COVID-19

INFORMATION ABOUT SUPPORT DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Updated as of September 18, 2020. Note that programs and circumstances are changing regularly. Please use the links to ensure you have the most up-to-date details. Changes in the last few days are in pink to help you locate new information.

Find Aid Programs for you and your business: An online tool helps individuals and businesses identify programs for which you may qualify: Interactive Guide to COVID-19 Aid Programs


Government of Canada Financial support for Individuals and Communities (see below for Business)

Government of Canada website listing support measures with links: COVID19 Economic Response Plan

A summary of some of the key measures:

August 20: Government to Transition Workers from CERB TO EI

The government has indicated how it will transition Canadians from the CERB to EI, including a one-month extension to CERB. These measures will be in place for one year. They also announced three new programs:

1. The new Canada Recovery Benefit is for workers who are self-employed or are not eligible for EI and cannot resume work; it is worth $400 per week for up to 26 weeks. It is expected that you will have to reapply every two weeks, and qualify for that two-week period.

For those who don’t qualify for EI (ex: self-employed, gig worker);
- Are 15 years old and up;
- Have stopped working due to COIVD-19 and are available and looking for work; or are working and have had a reduction in their employment/self-employment income for reasons related to COVID-19;
- Had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or 2020;
- Have not quit their job voluntarily.


2. The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit provides compensation for workers who are ill or who must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19.

Provides $500/week, up to 2 weeks;
- For workers unable to work due to illness and/or required to self-isolate;
- Are 15 years old and up;
- Are employed or self-employed at time of application;
- Earned at least 5,000 in 2019 or 2020;
- Need to have missed 60% of scheduled work in a week to claim;


3. The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit is for workers who are unable to work because they are caring for a child, dependent or family member because schools or daycares are closed due to COVID-19.

Provides $500/ week for 26 weeks;
- Must be employed or self-employed on the day immediately preceding the period for which the application is made;
- Have earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020;
- Have been unable to work for at least 60% of their normally scheduled work within a given week because of one of the following conditions:

o Must take care of a child who is under 12 years of age on the first day of the period for which the benefit is claimed because their school or daycare is closed or operating under an alternative schedule for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic;
o Cannot attend school or daycare under the advice of a medical professional due to being at high risk if they contract COVID-19;
o Because the caregiver who usually provides care is not available for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic;
o Must provide care to a family member with a disability or a dependent, because
- their day program or care facility is closed or operating under an alternative schedule for reasons related to COVID-19;
- cannot attend their day program or care facility under the advice of a medical professional due to being at high risk if they contract COVID-19; or
- because the caregiver who usually provides care is not available for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic;
o Must not be in receipt of paid leave from an employer in respect of the same week; and
o Is not in receipt of the CERB, the EI Emergency Response Benefit (ERB), the Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, short-term disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, or any EI benefits or Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits in respect of the same week.

Those eligible to collect EI will get a minimum $400/week for 26 weeks; they will need to have worked only 120 hours to qualify for the 26 week benefit, which is below the usual threshold to qualify for EI. Recipients may receive benefits on a sliding scale, allowing recipients to earn $58,800 on an annual basis before benefits are completely cut off. There is also a new requirement that Recovery and EI beneficiaries be actively looking for work.

These three new programs are expected to cost $22 billion and the expansion of EI benefits is projected to cost $7 billion, bringing the total cost to $37 billion, including the one-month CERB extension. The government will also freeze the EI premium rates for two years.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business warns that qualifying to collect EI for 26 weeks after working for only 120 hours will disincentivize returning to work. We are also concerned that the 2-year premium freeze means premiums will start going up for everyone - maybe significantly - after the 2-year freeze, to recoup these costs.

Note that because Parliament has been prorogued, it will be several weeks before Parliament can review and pass the legislation that enables these changes to take effect.

There is further information on this website:recovery benefits

Employment Insurance for Individuals and Business

  • Please note above information: CERB and EI will be blended and reconfigured effective in September.
  • If you have been laid off or had your hours reduced, and you qualify for Employment Insurance, please go to this website: CERB and EI information
  • Effective March 15, the government blended EI with CERB. If you applied for EI before March 15, you will likely remain on EI; after March 15, you should apply for CERB.
  • You may receive EI or CERB, but not both. However, if your EI runs out, you may then apply for CERB, and vice versa - if you use up your CERB benefit but are still unemployed and have EI benefits remaining, you may apply to receive those.
  • The federal government has established a phone line dedicated to inquiries regarding EI claims related to COVID-19:1-833-381-2725. This is a dedicated line for those looking to apply for EI benefits because you have had to self-isolate and cannot work, you are an employee or employer looking to apply for financial support through the EI Work-sharing program, or you have been laid off due to COVID-19.
  • If you are sick, quarantined or have been directed to self-isolate, we will waive the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.
  • Aug 12: the government has loosened criteria for EI recipients:
    • Canadians will need a minimum of 420 insurable hours of employment;
    • Will receive at least 26 weeks of coverage;
    • EI coverage will be determined based on a 13.1 per cent unemployment rate even if the jobless rate is lower in a claimant’s area. If the rate is higher, the higher rate will be used;
    • With loosening these EI requirements, more Canadians may be eligible for benefits

Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

  • Please note above information: CERB and EI will be blended and reconfigured effective in September.
  • Government website describing this benefit is CERB Benefit Info.
    • Eligible Canadians are workers whose income has declined to $1,000/month or less due to COVID-19, including those with the need to self-isolate, stay home with children, or care for someone who has symptoms or is self-isolating.
    • People may earn up to $1,000 per month while also collecting the CERB. Once your income exceeds $1,000 for that 4-week period, you are no longer eligible.
    • CERB is available to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits but are unable to undertake their usual seasonal work as a result of COVID-19.
    • CERB is extended to workers who recently exhausted their EI regular benefits but are unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19.
  • This benefit is $2,000 per four-week period. Under various adjustments to CERB, you may now apply for each four-week period, with benefits up until the end of September when CERB recipients will be transitioned to EI or the new Recovery Benefit (see first item above).
  • The CERB applies to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI). Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation (or are earning $1,000/month or less) due to COVID-19, also qualify. 
  • You must have had an income of at least $5,000 in 2019 to qualify; income is broadly defined (e.g. dividend income, income from outside Canada and benefits from parental leave). However, this criteria will prevent some people from applying (e.g. some seasonal or part-time workers with low annual income, students). We are pressing the government to take account of these people.
  • The benefit will be paid into your bank account within 3-5 days of applying if you have an online CRA or Service Canada account. If you prefer, you can apply by telephone and have the benefit mailed to you. 
  • If you are eligible for EI: Canadians who are already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits will continue to receive their benefits and should not apply to the CERB. If EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, you could then apply for the CERB once EI benefits cease, assuming you are still unable to return to work due to COVID-19 at that time. Canadians who have already applied for EI and whose application has not yet been processed do not need to reapply. Canadians who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits will still be able to access their normal EI benefits, if still unemployed, after the 24-week period covered by the CERB. See the government's webpage for more detailed explanation on how CERB and EI work together.
  • Recipients are reminded that this benefit is taxable on your 2020 income taxes (although if your income for 2020 is very low, there may be little tax payable). No taxes will be withheld immediately - recipients will receive the full amount of the benefit, and report it on their 2020 taxes. Please remember to set aside some funds to pay taxes next spring.
  • July 26: Note that some 222,000 Canadians have received double payments. This could be for several reasons, but it is important that you do not receive more than the maximum amount of $12,000 over six months, no matter the reason. You can reimburse the government for over-payment(s) on the same website where you applied for the payment.
  • For direct deposit, you will need an account with CRA or Service Canada. You can do that in advance, to be ready, so your money is deposited by direct deposit and will come in 3-5 days. By mail, cheques will come within 10 days.
    • Start your application on this webpage: CERB application
    • Or phone for an automated telephone application process: call 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041; 21 hours a day (closed 3 AM to 6 AM EDT for maintenance)
      • If your birthday is in Jan-Feb-Mar - apply on Mondays 
      • If your birthday is in Apr-May-Jun - apply on Tuesdays
      • If your birthday is in July-Aug-Sept - apply on Wednesdays
      • If your birthday is in Oct-Nov-Dec - apply on Thursdays
      • Anyone may apply on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Those who started the CERB benefit at the beginning of the program would have run out of benefits as of July 4.  On June 16 the government extended CERB eligibility for another eight weeks, or a total of 24 weeks rather than the original 16 weeks. On August 20, the government extended CERB by one more month as it transitions people to a revamped EI system.

GST Credit

  • Adults currently receiving the GST rebate credit received an additional one-time payment of up to $400, and up to $150 per child.
  • The tax-free rebate was distributed on April 9.

Enhanced Canada Child Benefit

  • The government increased the maximum annual CCB payment by $300 per child for the 2019-20 benefit year. This is a one-time only (tax free) payment on the May 20 deposit.
  • The CCB also increased in July. This is unrelated to COVID-19 and is the normal annual increase. This will be in place for the 2020-21 benefit year, and will raise the maximum benefit to $6,765 per child under age 6, and $5,708 per child aged 6 through 17. The exact amount received by families is affected by income and family size. For example:
    • A single-parent family with one child under the age of 6 and earning $25,000 will receive an additional $126, bringing their new yearly total benefit to $6,765.
    • A two-parent family with two children aged 4 and 9 and earning $55,000 will receive an additional $174, bringing their new yearly total benefit to $9,329.
    • A two-parent family with two children under the age of 6 and earning $90,000 will receive an additional $136, bringing their new yearly total benefit to $7,322.

Support for Students: Canada Emergency Student Benefit

  • $1250 per month from May to August
  • If you take care of someone else (e.g. elderly parent, children) or have a disability, you can access up to $2000 per month
  • You are eligible if
    • you are a post-secondary student right now
    • you are going to college/university in September
    • if you graduated in December 2019
    • a “student” is defined as anyone who was enrolled in a post-secondary educational program at some time between December 1, 2019 and August 31, 2020, OR graduated from secondary school (“high school”), has applied for a post-secondary program and, if accepted, would start school before February 1, 2021.
  • If you are not working, you must attest that you are seeking work and first be connected to the Canada Job Bank to seek information on available jobs
  • If you have a job, you may earn up to $1,000 per month and still be eligible
  • You cannot "double dip" if you have qualified for and are receiving CERB
  • The benefit will be delivered through the Canada Revenue Agency (make sure you have set up an online account)
  • Applications opened on May 15
  • Conservatives negotiated several changes to the legislation, including:

    • Requiring the government to connect all applicants to the Canada Job Bank and providing them with job availability information before applying.
    • Requiring a parliamentary review of the legislation and benefit.
    • Instituting a legislated sunset so the benefit could not be extended through regulation

Canada Student Service Grant

  • This grant will offer post-secondary students and recent graduates a one-time payment of between $1,000 and $5,000 (depending on number of hours worked - $1,000 for each 100 hours) for volunteering in pandemic-related programs and will be dependent on the number of hours worked.
  • Those interested in volunteer opportunities should go to I want to help , where they can connect with COVID-19 focused charities that need help.
  • July 3: the WE Charity withdrew from administering the program in light of many questions raised about how it received the contract and its own internal governance issues.
  • July 30: The Prime Minister indicated that it is "unlikely" this program will go ahead.

Other Supports for Students

  • The government will create 76,000 jobs in addition to the Canada Summer Jobs Program, in sectors that need extra help now or are on the front lines of the pandemic. Specific support will be offered to indigenous students
  • June 25: the PM said the GC will invest $60 million to create another 10,000 new job placements for people between the ages of 15 and 30 through the Canada Summer Jobs program.
  • For student researchers and graduate students, $291 million will extend scholarships, fellowships and grants. Depending on funding, the extension will be three or four months.
  • June 25: $40 million to create 5,000 "Mitacs" internships for post-secondary students.  Mitacs is an NGO that builds partnerships between universities and industry. Usually, Mitacs caters to Masters or PhD research students, but with this funding, they'll expand their internship opportunities to undergraduate students and to students in professional programs like law, medicine, or business.
  • A summary of student support jobs funding, with links to the programs, can be found here: Student Jobs Funding

Canada Summer Jobs Program

The temporary changes to the program for this year, announced April 8, include:

  • an increase to the wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee
  • an extension to the end date for employment to February 28, 2021
  • allowing employers to adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services
  • allowing employers to hire staff on a part-time basis.
  • The Canada Summer Jobs call for applications for the 2020 season closed on February 28, 2020.
  • Job placements could begin as early as May 11, 2020, and end as late as February 28, 2021.
  • Youth will be able to search for jobs available in their communities through the Job Bank website and app.
  • In previous years, private and public sector employers were only eligible to receive a wage subsidy of up to 50 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum wage. The increase to the wage subsidy for private and public sector employers will be for this year only.

Canada Student Loan Payments

  • There is a six-month interest-free moratorium, effective March 30, on the repayment of Canada Student Loans. No payments are required and no interest will be charged.
  • You do not need to apply; simply do not make your payments. You may continue to pay if you are able to do so.

Support for Disabled Persons (June 5)

Support of a special one-time, tax-free payment to individuals who are certificate holders of the Disability Tax Credit as of June 1, 2020, as follows:

  • $600 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate.  
  • $300 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension.
  • $100 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the OAS pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).

Combined with the special payments of $300 for Canadians who are eligible for the OAS pension and the additional $200 for those eligible for the GIS, all seniors with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate will receive a total of $600 in special payments. People who are eligible for this special payment will receive it automatically.

Critics note that the payment will be made only to persons already receiving the disability tax credit, which is only about 40% of disabled Canadians.

July 17: The program was expanded from those receiving the disability tax credit to also include those receiving the CPP disability payments or supports from Veterans' Affairs.

July 21: The legislation enabling this payment passed the House of Commons on July 21 and the Senate on July 27. The government has not said when it expects payments to arrive.

September 18: The government confirmed that payments have not yet been sent and said they expect to send them sometime "this fall".

People with disabilities are also at higher risk of job loss during economic downturns. To help Canadians with disabilities get and maintain good jobs so they can continue to support themselves and their families, the government will:

  • Create a National Workplace Accessibility Stream through the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities. A new investment of $15 million in 2020-21 will provide community organizations with resources to improve workplace accessibility and access to jobs in response to COVID-19, including by helping employers set up accessible and effective work-from-home arrangements. This support will also cover expanding accessible online training opportunities and helping connect Canadians with disabilities working from home with employers.
  • Invest $1.18 million in five new projects across the country through the Accessible Technology Program. With this funding, organizations will develop dynamic and affordable technology, such as accessible payment terminals for retailers and tools to make communication easier for Canadians with disabilities in the digital economy.

Support for Indigenous Communities

  • $305 million is allocated for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities.
  • May 21: additional $75 million in new funding for organizations that address the critical needs of the over one million Indigenous people living in urban centres and off reserve.
  • This financial aid will allow community organizations to combat food insecurity, support vulnerable seniors, help young people at risk, provide mental health services and prevent family violence.
  • May 29: Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller announced another $650 million to help Indigenous communities cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Of this new funding, $285 will go to support rapid public health responses in communities when faced with an outbreak of the virus with an additional $270 million to the on-reserve income assistance program.
  • At the same time, to address increased incidents of domestic violence against Indigenous women, Miller announced Ottawa will spend $44.8 million over five years to build 10 shelters in First Nations communities and two in the territories to help women and children fleeing violence.

Support for people experiencing homelessness (through Reaching Home)

  • $157.5 million is allocated to the Reaching Home initiative which can be used for a range of needs such as purchasing beds and physical barriers for social distancing and securing accommodation to reduce overcrowding in shelters.

Support for women’s shelters and sexual assault centres, including on reserve

  • $50 million is allocated to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities.

Support for Children

  • $7.5 million for Kids Help Phone to deal with increased demand for its 24/7 online, phone and text counselling service

Support for Seniors

  • $9 million to the United Way to distribute to local organizations through the New Horizons for Seniors Program that provides support to seniors such as the delivery of groceries, medications or other needed items; or a reach out to assist seniors to connect with community support agencies.
  • May 12: the government announced a one-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the OAS, and an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the GIS. On July 6, the Minister responsible for seniors confirmed the payments would be sent the week of July 6.
  • To see the announcement: Aid to Seniors
  • An additional allocation of $20 million to the New Horizons for Seniors Program.
  • While these modest amounts will be helpful, Conservatives would also like to:
    • give Canadians penalty-free access to their savings by a special one-time tax-free withdrawal from their RRSPs;
    • waive all mandatory RRIF withdrawals for 2020 (the government has currently reduced the required withdrawal amount for 2020 by 25%)

Support for Food Banks

  • The government has announced $100 million to aid Food Banks in purchasing and distributing food. Announcement here.

Lower Registered Retirement Income Fund Minimum Withdrawal Amounts

  • The required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) is reduced by 25% for 2020 to respond to volatile investment markets.
  • You do not need to apply; simply withdraw less if you wish and report the lower amount on your 2020 taxes.
  • Unfortunately, if you have already withdrawn your 2020 minimum at the full amount, you are not able to re-deposit the 25% excess.

Tax Deadline Extended:

Canada Revenue Agency will defer its filing due date for the 2019 tax returns of individuals and certain trusts:

  • For individuals, the filing date has been pushed back to June 1, 2020. The original filing date was April 30.
  • Individuals may defer their income tax payments until September 30, 2020 with no interest or penalties (extended on July 27 from September 1)
  • NOTE: if you expect to qualify for the GST rebate or Child Benefit, you should file your tax return without delay to ensure you receive those benefits. If, however, you miss the June 1st filing deadline, benefits will continue until September. 
  • Important: You should file your returns by September 1st to continue to qualify for automatic payment of benefits such as the GST/HST credit, CCB and Old Age Security. Those payments could stop if CRA does not have a 2019 tax filing by the beginning of September.
  • More information: Department of Finance-Tax Filing Flexibility
  • The CRA has also temporarily suspended tax audits for small and medium sized businesses, and suspended ongoing audit interactions with taxpayers

Banks

  • The big six banks and some credit unions are offering payment deferrals on mortgages and personal loans; they will also offer reduced interest on credit cards for those who have requested payment deferrals. Check with your own bank to see what they are offering and whether you are eligible.

Other Measures of Interest

  • The federal government will provide $4 Billion in a joint provincial-federal initiative to top up the wages of front-line workers. Information from early June suggests that the increased wages have not yet been received by the workers.
  • Canada's Chief Public Health Officer now advises that home-made masks may be useful when in situations where physical distancing is difficult (e.g. public transit, grocery shopping). Do not use medical grade masks - they are required by front line workers. But scarves and home-made masks may be useful in protecting others if you are infected but have no symptoms. If you do have symptoms, do not go outside your home - self-isolate even from others who live in the same home.
  • Information from the Alberta government on how to wear and handle a face mask:How to wear and care for a face mask
  • How to make your own face-mask: Make a cloth face covering at home
  • $1.1 billion for a national medical and research strategy with three pillars: research on vaccines and other treatments, supports for clinical trials, and expanding national testing and modeling.
  • National parks re-opened on June 1st with daytime only access to facilities including trails, day-use areas, green spaces and recreational boating. As of June 22, campgrounds will begin a phased re-opening.
  • Banff re-opened to visitors on June 1st. 
  • Service Canada offices have closed to protect workers and the public. To access Service Canada, please go online at Service Canada or call 1-800-O-Canada (1-800-622-6232). July 7: a plan is underway to this week open five offices per province for limited in-person services.
  • May 16: $100 million to the Canadian Red Cross
  • May 29: Transport Minister Marc Garneau said passenger ships with overnight accommodations for more than 100 passengers will not be able to operate in Canadian waters until at least October 31.
  • June 5: Federal government will allocate $14 Billion to the provinces to fund measures needed to help restart the economy although the money has "strings" attached and some provinces say that will make it hard to use the money for local priorities.
  • On July 16 the Prime Minister said the amount would be $19 Billion, to be used for testing and contact tracing, PPE, and support for the vulnerable including long term care and nursing homes, homelessness, substance abuse and mental health. The funds are also to help municipalities with their COVID related expenses, including transit; and are to assist with day care and sick leave requirements.
  • July 8: The government presented a "snapshot" of COVID spending showing an anticipated 2020-21 deficit of $343 Billion, and an accumulated debt of over $1 Trillion by the end of the fiscal year.
  • July 31: The government announced $58.6 million to protect migrant farm workers from COVID-19 and to address outbreaks on farms, and also vowed to review the Temporary Foreign Worker program. The money will be put toward increasing inspections on farms, assessment teams, creating a liaison officer position to work with consulates from countries who supply temporary foreign workers to Canada and housing.
  • August 14: The government announced that asylum seekers working in specific jobs in the health-care sector would be eligible for permanent residency without first having to wait for their asylum claims to be accepted, as is typically the process. However, asylum seekers and their supporters say the GC's plan excludes thousands of workers without permanent status in Canada. Refugee claimants are among those working in Quebec's long term care system.
  • August 27: The government allocated $2 Billion to the provinces to help with school reopenings including purchase of PPE and other accommodations; $262 Million is allocated to Alberta.

 

 

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.

The ban on foreign (non-essential) travelers is extended to September 30 and is expected to continue to be extended. This applies to nationals of all countries - no countries are exempted. Note below the limited provisions for family reunification of Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

June 30: Canada was named as one of 15 non-EU countries whose citizens will be permitted to enter EU countries effective July 1. Note that not all EU countries have accepted the recommendation - check with each country before attempting to travel.

June 30: If you are traveling within Canada, please take note that many cities (notably in the GTA, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Metro Montreal) 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 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.

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, stairwells or common areas.

Canada-US Border 

  • Access across the Canada-US border is restricted to necessary travel only, such as that required to move goods across the border.
  • This measure has been extended again, to October 21, but is currently expected to remain in place until at least November.
  • 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). 

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.

Calgary International Airport

  • June 17: Masks for passengers and employees are now mandatory.

Passport Services

  • 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.

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 sos@international.gc.ca. 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.
  • 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.

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.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

  • August 17: Here is the government's updated web page for this program with the changes announced in July and effective now: 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 75% 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 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 November 19 with a possible extension to the end of the year.
  • 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.
  • Call Centres
    • 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

Work Sharing

  • 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)

  • August 31: This program has been extended to the end of October.
  • 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 $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);
  • 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 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.
  • As of June 25, applications are also being accepted for companies with lower payrolls.
  • 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 Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for Small Business

For small businesses facing issues with paying their rent, the government has introduced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses in a joint arrangement between the federal and provincial governments. Alberta has signed on.

  • Details online here: CECRA Small Business

  • May 25: Applications are open through the Canada Mortgage and Housing website: CMHC COVID-19 portal
  • May 20: The government removed the requirement that landlords owe a mortgage.
  • CECRA will provide 50% of monthly commercial rental costs. Eligible landlords and tenants will each pay 25% of the remaining costs.
  • CECRA will provide a loan retroactive to April 1 to qualified commercial property owners representing 50 per cent of rent for April to September 2020.
  • September 8: CECRA was extended to September 30. The Minister said there would be no further extension, but hinted that another rent relief program might be announced later in September. As of September 18, we still have no indication if there will be a refreshed rent-relief program.
  • The loan will be forgivable if the property owner and tenant come to a rent forgiveness agreement that lowers the eligible small business’s rent by 75 per cent for the three months and includes a moratorium on eviction.
  • Criteria for loan to be forgiven
    • Tenant’s rent must be reduced by at least 75%
    • Small business tenant must pay no more than $50,000 of monthly rent for the location
    • Small business tenant must have no more than 20 million of annual revenue
    • Small business tenant must be down at least 70% of revenue.  (The revenue decline will compare April/May/June 2020 to April/May/June 2019 OR to January/February 2020 (same as CEWS)
    • Small business tenant must have been asked to close, or near-close their operations due to COVID-19
  • The program will be administered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
  • CECRA will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.
  • Alberta expects to commit up to $67 million, with the remaining and majority of costs being covered by the federal government.
  • Further details on CECRA will be shared by CMHC when final terms and conditions are available. Until that time, property owners are encouraged to provide flexibility to tenants facing hardship in this uncertain time.
  • In brief, CECRA means:
    • 50% loaned to the landlord, forgiven if the program terms are met;
    • 25% (or more) waived by the landlord; and
    • 25% (or less) still payable by the tenant.
  • Deadline to apply is Sept 30. You can apply retroactively. If rent collected is in excess of programs criteria it must be refunded to tenant.
  • Conservatives are pleased that the requirement that the landlord must owe a mortgage has been removed, as we proposed, but still want to see the all-or-nothing 70% revenue decline adjusted so that there is a sliding scale for those with smaller losses. Small businesses that have stayed open with reduced revenue, or are trying to slowly recover, should not have to close their doors or limit their revenues in order to qualify for partial support. Conservatives also feel the money should go to the tenant, not require the landlord to be the applicant.
  • Alberta is planning legislation 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. 
  • June 26: This program continues to be problematic. Many landlords and tenants say that the process to apply is so cumbersome that they have chosen not to apply. As of the beginning of September, only one-third of the funds set aside for this program have been accessed, indicating that the program is too hard to use. Also, as businesses gradually re-open and their revenues increase, they find that although they are still struggling, they have surpassed the criteria of being down at least 70% of revenue. Conservatives are pressing the government to reform the program so that it is more helpful to tenants trying to gradually re-open and survive, including the option of allowing tenants to apply if their landlords have chosen not to participate. The Prime Minister has said they are reviewing the program, but no details or dates yet.

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

  • 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

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

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.

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 Hospitals 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.
  • May 28: Preschools may now re-open with appropriate safety measures.

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.

Stage Two - all of Alberta

Stage II will come into effect on Friday June 12.

Phase II will include:

  • K-12 schools, for requested diploma exams and summer school, following guidance
  • Libraries
  • More surgeries
  • Wellness services such as massage, acupuncture and reflexology
  • Personal services (esthetics, cosmetic skin and body treatments, manicures, pedicures, waxing, facial treatment, artificial tanning)
  • Indoor recreation, fitness, and sports, including gyms and arenas
  • Movie theatres and theatres
  • Community halls
  • Team sports
  • Pools for leisure swimming
  • VLTs in restaurants and bars
  • Casinos and bingo halls (but not table games)
  • Instrumental concerts
  • the 50 per cent capacity limit for provincial campgrounds is also being lifted. Over the coming days, the online reservation system will be updated and sites will come online in phases. By July 1, all camping sites will be open for reservations. First-come, first-served sites may open sooner. Information on additional sites will be added to alberta.parks.ca when they become available.

Caps on numbers of people gathering together are raised:

  • Maximum 50 people:
    • Indoor social gatherings – including wedding and funeral receptions, and birthday parties - with physical distancing and sanitization in effect
  • Maximum people outdoors (increased to 200 people on June 30):
    • Outdoor events such as festivals, fireworks displays, rodeos and sporting events, and outdoor performances; with health measures including physical distancing in place (e.g. chairs placed widely for seated events)
  • No cap on the number of people (with public health measures and physical distancing in place):
    • Worship gatherings
    • Restaurants, cafés, lounges and bars
    • Casinos
    • Bingo halls
  • There is more flexibility for ‘cohort’ groups – small groups of people whose members do not always keep two metres apart:
    • A household can increase its close interactions with other households to a maximum of 15 people
    • Performers can have a cohort of up to 50 people (cast members or performers)
    • Sports teams can play in region-only cohorts of up to 50 players (mini leagues)
    • People could be part of a sports/performing and household cohort

Everyone is encouraged to follow public health guidelines and notify others in the cohort(s) if they have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19. If they do test positive or have symptoms, mandatory isolation is required.

Stage Three

  • Progression to stage three depends on success in stage two, determined by: active case numbers, infection rates, health-care system capacity based on numbers in hospital and intensive care.
  • No target date has been set yet

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.
  • The program has a budget of $200 million.
  • Application intake will open at 10 a.m. on June 29, and remain open until Aug. 31, or for four weeks following the start of stage three of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy – whichever is later.
  • Information at: SME Relaunch Grant

Free Masks for Albertans

  • August 3: the free mask program has concluded, having distributed 40 million masks.
  • Some distributors such as community and social service partners may still have remaining masks from their allocation, but public distribution has concluded
  • There are no plans to extend the program.
  • Instructions for proper care and use of non-medical masks is available on alberta.ca/masks.

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.
  • Several additional provincial historic sites will re-open June 20, including Frank Slide, Ukrainian Village, and Oil Sands Discovery Centre. Check the website for the site you are interested in. Some are still closed for the moment.

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.

Testing for COVID-19 (May 29)

  • September 18:  Alberta is shifting to targeted COVID-19 testing to reduce testing wait times, speed up access to results and support Albertans during influenza season and the winter months.
  • 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
  • Voluntary asymptomatic testing is no longer recommended for other Albertans who have no symptoms and no suspected exposure to COVID-19.
  • 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. 

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.

Resumption of School

  • July 21: The government announced that school will resume in September under near-normal conditions with extra health precautions.
  • Measures to ensure physical distancing could include staggered start times; students, parents and teachers will be expected to answer daily health questions upon entering the premises; students must stay home if sick. Other safety measures will be communicated to parents and students
  • Schools have returned to full funding as of July 1; and school authorities are receiving a funding increase ($120 M) for 2020-21 school year. The Minister has approved the use of school reserves (which total $363 M province-wide) for COVID-19 related safety measures.
  • A re-entry tool kit for parents, students and teachers is available here: School Re-entry 2020
  • August 4: the government announced that masks will be mandatory for students in grades 4 to 12; and for all school staff. Every student and staff member will receive two re-usable masks (740,000 students and 90,000 staff). Single use masks will also be available as required. Masks must be worn in all common areas including buses, with exceptions for those unable to wear a mask for medical reasons.
  • August 15: Mandatory mask use is now extended to K to grade 3, in addition to Grades 4-12, in Calgary public and Catholic schools.
  • Staff will also receive one face shield; however, shields are less effective than masks and a mask must still be worn
  • 466,000 litres of hand sanitizer will be provided to schools; and each school will receive two contact-less thermometers.
  • August 15: It is recommended that all teachers and school staff get a test at a local pharmacy or by going to the website. Testing for children is only recommended if there are COVID-like symptoms or pre-existing medical conditions. 
  • September 10: The government has created a school map which shows the incidence of COVID cases by school. Find the map here.

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.

New 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.

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).

Commercial Renters

  • 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 studentsupport@gov.ab.ca.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

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.

State of Emergency Ended

  • Effective June 12, the State of Emergency for the City of Calgary concluded.
  • The state of emergency provided certain emergency powers to city officials to make decisions outside normal procedures.

Playground Re-openings

  • 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.

Parking

  • Effective June 1, the free 30-minute parking zones will be ended; payment will again be required.

Enmax Flexibility

  • 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

City Information

  • 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

 

 

Links for More Information:

Government of Canada COVID-19 Home Page

Support for Individuals

Support for Business

Advice for Travelers

Alberta COVID-19 Homepage

City of Calgary COVID-19 Homepage

How to Self-Isolate

 

Other Contact Information

Canadians abroad in need of emergency consular assistance can call Global Affairs Canada’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1 613-996-8885, or email sos@international.gc.ca

Canada Public Health
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html

World Health
Organization
https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses

Alberta Health Services
https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/

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