UPDATED APRIL 9, 2020 – COVID-19 Important Information for Constituents – Individuals

April 9, 2020
Federal Programs and Information for the COVID-19 Pandemic
Canada Child Benefit
Provide additional assistance to families with children by temporarily boosting Canada Child Benefit payments
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 includes:
a. 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.
b. 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.
c. 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.
 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.
 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.
 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 March 18, 2020 and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as installments, 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 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.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
The Emergency Response Benefit portal is now open:
Eligible Canadians can now apply according to their month of birth:
Monday, April 6, 2020 – Born in January, February and March
Tuesday, April 7, 2020 – Born in April, May and June
Wednesday, April 8, 2020 – Born in July, August and September
Thursday, April 9, 2020 – Born in October, November and December
Friday, Saturday, Sunday April 10-12, 2020 – Anyone who has not yet have the chance to place an application
The Emergency Response Benefit will be available to Canadians who:
• Have lost their job due to COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit their or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits.
• Are workers still employed but not receiving income due to disruptions due to COVID-19
• Are not receiving income from federal or provincial benefits related to maternity or paternity leave
• Are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment or self-employment income.
• Had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application from one of the following sources:
o Employment income
o Self-employment income
o Provincial or federal benefits related to maternity or paternity leave
It will apply to
                     Residents of Canada, who are at least 15 years old
                     Wage earners
                     Contract workers
                     Self-employed people otherwise not eligible for EI
People already receiving EI should stay on EI and not apply for this benefit. If their EI ends before October 3, Canadians can apply for this benefit. If you applied for EI after March 15, 2020, and are also eligible for the CERB, you will be automatically moved over.
You will be required to re-apply for the benefit once a month to continue receiving the benefit.
If this benefit runs out after 16 weeks and a worker is still unemployed and EI eligible, they can apply for EI.
You can apply for the benefit online through CRA MyAccount or by telephone at 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041.
The government expects to have money out to people in three business days through direct deposit and up to 10 business days by cheque.
Canadians can expect $500 per week. That amount will be paid every 4 weeks.
For more information please visit:
https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/apply-for-cerb-with-cra.html
Support for Vulnerable Groups
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.
TRAVEL FAQ
Many Canadians are either trying to return to Canada from abroad, or are trying to help family members or friends in doing so. This FAQ will help you navigate these trying times:
IMPORTANT: If you have previously registered your trip with the federal government and did not take your trip, or have no intention to return to Canada in the near future, please send an email to Registration of Canadians Abroad roca@international.gc.ca to end the registration of your trip in their system.  This will allow the government to focus on the remaining registrants who may need assistance.
Canada has closed its borders to most people who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada (see exemption below). There is an international flight ban in effect. Anyone showing symptoms (Canadian or otherwise), will not be allowed into the country. Anyone who is symptomatic during a flight will be dealt with by in-flight operations.
All Canadian-bound international flights will only be allowed into four Canadian airports – Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. This does not currently apply to USA flights, but that is subject to change.  No current flight restrictions are being placed on domestic in-Canada flights. Crews, planes, trains, and truck drivers will have access to cross-border travel under exemptions.
All travelers returning from overseas must self-isolate for 14 days to ensure they are not sick. Follow these steps if you feel sick:
a)      Take the self-assessment online (https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Journey/COVID-19/Pages/COVID-Self-Assessment.aspx)
b)      Call 811 if you have symptoms.
c)       Self-isolation instructions can be found here: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx
d)      If you traveled recently, you can see if your flight had anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 here:  https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/covid-19-flight-information.pdf.
Should I be canceling my travel plans because of COVID-19?
a)      YES!  This includes non-essential domestic travel.
b)      On March 6th, the Government of Canada advised Canadians to ‘think twice’ about cruise ships, especially if you are elderly or have underlying health conditions.  Then, on March 9th, the Government of Canada officially advised all Canadians to avoid all cruise ships.
c)       All Canadians are being advised to return to Canada as soon as possible utilizing commercial options.  There are currently no plans for repatriation flights for those who are abroad and where commercial options remain available.  (Air Canada will suspend flights from Australia on March 28th.)
d)      Both provincial and federal health officials have issued advice to all Canadians to avoid or cancel all international travel. Many airlines have waived change fees. In short, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, health officials are asking you not to travel internationally at this time. Health officials are also requesting Canadians arriving back from international travel to self-isolate for 14 days.
e)      WestJet has suspended all international flights effective Sunday, March 22 for 30 days – https://www.westjet.com/en-ca/travel-info/coronavirus
f)       Porter Airlines has suspended all flights until June 1.
g)      Air Canada will suspend flights from Australia on March 28th.
h)      Air Transat will suspend flights on April 1st.
i)        More information here: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html
j)        https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx#toc-2
I am currently outside of Canada. Should I be returning home to Canada earlier than planned?
Yes, the Government of Canada is advising Canadians to:
a)      Find out what commercial options are still available to return to Canada. Consider returning to Canada earlier than planned as these options are becoming more limited.  There are currently no plans for repatriation flights for those who are abroad and where commercial options remain available.
b)      The US-Canada border is now closed to non-essential travel. Those returning to Canada by vehicle from the United States will be permitted to return to Canada, however, future local travel restrictions in the United States may impede your ability to actually make it back to the border.
c)       Ensure that you have sufficient finances and necessities, including medication, in case your travels are disrupted.
d)      More info: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories
Either me or my family member is outside of Canada and is affected by travel bans. What should we do?
a)      Canadians traveling outside of Canada in need of emergency consular assistance can contact Global Affairs Canada’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 613 996 8885 or email sos@international.gc.ca.  Call volumes are high.
Returning Canadians
a)      All travellers returning from outside Canada must self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms.  This includes those returning to Canada by private vehicle and land crossings.
b)      More information: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx
International Travel Exemptions
The Government of Canada is providing an update on travel restrictions put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19. Exemptions to the air travel restrictions will apply to foreign nationals who have already committed to working, studying or making Canada their home, and travel by these individuals will be considered essential travel for land border restrictions. The exemptions include:
a)      Seasonal agricultural workers, fish/seafood workers, caregivers and all other temporary foreign workers
b)      international students who held a valid study permit, or had been approved for a study permit, when the travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020
c)       permanent resident applicants who had been approved for permanent residence before the travel restrictions were announced on March 16, 2020, but who had not yet traveled to Canada
Provincial Support and Resources for Albertans
  • Albertans will be able to defer Residential, farm, and small commercial utility bills for the next 90 days
  • No one will be cut off from their electricity or heat during this time
  • Student loan payments will have a six-month, interest-free moratorium for all individuals who are repaying them
  • ATB will be joining other major financial institutions in a number of measures for financial relief for Albertans
  • Deferral on their ATB loans, lines of credit, and mortgages for up to six months.
  • Small business customers, in addition to payment deferrals on loans and lines of credit, will be provided access to additional working capital.
  • Alberta’s Credit Unions are also taking steps to protect Albertans
  • Credit Union members should proactively contact their providers to gain access to programs and solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic
Government of Alberta COVID-19 Self Assessment tool:
If you believe you have contracted the virus or have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 please visit this website to self-assess:
https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Journey/COVID-19/Pages/COVID-Self-Assessment.aspx