Volume 43 | June 1, 2020
Hoback Electronic Herald
The Government of Canada has created a digital tool to help Canadians navigate the variety of individual coronavirus benefits and find what’s best for them.

" The Find Financial Help During COVID-19" is an online COVID-19 benefit finder Canadians can use anonymously. Users must answer a few simple questions and will be presented with a list of COVID-19 related financial benefits matched to their specific circumstances.

To view this tool, please see the following links:

·    In English:  https://canada.ca/coronavirus-benefits

Get Updates on COVID-19 is another new tool. Developed by Canadian Digital Service (CDS) and working closely with Health Canada (HC), this secure email notification service provides reliable and up-to-date HC information. Feel free to share this information with your friends and family as a means of accessing information they can trust, and avoid misinformation circulating on the Internet.
(June 15th for self-employed)
The Minister of National Revenue announced that benefit payments will continue for an additional three months for those who are not able to file their 2019 returns on time. Eligible Canadians who are presently receiving the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) credit and/or the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) will continue to receive these payments until the end of September 2020.

The tax filing deadline has been extended from April 30 to June 1, 2020.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) expects many Canadians will need to take advantage of the extended deadline. Therefore, if the 2019 tax return is not assessed, and to allow time to calculate benefits and/or credits for the July to September 2020 payments, payment amounts will be based on information from 2018 tax returns.

If 2019 tax returns are not received and assessed by early September 2020, estimated benefits and/or credits will stop in October 2020 and the taxpayer will have to repay the estimated amounts that were issued as of July 2020.
The CRA encourages Canadians to file their tax returns by June 1, 2020 or as soon as possible in order to receive the right amount of benefits based on their 2019 tax return, and in order to ensure continuity of benefits beyond September 2020.

The CRA has helpful information and a step-by-step guide to help Canadians complete their taxes. To help file taxes, free virtual clinics will be offered by local organizations, in partnership with the CRA’s Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP).

These clinics will be held on an interim basis to help those with low and modest incomes and a simple tax situation who are looking for support during tax season.
This week, I had the opportunity to question International Trade Minister Mary Ng during a virtual session of Parliament. My questions to her were on a number of issues related to the WTO, TPP, Canada-UK Trade as well as ask questions on Canadian beef, pork and canola exports.

For the past two and a half months, the House of Commons has been suspended and Members of Parliament have largely been working from home. During that time, Conservatives have succeeded in holding the government to account and we have put forward a number of constructive solutions to fix Liberal programs so that Canadians can get the help they need.

But virtual committee meetings are not a replacement for Parliament. Nor are the Prime Minister’s daily press conferences in front of Rideau Cottage. The government should not be allowed to hide information from Canadians or to pick and choose which questions they want to answer and when. But that’s exactly what’s been happening.

In a crisis, oversight is more important than ever. That is what Members of Parliament are supposed to do. It is part of the job. Yet when we look at what’s going on, especially in light of the fact that the Auditor General does not have enough funding to conduct the audits of government programs.

Instead of being open with Canadians, the government is shutting down questions they don’t like or don’t want to answer. That is all wrong and all of these issues underscore why Parliament must resume. No one is suggesting that all 338 Members of Parliament show up to Parliament Hill all at once.

However, the House can easily hold 50 Members of Parliaments while still respecting physical distancing. All standing and special committees must also begin to meet virtually and for committees to have their normal powers restored. This is not a partisan issue. This is about whether or not a country like Canada can have a functional Parliament during a crisis.

We must start meeting in person, with a smaller representation of MPs, so that we can move motions and properly debate government and private members legislation. Opposition parties have gotten results for Canadians in the past and we can again.

It was a Conservative Opposition Day motion that struck the Canada-China Committee and it was a Conservative motion that launched the Auditor General’s review of the Liberals’ infrastructure spending.

Sadly, federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh disagrees with this premise. Yesterday, he and his NDP MPs supported a Liberal motion to suspend parliament a national crisis. Doing so ended opposition oversight of COVID-19 programs and prevented the Agriculture and Trade committees from meeting in order to work on behalf of our farmers and exporters.

Most important, the passage of the Liberal motion left Canada as the only
G-7 country without a functioning Parliament.

I think retired Vice-Admiral Mark Norman summed this situation up best when he tweeted:
At a time when over 1.6 million Canadians were laid off, stores and restaurants were told to close their doors, and Canadians were told to stay at home, the last thing they need to worry about is paying higher taxes. That is why my Conservative colleagues and I have called on the government to immediately scrap any planned tax hikes during this crisis.

Too many Canadians are already worried about how they will pay their rent this month or put food on their tables. The last thing they need is a 50 percent increase to the Liberal Carbon Tax, which will only further increase the cost of gas, groceries and home heating.

Nurses and doctors driving into work every day to keep Canadians healthy and safe shouldn't have to pay more for gas because of the Liberal Carbon Tax increase. Neither should truck drivers, moving essential supplies like food and medicine across the country, or other essential service workers.

During these unprecedented times, the government should be focused on ways to put more money in Canadians' pockets, not less. A crisis is no time for a tax hike.

Rest assured that I and my colleagues will keep working to ensure Canadians, workers and small businesses affected by COVID-19 have the help they need. We will continue to use all of the tools available to us to hold the government to account, despite its attempt to not have the Official Opposition do its job in Ottawa.