Weekly Update: March 26 – 31, 2021
Supports for Business
Enhancements to the Film and Television Tax Credit
Alberta’s government is removing the $10-million per project cap to make the province an even more desirable location for larger film productions. This change also creates more flexibility for the province to respond to future growth in this sector and encourages the development of production studios here in Alberta. More information.
Available now: new measures in the ESB Program
The Energy Savings for Business (ESB) Program has released new measures eligible for incentives. These new measures will give businesses more opportunities to take advantage of the program, install more efficient equipment, and reduce emissions. As of Tuesday, March 30, 2021, the following measures will be eligible for incentives: Agricultural Lighting, Food Service Equipment, Expansion of Eligible Boilers and Other Measures. The details for these measures, including the eligibility requirements and the incentives available, are published on the Measures List (updated March 30, 2021 — please see here for a summary of changes). Please click here to register for the "An Overview of Food Service Equipment" webinar on Thursday, April 15, 2021.
Supports for Individuals
Redesigned Rent Supplement Program
Following a review, the government has redesigned its Rent Supplement Program. The Rent Assistance Benefit will reopen on April 1. Formerly the Direct to Tenant Rent Supplement, this long-term benefit will continue to subsidize Albertans with the lowest income across the province. The Temporary Rent Assistance Benefit will open for applications on May 1. This new temporary benefit will provide a modest subsidy to help eligible tenants in Alberta’s seven major centres afford their rent while they stabilize or improve their situation. Details on both benefits are available online.
Improving access to MRIs and CT scans
A $33-million one-time commitment from Budget 2021 will support AHS to perform up to 50,000 additional CT (computerized tomography) scans and up to 45,000 additional MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans throughout the province in 2021-22. More information.
Vaccine rollout expanding to Phase 2B
Phase 2B of Alberta’s vaccine rollout includes cancer patients, transplant recipients, individuals with disabilities, dementia and other conditions that put them at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19. Starting March 30, Albertans born in or before 1963 with eligible underlying conditions will be able to book appointments through participating pharmacies that have vaccine supply in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer. In the coming week, as more vaccine supply is available, other pharmacies will begin to offer bookings.
Starting April 5, Alberta Health Services (AHS) will start taking bookings online or through 811 for people eligible in Phase 2B born in or before 1959. Additional birth years in Phase 2B will become eligible as more vaccines arrive. More information.
Providing COVID-19 vaccine to homebound Albertans
The Government of Alberta is also making it easier for people who are physically unable to leave their homes to get vaccinated as quickly as possible. Starting March 29, AHS will offer the vaccine to an estimated 3,000 homebound Albertans eligible in Phase 1 and 2A. The program will expand to Phase 2B individuals in the coming days and to other groups as they become eligible in upcoming phases of the provincial vaccination program. More information.
World leaders to meet on strengthening financial measures to boost efforts to cope with COVID-19 fallout
Calls for additional measures to reduce the debt burden and increase liquidity in low and middle-income countries to ensure a full recovery. The high-level virtual meeting organized by the Secretary-General together with the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and the Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness aims to underscore the urgency of the need for bolder and concrete action to provide liquidity and address debt vulnerability in developing countries. More information.
Helping Veterans through the Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund
The federal government announced that 23 organizations have been awarded funds to either start or expand their activities in support of Veteran and family well-being. More information.
The Government of Canada reminds travellers returning to Canada of COVID-19 border measures
Travellers should be aware of the following mandatory requirements to help with smooth processing at the Canadian border. A number of Canadians may have already received a COVID-19 vaccination. At this time, having a vaccination does not exempt anyone from having to comply with current testing, quarantine, and other requirements. Travellers must use ArriveCAN to provide COVID-19-related information, get tested before travelling to Canada, get tested when arriving in Canada and complete their day 10 test and quarantine. Note that the province or territory of the traveller’s final destination may have additional restrictions. More information.
New domestic violence legislation coming into effect
Alberta’s version of Clare’s Law will come into effect on April 1. At that time, people who feel they are at risk of domestic violence can apply for a disclosure to find out if their intimate partner has a history of domestic violence or related acts. The Disclosure to Protect Against Domestic Violence (Clare’s Law) Act also lets police take a proactive approach to domestic violence prevention, and disclose relevant information to people at risk, and only to those at risk. Applications will be available online starting April 1. More information.
Community Supports and Resources
Alberta Culture Days grants now open
Alberta’s government is now accepting grant applications for Alberta Culture Days 2021. Community organizations can apply for grants of up to $10,000 to plan and hold events showcasing local talent and boosting the impact and reach of existing cultural programs in their communities. Applications will be accepted until May 7. Culture Days events will take place throughout the month of September. More information.
$6M for medical students to work in rural Alberta
The funds will be used over three years to help students pay for the costs of medical school. In exchange, students will complete residency training in rural Alberta and agree to practise in a rural Alberta community when their schooling is complete. The Rural Health Professions Action Plan (RhPAP) will administer the new Return of Service Agreement program. More information.
Health Canada taking further action to confirm the benefit-risk profile of the AstraZeneca vaccine
In light of evolving information, Health Canada will be issuing additional terms and conditions on the authorizations of the AstraZeneca and Verity Pharmaceuticals/Serum Institute of India vaccines. These will include a requirement that the manufacturers conduct a detailed assessment of the benefits and risks of the vaccine by age and sex in the Canadian context. This information will support the ongoing evaluation of these rare blood clotting events, and allow Health Canada to determine if there are specific groups of people who may be at higher risk. Health Canada has been in discussions with AstraZeneca on this evolving issue. More information.
Government of Canada announces $20 million to help communities respond to increasing opioid-related overdoses
The federal government announced $20 million in funding for the distribution of naloxone kits and opioid overdose response training to support communities that have been particularly affected by the opioid overdose crisis and are experiencing challenges in improving health outcomes of their residents. The funded projects will be led by the Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation of Canada, the Canadian Red Cross and St. John Ambulance. More information.
Government of Canada announces first federal fund dedicated to rural transit solutions
The federal government announced $250 million over five years to help address the transit needs of Canadians living in rural, remote and small communities. More information.
Government of Canada invests in new research to address COVID-19 variants
To further accelerate efforts to understand and respond to the virus variants, the federal government announced an investment of $14.3 million from the Government of Canada, through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), to support new research on the COVID-19 virus variants. More information.
How Are Canadian Businesses Adapting to the Pandemic?
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce teamed up with the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship to bring you an analysis of business trends throughout the pandemic, based on Statistics Canada’s Canadian Survey on Business Conditions. The reports are a deep-dive into a number of topics including remote work, online sales and employment and skills demands. Read the reports.
Have Your Say
Public engagement for the Occupational Health and Safety Code
Employers, employees and health and safety professionals are encouraged to submit their ideas to improve and update the OHS Code. An online survey opens March 30 and closes on May 10. More information.
New K-6 curriculum
Alberta’s updated draft kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum brings a renewed focus to literacy, numeracy, citizenship and practical skills. The draft K-6 curriculum is now online at alberta.ca/curriculum for all Albertans to provide feedback until spring 2022. Classroom validation, a process where school authorities are invited to test the draft curriculum, is targeted to begin in September with schools across the province that choose to participate. Students are expected to be learning from the new curriculum during the 2022-23 school year. More information.
Public engagement on the provincial coal policy
Alberta has appointed an independent committee to lead a comprehensive public engagement to inform the development of a modern coal policy. To help inform their engagement approach, Albertans are invited to share their thoughts in an initial survey. The survey is available online and will be open until April 19. Further details about the engagement process will be designed and shared by the committee following the survey closing.
Canadian Chamber Survey on Port of Montreal Labour Disruption Impacts
Input from any members whose activities have been disrupted or diverted due to the ongoing labour dispute at the Port of Montreal is being encouraged and welcomed. For more information, please contact Jarred Cohen. The survey deadline is 5:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, April 6. Take the survey.
Eight things to remember at tax time
- File your income tax and benefit return to get any benefits and credits you may be eligible for
- File your return online to get your refund faster and avoid any delays
- Claim all your benefits, credits, and deductions
- Enter all your income and COVID-19 benefit payment amounts
- Know what you can and can’t claim
- Simplify your life with My Account
- File and pay on time to ensure interest is not charged. If you cannot pay in full, file your return by the deadline to avoid late-filing penalties
- Keep receipts and documents for at least six years starting from the end of the last taxation year
Read CRA's complete list of eight tips online.
Economic Stats, Indicators and Labour Market Data
Are you working on your business plan or marketing plan? Curious about economic trends and indicators. There are a few resources that might helpL
Together4Health Headlines Newsletter
Together4Health Headlines is a weekly newsletter designed to keep you informed of decisions being made to protect and support Albertans, key public health information, and opportunities for you to connect with AHS. Subscribe by clicking here.
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