Resources and Information
This list is designed to put all essential information for those struggling financially from the covid-19 outbreak in one place, including municipal, provincial, and national supports.
Sherwood Park (Strathcona County)
For more information about closures and changes to municipal services in Strathcona County please refer to the link below.
Residents and small businesses facing financial hardship who receive utility bills directly from Strathcona County may request utility bill payment deferrals, for up to three months with no penalties. The deferred amounts will be paid back over six months. This deferral option is available as of March 18 to June 20 bills
Emergency Isolation Support:
One-time payment of $1,146 to bridge the gap until Federal supports are available starting April 1, 2020
Total or significant loss of income and not receiving compensation from any other source because you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, have been directed by health authorities to self-isolate, or are the sole caregiver of a dependent who is in self-isolation.
If you were working immediately before being asked to self-isolate, can work from home, are not experiencing a significant loss of income as a result of self-isolation, are currently collecting other forms of income support or employer benefits while isolated, are staying home to care for a dependent for reasons not related to self-isolation, or reside outside of Alberta.
90 Day Utility Deferral: Electricity and Natural Gas. The program is in effect from March 18, 2020 to June 18, 2020.
Eligibility: This deferral option is open to anyone experiencing financial hardship as a direct result of COVID-19. The Alberta Government has made a commitment to ensuring that no Albertans will be cut off from services at this time.
Student Loan Repayment Deferral: Alberta Student Loan repayments will be paused for six months, beginning March 30, 2020.
Information: Interest will not accrue over the six-month period. Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause. They may also choose to continue making payments during this period and this will not affect their eligibility to receive the benefit.
Education Property Tax Freeze:
Information: Residential education property tax rates have been frozen to the 2019 level, reversing the Budget 2020 increase of 3.4%. This is projected to save households $55 million.
**This link is a general overview of Federal Supports available to Canadians. See below for more information about these supports**
Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits: provides up to 15 weeks of income replacement for those who are eligible and unable to work due to injury, illness, or quarantine. You may receive 55% of your earnings up to a maximum of $573 a week.
Information: The one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived for new claimants who are quarantined. There is no need to provide a medical certificate to claim EI sickness benefits. EI claims can be backdated for those who cannot complete their claim due to quarantine. It is very important to FILE THE APPLICATION BEFORE CONTACTING SERVICE CANADA. This is to ensure that they are able to prevent delays and serve you more efficiently.
Eligibility: You need to demonstrate that you are unable to work for medical reasons, that your regular weekly earnings from work have decreased by more than 40% for at least one week, and that you have accumulated 600 hours of work in the last 52 weeks before the start of your claim or since the start of your last claim, whichever is sooner.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit: Starting in early April. This benefit will be accessible to Canadians through a web portal, and through an automated telephone line. The Government will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 per month for up to 4 months.
Eligibility: Workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including those who have lost their jobs, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of daycare closures. This benefit also applies to those who would not otherwise be eligible for EI Benefits. Those who are still employed but not receiving income due to work disruptions also qualify. Those who are eligible for EI benefits are still able to access their EI benefits after the four months covered by the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
Canada Child Benefit: An increase of $300 per child for 2019-2020. This will amount to approximately $550 extra dollars for the average family.
Information: This benefit will be delivered as part of the scheduled CCB payment in May. Those who already receive the Canada Child Benefit do not need to re-apply.
Eligibility: You must live with a child under the age of 18, be primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of the child, be a resident of Canada for tax purposes, and you or your spouse/common-law partner must be any of the following: A Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, a protected person, a temporary resident who has lived in Canada for the last 18 months, or an Indigenous person who meets the definition of “Indian” under the Indian Act.
Student Loan Repayment Deferral: Effective March 30, 2020 until September 30, 2020.
Information: A six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all student loan borrowers. No payment will be required and interest will not accrue. Students do not need to apply for the re-payment pause. Those currently studying can continue to apply for loans during this time.
Special Goods and Services Tax Credit Payment: A one-time special payment by early May through the GST credit for low and modest-income families.
Information: The average additional benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples. There is no need to apply for this payment, it will be automatically distributed.
Deferral of Filing Due Date for Income Tax Returns
Information: The new due date for individuals to submit their 2019 tax returns is June 1, 2020. Any new income tax balances due may be deferred until after August 31, 2020 without incurring interest or penalties. This includes those who are self-employed and their spouse or common law partner.
Reduced Minimum Withdrawals for Registered Retirement Income Funds
Information: The Canadian Government is reducing the required minimum withdrawals from RRIFs by 25% for 2020.
Public Health-Related Emergency Supports Available for First Nations Communities: The FNIHB provides funding and expertise to First Nations communities for developing and maintaining hazard plans. On-reserve communities who require assistance in updating hazard plans should contact their ISC regional offices.
Information: Communities are eligible to submit emergency eligible expenditures like the following, for example:
Community level infection prevention and control supplies (soap, sanitizer, community training); Medical Transportation under the NIHB program; Emergency Transportation and additional escorts under the NIHB program; Health human resources surge capacity (primary care nurses, paramedics, community workers); Mental health services; Adaptation of community space for surge capacity; Storage costs for supplies; On-the-land initiatives to support social isolation or food security.
Banks and Mortgage Deferrals
RBC is offering a Financial Relief Program, encouraging clients to use the self-serve feature online, which will allow them to choose to skip a mortgage payment, an auto-loan payment, and a personal loan payment. These self-serve options should provide relief for approximately 1 month. The longer-term program includes up to 6 months of mortgage payment relief, though you must contact an advisor to discuss this option.
Information: You may request to defer the equivalent of up to 6 monthly payments. By deferring, you are not paying the mortgage principal, and interest will be capitalized. You may apply for this deferral online and will be notified of your request by email.
Information: BMO has introduced a financial relief program for those impacted by COVID-19. There are flexible options for both personal and small business customers. BMO is offering up to a 6-month payment deferral on mortgages, loans, credit cards, and lines of credit with no fee. The payment will be deferred but interest will continue to accrue. There will be no changes to the terms of your BMO account. For those concerned about missing a payment, you may submit a request though the online banking Message Centre. For customers without access to Online Banking, there is an online form to complete.
Information: Scotia is offering financial relief including assistance with mortgages, personal loans, lines of credit, and credit cards. Only those with payments due in the next week are asked to call the Contact Centre to prioritize urgent needs. Mortgage deferrals are NOT mortgage forgiveness, and interest will accrue over the deferral period, potentially increasing payments slightly after the deferral period ends. Documentation proving hardship is not necessary to apply. Your principal residence and up to 3 non-principal residences may be eligible for payment deferrals. Personal loans may be deferred for up to 3 months. Lines of credit and credit cards may be deferred for 3 months. In all instances, interest will accrue.
Information: CIBC is advertising a 6-month payment deferral and relief on other credit products. Customers are being advised to contact their CIBC advisor or call the Support Centre.
Information: NBC has put exceptional measures in place for those who need financial supports. Clients may submit a request using an online form. Measures concerning personal loans and credit cards will be announced soon. Student loans will be automatically adjusted for 6 months to support deferral. NBC is requesting that customers only call for essential financial needs, including lost credit cards, fraudulent transactions, and financial difficulties.
Information: ATB is offering help to clients who need to focus on day-to-day needs. They can help defer payments of ATB loans, lines of credit, and mortgages for a period of up to 6 months. RRSP Express and RRSP Max-It loans are not eligible for the deferral program. Interest will continue to accrue at the interest rate of your applicable loan, line of credit, or mortgage. Conditions apply.