Emergency COVID-19 funding applications now open
EDMONTON -- Albertans can now apply for cash from their provincial government if COVID-19 has forced them to self-isolate at home.
Those who are self-isolating or are the sole caregiver for someone in self-isolation are eligible for a one-time payment of $1,146.
"By two o'clock this afternoon, several thousand people had already applied, and the website effectively crashed," Premier Jason Kenney told media that afternoon.
"Service Alberta will have it up and running again with expanded capacity," he added, asking for patience from Albertans.
The amount is equivalent to $573 per week for two weeks, a dollar amount that was based off of employment insurance data, the province has said.
There is not a limit to the number of people in a household who can be found eligible.
However, Albertans who weren't working before self-isolation, or who are receiving other benefits like federal employment insurance or employer sick leave, or who are staying at home to care for kids who are not self-isolating are not eligible.
FEDERAL SUPPORT TO COME IN APRIL
About $50 million will be given to Albertans through the emergency program, according to the province’s premier.
Jason Kenney announced the support last week as a way to help Albertans manage their bills until federal supports start becoming available the first week of April.
"We are ensuring that Albertans quickly have money in their pockets at this difficult time. The Alberta Government's program is intended as a bridge until federal programs begin," a Wednesday statement from a government spokesperson read.
At least one Albertan sees the cash as solace while Service Canada deals with an influx of citizens seeking employment insurance during the pandemic.
“I haven’t been able to access virtually any assistance right now,” Nino Signore told CTV News Edmonton.
Service Canada is experiencing about 20 times the demand it usually does.
Around Edmonton, the department’s offices have been closed and notices direct customers to head to its website.
Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said about 13,000 government employees have been moved to Service Canada to help process EI claims.
“Public servants are working around the clock, while dealing with unprecedented demand, and all of the same personal stress everyone else is facing.”
VIRUS-RELATED JOB LOSSES TO BE COMPENSATED BY OTTAWA
Canadians who’ve lost their job as a result of COVID-19 will be eligible for $2,000 for the next four months from Ottawa.
The legislation – called the Canada Emergency Response Benefit – is the combination of two previous measures the government was working on.
That cash will be available 10 days after application. Applications have not yet opened.
The Opposition's critic for labour and immigration said it was clear since Alberta's application portal opened that the provincial program was not as broad as Ottawa's, which accomodates Canadians who are self employed or parents caring for children at home.
"There are so many cases outside of those realms," Christina Gray said of Alberta's eligibility criteria.
"This narrowly defined program does not fulfill the commitment the premier and the finance minister themselves made when they promised Albertans there would be bridging now no one would fall through the cracks."
Applications for the emergency self-isolation support from Alberta can be submitted online and the payments will be made within 24 to 48 hours via e-transfer.
More details about and the application for emergency isolation support are available online.
With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Jeremy Thompson