Canadians Abroad and Returning Travelers
While abroad, you may have come in contact with the novel coronavirus. All returning travelers must self-isolate for 14 days. This is now the law under the Quarantine Act. There are significant penalties if you do not comply. Visit the webpage pertaining to returning travellers and quarantine restrictions here: Returning to Canada. Note that travellers returning to Alberta must also submit to Alberta's requirements (see below) which are similar to Canada's.
November 23: The Minister of International Affairs made clear that Canada will not be repatriating Canadians who are stranded abroad, and reiterated that Canadians should not be travelling internationally, and if they must do so, should arrange adequate travel and health insurance, and consider the state of affairs in the destination country. Canada will not do another round of repatriation flights.
October 22: Easing Quarantine for Canadians Returning to Calgary YYC or via Coutts land border
Effective Nov 2, returning Canadians can shorten their self-isolation by taking a COVID test upon arrival and then proceeding into quarantine. As soon as the test comes back negative, they may break quarantine on the promise of taking a second test on Day Six or Day Seven at a participating community pharmacy. Travellers must also commit to remaining in Alberta for 14 days, and may be fined if they fail to follow health guidelines.
This applies to returning Canadians, permanent residents, or foreign nationals with permission to enter Canada, who display no symptoms. It should be of great help to Canadians who must leave Canada for business or family reasons but cannot afford to take a full two-week quarantine upon return.
So far, this pilot project is operating only at Calgary airport (YYC) and the Coutts land border crossing. If it proves to be successful, it may be extended to other airports that are authorized to accept international arrivals - Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver - and possibly to Edmonton.
Ban on non-essential visitors to Canada
The ban on foreign (non-essential) travelers continues. This applies to nationals of all countries - no countries are exempted. Note below the provisions for family reunification of Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
November 27: the ban was extended to January 21, 2021.
If you are traveling within Canada, please take note that many cities and provinces have now mandated compulsory use of face masks when indoors. Masks are also mandatory at the Calgary International Airport, and on aircraft.
Expectations for returning travellers arriving in Canada include:
- You must have an approved quarantine plan at the land or air border. It will be evaluated by border officials for adequacy. For example, your plan cannot include living with elderly or vulnerable persons. You must have a defined destination where you can quarantine. If you do not present an adequate plan, the government will arrange for you to be quarantined in a local hotel for 14 days.
- If you have an approved plan, proceed directly from your point of entry to your home. Do not stop for groceries, pick up the dog at the kennel, stop at the bank, or run other errands.
- Do not use public transportation. If you do not have a private vehicle, border officials will arrange safe transportation.
- If you are continuing on to another destination (e.g. land in Calgary but have a connection to Kelowna) you must quarantine yourself for 14 days at the point of landing before continuing your journey. Border officials have arranged for accommodation where this is required (such as airport hotels).
- Stay home from work and school for 14 days, and for 10 additional days if symptoms develop.
- Arrange to have supplies such as groceries and medicines dropped off at your door.
- Especially avoid elderly people and anyone with compromised immune systems or chronic conditions;
- Keep any unavoidable interactions with other people brief, maintaining at least two metres’ distance from them and wear a mask.
- If you are in mandatory self-isolation (includes returning Canadians, anyone with symptoms, anyone close to a person who is sick) you may no longer leave your property. You may not leave the property even for neighbourhood walks; if you live in an apartment/highrise, you may not leave your unit and may not use the elevator, stairwells or common areas.
- To further protect those around you, wash your hands often and cover your mouth and nose with your arm when coughing or sneezing.
If you start having symptoms of COVID-19, isolate yourself from others as quickly as possible. First visit the Alberta COVID19 webpage to do an online self-assessment. That assessment will advise if you should call 811 for a telephone consultation and possible referral for a COVID19 test. The 811 line may be busy - try calling at off peak hours (the line is open 24/7) but DO NOT CALL 911 as an alternative. 911 lines need to stay available for people with life-threatening emergencies.
- Access across the Canada-US border is restricted to necessary travel only, such as that required to move goods across the border.
- November 20: the closure was extended to December 21.
- Conservatives have called for clearer guidance on what constitutes "essential travel" as decisions by border officials appear to be highly arbitrary, causing some people to be turned back who expected to be admitted.
- The government has loosened restrictions on first year US students planning to come to Canada to study. An update posted July 24 says a student coming from the US may no longer need a study permit that was issued on or before March 18 (the day border restrictions were announced). As well, Citizenship, Refugees and Immigration Canada now says border officers will accept a "port of entry letter of introduction''that shows the student was approved for a study permit, in lieu of a permit approved before March 18.
Family Reunification (June 8)
- A survey suggests that decisions at borders are being made in a highly arbitrary manner at the discretion of the border officials, with insufficient guidance on how to make the determination. Conservatives have called on the government to provide clear and predictable guidance to border officials so that citizens know what to expect and whether they will be allowed to cross the border. On June 8, the government provided some of that guidance as it pertains to family reunification.
- June 8: Prime Minister said that effective midnight June 9, they are prepared to make an exemption for the immediate family members of Canadian citizens or permanent residents to come to Canada from the US
- “Immediate family members” is defined as spouses, common-law partners, dependent children and their children, parents and legal guardians. Note that some common law partners who are not citizens of Canada have reported trouble at the border. Bring documentation showing, for example, co-habitation (same address on documents for both persons).
- Persons arriving in Canada remain subject to a 14-day quarantine (see above for quarantine requirements) and must attest they intend to remain in Canada at least 15 days. Those arriving in Alberta will be subject to Alberta's screening process (see below)
- Not eligible are relatives of temporary residents of Canada, such as those on student or work visas.
- The measure is intended to reunite families that were caught by the border closing on March 20. It is not intended to facilitate social gatherings or attendance at personal events; it is not to allow people to "come and go" between the countries.
- Persons requiring them must still present the appropriate visa or electronic travel authorization.
- September 18: Conservatives have asked the government to extend compassionate measures for people who have been separated for a long period of time but do not fall within the narrow definition of "family", such as the not-yet-married (fiances), LGBTQ partners, families in process of adopting children, and common law couples (the rules have not been consistent).
October 2: The government announced some loosening of the definition of "family" to allow for more members of a family to reunite, and compassionate visits to relatives who are seriously ill or at risk of dying; and for overseas university students in some situations. These changes are expected to take effect October 8. For more information click here.
Returning to Alberta
- The Alberta Government has established checkpoints at the Calgary and Edmonton airports, and at the Coutts land border crossing (which handles 90% of land border traffic).
- Arriving persons must undergo a temperature check and complete an isolation questionnaire showing that they have a credible plan for a 14-day quarantine, including a safe place to self-isolate and plans for obtaining food and medicines without leaving the property.
Note new provisions at top of this section: Returning Canadians, permanent residents and foreign nationals with permission to enter Canada, and displaying no symptoms, may shorten their quarantine time by voluntarily taking a COVID test upon arrival. When the test comes back negative, they may break quarantine with a promise to take a second test on Day Six or Day Seven. See above for detail.
Calgary International Airport
- June 17: Masks for passengers and employees are now mandatory.
- July 15: the backlog of passport applications is now being addressed and many passports have been sent out.
- If you have proof of travel within 30 days and require a passport, you may now request an in-person interview at Service Canada to expedite your passport.
- For valid reasons to travel urgently and how to apply, go to:COVID-19 passport services
Financial Assistance for Canadians Abroad
In light of the multiple measures implemented by governments throughout the world to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Government of Canada advises Canadians to avoid non-essential travel until further notice.
To help Canadians abroad return home or shelter in place, the Government of Canada has created a special financial assistance program, the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad. With this program, Canadians abroad directly impacted by COVID-19 will have the option of applying for an emergency loan of up to $5,000 to help secure their timely return to Canada and/or to temporarily cover their life-sustaining needs while they work toward their return.
No Canadian exhibiting symptoms of COVID19 will be permitted to board a flight.
The Government of Canada encourages all Canadians abroad to register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service to get the latest updates on the situation at their destination.
Government of Canada Financial Support for Businesses
For a recap of business measures, link here: Business Supports
A summary of some of the key measures:
Canadian Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)
This program replaces the former CECRA program with several revisions. It is retroactive to September 27, 2020 and available until June 2021.
- If revenue has declined by 70%+, you may apply for 65% of rent or mortgage interest payments;
- If revenue has declined by less than 70% there is “a gradually decreasing level of support”.
- Businesses forced to temporarily shut down by mandatory orders will qualify for up to 90% of rent or mortgage interest payments.
- Tenants will apply directly, without needing to go through their landlord.
- The program applies to businesses, charities and non-profits.
- The program as described today is valid until December 19, 2020; the government may make further revisions for the subsequent period through to June 2021
The government's announcement is here.
While this is good news, there are several questions:
1. Conservatives and business groups have said for five months that the design of the previous program (CECRA) was flawed. Why did it take five months to hear the message?
2. CECRA expired in September. The Liberals prorogued Parliament for six weeks to "plan ahead", yet didn't announce revisions before the old program ended, leaving many businesses in planning limbo. It took until Nov 20 to get the appropriate legislation in place.
3. This doesn't retroactively help businesses that didn't qualify for CECRA because their landlords didn't qualify or wouldn't participate. Those businesses may be competing directly against businesses that did qualify because they had landlords who cooperated. The government created an uneven playing field for five months depending on who your landlord was: those businesses are starting from behind today.
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)
This program expired on September 27 and is replaced by the CERS (see above).
Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
- October 9: CEBA is expanded by adding another $20,000 to the original $40,000 loan cap for a total potential loan of $60,000 to businesses that are still being impacted by COVID-19
- Half of the additional $20,000 (that is, $10,000) is eligible to be forgiven if the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022
- This is in addition to $10,000 forgivable of the original $40,000, for a total forgivable amount of $20,000 on a loan of $60,000
- The application deadline is extended to December 31, 2020.
- The government says they are working on an adjustment to make the program available to small companies that do not use a business bank account (a measure the Conservatives asked for months ago) but no details or confirmation are currently available.
- This measure will allow banks to give up to $60,000 in government-backed loans, with no interest for a year, and the possibility that up to $20,000 will be forgiven.
- Up to $20,000 will be forgiven if companies are able to repay their loan by December 31, 2022
- Companies must show they had between $20,000 and $1.5 million in payroll costs in 2019 (required range was previously $50,000 to $1 million - broadened on April 16);
- June 26: Companies now also qualify if payroll was below $20,000 (typically because they compensate workers with contract payments or dividends, or are sole proprietors).
- Companies must attest that they will use the money for non-deferrable expenses such as rent/lease/mortgage payments, salaries, utilities, property tax, insurance or debt payments and will have to upload documentation to demonstrate those expenses.
- The following information is from the Royal Bank with respect to how they will handle the loans. Other banks may or may not use the same process but it should be similar.
- Until Dec 31, 2020, RBC will treat this as a revolving line of credit for $40,000
- After Dec 31, 2020, RBC will convert any remaining amount to a non-revolving 5-year term loan maturing Dec 31, 2025, at which point the balance must be paid in full
- No interest applies until January 1, 2023
- Starting January 1, 2023, interest will accrue at 5% per annum, payable monthly on the last day of each month
- If you pay two-thirds of the term loan before December 31, 2022, the remaining balance of the term loan will be forgiven. To illustrate: if your balance is $60,000 on January 1, 2021, and you repay $40,000 before December 31, 2022, then the remaining $20,000 is forgiven
- If you do not pay two-thirds by December 31, 2022, then the entire loan and all accrued and unpaid interest will be due and payable by December 31, 2025.
- Applications opened April 9 and are extended to December 31, 2020; you will need to have on-line business banking set up with your bank.
- Credit unions are now also enabled to offer these loans to their clients.
- The government is still considering eligibility for businesses that operate through a personal chequing account rather than a business account, but at this time, they remain ineligible.
Applicants apply online through their bank and will need:
• a business operating account at a participating financial institution (that is, the business has its own account, and is not operating through the owner's personal account)
• a Canada Revenue Agency business number, and to have filed a 2018 or 2019 T1 or T2 tax return showing corporate revenues for that year.
• information attesting to your eligible non-deferrable expenses for 2020. Expenses could include costs such as rent, payroll, property taxes, utilities, debt services costs and insurance; and information about any other COVID-19 financial support from governments. Expenses and other relief funding will be subject to verification and audit.
Unlike earlier phases of the program, the Export Development Corp (which is administering the program) will have to review your application and documents and attest to your eligibility BEFORE your bank can release the funds.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
- November 30: The Economic Update said that CEWS will be increased to 75% from 65%, and extended to June 2021. That change is not yet passed in legislation and it is not clear if it will come into effect only after the current "review date" of December 19, or be retroactive.
- November 20: The current level of subsidy (up to 65% of eligible wages) remains in place until December 19, 2020. At that time, the government may make further changes for the period through to June 2021.
- More information at: Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
- Employers may apply retroactively for Periods 1-4. Period 5 applications accepted as of August 17. You apply through your "My Business Account" on the CRA website.
- A calculator has been posted on the CRA and the above-noted web site to determine how much you can apply for. Access the calculator through the website above.
- July 17: New flexibility has been introduced, although the rules and formulas are very complex; small businesses may need professional help to sort out whether they qualify and if so, for how much:
- Businesses must show a revenue decline, but it no longer must be 30%
- Subsidies will be related to the amount of revenue decline
- The program has been extended to November 21 with the option to extend it to December 31
- There is a possible 25% increase in subsidy for businesses suffering 50% or more revenue decline (that is, a total subsidy of up to 85% representing $960/week);
- Changes are effective July 5; no business currently receiving CEWS will see any subsidy decline until the end of August. After that, subsidies may decline according to a complex formula if revenue is recovering.
- Eligible employers may receive a subsidy equal to 65% of "pre-crisis" wages (up to 85% if your revenue has declined 50% or more) to encourage them to keep their employees. Pre-crisis remuneration is the average weekly remuneration paid between January 1 and March 15, excluding any seven-day periods in respect of which the employee received no remuneration (so if you hired someone on February 1, you would not have to count the zero wages paid for January). Persons who are remunerated with dividends do not qualify. Non-arms length employees (e.g. family members) do qualify so long as they were receiving remuneration prior to the crisis - you can't add them to the payroll in March (or raise their salary) just to claim the subsidy.
- Particularly to aid start ups and new businesses that cannot do a comparison with 2019, it is now an option for all companies to compare with the average of January and February 2020, and only a 15% decline in March is required to qualify. A 30% decline will be needed for subsequent months (April, May). Choose carefully which method you are going to use, as you cannot change the period for comparison after applying.
- The subsidy is intended to respond to the COVID-19 situation, but you are not required to prove that your loss of revenue is due to COVID-19.
- The employer can now choose whether to use accrual accounting or cash-basis accounting to determine revenues. This measure can help those whose revenue line may not show a decrease, but you aren’t getting paid by your customers. Cash-basis accounting means you record the revenue when cash is received, and not when invoices are sent. Once again, once you have made a decision you can not flip back the following month.
- Charities and non-profits will work with the government to establish an appropriate definition of "revenue" in their circumstances, and have the option to include or exclude previous government funding.
- There is no limit to the number of employees - big and small all qualify - as do both corporations/businesses and not-for-profits/charities
- The 65% subsidy applies on a salary of up to $58,700, which translates to a subsidy of up to $733 per week. Employers are encouraged to top up the remaining amount if they can.
The benefit is back-dated to March 15, and will apply until December 19 with an extension to June 2021 with the possibility of changes effective December 19
- If an employee is paid for the week, but does not work (i.e. you put them on paid leave during the crisis), then you can get the 75% wage subsidy, plus you can recover 100% of employer contributions to CPP and EI. This is not capped based on 75% of pre-crisis remuneration – it is ALL employer amounts. You make the source deductions and remit the employer portion as normal, and will then claim the employer portion back with the rest of the 75%.
This does not replace the previously announced 10% subsidy. That is, if you don't qualify for 75%, you may qualify for 10%:
- 10% wage subsidy, up to $1,375/employee for 15 weeks, with a maximum per company of $25,000, provided you are a Canadian private company (with some possible exceptions). See the link above for more detail.
- It is expected that if you apply for both, the amount of the 75% subsidy may be reduced to reflect amounts received from the 10% program.
- Note that there are penalties for abuse - repayment of up to 225% of the fraudulent claim plus prison time if the offense warrants.
- Each business will need to designate a single person authorized to attest on behalf of the company, who is also authorized to financially bind the company. If your company by-laws require more than one person for this role, you may need to adjust that in advance so you are ready when applications open.
- If businesses have questions about the CEWS that aren’t specific to a person’s particular situation, like eligibility and how to apply, we encourage them to call CRA’s general information line at 1-833-966-2099 as wait times are shorter. This line cannot look up taxpayer information (e.g., business’ payroll accounts, etc.)
- For specific information such as My Business Account access, payment requirements, or GST and corporate income tax filing information, they can call the CRA’s Business Enquiries line at 1-800-959-5525.
Frequently Asked Questions
- FAQs are intended to provide more in-depth technical information on the most commonly anticipated technical questions from businesses and tax professionals. These will be updated periodically as new questions arise. Link:CEWS Frequently Asked Questions
Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) (May 11)
- See announcement here: LEEFF Program for large businesses
- May 20: the program is now open for applications. See the fact sheet here: https://www.cdev.gc.ca/leeff-factsheet/
- Open to large for-profit businesses for the next 12 months – with the exception of the financial sector – as well as certain not-for-profit businesses, such as airports, with annual revenues generally in the order of $300 million or higher. The money is intended to maintain employees, not bail out other costs.
- To qualify, businesses must be seeking financing of $60 million or more (there is no maximum) and have significant operations or workforce in Canada
- Unsecured loans will accrue interest of 5% in the first year, 8% in year two, and increasing by 2% per year thereafter.
- Companies must demonstrate how they will preserve employment and maintain investment activities.
- Recipients will need to commit to respect collective bargaining agreements and protect workers’ pensions.
- The LEEFF program will require strict limits to dividends, share buy-backs, and executive pay. No executive will be permitted to receive more than $1 million in annual compensation until the loan is repaid.
- Each package will be negotiated individually. The government is reserving the right to take shares in the company as part of the package totalling 15% of the principal amount.
- An assessment may be made of its employment, tax, and economic activity in Canada, as well as its international organizational structure and financing arrangements. The program will not be available to companies that have been convicted of tax evasion.
- Recipient companies will be required to publish annual climate-related disclosure reports, including how their future operations will support environmental sustainability and national climate goals.
- As of June 16, not a single application to LEEFF has been received. Some analysts speculate that it was deliberately designed to be unattractive to businesses so that the government would appear to be offering relief with little risk of having to dispense funds. The very high interest rates and many strings attached are cited as reasons businesses are looking elsewhere for strategies to survive the pandemic.
- As of September 16, there are still no applications that have been approved and no funds distributed. It is clear this program is not working. Many cite the unusually high interest rates as a deterrent.
- UPDATE: Nov 24 - two loans have now been made, one to a casino and one to a coal company. The Globe and Mail is reporting that $4.6 Million was spent on consultants to set up this program which is clearly not of any benefit to most businesses.
Targeted Business Supports
- November 30: The Economic Update promised support for arts ($182 million next year), air sector (540 million next year), and credit availability for the tourism sector. We have no details yet about these programs.
- Potentially creating a Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) to provide $1 million loans to heavily impacted business. No details yet.
Support from BDC and EDC:
- On March 13, 2020 the federal government established a Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to support financing in the private sector through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC). On March 27, the government announced that an additional $12.5 billion would be made available to Canada's Crown lending agencies, on top of the $10 billion previously announced.
- Small Business Loan: Up to $100,000 can be obtained online.
Working capital loan: For loans over $100,000 and can support everyday operations.
Purchase Order Financing: Loans to fulfill domestic or international orders.
If you have specific questions about applying for funding, BDC can be reached at the toll-free number: 1-877-232-2269 Monday to Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Time). They also have an online assessment tool.
- May 11: expansion of the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP), put in place to keep small businesses solvent, to mid-sized companies with a greater need for capital. Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada will work with private sector lenders to free up access to capital in the tens of millions for Canadian companies in every industry and in all regions across Canada.
- June 10: banks report that only a small number of businesses have tried to take advantage of these programs and less than 1% of the allotted funds have been accessed.
- Sept 1: BCAP has been extended to June 2021.
PPE Supply Hub
- The government has created a web page to assist businesses in sourcing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment):PPE Supply Hub
Regional Relief and Recovery Funds
- Funds have been allocated to the Regional Development agencies and are now available for application
- For Western Canada, visit the Western Economic Diversification site for a guide to who is eligible: WEDC programs and eligibility
- You are not eligible if you have received a CEBA loan, are a sole proprietor, or are in an area served by the Community Futures program.
- The maximum duration of the Work-Sharing program is extended from 38 weeks to 76 weeks.
- The Work-Sharing program is offered to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers.
Surplus Food Rescue Program
- June 15: The Prime Minister announced the Surplus Food Rescue Program to help get products that farmers and fishers can't sell to communities that need it, including remote northern communities.
- We are waiting for information on how food producers and communities can apply.
Loan Guarantees for SMEs
- Export Development Canada is working with financial institutions so that they can issue new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs.
- Contact your financial institution to see if this is a fit for you.
Co-Lending for SMEs
- The Co-Lending Program will bring the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) together with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements.
- Through the Co-Lending Program, eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts of up to $6.25 million through the program.
- Contact your financial institution to see if this is a fit for you.
Sales Tax and Import Duties
- The government will allow all businesses, including self employed individuals, to defer payment of sales tax (GST, HST) and import duties until June to improve cash flow
- This applies to remittances that would be due in March, April and May.
- No application is required - simply defer your payment
Income Tax Deferral
- Note that the Tax Deferral Period has now ended.
- All businesses may defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18 and before September 2020.
- This relief would applies to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act.
- No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.
- More information: Department of Finance-Tax Filing Flexibility
CFIB Supporting Businesses
- CFIB is offering advice and assistance to businesses navigating all of this. CFIB has opened their Helpline to all business owners including non-CFIB members for advice on managing COVID-19 situations in the workplace.
- To talk to an expert, please call them at 1-888-234-2232.
Canada’s Six Biggest Banks Help Customers Impacted by COVID-19
- Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Bank have made a commitment to work with personal and small business banking customers on a case-by-case basis to provide flexible solutions to help them manage through challenges such as pay disruption due to COVID-19; childcare disruption due to school closures; or those facing illness from COVID-19.
- This support will include up to a six-month payment deferral for mortgages, and the opportunity for relief on other credit products.
- Individual Canadians or business owners facing hardship should contact their bank directly to discuss options that could be available to them.
- More information: Support from Big Six Banks
Support for Oil & Gas Industry (April 17)
- $1.7 billion for an orphan well clean-up program
- Just under $1 billion to establish a methane emission reduction fund
- The Business Development Bank and Export Development Corporation will work with mid-size oil and gas companies to extend credit
- Details on these programs remain obscure. Conservative MPs have been advised by constituents that these programs are not yet dispensing funds (June 3)
Support for Farmers and Processors
- The government is supporting Farm Credit Canada by allowing an additional $5 billion in lending capacity to producers, agribusinesses, and food processors.
- This will offer increased flexibility to farmers who face cashflow issues and to processors who are impacted by lost sales, helping them remain financially strong
- On May 5 the government announced $252 million in funding for the agriculture sector, including
- $77.5 million for food processors
- $125 million for AgriRecovery
- $50 million for a government purchase program to buy surplus food and distribute them to those in need
- An intention to increase the Canadian Dairy Commission's borrowing limit by $200 million
- The Canadian Federation of Agriculture said, however, that $2.6 billion was required to keep the sector healthy. The government said more funding might come later. Canadians have reason to be concerned about the viability of the sector that puts food on our table, particularly now, during the producing season.
- May 26: government will fund 700 youth jobs in the agri-food sector. This is similar to a program that the Conservatives had recommended, to match summer students to jobs in this sector, thus solving two problems at once.
Support for Cultural, Sport and Heritage Organizations
- On May 8, Minister Steven Guilbeault provided more detail on the previously announced $500M in pandemic relief to cultural, heritage and sport organizations.
- Roughly $198M of the funds will be used to top up arts and culture programs; $116M will go towards the television and film industry through the Canada Media Fund and Telefilm Canada; $53M is earmarked for the heritage sector via the emergency component of the Museums Assistance Program; $55M will go to the Canada Council for the Arts, the sports sector will receive $72M and $3.5M will go to the Digital Citizen Initiative.
Other Measures for Business
- $306 million to Indigenous businesses provided through aboriginal financial institutions and administered by the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association. It will allow Indigenous businesses to access short-term interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions
- The Insured Mortgage Purchase Program, will purchase up to $150 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. This will provide long-term stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders, help facilitate continued lending to Canadian consumers and businesses, and add liquidity to Canada’s mortgage market.
- The Bank of Canada has lowered interest rates, intervened to support key financial markets and provided liquidity support for financial institutions.
- The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions is lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer by 1.25% of risk-weighted assets to allow Canada’s large banks to inject $300 billion of additional lending into the economy.
Government of Alberta Support and COVID-19 Measures
If you need more information or assistance with these measures, please contact your provincial MLA. If you need help identifying your MLA or obtaining his/her contact information, use this site: Who is my MLA?
Consult the Alberta COVID-19 webpage for more information about COVID-19 and for links with more information about all of these measures: Coronavirus Info for Albertans
DECEMBER 2: Vaccinations
- Alberta will begin vaccinating Albertans on January 5, 2021
Those vaccinated in Phase 1 include long-term care and designated supported living residents and staff in those facilities, on-reserve First Nations individuals over age 65, seniors aged 75 and older, and health-care workers most needed to ensure workforce capacity and who are most likely to transmit COVID-19 to those at greatest risk.
- Alberta expects to vaccinate approximately 10% of the population in Phase I, or about 435,000 people
NOVEMBER 27: RAPID TESTING PILOT PROJECT
- Alberta Health Services (AHS) and Alberta Precision Laboratories have been evaluating two types of COVID-19 rapid testing kits, approved by Health Canada and provided to provinces and territories by the federal government.
- The two point-of-care rapid testing systems will be rolled out in clinical pilots at several sites throughout the province over the coming weeks.
- PanBio rapid antigen tests will be used at one assessment centre in Calgary and one assessment centre in Edmonton. IDNow tests will be used at the COVID-19 assessment centres in Slave Lake and St. Paul, and at the hospital lab in Bonnyville.
- The tests will be used on patients who are within the first seven days of expressing symptoms, allowing health officials to quickly identify positive cases at testing sites, reducing the need for patient samples to be transported to centralized public laboratories for processing.
- The pilot will use more than 100,000 tests. Results will determine if the kits can be used widely across Alberta.
NOVEMBER 24: NEW RESTRICTIONS
the Government of Alberta announced significant new restrictions on Nov 24. This information, and details on the areas with enhanced status, are available at https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx. The enhanced (purple) area includes all of Calgary and surrounding communities.
A state of emergency has been declared in Alberta again. The previous state of emergency was rescinded on June 15, 2020.
You can download the Alberta Emergency Alerts app on your mobile phone to receive updates on these restrictions.
The "enhanced (purple) areas" covers a significant portion of the province and is available at https://www.alberta.ca/maps/covid-19-status-map.htm.
Mandatory restriction – Provincewide – effective Nov. 24
- No indoor social gatherings are permitted in any setting (private homes, public spaces or workplaces)
- Indoor close contacts must be limited to people in the same household
- People who live alone can have up to the same 2 non-household contacts for the duration of the restriction
- Work and support group meetings are not social gatherings, but attendance should be limited and public health measures followed
- This does not apply to service visits from caregivers, health or child care providers
- Outdoor social gatherings are limited to 10 people and must not have an indoor component
- Backyard gatherings that require movement in/out of homes are not permitted
- Attendees should remain distanced at all times and follow public health measures
- Festivals and events are prohibited (indoors and outdoors)
Weddings and Funerals
Mandatory restriction – Provincewide – effective Nov. 24
- Maximum of 10 people for wedding ceremonies or funeral services
- This includes the officiant, bride/groom and witnesses
- This does not include staff or organizers who are not considered an invited guest
- This applies to any facility, including places of worship and funeral homes.
- This includes services held indoors or outdoors, seated or non-seated.
- Receptions are not permitted
Places of Worship
Mandatory restriction – Enhanced status (purple) areas – effective Nov. 24
- Maximum of 1/3 normal attendance for places of worship
- Physical distancing between households must be maintained
- Mask use is required
- Online services are encouraged
- In-person faith group meetings can continue but must maintain physical distancing and public health measures must be followed
Mandatory restriction – Calgary and Edmonton areas – Effective Nov. 24
- Masks are mandatory in all indoor workplaces, except when working alone in an office or a safely distanced cubicle or an appropriate barrier is in place
- This applies to all employees, visitors, delivery personnel and contractors
- This includes all locations where employees are present and masks won’t pose a safety risk
- This does not change current student mask requirements in schools
Mandatory restriction – Provincewide – Starting Nov. 30
Grades 7-12 students
- Move to at-home learning Nov. 30 to Jan. 8, except during winter break*
- Resume in-person classes Jan. 11
- Diploma exams are optional for rest of the school year. Students and families can choose to write an exam or receive an exemption for the April, June and August 2021 exams.
Grades K-6 students (including Early Childhood Services)
- Continue in-person learning to Dec. 18
- Move to at-home learning Dec. 18 to Jan. 8, except during winter break*
- Resume in-person classes Jan. 11
*Schools have different winter break schedules, check with your school for details.
Businesses Closed for In-Person Service
Mandatory restriction – Enhanced status (purple) areas – Effective Nov. 27
Businesses that are closed for in-person service include:
- Banquet halls, conference centres, trade shows, auditoria and concert venues, non-approved/licensed markets, community centres
- Children’s play places or indoor playgrounds
- All levels of sport (professional, semi-professional, junior, collegiate/universities and amateur). Exemptions may be considered.
Restaurants, Bars, Pubs, and Lounges Open with Restrictions
Mandatory restriction – Enhanced status (purple) areas – Effective Nov. 27
Restaurants, bars, pubs and lounges will be open with restrictions if they follow all public health guidance in place including:
- Maximum of 6 people from the same immediate household at a table and no movement between tables.
- People who live alone can meet with up to 2 non-household contacts as long as they’re the same two throughout the duration of these restrictions
- Only seated eating and drinking is permitted. No other services or entertainment will be allowed, including billiards, games or darts.
- Liquor can be sold until 10 pm and food-serving establishments must close to in person-dining at 11 pm. Liquor sales apply to casinos, but casinos are not required to close at 11 pm.
Albertans are encouraged to use take out, delivery, drive-thru and curbside pick-up options.
Additional inspections will occur to verify that public health measures are being followed. Establishments that are non compliant may face orders and fines.
Businesses and Services Open with Restricted Capacity
Mandatory restriction – Enhanced status (purple) areas – Effective Nov. 27
Most retail businesses may remain open with capacity limited to 25% of the occupancy set under the Alberta Fire Code.
- Retail, including liquor and cannabis
- Grocery stores
- Clothing stores
- Computer and technology stores
- Farmers markets approved by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
- Unlicensed outdoor seasonal markets
Some entertainment and event services may remain open with capacity limited to 25% of the occupancy set under the Alberta Fire Code.
- Movie theatres
- Museums and galleries
- Casinos, offering slots only. Table games must be closed at this time.
- Indoor entertainment centres including amusement parks, water parks, bingo halls and racing centres.
- Indoor fitness, recreation, sports and physical activity centres, including dance and yoga studios, martial arts, gymnastics and private or public swimming pools.
- Facilities can be open for individual studio time, training or exercise only.
- There can be no group fitness, group classes, group training, team practices or games.
- Instructors can use facility to broadcast virtual fitness classes from, but there can be no group class.
All public health guidance and physical distancing requirements must be followed.
Albertans and businesses are encouraged to limit in-person visits and use curbside pick up, delivery and online services instead.
Businesses Open By Appointment Only
Mandatory restriction – Enhanced status (purple) areas – Effective Nov. 27
Businesses open by appointment only are not permitted to offer walk-in services. Appointments should be limited to one-on-one services.
- Personal services such as hair salons and barbershops, esthetics, manicure, pedicure, body waxing and make-up, piercing and tattoo services,
- Wellness services including acupuncture, massage and reflexology
- Professional services such as lawyers, mediators, accountants and photographers
- Private one-on-one lessons (no private group lessons permitted)
- Hotels, motels, hunting and fishing lodges
These businesses must follow all current public health guidance for their sector and should consider virtual options where possible.
Home-based businesses should follow the restrictions for the type of service they provide.
If you violate a public health order, you may be subject to a $1,000 fine. Additionally, you can be prosecuted for up to $100,000 for a first offense.
If you are concerned someone is not following public health orders, you can:
- remind them that not following orders is against the law and puts people at risk
- submit a complaint to AHS public health inspectors online or call 1-833-415-9179
- complaints that require an immediate response can also be reported to your local police force through their administrative phone line
- Nov 27 Update: The government is granting certain Alberta peace officers and community peace officers temporary authority to enforce public health orders.
- Expanding these authorities will increase the number of officers able to levy fines by about 700.
Testing for COVID-19
- October 20: Asymptomatic testing is being paused to speed up results for patients with symptoms. As of October 20, pharmacies will not book new appointments for asymptomatic patients. Those with existing appointments will be honoured until Nov 4. Albertans with symptoms, or who are in close contact with an infected person or linked with an outbreak, may continue to be tested.
- Any Albertan with symptoms, is a close contact of a confirmed case or linked to an outbreak will continue to be tested as usual.
- Voluntary asymptomatic testing will continue to be offered for priority groups that are most at risk of spreading COVID-19 to vulnerable or at-risk populations. This includes:
- school teachers and staff
- residents and staff in congregate settings
- health-care workers
- Albertans experiencing homelessness
- travellers who require testing prior to departure
- For more information, visit https://www.alberta.ca/covid-19-testing-in-alberta.aspx
- A walk-in, no-appointment required, testing centre has been set up at the Richmond Road Diagnostic and Treatment Centre; 1820 Richmond Road S.W.; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. A second site has been set up near the Stampede Grounds - check the website for location and hours.
- Six appointment only sites are also open in Calgary. Book an appointment here: COVID-19 Testing Appointments
- Testing is by throat swab with results in a few days; anyone testing positive is legally required to self-isolate for 10 days or until symptoms resolve, whichever is longer.
- July 30: The pilot project allowing pharmacies to conduct tests on asymptomatic persons (no symptoms, no known exposure to an infected person) was successful and had been expanded to many pharmacies. Find the list of pharmacies here. Call ahead to make your appointment.
- If you have symptoms, or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please go through the website above, not to a pharmacy.
- September 10: People being tested may now opt to receive their results by text message or automated phone call.
Resumption of School
- September 10: The government has created a school map which shows the incidence of COVID cases by school. Find the map here.
- October 29: The government has eased the symptoms list that require children to isolate. Effective November 2, "runny nose" and "sore throat" are removed from the list of core symptoms requiring mandatory isolation for those under the age of 18. This includes the daily checklist used for school and child care settings
- This change is only for those with no known exposure. If a child is a close contact or known to have been exposed in the previous 14 days and develops symptoms, testing is recommended and the child would still need to isolate.
- Also effective Nov. 2:
- If a child has only one of the non-core symptoms, they should stay home and monitor for 24 hours. If the symptom is improving, they need not get a test and can return to school when feeling well enough
- If a child has two or more symptoms, or a symptom is not getting better, testing is recommended and they should stay home until the symptoms go away or they receive a negative test and feel better
- The COVID-19 symptoms list for anyone over the age of 18, including teachers and daycare staff, remains unchanged. Health officials will continue to monitor evidence closely.
- Note new restrictions effective Nov 24 (detailed above)
Border Controls for Travellers Coming from Outside Canada
- May 20: Travellers arriving at the Calgary and Edmonton International airports from outside Canada, or at the Coutts land border crossing, will be required to pass through a provincial checkpoint where they will need to complete an Alberta isolation plan. Travellers will also undergo a thermal scan, as elevated body temperature is a potential symptom of COVID-19.
- Travellers must detail if they have an appropriate place to isolate for the required 14 days, how they will travel to their isolation location, and their plans for getting essentials like food and medications. If required, provincial officials will help travellers access support to meet isolation requirements.
- Government officials will follow up with travellers within three days to ensure they are following public health orders and have the information and support they need.
- October 22: An option for returning Canadians, permanent residents and foreign nationals with approval to visit Canada is to shorten the quarantine period by taking a COVID test upon arrival. See detail above in the Travel section of this page.
August 15: Expiry of some regulatory and legal matters
Note that a number of temporary regulatory and legal provisions introduced 5-6 months ago in response to COVID-19 will expire in August. Some judicial matters that used temporary procedures are returning to normal, or near-normal. Please double check if you are relying on these temporary easements.
Legal requirements for physical distancing and for isolating when showing symptoms are still in place.
Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant
- This grant offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses, cooperatives, and non-profit organizations that faced restrictions or closures from public health orders, and experienced a revenue loss of at least 50 per cent due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Eligible job creators can apply for up to $5,000 through this program.
- This relief for businesses and non-profits can be used to offset the costs they are facing as they reopen their doors. This includes the costs of implementing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as physical barriers, PPE and cleaning supplies, as well as rent, employee wages, replacing inventory and more.
- To be eligible, small- and medium-sized businesses, cooperatives and non-profits must have 500 or fewer employees.
- Update Nov 23: Small and Medium businesses may apply for a second payment under this program; and is available to businesses operating where new health restrictions – like the temporary closure of indoor group fitness classes and team sports – have been implemented.
- Additionally, job creators that have experienced a 40 per cent revenue loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic will qualify for the grant, lowering the threshold from the existing 50 per cent revenue loss requirement. This 40 per cent threshold will be available to impacted businesses retroactive to March.
- Job creators that meet the program’s eligibility criteria can apply for 15 per cent of their pre-COVID-19 monthly revenue, up to a maximum of $5,000 in funding, which can offset the costs they are facing as they relaunch their businesses. This includes the costs of implementing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as physical barriers, PPE and cleaning supplies, as well as rent, employee wages, replacing inventory and more.
- Information here.
Free Masks for Albertans
- August 3: the free mask program has concluded, having distributed 40 million masks.
Contact Tracing App
- The ABTraceTogether app will enhance current manual contact tracing and capacity, and facilitate early detection to help reduce the spread of the virus and better protect Albertans. It means Albertans will be contacted more quickly if they are at risk. The app is now available from the Apple App Store and Google Play.
- Use of the app is voluntary; users must opt in.
- The app does not track the user’s physical location and does not use GPS. Protecting privacy is paramount; all contact data is only on the user’s phone and is deleted after 21 days.
Dispensing Pharmaceuticals and Medical Visits (June 8)
- Effective June 15, pharmacists may dispense quantities of prescription drugs in excess of the current limit of 30 days, up to 100 days.
- Some drugs remain on a list of shortages, in which case the 30-days limit still applies. Your pharmacist can access that list.
- Virtual meetings with physicians (e.g. telephone, video) will be able to continue after the pandemic. They have been made permanent options.
Support for Businesses Preparing to Re-open
- The new alberta.ca/bizconnect webpage will provide business owners with information on health and safety guidelines for general workplaces and sector-specific guidelines for those able to open in stage one of relaunch to ensure businesses can reopen safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- $200 million in funding will be available for eligible businesses and non-profits to access up to $5,000 to offset a portion of their relaunch costs. These funds can be used for implementing measures to minimize the risk of virus transmission, (such as physical barriers, personal protective equipment and disinfecting supplies), rent, employee wages or replacement of inventory.
- The program’s online application is expected to be available in the coming weeks. Program details, including eligibility, are being confirmed.
- The provincial government is planning legislation during this session to ensure commercial tenants will not face rent increases or be evicted for non-payment of rent due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. More details to follow.
Access to Justice Resuming (May 20)
- The Provincial Court of Alberta has updated its plan for the staged resumption of court operations. The changes involve family mediation; the rescheduling and adjournment of provincial tickets, bylaws and other matters; and criminal adult out-of-custody criminal trials and preliminary inquiries.
- More information:https://albertacourts.ca/pc/resources/announcements
- The Court of Queen’s Bench will resume Criminal Appearance Court provincewide commencing June 5. More information can be found here.
- Allowing for remote signing and witnessing of estate and care documents through two-way video conferencing
- July 6: in-person trials and preliminary hearings are resuming with physical distancing measures in place.
Emergency Financial Assistance
- This program is now closed as it was a one-time bridge until federal payments began. Persons in need should apply for the CERB program (in the federal section above).
Emergency Funding for Charities and Non-profits
- Visit Charity Emergency Funding for details on how to qualify and apply for funding to assist your clients in coping with COVID-19
Utility Payment Deferral
- Residential customers can defer electricity and natural gas bill payments until June 18 to ensure no one will be cut off, regardless of the service provider.
- Note that this program has now concluded. You can call your service provider to arrange for a further deferral if necessary. If you do not call, the balance outstanding on your utility bill will be divided into 10 equal payments, payable each month until June 2021.
Protection for renters
- Effective March 27, tenants cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent and/or utilities before May 1. More info at: Suspending evictions
- Effective March 27, rents will not increase while Alberta’s state of public health emergency remains in effect.
- Effective April 1, late fees cannot be applied to late rent payments for the next three months, even if the lease allows for late fees.
- Effective April 1, landlords and tenants need to work together to develop payment plans while the state of public health emergency is in effect. The Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS) will not hear applications that could lead to eviction due to non-payment unless a reasonable attempt has been made to work out a payment plan. More info at: Rent Payment Plans
- Landlords can still file applications and receive orders for possession if the reason for the eviction is unrelated to rent and/or utility payments (e.g. safety concerns, tenant engaging in criminal activity).
- June 18: The Commercial Tenancies Protection Act, when passed, will protect eligible commercial tenants from having their leases terminated due to non-payment of rent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; and will prevent landlords from raising rent and charging late fees and penalties on missed rent.
Changes to Employment Standards
- Employees caring for children affected by school and daycare closures or ill or self-isolated family members due to COVID-19 will have access to unpaid job-protected leave. The 90-day employment requirement is waived and leave length is flexible.
- The maximum time for a temporary layoff is increased from 60 days to 120 days to ensure temporarily laid off employees stay attached to a job longer. This change is retroactive for any temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 that occurred on or after March 17. June 19: this is extended to 180 days.
- Scheduling flexibility is improved by removing the 24-hour written notice requirement for shift changes, and the two weeks’ notice for changes to work schedules for those under an averaging agreement.
- The requirement to provide the group termination notice to employees and unions when 50 or more employees are being terminated is removed.
- The process for approvals related to modifying employment standards so employers and workers can respond quicker to changing conditions at the workplace due to the public health emergency is streamlined.
- The changes above take effect immediately and will be in place as long as government determines it is needed and the public health emergency order remains.
- Unpaid job-protected leave for those required to stay at home to care for children or dependents is extended to August 2021.
Day Cares Re-0pening
- In addition to the previously eligible front-line health-care workers, critical infrastructure workers and first responders, child care is now available to anyone who works in the critical areas outlined as essential by government. A full list of those essential service positions can be found here. As of May 5, 183 centres (4008 spaces) have opened in 29 communities.
- Parents who qualify for subsidy will receive it and centres will charge their typical rate, within reason. Per direction from Dr. Hinshaw, parents who are eligible should only access this child care if it is the only way they will be able to go to their work in a core service sector. Child care centres accepting children can be found here.
On May 6, the Province announced up to $17.8 million to support the reopening of child care facilities:
- Phase 1 - $6.7 million: Centres will immediately receive a one-time grant to cover up to 25 per cent of overhead costs like rent and utilities. This accounts for the remaining portion of expenses not covered by funding under federal programs.
- Phase 2 - $3.2 million: Upon reopening, centres will receive a grant for cleaning and sanitation supplies to adhere to public health guidelines, as well as to assist with staff recruitment and training.
- Phase 3 - $6.9 million: After three months of being open, centres will potentially receive a third grant to offset deferred bills and to address unforeseen operational issues. This will be based on an assessment of other federal and provincial support programs.
- Approved family day home agencies will also be able to access funding, up to $1 million total, to support current operations and supplies and equipment to adhere to public health guidelines.]
- Effective June 12, the number of people permitted at a facility has been increased from 10 to 30 (including staff), with proper safety measures in place.
Parents with School-Age Children (May 6)
- A provincial education helpline is now available to parents that will address questions about managing at-home learning, and direct parents to school authorities, where applicable.
- The intent is to provide advice to families, particularly to parents of children with disabilities, who have questions about their child’s program now that the traditional delivery process has changed.
- The helpline is 780-422-6548 (toll-free by first dialing 310-0000) and email@example.com.
- The line operates Monday to Friday, from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Student Loan Repayment Deferral:
- Note that the Student Loan Deferral period has now expired as of September 30, 2020.
- Alberta Student Loan repayments will be paused for 6 months, beginning March 30, 2020.
- Interest will not accrue during this period. This mirrors the approach of the Canada Student Loans Program.
- Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.
- Borrowers may continue making payments during this period if they choose and this will not affect their eligibility to receive the benefit.
Education property tax freeze
- The government will immediately cancel the decision made in Budget 2020 and will freeze education property taxes at last year’s level.
- Reversing the 3.4 per cent population and inflation adjustment will save Alberta households and businesses about $87 million in 2020-21, which means $55 million for households and $32 million for employers.
- The government expects that Albertans and Alberta businesses will fully realize these savings and that municipal property tax levels will not be increased as a result of the lower provincial education property tax levels.
Education property tax deferral for business
- In the next six months, $458 million in cash will remain with employers to help them pay employees and continue operations.
- The government expects municipalities to set education property tax rates as they normally would, but defer collection. Deferred amounts will be repaid in future tax years.
- The government encourages commercial landlords to pass on these savings to their tenants through reduced or deferred payments. This will help employers continue to manage their debts, pay their employees and stay in business.
- Businesses capable of paying their taxes in full are strongly encouraged to do so. This will assist the province in being able to support Albertans through this pandemic.
WCB premiums deferral for private sector businesses and support for small and medium businesses
- Private sector employers will have immediate financial relief by deferring WCB premiums until early 2021, effectively for one year.
- Employers who have already paid their WCB premium payment for 2020 are eligible for a rebate or credit.
- For small and medium businesses, the government will cover 50 per cent of the premium when it is due.
- Large employers will also receive a break by having their 2020 WCB premium payments deferred until 2021, at which time their premiums will be due.
- Paying 50 per cent of small and medium private sector WCB premiums for 2020 will cost government approximately $350 million.
Support Contacts for Albertans in Distress
- Always call 911 in an emergency.
- Alberta’s One Line for Sexual Violence
- 1-866-402-8000 (toll-free, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., 170-plus languages)
- Online chat: aasas.ca
- Family Violence Info Line
- 310-1818 (24-7, 170-plus languages)
- Online chat: alberta.ca/SafetyChat (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in English only)
- Alberta Provincial Abuse Helpline
- 1-855-4HELPAB (43-5722) (toll-free, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Friday, 170-plus languages)
- Child Abuse Hotline
- 1-800-387-KIDS (5437) (toll-free, 24-7)
- Mental Health Helpline
- 1-877-303-2642 (toll-free, 24-7)
- Elder Abuse
- 211 Alberta
- Call or text 211 for further community and government supports throughout the province in multiple languages.
Mental Health Support
- Albertans needing to talk to someone should call the Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642 or the Addiction Help Line at 1-866-332-2322 between 7 AM and 11 PM, seven days a week. You will be connected directly to a dedicated team of AHS addiction and mental health staff.
- Calls placed from 11 PM to 7 AM should go to 811 (the HealthLink line)
- The Psychology Association of Alberta is offering every Albertan up to 3 free crisis counselling sessions over the telephone or video conferencing during the COVID-19 crisis. Link here.
- $53 million is allocated to improve access to phone and online supports with existing helplines, including the Addiction Helpline, the Mental Health Helpline, the Kids Help Phone and the Community and Social Services Helpline (Alberta 211).
Support for Long Term Care Facilities
- Increased health-care aide staffing levels.
- A wage top-up of an additional $2 per hour for health-care aides.
- Up to 1,000 paid student practicum positions to fast-track certification and get more staff into our continuing care facilities.
- In addition, $24.5 million to operators to help address immediate cost pressures due to COVID-19.
- Effective Sept 17, continuing care facilities and hospices will have more flexibility with isolation requirements, recreation, dining and volunteers. Consult each facility for further information on that facility's requirements.
Parking Fees at AHS Facilities
- This program to waive parking fees concluded on September 1. Regular parking fees again apply.
Registry Services - Road Tests, Renewal of Drivers' Licenses, ID Card and Vehicle Registrations
- To help limit the number of Albertans who need to visit registry agents in person, the Government of Alberta is temporarily allowing registry agents to provide corporate registry services, personal property registry services, and select motor vehicle services by phone, secure email, fax or mail.
- For a full list of services available through alternative delivery methods, visit alberta.ca/covid19.
- If your driver’s licence, ID card, or vehicle registration expired or is set to expire March 17 through May 14, you have until May 15 to renew. Albertans whose documents are expiring are encouraged to connect with their local registry agent by phone and explore options to renew their documents by phone, secure email, fax or mail.
- Alberta Transportation is developing a plan to safely resume all road tests; a limited number of road tests are now available.
- Information on the limited road tests can be found on the COVID-19 Commercial Carrier Information website.
- Starting June 8, more drivers seeking Class 1 to 4 licences and health-care workers seeking Class 5 advanced licences will be able to apply for road tests at select sites across the province.
- Updated information on road tests will be available on June 8 atwww.alberta.ca/drivers-road-test.aspx
Other Measures affecting Alberta individuals and communities
The Province will match donations to designated charities providing COVID-19 relief. Details and charities here.
- $500 million in additional health care funding
- $25 million for Adult homeless shelters; August 5: another $48 million has been allocated to supporting the homeless
- $5 million for Women's Emergency Shelters
- $5 million to support food banks
- $3 million from Alberta Education for nine not-for-profit organizations to provide additional food assistance to vulnerable K-12 students and their families.
- Alberta has introduced restrictions on people visiting hospitals, long term care homes, group homes and similar facilities. Details online here.
- June 23: Alberta will invest $10 million in four programs to test serology, which detects COVID anti-bodies in the blood, and which would indicate if a person has been previously exposed to the virus (with or without symptoms).
Other Measures affecting Business
- Hotels and other lodging providers can defer the payment of the Tourism Levy collected prior to March 1 until August 31. They may keep any levy collected between March 1 and December 31, 2020. This measure is valued at $16 to $27 million for the industry and is intended to aid in the recovery process. December 4: This measure has been extended to March 31, 2021
- The collection of corporate income tax balances and installment payments is deferred until Aug. 31. This gives Alberta businesses access to about $1.5 billion in funds to help maintain operations.
- Utility payments for residential, farm and small commercial customers can be deferred for the next 90 days to ensure no one is cut off from electricity and natural gas services during this time of crisis.
- Government will pay the Alberta Energy Regulator industry levy for six months, saving our resource industry $113 million in cash flow
- Extensions for oil and gas tenures will extend the term of mineral agreements expiring in 2020 by one year
- Two-month extension of filing deadline for annual returns with Alberta Corporate Registry: value of up to $6.3 million
- Timber dues are deferred for six months to help forestry companies continue to operate and employ Albertans (Alberta's third largest industry)
Banks and Credit Unions
- ATB Financial customers
- Personal and business banking customers can apply for relief such as a deferral on their ATB loans, lines of credit, and mortgages for up to 6 months
- Alberta Credit Unions
- Credit union members will have access to a variety of programs and solutions: contact your credit union directly to work out a plan for your situation
- Big Six Banks
- The big banks have made a commitment to work with personal and business customers on a case-by-case basis. Support could include a 6-month payment deferral on mortgages and relief on other credit products. Contact your bank directly; for more information visit: Support from Big Six Banks
City of Calgary Information
Nov 26: State of Emergency
- The City has again declared a state of emergency. This allows - amongst other powers - city enforcement officers to ensure citizens are obeying provincial rules on social gatherings, mask wearing etc., and to issue fines for non-compliance.
- The state of emergency provides certain emergency powers to city officials to make decisions outside normal procedures including on procurement of PPE
- The previous state of emergency was lifted on June 12.
Mask Use Mandatory
- July 21: City Council has made the use of masks mandatory when inside a publicly-accessible building (e.g. offices, retail, recreation) or using public transportation (including transit, cabs/Uber)
- Policy is effective August 1
- Masks are not required in private office spaces, private vehicles, schools
- Exempted persons include children under 2, persons with medical condition or disability making it difficult to use a mask
- Masks are not required for outdoor physical activity and, of course, when eating, drinking, having dental work or similar situations where a mask impedes the activity
- Fine is $100 for not wearing a mask; $200 for businesses not displaying signage. Businesses are not expected to enforce mask wearing. Police are not expected to avidly enforce mask wearing - the intent of the policy is education and persuasion.
- May 25: Children's playgrounds will re-open on June 1st. Parents are advised to bring wipes if possible to ensure the equipment is cleaned before being used by your child.
- Effective June 1, the free 30-minute parking zones will be ended; payment will again be required.
- Enmax is offering the opportunity to pay by installment, extend payment due dates, and suspend any current collection action
- Enmax commits that no electricity will be turned off during the pandemic
Tax Changes for Business
- Any Business Improvement Area (BIA) tax penalties between April 1 and June 30 are cancelled. This means that any business that has not already paid their BIA tax has until June 30, 2020 to pay penalty free. A penalty of 7% would apply to taxes outstanding as of July 1, 2020.
- Non-residential property owners participating on Tax installment payment plan (TIPP) will see a decrease in your April 1 installment equal to the provincial property tax portion of your tax installment. This portion has been deferred for six months.
University of Calgary and Mount Royal University
- Mount Royal Students' Association is offering food hampers and short term loans of $300: https://www.samru.ca/
- University of Calgary Students Union offers up to $1500 from the Hardship Fund; the Graduate Students' association is also setting up an Emergency Fund: U of C Hardship Fund
- For more information on COVID19 impacts, such as facility closures, event cancellations, refunds for city passes, programs, rentals and booking, and city services offered online, visit: CalgaryCOVID19
- For changes to city services including waste collection, animal services, planning department, and transit, visit:Calgary Service Changes
- For more information for businesses, visit: Calgary Business COVID-19
The Facts about Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
COVID-19 is an illness caused by a coronavirus. Human coronaviruses are common and are typically associated with mild illnesses, similar to the common cold.
The Province of Alberta has added new symptoms to the list of conditions that could signal you have COVID-19:
- Gastrointestinal symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or unexplained loss of appetite
- Loss of sense of smell or taste
- Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye
Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to the virus. Coronaviruses are most commonly spread from an infected person through:
· Respiratory droplets when you cough or sneeze
· Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
· Touching something with the virus on it, then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands
These viruses are not known to spread through ventilation systems or through water.
The best way to prevent the spread of infections is to:
· Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, especially with unwashed hands; avoid close contact with people who are sick;
· Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
· When coughing or sneezing:
· Cover you mouth and nose with your arm or tissues to reduce the spread of germs
· Immediately dispose of any tissues you have used into the garbage as soon as possible and wash your hands afterwards
· Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, such as toys, electronic devices and doorknobs
· Stay home if you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19—fever, cough, or difficult breathing:
· Stay home to avoid spreading it to others
· If you live with others, stay in a separate room or keep a two-meter distance
· Go online for a self-assessment, and if that assessment advises you to do so, call 811 for a further assessment and referral for a test
· If you need immediate medical attention, call 911 and tell them your symptoms, but ONLY if you feel you are in a life threatening situation. Keep 911 open for real emergencies.
UPDATE: If you are in mandatory self-isolation (includes returning Canadians, anyone with symptoms, anyone close to a person who is sick) you may no longer leave your property. You may not leave the property even for neighbourhood walks; if you live in an apartment/highrise, you may not leave your unit and may not use the elevator or stairwells.
Vulnerable Populations and COVID-19
While diseases can make anyone sick, some Canadians are more at risk of getting an infection and developing severe complications due to their health, social and economic circumstances.
Vulnerable populations may include:
Anyone who is:
· An older adult
· At risk due to underlying medical conditions (e.g. heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, cancer)
· At risk due to a compromised immune system from a medical condition or treatment (e.g. chemotherapy)
Anyone who has:
· Difficulty reading, speaking, understanding or communicating
· Difficulty accessing medical care or health advice
· Difficulty doing preventive activities, like frequent hand washing and covering coughs and sneezes
· Ongoing specialized medical care or needs specific medical supplies
· Ongoing supervision needs or support for maintaining independence
· Unstable employment or inflexible working conditions
· Social or geographic isolation, like in remote and isolated communities
· Insecure, inadequate, or nonexistent housing conditions