COVID-19 INFORMATION

Last updated: July 27, 2020

Our lives have changed dramatically over the past few months. As our economy reopens, we must stay strong and put our best foot forward. I am confident in the resilience of Albertans and know that we can get back on track as long as we support one another.

The government has announced various programs to support those impacted by COVID-19. As we receive additional details from the government on supports available for those struggling during this crisis, we will provide you with updates through this informational page. Additionally, check out our Facebook Page for more frequent updates and other government related news.

As your federal government representative, I am here to help you navigate through the support that is available to you during the pandemic. If you have any questions about these programs, or if you need help with federal departments such as CRA, EI, Immigration Canada, or Veterans’ Affairs, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or my office.

We hope to give you more information as it is made available to us, but it in the mean time, we encourage you to look at these sites daily for updates as they are provided:


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


Provincial: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx


Municipal: https://www.edmonton.ca/programs_services/emergency_preparedness/covid-19.aspx



Back to Work Bonus

Updated: July 27 2020

Conservatives have proposed a way to ensure Canadians aren’t penalized for going back to work. Under our plan anyone receiving the CERB would continue to do so. As businesses reopen, workers who make between $1,000 and $5,000 per month would qualify for the Back to Work Bonus, a CERB top-up that would be gradually phased out (by 50 cents for every extra dollar earned over $1,000).

The Parliamentary Budget Office has estimated that this policy change would cost $3.1 billion, just 5.4% of the Liberals’ unused wage subsidy budget. We have yet to hear whether or not the government will accept our proposal, but we hope that they give it the attention it deserves.


Support for Canadians with Disabilities

Updated: July 27, 2020

On Tuesday, July 21st, the House of Commons passed a bill that included aid for persons with disabilities.

Last month, the Government announced a series of measures to help Canadians with disabilities navigate the effects of the outbreak, including a one-time, tax-free, non-reportable payment of $600 to assist with additional expenses incurred during the pandemic.

The new legislation aims to make the benefit available to more people and expand the one-time payment to include approximately 1.7 million Canadians with disabilities, who are recipients of any of the following programs or benefits:

• A Disability Tax Credit certificate provided by the Canada Revenue Agency;

• Canada Pension Plan disability benefit or Quebec Pension Plan disability benefit; and

• Disability supports provided by Veterans Affairs Canada.

Additionally, Canadians with disabilities who are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit but have not yet applied, would have a 60-day window of opportunity to do so after Royal Assent.

Seniors who are eligible for the one-time payment to persons with disabilities would receive a total of $600 in special payments. The one-time payment to persons with disabilities would be adjusted to provide a top-up for eligible seniors, including:

• $300 for Canadians who are eligible for the Old Age Security pension and who received the

• One-time seniors payment of $300; or

• $100 for Canadians who are eligible for the Old Age Security pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement or Allowances and who received the one-time senior’s payment of $500.

For more information, click here.


Seniors

Updated: July 27, 2020

Through the hard work of my colleagues, the government has finally announced new measures to help seniors who don’t qualify for the other emergency benefits.

The federal government has reduced the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFS) by 25% for 2020.

Additionally, the New Horizons for Seniors Program has been expanded with an additional investment of $20 million to support organizations that offer community-based projects aimed at reducing isolation, improving the quality of life of seniors, and helping them maintain a social support network.

For all organizations that received funding under the 2019-2020 New Horizons for Seniors Program community-based stream, funding can be used to provide immediate and essential services to seniors impacted by COVID-19.

They have also authorized a one-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension with an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).

This measure would give a total of $500 to individuals who are eligible to receive both the OAS and GIS.  It does not have an application process and should have been issued to all eligible seniors during the week of July 6, 2020. The payments should be deposited any day now.

The government is also temporarily extending GIS and Allowance payments if seniors’ 2019 income information has not been assessed. This will ensure that the most vulnerable seniors continue to receive their benefits when they need them the most. To avoid an interruption in benefits, seniors are encouraged to submit their 2019 income information as soon as possible and no later than by October 1, 2020.


Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

Updated: July 27 2020

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is meant to enable employers to re-hire workers previously laid off, and to keep those who are already on payroll, so that Canada’s workforce and supply chains are able to return from this crisis in a strong position.

Eligible employers should be able to access the CEWS by applying through a CRA online portal. You may be eligible for a subsidy of 75% of employee wages for up to 24 weeks, retroactive from March 15, 2020, to August 29, 2020.

About the CEWS:

•  It applies at a rate of 75 per cent of the first $58,700 normally earned by employees – representing a benefit of up to $847 per week. The program would be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to August 29, 2020.

• Eligible employers who suffer a drop in gross revenues of at least 15 per cent in March or 30 percent April, May or June when compared to the same month in 2019, would be able to access the subsidy.

• Eligible employers would include employers of all sizes and across all sectors of the economy, with the exception of public sector entities.

• For non-profit organizations and registered charities similarly affected by a loss of revenue, the government will continue to work with the sector to ensure the definition of revenue is appropriate to their circumstances.

An eligible employer’s entitlement to this wage subsidy will be based entirely on the salary or wages previously paid to employees. All employers would be expected to make best efforts to top up salaries to 100% of the maximum wages covered.

On July 17th, the government announced that they will be redesigning the CEWS program. Proposed changes are said to broaden the reach of the program and provide better targeted support so that more workers can return to their jobs quickly as the economy restarts.

The proposed changes would:

•  Allow the extension of the CEWS until December 19, 2020, including redesigned program details until November 21, 2020.

•  Make the subsidy accessible to a broader range of employers by including employers with a revenue decline of less than 30 per cent and providing a gradually decreasing base subsidy to all qualifying employers. This would help many struggling employers with less than a 30-per-cent revenue loss get support to keep and bring back workers, while also ensuring those who have previously benefited could still qualify, even if their revenues recover and no longer meet the 30 per cent revenue decline threshold.

• Introduce a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25 per cent for employers that have been most adversely affected by the pandemic. This would be particularly helpful to employers in industries that are recovering more slowly.

•  Provide certainty to employers that have already made business decisions for July and August by ensuring they would not receive a subsidy rate lower than they would have had under the previous rules.

•  Address certain technical issues identified by stakeholders.

For more information on the CEWS click here.


Canada Emergency Business Account

Updated: July 27, 2020

The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) is implemented by eligible financial institutions in cooperation with Export Development Canada (EDC).

The program is meant to provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 virus.

Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).

Thanks to extensive lobbying by our Official Opposition, as of June 26, 2020, businesses eligible for CEBA now include owner-operated small businesses that do not have a payroll, sole proprietors receiving business income directly, as well as family-owned corporations remunerating in the form of dividends rather than payroll. This means that more small businesses should be able to  access it.

Applicants without at least $20,000 in payroll in 2019 will have to demonstrate having eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1,500,000 in 2020.

Eligible small businesses and not-for-profits are encouraged to contact their financial institution to apply for these loans.

For more info, including a list of participating financial institutions and eligibility requirements, can be found by clicking here.


Canada Emergency Student Benefit

Updated: July 27, 2020

The federal government introduced the CESB to aid students whose education and employment prospects have been impacted by COVID-19.

Eligible post-secondary students will receive $1250 for each 4-week period from May to August 2020, and if they are taking care of someone else or have a disability, that amount increases to $2000 monthly. College and University students currently in school, planning to start in September, or who graduated in December 2019 are eligible, as well as working students earning less than $1000 per month.

For more information or to apply for the CESB, click here.


Canada Emergency Response Benefit & Employment Insurance

Updated: July 27, 2020

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) gives financial support to employed and self-employed Canadians who are directly affected by COVID-19.

If you are eligible, you can receive $2,000 for a 4-week period (the same as $500 a week), retroactive to March 15, 2020

When submitting your first claim, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for 14 or more consecutive days within the four-week benefit period of your claim.

When submitting subsequent claims, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for the entire four-week benefit period of your new claim.

The CERB has been extended from 16 weeks to 24 weeks for workers who:

•   Stopped working due to COVID-19 or

•   Are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits or

•   Have exhausted their EI regular benefits or EI fishing benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020

To be eligible for CERB:

•    You must have stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19 or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits or have exhausted EI regular benefits or EI fishing benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020

•   You must have had at least $5,000 in employment income, EI, self-employment income, or maternity or parental leave benefits for 2019 or the 12-months preceding the day you make the application.

•   You must not have worked within the last two weeks

•   You must not have quit your job voluntarily to be eligible

•   You must be a Canadian citizen

To apply, you must register for a MyCRA or MyServiceCanada account online at: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/e-services-individuals/account-individuals.html

 A few important notes on the CERB and EI:

• If you are receiving EI, you will not receive the CERB

• If you applied for EI on or after March 15th, you will be automatically transferred over to the CERB

• If your EI period ends, you can apply for the CERB

• After the sixteen weeks receiving the CERB, you will still be eligible to go back to (or apply) for EI

• CERB, like EI, is a taxable benefit. The tax will be payable at the end of the year you receive the CERB.

 Part-time employees (for example, seniors and students):

• You can still apply for the CERB to make-up lost earnings from part-time employment, provided you made at least $5000 in the previous tax year

• If you are a senior receiving any other benefits like OAS or GIS, collecting the CERB could result in these benefits being clawed back or cancelled.

For more information on the CERB click here.


Travel

Updated: July 27, 2020

TRAVEL ADVISORY

• The Border between the USA and Canada is temporarily closed to non-essential travel. This does not affect trade. Supply chains between Canada and the US are still running.

Air travel into Canada

•  Canada will deny entry to those who aren’t Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or U.S. citizens. Exceptions made for diplomats, air crews, and immediate family members of Canadian citizens.

•  Anyone displaying COVID-19 symptoms will not be able to board a flight into Canada.

•  Non-domestic flights will be restricted to four international airports located in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal.

•  Travellers returning to Canada must self-isolate for 14 days.

Details: https://www.canada.ca/en/transport-canada/news/2020/03/new-measures-for-covid-19-response.html

Alberta

Updated: July 27, 2020

The Alberta government has announced the following measures:

• Emergency Isolation Support: $50 million

• Utility payment holiday

• Student loans repayment holiday

• Banks and credit unions – support for customers

• Support for Employers

For details please visit: https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=698455D70096B-DF57-A62A-778266237F3241C8

Alberta in Stage 2 of Relaunch

Albertans can and should confidently support Alberta businesses, while continuing to act responsibly and following all public health measures.

Alberta Schools

• Students will return to daily in-school classes in September under scenario 1- near normal operations with health measures

• Public health guidelines for scenario 1, a parents’ guide and a re-entry plan provide details on measures to reduce the risk of infection at schools

• The measures include enhanced cleaning, increased hand hygiene, staying home when sick, and physical distancing when possible

• Parents and students can prepare for what to expect in the upcoming school year by checking out the return to school toolkit

Alberta Daycares and Day Homes

• Daycares and out-of-school cares have begun reopening with limits on occupancy.

• Preschools are able to reopen as of May 28.

• Home-based child care with 6 or fewer children (not including the caregiver’s own children) can continue operating as long as safety measures are in place.

Operations must resume with increased infection prevention and control measures to minimize the risk of increased transmission of infections.

Alberta Post secondary institutions

In-person classes may resume, with restrictions, effective May 14, 2020. In the cities of Calgary and Brooks, in-person classes may not resume until June 1, 2020. Post-secondary institutions are encouraged to continue to hold classes remotely and limit in-person attendance on campus as much as possible.

Most schools are making decisions about course delivery for this fall. Contact your post-secondary institution, or visit their website, for more detailed information. For further details please visit: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx


General Information and FAQ

Canadian Blood Services is asking all donors to book and keep their appointments to prevent shortages

https://blood.ca/en/about-us/media/newsroom/its-safe-to-donate-blood-during-cvoid-19-and-critical-for-patients

How do I prevent and prepare for COVID-19?

https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx#p22780s5

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks.html

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/being-prepared.html

What should I do if I think I have symptoms or think I may have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19?

https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx

• AHS online assessment tool: https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Journey/COVID-19/Pages/COVID-Self-Assessment.aspx

If I have to stay home from work, will I get EI payments?

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/canadas-reponse/government-canada-takes-action-covid-19.html#a4

https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/notices/coronavirus.html

Should I be cancelling my travel plans because of COVID-19?
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html
https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx#toc-2

I am currently outside of Canada. Should I be returning home to Canada earlier than planned?

https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories

Either me or my family member is outside of Canada and is affected by travel bans. What should we do?

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

I have a small business. What has the Prime Minister said about how this will impact me?

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/canadas-reponse/government-canada-takes-action-covid-19.html#a4

https://www.tradecommissioner.gc.ca/campaign-campagne/ressources-entreprises-COVID-19-business-resources.aspx?lang=eng