In just a few short weeks the world as most people know it has changed dramatically. An unfortunate reality of the COVID-19 crisis is that many people in Alberta, and throughout Canada, have found themselves out of work, or unable to operate their business. We recently covered how the courts are responding to COVID-19, but we also wanted to take some time to discuss what help is available to people.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit
In addition to regular Employment Insurance benefits, Canadian workers of all walks (including contract workers and the self-employed) will be eligible for a recently announced $2,000 monthly emergency response benefit. The payments, which will last for four months, is available to anyone who has lost their income as a result of COVID-19. Situations that may have led to a loss of income include people who are sick and have to stay home, those who are laid off or no longer have a job, and those who can’t work because they have to care for someone who is sick or has kids who aren’t in school.
It should be noted that the government has advised people already collecting Employment Insurance benefits to wait until October 3 to apply for the Emergency Response Benefit. Of course, this does not apply if your benefits are scheduled to cease prior to October 3.
Other benefits available
In addition to Employment Insurance, the Emergency Response Benefit, the federal government is also providing a one-time GST credit top-up in May. The amount varies depending on whether the payment is made to individuals or to couples.
The Child Benefit Payments available to parents are also increasing this year with a one-time top-up of $300 per child. This payment will be made in May.
Support for Albertans
In addition to the relief being offered by the federal government, the Alberta government is also offering some support. A one-time emergency isolation support payment of $1,146 may be available to those who meet the following conditions:
- Experienced total or significant loss of income as a result of having to self-isolate, or are the sole caregiver of a dependent who is self-isolating; and
- Have no other source of compensation, such as workplace sick leave benefits or federal employment insurance benefits.
All Alberta and Canada student loan repayment has been paused for six months, beginning with March benefits. During this time no interest will accrue on loans. Those paying back loans do not have to apply for this relief. Those who send in payment via cheque or pay through online banking can simply stop doing so.
A full summary of benefits available to Albertans is available here. We will continue to update our readers as important announcements are made.
At HMC Lawyers, we offer strategic legal advice. Our breadth of practice experience allows us to promptly handle almost every litigation-related legal issue that may arise, and anticipate potential roadblocks that may delay its resolution. To make an appointment with a member of our team, contact us online or call 403-269-7220.