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“No fun at all." That’s me – according to my kids. No Fun At All is also a punk rock band. If I didn’t know better, I’d assume that the band was made up of Canada Revenue Agency employees. But alas, the band actually hails from Sweden (maybe the band is made up of employees of Skatteverket – the Swedish tax authority).

Okay, maybe there are tax department employees who are actually lots of fun. Yet, when it comes to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), it looks as if the taxman is poised to stop the fun for some people. As reported this week in The Globe and Mail, the government released draft legislation suggesting that it intends to prescribe fines, and even imprisonment, for those who have made CERB claims when they weren’t entitled to the benefit.

But how, exactly, will the government identify those who might have claimed CERB benefits when they shouldn’t have? The following are some of the procedures that are, no doubt, being considered by the taxman to identify those who have claimed CERB funds improperly (sorry for being a party-pooper here):

Read more from Globe and Mail


It seems that nearly every segment of the population has received some form of COVID-19 government assistance. There’s the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which provides $2,000 monthly to individuals who have stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19. Businesses and not-for-profits may be eligible for the Canada Emergency Business Account, which provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 (with 25 per cent potentially forgivable), along with two, separate wage subsidy programs. Students will soon receive the Canada Emergency Student Benefit, which is generally $1,250 per month for four months. But so far, the only relief offered to investors, which only applies to some, is a 25 per cent reduction in the minimum required RRIF withdrawal for 2020.

Read more from Financial Post

 


One prediction certain to come true is that by the end of this year governments will be grappling with weakened public finances, a smaller economy and a more cautious public. As I reported last week, the IMF predicts Canada’s all-government gross debt will reach 110 per cent of GDP in 2020. Our fiscal deficit, which is still growing, will be second highest among advanced countries as a share of GDP, behind only the United States. Many people are now predicting taxes will increase in the coming decade.

Read more from Financial Post

 

Now that my friend Jack is working from home, he sleeps in longer and naps during the day. “Tim, a good sleep not only allows you to live longer, but it really shortens the workday as well,” he said to me. He says he’s still getting his work done and doesn’t mind the change in his daily routine. “The only thing I don’t like,” he added, “is that I’ve got extra costs to cover now that I’m working from home [he had to buy a faster router], and I’m worried that our company may be laying people off soon.”

If you’re an employee, here’s a list of things to think about and some conversations to have with your employer to make things easier for you financially during COVID-19.

Read more from Globe and Mail


Last week, the government began sending out one-time supplementary goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) payments as part of its COVID-19 pandemic relief plan. This measure will provide some extra support to lower- and middle-income Canadians, some of whom may not qualify for the $2,000 monthly Canada Emergency Response Benefit because they are students, seniors or otherwise didn’t meet the requirement to have at least $5,000 of (self-)employment income in either 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of application.

Read more from Financial Post