Navigating through COVID-19
Last update: December 15, 2020
At G&F Financial Group, as a local community-based credit union, we believe our role and responsibility during the COVID-19 pandemic is the well-being of our employees, members and our communities. This is instilled in our values and rooted in our credit union principles. As we are guided by this, we will also be guided by—and support—local health officials, experts and government leaders as they work to prevent the spread of the virus.
We are here for you.
We understand this is a tough time for many and we are working to support our members. Any member who feels they need assistance can call our Member Hub at 604-419-8888.
Should I make any changes to my investment portfolio?
If there are no changes to your financial goals, we do not recommend making any changes to your investment portfolio. Corrections are a natural part of the investment cycle and, over the long term, investors who stay invested and do not try to “time the market” are usually better off. Markets typically recover quickly, and if you miss the big positive days, it can negatively affect your long-term returns. If your financial goals have changed, it is important to let your G&F advisor know so we can review your portfolio to make sure it is right for you.
Read our latest article: Tips for Staying Invested during Volatile Markets
Watch our Q&A videos: Financial planning advice in turbulent markets
Government support for individuals
See the following websites for information on accessing government support:
- BC Emergency Benefit for Workers - a $1,000 tax-free, one-time benefit for B.C. residents whose ability to work has been affected due to COVID-19.
- BC Hydro - Note that BC Hydro's COVID-19 Relief Fund was closed on June 30.
- Canada Child Tax Benefit - one-time increase by up to $300 per child as part of the May payment
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) - the CERB program has ended. Please see this page to determine whether you qualify for Employment Insurance or other recovery benefits.
- Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) - income support for employed and self-employed people who are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care. Receive $450 for each 1-week period that you apply for.
- Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) - income support for employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they are sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19. Receive $450 for each 1-week period that you apply for.
- Employment Insurance Benefits
- Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits - Employment Insurance sickness benefits can provide you with up to 15 weeks of financial assistance if you cannot work for medical reasons. You need 120 insured hours to qualify for the benefits.
- ICBC - option to defer payment for up to 90 days with no penalty
- Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868
- National Student Loan Service Centre - payments are paused from March 30 to September 30, 2020 with no accrual of interest
- New Horizons for Seniors Program - apply for grants and funding for projects that make a difference in the lives of seniors
- RRIFs - the minimum withdrawal rate was reduced by 25% for 2020
Government support for businesses
Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
The application deadline for CEBA has been extended to March 31, 2021.
In April 2020, the Government of Canada launched the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), intended to assist small business and not-for-profits experiencing economic impact resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The program has been expanded and enhanced several times to enable increased support. Qualifying business can now access up to $60,000 in interest free loans to cover Non-Deferrable Expenses and previously approved applicants who have received a $40,000 CEBA loan may now apply for a $20,000 expansion, for a total of $60,000 in interest free CEBA loans.
The loan is interest free until December 31, 2022 and charged 5% per annum interest starting on January 1, 2023. If the outstanding principal, other than the amount of potential debt forgiveness, is re-paid by December 31, 2022, the remaining principal amount will be forgiven, provided no default under the loan has occurred.
Repaying the outstanding balance of the loan (other than the amount available to be forgiven) on or before December 31, 2022 will result in a single tranche of loan forgiveness up to $20,000:
- 25% on the first $40,000; plus
- 50% on amounts above $40,000 and up to $60,000.
If $60,000 is borrowed, no forgiveness is available unless $40,000 is repaid. If $40,000 or less is borrowed and 75% of the borrowed amount is paid the remaining 25% (up to $10,000) is available for forgiveness. For additional information on the CEBA program or CEBA loan forgiveness, please visit ceba-cuec.ca.
Prior to applying for a new CEBA loan at G&F Financial Group visit verify-verifier.ceba-cuec.ca to verify your eligibility and get your 10 digit Pre-screen Number. Please contact one of G&F Financial Group's Business Relationship Managers for assistance in applying for CEBA.
Other support initiatives for businesses
- Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy - This program replaced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program and will provide up to 90% rent support for qualifying businesses. Note: the new program runs until June 2021, but the federal government is only guaranteeing the subsidy rate until December 19, 2020.
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy - Apply through G&F online banking or through CRA's My Business Account portal. This subsidy has been extended to June 2021. Deadline to apply is January 31, 2021 or 180 days after the end of the claim period, whichever comes later. See more updates on this program here.
- Co-lending program for small and medium-sized businesses
- Work-Sharing Program - COVID-19 - helps employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary decrease in business activity beyond the control of the employer. Provides Employment Insurance benefits to eligible employees.
- Loan guarantee for small and medium-sized businesses
- Temporary wage subsidy for employers - No need to apply. Employers are to reduce their payroll remittances of income tax by the amount of the subsidy.
BC Government support for small businesses, non-profits, contract workers and self-employed individuals
The provincial government has outlined a number of services to assist small businesses, non-profits, contract workers and self-employed individuals. Please see their website for more information: covid.smallbusinessbc.ca.