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Federal government benefits: Contingency planning

27 May 2020
The federal government has put in place contingency plans to maintain the flow of Old Age Security (OAS), Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), Canada Child Benefit (CCB) and the GST credit for late tax filers in 2020 until the Fall. We applaud this decision and encourage the federal government to engage provincial and territorial governments to take a similar approach and make comparable contingency plans for any programs they deliver that require income benefit beneficiaries to tax file to sustain eligibility or to determine their benefit amount.
At the same time, we need to assume that many vulnerable Canadians will still not be tax filed by October 1, 2020 as new virtual tax-filing services will take some time to activate, will be slower than face-to-face services, and many smaller community organizations may not be equipped to offer them. All levels of government should plan now for this eventuality and ensure that contingency plans can be extended if necessary, in order to prevent widespread benefit interruptions and to protect the incomes and peace of mind of vulnerable Canadians.    
GIS/OAS announcement   
The government is temporarily extending GIS and Allowance payments if seniors’ 2019 income information has not been assessed. This will ensure that the most vulnerable seniors continue to receive their benefits when they need them the most. To avoid an interruption in benefits, seniors are encouraged to submit their 2019 income information as soon as possible and no later than by October 1, 2020.
GST/HST and the CCB announcement
On May 15, 2020 the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, 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 CCB will continue to receive these payments until the end of September 2020.