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 page was last updated on July 2nd.

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, Support for Agriculture and Support for the Energy Sector.

The primary source of COVID-19 information for Albertans can be found here: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx 

And the primary federal page on COVID-19 information can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html

WHERE TO ACCESS MEDICAL ADVICE

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: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx

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

TRAVEL & CANADIANS TRYING TO RETURN TO CANADA

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 and many airports are closed, preventing flights from leaving. 

The primary federal website with information on travel restrictions and measures can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html

As of March 18, 2020, the Government of Canada banned 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.

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 60 days (Until July 31, 2020), 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 measure.

As of March 26, 2020 the Government of Canada imposed the Quarantine Act on all travelers arriving in Canada – requiring travelers 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: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/news/2020/03/new-order-makes-self-isolation-mandatory-for-individuals-entering-canada.html

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, and who have no 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. More details can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html#_Canada-U.S._border_restrictions_1

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

1. Register yourself in the Registry of Canadians Abroad at: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration 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: sos@international.gc.ca

You can also contact your local consulate. Please click on this link to find the contact information for your nearest consulate: https://travel.gc.ca/assistance/embassies-consulates

Canadians outside the country who are directly impacted by COVID-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: https://travel.gc.ca/assistance/emergency-info/financial-assistance/covid-19-financial-help or you can reach them at this email: CAN.finances.CV19@international.gc.ca

SUPPORT FOR WORKERS AND FAMILIES IN ALBERTA

For the latest updates from the federal government, including links to travel advice, financial supports and updates on current cases, visit this website: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html

The details on all the benefits available to Canadian workers and families from the Government of Canada can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html#individuals

[Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)]

Details and the application for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html

The maximum amount you can be paid is $12,000 over 24 weeks.

This is a taxable benefit and will provide $2,000/month to workers who:

  • Are residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;

  • Who have stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits or have exhausted their Employment Insurance regular benefits or Employment Insurance fishing benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020;

  • Who had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and,

  • Who have not quit their job voluntarily.

When submitting your first claim, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for 14 or more consecutive days within the four-week benefit period of your claim.

When submitting subsequent claims, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for the entire four-week benefit period of your new claim

Canadians can apply through:

The Canada Revenue Agency MyAccount secure portal: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/e-services-individuals/account-individuals.html

And, the My Service Canada Account: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/my-account.html

Important Update on CERB Payments:

Many people have been contacting my office about the CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit), because an expected payment did not happen in June. There are also questions about the recently announced extension of the CERB and when payments will resume.Here are some of the answers we’ve been told by Service Canada officials in response to these questions.

Expected Payment Was Not Delivered:

If someone applied for Employment Insurance after March 15, 2020 they were automatically issued the CERB. Once a person applied for CERB through Service Canada they were immediately given an advance of $2,000 (the equivalent of one month’s benefits) plus the regular $1,000 for the first two-week pay period. This was intended to get money in the hands of people quickly – but was not explained that it meant no payments would be made in weeks 12 through 16 of the benefit period.

Most people – through no fault of their own – thought this advance was part of the back-dated payments, and used the money to provide for their families in April.

When some individuals were notified mid June that they had reached the maximum $8,000 payable under the CERB - even though they had not finished the sixteen week benefit period, they were blindsided. Others were never notified and didn’t find out until they checked their bank account and noticed the payment didn’t come in.

Because the CERB pays $1,000 every two weeks, missing the most recent payment in June is not enough to cover the full $2,000 of the advance.What happens next is uncertain – and the Government has not told CERB recipients what will happen to cover the remaining $1,000 from the advance.

There are three likely scenarios:

  1. There could be a second two-week benefit period without a payment at the end of the 8 week extension (last pay period in August).

  2. There could be a second two-week benefit period without a payment in June - meaning no benefits for four weeks in June. What this means is that the 8 week extension would not start until the week of July 4th, with the next payment landing n their bank account mid July (leaving them without a payment since mid June).

  3. The federal government could decide to not skip a pay period and leave the remaining $1,000 to be paid back at tax time (which would also be a nasty surprise, as CERB benefits are taxable, but no income tax is deducted or CERB payments, meaning many CERB recipients will already have a large tax bill this year). This would leave CERB recipients owing income tax on $12,000 plus the $1000 in over-payment due to the advance.

In all three scenarios, CERB recipients will face financial stress because of the poor communication of the government. While the Liberals have not announced what specific course of action they will take, I want you to have the most up-to-date information so you can plan as best as possible for you and your family’s future.

[Employment Insurance - Sickness Benefits]

For anyone who became eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits on March 15, 2020, or later, your Employment Insurance claim will be automatically processed through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.For other Employment Insurance benefits, including maternity, parental, care-giving, fishing and work-sharing, you should continue to apply as you normally would.

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: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html

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.

[Employment Insurance – Regular Benefits]

For anyone who became eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits on March 15, 2020, or later, your Employment Insurance claim will be automatically processed through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

To apply, use your My Service Canada Account: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/my-account.html

Support for Individuals

[Seniors]

One-time tax-free payment for seniors: You do not have to apply. All individuals who are eligible to receive the Old Age Security pension or the Guaranteed Income Supplement in June 2020 will receive the one-time payment for seniors. Everyone will receive one payment, and that payment will be issued during the week of July 6, 2020. 

If you only receive the Old Age Security pension, you will receive a separate single payment of $300.

If you receive the Old Age Security pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, you will receive a separate single payment of $500.

If you receive the Allowance or the Allowance for the Survivor, you will receive a separate single payment of $500.

Details on this payment can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/publicpensions/notice-covid-19/one-time-payment.html 

Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIF) - 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.

[Students]

Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) 

The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) provides financial support to post-secondary students, and recent post-secondary and high school graduates who are unable to find work due to COVID-19. This benefit is for students who do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance (EI). From May to August 2020, the CESB provides a payment to eligible students of: $1,250 For each 4-week period or $2,000 For each 4-week period, if you have dependants or a disability.

Further details and the application can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/emergency-student-benefit.html 

Canada Student Loans Changes:

Suspension of repayments of Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans from March 30 to September 30, 2020: no payments are required on student and apprentice loans during this time, pre-authorized debits will be stopped, no interest will accrue on student and apprentice loans.

For the coming 2020 to 2021 school year, the maximum amount of Canada Student Grants will be doubled.The Canada Student Grant for Full-Time Students will increase up to a maximum of $6,000 and the grant for part-time studies to $3,600. The Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependants will also be doubled.For the 2020 to 2021 school year, the weekly maximum loan limit will increase from $210 to $350.

Details on these changes can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/education/student-aid/notice-covid-19.html 

[Tax Filling Extension]

Details on the various extensions for specific groups can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/covid-19-filing-payment-dates.html 
You will not be charged late-filing penalties or interest if your 2019 individual (T1) income tax returns are filed and payments are made prior to September 1, 2020.
However, the Canada Revenue Agency is preserving the June 1 filing deadline for T1 individuals, and the June 15 filing deadline for T1 self-employed individuals (sole-proprietors), in order to encourage filing returns in time to accurately calculate benefits, which rely on 2019 tax returns for entitlement calculation.
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 was deferred until May 1, 2020.

Alberta Government Measures:

Details on all the Government of Alberta measures for workers and families can be found here https://www.alberta.ca/covid-19-support-for-employers.aspx and here https://www.alberta.ca/covid-19-supports-for-albertans.aspx

[Details on Alberta Reopening the Economy]

The Government of Alberta has announced that it has plans to slowly relax the restrictions on COVID to reinvigorate the economy. Details can be found here: https://www.alberta.ca/alberta-relaunch-strategy.aspx

[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: https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/wcb-covid-19-worker-fact-sheet.pdf

[Student Loans Repayment Deferral]

Alberta implemented 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.

SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

[Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)]

Eligible Canadian employers whose business has been affected by COVID-19 are eligible for a subsidy of 75% of employee wages for up to 24 weeks, retroactive from March 15, 2020, to August 29, 2020.

This wage subsidy will enable employers to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, help prevent further job losses, and better position businesses to resume normal operations following the crisis.

Details on who is an eligible employer can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/subsidy/emergency-wage-subsidy/cews-who-eligible-employer.html 

Details on how to apply for this program can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/subsidy/emergency-wage-subsidy.html 
Important Update On Program Extension:

Applications for claim period 4 (from June 7th to July 4th) will open July 8, 2020.

The federal government announced on May 15, 2020, that the CEWS would be extended by an additional 12 weeks, to August 29, 2020. The government also indicated that changes could be coming to the program illegibility criteria to make this program available to more employers. The existing eligibility criteria will apply for the current period (June 7th to July 4th). Any potential changes would commence as of period 5 (July 5th to August 1st) and/or period 6 (August 2nd to August 29th). More information about the announced CEWS extension to August 29 will be coming soon.

[Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)]

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 $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019 - or for applicants with less than $20,000 in total employment income paid in 2019, can prove they have non-deferrable expenses (rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance) between $40,000 and $1.5 million 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 program, including a list of participating financial institutions can be found here: https://ceba-cuec.ca/ 

[Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)]

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). This suite of programs provides liquidity support for small and mid-sized businesses, with loans from $40,000 through $60 million depending on the specific measure. 

Details on the suite of loans, loan guarantees, and co-lending programs and how to apply for them can be found here: https://www.bdc.ca/en/pages/special-support.aspx?special-initiative=covid19  

For details on the financial insurance products offered by Export Development Canada, visit: https://www.edc.ca/en/campaign/coronavirus-covid-19.html or call them at 1-800-229-0575 or email tradeadvisor-conseiller@edc.ca.

[Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)]

Over the course of the program, property owners will reduce rent by at least 75% for the months of April, May, June, and July for their small business tenants. CECRA will cover 50% of the rent, with the tenant paying up to 25% and the property owner forgiving at least 25%. This works by offering a commercial property owner a forgivable loan worth 50% of the value of the rent collected by the small business each month. These loans will be forgiven if the landlord complies with all applicable program terms and conditions — including not recovering forgiven rent amounts when the program is over.

Property owners and small business tenants will soon be able to access funding for the extension through the month of July. Only those tenants approved in the April, May and June application are eligible for the July extension. If a business had an average revenue decline of 70% or more in April, May and June, they are deemed eligible for the additional month of rent relief. However, not all tenants in the original application need to be included for the July extension.

CMHC has streamlined the application process and make it easier, by removing the requirement to claw-back insurance proceeds and provincial rent supports from the CECRA for small businesses forgivable loan amount for both existing and new applicants. Existing applicants who are affected will be notified and will have any previously clawed-back amounts restored to their forgivable loan.

Details and the application can be found here: https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/finance-and-investing/covid19-cecra-small-business 

[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: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/work-sharing.html

The eligibility criteria for employers and the application to participate in the EI Work Sharing Program can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/work-sharing/temporary-measures-forestry-sector.html

[Flexibility on Business Tax Filing Taxes]

Details on the adjusted filing deadlines for federal taxes for individuals and businesses can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/covid-19-filing-payment-dates.html 

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: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update.html

SUPPORT FOR AGRICULTURE

Details on all of the programs offered by Agriculture Canada, as well as information specific to the agriculture sector on COVID-19 can be found here: https://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/covid-19-information-for-the-agriculture-and-agri-food-industry/?id=1584732749543 

[Advance Payments Program (APP) Loan Payment Deferral]

Eligible farmers who have an outstanding Advance Payments Program (APP) loan due on or before April 30, 2020, will receive a Stay of Default, allowing them an additional six months to repay the loan. The new deadlines for outstanding Advance Payments Program loans are:

  • 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

Details can be found here: https://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/agricultural-programs-and-services/advance-payments-program/?id=1462198969862Amendments made to the Agricultural Marketing Programs Regulations increase loan limits from $400,000 to $1 million for all producers on a permanent basis, and increase the interest-free portion of loans on canola advances from $100,000 to $500,000 in the 2019 program year under the APP. 

[AgriRecovery Program]

This joint Canada-Alberta AgriRecovery initiative has two components – first, the Fed Cattle Feed Assistance, a retroactive payment for cattle set aside from May 1 to June 30 and second, a Bid Set-Aside process for cattle set aside starting June 29, 2020. The bid component of the initiative will continue until the initiative’s funds are distributed, the need to set aside animals no longer exists or the end date of March 31, 2021. This initiative is subject to a signed contribution agreement by both levels of government. Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) will administer both stages of the program in Alberta.

Further details can be found here: https://afsc.ca/income-stabilization/agrirecovery/

[AgriStability Program]

The deadline to apply for the AgriStability Program is July 3, 2020.

AgriStability provides support when you experience a large margin decline. You may be able to receive an AgriStability payment when your current year program margin falls below 70% of your reference margin. 

This program is delivered by the province of Alberta through the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC). Details and the application can be found here: https://afsc.ca/income-stabilization/agristability/ 

Alberta’s hog and potato producers are facing COVID-19-related challenges due to reduced capacity at processing plants and variations in food service and consumer buying patterns. Targeted changes to the AgriStability Interim Payment Program will help hog and potato producers experiencing these disruptions. Find out more here: https://afsc.ca/news/hog-and-potato-producers-affected-by-the-pandemic-can-access-increased-interim-agristability-payments/

AFSC staff can be reached at 1.877.899.2372 or email info@afsc.ca

[Agriculture Youth Summer Jobs]

This program provides a wage subsidy to employers who hire youth for agricultural jobs.  The program offers support for 50% of wages to a maximum of $14,000.  Additionally, the program offers 100% of costs for relocation to a maximum of $5,000 if the employee must relocate for the position. Employers can apply on or after May 26, 2020 for their project to be considered.

Application details can be found here: https://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/agricultural-programs-and-services/youth-employment-and-skills-program/?id=1557778999519

[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

Details on the Farm Credit Canada support programs for the COVID-19 crisis and contact information for Farm Cred Canada can be found here: https://www.fcc-fac.ca/en/covid-19.html or on the phone at 1-888-332-3301.

[Surplus Food Rescue Program]

The Surplus Food Rescue Program is part of the government of Canada’s emergency response to the current COVID-19 crisis. This is a time-limited program to help manage and redirect existing surpluses to organizations addressing food insecurity and to avoid food waste. It will provide an opportunity for non-profit and for-profit organizations across the supply chain to bid on significant volumes of surplus products at the cost of production or less, processing them where necessary for longer shelf life and distributing to food serving agencies.

Applicants under this program may be eligible to receive a maximum of $20 million unless the organization can make a case to move commodities in all categories.

Full Information on Application can be found here: https://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/agricultural-programs-and-services/surplus-food-rescue-program/?id=1591298974329

SUPPORT FOR OIL & GAS

[Site Rehabilitation Program for Orphan and Inactive Oil and Gas Wells]

The province of Alberta is delivering the federal funds to decommission inactive and orphaned wells in Alberta. Eligible oil and gas service companies can apply for grant funding to do abandonment and reclamation work on oil and gas sites in Alberta.

Contractors with approved grant applications will receive:

  • 10% of the grant amount once their application is approved

  • up to another 70% after submitting interim invoicing and reports (70% if the licensee’s municipal taxes are paid in full on the proposed site.  If taxes are not paid in full, the interim funding will be 50% of the grant amount.)

  • the remainder of the grant when the work is completed

The next application period will open in July. Details for this funding period will be released then. For details on the program, eligibility criteria and the applications click here: https://www.alberta.ca/site-rehabilitation-program-apply-for-a-grant.aspx

[Liquidity Financing for Small and Mid-Sized Oil and Gas Employers]

After promising in March that liquidity support for small and medium oil and gas employers would be coming in 'hours or days' but 'certainly not weeks' the Liberals quietly announced the removal of the oil and gas specific loans through the Business Development Bank of Canada through an end of day web page update. Instead, loans can only be accessed through the mid-sized loan program offered by BDC.

You can read my statement on this betrayal of the oil and gas sector here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/shannon-stubbs/liberals-remove-small-oil-and-gas-loans/3321936831158083/

The terms and conditions on these $15 million to $60 million loans can be found here: https://www.bdc.ca/EN/Documents/special-support/business-credit-availability-program.pdf#search=%22loan%20repayment%20fees%22

Interested businesses need to apply through their financial institution for these loans. Further details on the program can be found here: https://www.bdc.ca/en/pages/mid-market-financing-program.aspx

Details on the other liquidity and loan guarantee programs offered under the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) can be found here: https://www.bdc.ca/en/pages/special-support.aspx?special-initiative=covid19

Alberta Government Measures:

Details on all the Government of Alberta measures for workers and families can be found here: https://www.alberta.ca/covid-19-support-for-employers.aspx

Details on the re-launch strategy and stages can be found here: https://www.alberta.ca/alberta-relaunch-strategy.aspx

[Small and Medium Business Relaunch Grants]

The Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses, cooperatives, and non-profit organizations that were ordered to close or curtail operations, and that experienced a revenue reduction of at least 50 per cent, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible organizations can apply for 15% of their pre-COVID-19 revenue, up to a maximum of $5,000 in funding.Application intake will remain open until August 31 or for 4 weeks following the start of Phase 3 of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy – whichever is later. Phase 3 has yet to start. 

Details and the application can be found here: https://www.alberta.ca/sme-relaunch-grant.aspx

[Workers Compensation Board Premiums Deferral]

Effective March 23rd, private sector employers will be able to defer WCB premiums until early 2021, effective 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.

[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.

[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 90 days (to June 18th, 2020) 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.