As your trusted advisors, HGA Group wants to keep you apprised of Canada’s and Alberta’s COVID-19 responses which may be relevant to you and your business.
We are hosting a Webinar on COVID-19-related employment matters on Thursday, March 26 at 2 pm MDT with Adrian Elmslie. Adrian is the head of Dentons LLP’s Edmonton Labour and Employment Group. Click here to register.
Here are the latest updates:
Here are some updates to previously announced measures:
Temporary wage subsidy
Additional details have been released on the federal temporary wage subsidy. Please visit the CRA website for details, eligibility and how to calculate it.
Here are the latest announcements:
Alberta government relief package and changes
On March 18, the Alberta provincial government announced immediate financial assistance to Albertans affected by the COVID-19 crisis. These supports include:
• A temporary Emergency Isolation Support program for working adult Albertans who must self-isolate, including persons who are the sole caregiver for a dependent who must self-isolate, and who will not have another source of pay or compensation while they are self-isolated. This will be a one-time payment to bridge the gap until federal emergency payments begin in April.
• Applications will be available through alberta.ca shortly. We highly recommend applying as soon as possible, should this be relevant you or your family.
• To assist in the above application process, we recommend you apply for a MyAlberta Digital ID ahead of the application process being released
• Residential, farm, and small commercial customers can defer bill payments for the next 90 days. This applies to electricity and natural gas, regardless of the service provider.
• Please contact your utilities provider for details on how to defer bill payments on your utilities.
• All individuals who are in the process of repaying Alberta student loans will receive a six-month, interest-free moratorium.
• ATB Financial and credit unions have joined the Big 5 Canadian banks in extending relief to personal and small business customers on mortgages and loans.
• Please contact your financial institution about your eligibility. We understand that current wait times are lengthy – however, they are necessary if you wish to seek assistance in deferring loan repayments.
• Payment of Alberta corporate income tax balances and instalment payments due after today will be deferred until after August 31, 2020. This matches the federal announcement made earlier on March 18, 2020.
• Stop making provincial and federal corporate tax payments, whether they are balances owing after March 18, or instalment payments. No interest will be charged on the deficient instalment payments. Any tax balances that became owing prior to March 18 will still accrue interest and be required to be paid in a timely manner.
• An update was made to a previous announcement regarding Alberta Employment Standards Code. The updated Regulation creates an unpaid leave for 14 consecutive days for employees under quarantine. This leave is in addition to the existing entitlement to 16 weeks unpaid leave in a calendar year for illness or injury that already exists in the Employment Standards Code. These changes are retroactive to March 5, 2020.
• The changes remove the requirement for workers to give employers medical notes and employers are forbidden from laying off or terminating an employee on leave, unless the employer shuts down the business. Employees self-isolating due to COVID-19 do not require a medical note to access leave.
- Employers are not required to bear this cost. Income support to these employees will be provided through EI Sickness benefits, and the new federal and provincial assistance programs which have been announced.
- To apply, visit https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-sickness/apply.html.
• Please help your employees stay informed with the income support benefits available to them.
On March 23, the Alberta government announced additional support for Albertans and Alberta employers:
- The 3.4% increase in property taxes was reversed, and the education property tax for business has been deferred for six months. The government encourages commercial landlords to pass on these savings to their tenants through reduced or deferred payments.
- Small, medium, and large private sector employers can defer WCB premium payments until 2021.
- For small and medium businesses, the government will cover 50% of the 2020 premium when it is due in 2021.
- Large employers will have their 2020 WCB premium payments deferred until 2021, at which time their premiums will be due.
• Employers who have already paid WCB premiums for 2020 are eligible for a rebate or credit. For more information, please visit the WCB website.
Other important items to note:
GST and HST for businesses
It should be noted that that no mention was made on relief for GST/HST for businesses. Businesses that continue to operate will have to collect and remit GST/HST. We will keep you apprised of any changes on this topic.
Paper records and tax returns
Even though the personal tax deadline has been extended, we recommend your personal return be filed as soon as possible to ensure that any COVID-19 and other related benefits that are dependent on your 2019 return are still processed in a timely manner. We are already encountering substantial processing delays within CRA.
We strongly encourage submitting personal or corporate records to HGA, via email to email@example.com, or directly to your HGA Partner or Manager’s email address. Alternatively, you may use DropBox or any other secure file transfer service. Any records which you are unable to submit to us electronically must be dropped off to HGA as soon as possible.
Should you require assistance in navigating any of these aid measures, please contact Natalie Pon CPA or your HGA advisor.