- Define appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for your workplace.
- Develop a screening protocol for your employees to take before every shift. Employees exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms must stay home and follow quarantine guidelines.
- Perform a deep clean of your workspace. Alberta Health Services offers these guidelines for cleaning of public spaces.
- Create a proper physical distancing set up, establish rules, and set up your business accordingly. Leverage signage and spatial markings to ensure co-workers always operate at six feet apart.
- Post external signs indicating COVID-19 physical distancing protocols, along with floor markings where service is provided or lines form.
- Ensure entry into the business, including lines, are regulated to prevent congestion.
- Set up your business with a single point of entry.
- No more than 15 people may gather in common areas. Congregation of people should be actively discouraged.
Prepare your employees:
- Provide PPE for all employees including masks, gloves, hand sanitzer and possibly face shields if applicable.
- Provide employees with everything they need to keep their work surfaces clean, including disposable wipes, hand soap, paper towels, disinfectants, and alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Educate your staff on physical distancing.
- Discourage employees from sharing each others equipment including phones, computers and tools.
- Train staff in proper hygiene procedures.
- Reduce the number of employees on site through alternating workdays or shifts.
- Communicate weekly with your employees to ensure compliance.
- Check in regularly on the mental health of employees.
Prepare your customers:
- Post guidelines at the entrance of your business regarding your expectations for customer behaviour.
- Require that customers use hand sanitizer upon entering.
- Limit the number of people in your business to ensure six feet physical distancing can be maintained.
- Place tape in high traffic areas to direct flow and keep six feet between customers.
- Update your website to reflect the new rules and any other operating changes.
- No more than 15 people may gather in common areas or at one table. (depending on gov’t announcement)
Prepare for transactions:
- Sales registers should be six feet apart.
- Avoid cash exchanges and encourage tap payment when possible.
- Install screens between staff and customers if necessary.
- Disinfect transaction areas after each transaction.
- Consider home delivery, take out, drive through and curbside pick-up options where applicable.
City of Red Deer
Residential, farm, and small commercial customers can now defer payments for water, sewer and waste utility bills for the next 90 days. No penalties will be applied. Link.
Sick Leave Alberta: On Friday, March 13, 2020 the Alberta government announced changes to the Employment Standards Code Regulation prohibiting employers from requiring sick notes from employees, expanding job-protected leave from 5 to 14 days, and waiving the requirement that employees be employed for 90 days before being entitled to this job-protected leave.
Changes for employees:
- 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.
Changes for employees and employers:
- Increasing the maximum time for a temporary layoff from 60 days to 120 days to ensure temporarily laid off employees stay attached to a job longer. This change is retroactive for any temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 that occurred on or after March 17.
Changes for employers:
- Improving scheduling flexibility by removing the 24-hour written notice requirement for shift changes, and the two weeks’ notice for changes to work schedules for those under an averaging agreement.
- Removing the requirement to provide the group termination notice to employees and unions when 50 or more employees are being terminated.
- Streamlining the process for approvals related to modifying employment standards so employers and workers can respond quicker to changing conditions at the workplace due to the public health emergency.
Duration: The changes above take effect immediately and will be in place as long as the government determines it is needed and the public health emergency order remains.
Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits
In the interim, a separate phone line has been set up through Service Canada for queries related to EI sickness benefits relating to COVID-19. The phone number is 1-833-381-2725. The federal government has waived the one (1) week waiting period for Canadians requiring EI sickness benefits for COVID-19, including those who are in a 14-day isolation period. Canadians can apply right away. For employers who do not offer sick leave, or for employees who have exhausted sick leave entitlements, this is an option to provide some compensation.
Alberta Health information for Albertans
Respiratory viruses and the workplace
Government of Alberta pandemic checklists
Alberta employment standards rules
Alberta Health Services COVID-19 online screening
Help prevent the spread posters
Alberta Prepares pandemic influenza checklist
Calgary Chamber emergency preparedness
Albertans can now meet with Alberta-licensed physicians for free through their smartphone using the Babylon by TELUS Health app. Read the provincial government's release.
On March 18, the federal government announced new supports for Canadians and businesses. See the full list of measures here.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) – $2000/month for up to four months for those that have lost their income due to COVID-19. Applications open online April 6th. Direct deposits will take 3-5 business days, cheques ten days. If you already applied for EI - you do not need to apply again, applications will be automatically rolled into the CERB. You have to apply every month to get the four payments. More details.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS):
- A business will now be able to compare their sales to March, April and/or May of last year OR January and February, 2020. This will help new and growing firms who may not have qualified based on a comparison to 2019.
- A business need demonstrate a 15 percent reduction in gross revenues for March. A 30 percent reduction will still be required to receive the subsidy in April and/or May.
- That Employment Insurance (EI), Canada Pension Plan (CPP); Quebec Pension Plan (QPP); and Quebec Parental Insurance Plan premiums will be reimbursed.
- That registered charities and not-for-profit organizations are eligible employers and will have the choice of whether or not to include government funding in their revenues for the purposes of comparison.
- CEWS calculator
- How to apply
- More info
Work-share Program: Designed to help employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer. More info. Contact email or call 1-800-367-5693. Application link.
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses provides rent relief loans to eligible commercial properties. For more information please visit the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
Canada Emergency Business Account:
The new Canada Emergency Business Account will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced. If the loan is repaid by Dec 31, 2022, 25% of it will be forgiven - up to $10,000. These loans are fully funded by the Government of Canada.
To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $20,000 to $1. million in total payroll in 2019.
This program will roll out in mid-April, and interested businesses should work with their current financial institutions. More info...
Business Credit Availability - Will enable up to $10 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank, for guaranteed loans when small businesses go to their financial institutions to help weather the impacts of COVID-19. To access these loans call 1-877-232-2269 or click here and here.
Canadians can issue or view records of employment online through the Government of Canada website.
Community Futures Funding - April 17th announcement that allocates $287M in funding to the program. This funding will be allocated to smaller employers and businesses located in rural parts of the country who do not qualify for the wage subsidy or other loans. Full news release.
CCC Pandemic Preparedness for Business resources
Government of Canada COVID-19 information
Export Development Canada
Business Development Bank of Canada