Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Wednesday that the Canada Child Benefit will be temporarily increased within the coming months, delivering relief to families affected by the novel coronavirus.
The measure would provide almost $2 billion in extra support for parents who may have been laid off from their jobs or unable to work due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Families with young kids are going to find the coming months especially difficult with school closures and additional child-care responsibilities,” said Trudeau. “To take some of that pressure off, our government will temporarily boost the CCB in the coming months.”
Finance Minister Bill Morneau told reporters shortly after that the added top-up to the Canadian Child Benefit will be $300 per child.
According to the government’s Child Benefit calculator — which calculates based on Canada’s 2019 rates — a family in which each parent earns between $45,000 and $65,000 per year and has two children will be eligible for almost $900 per month.
With Morneau’s suggested top-up, that would amount to $1,500.
The calculator will be updated in June, and parents can see how much they can expect to receive in 2020.
The finance minister said single parents who may be raising children on their own could be eligible for up to $1,500 in support.
The announcement comes as part of an $82-billion aid package, $27 billion of which will be used in direct support.
It represents what Morneau called “the first phase of Canada’s COVID-19 economic response plan,” and approximately three per cent of the country’s GDP.
“The government of Canada will do whatever it takes to ensure that the health of Canadians is protected, families and businesses are supported and our economy remains strong, even in the face of uncertainty.”
READ MORE: Live updates — Coronavirus in Canada
Speaking from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Trudeau also said the federal government will increase GST credit for low-income families. Starting in May, Trudeau said families earning “low and modest incomes” will receive up to $300, and up to $150 per child.
The economic support package also included an Emergency Care Benefit for people who have to stay home that is aimed at helping Canadians who may be ill, self-isolating, under quarantine or have to care for a family member who has COVID-19.
Morneau said the aid will also be available the self-employed, as well as those who do not qualify for EI sickness benefit. Canadians who qualify for ECB will be eligible for up to $900 biweekly for up to 15 weeks.
Morneau said Canadians will be able to apply online and can expect to receive payment via direct deposit. Applying for these benefits will not require medical documentation, he said.
The tax filing deadline has also been extended until June 1.
“Canada’s balance sheet is the envy of the world,” he said, adding that Canada has the “fiscal firepower to respond” to any economic problems that may arise as a result of the new coronavirus.
“We’re doing whatever it takes to support you and your families.”