COVID-19 Relief Measures To Help Canadians
Buying or selling a home is a huge undertaking under normal circumstances, let alone in the middle of a pandemic. With the economic impact and uncertainty that comes with daily life, Canada’s federal, provincial, and local governments and corporations have taken a number of measures COVID-19 relief Measures to mitigate the financial setback.
We’ve compiled a list of some pre-existing and newly announced programs and incentives designed to help current homeowners, buyers, and sellers, as well as some links to keep anyone looking for COVID-19 relief further informed.
The situation changes every hour, so REMAX.ca will continue to update this list as development progresses.
COVID-19 relief measures
The federal government pledges up to $ 52 billion in direct assistance to Canadian workers and businesses
On March 18, 2020, the Prime Minister announced direct assistance of $ 27 billion to Canadian workers and businesses during this challenging time. On March 25, a federal emergency law received royal approval to increase that amount to $ 52 billion, including helping workers unable to do their jobs due to coronavirus. More information can be found here.
Mortgage deferral programs
Many homeowners who have lost their jobs and incomes due to COVID-19 are struggling to make their mortgage payments. In response, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and other mortgage insurers are offering tools to help homeowners who are currently in financial difficulty.
Additionally, as part of their policy, some major Canadian banks will allow mortgage payments to be deferred for up to six months to help customers who may be grappling with the financial repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a tweet from the President of the Canadian Bankers Association, RBC, TD, BMO, Scotiabank, CIBC, and National Bank are the banks offering these deferrals. We encourage you to speak to your bank if you are under financial stress.
Bank of Canada cut interest rates
The Bank of Canada policy rate has been falling recently. In its latest planned interest rate announcement on March 4, the bank lowered its interest rate from 1.75 to 1.25 percent. The bank made an unscheduled announcement on March 16, announcing a further cut in its key rate by a further 50 basis points to 0.75 percent. On March 27, the bank lowered its key interest rate by another 50 basis points to 0.25 percent in order to strengthen economic activity and keep inflation low and stable. You can find more information about the Bank of Canada’s activities here.
First-time incentives for home buyers
The First Time Buyer Incentive was introduced in September 2019 to help qualified first time buyers reduce their monthly mortgage payments without increasing their financial burdens. The incentive is a shared equity mortgage with the Government of Canada and offers a number of different options for first time buyers. You can find more information about the First Time Home Buyer Incentive here.
Insured Mortgage Purchase Program (IMPP)
The Canadian government has taken steps to strengthen the financial system through the launch of its Insured Mortgage Purchase Program (IMPP). The government stands ready to purchase up to $ 150 billion worth of insured mortgage pools through CMHC, up from the original $ 50 billion announced March 16 under the Emergency Response Act. This gives banks and mortgage lenders stable funding that will help keep lending to Canadian consumers and businesses going. You can find more information about the Insured Mortgage Purchase Program here.
Deferment of property tax
Some Canadian cities like Toronto, Ottawa, Grand Prairie and others allow property taxes to be deferred, while other cities are considering similar measures. These decisions are made at the local level and things change daily. We recommend visiting your community online to see if your upcoming payment can be deferred with no impact.
Hydro price cuts
Ontario is abolishing mid- and peak-hour electricity tariffs so residents forced to stay home due to COVID-19 will receive the lowest available off-peak tariff for 45 days. The lowest electricity tariff is extended to small businesses and farms. You can find more information about water costs in Ontario here.
Internet usage rules relaxed by large telecommunications companies
Some big telecommunications companies like Telus and Shaw are changing their phone and internet plans and adapting amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Shaw website advises that their internet plans have no data limits, so you can entertain kids and work from home without having to worry about data limits on your internet.
CRA sets new deadline for filing your income taxes in 2019
The rating agency has announced that there are new due dates for taxes and payments. The new due date for filing individual tax returns has been extended to June 1, 2020. Taxpayers have until September 1, 2020 to pay the 2019 income tax amounts owed. More information on the new dates for filing taxes can be found here.