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Alberta Health said the ministry would not be able to provide an update on the topic before Monday.
On Friday, Health Minister Tyler Shandro said he was “disappointed” in the delay, saying it meant the current phase of vaccinations in Alberta, which includes priority groups of health-care workers, would take longer to complete.
The start of the following phase, allowing seniors over 75 and Indigenous seniors over 65 to get the jab, will be consequently pushed back.
As well, Shandro said the province will be forced to delay some second doses of vaccination due to the news.
Pfizer shipments to Canada are expected to continue, but will contain fewer doses. There is no change to scheduled shipments of the Moderna vaccine.
Through end-of-day Friday, 81,561 Albertans have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, an increase of 7,451 from the previous day. Among all provinces, Alberta ranks second for immunizations per capita, behind only Prince Edward Island.
The province is slated to administer at least 16,000 more jabs over the weekend, after Alberta Health Services said all previously advertised appointments had been booked.
Also Saturday, Alberta reported it had detected another 717 cases of the novel coronavirus.
The new infections came from 12,439 tests, a 5.8 per cent positivity rate, consistent with rates over the previous two days and below the seven-day average positivity rate of 6.2 per cent.
There are new rules this tax season, courtesy of COVID-19. Here's what you need to know – CBC.ca
Heads up, Canadians: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is going to be a tax season like no other.
If you collected COVID-19-related benefit payments last year, you might end up owing more money than in previous years. However, if you spent part of 2020 working from home, you could wind up with a bigger tax refund than usual.
Here’s what you need to know about filing your taxes this season, including important deadlines.
Has the deadline been extended?
Despite this being a more complex tax season, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has not extended the tax filing deadline. The due date is still April 30 for most Canadians, and June 15 for self-employed people.
To avoid interest charges, Canadians need to pay any taxes owed by April 30. However, not everyone has to comply with that rule this year.
Those who had a total taxable income of $75,000 or less and received one or more of the COVID-19 benefits listed below don’t have to pay their taxes until April 30, 2022.
Canada emergency response benefit (CERB).
Canada emergency student benefit (CESB).
Canada recovery benefit (CRB).
Canada recovery caregiving benefit (CRCB).
Canada recovery sickness benefit (CRSB).
Employment Insurance benefits.
Similar provincial emergency benefits.
Qualifying Canadians “will have that full year after the filing deadline of April 30th ” to pay any tax debt without facing interest charges, said Francesco Sorbara, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue.
Those who qualify for the payment deferral still need to file on time if they owe taxes — or they’ll face a late-filing penalty.
Will I owe taxes on my government benefits?
The benefits listed above are considered taxable income, so the federal government introduced the tax-payment deferral to help out the many Canadians who will have to pay taxes on their benefit payments.
“[Many] lost jobs and collected benefits, and they may have some amounts owing,” said Sorbara. “We’re giving some flexibility there.”
WATCH | CRA prepares for a complicated tax season:
The government didn’t withhold any taxes on CERB and CESB benefit payments Canadians received in 2020.
It did withhold a 10 per cent tax for people who received CRB, CRCB and CRSB benefits, but tax expert Jamie Golombek said many of those individuals will still owe the government money, as most Canadians’ income is taxed at a much higher rate than 10 per cent.
“For many people, [10 per cent is] not going to be enough, particularly for those who had other sources of income throughout the year,” said Golombek, managing director of tax and estate planning at CIBC.
“You may actually find out for the first time ever in your life that you actually owe some taxes.”
Working from home? Claim your cash
Due to the pandemic, many Canadians worked from home for part of 2020, which means they may be eligible for a home office expenses tax deduction.
To qualify, you must have worked from home more than 50 per cent of the time for at least four consecutive weeks last year.
There are two options for Canadians claiming home office expenses. The first is the detailed method, which involves calculating what percentage of your household costs — such as hydro, rent and internet — can be applied to your home office space. Also, you’re required to save all relevant receipts.
If that sounds like too much work, don’t fret. To simplify the process for people who worked from home for the first time in 2020, the CRA has introduced a new, temporary flat rate method. It allows employees to claim a tax deduction of $2 for each day they worked from home, up to a maximum of $400.
“We’ve kept it simple. They can file it without filing any documentation, any forms,” said Sorbara.
Software developer Pat Suwalski of Nepean, Ont., has been mainly working from home since April 2020. He filed his taxes on Wednesday using the flat rate method and said it took him just minutes to calculate his deduction.
“I’m a pretty honest guy, so I took a calendar and I started counting [work] days,” he said.
Suwalski counted 188 work-from-home days last year. Multiply that by $2 a day and he gets a tax deduction of $376.
“I’ll take it,” he said. “It’s great that they made [the process] simpler.”
Which method should you choose if you worked from home this year? Golombek said the flat rate method may be the best option if you’re a homeowner, because it’s easier and chances are you’ll come out ahead.
That’s because mortgage payments — typically a homeowner’s biggest monthly bill — can’t be claimed as a home office expense.
“Our experience is that homeowners, typically speaking, don’t have enough expenses … to beat the $2-a-day method,” Golombek said.
While homeowners can’t claim their mortgage payments, renters can claim a portion of their rent based on the size of their home office space compared to their entire home. As a result, Golombek says they may reap bigger rewards by choosing the detailed method.
“Depending on [what] percentage of their home they’re using, [renters] typically would probably come out ahead on the detailed method.”
Digital tax credit
Golombek also points out one of the new wrinkles this tax season, which is that the government is offering a tax credit to people who subscribed to digital news services in 2020.
Canadians can claim up to $500 for subscriptions to qualifying Canadian media, such as newspapers, magazines, websites and podcasts, that don’t have a broadcast licence and offer primarily original news content.
“I call it a bit of a fun new credit,” Golombek said.
The CRA told CBC News it will post a list of eligible subscriptions on its website in March and that it will only include organizations that wish to have the information publicly posted.
If you still have questions about your taxes, you can call the CRA tax information line at 1-800-959-8281. The agency said it has beefed up resources at its call centre, as it anticipates higher than normal call volumes this tax season.
How will AstraZeneca approval impact Canada's vaccine timeline? | Anand on COVID-19, expected doses – CTV News
Canada's vaccine arsenal could get another addition within weeks: senior health official – CTV News
On the heels of Health Canada’s authorization of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, the Johnson & Johnson shot could join the country’s arsenal within weeks, says Health Canada’s Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma.
“Within March I think is a very reasonable expectation for that final decision, of course with all the caveats of making sure that the data is there and we don’t have any issues that come up,” she said about the ongoing Health Canada review of the vaccine candidate from pharmaceutical company Janssen.
Canada’s federal health agency has been assessing the Johnson & Johnson shot since Nov. 30, and like AstraZeneca, it’s logistically easier to administer as it can be shipped and stored in fridges rather than freezers. The potential additional advantage of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is that it is the first candidate to require a single dose.
In an interview on CTV’s Question Period airing on Sunday, Sharma said the review is “progressing really well,” and that Health Canada was expecting the “last bits of information” around manufacturing to arrive on Feb. 26. She said that from there, the team assessing the safety and efficacy of the vaccine would analyze the data as part of the “final stages” of the regulatory process.
The federal government has secured access to up to 38 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, though it’s possible the final number of shots Canada locks in will be fewer, given between the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines Canada is set to receive more than 107.9 million doses, which is more than enough to immunize the entire eligible population.
It also remains unclear how quickly the Johnson & Johnson shots, if approved, could be making their way to Canada to be added to the ongoing vaccine rollout.
TIMELINE COULD ACCELERATE: ANAND
The federal government has committed to have everyone in Canada who wants to be vaccinated by the end of September, a commitment that was able to be made on the basis of having the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Adding in other shots means that timeline could accelerate so long as the kind of delivery delays and shortages seen during the early months of the vaccine rollout don’t happen again.
In an interview on CTV’s Question Period, Procurement Minister Anita Anand said that with tens of millions more vaccines set to come to Canada in the weeks and months ahead, the country will be seeing a “very steep incline” when it comes to deliveries.
“We very much would like to move up the timeline for all Canadians to have access to a vaccine, and as soon as we have the delivery schedule ironed out with the 20 million AstraZeneca doses, we will be in a better place to move up that timeline,” she said.
Factoring in the potential addition of Johnson & Johnson doses, it’s possible millions more Canadians could be immunized earlier.
Anand said that while September is a “cautious timeline,” it remains the most accurate, and that she expects Canada will start moving up the list of countries when it comes to how many of its citizens have been vaccinated.
‘GET THE VACCINE OFFERED’: SHARMA
With more vaccines becoming available, there have been ongoing questions around whether Canadians will have the ability to choose which doses they sign up to receive, or if there will be an option depending on a person’s comfort level with the various degrees of efficacy demonstrated in clinical trials.
Sharma said that people should feel confident in all of the authorized vaccines and that all have shown to provide protection against COVID-19.
“Get the vaccine that is offered to you, it will provide some protection,” she said, noting that all three vaccines given the green light so far have been shown to prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death.
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