Federal government package in response to COVID-19
It is well understood that the health and livelihood of many Canadian artists and arts organizations are being directly affected by the global spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Those in our community who are considered self-employed, may not have access to employment insurance (EI) or paid sick leave. Among those employed by an organization, many will face similar financial challenges, as their employers are being similarly impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of measures announced today will alleviate the mounting economic difficulties being experienced by artists, culture workers and arts organizations. In the meantime, artists and arts organizations may look to the following for support:
Emergency Care Benefit
Temporary income support for workers and parents without paid sick leave (or similar workplace accommodation) who are sick quarantined, or forced to stay home to care for children.
- As announced on March 11, the mandatory one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits has been waived, as has the requirement for a medical certificate.
- Those who are ineligible for EI and don’t have access to paid sick leave will be able to receive up to $900 every two weeks, for 15 weeks. This applies to those who fall ill, are quarantined, self-isolated, or who have to care for a family member with COVID-19, or who must stay home with their children due to school closures.
- These funds will be available in early April through an online application, and funds will be dispersed through direct deposit. No medical documentation will be required.
Emergency Support Benefit
For longer-term income support to workers who lose their jobs or face reduced hours as a result of COVID’s impact, an Emergency Support Benefit delivered through the Canada Revenue Agency will provide up to $5B in support to workers who are not eligible for EI. Included are:
- GST Credit: a one-time special payment by early May 2020 through the Goods and Services Tax credit. The average boost to income for those benefitting from this measure will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.
- Canada Child Benefit: the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payment amount will increase for the 2019-20 benefit year by $300 per child as part of the May payment.
- Wage subsidy: the Government announced a 10% wage subsidy that will be available for small businesses for three months, up to a maximum of $2K per employer. This applies to not-for-profit organizations and charities.
- The deadline to file taxes for 2019 has been extended to June 1. Canadians who have filed their taxes already, and owe money, will not have to pay until September 1, 2020. Targeted assistance is expected for more vulnerable groups affected by COVID-19.
- The six largest financial institutions will work with individuals and small businesses to provide flexible solutions on an individual basis.
The Canada Council for the Arts and Canadian Heritage are working in collaboration to provide options to the government for additional support for artists and arts organizations
We will continue to keep you informed and updated as we learn more.