential and small business customers
FortisBC offering 3-month bill deferrals for residential and small business customers | Urbanized
Global News: Coronavirus: Trudeau announces $9B aid for students, including monthly benefit
Global News: Trudeau announces rent relief of 75% for small businesses affected by coronavirus
MANAGING YOUR FINANCES DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS
Sure. My name is Raheman Dhanani. You can also call me Ray. I’m a Licensed Insolvency Trustee as well. We’re just going to take a few minutes to talk about budgeting. More specifically budgeting during this whole COVID crisis. First thing is that there’s a lot of information going around right now. There’s a lot of stats, a lot of figures and a lot of bad news out there as well. So, I think the first big thing for everyone to do out there right now is take a deep breath. Know that as long as you’re washing your hands, you’re following along with public health and what they’re suggesting, you and your family are gong to stay safe. The second thing you have to think about, and that’s what we’re going to discuss today, is your budget. So, with everything that’s been happening, whether you’re still working, or you’re out of work, how are you going to make sure you’re able to provide for your family and keep within a budget?
Right, so if you were to look at the first thing, where would you start? Where do you think you’d begin this whole project with?
Well I think the thing is you’ve got to look at what’s coming into your household, and I don’t mean germs or anything like that. I’m actually talking about what are you earning right now? What support are you receiving? Do you have to apply for EI? Are you already receiving EI? Do you have to, you know, tell your boss to give you that ROE? You need to figure out what money is coming into your household and what can you first work with. And I think that’s the first step, to be honest.
Yeah, I know. Those are. There are all these government programs that are coming out, but based on everything that I’ve read, I think for the most part funding won’t start for several weeks. Things aren’t up and running just yet. But if I’m not mistaken, one of my colleagues is going to create a video and talk to people about how to, or what programs are available, and actually how to apply to get those funds. So, watch out for that video as well.
Yeah, if there’s one piece of advice I’d give to everybody, it’s that money, sitting on cash right now, having that available cash is the most important thing. So, you know, you’ve got to be cautious with all your expenses. And you don’t want to spend on things you don’t need to spend on, and so when you’re, when you’re coming up with a budget, yes look at money that’s coming in and expenses that go out and hopefully you add the two together and you get a number where there’s some extra cash to sit around and to do things. But you know really the focus be on how do you minimize your expenses right now? And so, what would you typically do, Ray, to deal with that specific issue?
So honestly the first thing you have to do is you have to break it down. And I agree, just to echo what you were saying, sometimes what you’re receiving is not so much, or what you’re bringing into the house is not so much as what you’re spending. Like you want to make sure you’re cutting down with your spending, so break it down into what do you really need. What is just a want? And that’s the first part. So, categorize them. So obviously you’re going to need a house over your head, you need to pay for your rent. You’re going to have to feed yourself, feed your family, you’re looking at your food costs, your cellphone to keep in touch with people, your internet to keep mentally sane half the time. If you’re going to work, how are you going to cover your transportation, and more so than that, there’s your house insurance, your car insurance.
I thought you were supposed to social distance?
You can social distance, but you can do it through Skype calls, or how we’re social distancing right now.
I think that’s funny, actually, but talk about social distancing, it’s not really social distancing. You need to be in touch with people and see them face-to-face. What I think they’re trying to encourage is physically distancing.
That’s exactly it. Yeah, look during this time you want to keep in touch with your family and keep in touch with your friends. You just want to keep them at a six-foot distance. I think the best way for Canadians to know it is that it’s the length of a hockey stick. That’s how far you’ve got to stay away from the next person.
Yeah, so it you break down your budget, you’ve got some needs, you’ve got some wants. The things that you don’t want to typically buy are what, like brand name clothes?
Yeah, like all the stuff that you can say “Oh, I really want that.” Right there, if you’re saying “Oh, I really want that,” that’s probably something that you’ve got to think to yourself, hold on do I need it though right now? So brand name clothing, eating out at places that are… you don’t really need to go to a restaurant. Maybe you can just buy in as groceries. Like I know, us personally, we stopped doing any UberEATS and a lot of our deliveries, instead what we chose to do is we’re going to do grocery shopping and we’re going to try our best, for the next little while, to cook all our food and see how long we can do that for.
You know you’re going to laugh, but on my last grocery list, on my last grocery run, my wife had put in all sorts of interesting ingredients until it lifts, so we can start making things at home like baking our own cakes and our own salad dressings, and we will be eating a lot of salad. That’s good for my physique.
I was going say, I think that’s a bit of a hint for yourself there!
Yeah, but, yeah no, there are tons of things, and they’re actually really good things to do with kids by the way. Getting them involved in cooking is a lot of fun.
Yeah, and you know what that A) keeps them entertained for al little while, so you’re saving money for a little while and you’re teaching your kid a valuable lesson and at the same time, you’re eating up that time of the day that they’re awake and you’re trying to figure out how do I keep them interested, how do I keep them involved in something?
Yeah, that’s for sure.
It’s a great idea. To be honest, another want, like for myself I have a gym membership usually. I put it on hold. I figured, you know right now I can’t go to the gym because they’re closed anyways. I might as well pause that, and I’ve been doing workouts online at home. Just go onto YouTube, search whatever workout you’re looking for and I bet you someone’s made a video for it. Yeah, and look, you use stuff around the house as weights when you need to. Otherwise take the stairs. You’ll see there’s a lot of exercise that can happen around your place.
Yeah, no, I’ve definitely been trying to count my steps. That being said, if you’re really, really struggling and having a difficult time, I actually watched a great commercial on TV today from Ford Credit, talking about how they’ve been around in business for so long and they’re here to help, and I would say that all the financial institutions, everyone in general, is trying to help people out because these are unprecedented times and so if you can defer payments on things like your mortgage, on car payments, if you’ve got a small amount of credit card debt you can defer, or a line of credit you can defer those payments as well, these are all things that will help you so that you can buy groceries instead of worrying about making these payments. Right now, you’ve got to defer as much as you possibly can.
Yeah, and I think the big thing to second that is only defer what you really need to defer. Think about it. They’re not giving you forgiveness. They’re not saying don’t pay us anymore. All they’re saying is that, well, you’re still going to have to pay us, you’re just going to have to pay us six months down the line. Or three months down the line. So you have to pay that money sooner or later, so to your point, if you need to defer because you have to cover your rent, or you have to cover your food, take advantage, But if you can make those payments today, or you can still work your budget to keep making those payments—do it. And just to add, when you’re talking about deferring payments, if it comes down to your rent, talk to your landlord. They may be able to give you a break on your rent or maybe you can continue to pay a smaller amount for the next couple of months and pay the rest over the remainder of the year, or the remainder of your lease. A lot of people are going through this right now and I think there’s a lot of people out there that are trying to give a helping hand where they can. So, don’t be scared to ask.
Yeah, these are all great points. And hopefully we can talk about other things that are very, very important. Let’s work at home, process, and I’m sure we’ll be making more videos together, Ray.
Absolutely. Take care.
STAY CURRENT AND INFORMED ON GOVERNMENT RELIEF AVAILABLE AND YOUR OPTIONS
Given the situation, things are changing almost daily as federal and provincial government programs continue to evolve.
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Hear Kelley Keehn, personal finance educator, talk about how our money habits have changed during COVID-19