EDMONTON -- Edmonton city council voted to give homeowners a break on their property tax deadlines and public utility fees Friday in response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

In an emergency meeting, councillors and Mayor Don Iveson voted to eliminate the July 1, 2020 penalty for failure to pay current property taxes for both residential and non-residential owners. The deadline has now been moved back by two months to Aug. 31.

However, the city is still asking anyone who can pay their taxes normally to do so to keep local government running.

The motion also cancels penalties on previous years' taxes on residential and non-residential between July 1-Aug. 31.

Council also voted to approve deferral of public utility fees for waste services for most customers who request it, meaning they will not have to pay interest or penalties for as long as 90 days.

Iveson will also write to EPCOR requesting a deferral of collection of water, wastewater and drainage fees for the same time period.

Council agreed to close city hall to the public as a safety measure, with access restricted to key individuals and accredited media.

The city hall parkade remains open for public use.


Council also approved a measure to suspend transit fares, meaning passengers won't have to present tickets, passes or transfers and can enter through the rear door of any bus.

City-owned parking will also become free as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, and bylaw officers will not ticket anyone for non-payment.

City hall also provided more details about a homeless response plan after the provincial government announced it would make AHS staff available to staff overflow shelters, one of which will be at the Edmonton Expo Centre.

Jason Kenney was expected to provide more details on the province-wide homeless plan Friday.