Coronavirus Daily Update: Local Resources & Support

COVID-19 UPDATE

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.

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://canada.ca/coronavirus.

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://canada.ca/coronavirus.

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

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.

Deferring GST/HST tax remittances for businesses and customs duty payments on imports to June 30, 2020.

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.

Full details here: https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=69965D6D6EE7A-92F8-DD89-BBB9E1FE323BD2DD

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.

Visit this link: https://www.international.gc.ca/covid-19-loan-pret/form-formulaire.aspx?lang=eng

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.cfm?xID=69941354D5ED5-0305-6492-CF5F6B8FD9BD41FB#toc-1

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/restrictions-on-gatherings-and-businesses.aspx

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.

Full details here: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/additional-support-for-canadian-businesses-from-the-economic-impact-of-covid-19.html

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.

Full press conference here: https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/politics/mandatory-quarantines-for-international-travellers-kick-in-at-midnight-health-minister/ar-BB11HkdQ?ocid=spartanntp

ALBERTA UPDATE

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.cfm?xID=69918C41565BC-002C-269C-638E958E5912C37B

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.

Apply here: https://www.alberta.ca/emergency-isolation-support.aspx

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)

Financial Institutions:

Bank of Nova Scotia

Bank of Montreal

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

HSBC Bank Canada

Toronto Dominion Bank

Royal Bank of Canada

National Bank of Canada

Desjardins

Laurentian Bank of Canada

Other Institutions:

Canadian Bankers Association

Canadian Credit Union Association

Full details here: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/business/maintaingrowimprovebusiness/resources-for-canadian-businesses.html

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.

Full details here: https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=6990860D739F9-A8F5-E6DA-A4207257780C7E84

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

Full announcement here: https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2020/03/23/prime-minister-announces-support-farmers-and-agri-food-businesses

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:

www.bmo.com/main/personal/bmo-branches-coronavirus-update

www.cibc.com/en/personal-banking/advice-centre/covid-19.html

www.nbc.ca/personal/notice.html

www.scotiabank.com/ca/en/personal/scotia-support/latest-updates.html

www.rbc.com/covid-19

www.td.com/ca/en/personal-banking/covid-19

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.

Full announcement here: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/news/2020/03/health-canada-expedites-access-to-covid-19-diagnostic-laboratory-test-kits-and-other-medical-devices.html

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.

Full details here: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/drug-products/applications-submissions/guidance-documents/clinical-trials.html

Please contact us at:

Trials using pharmaceutical drugs: OCT_BEC_Enquiries_Enquetes@hc-sc.gc.ca

Trials using biologics or radiopharmaceuticals: hc.bgtd.ora.sc@canada.ca

Trials using natural health products: NHPD-CTA.DEC-DPSN@canada.ca

Investigational testing of medical devices:
hc.meddevices-instrumentsmed.sc@canada.ca

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

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
https://travel.gc.ca/assistance/emergency-assistance

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.

Full announcement here: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/canadas-covid-19-economic-response-plan-support-for-canadians-and-businesses.html#Role

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).

Full details here: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/ei/ei-list/ei-employers-supplemental-unemployment-benefit.html

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.

Full announcement here: https://cba.ca/canada-six-biggest-banks-take-decisive-action-to-help-customers-impacted-by-covid-19

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 sos@international.gc.ca.

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
https://travel.gc.ca/assistance/embassies-consulates

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
Website: https://www.medicinehat.ca/what-s-new/covid-19-updates

TOWN OF CARDSTON
Phone: 403-653-3366
Website: http://www.cardston.ca/news/2020/3/13/covid-19-announcement
Residents are urged to sign up for Message Express Notification so they can be instantly informed by phone or text of any emergency.

CARDSTON COUNTY
Phone: 403-653-4977
Website: www.cardstoncounty.com

CYPRESS COUNTY
Phone: 403-526-2888
www.cypress.ab.ca

COUNTY OF FORTY MILE
Phone: 403-867-3530
www.40mile.ca

COUNTY OF WARNER
Phone: 403-642-3635
www.warnercounty.ca

TOWN OF MAGRATH
Phone: 403-758-3212
Website: www.magrath.ca
Notifications will be through the website and Facebook

TOWN OF RAYMOND
Phone: 403-752-3322
Website: www.raymond.ca

VILLAGE OF STIRLING
Phone: 403-756-3379
Email: office@stirling.ca
Website: http://stirling.ca/
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
Phone: 403-647-3773
E-mail: main@milkriver.ca
Website: www.milkriver.ca

VILLAGE OF WARNER
Phone: 403-642-3877
Website: www.warner.ca

BLOOD TRIBE – ADMINISTRATION
Phone: 403-737-3753
Website: https://bloodtribe.org/

TOWN OF REDCLIFF
Phone: 403-548-3618
Website: https://redcliff.ca/

TOWN OF BOW ISLAND
Phone: 403-545-2522
Website: https://www.bowisland.com/

VILLAGE OF FOREMOST
Phone: 403-867-3733
Website: https://www.foremostalberta.com/