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It's been a hectic last several weeks with the changes brought on by the COVID-19 virus concerns. Please find below some additional information and resources for financial relief provided in these times. 

Mortgage Assistance
Lenders are offering clients, who are in need, options to ease their financial burden in the short term while we get through the next months. They have increased staff to assist their phone lines/service centres that have been overwhelmed with client inquires about these measures - in some cases, lenders have created separate divisions related strictly to fielding calls about COVID-19 related financial assistance. However, they continue to be very busy and backlogged, so please keep that in mind.
Lenders have advised that they are prioritizing requests based on immediate need and are adapting financial aid on a case-by-case basis. For example, if someone has been temporarily laid off, they will prioritize working with that client over one who calls in about concerns about potentially being laid off in the coming months - they would likely advise those clients to call back if/when they are certain of that circumstance. With this rationale, and because each case is unique, they are typically requiring clients to provide a story on how they are financially affected by the virus concerns now and why they need assistance - based on those discussions, they will respond accordingly. They reminded us to encourage those who can still manage their mortgage payments to please continue to do so. All of the lenders, that we have heard from so far, have said they will try to work with/help clients affected in one form or another.
The most frequent inquiry related to mortgage concerns is related to the federal government encouraging lenders to allow for mortgage payment deferrals for up to six months. Most lenders have already come out and said they will allow mortgage payment deferrals for those in need and/or will assist clients with easing their mortgage burden in another way. For example, some lenders are offering payment date changes, skipped payments, switch to interest only payments, etc... to temporarily help clients with their cash flow. 

Deferring your mortgage payments, in the common case, means that you don't need to make your mortgage payment for the agreed upon time frame and those payments are added back into your mortgage. Thus, you are not missing a payment, you are postponing it to a later date. The goal here is to improve clients' cash-flow in the short-term by going towards their other priorities in this time. Some lenders will extend the mortgage amortization (life span), until the deferred payments are paid back at the standard payment amount or will increase the agreed upon payment amount to keep the amortization on schedule. These details are case specific and are to be discussed with your lender.

If you are experiencing difficulty with making your mortgage payments during this time, please contact your lender directly to speak with them about creating a tailored solution for you moving forward. Please find below a list of lender contact lines where they are assisting clients with these inquires.  

General Assistance
Here is a link to the list of government policies aimed at helping Canadians through the next several months: Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. Support for Canadians and Businesses.
Here is an abbreviated list of emergency funds for COVID-19, as of now: 
  • GST credit - $400 single adults, $600 for couples
  • Child Tax benefit Top up - $300 per child added on top of
    what you receive already.
  • Student loan payments deferred
    • 6 month timeframe, no payments, no interest accrual
  • Indigenous community based support fund
  • $200 million provided for community resources
    • Shelters/homeless needs
    • Sexual assault/transition homes
  • 10% wage subsidy for small-medium sized businesses for employees.
    • $25,000 per employer
  • Ensured Mortgage Protection Program
    • 50 billion provided
    • Payment deferrals
    • Special payment arrangements
  • Bank Supports
    • Auto loans - deferral of payments possible
    • Contact bank/lender directly – most offering deferral options
  • Personal Income Tax
    • Payment before September. 1st/2020 - extended deadline for income tax payments owed
    • Filing deadline for Income Tax - June.1st/2020
  • Supply chains from groceries will maintain fair prices for Canadians.
  • Emergency support fund - $5 Billion
    • More info to come

If you have any further questions or need anything else that I may be of assistance with, feel free to contact me at jonathanbuffone@mortgagegroup.com or (778) 986-4032.

Keep well,