Tax Loss Selling

Over the last few weeks, the financial market has taken a downturn amidst fears over Coronavirus.

Understandably, you are concerned with your portfolio, it’s important to stay level-headed to avoid making financial missteps. However, staying level-headed doesn’t necessarily mean you sit there and do nothing. In fact, one consideration you can look is taking an active tax management approach.

Tax loss selling is a strategy to crystallize or realize any capital losses in your non-registered accounts so it can be used to offset any capital gains. There is no benefit to selling in your tax free savings account (TFSA) or registered retirement savings plan (RRSP).

You can apply capital losses back 3 years or carry them forward indefinitely, therefore we’ve outlined several situations that make sense for tax loss selling.

To better understand how tax-loss selling works, imagine a scenario in which someone invests $100,000, putting $50,000 in “Investment A” and $50,000 in “Investment B.”

At the end of one year, Investment A has risen by $10,000 and is now worth $60,000. Investment B has declined by $10,000 and is now worth $40,000.

Without tax-loss selling, the investor has a realized gain of $10,000 from Investment A, and has a potential tax bill of $1,500 (assuming he or she sells the shares and pays the 15% capital gains tax on the profit).

On the other hand, with tax-loss selling, selling Investment B to offset gains from Investment A. At the end of the year, instead of paying a $1,500 tax, the investor only has a potential tax bill of $0, for a potential tax savings of $1,500.

With the investor’s tax liability reduced by $1,500, that savings becomes money that can be invested back in the portfolio, used to maximize RRSP contributions, pay off debt, or spend as one pleases. 

What Situations make sense for tax loss selling?

  • If you have an investment with a considerable capital gain, review through your current investments to see if there are any investments to sell at a loss.

  • Receiving a tax refund for a previous year. Keep in mind, you can apply capital losses back 3 years, therefore if you sold a property within the last 3 years for a considerable gain and paid the tax. This year, you could sell other investments at a loss and apply them back and get some tax paid back.

  • For tax deferral, with tax losses you can apply these losses back 3 years or carry them forward indefinitely, therefore you may want to trigger a loss today because if you are planning to sell that property in the next year or so, it may rebound and therefore you will lose the chance to offset the gains.

  • Lastly, you may have an investment in your portfolio that’s a dud. It might be time to move on and put your money into a different investment so that you can apply the loss in the future.

Tax Loss Selling is Complicated

There are specific conditions required by CRA that must be met in order for this strategy to work such as making sure your loss is not declared a “superficial loss” (these rules are very restrictive). A superficial loss is when you sell and trigger a capital loss, you cannot deduct the loss if you or an affiliate purchase an identical security within 30 days before or after your settlement date.

Another condition is that the sale of assets is prior to the year-end deadline (this varies by calendar year). You also need to make sure you have accurate information on the adjusted cost base (ACB) of your investment. When you file your taxes, any losses must be first used to offset capital gains in the current tax year, then any remaining losses can be carried back.

Before engaging in tax loss selling, you should contact us directly so we can make the strategy works for you.

Free pharmacy home delivery with McKesson Canada

We know that plan members want to ensure they have enough medication at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. With many of us social distancing and self-isolating, it might be difficult for plan members to get to their pharmacy. Many pharmacies offer home delivery. But if a plan member’s pharmacy doesn’t have home delivery, we can help!

Together with McKesson Canada we are helping members with free home delivery.

To start the process, plan members can call 1-833-554-0731 and speak to a McKesson Canada representative. The representative will help coordinate the delivery.

McKesson’s Specialty Prescription Pharmacy Services offer home delivery for specialty medications. These medications may need special handling.

Rexall Direct™ offers home delivery for all other medications. They can deliver maintenance and acute medications.

A courier will deliver their medication. They’ll try to deliver within less than 5 business days. This might take longer due to current circumstances.

All medications are eligible for home delivery except narcotics and controlled substance medications. Provincial laws don’t allow pharmacists to mail these types of medications. Plan members must pick up these prescriptions at the pharmacy.

To learn more about McKesson Specialty Prescription Pharmacy Services, please visit them at mckesson.ca/specialty-pharmacy-services. To learn more about Rexall Direct™, please visit rexalldirect.ca/

Questions? We’re here to help.

Please check Sunlife’s Group Benefits COVID-19 website daily for updates.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Do I Qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit & EI?

To help Canadians through this difficult time, the Federal Government created the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and made changes to the Employment Insurance Program (EI). For those whose employment has affected by the Coronavirus, we have created a chart to help you figure out which program you qualify for and provide links to apply for each program.

The Federal Government has already made numerous changes to these programs so we will be updating this document whenever a change to the program is made.

Stay home and stay safe.

Help for Small/Medium Businesses & Entrepreneurs – 75% wage subsidy, $40,000 interest-free loan & more

March 27, 2019 – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced programs and measures focused on helping Small & Medium Sized Businesses and Entrepreneurs cope with the economic consequences caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With these new measures, our hope is that employers being pushed to laying off people due to COVID-19 will think again,” Trudeau said. “And for those of you who have already had to lay off workers, we hope you will re-hire them.”

Wage Subsidy increased to 75%

The Prime Minister has been under pressure from the small business community to boost the wage subsidy beyond the 10% initially announced to help keep people employed. Today, Mr. Trudeau announced the government will increase the wage subsidy from 10% to 75% to help keep employees on the payroll. This increase will be backdated to Sunday, March 15th.

“It is clear we have to do more, much more so we are bringing that percentage up to 75 per cent for qualifying businesses”

– Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

The CEBA will allow banks to offer $40,000 loans that will be interest-free for the 1st year which will be guaranteed by the government. If you meet certain conditions, $10,000 of the loan can be forgivable.

“To help you bridge to better times, we are launching the Canada Emergency Business Account. With this new measure banks will soon offer $40,000 which will be guaranteed by the government”

Defer GST, HST, Duty

The government will defer GST & HST payments, as well as duty and taxes owed on imports until June 2020.

“This is the equivalent of giving $30-billion of interest free loans to businesses”

Bank of Canada Rate Cut

Bank of Canada slashed its key overnight interest rate to 0.25%.

Full details and qualification requirements will be available on Monday.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit to help workers and businesses

$2,000/month for 4 months – Canada Emergency Response Benefit to help workers and businesses

To support workers and help businesses keep their employees, the government has proposed legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB would be a simpler and more accessible combination of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.

The CERB would cover Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. The CERB would apply to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).

Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19, would also qualify for the CERB. This would help businesses keep their employees as they navigate these difficult times, while ensuring they preserve the ability to quickly resume operations as soon as it becomes possible.

The EI system was not designed to process the unprecedented high volume of applications received in the past week. Given this situation, all Canadians who have ceased working due to COVID-19, whether they are EI-eligible or not, would be able to receive the CERB to ensure they have timely access to the income support they need.

Canadians who are already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits as of today would continue to receive their benefits and should not apply to the CERB. If their EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, they could apply for the CERB once their EI benefits cease, if they are unable to return to work due to COVID-19. Canadians who have already applied for EI and whose application has not yet been processed would not need to reapply. Canadians who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits would still be able to access their normal EI benefits, if still unemployed, after the 16-week period covered by the CERB.

The portal for accessing the CERB would be available in early April.

Canadians would begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of application. The CERB would be paid every four weeks and be available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020.

Covid 19 Information for Plan Administrators

The Coronavirus disease has created challenges across Canada and the world. It’s important to stay informed and educated so you’re equipped to take care of yourself, your family and your business.

We are ready to serve you and answer any questions you have about your employee benefits, insurance and investment. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We are here for you.

Preparing your business in an emergency situation: If you have not prepared a business continuity plan, now is a good time to put one in place. The plan should outline the processes to minimize the impact on your business during an emergency situation.

Protect your employees: Be prepared, depending on your business, your employees might feel at risk to exposure to the Coronavirus. Make sure your employees are educated on prevention and symptoms. Please also make sure you are aware of your responsibilities as an employer. Resources are available on Employment and Social Development site.

Travel Coverage under your Group Benefits Plan: Effective March 13, there is an official global travel advisory to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice. Since the Canadian government’s official global travel advisory travelling to a destination outside of Canada can impact your travel insurance coverage. We recommend you contact your emergency medical travel provider or contact us directly and we can help.

Short-term Disability Claims: In light of the current situation, the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) has created and distributed a Plan Member Confirmation of Illness Form that’s been created specifically for use when submitting a Short-term Disability (STD) claim if the absence is due to COVID-19 disease. The CLHIA has communicated with all insurers in Canada to make them aware of the custom form. All insurers will accept this form to initiate an STD claim.

If you’re submitting a STD claim because of COVID-19 disease, complete the form according to the instructions provided on the document and submit it to your insurer. If you’re not sure who the insurer of your disability benefits is, contact us. You can also use claim forms provided by the insurer, but we recommend using the CLHIA form as it’s specifically designed for the diagnosis of COVID-19. (The CLHIA is a not-for-profit, membership-based organization that represents 99% of Canada’s life and health insurance companies.)

Employee Assistance Program: If your group benefits plan includes an employee assistance program (EAP), you can access the service directly, the contact information is in your plan member booklet. If you’re not able to find this information, please contact us. An EAP can help your employees deal with difficult situations.

Federal Government Resources:

Insurance Carriers and Benefit Providers

Covid 19 Information Centre

The Coronavirus disease has created challenges across Canada and the world. It’s important to stay informed and educated so you’re equipped to take care of yourself, your family and your business.

We are ready to serve you and answer any questions you have about your employee benefits, insurance and investment. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We are here for you.

Covid 19 Information for Plan Members

The Coronavirus disease has created challenges across Canada and the world. It’s important to stay informed and educated so you’re equipped to take care of yourself, your family and your business.

We are ready to serve you and answer any questions you have about your employee benefits, insurance and investment. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We are here for you.

For Employees:

Group Benefits Plans: Information about your group benefits plans, you can contact us directly as we work with multiple insurance companies to provide you with the benefits or your insurance benefits provider.

Travel Coverage under your Group Benefits Plan: Effective March 13, there is an official global travel advisory to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice. Since the Canadian government’s official global travel advisory travelling to a destination outside of Canada can impact your travel insurance coverage. We recommend you contact your emergency medical travel provider or contact us directly and we can help.

Short-term Disability Claims: In light of the current situation, the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) has created and distributed a Plan Member Confirmation of Illness Form that’s been created specifically for use when submitting a Short-term Disability (STD) claim if the absence is due to COVID-19 disease. The CLHIA has communicated with all insurers in Canada to make them aware of the custom form. All insurers will accept this form to initiate an STD claim.

If you’re submitting a STD claim because of COVID-19 disease, complete the form according to the instructions provided on the document and submit it to your insurer. If you’re not sure who the insurer of your disability benefits is, contact us. You can also use claim forms provided by the insurer, but we recommend using the CLHIA form as it’s specifically designed for the diagnosis of COVID-19. (The CLHIA is a not-for-profit, membership-based organization that represents 99% of Canada’s life and health insurance companies.)

Employee Assistance Program: If your group benefits plan includes an employee assistance program (EAP), you can access the service directly, the contact information is in your plan member booklet. If you’re not able to find this information, please contact us. An EAP can help you deal with difficult situations.

Federal Government Resources:

How to apply for EI benefits for COVID-19 quarantines and other support programs

What are EI benefits for those quarantined with COVID-19?

Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits provide up to 15 weeks of income replacement and is available to eligible claimants who are unable to work because of illness, injury or quarantine, to allow them time to restore their health and return to work. Canadians quarantined can apply for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits.

Is there a waiting period?

For quarantine because of COVID-19, the one week waiting period is waived. Contact the new dedicated toll-free phone number if you are in quarantine and seeking to waive the one-week EI sickness benefits waiting period so you can be paid for the first week of your claim:

  • Telephone: 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free)

  • Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-800-529-3742

What benefits does EI offer?

Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits can provide you with up to 15 weeks of financial assistance if you cannot work for medical reasons. You could receive 55% of your earnings up to a maximum of $573 a week.

Who qualifies for EI sick-leave benefits?

Employed Canadians who pay EI premiums and self-employed people registered for access to EI may be eligible for sickness benefits.

There are a number of factors that determine eligibility. You need to demonstrate that:

  • you’re unable to work for medical reasons

  • your regular weekly earnings from work have decreased by more than 40% for at least one week

  • you accumulated 600 insured hours* of work in the 52 weeks before the start of your claim or since the start of your last claim, whichever is shorter

*As an example, 600 hours are equivalent to 20 weeks of work at 30 hours a week.

While you’re receiving sickness benefits, you must remain available for work if it weren’t for your medical condition.

If you are self-employed and pay into EI, you have to wait at least 12 months from the date of your confirmed registration before you are eligible for sickness benefits. You must also meet all of the following conditions:

  • The amount of time you spend on your business has decreased by more than 40% for at least one week because of your medical condition

  • You earned a minimum amount of self-employed earnings during the calendar year before the year you apply for benefits. To receive benefits for 2020, you need to have earned at least $7,279 in 2019

What if I don’t qualify for EI?

In April, the government will be introducing the Emergency Care Benefit providing up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks. This flat-payment Benefit would be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and provide income support to:

  • Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.

  • Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.

  • Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school or daycare closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.

Application for the Benefit will be available in April 2020, and require Canadians to attest that they meet the eligibility requirements. They will need to re-attest every two weeks to reconfirm their eligibility. Canadians will select one of three channels to apply for the Benefit:

  1. by accessing it on their CRA MyAccount secure portal;

  2. by accessing it from their secure My Service Canada Account; or

  3. by calling a toll free number equipped with an automated application process.

Do you need a Doctor’s note?

According to the Government of Canada’s website, people claiming EI sickness benefits due to quarantine will not have to provide a medical certificate.

How do I get started with the application for EI to see if I qualify?

The application for Employment Insurance can be found here:

Support for Business Owners and Employees Covid 19

We know that clients have questions about the Federal government’s economic response plan, we have included a summary of the information below for business owners, employees and other support that’s available. Please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here for you.

For Business Owners

  • Wage Subsidy: To support businesses that are facing revenue losses and to help prevent lay-offs, the government is proposing to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Businesses will be able to benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. Employers benefiting from this measure will include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities. Eligible for those with payroll under $1M.

  • Work-Sharing Program to support your Employees

  • BDC Loan Expansion Facility– Details and contact information on tapping into the expanded credit. You must have been in business for at least two years;  You must have more than $100,000 in annual gross revenues and should be profitable under normal operating conditions;  Owners and/or business should have good credit history; The program enables business owners to apply for a Loan or Line of Credit with BDC for up to $100,000 to be repaid within five years. The interest rate is set today at 3.3%, which is very low for a business loan. The application is done on-line, and applicants would need to have various financial documents available to upload to complete the application. The processing time is about 2-3 weeks at present.

  • Purchase Order Financial available through BDC

  • Facebook announces $100M grant program for small businesses– Facebook announced yesterday that it’s creating a $100 million grant program for small businesses. Applications aren’t open yet, but the company says this will include both ad credits and cash grants that can be spent on operational costs like paying workers and paying rent. It will be available to up to 30,000 businesses in the 30-plus countries where Facebook operates. Facebook has also created a Business Hub with tips and resources for businesses trying to survive during the outbreak.

For Employees

Tax support: 

  • Extending the tax filing deadline to June 1

  • Allowing taxpayers to defer tax payments until after August 31 (for amounts that are due after today and before September)

  • Temporarily boosting of the Canada Child Benefit payments

  • Banks deferring mortgage payments for up to 6 months- RBC, TD, BMO, CIBC, Scotiabank & National Bank.

  • Emergency Care Benefit” which offers up to $900 biweekly (for up to 15 weeks) to provide income support to workers who have to stay home and don’t have access to paid sick leave.

  • Six-month, interest-free reprieve on student loan payments.