As many of you are aware, Ottawa Public Health remains the best place to continue to stay informed regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. They provide the most up-to-date information on their website. This is a tough time for many, be sure to check in on your loved ones and neighbours and be sure to take care of yourself as well.
Kanata North Community Update:
- Please continue to encourage those who need assistance to reach out. With over 120 volunteers ready and able to assist those in need, please know that our community is ready to help. You can sign up to help on my website here. You can request help by going to my website here or by contacting me directly at 613-580-2474 or by emailing me at Jenna.Sudds@ottawa.ca.
- Social distancing does not mean you have to stay inside. This is a great opportunity to get outdoors enjoy the fresh air and explore the many green spaces that Kanata North has to offer.
City of Ottawa Update:
- To support residents and businesses the city will be extending the payment grace period to April 15, 2020 on interim property tax bills. I know that many of you may have already paid your interim property tax bill, however, since the first case seven days ago, city staff have been working around the clock to implement changes as quickly as they can.
- To further support residents and our small businesses, a motion will be brought forward at our next Council meeting to introduce a 2020 Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program. This program would be to help property owners and small businesses that have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, this program would allow the deferral of the interim and final tax due dates to October 30, 2020 and would cover businesses with assessed property value of up to $2.5M and any residential property owner. The final details are to be determined at next week’s City Council meeting.
- There are two deferral programs for property taxes for low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities. Under these existing programs eligible homeowners may apply for a full or partial deferral of their annual property taxes.
- Additional support exists for deferral of water utility bills for low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities. Eligible homeowners may apply for a deferral of their water utility bills.
- The city has suspended all water disconnections due to non-payment until further notice due to the current COVID-19 situation.
- Due to Ottawa Public Health’s expert advice on the urgent need for social distancing, service centres have closed, however online and phone services remain open.
- Ottawa Public Health is aware that certain residents have received a phone call asking for credit card information from Ottawa Public Health. OPH (or any health unit) will not ask you for credit card information. Do not give your credit card information out if you receive a call or message similar to this. Fraudulent activity during a situation like this is deplorable. I encourage you to report it to Ottawa Police Services.
- It is important to remember that this is a serious situation and it is likely that we will see an increase in COVID-19 cases. This does not mean that the measures that we are taking are not working. It will take some time for the impact to be meaningful. The only way to move past this is by continuing to follow the advice of the experts and by practicing social distancing, self-isolation when needed, and proper handwashing.
- You can find the latest statement by Dr. Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health here.
Ontario Government Update:
- The government continues to work collaborative with the Federal Government and Ottawa Public Health. If you missed yesterday’s announcement of $304 million to enhance the Province’s response to COVID-19 I encourage you to read it here.
Federal Government Update:
Today, the Federal Government made a substantial initial announcement both supporting workers and businesses. Today’s announcement will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and $55 billion to meet liquidity needs of Canadian businesses and households through tax deferrals and stabilize the economy. Some of the measures for workers include:
- Canadian and US border will temporarily close to all non-essential travel. This will not impact trade between the two countries in any way.
- The Government will temporarily boost the Canada Child Benefit Payments to provide additional assistance to families. This measure would deliver $2 billion in additional support.
- Introducing the Emergency Care Benefit that will consist of up to $900 bi-weekly support for up to 15 weeks. This is to provide support for individuals who must stay home and do not have access to paid sick leave. It would include the self-employed who do not currently qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits and are either sick, in quarantine, self-isolating or are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19. Additionally, it will also include non EI-eligible working parents who must stay at home due to school closures.
- Introducing an Emergency Support Benefit delivered through the Canada Revenue Agency to provide up to $5 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.
- Provide 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. This measure would inject $5.5 billion in the economy.
- Waive, for a minimum of six months, the mandatory one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits for workers in imposed quarantine or who have been directed to self-isolate.
- Waive the requirement for a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.
- Extend the tax filing deadline for individuals to June 1, and allow all taxpayers to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. This measure will result in households having more money available during this period.
- The Government will provide eligible small businesses a 10 per cent wage subsidy for the next 90 days, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Employers benefiting from this measure would include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as not-for-profit organizations and charities.
- Providing increased flexibility to lenders to defer mortgage payments on homeowner government-insured mortgage loans to borrowers who may be experiencing financial difficulties related to the outbreak. Insurers will permit lenders to allow payment deferral beginning immediately. You can read more about it here.
Specifically, for vulnerable groups the Government is taking these measures:
- Reducing the minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25 per cent for 2020.
- Implementing a six-month, interest-free, moratorium on Canada Student Loan payments for all individuals who are in the process of repaying these loans.
- Support women and children fleeing violence by providing up to $50 million to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities.
- Provide an additional $157.5 million to address the needs of Canadians experiencing homelessness through the Reaching Home program.
Some of the actions that the Federal Government is taking for businesses include:
- Allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. This measure will result in businesses having more money available during this period.
- Increase the credit available to small, medium, and large Canadian businesses. This is part of the new Business Credit Availability Program, which will provide more than $10 billion of additional support to businesses experiencing cash flow challenges through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada.
- Provide flexibility on the Canada Account limit, to allow the Government to provide additional support to Canadian businesses, when deemed to be in the national interest, to deal with exceptional circumstances.
- Launch an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program to purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).This will provide stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders and support continued lending to Canadian businesses and consumers. CMHC stands ready to further support liquidity and the stability of the financial markets through its mortgage funding programs as necessary. The Government will enable these measures by raising CMHC’s legislative limits to guarantee securities and insure mortgages by $150 billion each.
Today’s Federal Government announcement was substantial and there are many more details that can be found on this website. Additionally, you can learn more about the actions the Federal Government has taken here.
Stay healthy neighbours!
Reach out if you need any assistance, by email at Jenna.Sudds@ottawa.ca or by calling 613-580-2474.