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COVID-19 Provincial Support Update

19-Mar-20

By McLennan Ross Labour & Employment Team

Late yesterday afternoon (March 18, 2020), the Government of Alberta announced a series of measures to support Albertans through the COVID-19 outbreak. These steps are designed to help support workers who may be required to self-isolate as a result of the virus and to reduce costs for Albertans who may have seen a reduction in their income as a result of the economic disruption. Importantly, these measures do not add additional costs to employers.

The measures are as follows:

Emergency Isolation Support

  • The Government will allocate $50 million to a temporary program for working adult Albertans who are required to self-isolate as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and who do not have another source of income. This will include persons who are the sole caregiver for a dependent who must self-isolate. 
  • A simple online application form will be available at www.alberta.ca next week. Eligible recipients will receive a one-time payment of $1146.
  • The program is intended for workers, including the self-employed, who are unable to access sick leave benefits from their employer and are ineligible for the EI sickness benefit. It is designed to bridge the gap until the recently announced Emergency Care Benefit is available in April 2020 from the Government of Canada.

Utility Payment Holiday

  • Residential customers can defer electricity and natural gas bill payments for the next 90 days.

Student Loan Repayment Deferral

  • Like the Government of Canada, Alberta will implement a six-month, interest free moratorium on student loans.

Mortgage and Loan Deferral

  • ATB personal banking customers can apply for a deferral on their ATB loans, lines of credit and mortgages for up to 6 months.
  • Credit union members will also have access to a variety of credit relief.

These programs compliment previously announced changes to the Employment Standards Code to allow for 14 days of job-protected leave for employees who are required to self-isolate or care for a child or dependent that is required to self-isolate. For a complete summary of provincial support for employers and employees click here.

The Government of Alberta is continuing to develop the specific details of these programs as well as additional measures to support the economy. The Legislative Assembly of Alberta remains open and legislative measures are expected to be introduced in the days ahead.

In addition, for a summary of measures announced by the Government of Canada on March 18, 2020, click here.

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