Leela Sharon Aheer's April 2020 Message

Hello Newsy Neighbour readers!


Welcome to the online edition!


I want to say thank you. I want to thank the frontline healthcare workers who are risking their and their family’s health to take care of us. I want to thank the cashier at the grocery store. I want to thank the butchers, bakers, and produce people. I want to thank the people who unload the trucks, stock the shelves and work all night to clean the store. I want to thank the farmers, plant workers, and truck drivers who are growing, processing, and delivering the supplies we rely on. I want to thank all the businesses that are staying open to serve us and I want to thank those who must close for your sacrifice. I want to thank those of you who are shopping for a senior or simply calling them for a chat. And most of all, I want to thank all of you who are listening to the advice of our health leaders and taking the measures necessary to beat this horrible disease. Please be patient as you try to connect with the services we have put in place to assist you. We are working to expand capacity as fast as possible. We are all in this together and again, I thank you.

I would like to unpack some of the tax relief and other important announcements that have been made to help all of us get through the COVID-19 crisis. The government is deferring corporate income tax balances until August 31 along with instalment payments. We have also frozen education property taxes at the 2019 levels and that will put approximately 87 million dollars back into the hands of households and businesses. Along with this we are also deferring education property tax payments for businesses for 6 months leaving $458 million so that businesses can help their employees and continue to pay rent and other operations.

Premiums for workers compensation payments have been deferred for the private-sector employers until 2021, and some will be eligible for a rebate if they have already paid 2020 premiums. This is specifically for small and medium sized businesses. Finally, we have also deferred utility payments for homes, small commercial users, and farms for 90 days so that no one has to worry about being able to turn on the lights.

At the Federal level, the government announced $107 billion in aid to Canadians to buy groceries, pay the rent and to help small businesses. It was announced that there is a 75% wage subsidy for qualifying businesses to keep employees, so that we can bounce back into our lives and jobs post COVID-19. This will be rolled out over the next few weeks. The Federal government is also allowing businesses to defer the GST until June. This will provide up to 30 billion to businesses to ease their challenges. Some financial institutions will be tasked with providing up to 25 billion in interest free loans to small businesses, guaranteed by the Federal Government. This will provide businesses with access to capital. I will continue to update all of you as information is provided. There is so much to consume and even more than I can provide in this article. Please go to www.Alberta.ca for provincial updates and https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html for federal programs. Stay strong, keep a safe social distance, wash your hands, virtual hugs, and please buy local. As always, I love to hear from you.



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