• COVID-19: Important Information and Business Resources

    We will continue to keep our Chamber members up to date with new information on this page as we navigate through this challenging time.

    (last updated March 27th, 2020 11:30am)

  • The Airdrie Chamber is focused on continuing to build the resiliency of our business community through the challenges posed by COVID-19.

    Please note that information is changing daily and we will do our best to provide regular updates as they unfold.

     

    The City of Airdrie Team Are Here to Help

    The Economic Development department is available to support Airdrie businesses. We encourage you to contact them to discuss challenges you may be facing. They can be reached at economic.development@airdrie.ca or 403-948-8844.

    Click here for the City of Airdrie business resources page where you can find important information such as business occupancy limits. 

     

    For the most update general information/recent updates from Blake Richards, Member of Parliament CLICK HERE 

     

    COVID-19 Business Resources 

    Alberta declared COVID-19 a public health emergency. Click here for employer and employee support from the Alberta government.

    Where do I begin as a business?

    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?

    The prime minister announced on Friday, March 27th that the federal wage subsidy for small and medium-sized businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic is jumping up to 75%.

    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. 

    Click here for info on how to access this subsidy.

    The Work-Sharing program is implementing temporary special measures to support employers and employees affected by the downturn in business caused by COVID-19. The new temporary special measures are available to employers impacted directly or indirectly by COVID-19. The measures allows for eligible employers to retain skilled employees and workers to remain employed during the temporary downturn in business due to COVID-19. The temporary special measures will:

    • extend the Work-Sharing agreements by an additional 38 weeks

    • wave the mandatory waiting period between agreements

    • ease the recovery plan requirements

    Access the Work-Sharing page to learn more about the program and its requirements.

    Access the Work-Sharing temporary special measures page to find out if you are eligible for temporary special measures.

    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.

    ´╗┐Detailed instructions to fill out ROEs

    More information on Temporary Layoffs

     

    What if I am self-employed or a contractor?

    Provincially, the Alberta COVID-19 Emergency Income Support Program. Must sign up BEFORE April 1st, 2020. CLICK 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. CLICK 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.

     

    EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE: 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 Resources for Canadian Business page.

    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 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.

    Crisis Services Canada

    Find Your Canadian Mental Health Association | CMHA

    Help in Tough Times |AHS

    Resources

    How to Reduce Coronavirus Anxiety in the Workplace | MyWorkplaceHealth

    6 Tips to Respond to Employee Anxiety About COVID-19 | Canadian Mental Health Association

    How to Stay Emotionally Healthy During the Coronavirus Outbreak | Psychology Today

    Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Awareness resources | Government of Canada