My office and I will update this note with the latest information on programs and services from the federal and provincial governments to respond to the COVID-19 medical crisis. This note was last updated on March 30th. 

The following topics are covered in this note: Where to Access Medical Advice, Canadians Trying To Return To Canada, Support For Workers and Families in Alberta, Support For Small Businesses, and Support for the Energy Sector.


During the COVID-19 medical crisis it is important to take the advice of public health experts. Alberta Public Health is the best source of information for how to prevent the spread of the virus, how to get medical treatment if you should develop symptoms, as well as information on public measures to address this crisis.

--Important-- If you have symptoms, like a dry cough, fever, fatigue or difficulty breathing, Alberta Public Health directs that you:

Updates on COVID-19 in Alberta and best practices to prevent the spread of the virus can be found here:

Details on Alberta’s restrictions on mass gatherings, events and restaurants can be found here:



The Government of Canada advises that you avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada. Canadian travelers should return to Canada as soon as possible. To limit the spread of COVID-19, many countries have put in place travel or border restrictions and other measures such as movement restrictions and quarantines. Many airlines are suspending flights. Many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving. Exit bans are becoming more frequent. New restrictions may be imposed with little warning. Your travel plans may be severely disrupted and you may be forced to remain outside of Canada longer than expected.

If you are a Canadian currently in another country it is recommended that you:

  1. Register yourself in the Registry of Canadians Abroad at: By registering this will allow you to receive important updates, check the entry and exit requirements of the countries through which you may be transiting.
  2. Contact the 24.7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at: 1-613-996-8885 (collect calls re accepted where possible) and/or email:

You can also contact your local consulate. Please click on this link to find the contact information for your nearest consulate:

Canadians outside the country who are directly impacted by COCID-19 will be able to apply for an emergency repayable loan to facilitate their return to Canada and to cover basic essential needs while they work towards their return. Each application will be assessed according to their specific situation and needs. To apply for financial assistance to return to Canada visit this webpage:  or you can reach them at this email:

**It is imperative that if you return from abroad, you self-isolate for 14 days upon your return into Canada. Flights from outside of Canada are being directed to four Canadian airports (one of which is Calgary) and border agents are working to inform people about self-isolation.**

As of March 18, 2020, the Government of Canada will ban foreign nationals from all countries except the United States from entering Canada. This measure does not apply to air crews, travelers arriving in Canada in transit to a third country, Canadian permanent residents, diplomats or immediate family members of Canadian citizens.

The Government of Canada will also limit international passenger flight arrivals to only 4 airports: Calgary International Airport, Vancouver International Airport, Toronto-Pearson International Airport and Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. Details on these travel restrictions can be found here:

As of March 21, 2020, the United States and Canada are temporarily restricting all non-essential travel across its borders. “Non-essential” travel includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature. The measure will be in place for 30 days (until June 30th), at which point the Canadian and American governments will review if it needs to be extended. Supply chains, including trucking, will not be impacted by this new measure.

As of March 26, 2020, the Government of Canada imposed the Quarantine Act on all travelers arriving in Canada – requiring travellers to self-isolate for 14 days. Penalties for breaking this quarantine include fines and jail time. Details on the Public Health Order can be found here:

For those travellers arriving at one of the four international airports that are connecting to a different city, they will be asked to quarantine in place in the city of the international airport for 14 days. The federal government indicated they will provide the accommodation and meals for those situations.

For details on the travel restrictions for individuals coming to Canada, the details can be found here:



Government of Canada Measures:

For the latest updates from the federal government, including links to travel advice, financial supports and updates on current cases, visit this website:

The details on all the benefits available to Canadian workers and families from the Government of Canada can be found here:

For details related to tax deferrals or new benefits delivered by the Canada Revenue Agency, visit this website:


Support for People who are Sick, Quarantined, in direct self-isolation, or facing unemployment

[Canada Emergency Response Benefit]

Details on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit can be found here:

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will replace the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit. This is a taxable benefit and will provide $2,000/month for up to 4 months to:

  • Workers who have lost their job due to COVID19 are do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
  • Workers who are sick, quarantined, taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
  • Working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.
  • Workers who are still employed but are not receiving income due to insufficient work and their employer has asked them to not come into work.
  • Wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers who are not eligible for EI.

If you are currently receiving EI regular or sickness benefits as of today do not apply for CERB.

The EI system was not designed to process the unprecedented high volume of applications received in the past week. Given this situation, all Canadians who have ceased working due to COVID-19, whether they are EI-eligible or not, would be able to receive the CERB to ensure they have timely access to the income support they need.

If your EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, then you can apply for CERB once your EI benefits cease and if you are unable to return to work due to COVID19.

If you have already applied for EI regular and your application has not yet been processed, you do not need to reapply. Canadians who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits would still be able to access their normal EI benefits, if still unemployed, after the 16-week period covered by the CERB.

This application will be available in April 2020. Once the application details are available, Canadians can apply through:

The Canada Revenue Agency MyAccount secure portal:

And, the My Service Canada Account:

[Employment Insurance - Sickness Benefits]

EI Sickness Benefits could provide claimants with up to 15 weeks of temporary income support if they cannot work due to illness, injury or quarantine.  Individuals that qualify could receive 55% of their earnings up to a maximum of $573/week.

If an individual meets the EI sickness requirements they can apply for EI sickness benefits. The government announced the standard one week waiting period for benefits to start will be waived for EI sickness benefit claimants for whom a period of quarantine is imposed when the quarantine is:

  • Imposed on the claimant under the laws of Canada or a province; or
  • Imposed on the claimant by a public health official for the health and safety of the public at large; or
  • Recommended by such an official for health and safety of the public at large, and the claimant was asked by their employer, medical doctor, a nurse or a person in authority to place themselves under quarantine.

Again, individuals applying need to meet all other EI eligibility criteria with the exception of needs a medical certificate if it is in the context of COVID-19. To be eligible for the EI Sickness Benefits, the claimant must have accumulated a minimum of 600 hours of insurable employment in the last 52 week period preceding a claim, or since the start of their last claim whichever is shorter.  A Record of Employment (ROE) from the employer is required; however, do not wait for the ROE in order to apply. 

In order to apply you must first apply online at:

Then in order to have the one-week waiting period waived (to get payments in the first week) you MUST call: Telephone: 1-833-381-2725 (toll free) / Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-800-529-3742

** People who cannot complete their claim for EI sickness benefits due to quarantine may apply later and have their EI claim backdated to cover the period of delay.

**If you are unable to apply online are you are sick and cannot go into a Service Canada Office you can call 1-800-206-7218 to request a paper application. 

Details on the COVID-19 response programs offered by Employment and Social Development can be found here:

[Employment Insurance – Regular Benefits]

For employees that meet the eligibility requirements, Employment Insurance (EI) provides regular benefits to individuals who lose their jobs through no fault of their own (for example, due to shortage of work, seasonal or mass lay-offs) and are available for and able to work, but can't find a job.

Employment Insurance benefits are equal to 55% of your average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum yearly insurable earnings amount is $54,200. This means the maximum weekly benefit would be $573 per week. The number of weeks benefits will be paid for range from 14 weeks to 45 weeks depending on the unemployment rate in the region you live in, and the amount of eligible work hours you have accumulated.

Details on eligibility can be found here: or phone Service Canada at 1-800-206-7218.

To apply, use your My Service Canada Account:


Support for Individuals

[GST tax credit for low income Canadians – Proposed Enhancements]

A one-time special payment by early May 2020 through the Goods and Services Tax Credit. The average boost to income for those benefitting will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples. For Canadians that already receive the Good and Services Tax Credit this payment will happen automatically. There is no need to apply for this payment.   

**Do not delay in filing taxes otherwise there is a possibility of a disruption in benefit payments.**

Details on the GST Tax Credit and how to qualify for it can be found here:

[Increased Canada Child Benefit]

The Government is proposing to increase the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payment amounts, only for the 2019-20 benefit year, by $300 per child. The overall increase for families receiving CCB will be approximately $550 on average; these families will receive an extra $300 per child as part of their May payment.

Families that already receive the Canada Child Benefit will receive this increase automatically. Details on the Canada Child Benefit can be found here:

[Other Programs]

Canada Student Loans – Effective March 20, a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all individuals currently repaying these loans.

Registered Retirement Income Funds - To reduce the required minimum withdrawals form Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020. This will provide flexibility to seniors that are concerned that they may be required to liquidate their RRIF assets to meet minimum withdrawal requirements. Similar rules would apply to individuals receiving variable benefit payments under a defined contribution Registered Pension Plan.

Flexibility on tax filing deadlines:  For individuals (other than trusts), the return filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020.  However, if you do receive the GST credit or Canada Child Benefit it is recommended that you do not delay filing to ensure your entitlements for the 2020-21 benefit year are properly determined. 

For trusts having a taxation year ending on December 31, 2019, the return filing due date will be deferred until May 1, 2020.

The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all taxpayers to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief also would apply to tax balances due and instalments. 

[Additional Community Supports]

Indigenous Community Support Fund: Provide $305 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Nation communities. For information contact Indigenous Services Canada  

Enhancing the Reaching Home Initiative:  Will provide $157.5 million to the Reaching Home initiative. For additional detail please read here:

Support for Women’s Shelters and Sexual Assault Centres: Providing $50 million to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities.

Alberta Government Measures:

Details on all the Government of Alberta measures for workers and families can be found here and here

[Emergency Isolation Support]

This will be a temporary program for working adult Albertans who must self-isolate because they meet the Government of Alberta’s published criteria for self-isolation, including persons who are the sole care-giver for a dependent who must self-isolate because they meet the public health criteria, and who will not have another source of pay or compensation while they are self-isolated.

A one-time payment of $1,146 will be distributed to bridge the gap until the federal emergency payments begin in April.

The program is expected to be available for a simple online application through the week of March 23rd and for funds tol be deposited in the accounts of eligible recipients that week as well.

More information on how to apply will be available soon.

[Utility Payment Holiday]

Residential customers can defer electricity and natural gas bill payments for the next 90 days to ensure no one will be cut off, regardless of the service provider.

[Banks and Credit Unions Mortgage and Loan Deferrals]

ATB financial customers - Personal banking customers can apply for a deferral on their ATB loans, lines of credit and mortgages for up to 6 months.

Alberta Credit Unions- Credit union members will have access to a variety of programs and solutions designed to ease difficulties with loan payments and short-term cash flow.

To access these benefits contact your credit union to work out a plan for your personal situation.

[Job-Protected Leave]

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

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

To be eligible, employees:

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

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

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

[Vacation Pay, Leave or Banked Overtime]

Employers and employees may consider using other available leaves should an employee be required to self-isolate.

Employees can request using their vacation pay or banked overtime, but employers are not required to grant the request. Provincial employment rules only require employers to provide vacation pay, vacation leave or pay banked overtime within a year of it being earned.

Employers can request employees voluntarily take vacation leave and/or use their vacation pay or banked overtime, but cannot force them to do so under provincial employment rules.

Advice for employees from the Workers’ Compensation Board of Alberta can be found here:

[Student Loans Repayment Deferral]

We are implementing a six-month, interest free, moratorium on Alberta student loan payments for all Albertans in the process of repaying these loans.

Alberta Student Loan repayments will be paused for 6 months, beginning March 30, 2020.

Interest will not accrue during this period. This mirrors the approach of the Canada Student Loans Program.

Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.

Borrowers may continue making payments during this period if they choose and this will not affect their eligibility to receive the benefit.



Government of Canada Measures:

Details for businesses on the Government of Canada response can be found here: and,

[Temporary Wage Subsidies for Small Business]

The Federal Government is proposing a temporary wage subsidy for small businesses for three months to help businesses keep their workers. The wage subsidy, as announced March 27th, will equal 75% of an employee’s salary, and be paid retroactively to March 15th. Details on the eligibility criteria will be shared before April. This program is not expected to be in place until April. Details on how to apply will be posted once they become available. It is reported in the media that the Prime Minister said any Canadian businesses whose revenue has decreased by 30 per cent or more due to the pandemic will be eligible for the 75 per cent wage subsidy promised, regardless of the number of employees they have.

Details on the announcement can be found here:

[Canada Emergency Business Account]

The 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, due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 virus. This program will be implemented by eligible financial institutions in cooperation with Export Development Canada (EDC). Small businesses and not-for-profits should contact their financial institution to apply for these loans.

To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000). Details on this announcement can be found here:

[Business Credit Availability Program]

On March 13, 2020 the federal government announced that the government is establishing a Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to support financing in the private sector through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC).

Details on the Business Credit Availability Program can be found here:

Here are the current options available from the Business Development Bank of Canada:

  • Small Business Loan: Up to $100,000 can be obtained online.
  • Working capital loan: For loans between $100,000 and $2 million - can be used to support everyday operations.
  • Purchase Order Financing: Loans to fulfill domestic or international orders.

Information on how to apply for these products can be found here: or by phoning BDC at 1-877-232-2269

For details on the financial and insurance products offered by Export Development Canada, visit:  or call them at 1-800-229-0575 or email

[Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium Enterprises]

To provide additional liquidity support for Canadian businesses, the Co-Lending Program will bring the Business Development Bank of Canada together with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts up to $6.25 million. BDC’s portion of this program is up to $5 million maximum per loan.

To support their operations, EDC will guarantee new operating credit and cash flow term loans that financial institutions extend to small businesses, up to $6.25 million. Both the Canada Emergency Business Account and SME Loan and Guarantee program will be administered by private-sector financial institutions. The list of financial institutions providing the guaranteed loans can be found here:

Details on the loan guarantees can be found here:

[Employment Insurance – Work Sharing]

The federal government is extending the maximum duration from 38 weeks to 76 weeks for the EI Work Sharing Program, as well as easing eligibility requirements, and streamlining the application process.

The EI Work Sharing Program provides EI benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours to avoid layoffs – if this reduction in work is a result of developments beyond the control of their employer.

Details on the EI Work Sharing Program can be found here:

The eligibility criteria for employers and the application to participate in the EI Work Sharing Program can be found here:

[Farm Credit]

The total pool of money available to Farm Credit Canada to lend to farmers and the agri-food sector has been increased. However, Farm Credit Canada is not providing funds in the form of grants or other interest-free loans.

The programs Farm Credit Canada has put in place for COVID-19 include:

  • A deferral of principal and interest payments up to six months for existing loans; or
  • A deferral of principal payments up to 12 months
  • Access to an additional credit line up to $500,000, secured by general security agreements or universal movable hypothec (Québec only)

Details on the Farm Credit Canada support programs for the COVID-19 crisis and contact information for Farm Cred Canada can be found here:  or on the phone at 1-888-332-3301.

[Flexibility on Business Tax Filing Taxes]

CRA will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as installments. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.

The Provincial Government has also deferred the collection of corporate income tax balances and installment payments, due after March 18, 2020, until August 31, 2020. 

The Canada Revenue Agency will not contact any small or medium (SME) businesses to initiate any post assessment GST/HST or Income Tax audits for the next four weeks. For the vast majority of businesses, the Canada Revenue Agency will temporarily suspend audit interaction with taxpayers and representatives.

Details on all tax deferrals and other measures delivered by the Canada Revenue Agency for COVID-19 can be found here:

[Canada Revenue Agency Suspends Audits, Collection Activity on New Debts]

Collections activities on new debts will be suspended until further notice, and flexible payment arrangements will be available. The CRA will not contact any small or medium (SME) businesses to initiate any post assessment GST/HST or Income Tax audits for the next four weeks. Any objections related to Canadians' entitlement to benefits and credits have been identified as a critical service which will continue to be delivered during COVID-19. As a result, there should not be any delays associated with the processing of these objections. For the vast majority of businesses, the Canada Revenue Agency will temporarily suspend audit interaction with taxpayers and representatives. Details on the suspension of appeals and audits can be found here:

[Deferral of Sales Tax Remittance and Customs Duty Payments]

In order to provide support for Canadian businesses during these unprecedented economic times, the Government is deferring Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) remittances and customs duty payments to June 30, 2020. The GST/HST applies to sales of most goods and services in Canada and at each stage of the supply chain. Vendors must collect the GST/HST and remit it (net of input tax credits) with their GST/HST return for each reporting period. To support Canadian businesses in the current extraordinary circumstances, the Minister of National Revenue will extend until June 30, 2020 the time that: Monthly filers have to remit amounts collected for the February, March and April 2020 reporting periods; Quarterly filers have to remit amounts collected for the January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020 reporting period; and Annual filers, whose GST/HST return or instalment are due in March, April or May 2020, have to remit amounts collected and owing for their previous fiscal year and instalments of GST/HST in respect of the filer’s current fiscal year.

Imported goods by businesses are generally subject to the GST, at a rate of 5 per cent, as well as applicable customs duties, which vary by product and country of origin. The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness or an officer designated by the President of the CBSA to extend, in writing, the timeline for accounting or payment of amounts owing. Under this authority, payment deadlines for statements of accounts for March, April, and May are being deferred to June 30, 2020. Businesses in need of information about their particular accounting and payment obligations on imported goods may contact the Canada Border Services Agency for more details. Contact information can be found here:

Details can be found here:


Alberta Government Measures:

Details on all the Government of Alberta measures for workers and families can be found here:

The Workers’ Compensation Board for Alberta provides the following COVID-19 advice for employers:

[Workers Compensation Board Premiums Deferral]

Effective March 23rd, private sector employers will be able to defer WCB premiums until early 2021, effectively for one year. Employers who have already paid their WCB premium payment for 2020 are eligible for a rebate or credit. For small and medium businesses, the government will cover 50 per cent of the premium when it is due. Large employers will also receive a break by having their 2020 WCB premium payments deferred until 2021, at which time their premiums will be due. Paying 50 per cent of small and medium private sector WCB premiums for 2020 will cost government approximately $350 million.

Details can be found here:

[Education Property Tax Freeze]

On March 23rd the Alberta government cancelled the Budget 2020 increase in education property taxes and will freeze education property taxes at last year’s level.  Reversing the 3.4 per cent population and inflation adjustment will save Alberta households and businesses about $87 million in 2020-21, which means $55 million for households and $32 million for employers.

As of March 23rd, the Alberta government will defer education property tax for businesses for six months.

This means $458 million in cash will remain with employers to help them pay employees and continue operations. The provincial government expects municipalities to set education property tax rates as they normally would, but defer collection. Deferred amounts will be repaid in future tax years.

Details can be found here:

[Corporate Income Tax Changes]

Corporate income tax balances and installment payments will be deferred from March 19 until August 31, 2020 to increase employers’ access to cash so they can pay employees, address debts and continue operations.

[Utility Payment Deferral]

Residential, farm and small commercial customers can defer electricity and natural gas bill payments for the next 90 days to ensure no one will be cut off, regardless of the service provider.

Call your utility provider directly to arrange for a 90-day deferral on all payments.

[Banks and Credit Unions]

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

ATB Financial - Small business customers can:

  • apply for a payment deferral on loans and lines of credit for up to 6 months
  • access additional working capital

Other businesses and agriculture customers can access support on a one-on-one basis. Further solutions are being considered at this time by the Government of Alberta.


Alberta Government Measures:

[Funding the Alberta Energy Regulator Levy]

The Government of Alberta is paying for the Alberta Energy Regulator industry levy for 6 months, achieving $113 million in industry relief.

[Extensions for Oil and Gas Tenures]

The Government of Alberta is extending the term of mineral agreements expiring in 2020 by 1 year to provide increased certainty for industry by allowing additional time to raise capital and plan future activities.

[Orphan Well Association Loan]

A $100 million loan was recently extended to the Orphan Well Association to bolster immediate reclamation efforts, decommission about 1,000 wells, and start more than 1,000 environmental assessments – creating up to 500 direct and indirect jobs.