Weekly COVID-19 Update – April 14, 2020

Mental Health & COVID-19 

A pandemic is a very real and stressful event for individuals and communities. During this time it is important to be there for friends, family and community members. Here are a variety of resources for those in need of information during this time. 

The Mental Health Support Line is 1-877-303-2642 and is available 24/7 to provide advice and referrals to community supports near you.

COVID-19: Mental Health and Well-Being | CMHA

Find Your Canadian Mental Health Association | CMHA

6 Tips to Respond to Employee Anxiety Around COVID-19 | CMHA

Pandemic Pushing on Your Anxiety Buttons? | CHMA

Mental Health and Coping with COVID-19 | CDC

Help in Tough Times | AHS


Reminder: Business Restrictions and Enforcement

Businesses that are on the essential workplaces list can remain open and have more than 15 people on a worksite, as long as risk mitigation strategies are implemented and followed. 

To see if your business is an essential workplace, click here.

Workplace Risk Mitigation Strategies: 

Business owners should:

  • Perform hazard assessments for all duties and undertake steps to control the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
  • Find alternate ways to hold essential meetings of large groups (e.g. working remotely, teleconferencing)
  • Cancel workplace gatherings of 15 or more people in a single space (e.g. training events, parties).
  • Continue business continuity planning to prepare critical operations for any potential interruption.

To view more recommended risk mitigation strategies, click here.


Alberta COVID-19 Testing Expansion

Alberta has expanded to laboratory tests to better trace the spread of COVID-19. 

Testing is now available to any person exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 including, cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, sore throat, feelings of confusion, or loss of consciousness. 

If you believe that you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, please take the online self assessment 
here
, and reach out to 811 with any questions you may have.


Google Ads: Free Credit for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

Google wants to help alleviate some of the cost for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to stay in touch with their customers during this challenging time. 

They’re giving SMBs worldwide $340 million in ad credits, which can be used at any point until the end of 2020 across Google Ads platforms. SMBs who have been active advertisers since the beginning of 2019 (Jan 1, 2019) will see a credit notification appear in their Google Ads account in the coming months. Advertisers receiving ad credits will be notified in the next few months.

SOURCE.


COVID-19: False and Misleading Claims 

It is important during this time to make sure that the information you are getting is correct and accurate. There are many people and businesses right now looking to profit off of the pandemic. 

The Government of Canada has not approved any product to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19. Selling unauthorized health products or making false or misleading claims to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19 is illegal in Canada.

The Government of Canada is encouraging anyone who has information regarding potential non-compliant sales or advertising of any health product claiming to treat, prevent or cure COVID-19, to report it using this online complaint form.


Government of Alberta: Small Business Supports 

Business Link

Talk to a small business advisor at Business Link to get free advice, coaching and information on COVID-19 resources and supports.

Submit your question online or contact them directly:

Hours: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed weekends and statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-422-7722
Toll free: 1-800-272-9675 (Canada only)
TTY: 1-800-457-8466 (For the deaf or hard of hearing)


 

Government of Canada – Supports for Businesses

  • Avoiding Layoffs and Rehiring Employees

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy – 

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) supports employers that are hardest hit by the pandemic, and protect the jobs Canadians depend on.

The subsidy covers 75% of an employee’s wages – up to $847 per week – for employers of all sizes and across all sectors who have suffered a drop in gross revenues of at least 15% in March, and 30% in April and May.

The program will be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020.

Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy – 


The Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy is a three-month measure that will allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deduction required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Extending the Work-Sharing Program – 


Extending the maximum duration of the Work-Sharing Program from 38 weeks to 76 weeks for employers affected by COVID-19. This measure will provide income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers.

Temporary Changes to Canada’s Summer Jobs Program – 

Temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program to allow employers to:

  • receive an increased wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee;
  • extend the end date for employment to February 28, 2021;
  • adapt their projects and job activities;
  • hire staff on a part-time basis.

  • Deferred Payments

More Time to Pay Income Taxes – 

Allowing all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18 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. 

Deferral of Sales of Tax Remittance and Customs Duty Payments until June – 

allowing businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer until June 30, 2020 payments of the GST/HST, as well as customs duty owing on their imports.

Any GST/HST payment that becomes owing from March 27 until the end of May can be deferred until the end of June. For GST and customs duty payments for imported goods, deferral will include amounts owing for March, April and May.

These amounts were normally due to be submitted to the Canada Revenue Agency and the Canada Border Services Agency as early as the end of March 2020.

  • Access to Credit

Establishing a Business Credit Availability Program – 


Established a Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to provide $40 billion of additional support through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC).

BDC and EDC are working with private sector lenders to coordinate on credit solutions for individual businesses, including in sectors such as oil and gas, air transportation, exports and tourism.

Canada Emergency Business Account – 


The new 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.

To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019.

Business owners can apply for support from the Canada Emergency Business Account through their banks and credit unions.

  • Supporting Financial Stability

Launching an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program – 


Launched an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program, in which we will purchase up to $150 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

This action will provide long-term stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders, help facilitate continued lending to Canadian consumers and businesses, and add liquidity to Canada’s mortgage market.

Bank of Canada’s Actions – 


The Bank of Canada is acting in several ways to support the economy and financial system and stands ready to take any and all actions that it can to protect the well-being of Canadians during this difficult time. The Bank has responded by lowering interest rates, intervening to support key financial markets and providing liquidity support for financial institutions.

– Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Actions – 


The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions announced it is lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer by 1.25% of risk-weighted assets. This action will allow Canada’s large banks to inject $300 billion of additional lending in to the economy.

  • Support for Self-Employed Individuals

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) – 


We will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19.

A portal with a simple questions will help us direct you to the service option that best fits your situation (i.e. eligibility for Employment Insurance benefits or not).

Deferral of Sales Tax Remittance and Customs Duty Payments until June – 


Allowing businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer until June 30, 2020 payments of the GST/HST, as well as customs duty owing on their imports.

Any GST/HST payment that becomes owing from March 27 until the end of May can be deferred until the end of June. For GST and customs duty payments for imported goods, deferral will include amounts owing for March, April and May.

These amounts were normally due to be submitted to the Canada Revenue Agency and the Canada Border Services Agency as early as the end of March 2020.

– More Time to Pay Income Taxes – 


Allowing all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18 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.

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