Provincial and Federal Supports for COVID-19 Pandemic

Individuals and Families

PROVINCIAL

  

Utility Payment Deferral

  • Residential customers can defer electricity and natural gas bill payments for the next 90 days to ensure no one will be cut off, regardless of the service      provider. This program is available to Albertans who are experiencing      financial hardship as a direct result of COVID-19. For example, those who      have lost their employment or had to leave work to take care of an ill      family member.
  • Call your utility provider directly to arrange for a 90-day deferral on all payments.


Banks and Credit Unions

ATB financial customers

  • Personal banking customers can apply for 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 designed to ease difficulties with loan payments and short-term cash flow. Contact your credit union to work out a plan for your personal situation

Education Property Tax Freeze

  • Residential education property tax rates will be frozen at last year’s level –      reversing the 3.4% population and inflation increase added in Budget 2020.

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Licensed child care

  • All licensed child care facilities in Alberta are closed at this time. This includes daycare, out-of-school care and preschool programs.


Child care for core service workers

  • Select licensed child care centres will begin reopening to provide child care for core service workers (health care practitioners, critical infrastructure workers). Additional spacewill then be available to first responders and others..


Home-based child care

  • Approved family day homes are exempt as they care for fewer than 7 children at a time, but should use enhanced sanitation practices.
  • Private home-based child care providers remain open as they can only care for up to six children, not including their own, at any one time. 
  • Any home-based child care provider – approved or private – should routinely clean and disinfect surfaces that people regularly touch like toys, door handles, keyboards, toilets and tables.


Education

  • School authorities will offer at-home learning opportunities for all Kindergarten to Grade 12 students
  • All Grade 6 and 9 provincial achievement tests and grade 12 diploma exams are cancelled
  • High school students on track to receive 100 or more credits will still be eligible to graduate


Post Secondary Education

Classes at post-secondary institutions are cancelled until further notice. The province is 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.



FEDERAL SUPPORT


Canada Emergency Student Benefit

We are proposing the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) that would provide support to students and new graduates who are not be eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or Employment Insurance or unable to work due to COVID-19.

This benefit would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students or $1,750 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities.  

This benefit would be available from May to August 2020.

More details will be made available soon.


Canada Student Service Grant

We are launching the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG), which will help students gain valuable work experience and skills while they help their communities during the COVID‑19 pandemic.

For students who choose to do national service and serve their communities, the new CSSG will provide up to $5,000 for their education in the fall.

More details will be made available on the “I Want to Help” platform soon.


Canada Emergency Response Benefit

Government of Canada announced further details about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) application process.
Key details

  • Canadians who have already applied for EI do not need to apply again—applications will be automatically enrolled in CERB.

  

Applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefits began April 6. To ensure the system is not overloaded, the government is asking for you to apply on days assignment to your birth date.


There are two ways to apply:

Online with CRA My Account:  https://tinyurl.com/y3chp6qx

Over the phone with an automated phone service: 

Before you call

To verify your identity, you'll need

· your social insurance number (SIN)

· postal code

Telephone number

Call -800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041


After you apply

If you are eligible for the CERB, you can expect $2,000 ($500 per week) for a 4-week period.

The CERB is paid by direct deposit or by cheque if your direct deposit information is not on file.

After you apply, you should get your payment in 3 business days if you signed up for direct deposit. If you haven't, you should get it in about 10 business days. If your situation continues, you can re-apply for a payment for multiple 4-week periods, to a maximum of 16 weeks (4 periods).

You may reapply on the following dates but your benefit will only be available for 4 months: 

April 12

May 10

June 7

July 5

Aug 2

Aug 30

Note: These benefits are taxable and you will need to report any payments received on next year's tax filing.


Temporary Income Support for Workers and Parents

For Canadians without paid sick leave who are sick, quarantined or forced to stay home to care for children:

  • Waiving the one-week waiting period to claim Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits. This temporary measure is in effect as of March 15, 2020.
  • Waiving the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.
  • Provides up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks. 

Eligibility:

  • Quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
  • Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
  • Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school or daycare closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.



Income Support for Individuals Who Need It Most

For low- and modest-income families:

  • A one-time special payment by early May 2020 through the GST Credit that doubles the maximum annual payment until the end of June 2020. (Implemented in early May)
  • An increase in Child Tax Benefit for those eligible by $300 per child until the end of June 2020. (Implemented in May)


Other Supports

  • Placing a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all individuals currently in the process of repaying these loans.
  • Reducing required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020
  • For individuals (other than trusts), the return filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020.  However, Canada Revenue Agency encourages individuals who expect to receive GST or Child Benefits not to delay the filing of their return to ensure their entitlements for the 2020-21 benefit year are properly determined.
  • All taxpayers may defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. 


Role of Financial Institutions

Banks in Canada have affirmed their commitment to working with customers to provide

flexible solutions, on a case-by-case basis, for managing through  hardships caused by

recent developments such as pay disruption, childcare disruption, or illness. This will

include up to a 6-month payment deferral for mortgages, and the opportunity for relief

on other credit products. 


Mortgage Default Management Tools

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) can assist homeowners

who may be experiencing financial difficulty. These include payment deferral, loan

re-amortization, capitalization of outstanding interest arrears and other eligible

expenses, and special payment arrangements.


Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) minimum withdrawal

The minimum withdrawals requirement from RRIFs will be reduced by 25% for 2020, in recognition of volatile market conditions and their impact on many seniors' retirement savings.  This will provide flexibility to seniors who are concerned they may be required to liquidate their RRIF assets to meet minimum withdrawal requirements. Similar rules apply to individuals receiving variable benefit payments under a defined contribution registered pension plan and a pooled registered pension plan.

Businesses

  

PROVINCIAL SUPPORT


Measures are in place to protect businesses, employers and employees from the economic disruption of COVID-19, including:

  • Financial relief for businesses and employers
  • Job-protected leave for employees
  • Federal employment insurance benefits
  • Business continuity planning resources
  • Utility payment deferral


Corporate income tax changes

  • Corporate income tax balances and instalment payments will be deferred to August 31, 2020 to increase employers’ access to cash so they can pay employees, address debts and continue operations.


Education property tax deferral

  • Education property tax rates will be frozen at last year’s level – reversing the 3.4% population and inflation increase added in Budget 2020.
  • Collection of non-residential education property tax for businesses will be deferred for 6 months.
    • Municipalities are expected to set education property tax rates as they normally would, but defer collection.
    • Deferred amounts will be repaid in future tax years.
  • Commercial landlords are encouraged to pass savings on to their tenants through reduced or deferred payments to help employers pay their employees and stay in business.
  • Businesses capable of paying their taxes in full are encouraged to do to so. This will assist the province in supporting Albertans through the pandemic.


WCB premium payment deferral

  • Small, medium and large private sector employers can defer WCB premium payments until 2021.
    • For small and medium businesses, the government will cover 50% of the 2020 premium when it is due in 2021 
    • Large employers will have their 2020 WCB premium payments deferred until 2021, at which time their premiums will be due.
  • Employers who have already paid WCB premiums in 2020 are eligible for a rebate or credit.


Utility payment deferral

  • Residential, farm and small commercial customers can defer electricity and natural gas bill payments for the next 90 days to ensure no one will be cut off, regardless of the service provider.
  • This program is available to Albertans who are experiencing financial hardship as a direct result of  COVID-19. For example, those who have lost their employment or had to  leave work to take care of an ill family member.
  • Call your utility provider directly to arrange for a 90-day deferral on all payments.


Banks and credit unions


Credit unions

  • Business members should contact their credit union directly to work out a plan for their personal situation

ATB Financial

  • Small business customers can:
    • apply for a payment deferral on loans and lines of credit for up to 6 months
    • access additional working capital
  • Other businesses and agriculture customers can access support on a one-on-one basis. Further solutions are being considered at this time


Job-protected leave

Changes to the Employment Standards Code will allow full and part-time employees to take 14 days of job-protected leave if they are:

  • required to self-isolate
  • caring for a child or dependent adult that is required to self-isolate

To be eligible, employees:

  • will not be required to have a medical note
  • do not need to have worked for an employer for 90 days

This leave covers the 14-day self-isolation period recommended by Alberta’s chief medical officer. This leave may be extended if the advice of the chief medical officer changes.

The leave does not apply to self-employed individuals or contractors.


Vacation pay, leave or banked overtime

  • Employers and employees may consider using other available leaves should an employee be required to self-isolate.
  • Employees can request using their vacation pay or banked overtime, but employers are not required to grant the request. Provincial employment rules only require employers to provide vacation pay, vacation leave or pay banked overtime within a year of it being earned.
  • Employers can request employees voluntarily take vacation leave and/or use their vacation pay or banked overtime, but cannot force them to do so under provincial employment rules.


Employment insurance benefits

Employees may consider applying for Employment Insurance: 

  • Allows up to 15 weeks of assistance if a person cannot work due to medical reasons such as self-isolation or self-quarantine.
  • The one-week waiting period for Employment Insurance benefits has been waived by the federal government.



Education Property Tax Deferral for Busines

Effective immediately, the government will defer education property tax for businesses for 6 months.


WCB Premiums Deferral

Private sector employers can save money on their WCB premium payments at a time when they need it most. These actions ensure the sustainability of the workers’ compensation system and that injured workers continue to receive the benefits and supports they need to return to work.

  • 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 WCB 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.



FEDERAL SUPPORT


Support for Your Business

Click on this link to walk you through the many federal supports for your business.

https://innovation.ised-isde.canada.ca/s/?language=en


Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

The subsidy generally covers 75% of an employee's wages – up to $847 per week - for employers of all sizes and across all sectors who have suffered a drop in gross revenues of at least 15% in March, and 30% in April and May.

The program will be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020.

Employers who are eligible for the CEWS are entitled to receive a 100% refund for certain employer contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan paid in respect of employees who are on leave with pay.


For employers that are eligible for both the CEWS and the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for a period, any benefit from the Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy for remuneration paid in a specific period will generally reduce the amount available to be claimed under the CEWS in that same period.

Applications will be open on April 27.


Canada Emergency Business Account

To ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need to see them through the current challenges, the Government of Canada is announcing the launch of the new Canada Emergency Business Account, which will be implemented by eligible financial institutions in cooperation with Export Development Canada (EDC).

This $25 billion program will 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.

This will better position them to quickly return to providing services to their communities and creating employment. Small businesses and not-for-profits should contact their financial institution to apply for these loans. To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).


Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance

We intend to introduce the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program for small businesses that, will seek to provide loans and/or forgivable loans to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June.

Implementation of the program will require a partnership with provincial and territorial governments who are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships.

More details will be available soon.


Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium Businesses

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may be particularly vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19. To support their operations, EDC will guarantee new operating credit and cash flow term loans that financial institutions extend to SMEs, up to $6.25 million.

 

Co-lending Program for Small and Medium Businesses

To provide additional liquidity support for Canadian businesses, 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.

Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts up to $6.25 million BDC’s portion of this program is up to $5 million maximum per loan. Eligible financial institutions will conduct the underwriting and manage the interface with their customers. 


Flexibility for Businesses Filing Taxes

The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020.   The Canada Revenue Agency will not contact any small medium (SME) businesses to initiate any post assessment GST/HST or Income Tax audits for the next four weeks. For the vast majority of businesses, the Canada Revenue Agency will temporarily suspend audit interaction with taxpayers and’ representatives.