Trudeau looking to recall Parliament once again to consider expanded COVID-19 aid
• 3-point economic plan: to Protect jobs, Help Those Laid off and support businesses
• Canada Emergency wage subsidy is to support jobs. There will be an update later today about this subsidy. What can be said, is it’s going to be available to businesses big and small who are not publicly funded, from bars to restaurants to charities and non-profits. Applications will open through the CRA soon and Employers will need to attest they’re doing everything they can to pay the remaining 25% of peoples wages
• Government approved loans have been introduced to help businesses owners who are worried about rent and other bills
• Canada emergency response benefit to help people. Starting April 6th if you haven’t already applied for EI, you will be able to complete an application for the Canadian emergency benefit. However, if you are getting the Salary Subsidy you cannot apply for the Canada Emergency Repose Benefit. It is one or the other. You can register online at canada.ca You will have an option to get the benefit payment by mail or by direct deposit. If you choose Direct Deposit you can expect payment within 3 to 5 days. If you choose mail, the cheque can be expected within 10 days. Once you have been approved all you have to do to continue receiving the support is to check in once a month to say that you are still out of work
• More info on eligibility of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit is coming later today, this information will include information on applying to getting your cheque
• This is the largest economic program in Canada’s history. We haven’t seen this kind of mobilization since the second world war. These historic measures will support Canadians to stay home to defeat COVID-19
• Staying home is your way to serve your country.
26 New Recoveries confirmed in Alberta in the past 24 hours
• In the past 24 hours, AHS has confirmed 64 new cases, making the total amount of Cases in Alberta 754. This total includes 77 cases involving health care or continuing care facility workers. The vast majority of confirmed cases were returning travelers or those who attended the bonspiel event. Sadly, we have one additional death in Calgary Zone.
• AHS believes that 75 of all 754 cases are result of community transmission This is concerning number, and a reminder to continue practicing the Public Health requirements, such as Social distancing, self-isolation and practicing proper hand washing is important.
• AHS is currently tracking outbreaks in 3 continuing care facilities, 2 in Calgary zone 1 in Edmonton Zone
• Continue Volunteering if you can, places like Meals on Wheels still needs support. Donate blood if you are able to. Those continuing to respect Alberta Public health recommendations can still be of help during these truing times
Support for Individuals and Families
• Increasing the Canada Child Benefit
• Special Goods and Services Tax Credit Payment
• Extra Time to File Income Tax returns
• Mortgage Supports
• The New Canada Emergency Benefit
• Apply for Employment Insurance
• The New Canada Emergency Response Benefit
•Improved access to Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits
• A New Indigenous Community Support Fund
• Enhancing the Reaching Home Initiative
• Support for Women’s Shelters and Sexual Assault Centres
• Reduced Minimal Withdrawals for Registered Retirement Income Funds
• Practical Services: delivery of items and personal outreach
• A moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans
• Mental Health Support for Youth
• To Access Local Support Services Please Call 211
• For Help with Workplace issues Like Employment Insurance please phone 403 264 8100
• To Learn more about the United Way of Calgary’s Community Response Fund
• Albertans can access the emergency isolation one time payment
• Utility Payment Deferral
Trudeau gives update on Canada's plan to secure medical supplies
• Government of Canada has heard from more than 3000 companies willing to help pivot their production lines to supply various medical supplies. They have now signed procurement contracts with 5 Canadian companies to make medical supplies such as ventilators, masks and testing kits. The demand for supplies will grow in the next few weeks, so we need a stable made in Canada solutions
• The Government has also shifted the country’s entire industrial policy to focus on COVID-19 supplies, including reprioritizing existing innovation and research programs
• There is $2 Billion dollars going towards the procurement of protective personal equipment for front line workers, this includes more masks, face shields, gowns, ventilators, test kits, swabs and hand sanitizer. Government is coordinating with provinces and territories to make sure our health care workers get everything they need.
Alberta health officials to update province’s COVID-19 situation Monday afternoon
• 29 new cases in Alberta, bringing Alberta total to 690. In addition to the death reported yesterday, 5 additional deaths have been reported today, bringing Alberta’s total death count to 8
• 65 of the total cases are likely community transmission, and this number is concerning
• 94 cases are recovered
• These deaths speak to the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic and why it is important we take such strong measures
• Though the numbers have been low the past few days, this is due to no longer testing travelers, the daily tests have also been decreased in lab processing due to supplies challenges
• By the end of the week, AHS will have a better sense of the risk in Alberta
• Following public health guidance will save lives
• If you quarantined due to illness, or close contact to someone with confirmed COVID-19 you must remain on your own properly, deck, yard, or balcony. No longer are you allowed to leave until the 14 days of self-isolation is over. Meaning you can no longer go for walks in your neighbourhood until the quarantine period ends
PM announces eligibility for wage subsidy, as domestic travel restrictions begin
• The Government of Canada announced salary benefit last week to encourage to employers to keep employees on the payroll for qualifying businesses. It is the Canadian emergency wage subsidy. If a businesses revenue has reduced by at least 30%, they will be eligible for this subsidy program. The number of employees’ does not determine the eligibility. This will apply to non-profit businesses. Charities, and companies big and small
• This Emergency Wage Subsidy will cover up to 75% of employees’ wages on the first $58,700 that an Employee earns, that’s up to $847 a week that will be covered. This will be back dated to March 15th
• The Government is working hard to give companies background documents explaining technical details on this measure which will hopefully be available soon
• Word of Caution to business to not misuse this program, if they can continue to pay their staff, to do so. There will be serious consequences if this program is misused, ever dollar should go to employees
• Canadian armed forces are planning to respond should they be called in to aid in pandemic response efforts, but there is no official call to do so yet
• Follow public health recommendations, stay home, wash your hands and keep at least 2 meters from each other.
Canada to provide more funding for seniors, vulnerable amid coronavirus pandemic: Trudeau
• This week the Government announced new measures for families, workers and companies, even with this help it is understood that this remains a tough situation
• $7.5 Million dollars is being invested into the Kids help phone program. For youth who need this service please text 686868 call 1800-668-6868 or go online at kidshelpphone.ca They are there for you. 24 hrs a day 7 days a week in French and English. The money is going into the program for more councilors and trained volunteers
• Minister for Seniors announced $9 million to the United Way’s New Horizons Program for Elders. This program will offer help from health check ins to grocery delivery
• Earlier this week $200 million was designated for shelters, for those who don’t have a home, those fleeing domestic violence or violence because of gender. This new funding is already having a huge impact for support. They will continue working with charities and non-profit organizations, and more help is on the way
79 new cases of COVID-19 announced in Alberta March 28th
What's considered essential? Follow this link and find out!
Canadians with COVID-19 symptoms to be denied boarding on domestic flights, trains
• Taking effect Monday at noon, if a person shows any signs or symptoms of having COVID-19 they will be denied boarding on all domestic flights and any Transport Canada governed trains. Travel for any non-essential reason is not recommended.
• Many youth will be supported through the Canadian Emergency fund, and be helped through payroll subsidy for businesses, but there’s always going to be more to do. The Government of Canada will continue working on ways to support youth and other vulnerable peoples
• For those that will be applying to the Canadian Emergency fund can pre-register. To do so, please visit the Canada Revenue Agency site and sign up through the “My Account” links. Once you do that you will have a head start once the application portal is open. The recommendation is to please sign up for the direct deposit option as well to ensure the money gets to you as soon as possible.
New landlord restrictions announced in Alberta as COVID-19 pandemic continues
• 33 Albertans can now be confirmed as recovered; this is an increase of 6 from yesterday’s numbers.
• Alberta confirms 56 new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 542 cases in Alberta. The number of recovered Albertan’s is included in the total cases.
• Several new measures to strengthen protection of Albertans:
• As of today, the maximum size of group gathering reduces from 50 to NO more than 15 people. This includes family gatherings such as weddings funerals and religious celebrations. It is still important to get outdoors, but this also must not occur in groups of more than 15 people. The 2-meter social distancing recommendation must be observed in all these situations.
• Government of Alberta is closing vehicle access to all provincial parks. This includes parking lots and staging areas. This is only for recreations purposes. Businesses and residents who live or work inside parkland will not be subject to this. People who choose to access parks should only do so by non-motorized means. Enforcement officers will be doing checks beginning this weekend and have the ability to issue tickets for those not complying.
• Immediate closure of non-essential businesses, this includes all close contact businesses, tattoo and piercing studios, nail salons, hair salons and barbers, as well as wellness studios and clinics. All non-emergency and non-critical health services, including dentist, physio, podiatry, chiro and optometry are to close.
• All dine in restaurants must close for dine in service but can continue offering takeout and delivery services
All non-essential retail, clothing, gaming, hobby and toy stores, furniture and specialty stores must close at this time
• All closures will be subject to penalties announced yesterday.
• As of today, the Government of Alberta has received and processed over 16K applications for the Emergency Isolation support fund, and $18.5 Million dollars have been dispersed
• Important measures to protect renters were announced as well. No one will be evicted April 1 for nonpayment of rent. Any Civil enforcement of evictions currently under way for tenants for nonpayment of rent will be suspended until April 30
• No one will see rent increase while state of public heath emergency remains in effect including rent increases for notice already given
• No one will pay late fees for missing rent payment over the next 3 months
• For as long as state of public health emergency remains, landlords will be obliged to coordinate payment plans, and renters will be obliged to pay rent as fully and as consistently as possible. Both will be obliged to take in support they are receiving from government into consideration
• All of these protections will be voided for any renter who damages property or is doing anything illegal inside a rented property.
• Alberta Health Services is postponing all non essential diagnostic imaging.
• All Non-essential and routine laboratory testing have now be called to stop until further notice.
City of Calgary Provides Friday afternoon update on COVID-19 response
Its been 2 weeks since announcing the state of emergency, which has been extended. There are two new orders for the City of Calgary as of today:
• Effective as of 1800 March 27th 2020 all personal service businesses, personal care businesses (Such as Spa’s Tattoo Parlors, hair salons, aesthetic salons etc.), body rub businesses and all non-emergency critical health services (such as Physio or massage) are hereby closed. These businesses cannot maintain the physical distance required. The City of Calgary recognizes the impact this will have on these businesses and the decision was not taken lightly.
• Effective as of 1800 March 27th 2020 closures of all play fields, park fields, tennis courts, basketball courts and skate parks are ordered closed. No organized or team sports are allowed to take place. While the activities are reduced, the fields will remain open, along with outdoor parks and pathways, as long as users remain practicing the social distancing of at least 2 meters. Park staff will be out monitoring city parks and reporting back.
• The City also would like to remind retailers to be kind to their patrons and keep prices reasonable during this hard time.
Alberta Health Services – Complaint website.
Contact your local public health inspector to:
• Make a complaint about a facility, business or rental home
• Comment about EPH programs or services
• Ask a question about things like water sampling or education courses
Trudeau announces major wage subsidy hike for small businesses
• New measures introduced for small and medium businesses, last week the Government announced 10 % wage coverage, that percentage is being raised up to 75% for qualifying businesses to help companies keep people on the payroll. More to say on this very soon, but this subsidy for medium to small businesses will back date to March 15
• The Government is launching the Canada Emergency Business Account, specifically for Small businesses that are struggling with cash flow. This account will allow banks to soon offer $40 loans, guaranteed by government, to qualifying business which will be interest free for the 1st year. Small businesses who meet special critical could qualify for $10 K of the loan to be forgivable.
• A Deferral for businesses, of GST and HST payments as well as duties and taxes on imports till June.
• Announcement of additional measures in the coming days to help the most vulnerable such as youth, those marginalized and those living in poverty.
Bank of Canada makes another emergency cut to interest rate
The Bank of Canada has made a second unscheduled cut to its benchmark interest rate, lowering it to 0.25 per cent amid the COVID-19 crisis.
The International has launched C.A.R.E.S. (Coronavirus Active Response and Engagement Service), a new initiative to organize mutual aid for the most vulnerable of our sisters and brothers. The effort is centered around a new website: iatsecares.org
The initiative establishes a “Buddy System” Where members in need may request for a volunteer to call them at the frequency of their choice. It also establishes a delivery system where members in need can have a trusted volunteer deliver groceries, prescriptions, and other necessary supplies within 72 hours.
For this to work, we need volunteers to help! You can register to volunteer on the new site, or by clicking this link here: Volunteer
Alberta confirms new cases, and new recoveries
• As of today, there have been 27 recovered cases of Covid-19 recorded. 67 new cases, putting Alberta at 486 total cases. 34 considered community transmission, 21 hospitalized and 10 in the ICU
• The number of recovered cases is expected to increase in the coming days
• There are still challenges coming in the net few weeks, and we all need to continue doing our part to flatten the curve
• A new online tool has been developed specifically for health care workers. This Health Care Workers assessment tool will become available on the AHS website, and is in addition to the public assessment tool already online
Trudeau emphasizes global collaboration to combat impact of COVID-19
• The Government of Canada is taking greater action on those not Self-isolating upon returning to Canada. A 14 day quarantine will now be mandatory for ALL Canadians returning home. The Quarantine Act is being implemented to keep all Canadians safe. Those who do not comply could face serious fines and even prison time
• Yesterday the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit, to help workers who have lost their revenues due to this pandemic, was adopted by parliament. This means those who apply and are approved will received $2000 a month, every month for 4 months. An online application portal will launch soon
• This is on top of the Canada Child Benefit temporary increase in May, the supplementing the GST credit and Student loan interest free moratorium. Please check out Canada.ca for more details
• There already appears to be a text scam going out regarding the New Emergency Fund, Trudeau reminds people that the Canada.ca website is the only place to get information that is trusted
• Trudeau had a call with G20 leaders and will remain in constant communication with our international partners who are all facing the same crisis. One thing is clear, we can only overcome COVID-19 if we take action together as a global community.
Alberta's film industry faces 'devastating' historic shut down over coronavirus
Alberta law enforcement agencies get new powers to enforce public health orders, issue fines
• We are staring to record recoveries in Alberta, Canada and around the world
• 61 new cases in Alberta 419 total
• We all have a role to pay in limiting the spread of the disease. There are now further measures to contain Covid-19. Public heath measures are now enforced by law to protect the heath and safety of Albertans. Community peace officers and private health inspectors along with police will now be able to issues tickets up to $1000 per violation. This includes the limiting of mass gatherings up to 50 attendees, mandatory self-isolation for anyone diagnosed, or exhibiting symptoms such as cough or fever, anyone returning to Alberta from outside of Canada and all who have had close contact with a confirmed or probably case of COVID-19. Legally binding rules include operational daycares (ones opened to care for health care worker and essential service children are exempt) Recreational facilities and bars and night clubs, as well as non essential visitors to long term care facilities
• These are stringent penalties and fines with rigorous enforcement behind them
• There is a possibility this will open to bylaw officers as well
• Courts can administer fines up to 100K for first offenders or half a million for subsequent for business or companies not following these guidelines
• Enforcement is to take place in the coming days, and the Government will be heading to legislation in the near future to make the necessary amendments for this new measure.
Albertans can now apply for provincial COVID-19 emergency aid
Trudeau vows more aid coming for Canadians as COVID-19 pandemic wages on
• The House has adopted the Emergency plan and it is now before the senate, more details will be announced this week, and more measures to be announced
• The new Canadian Response Fund replaces the 2 allocations that were announced last week. They are hopeful it will be up and running by April 6th with funds to hit accounts 10 days after applications are received. The fund is $2000 per month.
• This new Canadian Response fund helps those who have no pay cheque due to Covid-19, those who lost their jobs, full time, part time, contract work or self-employed, those who are sick, quarantine, or home to take care of someone effected by Covid-19 and those who still have a job but have no salary coming in.
• The new fund with be given through an online portal, and the government is working to get it up and running as quickly as possible
• The Government has boosted staff to 13 thousand people to take calls and process claims. The Emergency care and support benefit will be administered by CRA and not service Canada
• There have been 143 thousand EI claims since Monday
• The Government has been in collaboration with the provinces and territories to coordinate their efforts for testing. They realize wait time vary and are addressing the issues to try and speed up results
• Journalists are recognized for continuing to give vital information dally, and the government will be releasing additional measures to support reporters, details are to be given later today.
MP’s pass emergency aid bill after overnight compromise
• The modifications include removing the Liberal’s ability to raise taxes unilaterally and shortening the period in which the government can take emergency spending measures without Parliament’s approval from two years to six months
• The bill will not go to the Senate, which is expected to pass it later in the day, A royal assent ceremony is also expected to happen before the end of the day
Alberta Health Update on Covid-19
• 57 New cases of Covid-19 within Alberta, 3 recovered cases and second death due to the disease was reported. This unfortunate news comes from a Long-Term Care facility in Southern Calgary, the people directly involved have been isolated and new practices are being brought in to try and prevent any further spread
• New self-isolation guidelines were reiterated. If you have mild symptoms, such as cough, runny nose, sore throat, you should isolate for 10 days from start of symptoms. If your symptoms have completely resolved and it’s been 10 days, it is believed the possibility to spread the virus is low to none. However, if you remain ill after those ten days, you must remain on self-isolation.
• Additional measures could still be taken when it makes sense for the province with the quickly changing situation
• At this time, it is too early to determine whether summer events, such as the Calgary Stampede, should go on or not. AHS knows that this pandemic will persist for several months, but there is no way to know how the summer will look so there is no recommendations at this time
Momentum: Financial supports for people impacted by Covid-19
Opposition pushing for changes to emergency aid bill before agreeing to pass
Bank and Credit union information:
The big six Canadian banks are offering mortgage deferrals. All other financial help, and details on the mortgage deferrals are to be made on a case by case basis. Those in need of this help need to contact their banks directly.
First Calgary: (Mountain view financial, Legacy Financial and Chinook financial) Offering loan payment relief, including mortgage, line of credit, loan and car payments, for up to three months for almost all members including commercial small business and retail.
ATB: Also offering personal banking customers to apply for deferred payments for mortgages, personal and business loans.
Servus Credit Union: Offering mortgage and loan payment deferral program in place and will work with personal and business members to meet individual needs.
Trudeau call on house to pass emergency aid bill quickly.
• Today’s emergency recall of house of commons is to pass the Covid-19 Emergency response fund
• It is expected to be fast tracked through all stages and sent to senate by days end
• The legislation contains amendments needed to enact the $82 billion response package and to get money out the door and to Canadian’s as quickly as possible
• There will likely be lively debate, but it is expected to be passed by all parties
• The Federal Emergencies act is still not off the table, but it is not deemed required at this time.
• 1 million Canadian’s have returned home this week, a reminder for all travelers to go directly home and self-isolate.
Telephone Townhall for IA 212 members scheduled for Wednesday March 25th at 10:00 AM please watch your emails for important information.
42 new cases of Covid-19, making Alberta’s total number 301
• The new recommended self isolation timeline for those showing even mild symptoms is 10 days after the symptoms have been resolved. A mild sore throat or runny nose could be a symptom of Covid-19. Social distancing is important, stay home when you're not feeling well not matter the symptom.
• 11 of the 47 health care workers who attended an Edmonton Curling Bonspiel earlier this month have tested positive
• Alberta Heath services has started a free text based program that will send subscribers messages of support and encouragement. Those interested in receiving daily texts should text Covid 19 Hope to 393939
Premier Jason Kenney to snowbirds: Go straight home
• Government of Alberta is immediately reversing the increase in education property tax announced in budget 2020, Alberta property tax level will remain the same as the 2019 amount
• The Government of Alberta will also defer its portion of 6 months worth of the education prop tax on non-residential properties. These payments will be delayed into October 2020. That will amount to 50% of the education property tax that businesses would have owed. The amount will need to be repaid in subsequent years and payment plans are being developed
• The Alberta government has been in contact with Alberta Mayors in regards with ways local municipalities can help with property tax assistance. The final decisions are up to the mayors and local government themselves
• With the above measures, it’s estimated that $458 Million dollars will remain with employers to help them pay employees and continue operations
• WCB premiums can now be deferred for private sector employers to the end of the year. This will not affect benefits, WCB coverages will remain, and anyone currently on a WCB claim will continue receiving their benefits.
• Small and medium size businesses will only pay for half the 2020 WCB premiums, the Alberta government will cover the rest. Employers who have already paid will be refunded by request or have the amount credited to their accounts.
• The above is all in addition to the previous relief plans brought forward last week. Such as the bi-weekly emergency isolation payments, which will become available this week on alberta.ca
• Alberta Government is prepared if necessary, to use strong legal tools and higher penalties for anyone not following the self isolation orders. Legal quarantine orders, to ensure no ambiguity of this obligation, are being considered
Calgary playgrounds closed amid COVID-19 pandemic
Ontario orders all non-essential businesses to shut down
The order will come into effect on March 24 at 11:59 p.m. and will remain in place for at least two weeks.
Trudeau admonishes those not keeping distance, commits funds for COVID-19 vaccine
• The Canadian Government will spend $192 million on the development and production of vaccines and treatments for Covid-19.
• $5 Billion in lending capacity for farmers and producers, as well as a six-month extension on loan payments to keep money in farmer’s pockets.
• Starting today there will be an advertising campaign to spread the message of Social Distancing and Self Isolation to all Canadians.
• Trudeau has a meeting this evening with the premiers to discuss further measures to help families and small businesses.
• More flights have been secured to bring home Canadians. Any Canadian abroad is urged to register with the Government of Canada in order to get updates and details on getting home.
High risk cases, not travellers, focus of Alberta's new COVID-19 testing policy
• Testing will now focus on groups most at risk such as people who are hospitalized with respiratory illness, people who returned from travelling before the self-isolation protocols in place, residents of continuing care facilities and healthcare workers with respiratory symptoms
• Those with mild symptoms, and those who returned to Alberta after March 12th are advised to self-quarantine for a minimum of 10 days instead of seeking testing.
Trudeau says Parliament will resume Tuesday to pass emergency measures
Its sole focus will be on passing emergency legislation to implement the measures the government announced this week, including benefits for Canadians who are out of work, an enhanced Canada Child Benefit, and new funding for research into the novel coronavirus.
Legislation is expected to be passed within days and to be followed by further measures.
33 new cases Confirmed in Alberta on Sunday.
31 new cases of COVID-19 in Alberta brings total to 226
• Officials believe up to 16 of the total cases are due to community spread and urge people to practice social distancing
• One of the new cases is in a seniors home
• Alberta Health Services will never ask for your Credit card information, Banking information or SIN number. Please watch out for these phone/email scams
• Details are to be rolled out next week to grant power to Police and AHS Inspectors to verify social distancing measures are being kept in large groups, restaurants etc.. with the possibility of using fines to make sure these recommendations are followed.
• There will not be a press conference on Sunday, but a new total number of cases will be provided.
Alberta launches ‘prevent the spread’ COVID-19 video featuring Gretzky, Kenney, Nenshi and Iveson
Edmonton nurses refuse to perform COVID-19 swabs without N95 masks
We continue to face an unprecedented global pandemic which has caused almost all Stage and Motion Picture production work North America-wide to cease for the foreseeable future. I am frequently asked when a resumption to “normal” production levels will take place, I cannot provide an accurate answer but knowing what I know now, any meaningful resumption of the work does not seem not likely in the second or third quarters of this year.
On Wednesday, with very short notice we held a teleconference town hall and answered live, emailed and texted questions. About 125 Members participated and a full range of issues was addressed. The line has capacity for 300 callers (we are looking at expanding that) and the response from the members who participated was that the call was very useful and we should do another, this time with more notice.
Another Local 212 informational town hall teleconference will be scheduled for Wednesday March 25th at 10:00 AM. Please watch your inboxes tomorrow for details as the dial in information will not be shared on our website.
In addition to the waiving of all penalties for Dues, the Local 212 Executive Board has unanimously voted to defer all remaining dues payments for the remaining three quarters of 2020 until first quarter 2021. The idea is to immediately ease the pressure of paying Union Dues and pickup on Dues collection once work has resumed. The International IATSE Board has voted to allow for this delay of Quarterly remittances from the Locals.
The Local 212 office continues to operate but in a very, very different way with staff working from home and minimal office activity. Members who call the main line 403 250-2199 and leave a message will receive a call back during office hours (usually within 5 minutes) and should allow more time after office hours. Members are advised not to visit the office as it is closed to all visitors.
Dee Picciano email@example.com, Sarah McKenzie firstname.lastname@example.org, and I email@example.com are focused on communications and Member services and have full time workloads currently. Our social media is still running with Sebastian Salazar operating part time from home. Communications and Member services are ramped up and ongoing. We have an amazing staff and they are all stepping up.
I am in constant contact with our Executive Board who are exercising the Constitutional authority to make decisions between membership meetings.
Please also be advised that the new building project has been paused indefinitely. We will revisit that project’s viability in the new year.
Tom Benz, our Film BA is now on a reduced schedule dealing with a number of lingering issues on the motion picture side. Tom hopes to tie up many loose ends next week. Trish Weeks our Education Coordinator has ceased almost all training for at least the next quarter but we are looking at offering some additional online training opportunities in the months ahead. Ruben Calazan (reception) and Ian Wilson have been asked to stay away from the office but Ian is still participating in phone calls and stage teleconference calls and tying up loose ends on the stage side. Film dispatch remains vacant at this point.
Please know the landing page of our website www.iatse212.com has become a primary source of information updated twice daily with all sorts of announcements ranging from relief fund and Government aid packages as well as Health Plan and IATSE international relief efforts. IATSE Canada launched a COVID-19 information page at www.iatsecanada.net
These are trying times indeed and I ask members to be patient as details of relief packages become available. I encourage all of you who are able to take very long walks each day this helps with cabin fever and anxiety issues, but please remember to practice social distancing.
We will get through this together!
Netflix has announced a US$100 Million global relief fund to support workers in the creative community, including Canada’s, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Netflix says the global relief fund is in addition to the two weeks pay it has already committed to the crew and cast on productions the company was forced to suspend next week.
49 new cases 195 cases total in Alberta
• One of the new restrictions for Albertan’s is that only one single pre-approved, designated person can visit a single person at senior homes. They may have to have a temperature check or complete questionnaire.
• Farmers markets are in the same category as grocery stores and may remain open, but please make sure to practice social distancing and do not go out if you are feeling sick.
• 17K Albertans tested to date testing over 2000 a day, by far highest per capita in North America.
• Next week they will begin reopening select licensed childcare centres for core service providers such as doctors, nurses, emergency services. These centres will be decided upon by things like proximity to heath care facilities and opened in a phased approach. They will not be allowed to have more than 30 occupants including staff and must adhere to strict guidelines. Parents will be notified through their employer if they qualify for these childcare centres. All other licensed childcare centres are to remain closed. Day homes may remain open limited to 6 kids.
• Additional support and protection for the homeless. There will be support of an expansion of network of homeless shelters across Alberta to help cope safety with COVID-19. The Mustard seed and Drop In Centre are seeking additional sites to meet the short fall of social distancing.
• To protect and sustain our economy in this crisis, actions are being announced today, and in the coming days such as extending the term of mineral agreements expiring in 2020 by one year. As well as the formation of an Economic Recovery Council, who’s job it will be to think and provide practical advice to the Alberta Government to pave a path through this economic crisis.
Canada’s big six banks will allow mortgage payment deferrals for up to six months as part of extraordinary measures to help customers struggling with the financial impacts of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The international’s Canadian Department has created a distinct website so that Canadian members can find Covid-19 resources and information in one place.
You will find information about financial support through the Actors Fund of Canada, benefit information on our national health and retirement plans, information on available government support benefits, links to the federal and provincial government announcement pages, what the IATSE has been doing and what you as a member and entertainment industry worker can do. Iatsecanada.net
Trudeau unveils new measures to mobilize industry in COVID-19 fight.
Canadians are generous, kind and compassionate.
• Canada US border closing to all non-essential travel as of midnight tonight. There is a mutual agreement in place to send back any irregular migrants who may try and cross the border. Canadians over the border still can return once the border closes.
• The Canadian Government is working on an initiative to help Canadian businesses to mobilize in the help to fight Covid-19. Including helping those companies who have already shifted to produce Masks, Ventilators and hand sanitizers scale up and help retool those who wish to shift production. More to come on this.
• Service Canada has had a historic number of calls, over 500K applications submitted this week. The Government is working as fast as possible, and has people working around the clock.
Two patients recover from COVID-19 in Alberta
• Social distancing tips can be found at alberta.ca
• Cases continue to grow within Alberta, and though the first provincial death has been announced there has also been at least two cases fully recovered.
City of Calgary Update:
• The 2020 Census is being postponed for later into the year, or if needed into 2021
• A few changes from Waste & Recycling, Green and Black bins will be picked up every other week and no extra bags of waste will be picked up. Blue carts will continue being picked up weekly.
• City of Calgary landfills remain open, but debit and credit payments will be accepted only.
• City of Calgary would also like to remind people that the drinking water is safe, the treatment facilities remain open.
• The city of Calgary is partnering with United Way and Alberta Health Services to create the Calgary Covid-19 Community response fund, they will accept donations to support vulnerable Calgarians impacted by Covid-19. More information can be found at calgaryunitedway.org
• City of Calgary Utility payments through the months of April, May and June do not need to be paid if you are unable. Any unpaid amounts will be rolled over into the final 6 payments of the year.
PM Trudeau: Canada-U.S. border likely shut by the weekend
• The USA Canada border agreement will be finalized soon and closure can be expected the evening of Friday in Saturday this week.
• Canadians are advised to check out the Canada.ca website for the latest information on the federal relief.
• $25 Million is going to 49 research teams across the country for research on virus spread, vaccination and treatment, as well as detection, management and reducing spread of Covid-19.
• 50K Canadians have been swabbed since the beginning and lab test kits are to be expedited.
• Blood donors are needed, if you are able to give reach out to blood.ca or call 1-888-236-6283
• The Government has been working directly with Air Canada and West Jet to get Canadians abroad home. A mass text message has been sent with a link offering Canadians help.
All training and non-essential meetings have now been postponed or cancelled and the staff is now working from home. We are still here to support you.
Please call 403 250-2199 or email the office.
Damian Petti – firstname.lastname@example.org phone extension 280
Dee Picciano – email@example.com phone extension 320
Sarah McKenzie – firstname.lastname@example.org phone extension 290
The Government of Alberta released the following support for Albertans:
• Emergency Isolation support of $50 million. This is a temporary program for working adult Albertans who must self-isolate. It will be distributed in one payment installment and bridge the gap until the federal emergency payments begin in April. Will be available through Alberta.ca next week. More information to come.
• Utility payment holiday was announced, residential customers can defer electricity and natural gas bill payments for the next 90 days, regardless of the service provider.
• Student loans repayment holiday, a six-month interest free moratorium on Alberta student loan payments beginning March 30th, 2020. Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.
• ATB financial customers can apply for a deferral on their ATB loans, lines of credit and mortgages for up to 6 months.
• Alberta credit union members will have access to a variety of programs and solutions designed to ease difficulties with loan payments and short-term cash flow, contact your credit union to work out a plan for your personal situation.
The Government of Alberta released the following support for Employers and Employees:
• Corporate income tax balances and installment payments will be deferred form March 19th until August 31st, 2020.
• Farm and Commercial customers can defer electricity and natural gas bill payments for the next 90 days.
• ATB small business customers can apply for a payment deferral on loans and lines of credit for up to 6 months and access addition working capital, and other businesses and agriculture customers can access support on a one-on-one basis.
• Job protected leave – a change of the Employment Standards code will allow full and part time employees to take 14 days of job protected leave if they are required to self-isolate, or caring for a child or dependent adult that is required to self-isolate. Employees will not be required to have a medical note and do not need to have worked for an employer for 90 days. This leave does not apply to self-employed individuals or contractors.
• Employers and employees may consider using other available leaves, such as vacation pay or banked over time – Employers are not required to grant the request. Employers can request employees voluntarily take vacation leave and/or use their vacation pay or banked overtime but cannot force them to do so.
March 18th Update
Telephone Townhall for IA 212 members scheduled for today at 2:00 pm, please watch your emails for important information.
Trudeau unveils funding package for Canadians
• 27 Billion to directly support workers & Businesses
• 55 Billion for business liquidity needs through tax deferrals
• This total $82 Billion is more than 3% of the Canada's GDP
• Employment Insurance Sickness benefits, pay comparable to EI, and a payout of 15 weeks, for those who are ill, quarantined, isolated or taking care of a family member w/ Covid-19. For more information on EI sickness benefits please visit the Government of Canada Website. or call Toll Free at 1-833-381-2725
• Introducing Covid-19 Emergency support benefit, for those who are self-employed are not able to qualify for regular EI. Comparable to EI, and a payout of 15 weeks. For more information on this please visit the Government of Canada Website.
• An additional program to support businesses and prevent layoffs with a subsidy equal to 10% of employee wages.
• Taxes due date extended to June 1 and allowing taxpayers to defer tax payments until after August 2020
• Temporary boosting of the Canada Child Benefit Payments.
• Double the maximum annual goods and service tax credit.
• A six-month interest-free reprieve on student loan payments
IATSE Committs $2.5 Million to Entertainment charities amid Coronavirus Crisis
Matthew D. Loeb, International President of the IATSE said, “These charities have been assisting and supporting IATSE members and entertainment industry workers for a very long time. They understand the needs of these workers, and are perfectly situated to act as our partners to help those experiencing hardship caused by the current health crisis.”
Charities include the Actors Fund, the Motion Picture and Television Fund, and the Actors Fund of Canada.
March 17th Update
Prime Minister Trudeau is expected to reveal some detail on the Federal relief package for Canadian Workers. This will not be a wage replacement program but rather an assistance package. We are also expecting to learn about Employment Insurance Reforms.
The Canadian office of IATSE is developing a micro site for Canadian IA Members. The Idea is to have a space where all relevant information will be available in one place this blog will be updated to include a link to that site onnce it is up and running.
March 16th update.
On March 16th, Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau announced that a major federal relief program will be announced within the next few days. He stated that all Canadian Families should be able to: "pay rent, buy groceries and afford Child Care"
Those details will be posted here as an update to this blog they become available.
The Prime Minister also announced that non-essential travel is not recommended and a Travel ban from all nations except the United States will be imposed on Wednesday March 18th. All Canadians who are abroad have been asked to return to Canada ASAP. A recommendation to work from home and "social distance" as much as possible was also put forward.
As of March 16th, we are also awaiting a response from major Canadian Banks who are have been asked by the federal Government and many Canadians to waive interest on Credit cards, car loans and missed mortgage payments in the short term. On March 13th, the Bank of Canada lowered the key lending rate by half a point to begin relief efforts.
These are very difficult times for Entertainment Workers!
COVID-19 is an unprecedented event that has delivered job losses to tens of thousands of IATSE workers. The good news is that across the IATSE, measures are being taken to mitigate the effects of the massive temporary unemployment and economic impacts our members face.
The IATSE International Boardand the Disaster Response Committee have been holding emergency meetings to address immediate concerns raised as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday March 12, Broadway theatres closed, sports teams postponed their seasons, massive trade shows were cancelled and dozens of motion picture productions paused their productions throwing thousands of IATSE members into temporary unemployment.
In British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec, sweeping restrictions on public gatherings and cross border travel have created unemployment for entertainment workers in Canada and the United States.
On March 13th, it became evident that Ontario and the rest of a Canada would also be subject to the same restrictions through federally pronounced recommendations.
The Canadian Federal Government is in the process of rolling out a relief package for the week of March 16th-20th. Prime Minister Trudeau has stated: No Canadian should have to worry about paying rent amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
These efforts, across North America, are trying to mitigate risk as they do their part to "flatten the curve"
As these film sets, ballparks, arenas, auditoriums, museums and tradeshow floors close down North America-wide it has become clear that entertainment workers, many of whom already have precarious freelance employment, are paying a very high price for this crisis. On March 13th CBS, NBC and Disney had suspended all of their productions and other studios appeared to be following suit. We also learned that Netflix was taking a two week pause for all of their productions. Some early reports are promising in terms of the Studios covering weekly employees for the two week period. Other workers are not so lucky.
In the United States our International President, Matthew D. Loeb leads the entertainment industry by calling on Congress to pass a relief package that incudes entertainment workers.
He states in his March 13th press release:
“Along with the other entertainment unions and the labor movement at large, we call on the Federal government to pass a relief package that prioritizes workers whose incomes have been lost as a result of this crisis. Strong measures like ensuring continuity of health benefits, providing enhanced and extended unemployment, disability, and workers compensation insurance are necessary for ensuring the financial stability of entertainment workers and their families. Additionally, the government should enact a special emergency paid leave benefit geared to include our members.”
Employers and workers have also been accessing the COVID-19 update Portal through the IATSE main page.
In extreme cases of hardship help may be available through the Actors Fund of a Canada (AFC)
• The AFC can provide financial or other compassionate support when an unforeseen emergency causes urgent financial need
• The AFC can provide short-term charitable assistance with basic living and medical needs that cannot otherwise be met
Note: The AFC does not provide income replacement
• The AFC can help people in need to identify and access appropriate resources (EI, health insurance, community and government services)
Note: The AFC does not provide crisis services or assist with emergency travel planning/repatriation
• If you are in need of financial or other support, start by contacting The AFC. We will connect with you to find out more about your situation and advise on how we can best help you.
• The AFC encourage everyone to stay informed, know what resources are available.
Given the weakened state of the financial markets, it is not a good time to be redeeming retirement savings, however for Canadian Entertainment Industry Retirement Plan In very extreme cases where retirement plan members have exhausted all options such as The Actors Fund of Canada and Federal relief and cannot weather the storm to meet immediate food and shelter needs, contact your plan administrator to determine next steps.
Through the IATSE Canadian office, lobbying is underway to convince Federal and Provincial Government's to mitigate the effects these restrictions have placed on the employment of Entertainment workers. In particular, an immediate easement of employment insurance restrictions is being pursued actively and immmediately.
This is is a time of high anxiety for entertainment workers and many may need psychological help. Most Union and Guild members have free and confidential counselling services available to them. You are not alone and it is OK to seek advice or even have someone to listen while you have to deal with this temporary reality. If you are worried about interacting with others at this time, these services are often available over the phone. Contact your Local for more information on their Employee and Family Assistance Program.
I shall continue to update this blog as things change. There is hope and this terrible situation will eventually pass. Stay safe and be well my friends.