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COVID-19

The Federal COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

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12 minute read

Finance Minister Bill Morneau

The Government of Canada is taking strong and quick action to protect our economy, and the health, safety, and jobs of all Canadians during the global COVID-19 outbreak.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the economy and help Canadians affected by the impacts of this challenging period.

These measures, delivered as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses, plus $55 billion to meet liquidity needs of Canadian businesses and households through tax deferrals to help stabilize the economy. Combined, this $82 billion in support represents more than 3 per cent of Canada’s GDP. This wide-ranging support will help ensure Canadians can pay for rent and groceries, and help businesses continue to pay their employees and their bills during this time of uncertainty.

This plan builds on coordinated action taken since the beginning of this outbreak, including the more than $1 billion COVID-19 Response Fund, which provided funding to provinces and territories to strengthen critical health care systems. It represents over $500 billion in credit and liquidity support for people and businesses through cooperation between financial Crown corporations, the Bank of Canada, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), and commercial lenders to ensure businesses can continue to operate.

The actions announced today are part of Canada’s whole-of-government response to COVID-19. As a first step, this plan aims to stabilize our economy through targeted measures to address immediate challenges faced by workers and businesses alike. It will help ensure that workers have the money they need while they are sick or in isolation, or due to loss of work or a significant reduction in work income, and help support people and businesses experiencing financial hardship because of the outbreak.

Canadians should not make health decisions based on their financial needs. As the situation continues to evolve, further measures will be announced to support Canadians, stimulate the economy, and protect peoples’ jobs and livelihoods..

Support for workers

Canadians should not have to worry about paying their rent or mortgage or buying groceries because of the COVID-19 crisis. To support workers and their families, the Government of Canada is taking action to:

  • Provide additional assistance to families with children by temporarily boosting Canada Child Benefit payments. This measure would deliver almost $2 billion in extra support.
  • Introduce an Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks to provide income support to workers who must stay home and do not have access to paid sick leave. This measure could provide up to $10 billion to Canadians, and includes:
  • Workers, including the self-employed, who are sick, quarantined, or who have been directed to self-isolate but do not qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits.
  • Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent or other dependents who are sick, but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
  • EI-eligible and non EI-eligible working parents who must stay home without pay because of children who are sick or who need additional care because of school closures.
  • Introduce an Emergency Support Benefit delivered through the Canada Revenue Agency to provide up to $5 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.
  • Provide additional assistance to individuals and families with low and modest incomes with a special top-up payment under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit. This measure would inject $5.5 billion in the economy.
  • Waive, for a minimum of six months, the mandatory one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits for workers in imposed quarantine or who have been directed to self-isolate, as announced on March 11.
  • Waive the requirement for a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.
  • Extend the tax filing deadline for individuals to June 1, and 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 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. This measure will result in households having more money available during this period.
  • Provide eligible small businesses a 10 per cent wage subsidy for the next 90 days, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Employers benefiting from this measure would include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as not-for-profit organisations and charities.  This will help employers keep people on their payroll and help Canadians keep their jobs.
  • Provide increased flexibility to lenders to defer mortgage payments on homeowner government-insured mortgage loans to borrowers who may be experiencing financial difficulties related to the outbreak. Insurers will permit lenders to allow payment deferral beginning immediately.

In addition, to provide targeted support for vulnerable groups, the Government is investing to:

  • Reduce minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25 per cent for 2020 in recognition of volatile market conditions and their impact on many seniors’ retirement savings.
  • Implement a six-month, interest-free, moratorium on Canada Student Loan payments for all individuals who are in the process of repaying these loans.
  • Provide $305 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund, to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities.
  • Support women and children fleeing violence by providing up to $50 million to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities. This includes funding for facilities in Indigenous communities.
  • Provide an additional $157.5 million to address the needs of Canadians experiencing homelessness through the Reaching Home program.

Support for businesses

In the face of an uncertain economic situation and tightening credit conditions, the Government is taking action to help affected businesses. To support Canadian businesses and help them retain their workers during this difficult time, the Government is announcing measures to:

  • 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 instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. This measure will result in businesses having more money available during this period.
  • Increase the credit available to small, medium, and large Canadian businesses. As announced on March 13, a new Business Credit Availability Program will provide more than $10 billion of additional support to businesses experiencing cash flow challenges through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada. The Government is ready to provide more capital through these financial Crown corporations.
  • Further expand Export Development Canada’s ability to provide support to domestic businesses.
  • Provide flexibility on the Canada Account limit, to allow the Government to provide additional support to Canadian businesses, when deemed to be in the national interest, to deal with exceptional circumstances.
  • Augment credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector through Farm Credit Canada.
  • Launch an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program to purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). As announced on March 16, this will provide stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders and support continued lending to Canadian businesses and consumers. CMHC stands ready to further support liquidity and the stability of the financial markets through its mortgage funding programs as necessary. The Government will enable these measures by raising CMHC’s legislative limits to guarantee securities and insure mortgages by $150 billion each.

The six largest financial institutions in Canada have made a commitment to work with personal and small business banking customers on a case-by-case basis to provide flexible solutions to help them manage through challenges, such as pay disruption due to COVID-19, childcare disruption due to school or daycare closures, or those suffering from COVID-19. As a first step, this support will include up to a six-month payment deferral for mortgages, and the opportunity for relief on other credit products. The Government of Canada will continue to monitor evolving economic conditions and seek greater relief measures should it be necessary.

In order to move forward with implementing these new measures needed to provide timely support for Canadians and to ensure the Government has every tool at its disposal to address potential challenges that may arise, the Government intends to introduce special legislation and seek the approval of Parliament.

The Government of Canada will continue to take further action as required to prioritize the health and safety of Canadians, stabilize the economy, and mitigate the economic impact of this pandemic.

World virus infections hit 200,000; Borders jammed in Europe

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

$1,200 Covid payment for 76,500 more Albertans including truck drivers, janitors, taxi drivers, security guards, farm workers, etc

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More Albertans to receive $1,200 Critical Worker Benefit

76,500 more workers to receive a one-time payment to recognize the risks they have taken to support Albertans and the economy.

The Critical Worker Benefit is a joint federal-provincial program with $465 million available to recognize the hard work of critical workers during the pandemic.

During the first round of the Critical Worker Benefit Alberta’s government provided $1,200 payments to over 277,800 workers in the healthcare, social services, education and private sectors who deliver critical services to Albertans or support food and medical supply chains.

Workers in new job categories will be eligible for the same $1,200 payment. This includes workers in social services and the private sector who provided critical services to Albertans, were essential to the supply and movement of goods, and faced greater potential risk of exposure to COVID-19 through their work environments.

To be eligible for the benefit, employees must have worked a minimum of 300 hours during the period of Oct. 12, 2020 to Jan. 31, 2021. Support staff working in licensed child care must have worked a minimum of 243 hours during this period.

Eligible social services sector employers do not need to apply. Employers of support staff working in licensed child care programs, disability support workers providing independent living supports, respite, community access, and employment supports, and front-line workers in seniors-serving organizations and non-profit affordable housing providers will be contacted by the Government of Alberta to confirm details.

Eligible private sector workers making $25 per hour or less will also qualify for the benefit. These workers include: truck drivers, farmworkers, security guards, cleaners, funeral workers, employees at quick service and dine in restaurants and taxi drivers who can demonstrate they worked at least 300 hours during the eligibility period. The complete list of eligible workers for this phase of the program are available in the Application Guidelines for the private sector at alberta.ca/criticalworkerbenefit.

Private sector employers can apply on behalf of employees at alberta.ca/criticalworkerbenefit as of June 22. Employers have until July 23 to apply.

Employers will be responsible for distributing the $1,200 Critical Worker Benefit to their eligible employees.

Alberta’s government is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by protecting lives and livelihoods with precise measures to bend the curve, sustain small businesses, and protect Alberta’s health care system.

Quick facts

  • Alberta’s government contributed $118 million to the $465 million program.
  • A total of about $367 million has been spent on about 289,800 workers.
  • $355 million has been spent on about 277,800 workers in the phase one of the Critical Worker Benefit. This includes social services workers, health care workers, education workers and critical private sector workers, such as grocery cashiers, pharmacy assistants, and gas station attendants.
  • Announced in April 2020, Alberta also used $12 million of the one-time federal funding along with a provincial investment totalling $30 million to date to provide a $2 an hour wage top-up for about 12,000 health care aides working in long-term care and designated supportive living facilities.
  • About $99 million is available for about 76,500 workers in the social services and private sectors.
  • The break down of benefit recipient is:
    • Up to $18.5 million in the social services sector supporting 14,300 workers
    • Up to $80.3 million in the private sector supporting 62,200 workers

 

Workers in the following private sector occupations are eligible to receive the Critical Worker Benefit:

  • truck transportation, primarily engaged in the transportation of goods, in the following occupations:
    • ­transport truck drivers
    • ­light duty cleaners
    • ­janitors, caretakers and building superintendents
    • ­security guards and related security services
    • ­material handlers
    • ­dlivery and courier services drivers
    • ­other trades helpers and labourers
  • crop production, animal production or aquaculture directly involved in the production of food for human consumption
  • funeral homes, cemeteries and crematoria
    • not eligible: municipally-run funeral homes, cemeteries and crematoria
  • security guards
    • not eligible: private investigators, armoured car guard, house detective, personal bodyguards and security
  • light duty cleaners, janitors and specialized cleaners working in commercial, institution and industrial locations
    • not eligible: private residence cleaners
  • taxi drivers
    • not eligible: chauffers and drivers of ride-share companies such as Uber and Lyft
  • workers in full-service restaurants and limited services eating places – workers must be primarily involved in the preparation, cooking or service delivery in an eligible establishment
    • not eligible: drinking places that do not serve food onsite

Read the application guidelines for the private sector for more information.

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Alberta

Alberta OPEN FOR SUMMER – Live Announcement

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june, 2021

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