All Covid-19 income assistance (IA) relief measures have been extended until the end of September 2020, R.J. Simpson, minister of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE), announced on Wednesday.
ECE’s IA programs provide financial assistance to residents, including seniors and people with disabilities, aged 19 years or older, to assist with basic and enhanced needs.
The program’s benefits were modified in March to aid the territory’s most vulnerable residents and the GNWT decided to exempt the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) in the calculation of IA benefits.
The relief measures will remain in place until they’re reviewed again in September, including:
- the exempted CERB and the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)
- “payrolled” clients so that they do not have to report each month, can receive their payments consistently and don’t have to report in-person
- all clients will engage in only one “productive choice”: taking care of themselves and their families. They do not have to report on that choice
- exempted monetary donations that won’t be counted as income in IA benefits, as of April 2020. These could be in the form of gifts from friends, family, benevolent organizations or Indigenous governments
“Over the last several months we have made numerous changes to provide further support to the people of the North during these rapidly changing times,” said Simpson. “I am pleased to announce that we are not only making sure these changes continue, we are enhancing them to better serve our residents. The last thing we want to do is add any additional stress as residents they keep their families safe and navigate the challenges of this pandemic.”
Other exemptions within the IA programs include a one-time Special Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit for low and modest income residents, a one-time Special Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) payments and a one-time special payment for certified holders of the Disability Tax Credit.