COVID-19 Provincial Support and General Information
For an overview of how education, child care, employment, businesses, housing and tenancy, transportation, travel, mental health, and medical service plans are impacted by the provincial response to COVID-19, please click here.
Support for Businesses
Corporate income tax changes
Corporate income tax balances and instalment 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. More information on support for businesses is available here.
WCB premium payment deferral
Small, medium and large private sector employers can defer WCB premium payments until 2021. For small and medium businesses, the government will cover 50% of the 2020 premium when it is due in 2021 – saving businesses $350 million.
Large employers will have their 2020 WCB premium payments deferred until 2021, at which time their premiums will be due. Employers who have already paid WCB premiums in 2020 are eligible for a rebate or credit. Further details are available here.
Education property tax deferral
Education property tax rates will be frozen at last year’s level – reversing the 3.4% population and inflation increase added in Budget 2020. Collection of non-residential education property tax for businesses will be deferred for 6 months. Municipalities are expected to set education property tax rates as they normally would, but defer collection. Deferred amounts will be repaid in future tax years.
Commercial landlords are encouraged to pass savings on to their tenants through reduced or deferred payments to help employers pay their employees and stay in business. Businesses capable of paying their taxes in full are encouraged to do so. This will assist the province in supporting Albertans through the pandemic.
Further details on financial supports are available here.
Support for Workers
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 Alberta Government expects the program to be available through a simple online application and that funds will be deposited in the accounts of eligible recipients beginning at that time. Further details and updates are available here.
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 or are caring for a child or dependent adult that is required to self-isolate. Details on eligibility for job-protected leave are available here.
Utility payment deferral
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. This program is available to Albertans who are experiencing financial hardship as a direct result of COVID-19. For example, those who have lost their employment or had to leave work to take care of an ill family member. Call your utility provider directly to arrange for a 90-day deferral on all payments.
Learn more here about the 90-day utility payment deferral (PDF, 128 KB)
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. Contact your credit union to work out a plan for your personal situation
Support for Renters
New policies were implemented, as part of an overall $7.7-billion package in direct supports and deferrals, to relieve the immediate financial burden brought on by the crisis and provide stability.
- Effective immediately, tenants cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent and/or utilities before May 1.
- Effective immediately, rents will not increase while Alberta’s state of public health emergency remains in effect.
- Effective April 1, late fees cannot be applied to late rent payments for the next three months.
- Effective April 1, landlords and tenants need to work together to develop payment plans while the state of public health emergency is in effect.
An overview of these new policies are available here.
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)
An agreement in principle was reached between the federal government and provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. CECRA will provide a forgivable loan to qualifying commercial property owners to cover half of rent for April, May, and June of this year. The loan will be forgivable if the property owner and tenant agree to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75% for April, May and June under a rent forgiveness agreement.
Further information is available here.
Support for Students
The Alberta Government is implementing a six-month, interest free, moratorium on Alberta student loan payments for all Albertans currently in repayment. Alberta Student Loan repayments will be paused beginning March 30, 2020. Interest will not accrue during this period. 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. Details are available here.
Schools have been cancelled across Alberta, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All Grade 6 and 9 provincial achievement tests and Grade 12 diploma exams have been cancelled. Additional information, including about graduation criteria, report cards, provincial assessments, and educational resources, is available online.
Events and Gatherings
New public health measures are in place to limit the time Albertans spend in large crowds and crowded spaces. A detailed overview of these measures is available here.
Information for Travellers
All travellers returning from outside Canada, after March 12, 2020, should self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms. More information for travellers is available here.
Enforcement of Public Health Measures
Through amendments to the Procedures Regulation under the Provincial Offences Procedures Act, community peace officers, in addition to police, will be able to issue tickets to enforce COVID-19 public health orders. Fines now administered through tickets for violating an order have increased from up to $100 per day to a prescribed fine of $1,000 per occurrence. Courts will also have increased powers to administer fines of up to $100,000 for a first offence and up to $500,000 for a subsequent offence for more serious violations. These new fines will be in force over the coming days.
Further details about enforcement and public health orders are available here.
Mental Health Support
The Government of Alberta is spending more than $53 million to implement more online, phone and in-person mental health and addiction recovery support to make it easier for Albertans to access services from anywhere in Alberta during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes $21.4 million to improve access to phone and online supports with existing helplines, including the Addiction Helpline, the Mental Health Helpline, the Kids Help Phone and the Community and Social Services Helpline (Alberta 211).
The full announcement is available here.