COVID-19 INFORMATION

Last updated: May 20, 2020

As we receive additional details from the government on support available for those struggling during this crisis, we will be continually providing you with updates through this informational page. Additionally, check out our Facebook Page for more frequent updates and other government related news.

Things are changing almost daily with new announcements from the government but unfortunately without many details on how to access the programs, when they will be accessible, or eligibility requirements. We’re following up regularly, but as you can imagine the turnaround time for responses from the government aren’t great. 

​We recognize the difficulty everyone is facing right now, and we are sorry we don’t have more concrete details of the larger supports available. We are hoping to receive more information in the coming weeks and 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
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Canada Emergency Business Account

Updated: May 20, 2020

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

This $25 billion program provides 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).

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: May 20, 2020

The federal government is launching the CESB to aid students whose education and employment prospects are altered due to COVID-19. Eligible post-secondary students will receive $1250 a month from May to August, and if they are taking care of someone else or have a disability, that amount increases to $1750 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.


Seniors

Updated: May 20, 2020

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

The New Horizons for Seniors Program has been expanded with an additional investment of $20 million to support organizations that offer community-based projects that reduce isolation, improve the quality of life of seniors, and help 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.

We are providing 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, and will help them cover increased costs caused by COVID-19.

We are 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: April 6, 2020

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy is a key measure to ensure that workers are able to count on a source of income through this difficult time. It will 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 would be able to access the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy by applying through a Canada Revenue Agency online portal. More details regarding how to apply for the program will follow. Those organizations that do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy may continue to qualify for the previously announced wage subsidy of 10 per cent of remuneration paid from March 18 to before June 20, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.

• The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy would apply 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 June 6, 2020.

• Eligible employers who suffer a drop in gross revenues of at least 30 per cent in March, April or May, 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. The government is also considering additional support for non-profits and charities, particularly those involved in the front line response to COVID-19. Further details will be announced in the near term.

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


Canada Emergency Response Benefit & Employment Insurance

Updated: April 2, 2020

How the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and Employment Insurance (EI) now work: Starting sometime in April (we haven’t received a hard date yet but we believe Monday, April 6th), people who have had their employment affected by COVID-19 will be eligible to apply for the CERB.

A few things about the CERB:

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 but we’re unclear if that means from the time you apply, or from March 15th, 2020.

• You must be a Canadian citizen

• It is a taxable benefit of $2000 every four weeks up to sixteen weeks.

• It will be retroactive to March 15th

• 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

• You will receive your confirmation code in the mail approximately 10 days after you register online

 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


Travel

TRAVEL ADVISORY (Effective: March 21, 2020)

• 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
(Effective March 18, 2020)

• 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.

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


Economy

Canada’s full COVID-19 Economic Response Plan can be found here.

The Government of Canada has announced an $82 Billion financial Aid Package to assist Canadians. Measures include:

• $27 billion in direct support for workers and businesses

• $55 billion for liquidity through tax deferrals

• Creating Emergency Care Benefit – For the ill, quarantined, self-isolation, or caring for a family member, this will be for 14 weeks for those who don’t qualify for EI

• COVID-19 Emergency Support Benefit – For those who don’t qualify for EI or are self-employed and have to close down

• Wage Subsidies for small businesses – Covers 10% of employee salaries for 3 months

• Temporary boost of CCB

• GST cheques for low-income

• Interest-free moratorium on Canada Student Loans for six months

• A temporary boost in funding for shelters – for the homeless or people in domestic violence situations and have no where to self-isolate safely

• The creation of an Indigenous Communities Support Fund

• Increased assistance for businesses through EDC

• An increase to Farm Credit Canada to help farmers

• Creation of “The Canada Account” for vulnerable industries

• Banks to provide flexibility on mortgages and other loans

• Those owing tax will have until August 2020 to pay

• Temporary reduction in minimum RRIF withdrawals

• Insured Mortgage Protection program re-instated temporarily

• Investment in orphaned well remediation to be announced in the coming days


Alberta

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 is in a state of emergency

• All events over 50 people to be cancelled

• No attendance at rec centres, casinos, bingo halls, bars, theatres and other facilities

• Sit-down restaurants can remain open at lower capacity

Alberta Schools
https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx
Effective immediately, student attendance at schools is prohibited.

• Every K-12 student will receive a final mark and students will progress to their next grade level next year. Provincial assessments, such as provincial achievement tests, will be cancelled. At this time, diploma exams essential for post-secondary acceptance will continue. Every student who is eligible to graduate from Grade 12 this year will graduate.

• Provincial Achievement tests have been cancelled for the remainder of the year

• Diplomas for Grade 12 graduation will be going forward with more details to come

• Teachers and other school staff will still be expected to work, either from home or at their workplace, to ensure these expectations are met. Decisions on how to do this are still to be made, and it may vary depending on the school jurisdiction.

• School authorities are expected to continue their regular day-to-day operations and ensure the safety of school facilities. Maintenance, capital projects, cleaning of facilities and administrative work will continue.

Alberta Daycares and day homes

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

• All licensed child care, out-of-school care programs and preschool programs in Alberta are closed at this time, as well. Approved day homes are exempt as they care for fewer than seven children at a time.

Alberta Post secondary institutions
https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx

• Effective immediately, student attendance at post-secondary institutions is prohibited until further notice.

• The government will also be working with post-secondary institutions to ensure that these extraordinary circumstances do not prevent students from being eligible for admission to post-secondary studies for the upcoming school year.

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