The Chamber is focused on continuing to build the resiliency of our business community through the challenges posed by the COVID-19. See answers, supports + resources below.

Chamber Resource Page HERE
Where do I begin?

Analyze your business to determine where you are at right now and what your options are:
  • Talk to your banker and accountant
  • Talk to your insurance provider and health benefit provider
  • Talk to your staff

How do I keep my employees?

There is a temporary wage subsidy for a period of 3 months. The subsidy will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.

Businesses will benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. Employers benefiting from this measure include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations & charities.  Info on how to access this subsidy.


What do I do if I have to lay off employees?

You are still required to adhere to the  notice periods  required by the Government of Alberta and issue Record of Employment (ROE).
  • When the employee is sick or quarantined, use code D (Illness or injury) as the reason for separation (block 16). Do not add comments.
  • When the employee is no longer working due to a shortage of work because the business has closed or decreased operations due to coronavirus (COVID-19), use code A (Shortage of work). Do not add comments.
  • When the employee refuses to come to work but is not sick or quarantined, use code E (Quit) or code N (Leave of absence), as appropriate. Avoid adding comments unless absolutely necessary.

Tips:
  • Avoid adding comments as this will mean that they are flagged to be looked at and will take longer to process.
  • Use Internet Explorer if you are facing difficulties.
  • Due to the high volume, wait time is longer than normal.




What if I am self-employed or a contractor?
 
Provincially , the Alberta COVID-19 Emergency Income Support Program. Must sign up BEFORE April 1 HERE

Federally , the Emergency Care Benefit will provide up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks. Application for the Benefit will be available in April 2020, and require Canadians to attest that they meet the eligibility requirements. They will need to re-attest every two weeks to reconfirm their eligibility. To apply for the Benefit:
1.  Access it on CRA  My Account  secure portal;
2.  Access it from secure My Service Canada Account; or
3.  Call toll free number equipped with an automated application process 1-833-381-2725.

The Emergency Support Benefit will provide up to $5.0 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment. HERE

How do I access Utility Bill Deferral?

Residential customers can defer electricity + natural gas bill payments for the next 90 days to ensure no one will be cut off, regardless of the service provider. Your local municipalities may have also made provisions around local utilities & property taxes, please visit the individual pages at the top of this email.

This program is available to Albertans who are experiencing financial hardship as a direct result of COVID-19. Contact your utility provider below directly to arrange for a 90-day deferral on payments.

Altagas HERE 1-866-222-2067

Atco HERE 1-844-687-2826

Direct Energy HERE 1-866-420-3174

Epcor HERE 310-4300


What is WCB Payment Deferral?

Small, medium and large private sector employers can defer  WCB premium  payments until 2021. Invoices for 2020 premiums have been stopped for the remainder of the year. Payments already made towards 2020 premiums will be automatically refunded to employers. You do not need to call in to request reimbursement. For more information, see our  employer fact sheet .


EI: Do I qualify and how do I access it?

If you are   laid off due to work closures  apply for regular EI benefits. To qualify you will need 700 hours worked in the last year and an Record of Employment saying you've been laid off from your employer to get benefits. There is a 1-week wait period. You can find  more info + apply online  or call 1-800-206-7218.

If you are unable to work due to self-quarantine  , apply for EI Sickness Benefits . You will need 600 work hours in the last year and do not need an ROE or sick note to qualify. The 1 week wait period is waived. Find  more info + apply online  or call 1-833-381-2725.

If you are   laid off and ineligible for EI  apply for the Emergency Support Benefit. $5 billion dollars has been allocated to this program with more details to come and applications will be available in April. Make sure you have a  CRA My Account   to apply for this benefit. A toll free number is yet to be released.

If you are   self-quarantined and ineligible for EI  apply for the Emergency Care Benefit , including the self-employed, who are sick with COVID-19, quarantined, or taking care of a family member with COVID-19. This benefit allows up to 15 weeks of benefits up to $900 bi-weekly. Applications will begin in April . Make sure you have a  CRA My Account  to apply for this benefit. A toll free number is yet to be released.

If you are a   parent that is unable to work because of school closures you can apply for the Emergency Care Benefit . This benefit allows up to 15 weeks of benefits up to $900 bi-weekly. Applications will begin in April . Make sure you have a  CRA My Account  to apply for this benefit. A toll free number is yet to be released.

Find more information on the federal government's


What are my rights as an employee?

Full and part-time employees are entitled to take 14 days of job-protected leave if they are:
  • required to self-isolate
  • caring for a child or dependent adult that is required to self-isolate

The leave does not apply to self-employed individuals or contractors.

Employers are not required to pay sick leave if you are not required to self-isolate. Your employer will have their own policies. Contact them to receive information specific to your position.
What are other businesses experiencing?

The Chamber put out a COVID-19 Business Check-in Survey of regional business and received 125 responses as of March 23. Take the survey HERE + see responses below.
What Mental Health Resources are available?

The Mental Health Help Line: 1-877-303-2642 is available 24/7 to provide advice + referrals to community supports.

Food Bank Notices

The Leduc & District Food Bank is OPEN DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS. Call 780-986-5333 Mondays, Wednesdays + Fridays starting at 8:30 am to book for same day pick up. Call volume is very high, please be patient. They have also reduced hamper sizes to be able to assist everyone.
 
DONATE There is a surge in demand for food at this time. MONETARY donations are greatly appreciated and can be made through  Canadahelps.org or ATB cares

Wetaskiwin Salvation Army Food Bank is OPEN DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS. Call 780-352-2416 or email .
We want to hear from you...
In days to come, we will be answering more questions and outlining more resources as they become available. If there is a gap in supports let us know.

Until then, reach out to us at info@yourchamber.ca + please stay socially distanced & healthy.