In an effort to keep the constituents of Medicine Hat–Cardston–Warner as informed as possible during the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation, my office will be providing updates at www.glenmotzmp.com regularly. Updates will include new information from both federal and provincial governments on travel announcements and borders, various assistance provisions, mental health support, financial supports and any other pertinent or helpful resources.
The Government of Canada general COVID-19 website is: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/being-prepared.html
The Province of Alberta general COVID-19 website is: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx It contains up-to-date information on a vast variety of related issues.
May 22 UPDATE: MORE FUNDING TO TEST & TRACE COVID-19, NEW TOOL FOR COVID-19 BENEFITS, MEDICAL EXPERTS SAY CANADA NOT READY FOR SECOND WAVE OF COVID-19 & CANADA POST SETTING NEW RECORDS
MORE FUNDING FOR PROVINCES TO TEST & TRACE COVID-19: Justin Trudeau announced today his intention to give more to provinces to help trace infections and test for infection. No amounts, details or timelines were provided however.
TOOL FOR BENEFITS DURING COVID: The federal government launched a tool to advise Canadians what benefits they might qualify for under COVID emergency supports. The tool is available at:
MEDICAL EXPERTS SAY CANADA ISN’T READY FOR A SECOND WAVE OF COVID-19: Today the President of the Canadian Medical Association stated that Canada was not ready for the pandemic, is not ready for a second wave and medical staff lack access to essential supplies. This directly contradicts weeks of statements from the Liberals that Canada has what we need and are responding quickly to the pandemic.
CANADA POST SETTING NEW RECORDS: At a time when use of Canada Post was dropping, the Crown Corporation has set new records during the crisis – delivering up to 2 million packages a day.
MAY 21 UDPATE: MORE SUPPORT FOR INDIGENOUS CANADIANS
MORE SUPPORT FOR INDIGENOUS CANADIANS: Support for Indigenous Canadians living off reserve, in urban communities or separated from their communities. The government will provide up to $75 M for charities and non-profits that support these communities. Previously, the government committed to $305 M but it was exclusively for on-reserve communities.
MAY 20 UPDATE: LARGE EMPLOYERS EMERGENCY FINANCING FACILITY (LEEFF), INDUSTRY COMMITTEE ON CYBER CRIME, SMALL BUSINESS RENT SUPPORT & NEW RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FACE MASKS
LARGE EMPLOYERS EMERGENCY FINANCING FACILITY (LEEFF): Large Employers Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) applications open today on this site: https://www.cdev.gc.ca/applications-open-for-leeff/
This program will support large companies with significant revenues and employment in Canada – with at least $300 M in revenues and requiring at least $60 M in financing. The program will be administered by the Canadian Development Investment Corporation (a federal Crown corporation).
MP MOTZ AT INDUSTRY COMMITTEE ON CYBER CRIMES: MP Motz joined colleagues seeking answers from RCMP, government cyber security experts on ongoing scams and frauds today. Yet another area where Liberals appear to be playing catch up on protecting and supporting Canadians. MP Motz pressed on the decision to sign an agreement between China’s military research organizations and Chinese controlled companies and Canada’s National Research Council – who was hacked 6 years ago by Chinese state-sponsored actors, costing hundreds of millions of dollars.
SMALL BUSINESS RENT SUPPORT PROGRAM LAUNCHES MAY 25: Liberals’ program to reduce rent for small businesses that would provide 75% reduction in rent to small business owners for April, May and June and provide 50% of the rent costs to the property owners. To qualify applicants must own the property and rent it as a commercial property, must have one or more small businesses, have agreed to reduce rent for tenants for April, May and June, agree to a moratorium on evictions, and have declared rental income in one or two of the last two years. Landlords must refund the amount already paid in April or May to the small business.
Land owners can apply through the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation starting at 6 am (8 am EST) at:
Conservatives have raised the concerns of many small business owners, in particular that some commercial renters may opt not to participate given the large discount required and the optional nature of the program. This limits which small business can benefit from the program. In particular, it has taken nearly a month to get the application process ready and will take time to process the program. The Liberals need to improve their response times to this crisis.
FACE MASKS – NEW RECOMMENDATIONS: The Public Health Agency of Canada has reversed their recommendations to wear masks. At the start of the pandemic, media sought clarity and the government recommended against the public using or acquiring masks – so that they could avoid increased demand. When it became apparent that masks might be helpful and other countries moved to recommend mask wearing, the Public Health Agency did not change their recommendation. Now weeks (in some cases months) behind other countries Canada’s public health authorities is recommending wearing non-medical masks if people cannot predict if the 2 meter rule of distancing will always be maintained. While Canadians can understand governments changing recommendations based on new information, few will forgive a government who mislead Canadians from protecting themselves by withholding information for their own purposes.
MAY 19 UPDATE: GAPS IN SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT & LOAN ELIGIBILITY, BORDER CLOSED UNTIL JUNE 21
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PROMISES TO ADDRESS CAPS IN SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORTS, LOAN ELIGIBILITY: Liberals have finally listened to small business owners and Conservative MPs, even though the response comes months late – and so far it is only a promise, without a plan to put it in place.
The federal government will expand the interest-free business loans to sole-proprietorship, owner-operated businesses, businesses who employ contractors, and family owned businesses who pay through dividends. Businesses with payroll under $20,000 need a business account with a participating financial institution, to a CRA business account, to have files a 2018 or 2019 tax return, and have non-deferrable expenses like rent, property taxes, utilities and insurance between $40,000 and $1.5 M.
More details on applications and when it will be available will be posted when it is available.
BORDER CLOSED TO NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL UNTIL JUNE 21: Canada and the US have extended the closure of the border to non-essential travel until June 21 (an additional 30 days). As the deadline in June approaches they will revisit the decision with American counterparts. US continues to have very high rates compared to Canada.
MAY 15 UPDATE: WAGE SUBSIDY EXTENDED, HALO IN TROUBLE, LIBERALS ANNOUNCE MORE FUNDING FOR ACADEMIC RESEARCHERS & BENEFITS TO CONTINUE
WAGE SUBSIDY EXTENDED, EXPANDED: The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy has been extended until August 29,2020 – doubling the length of the program from 12 to 24 weeks to ensure Canada continues forward and rebounds as provinces get ready to open up their economies slowly.
The program – which has come under heavy criticism for the many Canadians left out – has also been expanded. Effectively immediately, the Liberals have made the following categories of employment eligible retroactively for the wage subsidy:
– Corporate partnerships with one or more non-eligible members (with limitations and conditions)
– Indigenous government owned businesses
– Canadian Amateur Athletic Associations like Hockey Canada or Swim Canada
– Registered Journalism Organizations
– Private and non-public education and training institutions like arts schools, language training programs, culinary arts programs and flight schools.
The federal government is also proposing to amend the legislation to expand eligibility:
– Ensure seasonal employees and employees returning from extended leave.
– Amalgamation (companies that lack a revenue reference point
The legislation would also tighten eligibility for Tax-Exempt Trusts so that only some trusts with employees would qualify after May 10th.
HALO IN TROUBLE: Medicine Hat’s Air Ambulance service that provides support across our communities for emergency medical help will have to close its doors by July 1, 2020 if it does not receive help. Halo is normally driven by charitable donation and corporate sponsorship – which have all but disappeared due to the crisis. Despite being an essential service, this charitable non-profit does not qualify for any of the Liberal governments programs, wage subsidies or assistance.
MP Motz has pressed Minister Blair to expand support to include organizations like Halo, or to re-dedicate some of the $65 M from STARS rescue to HALO and other air ambulance services across Canada during this crisis.
LIBERALS ANNOUNCE ADDED FUNDING FOR ACADEMIC RESEARCHERS: The Liberals today announced $450 M in funding to provide academic researchers with wage support. Funding will flow through university and institutions to provide the equivalent of CERB: 75% of wages up to $847 per week. The government noted the funding was also to replace industry and philanthropic resources normally providing support to researchers.
Past emergency funding totaling over $567 M for researchers in Canada has focused on solutions, treatments and research into COVID.
There are approximately 46,000 teaching staff at universities receiving over $1 billion in grants and wage subsidies ($21,739 each roughly). There are over 200,000 farmers in Canada who are receiving $252 M in loans ($1,260). Clearly, we should be doing more to ensure Canada has a stable food supply!
BENEFITS LIKE CHILD BENEFIT, GST REBATES TO CONTINUE: CRA would normally adjust Canada Child Benefits and GST rebate eligibility based tax filings, however with the tax filing deadline now extended to June 1, CRA will continue with existing levels until the end of September 2020.
BEWARE: If your rates change the Liberal’s CRA policies will see your benefits reduced and ask you to repay the balance.
MAY 14 UPDATE: FIREARMS COALITION, ALBERTA BEGINS STAGE 1 OF RE-OPENING, FINANCING FOR FARMERS, SUPPORT FOR FISHERIES, NATIONAL PARKS & HISTORIC SITES TO RE-OPEN JUNE 1
MILLIONS OF CANADIANS FORM A COALITION AGAINST THE LIBERAL CRACK DOWN ON LAW-ABIDING FIREARMS OWNERS: A coalition representing most of Canada’s firearms users including hunters, sport shooters, small businesses, manufacturers, distributors, tourism and outfitters from every region and province. The group specifically calls the ban undemocratic, costly and targeting lawful Canadians instead of criminals. The statement can be read here:
Canadians across country are angry at being blamed by the actions of criminals and the Liberals using their way of life as a political pawn.
Don’t forget to sign the largest e-petition in Canadian history – now in its second week – www.e2574.ca
ALBERTA MOVING TO LIFT SOME RESTRICTIONS IN STAGE 1 OF RE-OPENING: First steps to lift restrictions in Alberta are set to begin May 14 with Stage 1 which will allow scheduled, non-urgent surgeries, resumption of work for health care workers like physiotherapists, dental work, social workers and more. Recreational activities like gold courses, boat launches in public parks, limited use of public parks and lands, and select campgrounds.
For full details see https://www.alberta.ca/alberta-relaunch-strategy.aspx#stages
FINANCING FOR FARMERS BEGINNING THROUGH VENTURE CAPITAL FIRM: The $100 M fund will provide funding to proven, viable companies only. The program is launched in cooperation with Forage Capital Inc – a Calgary based venture capital firm while Farm Credit Canada will supply 100% of the money. Funding will go to a variety of agriculture organizations including farmers as well as manufacturing, packaging, distribution in the form of flexible financing.
This funding fails to address the needs of farmers and the issues raised by the Canadian Agriculture Federation that called for grants and support rather than deeper debt financing for farmers.
SUPPORT FOR FISHERIES: The Liberal government announced new funding for the Fisheries today – providing $469.4 M new funds bringing fisheries support to $530 M in total. The funding will pay $267 M to pay 75% of the income for self-employed fish harvesters and crew persons (who are not employees, but contractors) who have seen a decline of 25% or more of their income. Additionally, it will provide another $202 M in the form of $10,000 grants to fish harvesters impacted by COVID-19 for those who are self-employed. Additionally, they will ensure fish workers are eligible for EI during the off seasons.
These funds come months after commercial fisheries were hit hard by the pandemic. It is more than double the support for farmers who account for a significantly higher amount of our economy.
NATIONAL PARKS & HISTORIC SITES WILL RE-OPEN JUNE 1: All national parks and historical sites – including Waterton National Park – will re-open June 1 to day trips, use of recreational boating, green spaces but will not be available for camping.
MAY 13 UPDATE: $1B RELIEF & RECOVERY FUN, NEW AUDITOR GENERAL, CHIEF MOUNTAIN BORDER CROSSING, $1 TRILLION DEFICIT, CANADA STUDENT EMERGENCY BENEFIT OPENS THIS FRIDAY
$1 BILLION RELIEF & RECOVERY FUND, $304 MILLION FOR WEST: Delivered through the Regional Development Agencies including Western Diversification that supports Alberta, companies and communities will be able to get funding and loans through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund. The program is intended for any company or organization that didn’t qualify for other funding mechanism in particular but is open to organizations and communities across Canada.
To apply, contact the Community Futures of South East Alberta:
AUDITOR GENERAL’S BUDGET CUT, PRIME MINISTER NOMINATES A NEW AUDITOR GENERAL: The Liberals have cut the Auditor General of Canada’s funding amid the largest spending period in our country’s history. The Interim Auditor noted he would have to suspend much of their work due to the budget cuts. In response to revealing this information, Trudeau nominated someone else to be the Auditor General of Canada.
The Auditor General reviews and publishes the results of the government’s use of taxpayer dollars. This is yet another example of the Liberals running rough shod over our democratic process and willingness to get rid of people who object to his tactics. As an officer of Parliament, the Prime Minister is required to consult with other parties on the appointment.
CHIEF MOUNTAIN BORDER CROSSING DELAYED. 468 OTHER LAND, AIRPORT & SMALL HARBOUR CBSA LOCATIONS CLOSED: CBSA has indicated it will not open the Chief Mountain border crossing on May 15, 2020 in the Waterton National Park. With the Park’s closure and all non-essential travel to the US suspended the crossing will remain closed until further notice.
The federal government will also temporarily close 342 small vessel reporting centres and CBSA operations at 126 small airports across Canada who are not permitted to receive international flights right now. The closure is listed as temporary but with no fixed end date.
LIBERALS COULD RUN A $1 TRILLION DEFICIT, DEBT INTEREST COULD SQUEEZE PROGRAM SPENDING: The Parliamentary Budget Officer agreed with Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre that Liberals could potentially have a trillion dollar deficit this year due to the decline in the economy and massive rise in spending. Prior to the crisis the Liberals had already increased Canada’s national debt to nearly $1 trillion. The massive increase in debt will create financial challenges for Canada to stimulate the economy without massive tax increases or program cuts.
STUDENT EMERGENCY FUNDING BENEFIT TO OPEN FRIDAY, MAY 15: The federal aid that will provide $1,250 per month for students who are unable to work will open Friday. Students with children or dependents can apply for up to $2,000 per month. To be eligible students must be actively seeking work.
Applications will be available through CRA’s MY CRA Account or by calling CRA at 1-800-959-8281.
MAY 12 UPDATE: SUPPORT FOR SENIORS, LIBERALS SIGN VACCINE DEAL WITH CHINA & NEW RECORD FOR LARGEST E-PETITION IN CANADIAN HISTORY
SUPPORT FOR SENIORS: The federal Liberals today announced additional support for low income seniors during the COVID crisis. $500 M would be provided as a one-time top up for seniors already eligible for support programs. Seniors who already receive the Old Age Security monthly supplement would receive a one-time supplement of $300 to provided added funding, while seniors receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement would receive an additional $250 one-time payment. Both payments are listed as “tax-free” as per the Prime Minister’s release. Dates of the payments are not yet available.
The Liberals also announced they would increase spending by $20 M on the New Horizons program that provides services for seniors and continue benefits for seniors whose income has not been assessed yet for 2019. Any senior who is receiving Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement should have their 2019 incomes submitted by October 1.
LIBERALS SIGN VACCINE DEAL WITH CHINA: The Canadian National Research Council today announced a deal with University of Saskatchewan, Chinese pharmaceutical CanSino, and the Chinese military’s Academic of Sciences to develop and test a vaccine in China. Given the thousands of researchers in Canada working hard on a vaccine, its unclear why this federal agency found it necessary to sign a deal with the Communist Chinese regime who hid the scandal from the World while working to covertly siphon off vital medical supplies from Canada and other countries.
In recent months, Chinese hackers have been targeting Canadian hospitals and health care workers, Chinese government and Communist party groups have been operating intimidation and fear tactics in Canada against our citizens, and have had an extended trade stand off. Two Canadians continue to be detained without cause in China as ransom for Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou lives in a multi-million dollar mansion in Vancouver on extradition for violating international sanctions against Iran. China continues to threaten, steal, and attack Canadians. Why are the Liberals signing agreements with them?
NEW RECORD FOR LARGEST E-PETITION IN CANADIAN HISTORY: Surpassing E-2341 sponsored by MP Motz, E-2574 has become the largest e-petition in Canadian history in under a week! Both petitions signal the massive opposition to the Liberal firearms confiscation program that punishes legal firearms owners. E-2341 ran for 60 days and acquired 175,310 signatures. Since the Liberals tabled their ban order, E2574 has received over 176,000 signatures and it will run until September 2020. Clearly, law-abiding firearms owners like hunters, farmers and sport shooters are tired of being blamed for gang shootings, smuggled handguns and acts of hate. I encourage you to support this petition and make it the symbol that the Liberals cannot continue to blame lawful Canadians for the actions of criminals.
To sign online petition E-2574, please visit: https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-2574.
MARCH 11 UPDATE: NEW LARGE EMPLOYER EMERGENCY FINANCING FACILITY (LEEFF) & NEW ONLINE FIREARMS PETITION E-2574
NEW LARGE EMPLOYER EMERGENCY FINANCING FACILITY (LEEFF): The federal government will provide bridge loans to help companies avoid bankruptcy available to all industries provided they are deemed a viable business. It will require the company to keep jobs in Canada, respect all collective bargaining agreements, keep all pension obligations, meet the government’s climate change obligations and place limits on dividends, share buybacks and executive compensation.
Conservative Shadow Ministers Rempel and Poilievre note that the program has no eligibility criteria, no clear timelines, no job guarantees, no budget and has no transparency features since it will fall to the Minister’s and the public servants who work for them to decide who gets funding.
When asked if the energy sector who employs hundreds of thousands would be eligible, the Prime Minister said it would depend on their environmental plans and whether they conform with the Liberals policies.
E-2574 – NEW FIREARMS E-PETITION FASTEST GROWING EVER: At time of writing this, in just 5 days, E-2574, which calls on the Liberals to reverse their undemocratic firearms ban, is just shy of 170,000 signatures and will almost certainly be the largest in Canadian history by this time tomorrow.
To sign online petition E-2574, please visit: https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-2574.
E-2341, which was started by Brad Manysiak from Southeastern Alberta, is currently the largest petition in Canadian history with 175,310 signatures over 60 days.
MAY 7 UPDATE: ESSENTIAL WORKERS TOP-UP, AGRICULTURE SUPPORT, FIREARMS BAN & FISHERIES SUPPORT
ESSENTIAL WORKERS TOP-UP: Three weeks after announcing top up salaries for essential workers in cooperation with the Provinces, the federal released a statement that they would transfer $3 billion to the provinces for essential workers salary increases during the COVID crisis, and each province would determine what an essential worker was and how much to increase their pay.
AGRICULTURE SUPPORT: Nearly a month after agriculture and food processing organizations said they would need $2.6 billion to ensure Canada’s food supply and help farmers to keep food coming for Canadians, the federal government announce less than 10% of that in support. The federal government will provide $252 M including:
$77.5 million in funding for food producers access personal protective equipment and adopt facilities and operations.
$125 M in funding through the AgriRecovery initiatives for additional costs faced by producers including set asides for cattle and hog management programs where livestock cannot be sent for processing plants due to closure.
Allowing the Canadian Dairy Commission to borrow up to $200 M to support costs associated with temporary storage of cheese and butter to avoid food waste (legislation will be required)
$50 M food surplus purchase program to redistribute existing and unsold inventories to local food organizations serving vulnerable populations.
Details of access these programs still to follow.
The federal government is also looking to work with provinces to extend funding for farmers who face significant revenue declines and insurance programs for farmers facing labour shortages.
With farmers hit by higher costs for essential supplies, delays in getting products to market, reduced number of workers, and reduced demand from restaurants and other industries, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture called the response woefully inadequate noting it leaves our food security in jeopardy and noting that most programs won’t be able to get money to farmers in a timely fashion.
COST OF FIREARMS BAN IN BILLIONS: With Industry reeling from the rushed and questionable standard hunting and shooting rifle ban, financial impacts are beginning to become clear. In total, the Liberals are expected to put 48,000 jobs and over 4,000 small businesses in serious jeopardy during this economic and health crisis, while running up more debt.
The cost of buy the inventory of retailers, manufacturers and distributors of the announced ban was estimated between $900 M and $1.04 B. This is before the buy back of personal firearms which is estimated to be over $300 M and likely closer to $600 M. In total, $1.2 to $1.6 Billion.
This comes close to the amount we spend per year on the security of our borders.
SUPPORT FOR FISHERIES LACKING: With fisheries struggling for similar reasons to farmers, the fisheries community has the same issues as Liberals fail to drive any real support to our food producers and secure our food supply.
APRIL 24 UPDATE: RENT RELIEF FOR SMALL BUSINESSES CHARITIES & NON-PROFITS
The federal government announced today it had an agreement to help relieve rent costs for small businesses, charities and non-profits. Any small business shut down by COVID-19 or experiencing a 70% drop in revenues will be eligible. Through the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation and in partnership with the Alberta government, property owners will be eligible for forgivable loans of up to 50% of rent for April, May and June months from their business, non-profit and charities if they agree to reduce rent to impacted commercial renters by 75% for those months. Companies who do not reduce the rent will not be eligible for the loan forgiveness.
More details to follow as they are made available.
Small business groups have already raised concerns with the criteria – which are the same issues with the previous programs designed by the Liberal government. Namely, that the rate of business losses may not reflect the realities of many businesses that are in distress (70%) and that landlords may not participate because it requires them to take a loss. Because the program flows through landlords, small businesses, charities and non-profits may not be able to get rent relief based on the situation and decisions of the property owners.
APRIL 23 UPDATE: ADDED FUNDING FOR TREATMENT & RESEARCH, SCHEER CALLS FOR PLAN & MEDICAL STOCKPILE DESTROYED
ADDED FUNDING FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT FOR COVID: Today the federal expanded their funding for research and treatments for COVID-19 to $1.1 billion with an emphasis on three pillars: $115 M for research into vaccines and treatments being developed in addition to previous funding announced, $662 M for clinical trials lead by Canada, $350 M to increase national testing and modelling.
The federal government is also creating a new medical task force lead by the current Chief Medical Officer of Canada, Dr. Theresa Tam, and the Chief Science Officer Dr. Mona Nemer to work on the immune response and conducting 1 million tests over the next two years in preparation and support of a vaccine.
SCHEER CALLS FOR THE GOVERNMENT’S PLAN: As provinces begin to roll out and announce their plans to re-open their economies, today Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called on the Liberals to put in place and provide to Canadians an idea ow when Canada might get back to normal and what the plan to re-open the economy would look like.
ONE-THIRD OF FEDERAL MEDICAL STOCKPILE DESTROYED PRIOR TO CRISIS: Today media stories broke that one third of the emergency medical supplies purchased and maintained by the federal government were destroyed to reduce costs. Two years ago the Liberal government made a decision to reduce the number of warehouses and stockpiles significantly to save money. The supplies destroyed are the exact supplies that the federal government is working now to procure including masks and personal protective equipment (PPE).
APRIL 22 UPDATE: ANNOUNCEMENT FOR STUDENTS, CHANGES TO BORDER CROSSING RULES, EMERGENCY COMMUNITY SUPPORT FUND & FLIGHTS TO UNITED STATES SUSPENDED SUNDAY, APRIL 26
NEW PROGRAM FOR STUDENTS: The federal government announced a new program for students who can’t work during the COVID crisis. Any student intending to return to school in the Fall and those who have graduated since December 2019 are eligible for $1,250 per month of funding. Any student who is caring for another person or someone with a disability is eligible for up to $1750 per month. Any student earning up to $1,000 per month can apply.
This new program named the Canada Emergency Student Benefit will provide a monthly amount to students from May to August and cost taxpayers approximately $9 billion. Details on how to qualify and apply will be posted as soon as they are available.
FUNDING FOR STUDENTS SERVING IN THE COMMUNITIES: Students who are providing valuable services to their community during this crisis will also be eligible for a $1,000 to $5,000 grant – the new Canada Student Service Grant – to help with their tuition this Fall. As soon as details are available they be provided on this site.
EXPANDING CANADA STUDENT GRANT: The Canada Student Grant provides financial support to full time and part time students from low-and middle-income families. Students who qualify for financial assistance are eligible for the Grant. The federal government has expanded the grant from $3,000 to $6,000 for full time students and from $1,800 to $3,600 for part-time students.
More details on any administration or applications will be posted as soon as they are available.
LIBERALS SNEAK IN CHANGES TO BORDER CROSSING RULES: In March the Liberals announced that people seeking to cross the border would be turned back the US, a measure to prevent the spread of COVID. This was critical since most crossing continued between New York State – a site of major outbreaks – and Quebec which is battling rising COVID numbers.
Late yesterday the Liberals issued an internal order that effective midnight, anyone who presents themselves at a Canada-US point of entry would be allowed to claim asylum. This move will place enormous pressure on stretched provincial systems and could allow continued transmission from the US up to Canada.
EMERGENCY COMMUNITY SUPPORT FUND: COVID-19 is having a disproportionate impact on vulnerable Canadians, many of whom are at a greater risk of suffering from the health, social and economic effects of the pandemic. The call to reduce social contact has also created challenges for the community organizations on whose services and supports many of those vulnerable Canadians rely.
The $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund will help community organizations adapt frontline services for vulnerable Canadians – such as seniors, people with disabilities, veterans, newcomers, women, children and youth, LGBTQ2 people, Indigenous people and racialized people– to the challenges of COVID-19.
This program will also allow this community organizations to adjust their services to meet the evolving inclusion, wellbeing and safety needs of vulnerable Canadians in the face of COVID-19 including:
Expand home deliveries of groceries or medication;
Transport seniors or people with disabilities to appointments;
Widen the reach of help lines that give information and link people to services;
Replace in-person, one-on-one contact with contact through phone calls, texts or the Internet; and
Train volunteers on health and safety so that they can continue to make their invaluable contributions to the COVID-19 response.
Funding will flow through national organizations including the United Way, the Canadian Red Cross and Community Foundations of Canada to leverage national partners existing community-based networks to ensure a rapid and effective flow of funds in line with local community needs. The networks of those partners stretch across the country. Their local offices and agencies understand local issues and many are already funding community organizations to respond to COVID-19.
Community organizations will be able to apply for funds through the national partners or their local entities and are working as quickly as possible to set up application processes. Community organizations should check the following websites for more information:
FLIGHTS TO US SUSPENDED SUNDAY: Air Canada has announced it will suspend all flights to the United States starting Sunday, April 26. The company has noted that the Canada-US border to suspend nonessential travel means it will suspend commercial flights until May 22, 2020 unless government restrictions are extended again.
Air Canada will waive change fees for affected customers.
West Jet also extended its international and US commercial flights until June 4.
APRIL 21 UPDATE: PARLIAMENT SITTINGS, EMERGENCY WAGE SUBSIDY TIMELINES, MORE FUNDING FOR CHARITIES & COMMUNITY GROUPS & SUPPORT FOR FIRST NATIONS
PARLIAMENT SITTINGS: Parliament sat April 20th and debated the need to continue to hold Parliamentary sittings and Question Period so that the government continues to hear about issues and Canadians struggling and how to resolve these issues. The House of Commons passed a motion setting out a sitting schedule for the next few weeks.
The House of Commons will sit virtually next Tuesday and in person on Wednesday. Starting May 7th, the House of Commons will also sit virtually on Thursday.
Parliament is slated to resume full sitting of the House on May 25th.
EMERGENCY WAGE TIMELINES ANNOUNCED: Federal government is promising applications can be filed April 27 and payments to be made at or around May 5th for most applicants (~90%).
EMPLOYER WAGE SUBSIDY CALCULATOR: CRA is launching a calculator for employers to determine how much money they can expect from the CEWS (Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy). This is intended to give employers and idea of what they can expect.
MORE FUNDING FOR CHARITIES & COMMUNITY GROUPS: The Federal government announced $350 M to support organizations and charities providing important care and support to those with health concerns, delivery of medications and groceries, transportation for seniors, information and support lines, and providing added supplies and training to volunteers during the crisis.
More details as they become available.
SUPPORT FOR FIRST NATIONS: To support Indigenous Businesses across the country, the federal government announced $306.8 M to support Aboriginal Financial Institutions that offer financing to these businesses through short term, interest free loans. This is addition to the $305 M provided by the federal government to First Nations across the country on a per capita basis, adjusted for remoteness of the community and the communities’ wellness.
APRIL 17 UPDATE: ENERGY SECTOR FUNDING, HELP FOR SMALL BUSINESSES & RURAL COMPANIES, ADDED CREDIT FOR MEDIUM-SIZED ENERGY COMPANIES, EMISSION REDUCTION FUND, SUPPORT FOR START-UPS & SUPPORT FOR ARTISTS, ENTERTAINERS & AMATEUR ATHLETES
ENERGY SECTOR FUNDING: The Liberals have committed to a $1.7 billion orphan well clean up fund for BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan to clean up orphaned wells. Due to the Liberals policies that have destroyed or driven out energy companies, thousands of wells have become orphaned or abandoned. This fund would maintain 5,200 job in Alberta.
Aid was promised 23 days ago, “in days, if not hours” by the Minister of Finance. It would seem whatever plan was originally drafted it was stopped by environmentalists at the Cabinet table.
HELP FOR SMALL BUSINESSES & RURAL COMPANIES: In response to demands that the government make emergency loans available to smaller communities excluded because they don’t bank with one of the larger banks, and small companies who don’t fit into the Liberals criteria for wage subsidies, they committed to provide $962 M through regional development agencies like Western Diversification and the Community Futures networks. Details are not yet available for these programs.
ADDED CREDIT FOR AT-RISK MEDIUM SIZED ENERGY COMPANIES: The federal government promised today to have EDC and BDC expand their credit support programs previously announced to medium sized companies at risk of default or closure. Further details to come.
EMISSION REDUCTION FUND: Liberals announced a $750 M emission reduction fund, targeting methane reductions, to support emissions reductions. 10% of the funding would be set aside for Newfoundland’s offshore oil companies to reduce emissions. More details are expected in the future.
SUPPORT FOR START-UPS & NEW COMPANIES: The federal government will be providing $270 M to Futurepreneur (a Toronto-based non-profit) and IRAP (Industrial Research Assistance Program) to support start-up companies and new companies that do not qualify for the previously announced programs like the emergency loans and the wage subsidy. Funding details will be posted when they are available.
Companies can contact the National Research Council which has IRAP teams across the country:
SUPPORT FOR ARTISTS, ENTERTAINERS & AMATEUR ATHLETES: The federal government has promised $500 M to support exceptional athletes like Olympians and Paralympians, artists and entertainers during the crisis.
APRIL 16 UPDATE: PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE CANADA EMERGENCY BUSINESS ACCOUNT & NEW CANADA EMERGENCY COMMERCIAL RENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
PROPOSED CHANGES TO CANADA EMERGENCY BUSINESS ACCOUNT (CEBA): The CEBA is an emergency loan financing by the federal government and provided in partnership with the banking community. The Liberals have listened to demands from small business owners, Opposition MPs, to reduce the program requirements. Small businesses with between $20,000 and $1.5 M in payroll in 2019 will now qualify – previously they were set at $50,000 and $1 M which prevented some companies from being eligible. Companies can borrow up to $40,000 with 25% of the loan being non-repayable.
Conservatives continue to pressure the Liberals to make added changes. Canadians with new companies, who are self-employed, are paid through a dividend, or who bank with a local credit unions are still not eligible.
Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) Eligibility Criteria
The Borrower is a Canadian operating business in operation as of March 1, 2020.
The Borrower has a federal tax registration.
The Borrower’s total employment income paid in the 2019 calendar year was between Cdn.$20,000 and Cdn.$1,500,000.
The Borrower has an active business chequing/operating account with the Lender, which is its primary financial institution. This account was opened on or prior to March 1, 2020 and was not in arrears on existing borrowing facilities, if applicable, with the Lender by 90 days or more as at March 1, 2020.
The Borrower has not previously used the Program and will not apply for support under the Program at any other financial institution.
The Borrower acknowledges its intention to continue to operate its business or to resume operations.
The Borrower agrees to participate in post-funding surveys conducted by the Government of Canada or any of its agents.
NEW – CANADA EMERGENCY COMMERCIAL RENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM PROPOSED: Will provide loans (including forgivable loans) to commercial property owners who must in in turn lower or forgo the rent of their small business tenants for April, May and June. This proposed program will require cooperation with provinces and territories and the federal government is discussing its implementation with provincial governments.
APRIL 15 UPDATE: CERB ELIGIBILITY EXPANDED, HELP FOR LOWER INCOME ESSENTIAL WORKERS, JOB LOSSES, BANK OF CANADA UPDATE & MORE
MORE CANADIANS ELIGIBLE FOR $2000/MONTH BENEFIT: The government today proposed expanding the emergency benefit to include anyone who is earning less than $1,000 per month, seasonal workers, and self-employed , anyone who was not working or who’s EI has run out (this will require legislative changes to implement). More Canadians will be a be able to access the $2,000 per month Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) but no timeline is available when.
The CERB is available to workers who meet all of the following conditions:
live in Canada and are at least 15 years old
stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits
have not voluntarily quit their job
had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application.
To help more Canadians benefit from the CERB, the government is announcing changes to the eligibility rules to:
Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Extend the CERB to workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19.
HELP FOR LOWER-INCOME ESSENTIAL WORKERS: Essential workers have continued to work and do their jobs despite the risks, many while making low incomes. The federal government announced that it would be working tomorrow with Premiers and provinces to provide added income benefits and supports for any essential worker making less than $2,500 per month. The federal government will cost share the salary top-ups in Quebec and BC and will look into added agreements with other provinces.
JOB LOSSES SIGNIFICANT – ECONOMY DROPS 9%: Statistics Canada today had an initial report on March economic performance outlining a 9% decline in our economy – the largest one month drop since it began tracking the figures in 1961.
This is only an initial assessment and Statistics Canada and more time will be needed to fully calculate the decline in the economy – but the initial calculation suggests this is the largest economic decline in Canadian history. See the report here: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200415/dq200415a-eng.htm
BANK OF CANADA CONTINUES LOW INTEREST RATES, MONEY SUPPLY: The Bank of Canada maintained interest rates this morning. On goods news, consumer prices are expected to remain low and inflation is not expected to dramatically increase prices.
However, they are forecasting a significant decline in our economy (15-30%) over the next quarter. They have provided $200 B in lending to banks to ensure that our banks remain strong during the crisis, and continue to print money to add funding to the Government of Canada’s emergency response ($5 billion per week). This point to longer term challenges that will need to be managed in the future.
See their release here: https://www.bankofcanada.ca/2020/04/fad-press-release-2020-04-15/
TESTING CHEMICALS SUPPLY SECURED: LuminUltra, a New Brunswick-based company, has increased supply of essential testing chemicals for COVID-19 to be able to supply all provinces with all the chemicals needed in the future. Say thanks to @LuminUltra at https://twitter.com/LuminUltra/status/1250138015705546753
CANADIAN RANGERS DEPLOYING TO NORTHERN QUEBEC: The federal government is sending the Canadian Rangers into northern Quebec at the request of the province to provide assistance in the region.
MENTAL HEALTH PORTAL BEING LAUNCHED: The federal government has made mental health resources for all Canadians accessible through Canada.ca (https://ca.portal.gs/) and the Canada COVID app (https://www.thrive.health/canada-covid19-app).
APRIL 14 UPDATE: WAGE SUBSIDY PASSED, MORE HELP COMING, NEW RULES FOR TRAVELLERS RETURNING TO CANADA, TEMPORARY FOREIGN WORKERS, BORDER UPDATE (DEL BONITA & CARWAY) & ALBERTA GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENTS
WAGE SUBSIDY PASSED: Parliament passed the wage subsidy over the Easter Long Weekend with a limited number of MPs and Senators working to push the legislation through. The Conservatives were able to clarify and add changes to the legislation to make it more accessible to more Canadians. The subsidy will provide up to $847 per week per employee – backdated from March 15 to June 6, 2020.
Conservatives have proposed that companies be permitted to go get wage subsidies now through their bank and the bank be reimbursed in a few weeks when the subsidies are finally provided in 3-5 weeks.
CANADA EMERGENCY WAGE SUBSIDY PROVIDES CRITICAL HELP TO EMPLOYERS BY COVERING 75% OF WAGES: On March 18, the Government announced a 10% wage subsidy up to $25,000. After Conservatives and business leaders pointed out that 10% just was not enough to help businesses struggling with shut-downs and huge declines in revenue, the government increased its wage subsidy to 75% on April 8.
How much does the new wage subsidy provide?
Between March 15, 2020 and June 6, 2020, the government will provide a wage subsidy for each employee that is 75% of remuneration up to $847 per week. Employers are expected to make “best efforts” to pay employees their full earnings, where possible, and there is no maximum overall limit on the total subsidy that an employer can claim.
Who is eligible?
Employers who experience a reduction in gross revenues of at least 15% in March and 30% in April or May will be able to access the subsidy. Employers have the choice between two methods to show the drop in revenues. They can compare their revenue of March, April and May 2020 to that of the same month of 2019, or they can compare it to an average of their revenue earned in January and February 2020. Employers are also allowed to measure revenues either on the basis of accrual accounting (as they are earned) or cash accounting (as they are received)
The subsidy is available to individuals, corporations, partnerships of eligible employers, as well as non-profit organizations and charities. Public sector entities are not eligible. The Government also announced that it will offer additional flexibility to charities and non-profit organizations on how they calculate the declines in revenue, and they can exclude government funding from those calculations.
How do I apply?
Eligible employers can apply for the CEWS through the Canada Revenue Agency’s My Business Account portal. The government expects to have the portal (hopefully) running some time in May. Employers should keep records to verify the decline in revenues and the remuneration paid to employees.
PROMISE OF MORE HELP COMING: Today the Prime Minister announced his intention to bring forward added support for impacted Canadians including impacted sectors, students, essential workers and commercial rental costs for businesses.
NEW RULES FOR TRAVELLERS RETURNING TO CANADA: All travellers entering Canada, including foreigners, residents and citizens, are required to self-isolate for two weeks (14 days) after returning. Starting today, any travellers who do not have a plan to self-isolate can be ordered to quarantine in a hotel by the federal government to ensure the quarantine in respected.
WAGE SUBSIDY FOR TEMPORARY FOREIGN WORKERS:
The government announced $50 M in funding for the agriculture sector to support temporary foreign workers during their required 14-day isolation upon arrival in Canada. Funding can be used by employers to find new or maintain housing and rental conditions for workers during their isolation.
BORDER UPDATE – ALBERTA – REDUCED HOURS – DEL BONITA AND CARWAY BORDER CROSSING: Effective April 15 at midnight.
Our office was advised that due to changes by the US Customs and Border Patrol, the hours of operations at the Del Bonita and the Carway crossings would be reduced.
Del Bonita will operate 9:00AM to 5:00PM (down from 9:00 AM to 6:00PM)
Carway will operate 8:00AM to 6:00PM (typical hours 7:00AM to 11:00PM)
These reduced hours reflect closures on the US side of the border due to the COVID crisis and will be reviewed weekly.
ALBERTA TO MATCH CHARITABLE DONATIONS: The Alberta government has pledged to match charitable donations up to $2 million to support groups who are delivering important services during this crisis.
ALBERTA TO USE PEER COUNTRY APPROVAL OF TESTING, VACCINES IF HEALTH CANADA DELAYS PROCESS: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has stated he will not wait for Health Canada if there is a reliable approved product from a peer country (Europe, Australia, US) that medical officers believe the province should use.
APRIL 9 UPDATE: POLICE ENFORCEMENT, ALBERTA INVESTMENT IN JOBS & SUPPLY CHAINS
POLICE ENFORCING QUARANTINE ACT: RCMP and other police services began enforcing aspects of the Quarantine Act today including ticketing for gatherings beyond provincial limits, failing to abide by self-isolation requirements, failing to follow quarantine orders.
For more details, see: https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/news/2020/rcmp-covid-19-update
$2B INVESTMENT BY ALBERTA GOVERNMENT INTO JOBS: Alberta’s government is speeding up planned spending on roads and infrastructure increasing its budget from $937 M to $1.9 Billion in 2020-2021. This funding will be used to repair roads, schools, libraries, justice facilities and universities and colleges. In particular, $410 M is targeted for transportation projects.This increased spending should increase the number of jobs, particularly in construction, trades, and supply chain companies.
Full announcement here: https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=70048BECAA8D7-08BF-B86B-3E55D7AB543E4E26
SUPPORTING SECURE SUPPLY CHAINS: The Alberta government has temporarily suspended some rules on how long and how frequently truckers and railway workers can operate during this crisis so that we can ensure vital supplies are available to all families including food and health supplies. These rules will only be lifted during the pandemic.
For more information, visit: https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=70052C2266915-0167-5E5D-B30120ECF3BE4302
Have a safe Easter weekend.
APRIL 8 UPDATE: CHANGES TO WAGE SUBSIDY, CANADA SUMMER JOBS PROGRAM & NEW MEDICAL SUPPLIES COMING
WAGE SUBSIDY PROGRAM: The federal government announced changes requested by industry and Conservative Members to the business wage subsidy. The subsidy will provide up to $847 per week per employee to cover 75% of a worker’s salary. However, the Liberal design of the program made it inaccessible to thousands of companies.
The government announced some changes today, including removing the 30% drop in revenues from March of last year to 15% drop, measured against last March, or one of the first months this year (Jan or Feb 2020). Additionally for employees hired back onto payroll, the federal government will reimburse CPP and EI for those workers.
These changes should make the program more accessible for companies who should qualify but would have been excluded by the previous rules.
Conservatives continue to call for additional changes and to speed up the process. The government is projecting to begin payments in 3 weeks.
CANADA SUMMER JOBS: The Canada Summer Jobs program that provides work for tens of thousands of students has been changed to respond to the current situation. The program will now cover 100% of costs of hiring students on an interim basis, and the program will run longer – until February 2021. Companies seeking added help during the crisis can hire a student to have wages covered. Companies and non-profits currently closed will be able to hire students later in the year for the normal duration of time.
For full details, see here: https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2020/04/08/changes-canada-summer-jobs-program-help-businesses-and-young.
NEW MEDICAL SUPPLIES: Canada received 500,000 N95 masks overnight and the federal government will be distributing these across the country.
APRIL 7 UPDATE: GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES AGREEMENTS FOR MORE SUPPLIES IN NEAR FUTURE & FURTHER CLARITY FOR THOSE APPLYING FOR BENEFITS
HEALTH SUPPLIES: Today the federal government announced they had agreements in place to produce 30,000 ventilators and 22 apparel companies would be producing medical gowns, and had ordered more masks.
QUALIFYING FOR THE CANADIAN EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT: To be eligible, you must meet the following requirements:
– You reside in Canada
– You are 15 years old or more when you apply
For your first CERB application:
– You have stopped or will stop working due to reasons related to COVID-19
– For at least 14 days in a row for the period you are applying for, you will not receive:
provincial or federal benefits related to maternity or paternity leave
For your subsequent CERB applications:
– You continue to not work due to reasons related to COVID-19
– For the 4 week period you are applying for, you will not receive:
self-employment income; or
provincial or federal benefits related to maternity or paternity leave.
– You have not quit your job voluntarily
– You did not apply for, nor receive, CERB or EI benefits from Service Canada for the same eligibility period
– You earned a minimum of $5,000 income in the last 12 months or in 2019 from one or more of the following sources:
provincial or federal benefits related to maternity or paternity leave
The Benefit is only available to individuals who stopped work as a result of reasons related to COVID-19. If you are looking for a job but haven’t stopped working because of COVID-19, you are not eligible for the Benefit.
For example, if you are a student who had a job last year and were planning on working this summer you do not qualify for the benefit.
APRIL 6 UPDATE: MORE HELP COMING & BANKS WORKING WITH GOVERNMENT TO OFFER ONLINE ENROLMENT OF CANADA REVENUE AGENCY’S DIRECT DEPOSIT
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT – MORE HELP COMING: The federal government is looking into addressing those Canadians who cannot qualify for help but should – such as those on reduced hours, contract or gig employees, self-employed contractors and others. More help and changes are coming.
BANKS HELPING TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO RELIEF FUNDS THROUGH CRA DIRECT DEPOSIT: Effective today, banks are also working collaboratively with the Government of Canada to offer online enrollment of Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) direct deposit, a secure way to receive SIN based government benefit payments, including the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for people experiencing financial hardship due to COVID 19.
Canadians should visit their bank’s website for information on how to enroll for CRA direct deposit or, for those already registered for the service with the CRA, update their account information. Once enrolled, individuals will receive CRA payments such as benefits, credits and refunds deposited directly to their bank account, and will no longer receive cheques in the mail.
Starting April 6, 2020, individuals signed up for direct deposit with the CRA will be able to receive government benefit payments, including CERB, quickly, securely and directly to an account at a Canadian financial institution. Individuals must first determine their eligibility for CERB and enroll directly with CRA. Payments can be verified by checking your bank statement or by logging into CRA’s My Account.
For the full announcement by the Canadian Bankers Association, see here: https://cba.ca/banks-facilitate-access-to-relief-funds-through-cra-direct-deposit.
APRIL 3 UPDATE: FUNDING FOR FOOD BANKS, NEW COVID-19 GOVERNMENT APP & SUPPORT FOR FARMERS
FUNDING FOR FOOD BANKS: Today the federal government announced it would provide up $100M to organizations helping those in need including food banks ($50M), $20M shared between salvation army, second harvest, community food centres and breakfast clubs, and $30M for other local-level organizations experiencing food insecurity. Funds will purchase food and essential items for these organizations, support transportation and food delivery, hire temporary help, and implement food protection measures during the crisis. Funding will be delivered through the Local Food Infrastructure Fund delivered by Agriculture Canada.
NEW COVID-19 APP TO DOWNLOAD: Canadians can now download a COVID-19 app from the Government of Canada that puts reliable information about detection, what help is available and how to get it. Download it here: https://ca.thrive.health/
FARM CREDIT CANADA UPDATE – FINANCIAL & MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT FOR FARMERS: Backed by a $5 billions in funding, Farm Credit Canada (FCC) is providing deferral of principal and interest payments for 6 months or deferral of principal payments for 12 months, up to $500k in credit for 24 months (at a Prime +1% interest), and financial packages working with financial institutions for agribusinesses and food processors. FCC is not providing zero interest loans being made available through banks and other financial institutions.
It is a stressful time for all farmers and farm families. We encourage those struggling with their mental well-being to reach out for help. FCC have resources available online including our Rooted in Strength publication, designed with the unique needs of the agriculture industry in mind. FCC also works in partnership with The Do More Agriculture Foundation that offers numerous resources to support mental well-being.
Below is the full message from Farm Credit Canada:
Farm Credit Canada (FCC) has been a strong, steady partner in the agriculture and food industry for 60 years. We will continue to be that partner as we navigate the current health and economic difficulties created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
FCC has worked with the federal government on a support program for Canada’s agriculture and food industry, and we want to make sure you’re aware of what’s available.
As you know, the Government of Canada has enhanced FCC’s capital base to allow an additional $5 billion in lending capacity. This is designed to ensure producers, agribusinesses and food processors continue to have access to the cash flow they need during this unprecedented disruption in our daily lives. It’s important to note that supporting the industry will take strong collaboration between banks, credit unions, FCC and other financial institutions.
The immediate solutions we’re offering include:
Deferral of principal and interest payments for six months OR a deferral of principal payments for up to 12 months
Access to a 24-month credit line up to $500,000 at a rate of Prime +1% and no fees. The loan is secured by general security agreements (provinces other than Quebec) or universal movable hypothec (Quebec only)
FCC will work to provide medium to larger agribusiness and food processors with more substantive financial packages, often in conjunction with other financial institutions.
The FCC funding isn’t in the form of grants or other interest-free loans. Our focus is to provide support for viable businesses, ensuring we make timely and responsible decisions based on their needs and the best interests of the industry.
The mental health of Canada’s agriculture industry continues to be a focus for FCC. We encourage those struggling with their mental well-being to reach out for help. We have resources available online including our Rooted in Strength publication, designed with the unique needs of the agriculture industry in mind. FCC also works in partnership with The Do More Agriculture Foundation that offers numerous resources to support mental well-being. In the coming weeks, FCC will share mental health public service announcements on radio and digital channels to reinforce mental health support available for the industry.
The importance of Canadian producers and food processors to our nation and the world has been highlighted by the current situation. At FCC, our mandate is to support Canadian agriculture through all business cycles, and we’re confident we can take on the challenges ahead, together.
For full details regarding the program, please visit fcc.ca.
APRIL 2 UPDATE: PUBLIC SAFETY CANADA OUTLINES ‘ESSENTIAL SERVICES’
Public Safety Canada has outlined critical roles in our economy and society that are deemed “essential services”. Provinces and municipalities are primarily responsible for which businesses operate locally and who should be open. These guidelines outline what the federal government deems an essential service over ten sectors.
Full announcement here: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-safety-canada/news/2020/04/government-of-canada-provides-guidance-on-services-and-functions-deemed-essential-to-canadas-critical-infrastructure-during-covid-19.html
APRIL 1 UPDATE: UPDATES ON EMERGENCY WAGE SUBSIDIES & THE EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT
THE CANADA EMERGENCY WAGE SUBSIDY: March 15 to June 6, 2020 (12 weeks) providing 75% of wages up to $847 per week (maximum $58,700 per year income).
When applying, businesses will need to show revenues to CRA from March-May 2019 to demonstrate a 30% or more drop in revenues.
All for-profit, non-profit and charities are eligible for small, medium or large organizations (exception is public services). Revenue decreases for newer companies, charities and non-profits will work with government on appropriate calculations.
Government of Canada expects a best effort to top up the salaries of employees to 100% and will require companies to attest to strive for this.
Program will cost an estimated $71 B but it may also decrease some of the CERB costs.
Breaching the rules or misuse of funding will meet with severe penalties from the federal government but its unclear what those rules are or what a breach looks like.
Full details on the Emergency Wage Subsidy here: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/04/the-canada-emergency-wage-subsidy.html
CANADA EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT: Canadians will be able to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) as of April 6th -9th based on your birth month at http:/
April 6: Anyone born in January to March
April 7: Anyone born in April to June
April 8: Anyone born in July to September
April 9: Anyone born in October to December
Those looking for a job but not working because of COVID-19 are not eligible for the benefit. Summer students will not qualify for the benefit.
ELIGIBILITY: The CERB will be available to workers:
Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
Who have stopped working because of COVID-19;
Who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and
Who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment income.
The income of at least $5,000 may be from any or a combination of the following sources: employment; self-employment; maternity and parental benefits under the Employment Insurance program and/or similar benefits paid in Quebec under the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan.
APPLICATION PROCESS: Canadians will be able to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) as of April 6th -9th based in your birth month at http:/
April 6: Anyone born in January to March
April 7: Anyone born in April to June
April 8: Anyone born in July to September
April 9: Anyone born in October to December
Those looking for a job but not working because of COVID-19 are not eligible for the benefit. Summer students will not qualify for the benefit.
Applicants will be asked simple questions that help direct them to one of two service options:
Canadians who would generally be eligible for EI benefits will be directed to apply for the CERB through Service Canada through Appliweb; or
Canadians who would generally not be eligible for EI benefits will be directed to apply for the CERB through the CRA’s MyAccount or CRA’s automated toll-free line at 1-800-959-2019.
Canadians calling the toll-free line at 1-800-959-2019 will be connected to the CRA’s automated telephone system. This is a dedicated line for CERB applications.
The benefit is available from March 15, 2020, to October 3, 2020. You can apply no later than December 2, 2020.
MARCH 31 UPDATE: ALBERTA – PROVINCIAL INVESTMENT KICKSTARTS KXL PIPELINE & FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENTS
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENTS: Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan includes additional financial measures and programs to support Canadian exporters impacted by COVID-19 including:
More than $10 billion in financing and credit insurance solutions to Canadian businesses through the new Business Credit Availability Program
A 75 per cent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. Details are expected April 1, 2020.
Interest-free loans of up to $40,000 through the new Canada Emergency Business Account to help small businesses cover operating costs during periods where revenues have been temporarily reduced.
New loan guarantees of up to $6.25 million through EDC in new operating credit and cash flow term loans that financial institutions can extend to SMEs.
Loan guarantees of up to $5 million through EDC so that companies can access more cash immediately and new measures for credit insurance customers that will:
Cover losses for goods shipped even if the buyer has not accepted the goods, subject to terms.
Waive the 60-day waiting period for claims.
Additional measures for businesses filing income and benefit returns.
ALBERTA GOVERNMENT: The Government of Alberta announced late on March 30th they would invest $1.5 billion into the TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) Keystone project and provide another $6 B in loan guarantees to get the Keystone project moving. This project will support 6,800 jobs in Alberta and support another 15,000 jobs in Canada.
MARCH 30 UPDATE: WAGE SUBSIDY CHANGES FORTHCOMING & COVID-19 EMERGENCY LOAN REQUEST FORM FOR TRAVELLERS ABROAD
ATTENTION BUSINESSES – WAGE SUBSIDY CHANGES FORTHCOMING: Today, the government announced additional details to support small businesses. All businesses, regardless of the number of employees they have, whose revenue has decreased by 30 per cent or more due to COVID-19 will be eligible for an up to 75 per cent wage subsidy. The subsidy will cover up to 75% of an employee’s first $58,700 in annual earnings which could mean payments of up to $847 a week retroactive to March 15, 2020. Charities and not-for-profit organizations will also be eligible to apply. Businesses are also encouraged to top up their employees’ wages if they are able to do so.
Prime Minister Trudeau said that Minister Morneau would be announcing additional details, including costing, tomorrow. However, many questions remain including when businesses will be able to apply and when funds will start to flow.
Check back for more updates as they become available.
COVID-19 EMERGENCY LOAN REQUEST FORM FOR TRAVELLERS ABROAD: This form is meant for Canadians who are requesting a Government of Canada loan to help secure their timely return to Canada and to temporarily cover their life-sustaining needs while they work toward their return. Please make sure to enter the case number provided to you. Failure to do so may result in delays in processing your loan request.
The loan will be repaid to the Receiver General of Canada within 180 days of receipt of invoice. No interest shall apply. If the individual fails to repay this amount, money may be deducted from any money that may be owing to the borrower by the Government of Canada.
MARCH 28 UPDATE: RESTRICTIONS ON INTER-PROVINCIAL TRAVEL, CLOSING NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES IN ALBERTA
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT – SCREENING OF TRAVEL IN CANADA: All interprovincial travel will have screening imposed for flights, trains and buses. Anyone who shows symptoms will not be permitted to board. Interprovincial trade and car travel remains open however some provinces are implementing 14 day isolation requirements for interprovincial travellers.
MARCH 27 UPDATE: ALBERTA GOVERNMENT – PARK CLOSURES, PROTECTION FOR RENTERS & CLOSURE OF NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES
PARKS CLOSED TO VEHICLES: Alberta will block all vehicles from accessing provincial parks matching federal park restrictions.
PROTECTING RENTERS: During this public health crisis no rent increases, no evictions for non-payment before May 1, 2020. Landlords or not permitted to charge late fees for 3 months. Details here: https://www.alberta.ca/release
CLOSURE OF NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES: Close contact businesses are ordered to close as we combat this public health emergency to fight the spread of illness. A full list of all impacted companies can be found here: https://www.alberta.ca/restric
MARCH 27 UPDATE: SERVICE CANADA CENTRES CLOSE – USE ONLINE PORTAL OR CALL INSTEAD
SERVICE CANADA: The Federal Government has closed all 317 Service Canada Centres after staff refused to report to work out of fear of getting sick. Anyone seeking EI and other benefits are asked to use the online portal at
https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/my-account.html or call at 1-800-O-Canada (1-800-622-6232).
Service Canada Centres have become a challenge – especially for staff who have faced increasing demands and longer lines. After increased incidents of people with symptoms coming in person, as well sneezing at staff when they were denied funding, changes were needed.
If you are having issues getting through you are encouraged to try before 8 am or after 6 pm when volumes drop.
ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES: Today the Federal Government announced additional support for small businesses.
The Government of Canada is focused on helping Canadians and businesses through this tough economic time. We will continue to protect the health and safety of Canadians, while supporting families and businesses and keeping our economy strong in the face of uncertainty.
New measures announced today will help Canadian businesses protect the jobs that Canadians depend on, and pay their workers and bills during these difficult times.
To further support small businesses, the Government of Canada will:
Announce a 75 per cent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. This will help businesses to keep and return workers to the payroll. More details on eligibility criteria will start with the impact of COVID-19 on sales, and will be shared before the end of the month.
Allow businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments until June, as well as customs duties owed for imports. This measure is the equivalent of providing up to $30 billion in interest-free loans to Canadian businesses. It will help businesses so they can continue to pay their employees and their bills, and help ease cash-flow challenges across the country.
Launch the new Canada Emergency Business Account. This program will provide up to $25 billion to eligible financial institutions so they can provide interest-free loans to small businesses. These loans – guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada – will ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need, at a zero per cent interest rate, so they can pay for rent and other important costs over the next number of months.
Launch the new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program that will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank, for guaranteed loans when small businesses go to their financial institutions to help weather the impacts of COVID-19. This is intended for small and medium-sized companies that require greater help to meet their operational cash flow requirements.
These new investments will help Canada’s financial institutions provide the credit and liquidity options that a range of Canadian businesses need immediately.
The Government of Canada understands that some sectors have been disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to carefully monitor all developments, and take further action in the near term. We’re all in this together, and the Government of Canada will continue to work around the clock to ensure all Canadians and small businesses get the support they need to weather this crisis.
MARCH 25 UPDATE: LEGISLATION PASSES, NEW CANADA EMERGENCY SUPPORT BENEFIT, MORE COMING FOR BUSINESSES & MANDATORY QUARANTINE FOR TRAVELLERS
LEGISLATION TO HELP CANADIANS PASSES PARLIAMENT & THE SENATE: Early this morning Parliament approved the passage of legislation to enable benefits and supports for Canadian workers, companies.
Conservatives forced the removal of the Liberal measures to give themselves unrestricted taxation and spending powers without consulting Parliament. This measure was firmly rejected by the Conservatives. We stand ready to return any time that more measures are needed, to act quickly to enact legislation, but we will not give Justin Trudeau and the Liberals with their questionable record the ability to spend without explanation or reporting.
NEW CANADIAN EMERGENCY SUPPORT BENEFIT: The new Emergency Support Benefit replaced the Emergency Care and Emergency Support Benefits announced last week. It will expedite the process, and reduce red tape. The Government has reassigned significant human resources to deal with large influx.
$2,000 per month per person will be given for anyone staying home to care for someone with COVID-19, anyone in isolation, anyone laid off or out of work because of COVID-19, or anyone who has lost wages as a result.
MORE COMING FOR BUSINESSES: Liberals have promised to do more, but will not be announcing anything until next week. Credit and loans are available through previously announced programs.Trudeau promised that a package or support for media would also be coming.
TRAVEL: Minister Freeland held a Press Conference today to say that mandatory quarantine measures for international travellers returning to Canada will take effect tonight at midnight.
NEW PENALTIES TO ENFORCE ISOLATION MEASURES: Law enforcement agencies have been given the authority to enforce public health orders and issue fines. Anyone travelling from overseas must self-isolate for 14 days and anyone with symptoms must self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days. Officers can now issue fines of $1,000 per instance (up from $100) and Courts can increase those penalties to $100,000 per instance and up to $500,000 for repeat offenders. For more: https://www.alberta.ca/release
FUNDING FOR THOSE IN ISOLATION: Working Alberta adults who have experienced total or significant loss of income as a result of having to self-isolate or care for a dependent who is self-isolating can receive up to $1,146 one time payment from the Alberta government if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19, are caring for a dependent who is self-isolating, have otherwise been directed by health authorities to self-isolate, or are not receiving compensation from any other source. This measures is intended as a stop-gap before the federal government delivers supports starting in April.
MARCH 24 UPDATE: NEW – COVID-19 RESOURCES FOR CANADIAN BUSINESSES , ALBERTA TEXT-BASED SERVICE & SUPPORT FOR THE HOMELESS
BUSINESS CREDIT AVAILABILITY PROGRAM: Businesses seeking support through BCAP [Business Credit Availability Program] should contact the financial institutions with whom they have a pre-existing relationship, so that the financial institutions may assess the client’s financial request.
If the needs of the client exceed the level of support the financial institution is able to provide, the financial institution will work alongside BDC or EDC to access additional resources the Government has made available under BCAP.
List of Participating private sector lenders in the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)
ALBERTA HEALTH SERVICES LAUNCHED A NEW TEXT-BASED SERVICE FOR COVID-19: AHS has launched a new text-based service to give Albertans encouragement and ease feelings of stress or anxiety as they respond to recent challenges. Albertans can text COVID19Hope to 393939. In response, they will receive daily text messages on how to focus on healthy thinking or actions to help them manage their mood.
Full details here: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page17019.aspx
ALBERTA – SUPPORT FOR THE HOMELESS: Alberta’s Government is providing $25 million to support homeless-serving agencies respond to COVID-19. Additional supports have been added in Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, Grande Prairie and Red Deer.
Fort McMurray and Medicine Hat have shelter capacity to implement social distancing recommendations.
MARCH 23 UPDATE: FARMERS, RESEARCH TO COMBAT COVID-19 & PROVINCIAL INFORMATION FOR SENIORS, CONSUMERS, DAYCARES & SCHOOLS
FARM CREDIT CANADA: The Government of Canada announced the following measures this morning to help farmers.
Additional $5 Billion in lending capacity to producers, agribusiness and food processors.
Increased flexibility for farmers, processors.
Loans due by April 30 receive a stay of default for 6 months ($173 M in deferred loans). Farmers should contact their administrators.
The new deadlines for outstanding Advance Payments Program loans are as follows:
September 30, 2020: 2018 cash advances for grains, oilseeds, and pulses.
September 30, 2020: 2018 cash advances for cattle and bison.
October 31, 2020: 2019 cash advances on flowers and potted plants.
If farmers have less than $1 M in outstanding loans, they can apply for up to $100,000 in additional interest-free loans.
Administrators participating in the Stay of Default are the Alberta Sugar Beet Growers, Alberta Wheat Commission, BC Breeder and Feeder Association, Canadian Canola Growers Association, Manitoba Corn Growers Association Inc., Manitoba Livestock Cash Advance Inc., Western Cash Advance Program Inc., PEI Federation of Agriculture, and the Agricultural Credit Corporation.
Farmers continue to have access to funding through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
More details regarding the Canadian Agricultural Partnership are here: http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/about-our-department/key-departmental-initiatives/canadian-agricultural-partnership/?id=1461767369849
RESEARCH TO COMBAT COVID-19: The Government of Canada is allocating $275 M in previously announced funding.
$192 M of Strategic Innovation Funding is being given to companies to deliver large-scale projects:
AbCellera (Vancouver): Antibody drugs to combat and treat COVID-19
Medicago (Quebec City): plant-based vaccine development and clinical trials
$23 M funding was announced for University of Saskatchewan VIDO-Intervac to develop manufacturing of potential vaccines for clinical trials.
$15 M to upgrade Montreal labs of the National Research Council Human Health Therapeutic lab to fight COVID-19.
A contract with Toronto-based BlueDot on advanced infection detection. BlueDot was one of the first to signal the threat of COVID-19.
Full announcement here: https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2020/03/23/canadas-plan-mobilize-science-fight-covid-19
MORTGAGES & LOANS – UPDATE FROM THE NATIONAL BANKERS ASSOCIATION: COVID-related mortgage deferral is available for an indefinite period (no deadline to apply), customers should consult their bank’s website for more information:
Note: Banks are offering to allow customers to defer payments (for defined period) but interest will continue to be accrued. The interest is added to the total of the mortgage and will be incorporated into a monthly payment when payments resume or when deferral period ends. Canadians who are impacted should contact their bank to discuss relief options suitable for their circumstance, including mortgage payment deferral.
PROVINCIAL INFORMATION FOR SENIORS, CONSUMERS, DAYCARES & SCHOOLS: The province of Alberta has updated new information for seniors, consumers, daycares and schools.
Full details here: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx
FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR ALBERTA: The Government of Alberta announced the following financial supports today:
Education property taxes are frozen at last years levels and increases in Budget 2020 cancelled.
For the next six months, the Albertan government will defer education property taxes for all Alberta businesses to leave $458 M with employers.
Businesses will be able to defer all Worker Compensation Board taxes for a full year to retain the money in the company and keep people employed. When the premium is due, the Alberta government will cover 50% for small and medium sized firms. Larger firms will have the full amount deferred until 2021. Employers who have already paid can seek a rebate or credit.
Full announcement here: https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=699045A66118C-FA03-F4F5-959455E3316B8564
CHANGES TO TESTING FOR COVID-19: Alberta government has changed it Covid-19 testing priorities given the rising demands. They will now prioritize individuals in hospital, continuing care residents, medical professionals with symptoms, and anyone in self-isolation from March 8-12 due to overseas travel.
Testing will no longer prioritize returning travellers with no or mild symptoms. Likewise, people with mild symptoms will not be tested. These individuals are to self-isolate for 14 days.
The self assessment test for Alberta has been updated here: https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Journey/COVID-19/Pages/COVID-Self-Assessment.aspx
Full announcement here: https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=6990035E38071-E7C1-B663-C973C8EF53352CA2
UPDATED BILLING CODES FOR PHYSICIANS: Doctors have new, temporary measures to bill for virtual care for Covid-19 patients.
Full announcement here: https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=69903565330D3-E112-D2BA-74B6070F51E005BA
MARCH 22 UPDATE: HEALTH CANADA, TRAVELLERS ABROAD & TEMPORARY FOREIGN WORKERS
MEDICAL SUPPLIES: Health Canada expedites access to COVID-19 two diagnostic laboratory test kits and other medical devices that were not previously readily available.
For Medical Supply Companies, the National Research Council has details on their program, National Research Council COVID-19 Challenge Program, here: https://nrc.canada.ca/en/research-development/research-collaboration/nrc-covid-19-response#s2
CLINICAL TRIAL SPONSORS: Companies and researchers with drugs, medical devices, or natural health products that may be effective in treating or diagnosing COVID-19 are encouraged to contact us to facilitate clinical trials.
Clinical trials are studies to find out whether a drug or medical device is safe and effective for people. We can authorize a clinical trial quickly in urgent situations.
Please contact us at:
Trials using pharmaceutical drugs: OCT_BEC_Enquiries_Enquetes@hc-sc.gc.ca
Trials using biologics or radiopharmaceuticals: firstname.lastname@example.org
Trials using natural health products: NHPD-CTA.DEC-DPSN@canada.ca
Investigational testing of medical devices:
TRAVELLERS & CANADIANS ABROAD: The first flights leaving from Morocco this weekend are operated by Air Canada. More flights will be made available in coming days, including to Spain and Peru.
Canadians overseas should register with the Foreign Affairs as soon as possible to hear about flights
Anyone coming into the country will need to follow all public health procedures (including 14-day quarantine), being checked before boarding for symptoms (must be symptom-free to fly to Canada).
REQUEST EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE: Contact Global Affairs directly at 613-996-8885 or
Anyone seeking Financial Assistance while abroad can seek a $5,000 loan by contacting Foreign Affairs at CAN.finances.CV19@international.gc.ca
A form for Canadians seeking financial assistance abroad can be found here: https://www.international.gc.ca/covid-19-loan-pret/form-formulaire.aspx?lang=eng
Sunwing announced it would give free seats to non-Sunwing customers where they have openings in the last few days of flights http://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/03/19/2003575/0/en/Sunwing-offers-available-seats-on-repatriation-flights-to-stranded-Canadians-for-free.html
All Westjet internatioanl flights are suspended by the airline effective March 22. A list of cancelled flights can be found here: https://blog.westjet.com/operational-updates-coronavirus-covid-19/
BORDERS: Canada and the USA have agreed to begin returning illegal immigrants who attempt to cross anywhere along the Canada-U.S border. This new measure is in effect as of March 21st. and will continue until April 21st 2020.
TEMPORARY FOREIGN WORKERS: The Government of Canada announced that temporary foreign workers who are critical for our agriculture and fisheries sectors would be permitted to enter Canada but would have to follow a 14 day quarantine after arriving.
These temporary Measures were announced:
Temporary modification to the Labour Market Impact Assessment process for agriculture and food processing employees – waving the 2-week recruitment period for the next 6 months.
Increase the maximum allowable employment duration for workers in the low-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program from 1 year to 2 years.
MARCH 20 UPDATE: CANADIAN BORDER
Effective March 21, the Canadian border will be closed to illegal border crossers who have been entering Canada in Quebec and Manitoba since 2016. Border officers and RCMP will turn those attempting to cross back to US authorities.
Federal funding will be available to Canadian companies to create products, services, or solutions to the COVID-19 virus and to support our health care system through existing funding and the $1 billion previously announced.
Funding will be made available through:
The Superclusters Initiative: https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/093.nsf/eng/home
The Strategic Innovation Fund: https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/125.nsf/eng/home
The NRC Challenges Program: https://nrc.canada.ca/en/research-development/research-collaboration/programs/challenge-programs)
The NRC IRAP program for small and medium businesses: https://nrc.canada.ca/en/support-technology-innovation/about-nrc-industrial-research-assistance-program
Programs will support scaling-up or re-tooling manufacturing in Canada to expand manufacturing, developing vaccines, and develop new tracking and testing products. The government of Canada has almost promised to streamline procurement rules during this time period to rapidly sign new agreements to get more critical products into the hands of our health care teams.
MARCH 19 UPDATE: GOVERNMENT OF ALBERTA ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES & JOB CREATORS
The Government of Alberta announced immediate financial relief for Alberta families and job creators impacted by the global COVID-19 virus.
Alberta is enduring its most serious and disruptive public health emergency in over a century with the COVID-19 global pandemic crisis.
The Government of Alberta promised to do everything within our power to limit the spread of the disease while providing a comprehensive relief package to help Alberta families, vulnerable populations, local businesses and employers to get through this together.
The Government of Alberta will help shelter Albertans from the economic disruption of COVID-19 now, and help Alberta’s industry and job creators bounce back when this situation stabilizes.
ALBERTA – EMERGENCY ISOLATION SUPPORT: Individuals who meet the requirements established by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, [Dr. Deena Hinshaw] will be able to apply next week for Emergency Isolation Support. This one-time payment of $573.00 is expected to be deposited in bank accounts by the end of next week.
ALBERTA – UTILITY BILLS: Albertans will be able to defer Residential, farm, and small commercial utility bills for the next 90 days. No one will be cut off from their electricity or heat during this time.
ALBERTA – STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS: Student loan payments will have a six-month, interest-free moratorium for all individuals who are repaying them.
ALBERTA – FINANCIAL RELIEF FOR LONES, LINES OF CREDIT & MORTGAGES: ATB will be joining other major financial institutions in a number of measures for financial relief for Albertans, including:
Deferral on their ATB loans, lines of credit, and mortgages for up to six months.
Small business customers, in addition to payment deferrals on loans and lines of credit, will be provided access to additional working capital.
Alberta’s Credit Unions are also taking steps to protect Albertans. Credit Union members should proactively contact their providers to gain access to programs and solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
ALBERTA – CORPORATE INCOME TAX DEFERRED: Employers will see their corporate income tax deferred until August 31, 2020 which should free more than $1.5 billion in funds to help cope with the economic fallout of COVID-19.
MARCH 18 UPDATE: CANADA’S COVID-19 ECONOMIC RESPONSE PLAN – SUPPORT FOR CANADIANS AND BUSINESSES
EMERGENCY CARE BENEFIT: $900 bi-weekly payment for up to 15 weeks through CRA by April 2020 for self-employed workers, any Canadian under quarantine or who has COVID-19, as well as anyone who is caring for children, an elderly family member, as well as anyone who does not qualify for Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits.
EMERGENCY SUPPORT BENEFITS: $5 billion program (more information to follow) for workers who lose their jobs, have had their hours reduced and who do not qualify for Employment Insurance (EI).
LOW INCOME CANADIANS – GST / HST: Canadians receiving the GST/HST credit will receive a one-time boost in May 2020: $400 for individuals, $600 per couple, and $150 per child.
FAMILIES – CHILD CARE BENEFIT (CCB): Increase $300 per child into the existing amounts for the CCB to be delivered on the May 2020 benefit.
EMPLOYERS – EXPORTERS: The Government of Canada intends to change the Canada Account managed by Export Development Canada (EDC) that can be used for exporters who are deemed in the “national interest” for loans, guarantees and insurance for exporters.
EMPLOYERS – WAGE SUBSIDY: Small and Medium sized companies will be able to reduce the income taxes sent to the federal government for the next 3 months by up to 10% (thereby leaving it on the employee’s paycheque) of employees wages up to $1,375 per employee and a maximum of $25,000 per company.
EMPLOYERS – TAXES DEFERRED: All companies will not be required to pay any taxes owed until August 31, 2020. Additionally, CRA will not be undertaking any audit activities or contacting any companies for GST/HST or taxes.
FARMERS: The Prime Minister today indicated an intent to increase credit available through Farm Credit Canada (more to follow).
STUDENTS: All student loan PAYMENTS suspended for 6 months.
INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES: $305 Million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Communities Support Fund for needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Nation communities.
EMPLOYERS – SUPPLEMENTAL UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT (SUB): This plan allows employers to increase their employees’ weekly earnings when they are unemployed due to a temporary stoppage of work, training, illness, injury or quarantine.
Payments from SUB plans that are registered with Service Canada are not considered as earnings and are not deducted from EI benefits (pursuant to subsection 37(1) of the EI Regulations).
MARCH 18 UPDATE: CANADIAN BANKERS ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCEMENT – PAYMENT DEFERRALS FOR MORTGAGES:
Effective immediately, the six largest banks in Canada (Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD) will offer up to a six-month payment deferral for mortgages and the opportunity for relief on other credit products.
MARCH 17 UPDATE: ASSISTANCE FOR CANADIAN TRAVELLERS ABROAD
To all Canadians experiencing difficult times abroad, we understand the situation, we are with you and we are doing everything we can to help. We are now dealing with a historic and unprecedented situation. We recommend that Canadians abroad return to Canada by commercial means while they are still available.
However, some countries have put measures in place such as closing land borders and in some cases shutting down their airspace. In some cases, such measures can go as far as the complete cancellation of flights for an indeterminate period of time. Such measures might prevent some Canadians from leaving the country in which they are located. If this is the case, we strongly recommend that you follow the advice of local authorities for your health and safety.
We have also set up a loan program of up to $5,000 per person to assist Canadians who need to either book an emergency flight or extend their stay abroad. For more information, you can contact the 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1 613-996-8885 (collect calls are accepted where possible) or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Please note that at this time, there are no other plans to repatriate Canadians abroad using charter flights. We continue to encourage Canadians outside of the country to register in the Registry of Canadians Abroad to receive important updates (https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration) and that they check the entry and exit requirements of the countries through which they may be transiting. We will share more information as it becomes available.
Full announcement here: https://travel.gc.ca/assistance/emergency-assistance
MARCH 16, 2020 UPDATE: BORDER CLOSURES & SELF-ISOLATION
Canada is closing the border to most people who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada. There is an international flight ban effective March 18 at 12:00 PM noon EST. Anyone showing symptoms (Canadian or otherwise), will not be allowed into the country. Anyone who is symptomatic during a flight will be dealt with by in-flight operations.
All Canadian-bound international flights will only be allowed into four Canadian airports – Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal. This does not currently apply to USA flights. No current flight restrictions are being placed on domestic in-Canada flights. Crews, planes, trains, and truck drivers will have access to cross-border travel under exemptions.
All travellers returning from overseas are required to self-isolate for 14 days to ensure they are not sick. Follow these steps if you feel sick:
Take the self-assessment online (https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Journey/COVID-19/Pages/COVID-Self-Assessment.aspx)
Call 811 if you have symptoms.
Self-isolation instructions can be found here: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx
If you travelled recently, you can see if your flight had anyone who tested positive for Coronavirus here: https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/covid-19-flight-information.pdfhttps://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/covid-19-flight-information.pdf
If you are in another country and seeking to get home, contact the local embassy or consulate
MARCH 16, 2020: PROVINCE OF ALBERTA ANNOUNCES CLOSURES
All classes have been suspended or cancelled – from kindergarten to post-secondary.
Graduating high school students will still be able to attend post-secondary school according to the Alberta Government statements. Daycares, pre-school and out-of-school programs are closed until further notice.
Regular updates from the Province of Alberta can be found here: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT:
Online information can help with the stress of this virus impacting many Canadians – see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html
In Alberta, you can call the Mental Health Help Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-877-303-2642.
MARCH 16, 2020 UPDATE: EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE & EMERGENCY FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE: The Federal Government has waved delays in accessing Employment Insurance and requirements for a medical note, as well as the 90-days worked for current employers. They have established a dedicated number for workers who have self-isolated: 1-833-381-2725.
Full announcement here: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/notices/coronavirus.html
EMERGENCY FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE – SELF-ISOLATION: Alberta has the Emergency Financial Assistance program for one-time unexpected emergencies for those who are forced to self-isolate.
Full announcement here: https://www.alberta.ca/emergency-financial-assistance.aspx
EMERGENCY FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE – LOANS: The Federal Government has established a $10 billion fund through Business Development Bank of Canada and Exports and Development Canada. Companies impacted by the Coronavirus will have access to credit and loans through financial institutions.
Here are the current options available:
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.
For specific questions about applying for funding, contact BDC at 1-877-232-2269 or consult the online assessment tool.
Full announcement here: https://www.bdc.ca/en/pages/special-support.aspx?special-initiative=covid19
MEDICINE HAT CHAMBER OF COMMERCE is providing good information to its members and employers https://www.medicinehatchamber.com/covid-19-information/
THE CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES (CFIB) is providing good information to support employers and their members here: https://www.cfib-fcei.ca/en/tools-resources/covid-19-coronavirus-business
LIST OF CONTACTS FOR MUNICIPALITIES ACROSS MEDICINE HAT – CARDSTON – WARNER
Here is a list of helpful contact numbers for all municipalities in the riding.
CITY OF MEDICINE HAT
TOWN OF CARDSTON
Residents are urged to sign up for Message Express Notification so they can be instantly informed by phone or text of any emergency.
COUNTY OF FORTY MILE
COUNTY OF WARNER
TOWN OF MAGRATH
Notifications will be through the website and Facebook
TOWN OF RAYMOND
VILLAGE OF STIRLING
The Village Office will not be available for residents to make in-person inquiries. Call or email the office with business requests for service.
TOWN OF MILK RIVER
VILLAGE OF WARNER
BLOOD TRIBE – ADMINISTRATION
TOWN OF REDCLIFF
TOWN OF BOW ISLAND
VILLAGE OF FOREMOST