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.
Expectations for returning travellers 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, to 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 dropped off at your door. If you do not have a support person to help with this, volunteers are available. For example, Men in Kilts are offering this service free of charge: contact them directly for information: Men in Kilts COVID19
- 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.
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.
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.
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 is creating 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.
The government is working with Canadian airlines to provide flights home for Canadians where possible. This will not always be possible due to border and flight closures in the other country. Canada cannot override local regulations, but will negotiate as best as possible. 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.
Eligible Canadians currently outside Canada and needing help to return home can contact the nearest Government of Canada office or Global Affairs Canada’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1 613-996-8885 (collect calls are accepted where available) or email email@example.com. For a list of toll free numbers: Toll Free Numbers Global Affairs
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:
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.
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.
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.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
- Here is the government's official web page for this program with more detail: Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
- Applications opened Monday, April 27. 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. Calculator is here.
- On May 15, the Prime Minister extended CEWS to August 29 and announced a modest expansion of the criteria such as provisions for seasonal workers and more detail on eligibility for certain types of business structures. He hinted that the requirement for a 30% decline in revenue may be changed but that has not been announced formally. See details of the announced modifications here: Expansion of CEWS May 15
- Eligible employers may receive a subsidy equal to 75% of "pre-crisis" wages 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.
- To be eligible, a business must have experienced a month-over-month drop of 30% in revenue compared to 2019 OR experienced a 15% drop in March compared to the Jan/Feb 2020 average and experience a 30% drop in April & May compared to the Jan/Feb 2020 average. You will need to renew your application each month, citing the month-over-month decline for that month.
- 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 75% subsidy applies on a salary of up to $58,700, which translates to a subsidy of up to $847 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 August 29.
- 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
- 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.
Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
- This measure will allow banks to give up to $40,000 in government-backed loans, with no interest for a year, and the possibility that up to $10,000 will be forgiven.
- Up to $10,000 will be forgiven if companies are able to repay their loan by the end of 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);
- 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.
- 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 75% of the term loan (amount as of January 1, 2021) before December 31, 2022, the remaining balance of the term loan will be forgiven. To illustrate: if your balance is $40,000 on January 1, 2021, and you repay $30,000 before December 31, 2022, then the remaining $10,000 is forgiven
- If you do not pay 75% by December 31, 2022, then the entire loan and all accrued and unpaid interest will be due and payable by December 31, 2025.
- Applications are open as of April 9; 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.
May 19: The government responded to constituent and Opposition concerns that the payroll threshold to be eligible for CEBA was too restrictive. Many new or owner-operated businesses do not have a payroll of $20,000. For example, the sole owner-operator of a business; if the business operates with contractors; or if it is a family-owned business that pays remuneration through dividends, these types of businesses will now qualify.
An effective date for the changes has not been announced, but at some point in the future, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 would 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 filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return.
• eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance.
Expenses will be subject to verification and audit. Funding will be delivered in partnership with financial institutions. The government will continue to work on potential solutions to help business owners and entrepreneurs who operate through their personal bank account, or have yet to file a tax return, such as newly created businesses.
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for Small Business
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
- 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
- No details on any of these programs have been revealed
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.
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
The Government of Alberta has offered support in the following ways. 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
Relaunching Normal Activities
On April 30, the Province released its plan for getting the economy back on track. Read the document here.
- Effective May 4, non-essential health services may re-open (e.g. dentists, chiropractors, physiotherapists, psychologists, optometrists, audiologists and dietitians,) although many will not re-open immediately, pending appropriate safety measures for staff and clients. Check with your service provider.
- Parks and golf courses were able to re-open over the May 2-3 weekend, with physical distancing measures in place.
- Effective May 4, the province will lift some restrictions on non-urgent scheduled day surgeries in regions where hospital and clinic capacity and the rate of new COVID-19 infections does not present a significant risk, with the most urgent patients and those waiting the longest receiving care first. AHS has created a centralized booking system, and will contact patients on wait-lists to reschedule procedures. As procedures ramp up, the province will continue to evaluate and determine additional procedures that can resume, such as short-term overnight stays.
- Effective May 8, Albertans may travel to summer homes WITHIN ALBERTA. Travel to summer homes outside of Alberta is still not recommended but not prohibited. If travelling, plan ahead to pack your own needs to minimize stops and protect the safety of small communities that have limited resources.
- Effective May 8, outdoor gun ranges may open with appropriate distancing and health restrictions.
- Some retail and service outlets will be permitted to open, or partially open (e.g. curbside service) on May 14 or later, throughout Alberta EXCEPT FOR Calgary and Brooks. Not all businesses will open on the same date as they make plans for safety of customers and employees (e.g. restrictions on capacity, PPE gear for staff). Check with each business to learn their plans.
- The Royal Alberta Museum is reopening to the public on May 16 and the Royal Tyrrell Museum is reopening on May 22.
- All facilities will follow public health guidelines regarding cleaning and encouraging physical distancing. The reopening status of Alberta’s other historic sites, museums and archives can be found at history.alberta.ca.
Non-urgent surgeries requiring a hospital stay will resume the week of May 25. Maternity services resume at South Calgary Campus and High River Hospital on June 3.
Stage one – cities of Calgary and Brooks
Permitted to open May 14:
- Retail businesses, such as clothing, furniture and bookstores. All vendors at farmers markets will also be able to operate.
- Museums and art galleries.
- Daycares and out-of-school care with limits on occupancy.
- The resumption of some scheduled, non-urgent surgeries will continue gradually.
- Regulated health professions are permitted to offer services as long as they continue to follow approved guidelines set by their professional colleges.
Permitted to open May 25:
- Hairstyling and barbershops.
- Cafés, restaurants, pubs and bars will be permitted to reopen for table service only at 50 per cent capacity.
Permitted to open June 1:
- Day camps, including summer school, will be permitted with limits on occupancy.
- Post-secondary institutions will continue to deliver courses; however, there will be more flexibility to include in-person delivery once the existing health order prohibiting in-person classes is lifted.
- Places of worship and funeral services, if they follow specific guidance already online.
Large Gatherings/Provincial Parks
- Limited access is now available to provincial parks and provincial recreation areas with no overnight stays. Facilities such as washrooms and picnic shelters are closed. No campfires permitted. Camping is scheduled to resume June 1.
Large gatherings indoors are restricted to no more than 15 people; and physical distancing protocols and safety measures (such as availability of sanitizer) must be in place. On April 23, the Province reiterated that these measures remain in force, causing the cancellation of most summer festivals and events.
- On May 15, the province said that OUTDOOR gatherings may have up to 50 people, so long as there is physical distancing between family groups and other precautions such as sanitizer and cleaning of high-touch spaces (e.g. tabletops). Groups are encouraged to bring their own drinks and snacks, to avoid having people share food, dishes and utensils.
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.
Guidance 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.
- The website includes guidance documents for sectors currently allowed to operate under public health orders:
- Disability service providers
- Farmers markets
- Golf course operators
- Health non-essential services
- Health sector PPE guidelines
- Homeless shelters
- Industrial work camps
- Private/municipal campgrounds
- Planning documents to prepare businesses for stage one relaunch are posted for:
- Day camps
- Daycare and out-of-school care
- Hair salons and barbershops
- Museums and art galleries
- Outdoor recreation
- Places of worship
New Border Controls for Travellers Coming from Outside Canada (May 20)
- Travellers arriving at the Calgary and Edmonton International airports from outside Canada 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.
- Phase two will involve establishing a similar provincial checkpoint at the Alberta-U.S. border crossing at Coutts, which is the busiest in the province.
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
Emergency Financial Assistance
- This program is now closed as it was meant as 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.
- Call your utility provider directly to arrange for a deferral on all payments.
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).
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.
- 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The line operates Monday to Friday, from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Student Loan Repayment Deferral:
- 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.
Parking Fees at AHS facilities waived
- Starting April 3, parking at AHS facilities for staff and general public are waived. Please respect spots reserved for staff or emergency corridors.
- This will cost the Government about $7.6 million/month in lost revenue, but will help keep everyone safe by eliminating the use of touch-screens; and eliminate the need for staff to apply for passes
Testing for COVID-19 in Alberta
Testing availability has been expanded to persons exhibiting symptoms (e.g. persistent cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat or shortness of breath) as follows:
- symptomatic people living anywhere in the province. Access a test through the self assessment online tool.
- Health and shelter workers, enforcement and first responders. Use this online self-assessment tool.
- symptomatic people who live with someone aged 65 years or older
- essential workers whose workplaces remain accessible to the public
- On May 5, the government announced that it will be more than doubling the daily tests to approximately 16,000 per day.
- Starting May 25, voluntary testing will be available in long-term care and level 4 designated supportive living facilities and Calgarians will be able to book COVID-19 tests online.
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.
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
- $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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
During the first phase, travellers arriving at the Calgary and Edmonton international airports from outside Canada 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.
“Countries like Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea have been successful at mitigating the spread because they took immediate action securing their borders long before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. I’ve been clear it was irresponsible for Canada to wait so long to close our borders, especially from countries with high levels of infection. While Alberta does not control who can fly here, we will deploy a more rigorous approach in screening international arrivals. These measures are critical to ensure we continue to flatten the curve and keep Albertans safe.”
Jason Kenney, Premier
As part of their isolation plan, 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.
“As the peak of the virus passes and the world begins to move forward, travel will slowly increase. Controlling the spread of COVID-19, especially travel-related cases, is a key step in protecting Albertans and continuing to flatten the curve. Protect yourselves and your loved ones by following all public health measures and practising physical distancing and good hygiene.”
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health
The Calgary and Edmonton airports are also implementing enhanced cleaning protocols for arrival lounges and high-touch surfaces, placing hand sanitizer stations at every kiosk and touch screen machine.
Phase two will involve establishing a similar provincial checkpoint at the Alberta-U.S. border crossing at Coutts, which is the busiest in the province. The checkpoint will help welcome people to the province while ensuring travellers are aware of Alberta’s COVID-19 protocols. Essential economic travel will not be disrupted.
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