The economic downturn resulting from COVID-19 quarantines has created significant financial hardships for many Canadians. The good news is that financial assistance is available through federal government programs under Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, designed to carry people through the pandemic.
But, like many government programs, they offer temporary help — the cheques will stop coming and you’ll eventually have to settle some deferred payments. When that day comes, developing new sources of income or a side gig will prove invaluable.
With that in mind, here are five federal government programs to help now and three ways to develop new income later:
- The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
The federal government will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 every four weeks for up to 16 weeks if you’re an eligible worker who has lost income due to COVID-19. Apply online here. If you’ve already applied for Employment Insurance benefits, don’t apply for the CERB. Whether attending a fondue party or applying for government benefits, double-dipping is frowned on.
- Increasing the Canada Child Benefit
The federal government is providing up to $300 in additional payments per child through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-20, delivered as part of the scheduled CCB payment in May. If you’re already receiving the CCB, you won’t need to apply. If you haven’t applied for the CCB before, what are you waiting for?
- Special Goods and Services Tax credit payment
Why is it special? Because low- and modest-income families will receive a one-time payment starting April 9 through the Goods and Services Tax credit totalling almost $400 for single individuals and nearly $600 for couples. No need to apply. If you’re eligible, you’ll receive the money.
- Extra time to file income tax returns
A vintage Coca-Cola slogan reads: “The pause that refreshes.” The same can be said of the federal government’s deferral of the filing due date for 2019 income tax returns for individuals until June 1, 2020. Any new income tax balances that come due, or installments, are being deferred until after Aug. 31, 2020 without incurring interest or penalties. That’s refreshing!
- Mortgage payment deferral
If you’re a homeowner facing financial hardship, you may be eligible for a mortgage payment deferral of up to six months. It’s an arrangement by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation allowing lenders to offer deferred payments for insured mortgages. Any agreement will be between you and the lender and will only defer the payments and interest — not eliminate them. They’ll be added to your outstanding principal balance. But you need to apply to your lender to receive this benefit — if you just stop meeting your mortgage obligations, there’ll be hell to pay.
- Apply for a side gig online
There are plenty of ways to supplement your regular income with online jobs that require the skills you’ve spent your whole life developing. It doesn’t need to be full time and you only need to work flexible hours that fit around your regular job and home commitments. Subscription services like FlexJobs make job-hunting easier by scouring online job offerings and presenting the curated results to you. How do you want to spend your spare hours: making a name for yourself in the League of Legends or earning some real cash? Yep.
- Develop a freelance career
Can you alter clothing, make hats, fix stuff, walk a dog or install crown moulding? You’re not only the object of our admiration and envy, but you may also have a good chance at launching a successful freelance career around that skill. Making a success of a freelance career will require a little planning, a little marketing and some organizational skills. Resources like The Complete Freelancer Master Class Course can help put some meat around the bones of your core skills.
- Offer your online skills
Do you have a nack… uh, knack for picking up the only spelling error in a novel’s worth of company reports? You may have what it takes to build a solid freelance career as an editor or proofreader. Designer, filmmaker, illustrator or animator, your digital skills are in demand. Resources like the Kickstart Your Freelance Career Course Bundle can help you sharpen your skills, find clients and optimize your income.
What’s that sound? Could be the distant rumble of money rolling in.
This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division. While Postmedia may collect a commission on sales through the links on this page, we are not being paid by the brands mentioned.