Novel Coronavirus Outbreaks
Not very many people in Canada are out of the loop when it comes to the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID_19. What a lot of people don’t really understand however, is the government’s response to the economic downfall the pandemic could cause. With many stores closing, people staying home, and many people being laid off, what has the government done to offset these trials? How will these provisions prevent Canada from going into financial crisis?
The Guiding Principals
Canada’s response is based on plans and guidance related to pandemic preparedness with these following guidelines in place, acting as guiding principles:
- Collaboration: all levels of government and stakeholders need to work in partnership to produce an effective and coordinated response.
- Evidence Informed Decision Making: decisions that are made are based on the best available evidence.
- Proportionality: the response to a pandemic will be appropriate to the level of the threat.
- Flexibility: actions taken should be tailored to the situation and evolve as new information becomes available.
- A Precautionary Approach: Timely and reasonable preventative action should be proportional to the threat and informed evidence to the extent possible.
- Use of Established Practices and Systems: Well practiced strategies and processes can be rapidly ramped up to manage a pandemic.
- Ethical Decision Making: ethical principles and societal values should be explicit and embedded in all decision making.
Financial Supports for Canadians
With so many people laid off, some business owners closing their doors completely, and others opening much shorter hours, the problem on the minds of many Canadians is how the government is going to help with the payment of bills, rent payments, car payments, etc.
Support for Individuals with Jobs
For individuals with jobs, the Liberal Government has increased the Child Benefits, by providing an extra $300 per child for 2020/ This will mean approximately $550 more for the average family. This benefit will be delivered as part of the schedules CCB payment in May. Those who already receive the Canada Child Benefit do not need to re-apply. For individuals, there is also a Special Goods and Services Tax credit payment, which is a onetime payment by early May through the Goods and Services Tax credit for low and modest income families. Individuals will also have extra time to file income tax returns, the filing date for individuals has been deferred until June 1st, 2020, however if you are expecting to be receiving benefits under the Goods and Services Tax or the Canada Child Benefit, it is encouraged to not delay filing your tax returns.
Support for People Facing Unemployment
For those who are facing unemployment, or for those who have lost a job, the Canadian Government is providing a benefit of $2,000 a month for up to four months to workers who must stop working due to COVID-19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support, workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, working parents who must stay home without pay to care for their children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures, workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work, and wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for EI.
Support for Businesses
Businesses also have a lot to contend with when faced with possible closures because of COVID-19. To help avoid layoffs the government is extending the work sharing program maximum duration from 38 weeks, to 76 weeks. The work sharing program is offered to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers. The Trudeau government will also be providing eligible small employers a temporary for a period of three months. The subsidiary will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,00 per employer. The federal government has established a Business Credit Availability Program to provide more than $10 billion of additional support, largely targeted to small and medium sized businesses. For farmers, the credit available to them and the agri-food sector has been increased, through Farm Credit Canada.
How Do Queen City Resident’s Feel About These Measures?
There’s no doubt that the population these provisions are going to help the most are business owners and everyday working folk. The reaction among Regina residents have been mixed. Scott Tresek, owner of CNG Stone Products in Regina, wasn’t too happy with the amount of the wage subsidy, among other things. “The Federal Government is already paying laid off workers 555 of their wage, [and have] already announced a 1-% wage subsidy, which brings the total paid out by the government to 65%. Top it up another 15% and pay it directly to employers…very difficult for employers to take advantage of it.” With the mortgage deferrals and the programs to help businesses and landlords with mortgages and rent, Tresek had this to say, “These programs need to happen immediately. Measured in weeks, not months. Deferrals won’t help in the long term, that money is still due, likely at a time that no small businesses will have money.” This response is echoed by many in the Facebook group titled, “I Support Local Business Regina”, many people are disgruntled at the amount put aside to help the everyday Canadian, and the small businesses that Canada depends on, “Small business in Canada generates over 800B in GDP. If 50% don’t make it, we are in huge trouble. Catastrophic”, Tresek can be quoted as saying.