NASA continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and its impacts on University of Alberta support staff, and will share critical information with members as it becomes available.
Below is a roundup of important information and updates, which we will update regularly.
Financial Support Resources
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the economy. In response, the federal and provincial governments have put in place a number of financial support programs for impacted workers. We strongly encourage you to explore these programs regardless of your financial situation. Below are links to the government assistance programs we are aware of at the time of this communication:
Likely the most important support for people whose employment has been impacted by COVID-19 is the federal government's Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
If you have lost income because of COVID-19, the CERB will provide you with temporary income support of $500 a week for up to 16 weeks. The federal government is targeting April 6, 2020 as the date when it will start accepting applications. Benefits will start within 10 days of you submitting an application and there is no waiting period.
Important! If you are not normally eligible for Employment Insurance, please register for your CRA My Account and direct deposit in advance of the application launch.
To be eligible to receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) from Service Canada, the following must apply:
- You must reside in Canada
- You are 15 years of age or older at the time of application
- You have stopped or will stop working for reasons related to COVID-19, or because you are unable to work due to illness, or because you lost your employment for other reasons beyond your control; and
- If you are submitting for your first benefit period, that you have stopped or will stop working for at least 14 consecutive days within the 4 week benefit period; or
- If you are filing for a subsequent benefit period, you did not receive any employment or self employment income for the period for which you previously claimed the benefit and do not expect to receive any employment or self employment income in the 4 week benefit period
- You have not quit your job voluntarily
- You are not receiving nor have you applied for the CERB from the Canada Revenue Agency nor are you receiving Employment Insurance benefits for the same benefit period
- You have earned a minimum of $5,000 in income within the last 12 months or in the 2019 calendar year from one or more of the following sources: employment income or self-employment income
Full details and an FAQ are available on the CERB information page.
If you have stopped working because of COVID-19, you should apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, whether or not are eligible for Employment Insurance. The benefit is available for the period from March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020.
Until then, Canadians who are eligible for Employment Insurance and who have lost their job can continue to apply for Employment Insurance.
- If your claim has already been processed, you will receive Employment Insurance benefits. If your EI claim is exhausted before October 3, 2020, and you still need income support, you can apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
- If you applied for EI regular or sickness benefits on March 15, 2020 or later, your claim will be automatically processed through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
In addition, for other EI benefits, including maternity, parental, caregiving, fishing and worksharing, you should also continue to apply.
- You may be eligible for increases to the Canada Child Benefit and to the GST/HST credit. More details will be forthcoming on both, however, we do know that the increase to the GST/HST credit will be to a maximum of $300 per adult and $150 per child per month and the top-up to the Child Benefit will be to a maximum of $300 per child per month.
- The federal government is providing a six-month, interest-free moratorium on all Canada Student Loan repayments.
- Mortgage loan holders have been given permission to offer deferrals on mortgage payments.
In Alberta, residential customers can defer electricity and natural gas bill payments for the next 90 days, regardless of the service provider.
The provincial government has also implemented certain protections for renters:
- Tenants cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent and/or utilities before May 1.
- Rents cannot increase while Alberta’s state of public health emergency remains in effect.
- Effective April 1, late fees cannot be applied to late rent payments for the next three months.
- Effective April 1, landlords and tenants need to work together to develop payment plans while the state of public health emergency is in effect.
General COVID-19 Information
We encourage you to regularly check the COVID-19 information pages from the University of Alberta, Government of Alberta, and Government of Canada for important updates and information about supports for people impacted by the pandemic.
Remember, to protect yourself and others:
- practice social distancing
- stay home and away from others if sick or in isolation
- wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow
- avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
If you have symptoms, like a dry cough, fever, fatigue or difficulty breathing:
- stay home - do not go to an ER or clinic
- take the COVID-19 self-assessment
- call Health Link 811 for instructions and testing
COVID-19 Information for University of Alberta Staff
The University has up-to-date information for the U of A community on its COVID-19 information page.
NASA continues to advocate for continuance of pay and benefits for all university staff during this crisis. Here is the latest Employee Leave and Pay Guidelines (as of March 19, 2020) we have received from university administration. Contact your LRO if you have any questions about your individual situation.
If you are able to work remotely, be sure to reference the Going Remote page for tips and resources.
This is a very uncertain and disruptive time, and you may be experiencing heightened anxiety or stress. The University of Alberta has numerous resources available if you, or someone you know, is struggling or needs support:
- Injury & illness information for employees
- Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP)
- On-campus health and wellness resources
- Off-campus resources
NASA Statements and Updates
NASA continues to advocate to ensure that the response to the COVID-19 emergency does not disproportionately impact university support staff. We are particularly concerned that university administration seems to be committed to proceeding with planned layoffs stemming from the provincial government's February 27 Budget 2020, despite the unprecedented changes to the provincial economy that have occurred since the budget was tabled.
Our priority message to the university right now is that any planned layoffs must be put on hold for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis, and we will continue to deliver that message to university leadership.
Read the media release "Government inflexibility on budget will jeopardize U of A’s COVID‑19 response and long-term prospects, say campus associations" (March 26, 2020)
Read the joint letter against cuts tabled at Board of Governors' meeting (March 26, 2020)
Read the joint letter from campus associations demanding no additional layoffs during COVID-19 emergency (March 23, 2020)
Read NASA's Open Letter to President Turpin and BOG Chair Chisholm (March 17, 2020)
Read the NASA Statement on COVID-19 and the University of Alberta (March 16, 2020)
Read the NASA's Statement on Budget 2020 (March 2, 2020)
A reminder that based on recommendations from public health officials, NASA has made the decision to close its office indefinitely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. NASA operations will continue as normal, and NASA's office and labour relations staff will be working remotely from home. You will still be able to reach them by phone or email if you are in need of support.