CRA asks some Canadians to repay CERB payments

Some Canadians who received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) are being asked by the CRA to repay the full amount by Dec. 31. Self-employed Canadians were eligible for CERB as long as they made more than $5,000 in 2019 or within the 12 months before they applied. However, in recent letters sent out requesting repayments, the CRA defines self-employed income as “net” income of at least $5,000. Some recipients of the benefit interpreted self-employment income as their gross income, and say the CRA did not make this clear.

Last-minute tax tips for the year of COVID

Keeping tax records is difficult under normal circumstances, but in the COVID era, it can get more complicated. As the year draws to a close, Personal Finance Columnist Dale Jackson shares tax tips related to COVID-19, from knowing which government benefits, like CERB, are taxable, to whether Canadians can deduct home office expenses. (The CRA is offering a no-questions-asked $400 credit for work-at-home expenses.)

Household debt ratio rises to 170.7% in Q3

Canadian households owed an average of $1.71 for every dollar of disposable income in the latest quarter, according to Statistics Canada. While the ratio rose from 162.8 per cent in the second quarter, it was still below the 181 per cent high in the fourth quarter of 2019.  The agency’s latest data also showed a record increase in mortgage borrowing, as housing investment hit its highest point on record with borrowing costs hovering near all-time lows.

Food prices set to rise in 2021, study finds

Groceries are about to get more expensive for Canadians, according to Canada’s Food Price Report for 2020. The study released by four Canadian universities Tuesday said a family of four could spend nearly $700 more on groceries next year, which would lift the annual household food bill to $13,907. That marks the highest predicted dollar increase in 11 years of publishing the annual report. The study attributes climbing prices to the impact COVID-19 has had on global food systems.

Mom-and-pop investors feel the pain as Toronto condo market cools

Many condo buildings in major cities like Toronto and Vancouver have been financed, in part, by mom-and-pop investors buying individual units to rent them out. As Bloomberg News’ Ari Altstedter reports, with rents continuing to drop, financial distress among these small-time landlords could become more widespread.


“I would argue your most valuable asset is your ability to go out and earn an income -- you need disability insurance. But so often it’s just one of those areas that gets overlooked.” – CTV’s Chief Financial Commentator Pattie Lovett-Reid