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A message from Damien Kurek, MP

The following is a Press Release submitted by the office of Damien Kurek, MP on March 18, 2020 @ 5:20pm


I am working diligently to make sure that constituents are aware of how the Government is responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic. At one point or another you will have allowed us to add your email to a list for future updates. By nature of the current situation, we have decided to share information with you that may be helpful in navigating your response to this.

Damien Kurek, MP Battle River - Crowfoot

Specifically, there have been measures announced to support Canadians who have been impacted by this situation. They have also announced support for businesses, stricter measures on border control, and stimulus for the economy, among other things.

The full government response can be found here:

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/canadas-covid-19-economic-response-plan-support-for-canadians-and-businesses.html#Support_for_Canadians.


You can be assured that I am working diligently to make sure the Government follows through on their promises but I wanted to provide you with some of those details.


This email lists information for the following:

COVID-19 General Information

Employment Insurance

Support for Those Who Do Not Qualify for EI

Immigration/Borders

Travel

Business Resources

Loan and Bank Supports

Tax Deadline

Change/RRSP ChangesStudent Loans


There is a lot of information being made available on a daily basis. If you see something that is missing, please email damien.kurek@parl.gc.ca and we will be sure to add any needed details. I am also updating my social media regularly with information, follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dckurek. I can assure constituents that Canada’s Conservatives are working hard to make sure that Canadians have what they need during these unprecedented times.


Additionally, we have put together a list of family and community resources as we seek to isolate and slow the spread of the coronavirus. Most resources are free of charge and expand beyond the scope of government (links for kids, seniors, foodbanks, etc): https://www.facebook.com/notes/damien-c-kurek/covid-19-resource-sheet/2588241508111997/


If you know of anyone who would like to be added to this list, please email me at damien.kurek@parl.gc.ca.

My office remains open, however in person services are not available. If you need assistance with any governmental programs, contact my office at:


Phone: 1-800-665-4358

Text: 403-575-5625

Email: damien.kurek@parl.gc.ca

Social: @dckurek


Thank you.

Damien C. Kurek, M.P.


COVID-19 General Information



Employment Insurance

If an individual meets the EI sickness requirements, they can apply for EI sickness and have the first week waived. The one week waiting period will be waived for EI sickness benefits claimants for whom a period of quarantine is imposed when the quarantine is:


  • Imposed on the claimant under the laws of Canada or a province; or

  • Imposed on the claimant by a public health official for the health and safety of the public at large; or

  • Recommended by such an official for health and safety of the public at large, and the claimant was asked by their employer, medical doctor, a nurse or a person in authority to place them self under quarantine.


To clarify the last bullet, a person of authority is intended to be inclusive of other orders of “employer”. This would include examples such as a principal or chancellor of a school or a commanding officer. In most jurisdictions, the “Recommended by such an official for health and safety of the public at large” has been met. Therefore, to be eligible, the claimant just needs to have been asked by their employer, medical doctor, a nurse or a person in authority to place themselves under quarantine.


Again, these individuals need to meet all other EI eligibility criteria, with the only exception of needing a medical certificate if it is in the context of COVID-19. E.g. someone who broke their leg and missed work because of it, may still need to get a medical certificate.


If someone believes they are eligible, they can contact the new dedicated toll-free phone number if they are in quarantine and seek to waive the one-week EI sickness benefits waiting period and be paid for the first week of the claim:


Telephone: 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free)

Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-800-529-3742


Changes to the EI sickness benefits are as follows:


  • Changes provide claimants with up to 15 weeks of temporary income support if they cannot work due to illness, injury or quarantine. They could receive 55% of their earnings up to a maximum of $573 a week.

  • The one week waiting period will be waived for EI sickness benefits claimants for whom a period of quarantine is imposed when the quarantine is:

  • Imposed on the claimant under the laws of Canada or a province

  • Imposed on the claimant by a public health official for the health and safety of the public at large, or

  • Recommended by such an official for health and safety of the public at large, and the claimant was asked by their employer, medical doctor, a nurse or a person in authority to place themselves under quarantine.

  • Waiving the EI waiting period for EI sickness benefits will provide additional support to those in quarantine. To be eligible for EI sickness benefits, the claimant must have accumulated a minimum of 600 hours of insurable employment in the last 52-week period preceding a claim, or since the start of their last claim whichever is shorter. A Record of Employment from the employer is required.

  • For more details on eligibility criteria, visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-sickness/qualify.html


Support for Those Who Do Not Qualify for EI

The Government announced that there will be supports for individuals that do not qualify for EI. The details are not yet fully available however we know that the Application for the Benefit will be available in April 2020 and require Canadians to attest that they meet the eligibility requirements. The benefits will be similar to EI and require that individuals re-attest every two weeks to reconfirm their eligibility. We will be sure to provide updates as soon as they are available.


Many constituents have reached out about this and are rightfully concerned, be assured I am working diligently to make sure the Government follows through on their promise. If you have specific concerns or questions, please reach out to my office.


Immigration/Borders

As of March 18, 2020: The Government agreed to temporarily restrict non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border. Travelers will no longer be permitted to cross the border for recreation and tourism. Prime Minister Trudeau and US President Trump agreed that essential travel will ensure that critical supply chains between both countries. These supply chains ensure that food, fuel, and life-saving medicines reach people on both sides of the border.


The Federal Government has redirected international passenger flight arrivals to 4 airports:

  • Calgary International Airport

  • Vancouver International Airport

  • Toronto-Pearson International Airport

  • Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport


This measure will not affect domestic flights or flights from the U. S., sun destinations (such as Mexico and the Caribbean), or St. Pierre-et-Miquelon, which can continue to operate on their regular routes and land at current Canadian destinations. The Government is working closely with the airline industry and airports to avoid unnecessarily disrupting operations and to minimize the inconvenience to travelers.


Canada will also implement measures at airports to:


  • strengthen health screening

  • increase presence to conduct further health screening and public outreach

  • increase signage throughout the arrivals area to encourage travelers to follow the latest public health guidance

  • prevent all travelers who have COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of their citizenship, from boarding international flights to Canada

  • airlines will conduct a basic health assessment of all air travelers based on guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada

  • https://www.international.gc.ca/gac-amc/index.aspx?lang=eng


Travel

The Government of Canada has been recommending that Canadians abroad return to Canada by commercial means, however, the government knows that some countries (such as Peru) have already started putting measures in place such as closing land borders and in some cases shutting down their airspace.


Global Affairs Canada is actively engaging on these situations - however it’s very possible that Canadians will be prevented from leaving the countries in which they are located - while these border measures are in place. If this is the case, we strongly recommend they take precautions to stay healthy, and follow the guidance of PHAC and advice of local authorities.

The government has also set up a loan program of up to 5k per person to assist Canadians who may need to either book an emergency flight or extend their stay abroad.


If the traveler is in an emergency situation or would like more information on the loan program, they can contact the 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1 613-996-8885 (collect calls are accepted where possible) or send an e-mail to sos@international.gc.ca.



Business Resources

There are more resources coming to help small business and we will be sure to update them as they become available. Canada’s Conservatives are working to make sure business have the supports they need during this time.


The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has compiled a set of resources that are helpful: www.chamber.ca/resources/pandemic-preparedness/


On March 13, 2020 the federal government announced that the government is establishing a Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to support financing in the private sector through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC).

Here are the current options available:

  • Small Business Loan: Up to $100,000 can be obtained online

  • Working capital loan: For loans over $100,000 and can support everyday operations.

  • Purchase Order Financing: Loans to fulfill domestic or international orders.

If you have specific questions about applying for funding, BDC can be reached at the toll-free number: 1-877-232-2269 Monday to Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).


​They also have an online assessment tool: https://www.bdc.ca/en/consulting/pages/financial-planning.aspx


Loan and Bank Supports

The Government has announced major measures to support homeowners This includes mortgage supports that include payment deferral, loan re-amortization, capitalization of outstanding interest arrears and other eligible expenses, and special payment arrangements. The Government, through CMHC, is providing increased flexibility for homeowners facing financial difficulties to defer mortgage payments on homeowner CMHC-insured mortgage loans. CMHC will permit lenders to allow payment deferral beginning immediately.


Major Canadian Financial Institutions have also announced relief for clients. Make sure to contact your bank for details.


Tax Deadline Change

It was announced that instead of an April 30 filing deadline for the 2020 tax season, Canadians will have until June 1 to submit their income tax return to CRA. The deadline to pay off any outstanding balances interest-free will also be extended, this time to July 31.

Businesses will also have more time to pay their taxes without paying any interest or penalties.


The new deadline will be July 31 to pay any corporate taxes or make any scheduled instalment payments.


Updates will be made available: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/taxes.html

RRSP Changes: The Government is planning to reduce minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25 per cent for 2020 in recognition of volatile market conditions and their impact on many seniors’ retirement savings. https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2020/03/18/prime-minister-announces-more-support-workers-and-businesses-through


Student Loans

The Government has announced they are placing a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all individuals currently in the process of repaying these loans. More details will follow in the coming days.


If you have any questions or concerns regarding this information you are encouraged to write Damien at 4945-50th Street, Camrose, Alberta, T4V 1P9, call toll-free 1-800-665-4358, text 403.575-5625, or e-mail damien.kurek@parl.gc.ca. You can also stay up to date by following Damien on social media @dckurek. If you have received this email in error or wish to not be included, please reply to be unsubscribed.


This message is available online here and will be updated regularly.

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