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Alberta is continuing to test people for COVID-19 and has completed more than 57,000 tests as of April 2.
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Application intake for the spring 2021 payment from Alberta’s small business grant is now open.
As announced earlier this month, the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant program has been reopened for a new payment to businesses affected by the April 2021 public health orders. Eligible organizations can now apply for this additional COVID relief funding.
“We have to be there to help small businesses in Alberta get to the other side of this pandemic. With the expansion of the relaunch grant, we are helping small businesses make it through the third wave of COVID-19. We know the past year has not been easy and are grateful for what all small businesses in Alberta have done to help protect the lives of Albertans in their communities.”Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation
“We have to be there to help small businesses in Alberta get to the other side of this pandemic. With the expansion of the relaunch grant, we are helping small businesses make it through the third wave of COVID-19. We know the past year has not been easy and are grateful for what all small businesses in Alberta have done to help protect the lives of Albertans in their communities.”
Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation
The Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant (SMERG) offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses, cooperatives and non-profit organizations with fewer than 500 employees that have faced restrictions or closures due to COVID-related public health orders, and have experienced revenue losses of at least 30 per cent. Hotels, taxis and ride-sharing services are also now eligible for this payment.
Eligible organizations will receive a payment of up to $10,000, which follows the previous intake that provided up to $20,000. Funds can be used to:
Application intake for the program is open until May 31 with a budget of $350 million.
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.
Special Minister’s Statement on COVID-19
As our efforts to address the public health emergency continue, I want to thank seniors‑serving and housing partners for taking special care to look out for the Albertans we serve.We know individuals over 60 years of age and those with pre-existing health conditions are most at risk of severe symptoms from COVID‑19. Our government is doing everything it can to prevent the spread and protect the most vulnerable.Seniors and fraud
In emergencies like this, dishonest groups or individuals often try to take advantage of our fear and uncertainty.Deceitful individuals who may pose as door-to-door salespeople, telemarketers, collection agents and, sometimes even distant relatives asking for help, can target vulnerable individuals, especially seniors.If you have a parent, grandparent, vulnerable family friend or neighbour, please watch out for them. Offer to be their buddy, someone they can check in with before responding to matters involving money. A calm, informed person can advise a senior in their life about a caller or salesperson who is legitimate or a scammer.Please, do not respond to requests for personal information or immediate payment. Take a moment and call a person you trust.Public health orders
To protect the health and safety of Albertans, law enforcement agencies now have full authority to enforce public health orders and issue fines for violations. That includes the following:
We encourage Albertans to report any infractions to provincial public health officials.Snowbirds
All Albertans who have travelled outside of the country, including snowbirds returning home from wintering in the United States and other countries, must enter mandatory isolation upon returning to Alberta and self-isolate for 14 days.You must not stop at the grocery store on your way home, or pick up the dog at the kennel.You must go directly and immediately home, self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms.
Returning snowbirds who are not experiencing symptoms can still go outside, but this does not mean visits to all outdoors areas are advisable. Feel free to take a walk around your neighbourhood, but make sure to maintain distance from others – at least six feet (about the length of a bicycle).Family members in continuing care, long-term care and seniors lodges
We are taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among people who live in various types of seniors accommodations.A single individual designated by the resident or guardian is the only person who can visit a family member or friend living in continuing care, long-term care and seniors lodges in Alberta.Facilities will have a greeter to verify that the resident or guardian has designated the visitor. Visitors will undergo a health screening, possibly a temperature check and a questionnaire, prior to entering the facility. Mandatory health screening protocols apply to staff, residents and essential visitors entering a facility.
As well, all facilities must follow enhanced cleaning practices and additional directions around the use of shared spaces and common activities.We are taking these steps to protect seniors, and the staff who work at these facilities.Non-essential medical appointments
If your family physician or other health-care provider is unable or unwilling to receive you, we recommend you contact another health-care provider.To find a family doctor near you who is accepting new patients, Primary Care Networks and the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta offer online tools. Visit https://albertafindadoctor.ca and https://search.cpsa.ca/physiciansearch.We recommend the postponement of any non-essential visits at this time.You may also download the Babylon by Telus Health App to meet with Alberta-licensed physicians through your smartphone.Family and Community Support Services
Last week our government announced additional emergency funding to charities, non-profit and civil society organizations through the Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) program to support their COVID-19 response.Funding criteria and forms for emergency funding to charities, non-profit and civil society organizations is now available.We will continue to work with our important stakeholders to reach those who are most impacted by COVID-19.Resources for caregivers
Caregivers Alberta offers supports to all caregivers, including those who might be experiencing heightened feelings of stress, anxiety, and isolation. The organization has closed its office to help slow the spread of COVID-19, but continues to offer support through its Caregiver Advisor and online programming.Click here to access Caregivers Alberta’s COVID-19 resources including:
Click here for more information about Caregivers Alberta’s ONLINE Caregiver Support Community.Identifying concerns and solutions
My ministry is currently working with key partners to find innovative ways we can help seniors‑serving organizations continue to provide key services and mitigate the impacts and effects of social isolation.If your organization has identified a concern, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.Information and social supports
For information and referrals to social supports in your community, visit Alberta 211. For more information on COVID‑19, visit alberta.ca/COVID19. For steps you can take to protect yourself and others visit alberta.ca/prevent-the-spread.aspx.Information that can be posted by your organization and shared with your clients is available here. As additional materials are developed, they will be available online.The health of Albertans is, and always will be, our top priority. We will get through this together.Josephine Pon
Minister of Seniors and HousingMarch 28, 2020
The Alberta Government is providing $30 million to municipalities, charitable and non-profit organizations to provide help to individuals, seniors, families and other vulnerable Albertans who are isolated or impacted by measures to contain COVID- 19.
Through grants from their local Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) in Edmonton and Calgary, and from Family and Community Support Services Association of Alberta (FCSSAA) representing the remainder of the province, funding will be distributed to civil society organizations.
These organizations will support a range of services needed from at-home help for seniors, crisis and helplines, food security issues, emotional and mental health counselling or any other identified community issues.
The $30 million in funding will be distributed to the following municipalities:
As funding is being distributed outside the scope of the FCSS Act and Regulation, the 80/20 funding rule will not applyCharitable and non-profit organizations are encouraged to connect directly with their local FCSS program to receive detailed funding guidelines and grant criteria. FCSS will work closely with Community and Social Services (CSS) to obtain project approvals.
Grant funding must be expended by March 31, 2021. Any surplus dollars from the grant must be returned and cannot be carried over to the following fiscal year (2021/2022).
For services to be eligible, they must address the social well-being of those most affected by COVID- 19 and the measures implemented to limit the spread of the virus.
Those impacted may include seniors, individuals with chronic medical conditions, caregivers, families with children at home and individuals with limited access to supports. Services should align with one or more of the following funding priorities:
Services to allow individuals, seniors and families who are isolated to have their home needs met, including home support and support services for children and families. Examples include: transportation or delivery of goods, such as groceries or prescriptions, housekeeping services, caregiver relief and other services.
Services to build capacity and strengthen volunteer work in the community. Examples include: food and meal service delivery, grocery shopping, helplines, volunteer support coordination, out of pocket expenses for volunteers and information services.
Provide alternate ways of supporting individuals and families so people can function within this new environment. Examples include: telephone mentoring, counselling/emotional mental health supports and supports to help address economic and food security needs.
Expand or supplement efforts to provide information and referral services and telephone/online support. Examples include: crisis/distress lines, 211 services, promotion of information and services, posters and signage.
Ineligible expenses include but are not limited to the following:
Purchase of any capital assets.
Any costs required to sustain an organization that do not relate to direct service delivery under the project.
Organizations chosen to provide services and supports will need to sign an agreement and submit a report at the end of the grant term. This report must demonstrate that activities were completed and monies spent as described in the agreement.
Organizations should contact their local FCSS to request funding for specific programs or services in their community. Funding for specific programs and services will not be distributed directly from the Alberta Government.
All projects must adhere to government recommended procedures and standards pertaining to COVID-19.
For the most updated information, please visit Alberta.ca/COVID19.
MEDIA STATEMENT - APPROVED March 24, 2020 - afternoon
A statement from AUMA President Barry Morishita: AUMA supports provincial government’s education tax relief
Alberta’s municipalities and AUMA support the provincial government’s recent announcement of fiscal relief for residents and businesses of Alberta. The changes to the 2020 education tax requisition, which municipalities collect on behalf of the province, will relieve pressure on Albertans during this uncertain time.
Education property tax freeze
AUMA is pleased that the province has decided to cancel the increase to its education property tax requisition, which was announced in the 2020 Budget. This increased tax burden would have fallen on Alberta’s residential property taxpayers and our already-suffering businesses. AUMA strongly advocated for the reversal of this increase, and we are grateful that the provincial government responded in this way.
Education property tax deferral
We also applaud the province for deferring its education property tax for businesses.
In addition, AUMA wishes to collaborate with the provincial government to enable municipalities to provide deferrals for the municipal portion of the property tax. Municipalities need flexibility so they can implement and set property tax payment deferrals in a manner that reflects their local circumstances.
We must emphasize that municipalities will have limited ability to defer property tax, as their cashflows are already strained. In order to be able to offer significant property tax deferrals for businesses, municipalities will require financial assistance from:
We have reached out to the Government of Alberta to work out the details of how municipalities can be full partners in supporting economic recovery and growth.
Businesses, entrepreneurs, and workers in our communities are under a tremendous amount of stress, and Albertans rely on municipalities’ critical services, now more than ever. As Premier Kenney has mentioned, we are facing a period of profound adversity. Municipalities share the same ambition as the provincial government for a strong and prosperous Alberta, and we look forward to sharing in brighter times ahead once we have weathered this time of uncertainty.
Carla Putnam Kerr
Communications Manager, AUMA
New funding and supportive measures will provide immediate financial relief to Alberta’s families, vulnerable populations, local businesses and employers. “Albertans are doing their part to keep each other safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19. We are doing ours by assisting Albertans and their families, protecting jobs and supporting workers and employers. We will help shelter Albertans from the economic disruption of COVID-19 now, and position Alberta’s industry and businesses to bounce back when the situation stabilizes. This is an initial set of measures, and more will follow in the days to come.”
Jason Kenney, Premier
Financial supports for Albertans
Albertans should be focused on their health and not worry about whether they can pay their bills, so the government has put a number of options in place for those struggling financially:
• This will be a temporary program for working adult Albertans who must self-isolate because they meet the Government of Alberta’s published criteria for self-isolation, including persons who are the sole caregiver for a dependent who must self-isolate because they meet the public health criteria, and who will not have another source of pay or compensation while they are self-isolated.
• It will be distributed in one payment instalment and will bridge the gap until the federal emergency payments begin in April.
• We expect the program to be accessible by a simple online application through alberta.ca next week and that funds will be deposited in the accounts of eligible recipients beginning at that time.
• Residential, farm, and small commercial customers can defer bill payments for
the next 90 days to ensure no one will be cut off from these services during this
time of crisis.
• This will cover electricity and natural gas, regardless of the service provider.
• The government will implement a six-month, interest-free moratorium on Alberta student loan payments for all individuals who are in the process of repaying these loans.
ATB Financial customers impacted by COVID-19
• Personal banking customers can apply for a 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.
• For other business and agriculture customers, ATB will work with customers on a
• one-on-one basis and further solutions are being considered at this time.
• For more information on ATB’s relief program, please visit their website.
• Alberta credit unions
• Credit union members will have access to a variety of programs and solutions designed to ease difficulties with loan payments and short-term cash flow.
• Both individual and business members are encouraged to proactively contact their
• credit union directly to work out a plan for their personal situation.
Alberta employers are facing significant challenges and uncertainty. To give them increased access to cash in order to pay employees, address debts and continue operations, the government will:
• defer the collection of corporate income tax balances and instalment payments, due after today, until Aug. 31, 2020. This gives Alberta businesses access to about $1.5 billion in funds to help them cope with the COVID-19 crisis.
“In these exceptional circumstances, having cash on hand is vital to families and employers and it’s critical we give Albertans this certainty and support. This tax measure will provide timely relief and additional runway for businesses to continue operating and compensating their employees during this difficult time.”
Travis Toews, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance
Alberta is pleased the federal government has responded to concerns and has taken the recommendation to increase supports to people receiving Employment Insurance. Alberta has contributed far more to the federal government in employment insurance (EI) premiums than it receives in EI support, so it is good to see the federal government providing the support Albertans need in these difficult times.
• Charitable and non-profit groups will immediately receive an additional $60 million to support seniors and other vulnerable populations disproportionately affected by COVID-19. This is in addition to the $3.9 billion for community and social services allocated in Budget 2020.
• The Government of Alberta has committed $500 million extra this year to respond to the public health crisis and to support front-line health professionals working to keep Albertans safe and healthy. This is in addition to the record-high $20.6 billion allocated for health care in Budget 2020. A further $58 million has been allocated to Alberta health care for COVID-19 response by the federal government.
Download the Press Release here