Covid-19 – Support for Individuals


LAST UPDATED: April 02, 2020

It is extremely important to all of us at OPTY that everyone stays safe, while trying to maintain balance in family, work, business and finances.  We have compiled some resources that would hopefully be of assistance to you.  A great big THANK YOU to all Albertans for locking arms and coming together.  The sources of these resources come from many caring organizations and we are very grateful for the opportunity to share and being helpful.

Advice related to the efforts to mitigate the outbreak of COVID-19 is constantly evolving and we will try our best to keep this page updated, but please refer to official government websites and publications for all critical information.

General Resources

Updated: April 02, 2020
If you are eligible for the CERB, you can expect $2,000 ($500 per week) for a 4-week period. It is a single payment for a 4-week period. If your situation continues, you can re-apply for a payment for multiple 4-week periods, to a maximum of 16 weeks (4 periods).

  • Who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application
    • The income of at least $5,000 may be from any or a combination of the following sources: employment; self-employment; maternity and parental benefits under the Employment Insurance program
  • ​Who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period.

Note: These benefits are taxable and you will need to report any payments received on next year’s tax filing. An information slip will be made available for the 2020 tax year in My Account under Tax Information Slips (T4 and more).

Applications for the CERB will begin the week of Monday, April 6, 2020. There are two ways to apply:

  • Online with CRA My Account: Make sure your direct deposit and mailing information is up to date with the CRA.
  • Over the phone with an automated phone service
  • To help prevent the system from crashing, Apply for CERB on your best day to apply. If you were born in the month of:
    • ​January, February or March — Monday, April 6
    • April, May, or June — Tuesday, April 7
    • July, August, or September — Wednesday, April 8
    • October, November, or December — Thursday, April 9
    • Any month – Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
  • ​Instructions once you’re in your CRA My Account
    • Go to COVID-19: Canada Emergency Response Benefit in the alert banner at the top of the page
    • Select the period you want to apply for
    • Declare that you qualify for the benefit
    • Confirm we have the right payment information

Learn More Here

Not sure what financial support you qualify for? Between EI and the new CERB, you shouldn’t have to worry!
Canadians would begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of application. The CERB would be paid every four weeks and be available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020. The portal for accessing the CERB would be available in early April.  Learn More

opty_ei_or_cerb.pdf Download File

Remote Security – Don’t let the Cyber crooks take advantage of this situation!
Courtesy of: Zen Cyber

safe_home_computers.pdf Download File

cyber_training_-_remote.pdf Download File

Working From Home?
Courtesy of: Softchoice

Remote Working Success.pdf Download File

Tax and Accounting
Courtesy of: HLH LLP

hlh-covid-19-newsletter.pdf Download File

WCB – When Covid-19 may be work-related – Learn More
wcb_-covid-19_fact_sheet.pdf Download File

Tax and Accounting 
Courtesy of: St. Arnaud Pinsent Steman

covid_19_newletter_from_sps.pdf Download File


Emergency Isolation Support
This will be a temporary program for working adult Albertans who must self-isolate because they meet the Government of Alberta’s published criteria for self-isolation, including persons who are the sole care-giver for a dependent who must self-isolate because they meet the public health criteria, and who will not have another source of pay or compensation while they are self-isolated. A one-time payment of $1,146 will be distributed to bridge the gap until the federal emergency payments begin in April.
We expect the program to be available through a simple online application next week and that funds will be deposited in the accounts of eligible recipients beginning at that time. More information on how to apply will be available next week. Learn more here.
How to Apply for Employment Insurance (EI)
 Anyone looking to apply for the new EI benefits, can visit the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) website and follow the five steps:

  1. Gather supporting documents – You must have your records of employment (ROEs), but a medical certificate won’t be necessary for those who have been asked to self-isolate or quarantine. Service Canada advises people to apply right away even if you don’t have these documents as you can send them in later.
  2. Complete the online application– This includes making sure you have: the names and addresses of your employers in the last 52 weeks, the dates employed with each employer and the reasons you’re no longer employed, and personal information including mailing address, Social Insurance Number (SIN), and banking information.
  3. Provide supporting documents- You can visit My Service Canada Account (MSCA) to view ROEs that have been issued to you by past and current employers.
  4. Receive access code by mail – Service Canada will mail you a benefit statement, which includes a 4-digit access code. You need this code and your SIN to get updates about your application and to complete biweekly reports.
  5. Review your application status.

If you have already completed the application for EI sickness benefits whether you are sick or quarantined and would like to have the one-week waiting period waived, call the new toll-free phone number below. It is important to note that no other request will be actioned on this phone line. We will take action only for sick or quarantined clients affected by the COVID-19 for which the application for sickness benefits has been filed.

  • Telephone: 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free)
  • Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-800-529-3742

Learn more here.

 Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB would be a simpler and more accessible combination of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.

The CERB would cover Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. The CERB would apply to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).
Canadians who are already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits as of today would continue to receive their benefits and should not apply to the CERB. If their EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, they could apply for the CERB once their EI benefits cease, if they are unable to return to work due to COVID-19. Canadians who have already applied for EI and whose application has not yet been processed would not need to reapply. Canadians who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits would still be able to access their normal EI benefits, if still unemployed, after the 16-week period covered by the CERB.  Learn more here.

Utility Payment Deferral
Residential customers can defer electricity and natural gas bill payments for the next 90 days to ensure no one will be cut off, regardless of the service provider.  Call your utility provider directly to arrange for a 90-day deferral on all payments.
 Learn more here. 
Mortgage Payment Deferral
The six largest financial institutions in Canada have made a commitment to work with personal and small business banking customers on a case-by-case basis to provide flexible solutions to help them manage through challenges, such as pay disruption due to COVID-19, childcare disruption due to school or daycare closures, or those suffering from COVID-19. 
​As a first step, this support will include up to a six-month payment deferral for mortgages, and the opportunity for relief on other credit products. The Government of Canada will continue to monitor evolving economic conditions and seek greater relief measures should it be necessary.
The coordinated announcement came from the Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Bank and will be granted on a case-by-case basis to assist those disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please call your financial institution directly for more information.Below are the contact numbers for the participating financial institutions: 

  • Bank of Montreal: 1 (877) 225-5266
  • CIBC: 1 (800) 465-2422
  • National Bank of Canada: 1 (888) 835-6281
  • RBC Royal Bank: 1 (800) 769-2511
  • Scotiabank: 1 (800) 472-6842
Canada Student Loans
Effective March 30, 2020, all student loan borrowers will automatically have their repayments suspended until September 30, 2020. No payment will be required and interest will not accrue during this time. Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.

Canada Child Benefit

  • Eligible recipients will receive $300 more per child with their regular May CCB payment.
  • If you have previously applied for the CCB, you do not need to re-apply.
  • For more information on the Canada Child Benefit such as how to apply and eligibility requirements, go to Canada child benefit or call 1-800-387-1193.
GST Credits
For over 12 million low- and modest-income families, who may require additional help with their finances, the Government is proposing to provide a one-time special payment by early May 2020 through the Goods and Services Tax credit (GSTC). This will double the maximum annual GSTC payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year. The average boost to income for those benefitting from this measure will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples. This measure will inject $5.5 billion into the economy. Learn More