COVID-19

This page was last updated at August 14, 2020.

COVID-19 UPDATES

Please find below a list of helpful links for those seeking information on COVID-19 and the response from the Government of Canada.

Due to the nature of this situation, all information is subject to change. As further information is available, this page will be updated as quickly as possible.

 

REAL TIME DASHBOARD FROM THE PUBLIC HEALTH AGENCY OF CANADA

NEW!!! – Download the contact tracing app to help stop the spread of the virus.  The app is free, does not collect personal information and will let you know if you have come into contact with another app user who has contracted COVID in the past 14 days.  The app is not mandatory for Canadians, and can be downloaded voluntarily from Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store.

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To get a summary of the benefits you may be entitled to, please use the COVID-19 Benefits Finder at: https://canada.ca/coronavirus-benefits.  By answering a short list of questions, you can get a summary of benefits that may apply to your situation.

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.
The Province of Alberta Economic Relaunch Information – https://www.alberta.ca/alberta-relaunch-strategy.aspx

 

HEALTH:

  • In any case, if you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early to reduce the risk of developing a more severe infection and be sure to share your recent travel history with your health care provider.
  • How long does the virus live on surfaces? – It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses.  Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).  If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.  Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.
  • Where can I get help with my mental health?
    • – Healthlink Alberta – 811
    • – Mental Health Helpline – 1-877-303-2642
    • – Kids Help Phone – 1 800 668 6868
    • – Health Canada has a new portal dedicated to mental wellness, Wellness Together Canada which will be able to connect Canadians to various mental health professionals for confidential chat sessions or phone calls.

 

PHYSICAL DISTANCING:

  • Should I be wearing a mask in public? – Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam advised Canadians that wearing a non-medical mask, even without symptoms, is an additional measure that can be taken to protect others, especially where social distancing is a challenge (ie: public transit).  Physical distancing still remains the primary way to avoid contacting the virus.  Non-medical masks are not considered suitable protection against contracting the virus yourself, but it can help protect others.

TRAVEL:

  • Changes to travel restrictions for immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents – The Canada Border Services Agency is announcing that as of June 8, 2020, foreign nationals who are immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, and who do not have COVID-19 or exhibit any signs or symptoms of COVID-19, or who do not have reason to believe they have COVID-19, will be exempt from the prohibition on entry to Canada if entering to be with an immediate family member for a period of at least 15 days.
  • Foreign nationals who are admitted into Canada pursuant to this exemption must quarantine for 14 days.
  • An immediate family member refers to a person’s:
    1. spouse or common-law partner;
    2. dependent child, as defined in section 2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, or a dependent child of the person’s spouse or common-law partner;
    3. dependent child, as defined in section 2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, of a dependent child referred to in paragraph (b):
    4. parent or step-parent or the parent or step-parent of the person’s spouse or common-law partner;
    5. guardian or tutor.

     

  • https://www.canada.ca/en/border-services-agency/news/2020/06/changes-to-travel-restrictions-for-immediate-family-members-of-canadian-citizens-and-permanent-residents.html
  • Passport services continue to be available if you need to travel urgently. If not, please wait until services return to normal. If you applied and do not need to travel urgently, your application will be processed when services resume.
    For valid reasons to travel urgently and how to apply see: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/coronavirus-covid19/passport.html#passport-services
  • Canada has closed its borders to most people who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada. There is an international flight ban in effect.  Anyone showing symptoms (Canadian or otherwise), will not be allowed into the country.

    • Temporary reduction of service at Canadian land border crossings – The CBSA is temporarily reducing service hours at a total of 27 Canadian land border locations.  The temporary hour adjustments will remain in effect until the expiration date of the Order in Council made under the Quarantine Act prohibiting entry into Canada from the United States.  The CBSA regularly reviews its operations and adjustments are made when necessary.  https://www.canada.ca/en/border-services-agency/news/2020/04/covid-19–temporary-reduction-of-service-at-canadian-land-border-crossings.htmlAll 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, but that is subject to change.  No current flight restrictions are being placed on domestic in-Canada flights (except if you exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 or do not have a mask).  Crews, planes, trains, and truck drivers will have access to cross-border travel under exemptions.
    • Canadians who are suffering from symptoms of COVID-19 will be prohibited from traveling by air or rail both domestically and internationally.
      The second emergency order on mandatory isolation came into force April 15.  All travellers must provide suitable plans for their mandatory quarantine (asymptomatic) or isolation (symptomatic) and wear a mask while in transit to that place.  All people entering Canada are required to comply with additional quarantine measures.  This includes having a suitable quarantine plan in place and reporting as required to public health officials.  Some travellers may be required to enter a federal quarantine facility (usually a hotel) for 14 days even if they do not show any symptoms. Details will be discussed with those returning at the Port of Entry.

    REPATRIATION

    The Government of Canada has completed its last rounds of repatriations (this applies to all countries). Currently, the government is not planning any additional government-facilitated flights to repatriate Canadians.

    As commercial options are becoming more and more available, the government is advising Canadians and permanent residents outside Canada who are unable to return to Canada to monitor local media and follow the advice of local public health officials about COVID.

    As of End of Day, July 17th: Approximately 56,856 Canadians have returned to Canada from 698 flights (228 of which were Canadian commercially assisted or facilitated departures) from 109 countries.

  • Canadians traveling outside of Canada in need of emergency consular assistance can contact Global Affairs Canada’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 613 996 8885 or email sos@international.gc.ca.
    •  Cruise Ships –  No large cruise ships would be allowed to visit Canada before October 31st, 2020.

    INCOME SUPPORT:

    IMPORTANT:  You must have a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) My Account set up and your direct deposit information completed BEFORE applying for benefits.  This can be done at https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/cra-login-services.html.

      • SUPPORT FOR SENIORS
          On May 12th, the Government of Canada announced a one-time payment of up to $500 for eligible seniors.  Recipients of Old Age Security (OAS) would receive $300 and those in receipt of the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) would receive an additional $200.  This announcement requires legislative changes to come into force.  Seniors are encouraged to file their 2019 income tax form to ensure that eligibility can be determined for those not already receiving the OAS or GIS.  For those already receiving OAS and GIS, it is expected that payments will be automatically processed and delivered automatically through the same payment channel already being used for existing payments on the week of July 6th.
      • SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS
        • Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) – This benefit would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students or $1,750 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities.  The benefit would be available from May to August 2020. Be sure to sign up for a CRA My Account before applying to ensure prompt payment.
        • Student Service Grant – will help students gain valuable work experience and skills while they help their communities during the COVID‑19 pandemic.  For students who choose to do national service and serve their communities, the new Canada Student Service Grant will provide up to $5,000 for their education in the fall.
        • The Government of Canada will expand existing federal employment, skills development, and youth programming:
          • – double the Canada Student Grants for all eligible full-time students to up to $6,000 and up to $3,600 for part-time students in 2020-21. The Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependents would also be doubled.
          • – broaden eligibility for student financial assistance by removing the expected student’s and spouse’s contributions in 2020-21, in recognition that many students and families will struggle to save for school this year.
          • – enhance the Canada Student Loans Program by raising the maximum weekly amount that can be provided to a student in 2020-21 from $210 to $350.
          • – increase existing distinctions-based support for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation students pursuing post-secondary education by providing an additional $75.2 million in 2020-21.
          • – extend expiring federal graduate research scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships, and supplement existing federal research grants, to support students and post-doctoral fellows, by providing $291.6 million to the federal granting councils. In addition, the government intends to enhance work opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows through the National Research Council of Canada.

         

      • CANADIAN EMERGENCY RESPONSE  BENEFIT (CERB)
      • If you have stopped working because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) can provide you with temporary income support.
        • Application details are available through My CRA.
        • To be eligible, you must meet the following requirements:
            • – You reside in Canada
            • – You are 15 years old or more when you apply
            • – You have not quit your job voluntarily
            • – You earned a minimum of $5,000 income in the last 12 months or in 2019 from one or more of the following sources:
              • – employment income
              • – self-employment income
              • – provincial or federal benefits related to maternity or paternity leave
      • 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 employment income, self-employment income, provincial or federal benefits related to maternity or paternity leave.
      • On April 15th the government announced 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.
      • For your subsequent CERB applications:
          • – You continue to not work due to reasons related to COVID-19 (or earn less than $1000 per month)
          • – For the 4 week period you are applying for, you will not receive employment income; 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:
            • – employment income
            • – self-employment income
            • – provincial or federal benefits related to maternity or paternity leave

         

        • If your CERB benefit runs out (after 20 weeks) and you are still unemployed and EI eligible, you can apply for EI at that time.

     

    • LOW INCOME CANADIANS – GST / HST: Canadians receiving the GST/HST credit received a one-time boost in May 2020: $400 for individuals, $600 per couple, and $150 per child.
    • CHILD CARE BENEFIT (CCB): Increased $300 per child into the existing amounts for the CCB was delivered on the May 2020 benefit.
    • STUDENTS: All student loan PAYMENTS were suspended for six months (commitment by provincial and federal governments)
    •  
    • PAYMENT DEFERRALS FOR MORTGAGES: The six largest banks in Canada (Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD) offered 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
    • Further, many Canadian banks announced that they would be allowing Canadians to defer their mortgage payments for 6 months. As a first step, contact your lender to see what supports are available to you. For more information, please visit your financial institution:
    •  

    • DEFERRING THE PAYMENT OF INCOME TAXES. The government is allowing all taxpayers to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of income tax amounts owed on or after March 18 and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act.  No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.
    • Helping Canadians with the economic impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Important changes to tax-filing and payment deadlines https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update.html
    • SMALL BUSINESSES:

    • CANADA EMERGENCY COMMERCIAL RENT ASSISTANCE (CECRA) program is available to eligible small businesses.  This is for small business tenants that pay less than $50,000 per month in rent, that have temporarily ceased operations or experienced a significant drop in pre-pandemic revenues, and which rent their commercial space from mortgaged property owners. This includes non-profit and charitable organizations.
      • The CECRA provides forgivable loans to qualifying, commercial property owners to cover 50% of the rent otherwise payable by eligible small businesses during April, May and June. These loans will be forgiven if the owner agrees to reduce their tenant’s rent by at least 75% for the three months. The CECRA requires that the rent forgiveness agreements include the following terms:
      • – the tenant will be responsible for paying 25% of its monthly rent;
      • – the owner will be responsible for covering 25% of the monthly rent that would otherwise be paid to it; and
      • – the federal government and provinces will share responsibility for the remaining 50% by way of a forgivable loan disbursed directly to the owner’s mortgage lender.
      • – the rent forgiveness agreement must also include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement applies.
    • The CECRA is now accepting applications at https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/finance-and-investing/covid19-cecra-small-business 

     

    • The Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) credit issued on April 9, 2020, was a one-time special GST/HST credit payment as part of the Government of Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of CRA’s automated processes, all or a portion of this payment was withheld and applied to cover the balance owing from the assessment of their 2019 income tax and benefit return.
    • The Government has announced additional measures to support small businesses dealing with the economic impacts of the pandemic. These measures will help Canadian businesses protect the jobs that Canadians depend on, and pay their workers and bills during these difficult times.

     

    • CANADA EMERGENCY WAGE SUBSIDY –  A 75 per cent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses retroactive to March 15, 2020. This will help businesses to keep and return workers to the payroll.  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 up to 75 per cent wage subsidy. Businesses are encouraged to top up their employees’ wages with the remaining 25 per cent of their salaries.
    • The Government of Canada has announced this program will be extended with some modifications to December 31, 2020.  
    • More details on extended eligibility can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/05/extending-eligibility-for-the-canada-emergency-wage-subsidy.html
      • – The subsidy will cover up to 75% up to $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 are also able to apply.
      • INFORMATION & APPLICATIONS: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/subsidy/emergency-wage-subsidy.html
        • – Businesses must show 30 per cent decline in revenue.
          • – Revenue decline is measured against the same month last year.
    • – Need to re-apply each month.
    • – This will apply to the hospitality sector, and non-profits and charities.
    • – Employers will need to attest that they are doing everything they can to pay the remaining 25%.
    • – Funds will be available in approximately six weeks.
    • – The government has issued a stern warning of severe punishment for those who take advantage of the system.
    • – The first phase of this wage subsidy has an estimated cost of $73 billion.
    • In order to address the realities faced by the not-for-profit sector, high growth companies and new businesses, the Government proposes the following additional flexibility.  The government will continue to carefully monitor all developments relating to the COVID-19 outbreak and will continue to take further action to protect Canadians and the economy.
    • To measure their revenue loss, it is proposed that all employers have the flexibility to compare their revenue of March, April and May 2020 to that of the same month of 2019, or to an average of their revenue earned in January and February 2020.
    • For March, the Government proposes to make the CEWS more accessible than originally announced by reducing the 30-per-cent benchmark to 15 per cent, in recognition of the fact that many businesses did not begin to be affected by the crisis until partway through the month.
    • In recognition that the time between when revenue is earned and when it is paid could be highly variable in certain sectors of the economy, it is proposed that employers be allowed to measure revenues either on the basis of accrual accounting (as they are earned) or cash accounting (as they are received). Special rules would also be provided to address issues for corporate groups, non-arm’s length entities and joint ventures.
    • Registered charities and non-profit organizations would also be able to benefit from the additional flexibilities being provided to employers with respect to the revenue loss calculation. In addition, to recognize that different types of organizations are experiencing different types of funding pressures, it is proposed that charities and non-profit organizations be allowed to choose to include or exclude government funding in their revenues for the purpose of applying the revenue reduction test.

     

    • CANADA EMERGENCY BUSINESS ACCOUNT – The new Canada Emergency Business Account will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced. Through EDC, the program will provide Canadian financial institutions with additional funding to support micro enterprises. This program will roll out in mid-April and interested businesses should work with their current financial institutions.To qualify, interested businesses will need to demonstrate that they paid between $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000). The objective of this program is to support covering non-deferrable costs of very small business, such as payroll, rent, insurance and utilities.This tool will help farmers and food processors access the capital they need, at a zero-per-cent interest rate. This will help them cover extra costs over the next number of months if their revenues are temporarily reduced due to the COVID 19 situation.