Support for Employees

Support for Employees

The Downtown Business Association is engaging with federal and provincial governments and the City of Edmonton to ensure the concerns of Downtown businesses and workers are addressed as part of evolving responses to COVID-19. Below is a summary of current relief measures available to workers.

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Canadian Hospitality Worker Relief Fund
On Monday, April 25, the Canadian Chefs Vikram Vij, Victor Barry and Dan Geltner announced the creation a one million dollar fund to support restaurant and hospitality workers financially impacted by COVID-19. 

Applications open Wednesday, May 6, and the fund will provide one-time $500 grants to restaurant and hospitality workers including cooks, servers, dishwashers, bartenders, delivery people and others who suddenly find themselves in distress and in urgent need of items such as groceries, medication, and/or other health products. Learn more

As of May 7, the Canadian Hospitality Worker Relief Fund has been closed.


Government of Canada

• The federal government’s Resources for Canadian Business page provides one-stop info for business and employees.  Read more here. 

Emergency Isolation Support
• The Alberta government has committed $50 million for emergency isolation support for people who need to isolate and will not have another source of pay or compensation while isolated. Read more here.

Job Protected Leave
Alberta’s Employment Standards Code has been changed to allow:
• The Alberta government announced on April 6 that employees caring for children affected by school and daycare closures or ill or self-isolated family members due to COVID-19 will have access to unpaid job-protected leave. The 90-day employment requirement is waived and leave length is flexible. This change is retroactive for any temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 that occurred on or after March 17.

Vacation Pay, Leave or Banked Overtime
• The Alberta government has stated that employees can request using their vacation pay or banked overtime, but employers are not required to grant the request. Provincial employment rules only require employers to provide vacation pay, vacation leave or pay banked overtime within a year of it being earned.
• The Alberta government has stated that employers can request employees voluntarily take vacation leave and/or use their vacation pay or banked overtime, but employers cannot force them to do so under provincial employment rules.

Employment Insurance
• The one-week waiting period for Employment Insurance benefits has been waived by the federal government.

• The federal government has introduced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to support workers and help businesses keep their employees, providing $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers and entrepreneurs who are not receiving a paycheque as a result of COVID-19. Read more here.

Utility Bills
• The City is recommending to the Alberta Utility Commissions and utility partners a deferral period to defer payments up to 90 days, from March 18 to June 18. No interest, penalties or service cut-offs will occur during this period. Read more here. 
• Please note, deferrals are not automatic. Contact your utility directly for more information. 

Student Loans
• The Alberta government is implementing a six-month, interest free, moratorium on Alberta student loan payments for all Albertans in the process of repaying these loans. Alberta Student Loan repayments will be paused for 6 months, beginning March 30, 2020. You do not need to apply for repayment pause.

Federal Tax
• The Canada Revenue Agency will defer the filing due date for the 2019 tax returns of individuals, including certain trusts. 

Property Tax
• The City is delaying penalties to property tax payments for Edmontonians experiencing major financial difficulties due to the health emergency. Tax notices will be mailed in May and no late fees will be charged to tax payments made by August 31. Edmontonians who are able to pay their property taxes on schedule are encouraged to do so to help keep the City of Edmonton running during these challenging times.
• During a pandemic, Alberta households should not need to worry about paying additional property taxes.
The government will immediately cancel the decision made in Budget 2020 and will freeze education property taxes at last year’s level.
• Reversing the 3.4 per cent population and inflation adjustment will save Alberta households and businesses about $87 million in 2020-21, which means $55 million for households and $32 million for employers.
• The government expects that Albertans and Alberta businesses will fully realize these savings and that municipal property tax levels will not be increased as a result of the lower provincial education property tax levels.

ATB Financial
• Personal banking customers can apply for a deferral on their ATB loans, lines of credit and mortgages for up to 6 months.

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.

Transit Fares
• Effective March 21, The City of Edmonton will temporarily suspend fare collection on all Edmonton Transit Service buses, LRT and DATS service. In addition, all entry (unless otherwise required) will be through the rear doors only. For more information go to ETS Fares and Passes.

• Effective June 15, ETS fare collection resumed on buses, LRT and DATS as well as front door boarding. March, April and June monthly passes will be valid for June. More info here

Parking Services
• Effective March 21, parking fees for City of Edmonton curbside and EPark zones are temporarily suspended. This includes City-owned EPark covered, indoor and underground parking facilities. Please note, privately owned parking lots are not included.

• Effective June 8, EPark fees have been reinstated at EPark curbside zones and City-owned parkades. The first 30 minutes of every parking session in curbside EPark zones will be free for businesses and customers who continue to use curbside pickup as their primary method of business. More info here.