This page provides information and links for Albertans about changes in the law and legal services because of COVID-19.
Disclaimer: For the most up-to-date information, visit government websites.
Court & Legal Services
- Visit each Alberta court’s website for more information on their COVID-19 processes, including remote hearings and written applications.
- For court updates across Canada, visit the National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP) website.
- Many community and legal clinics are not seeing clients in person but are providing services by telephone or videoconference. Contact your local clinic for more information.
- Need a lawyer but don’t know one and don’t qualify for free legal services? Contact Lawyer Referral Service for the names of three lawyers. Each lawyer should provide a half-hour consultation free of charge. Note that lawyers are not expected to give free legal advice during the free half-hour consultation. Call 1.800.661.1095 or fill out an online request form.
Employment & Benefits
- Alberta’s Employment Standards Code includes a few COVID-specific terms:
- Employees are entitled to 14 consecutive days of unpaid job leave if they are under quarantine. An employee under quarantine does not need to be employed for 90 days by the same employer or require a medical note to be eligible.
- Any layoff due to COVID-19 can be for 180 consecutive days and you do not have to work any days in this period. You can be recalled within this period. If you are not recalled after 180 consecutive days of no work, then you are deemed to be terminated (and regular termination laws apply). This change applies to workers who were already laid off due to COVID-19 as of June 18th and those who are laid off after this date.
- Ministerial Order 2020-26 (regarding healthcare workers working for more than one employer or at more than one worksite) continues to have effect for 18 months from August 14, 2020.
- More resources for employees and employers:
- Three new benefit programs are now available. For more information, see Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.
- Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) – $500 per week for up to 26 weeks for self-employed workers
- Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) – $500 per week for up to two weeks for workers who are sick or must self-isolate because of COVID
- Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) – $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household for workers unable to work due to child or other dependent care responsibilities
- More resources:
- Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan – resources for individuals and businesses
- Government of Canada’s labour and employment notice
- FAQs on termination and temporary lay-offs
- Your Rights at Work – a collection of resources
- You’ve Lost Your Job … Now What? booklet
- Visit the Provincial Court or Court of Queen’s Bench website (depending on which court your matter is in) for more information about COVID-19 processes.
- Remember: Failing to comply with a court order regarding parenting time and contact could have negative consequences. If you cannot comply because of restrictions you are under due to COVID-19, having and documenting clear communication with the other parent is more important than ever. If you have concerns, you can talk to the other parent, your lawyer, or a mediator or arbitrator.
Housing & Real Estate (Rentals, Utilities, Etc.)
- There are no current relief measures for residential tenants.
- The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy provides direct relief to businesses, non-profits and charities that continue to be economically impacted by the pandemic. It started September 27, 2020 and runs until June 2021. See the Government of Canada website for more information.
- CPLEA resource: COVID-19: Information for Alberta Landlords and Tenants
- CPLEA resource: COVID-19: Tips for Condominiums
- For more information/tips on COVID-19 and real estate in Alberta (e.g., dealing with landlord, tenant, buyer and seller concerns with property showings and management), go to:
Public Health Orders
Small Businesses, Entrepreneurs & Non-Profits
- Alberta Biz Connect
- Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan – Support for businesses
- BDC – support for entrepreneurs
- Charity Central – supports for non-profits
States of Emergency
- More information on provincial states of emergency
- More information on municipal states of local emergency
- More information on Canada’s Emergencies Act
Why is each city and province responding differently to COVID-19?
Canada is a federal state. This means Canada has two levels of government: provincial and federal. Under our constitution, each level of government has power to make laws about certain areas. Section 91 of the Constitution Act, 1867 sets out a list of areas (called heads of power) over which the federal government has jurisdiction to make laws. This includes regulating trade and commerce, unemployment insurance, taxes, postal services, the military, banking, airlines and shipping, money, borders and immigration, and criminal law.
Section 92 lists heads of power which the provincial governments have jurisdiction to make laws applicable in their own provinces. This includes healthcare, education, municipalities, property and civil rights in the province, courts, provincial taxes, drinking and gambling, natural resources (exploration, development and management), and all other provincially local matters.
When it comes to COVID-19, Canada can make decisions about things it has power over. This includes the borders, unemployment insurance (EI), federal income taxes, federal student loans, etc.
Each province then has authority to make decisions about things it has power over. This includes the health care system, schools (K-12 and post-secondary), provincial taxes, registries (such as vehicle registration and drivers’ licenses), etc.
Each province can also delegate some of its authority to municipalities (towns and cites) within its borders. In Alberta, municipalities have certain powers under the Municipal Government Act. Each municipality can make bylaws, including about where people can smoke and drink in public, property taxes, speed limits, etc.
See the Government of Canada’s website for all travel restrictions, exemptions and advice.
- Canada-US Border: remains closed until at least January 21st. Only essential travel, trade and commerce is allowed, as well as families reuniting.
- COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad: emergency loans of up to $5,000 are available for eligible Canadians stuck abroad.
- Registration of Canadians Abroad: free service for Canadians abroad on vacation or living. The service allows the Government of Canada to contact you in case of an emergency abroad or a personal emergency at home. Register online.
- List of public health orders and Ministerial Orders in Alberta
- Government of Canada’s COVID info line: 1.833.784.4397 (available 7AM to midnight EST, 7 days/week)
- Canada COVID-19 webpage
- Alberta COVID-19 webpage
- Edmonton COVID-19 webpage
- Calgary COVID-19 webpage
Each town and city across Alberta has rules for its residents and businesses. See your local government’s website for more information.
Last updated: January 8, 2021