Skip to main content

Covid-19 and May 1, 2020



Covid-19 and May 1, 2020


I read and heard a lot of material about Covid-19 here in Ontario that would have the crisis end on April 6, coinciding neatly with the return of children to school. That didn’t work out. Now, there is vague talk about some time in May or perhaps the crisis extending all the way into Fall. The truth is, of course, that no one knows when it will end.


We can expect that with the coming of May 1 and a new round of mortgage, rent and other bill payments, the initial shock will turn into conditions that will last for several months. By the end of April, the impact of the shutdown of the economy and the health crisis in the medical system should be more clear. The array of government and corporate programs intended to counter the effects should be having their effects. The various financial markets should have absorbed the new realities by May 1.


One significant concern that will emerge by the end of April will be our supply chains for food and other essential goods. The stories that we have read so far have to do with medical supplies of course, but there are other challenges. Our ability to source goods has become vulnerable in recent years.


Our local producers and stockpiles are small. We rely on cross-border transportation and suppliers. Already, food suppliers have been quietly ramping up production and stockpiling. Some important food processors and suppliers are closing their doors due to Covid-19 spread and more may follow. The grocery chains are doing their best to keep food flowing but only with heroic effort.


In my world of real estate and business financing, there are still funds available. By May 1, we will begin to see how far real estate values are going to fall, have a better sense of how the real estate industry is going to function, and learn who will be able to make payments going forward for the rest of 2020 and into 2021.


Those of us engaged in providing financial advice need to see well beyond May 1. There are many programs designed to assist those who are struggling in their business and personal finances. By the end of April, there will be still be significant gaps.


An important distinction is between grants and loans. Many of the programs do no more than defer payments. Even the much-vaunted Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is taxable, meaning that some time next year the recipients will need to pay 25% or more back to the government. They will have bought groceries and not taken their wise CPA’s advice to put some in a tax account.


The best news that we heard this week is that there has been significant progress with testing technology. (See: https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/health-canada-approves-spartan-biosciences-portable-covid-19-test )


If we were able to quickly distinguish between those who are ill and those who are not, get medical help to those who need it immediately, and allow the rest of us to get back to work, May 1 might turn out to be the beginning of many better days.


Jay Brennan is a Toronto mortgage agent who has seen many market ups and downs. He can be reached at jay@brennancreative.ca.








Popular posts from this blog

Easy ways to bank like a pro

Most Canadians do banking exactly the way they are told by the bankers. This a mistake. Let’s do better. Here’s why. “No Soup for You!” Years ago, I was working at a bank branch one sunny summer afternoon. A man came in with a couple of wriggly, little kids in tow. He filled out one of those withdrawal slips that oldtimers may remember. The young father waited patiently in line while struggling to maintain order, gradually making his way up to our bank teller. Finally, he arrived and exchanged the usual pleasantries to the smiling teller. He presented his withdrawal slip. The teller began doing some banking magic on the computer terminal. There was a hesitation and then a frown. Then a polite, nervous smile. The manager was called. The manager did a little more magic on the computer terminal. Now the branch manager was frowning. Everyone was frowning, even the two small children who had been busy with other business were frowning. Finally, the verdict was brought in. There was a probl

Film Review of Beautiful Boy (2018)

Most of my short film reviews look at great classic films. This movie is different in that it received a mixed reception when it was released in 2018. On Rotten Tomatoes , the aggregated rating for Beautiful Boy is only 67% and some of the reviews are scathing.  The low score for this movie is something of a puzzle. The film offers good acting by rising star Timothee Chalamet , reliable Steve Carell , and excellent supporting actors such as Maura Tierney and Amy Ryan . It is well-made and has moments of poignancy and intensity. Beautiful Boy is based on separate memoirs written by David Sheff , the father in the story and Nic Sheff , the son. The film reflects some of the limitations of personal memoirs written at a young age or a narrow point of view, but within the given framework the film is well-written. Beautiful Boy tells the story of a father-son relationship during a time when son Nic (Timothy Chalamet) is in his late teens and early twenties and addicted to drugs. They are cl

Gambling that a vaccine will be discovered before the money runs out

  We should be deeply disappointed at the feeble political response to Covid. Little payments here and there (adding up to many billions in aggregate) do little but temporarily prevent people from being turned into the streets and starving. What we urgently need is a wartime economy, intended to last until a vaccine is widely distributed: close non-essential services, repatriate essential industries (back to Canada), transition people into new ways of life and lines of work, and infrastructure projects that absorb displaced workers. Most of the middle class still enjoy the rivers of money that flow from government and corporate accounts. So our politicians and bureaucrats don't feel an urgency for making large-scale change. Will these rivers of money run dry if things continue as they are? Our leaders are gambling that the poor can be ignored and the middle and upper classes can be placated until good times return.