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Alberta government to reverse education property tax increase

Last Updated Mar 23, 2020 at 3:25 pm MDT

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. Canadian researchers are making multiple breakthroughs in the fight against COVID-19, as a biotech firm take the firsts steps towards a vaccine and a hospital in Ottawa opened a drive-thru screening centre. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – During an update to Alberta’s ongoing COVID-19 response Monday, Premier Jason Kenney said the government would be reversing the education property tax increase announced in the 2020 budget.

This is in response to the ongoing financial struggle Albertans are facing due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Kenney said this would save households $55 million and businesses $32 million a year.

“We want (…) Albertans to understand their provincial government will do everything within its power to ensure a future as we go through this very challenging time created not only by the shutdown of the global economy coming from the pandemic but also as a result of the unprecedented collapse of global energy prices.”

The government will defer its portion of six months worth of the education property tax on non-residential properties.

Employers will only be responsible for 50 per cent of what they would have owed this year.

“Things have changed drastically and Albertans shouldn’t have to worry about a higher property tax level.”

Kenney said that means that over the next six months, $458 million will stay with the employers to help pay employees and keep operating.

Kenney also announced that they will be deferring workers’ compensation board premiums to help private sector employers.

Small and medium private sector employers will only pay for half of the 2020 workers’ compensation premiums and the government will cover the other half.

“This is important because as so many businesses shut their doors this month in response to the public health crisis, we need those employers to know that we’re not going to drain their bank accounts from payments.”

If an employer already paid past their 50 percent, it will be refunded or credited to them upon request.

To limit the possible spread of the COVID-19 virus, Kenney reiterated the mandatory isolation period for those entering the country.

“We will not tolerate people coming in from overseas and then mixing with the general population. They would be threatening public health in Alberta. I cannot emphasize this strongly enough,” said Kenney.

 

In light of the COVID-19 precautions in place, Kenney warned against possible COVID-19 scams where an unknown caller gets into contact with someone at home at intimidates them into giving up personal information.

 

Kenney said they are still seeking support from the federal government to prevent total economic collapse.