If you’re collecting Canada Recovery Benefits (CRB) or other types of COVID-19 related aid, you might soon see a new question come up when you apply for a future period. For any claims after January 3, applicants will need to confirm whether they’ve been in quarantine as a result of travelling abroad. And Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough plans to table legislation later this month stating that if people are returning from non-essential travel, they will not be eligible for COVID-19 benefits while they were in quarantine.
As for what type of travel is non-permissible, the Government of Canada states, “people returning from vacation, visiting loved ones, and attending to real estate matters abroad, will not be eligible to receive support from any of the Canada Recovery Benefits for the period of their mandatory quarantine.”
Non-essential travel has come under the spotlight in recent weeks after politicians were caught traveling even as they were encouraging people to stay home. And with COVID-19 cases on the rise in recent months, there’s growing pressure to keep people home in order to bring those numbers down. Adding this restriction for COVID-19 benefits certainly helps discourage unnecessary travel without adversely impacting those who still need financial help.
Canadians need to plan for life post-CRB
While the government is still helping Canadians with CRB and other benefits, the reality is that aid won’t last forever. Currently, CRB is slated to end on September 25. The government previously extended the benefits period for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. However, things are looking more promising this year as the bulk of the population will likely be vaccinated by the end of September.
That could a long way in helping the economy get back to normal. If that happens, the government would have plenty of incentive to phase out the benefits, perhaps limiting them to those in most need.
But there is no telling how that will all play out, which is why it’s important for people who rely on CRB to consider looking ahead and preparing for when the benefits will end. That could include upgrading skills, possibly changing careers, or picking up some work on the side to help make ends meet. There’s still lots of time to figure all that out and the sooner people do that, the better off that they’ll be in the long run.
If you are able to save money — start putting it into your TFSA
Another way to improve your financial position is to put aside any money you can afford to into a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA). Every little bit counts and slowly building up your TFSA balance can help you grow your savings over the long term by using it to invest in safe, exchange-traded funds that you won’t have to worry about. The big advantage of a TFSA is that any dividend income or capital gains that you earn inside the account won’t be taxable.
Even if you can’t afford to contribute to a TFSA today, it’s a good goal to have and a habit that you’re better off starting sooner rather than later.