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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information for Residents

Tips for Parenting in the Time of COVID-19

The World Health Organization has compiled a list of tips to help parents interact constructively with their children during this time of confinement.

From planning one-on-one time, staying positive, creating a daily routine, avoiding bad behaviour, managing stress, and talking about COVID-19, these resources were created to help parent in the time of COVID-19. Use them to your and your kids’ advantage, and have fun in doing so!

To access these resources visit: https://bit.ly/3aq81at

 

 

As public conversations around COVID-19 increase, children may worry about themselves, their family, and friends getting ill. Parents, family members, school staff, and other trusted adults can play an important role in helping children make sense of what they hear in a way that is honest, accurate, and minimizes anxiety or fear.

MindHeart has created a short activity book to support and reassure our children, under the age of 7, regarding COVID-19. Follow the link to download: https://www.mindheart.co/descargables

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Additional Funding & Grants Available For Charitable & Non-Profit Organizations 

The Alberta Government is providing $30 million to municipalities as well as charitable and non-profit organizations to provide help to individuals, seniors, families and other vulnerable Albertans who are isolated or impacted by COVID-19.

For services to be eligible, they must address the social well-being of those most affected by COVID-19 and the measures implemented to limit the spread of the virus. Those impacted may include seniors, individuals with chronic medical conditions, caregivers, families with children at home and individuals with limited access to supports.

Charitable and non-profit organizations are encouraged to connect directly with their local FCSS program to receive detailed funding guidelines and grant criteria.

Click here to view the funding application: https://bit.ly/2QPVmpo

Please contact Nicole Hanna at Big Lakes FCSS for more information or if you need assistance filling out the application.
Phone: 1-780-523-0108
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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All recreation sites are closed - including Kinuso Park

Big Lakes County would like to remind residents that all recreational sites within the County are CLOSED. However, pathways and walkways will remain open.

It is important for our mental and physical well-being that we remain active during this time. Being outside helps us get a better night’s sleep, reduces stress, lessens depression and improves healing. When using these walkways it is EXTREMELY important that we adhere to social distancing guidelines and keep a distance of at least 2 meters from others.

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Small Business Supports

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced increased funding for Canada's small and medium-sized businesses today amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To further support Canada, the Government of Canada is:
• increasing the temporary wage subsidy up to 75% for qualifying businesses for up to 3 months so you can keep paying your staff. This subsidy will be backdated to March 15. More details on eligibility criteria will start with the impact of COVID-19 on sales, and will be shared before the end of the month.
• launching the Canada Emergency Business Account to help your small business if it is struggling with cash flow. This will allow banks to offer $40,000 loans to qualifying businesses—interest free for the first year, so you can pay for rent and other important costs over the next number of months.
• allowing businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer all GST/HST payments until June, as well as customs duties owed for imports.
• launching the new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program that will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank, for guaranteed loans when small businesses go to their financial institutions to help weather the impacts of COVID-19.

For more information read the full media release here: https://bit.ly/2UojnWY

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TEXT4HOPE

On March 23, Alberta Health Services launched a new text-based program called #Text4Hope that aims to help provide encouragement and hope to Albertans. Albertans can text "COVID19Hope" to 393939 to subscribe. Text4Hope sends subscribers text messages of support to ease stress and anxiety.

These daily Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)–based text messages are written by mental health therapists. It is a helpful option for people in self-isolation who can’t access face-to-face services, as well as those in remote locations.

“All Albertans have been impacted by COVID-19, and this free program is an additional resource to help us find encouragement as we navigate the challenges of a new normal.” D. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health.

For more information visit: https://bit.ly/3btZqUj

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Financial Support

County residents shouldn't have to choose between their health and their financial security. Workers and businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for the relief programs introduced by the Provincial and Federal Governments. Below are some resources you can access in case you or someone you know may need them:

Emergency Isolation Support (Available April)
Financial support for working Albertans who are experiencing a loss of income resulting from self-isolation due to COVID-19. Eligible working Albertans can receive a one-time emergency isolation support payment of $1,146 if they are required to self-isolate or are the sole caregiver of someone in self-isolation and they have no other source of pay or compensation.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (Available early April)
To support workers and help businesses keep their employees, the government has proposed legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The EI system was not designed to process the unprecedented high volume of applications received in the past week. Given this situation, all Canadians who have ceased working due to COVID-19, whether they are EI-eligible or not, would be able to receive the CERB to ensure they have timely access to the income support they need.

The government is working to get money into the pockets of Canadians as quickly as possible. The portal for accessing the CERB would be available in early April. EI eligible Canadians who have lost their job can continue to apply for EI, as can Canadians applying for other EI benefits.

More Financial Response Research:
• Emergency Isolation Support: https://bit.ly/2QPRkNX
• CERB: https://bit.ly/2WNyxXo
• EI: https://bit.ly/3an26Tx
• Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: https://bit.ly/33MFR74
• Federal and Provincial Supports: https://bit.ly/39nwdZV
• Free Credit Counselling, Budgeting Help & Debt Consolidation Options: www.nomoredebts.org/
• Facebook Small Business Grants Program: www.facebook.com/business/grants
• Support for entrepreneurs impacted by COVID-19: https://bit.ly/3dwWI2h

 

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Child Care For Core Service Workers

Children’s Services is working with child care providers to open up 15,000 child care spaces to ensure child care is available for those providing services that Albertan's rely on during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Child care centres are initially being chosen based on proximity to health-care facilities and will be reopened in a phased approach based on areas of need. Access will be prioritized to health care practitioners and critical infrastructure workers. Additional spaces will then be available to first responders (firefighters and police officers) and others. Parents will be notified this coming week through their employer if they qualify to send their children to newly reopened centres.

 

Children’s Services is contacting the centres directly. All other licensed child care centres are to remain closed. Approved day homes may remain open but limited to six children, including the operators’ own children.

 

For more information read the full media release: https://bit.ly/2WIzSyx

 

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Support For Our Farmers 

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced important new measures to support farmers and agri-food businesses in Canada facing financial hardship due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Farm Credit Canada will receive support from the federal government that will allow for an additional $5 billion in lending capacity to producers, agribusinesses, and food processors. Additionally, all eligible farmers who have an outstanding Advance Payments Program (APP) loan due on or before April 30 will receive a Stay of Default, allowing them an additional six months to repay the loan.

For more information and the full media release: https://bit.ly/2QNR02m

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FAQ'S On Declaring A Local State Of Emergency (SOLE)

What is a SOLE?

A State of Local Emergency (SOLE) is a declaration made by the local authority so that extraordinary actions may be taken to deal with an emergency.

 

Misconceptions on declaring a SOLE:

1) a local authority is not required to declare a SOLE in order to activate their ECC or community emergency plans

2) a SOLE is not required in order for a local authority or citizens to be eligible for financial assistance through a disaster recovery program

 

Why would a municipality declare a SOLE?

The primary reason a municipality would declare a SOLE would be to create a legal state of affairs of a temporary nature (must be renewed every 7 days) so that it may take extraordinary actions to deal with the situation at hand.

 

Extraordinary actions include:

- acquiring or using personal property

- controlling or prohibiting travel

- evacuating people, livestock and personal property

- entering any building or land without a warrant

- demolishing or removing trees, crops, or structures

- fixing prices

- conscripting people

 

As of today, Big Lakes County has not yet declared a SOLE.  Through the declaration of a State of Public Health Emergency, the province is already monitoring and dealing with everything a Local Authority’s  SOLE would encompass.   

 

The province’s State of Public Health Emergency enables the following:

- Acquire or use any real or personal property;

- Authorize or require any qualified person to render aid of a type the person is qualified to provide;

- Authorize the conscription of persons needed to meet an emergency;

- Authorize the entry into any building or on any land, without warrant, by any person; Provide for the distribution of essential health and medical supplies and provide,

- Maintain and coordinate the delivery of health services.

- May impose, authorize the absence from employment of any persons who are; ill with pandemic influenza, or caring for a family member ill with pandemic influenza.

- Order the closure of food & beverage establishes or other places of group gathering; Order the cessation of (indoor or outdoor) group gatherings

- Quarantine a group or people, a facility, or an entire community.

 

At this time, the County has not deemed it necessary to enact further restrictions.  We would like to assure our residents that we are continuing to carefully monitor the risks associated with COVID-19 daily and we are busy working behind the scenes to coordinate our Pandemic Influenza Support and Business Continuity Plans.

 

As of Monday, March 16th, Big Lakes County activated our Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) along with our emergency response plans with the main objective of promoting the safety and security of our residents and employees, and to ensure the delivery of core services throughout the duration of this Pandemic. We will continue to carefully monitor the situation to see if additional action is required.

 

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Spread Kindness

Big Lakes County residents who are able to donate their time or money to those affected by COVID-19 are encouraged to reach out to High Prairie Helpers or the High Prairie & District Food Bank Society. The High Prairie Food Bank is accepting monetary donations through canadahelps.org.

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No Wipes Down The Pipes

As you follow the advice of our public health officials and continue to disinfect your homes and businesses, Big Lakes County would like to remind our residents to place the following items in the garbage:
- Flushable, disposable, cleaning or baby wipes
- Paper towels, cloth towels, or any type of rag
- Diapers (including cloth, cotton, disposable, or plastic)
- Feminine hygiene products
- Facial tissues

Putting these items down toilets may plug sewers and cause raw sewage to back up into YOUR HOME.

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Mental Health Links

Please be aware that many of us may be having a more difficult time than most in dealing with this Pandemic but may not be comfortable sharing that information. Below are some resources you can access in case you or someone you know may need them:

The Mental Health Help Line: 1-877-303-2642 | available 24/7 to provide advice and referrals to community supports near you.
- Crisis Services Canada | crisisservicescanada.ca
- Alberta Division – Canadian Mental Health Association | alberta.cmha.ca
- Mental Health and coping with COVID-19 | cdc.gov/coronavirus
- Talking with children about COVID-19 | cdc.gov/coronavirus
- Help in tough times | albertahealthservices.ca/amh/Page16759.aspx
- Taking Care of Your Mental Health in the Face of Uncertainty | afsp.org/taking-care-of-your-mental-health-in-the-face-of-u…

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#BIGLAKESCARES

It is times like these where we have to rely on each other most. Big Lakes County asks that we all reach out to our neighbours and networks for the next while with compassion and support. "We need to face this together, and respond to this extraordinary crisis with extraordinary kindness." Dr. Deena Hinshaw

Wondering how you can help?

1) Break up our news feeds by sharing any acts of kindness you have experienced in Big Lakes County during this difficult time. Spread some light by using the hashtag #BigLakesCares and #AlbertaCares

2) Drop a note on your neighbours' door and see if they are self-isolating and need help picking up shopping, posting mail, getting urgent supplies, or just a friendly phone call.

3) Karen Zelman from Alberta Health Services is asking you to spare a few minutes to write a letter to our residents in long-term and extended care letting them know how you and your area have been affected. Send them by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Steps Residents Can Do To Prevent The Spread

Big Lakes County would like to echo today's COVID-19 situational update from Dr. Deena Hinshaw to take this pandemic seriously and do everything you can to help prevent the spread. Prevention starts with awareness. Be informed on how you can protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

1) Stay home unless it is essential
2) Practice social distancing if you do have to go out | go to alberta.ca/covid19 "Help Prevent the Spread" for social distancing resources
2) Wash your hands often, using soap and water for at least twenty seconds
3) Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
4) Cover your cough using the bend of your elbow or a tissue
5) 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 online COVID-19 self assessment, and call Health Link 811 if you require testing
6) Get information from trusted sources

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Big Lakes County's Plan for COVID-19 

Since January, Big Lakes County has been carefully monitoring and developing a proactive strategy to address any risks associated with COVID-19 for our residents, visitors, and employees. Part of this strategy was to activate the Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC).

 

What is an ECC?
The ECC functions as a community’s “nerve centre,” anticipating and supporting the needs of one or more incident sites, multiple agency members, external partners, as well as addressing the needs of the community as a whole during a disaster.

 

The ECC team’s primary tasks include:
- Mobilization of the ECC team
- Establishing links with other operational sites such as schools, industry, utilities, reception centers and health centers
- Providing information to the public and media
- Managing the overall municipal response to the emergency or disaster
- Planning for continued operations/services in unaffected areas of the municipality
- Identifying issues (ex. Extraordinary expenditures)
- Tracking expenditures related to the event
- Assessing the need for a State of Local Emergency and advising elected officials
- Ensuring recovery activities are undertaken
- Monitoring staff wellness

As of today, Big Lakes County’s ECC is in the monitoring and preparation phase. The ECC includes the Director of Emergency Management (DEM), Deputy Director, Risk Management Officer, Public Information Officer (PIO), Assistant Public Information Officer, and Liaison Officer.

 

What are everyone’s roles in the ECC?
- The Director of Emergency Management’s role is to prepare and co-ordinate Big Lakes County’s Pandemic Influenza Support and Business Continuity Plans, as well as coordinate all emergency services and other resources used in an emergency.
- The Deputy Director of Emergency Management’s role is to support the DEM as well as ensure continuity during absence or long-term incidents.
- The Risk Management Officer’s role is to analyze, assess, and control risks to health, safety, environment and the economy by preparing a risk mitigation plan.
- The Public Information Officer’s role is to provide information to the public and media, manage all media inquiries, and provide information to internal staff.
- The Assistant Public Information Officer’s role is to support the PIO in ensuring the complete, accurate, and consistent communication of information is being provided.
- The Liaison Officer is responsible for coordinating with representatives from cooperating and assisting agencies or organizations (ex. AHS).

 


What is
the ECC’s main objective?
As of today, the ECC’s main objective is to promote the safety and security of residents within the municipality, and to ensure the delivery of core services, including Fire Services, Utilities, Solid Waste, Airports, and Road Safety throughout the duration of this Pandemic.

 

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Resources for Big Lakes County Residents & Businesses Affected by COVID-19

Small businesses are the backbone of our community. We are here for you. The Big Lakes County Economic Development Authority and our BLC communications team have developed a list of resources and tools for local businesses. We will update this list regularly. Please note that Joyce Stokes and Lisa Baroldi, our core economic development team members, are available to help you navigate government announcements, resources, and tools for businesses. You can email or call them by contacting Joyce at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 780-536-7595. Another very helpful resource is Business Link. They have a hotline for Alberta Businesses: https://businesslink.ca/contact/. Many of our links come from their resource page.

General Information

  • Coronavirus disease (COIVD-19) | Government of Canada | Main Site with downloadable resources, minute-by-minute updates, and links to travel advice Canada’s financial response, prevention and risk, symptoms and treatment
  • COVID-19 | Government of Alberta | Portal for all main information from the provincial government
  • COVID-19 | World Health Organization | Most recent information by WHO
  • COVID-19 | Big Lakes County | Up-to-date local information and announcements. Also see the Big Lakes County Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/biglakescounty/

Financial

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP): 

  • Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) will provide more than $10 billion of additional support
  • Specific measures will be announced for sectors such as oil and gas, air transportation and tourism.
  • The near-term credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector will also be increased through Farm Credit Canada.
  • Canada’s large banks will inject $300 billion of additional lending into the economy.
  • The Bank of Canada cut the interest rate to 0.75%.

Insurance and Taxes (CRA)

  • The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. 
  • The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020.
  • COVID-19 and Business Insurance: How Coverage is Triggered | Insurance Bureau of Canada

Employees

Business Travel

Pandemic Preparedness and Tips

Mental Health Resources

The Mental Health Help Line: 1-877-303-2642 | available 24/7 to provide advice and referrals to community supports near you.

Webinars and Newsletters

 

 

 

 

Please download the media release below. 

 

Download PDF

 

Funding Release Form