A Letter To The Community from Minister Bill Blair
I hope this letter finds you well, in what I know is a difficult time for all of us here in Scarborough Southwest and across the country.
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our community. Children are unable to attend school, businesses have had to temporarily close their doors, and many have lost their jobs. These are just a handful of the challenges our friends and neighbours are facing.
Our office has received calls, emails and letters regarding the difficulties COVID-19 has caused you and your family. We hear your important concerns, and we are here to help.
Throughout this period, I will continue to work alongside Councillor Gary Crawford and MPP Doly Begum to ensure that you have access to the information and support you need. All levels of government are here to help – together.
On the federal level, our government is creating and implementing programs that will help save jobs, support small businesses, and most importantly, keep people safe. Many of these programs will become available in the coming days.
For individuals and families, we’ve launched the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which will provide $2000 a month, for up to 4 months, to people who are not getting paid as a result of COVID-19. This program will become available for application in early April, both online and over the phone. As soon as this benefit becomes available, all links will be put up on my social media channels, as well as at Canada.ca/coronavirus.
We will also be increasing the Canada Child Benefit in May, placing a moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans, and reducing minimum withdrawals for Registered Retirement Income funds.
Additionally, the due date for filing individual tax returns has been extended to June 1st 2020, and balances owing will not come due until September 1st, 2020.
For businesses of all sizes, we are establishing a wage subsidy equal to 75% of an employee’s salary, making sure that our local Scarborough Southwest businesses can pay their workers while they are unable to operate. We are also introducing an up-to $40,000 interest free loan program for businesses, increasing access to credit, and giving owners more time to pay income taxes. Again, these programs will be available for application and access shortly. Once they are live, application links and tutorials will be shared on my social media channels, via my office, and at Canada.ca/coronavirus under “Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.”
Together, these economic and social measures will help keep our community safe, healthy, and ready to rebound financially once COVID-19 has been contained. As the situation evolves, we will continue to take strong steps to ensure the well-being of you and your loved ones.
As we move forward, I would ask you to stay at home as much as possible. Spend time with your friends and family over FaceTime, on the phone or by email. Get fresh air when you can, but do so while maintaining a safe distance from others. The actions we take now will help us get through this time more quickly, and allow us to come out of this stronger than ever.
In a time like this, it’s important to remember how lucky we are to live in such a vibrant and diverse community. The work all of you are doing to support each other is essential in our fight to beat COVID-19. Whether it’s the Scarborough Food Security Initiative delivering food and supplies to those in need, Rod and Joe’s No Frill’s offering exclusive hours for seniors and those with disabilities, or restaurants offering free delivery of food throughout the community – everyone is stepping up to make a difference.
Should you have any questions about the federal response to COVID-19, or how you can help, please do not hesitate to contact our Constituency Office. We remain open to answer your questions over the phone at either (416) 261-8613 or (613) 995-0284, and though email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our government and my staff are here to help.
Together, we will get through this — as a community, and as a country.
Hon. Bill Blair. Member of
Parliament, Scarborough Southwest