COVID-19

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can I tell if a call from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is real?

    The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) may call you if they need to discuss your tax or benefit situation—for example, if you owe taxes, did not file a tax return, or . However, there are many scams out there involving a caller who pretends to be from the CRA in order to get personal or financial information from you.

    Before giving any personal or financial information to a caller, you should first verify that they are actually calling from the CRA. To do this, you should:

    • Ask for their name, phone number, and office location
    • Check that the call you received was legitimate by contacting the CRA yourself and verifying the information the caller gave you.

    There are also some “red flags” to look out for that could indicate the caller is a scammer. These include:

    • The caller is asking you to pay with gift cards or cryptocurrency (like Bitcoin)
    • The caller is asking you for information that would not be included on a tax return (such as a credit card number)
    • The caller is contacting you by email, or asking you to respond by email. CRA will never ask you to provide personal information by email.
    • The caller is telling you you must pay taxes on lottery or sweepstakes winnings.

    For more information and other things to look out for, visit the Canada Revenue Agency website here.

  • What relief is available for seniors?

    The Manitoba government has provided a one-time refundable tax credit of $200 to Manitoba seniors. To qualify for this credit, you must:

    • Be 65 years or older in 2020,
    • Live in Manitoba in 2020, and
    • File an income tax return as a Manitoba resident.

    The government has mailed out advance payments of this credit to Manitoba seniors who filed a 2018 tax return. If you qualify but do not receive a cheque in May or June, you can claim the amount on your 2020 income tax return.

    The federal government has also committed to a one-time, tax-free payment of $300 to seniors who are eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension. An additional $200 will be available to seniors who are eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). This payment will be applied automatically to seniors who are already receiving the OAS pension and GIS payments.

    If you qualify for the OAS pension and/or GIS but have not been automatically enrolled, you may need to apply here:

    https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/publicpensions/cpp/old-age-security/apply.html

  • How can I make sure I reopen my business safely and legally?

    The Manitoba Chamber of Commerce has released a Back-to-Business Phase 3 Toolkit that reviews general and sector specific requirements for businesses dealing with physical distancing measures, required safety steps, hygiene protocols, PPE, etc.:

    https://mbchamber.mb.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Roadmap-to-Recovery-Phase-3-Toolkit-For-Manitoba-Businesses.pdf

  • EIA overpaid me, do I have to pay them back?

    You will have to repay any overpayment you received from EIA even if the overpayment was EIA’s mistake. If EIA thinks you didn’t know you were getting an overpayment, they may not ask you to repay it. EIA will reduce the amount of your monthly payments until the overpayment is paid back. The rate of monthly deductions depends on the size of your household.

    • 1 person: $50
    • 2 persons: $70
    • 3 persons or more: $90

    You can negotiate with EIA if these pay back amounts are causing you undue hardship.

  • I feel that EIA administrators have treated me unfairly. Is there anyone I can complain to?

    If you have concerns with the way your EIA worker is treating you, you can speak to an EIA supervisor. If you still feel your concerns are not being heard, you can contact the Fair Practices Office:

    If you feel a serious wrongdoing has occurred, you can also file a complaint with the Manitoba Ombudsman by filling out the online form here:  Ombudsman Complaint Form , or by calling one of the following numbers:

    • Winnipeg: (204) 982-9130 or 1-800-665-0531 (toll-free)
    • Brandon: (204) 571-5151 or 1-888-543-8230 (toll-free)
    • Thompson: (204) 677-7270
  • What if I have a legal problem while on EIA?

    You may be able to get help from Legal Aid Manitoba. Legal Aid Manitoba will only provide help for certain types of legal matters including criminal charges against you, or family

    law matters involving custody of children and child support. Legal Aid’s Advocacy Unit may be able to help you appeal social assistance decisions.

    For more information contact Legal Aid Manitoba at 204-985-8500 (in Winnipeg) or Toll-Free at 1-800-261-2960.

    Contact the Advocacy Unit at:

    • Public Interest Law Centre – Advocacy Unit
    • 200 – 393 Portage Avenue
    • Winnipeg, MB R3B 3H6
    • Phone: 204-985-8540
    • Toll Free: 1-800-261-2960
    • Fax: 204-985-8544
  • Are there benefits available for students?

    The federal government’s CESB (Canada Emergency Student Benefit) provides support to students and new graduates who are not eligible for the CERB or Employment Insurance or are not able to work due to COVID-19.  Eligible students can receive $1,250 per month ($2000 per month if they have dependants or are disabled). The benefit is available from May – August 2020.

    For more information on who qualifies and how to apply, visit the Government of Canada website:

    https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/emergency-student-benefit.html

    In addition, both federal and provincial student loan payments are suspended until September 30, 2020.  No interest will be added during this period.

  • Am I able to take the For the Sake of the Children course?

    Yes, you are.  For the Sake of the Children is now being offered temporarily as an on-line course.

    Information about the course

    Course Materials

  • What if I am experiencing anxiety as a result of COVID-19?

    The Mental Health Virtual Therapy Program is available to all residents of Manitoba 16 years old and older who are experiencing mild to moderate anxiety symptoms as a result of COVID-19.   See Website

  • Where can I find information if I’m concerned about debts as a result of COVID-19?

    The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) has a Fact Sheet, COVID-19 Managing Financial Health, with information on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, EI, Mortgage deferrals, family benefits, student loans and more:

    View website.

  • How do I keep debt from getting out of hand during COVID-19?

    The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has a budget planner tool you can use:

    Budget planner.

  • What if I cannot pay my rent?

    You should talk to your landlord and make arrangements. Tenants cannot be charged late fees. Evictions for not paying rent have been suspended until September 30, 2020.

  • What if I cannot afford to pay my mortgage?

    You may be able to get a mortgage deferral that will let you skip payments. You will still be charged interest. When the deferral period ends you will have to pay the deferred payments and interest along with your monthly payments. Ask your bank about the effect on your credit rating. For more information:

    View website.

  • What if I cannot afford to pay my Hydro or Centra Gas bill?

    You can defer payment of these bills and your utilities will not be cut off. Late payment charges will not be charged for 6 months. The utilities are also prepared to make flexible payment plans.

  • Are the courts still hearing family law matters?

    All family matters set to proceed before a Master on or after May 25 will proceed. These matters may proceed remotely, for safety reasons.

    All family trials scheduled for May 26 or later will proceed as scheduled. Only people who are necessary to the trial will be allowed into court. Safety precautions will remain in effect at all court locations.

    For more information about whether your matter is proceeding, please contact your court centre:

    View website

  • Are the courts still hearing child protection matters?

    Child Protection dockets started up again on April 16, 2020. Only agency counsel and lawyers for the parents will appear by teleconference. Parents can participate by having their lawyers call them and put them on speaker phone.

  • What if I cannot afford to pay my credit card bill?

    Talk to your bank about lowering your interest rate or deferring your payments for up to six months. Ask your bank about any effect on your credit rating.

  • What about my student loan?

    Repayments for provincial and federal student loans are suspended until September 30, 2020. Interest will not be added during this period.

  • Are the courts still holding bail hearings?

    Yes. In order to reduce the number of people present in courtrooms, the court is allowing defence counsel and Crown counsel to make bail submissions by telephone wherever possible. Accused persons being held in custody are appearing by video, wherever possible.

    If you are applying to act as a surety for an accused person and want to address the court, speak to the accused person’s lawyer ahead of the bail hearing.

  • Are the courts still holding jury trials?

    No. There will be no new jury trials until after June 30th. Cases will be decided either by a judge alone or rescheduled.

  • When do I have to file my taxes?

    Individuals – June 1, 2020

    Self -employed and their spouse or common law partner – June 15, 2020