Province announces additional supports for individuals and families
The Province of Prince Edward Island has put additional supports in place to help Islanders who are facing economic hardships because of COVID-19.
The Province has partnered with Sobeys Inc. to provide gift cards to Islanders who have been laid off as a direct result of the pandemic. The cost of the program is being shared by Sobeys and the provincial government.
“Islanders want to work. They want to contribute to their communities, but right now we know this is difficult as we focus on protecting the health and safety of Islanders. The supports we are extending will offer Islanders who need it some stability and security during this difficult time. We will continue to look at ways we can provide immediate relief to Islanders, working across government and with community partners.”
- Premier Dennis King
The Employee Gift Card Program is a temporary program put in place to offer a $100 Sobeys gift card to any employee, living and working on Prince Edward Island, who has received a lay-off notice as a direct result of the impacts associated with COVID-19. The application form is to be completed by the employer, who will then distribute the cards to affected employees.
To be eligible, the employer must:
- have issued lay-off notice(s) to 1 or more employee(s) as a result of COVID-19, between the dates of March 13-31, 2020; and
- have affected employees with a salary of $25/hour or less.
“Sobeys is pleased to do its part to support and deliver the Province’s Employee Gift Card Program, providing Islanders with some extra assistance to purchase the essentials at this challenging time,” said Vivek Sood, Executive Vice President, Related Businesses for Sobeys Inc.
Additionally, the Emergency Relief – Worker Assistance Program is providing financial support to employers to assist their workers who have been impacted by reduced hours at work as a result of COVID-19. Eligible employers include registered private sector businesses where employed workers who have experienced a reduction of at least 8 hours per week during the two-week period March 16-29, 2020.
These programs complement initiatives already announced by the federal government. The province has ensured that additional income support measures that it puts in place are not clawed back by the federal government, especially for those on Employment Insurance.
“Every day, we are trying to come up with new ways we can help Islanders quickly,” said Minister of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture Matthew MacKay. “We are working directly with employers to ensure our Island work force is supported. As we continue to adjust to the impacts of COVID-19, I want all Islanders to know that government is with you and will respond quickly with help as needed. We are continuing to work on a layoff top up program as well.”
In addition, Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Steven Myers, chair of the Government Operations Special Cabinet Committee, announced government’s plans to provide limited access at government liquor stores in areas of the province that there are no nearby agency stores. This is to address the needs of Islanders at risk of alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
“We have worked with the Chief Public Health Officer to provide limited service at government PEILCC locations with enhanced health and safety precautions in place to protect the public and our staff,” said Minister Myers. “We recognize that there are Islanders at risk of alcohol withdrawal that need to be supported. We will continue to monitor this process closely to ensure social distancing and other protective measures continue to be followed.”
Additionally, the province announced a new toll-free number to help Islanders in self-isolation and have no one that can deliver necessary supplies like food, medication and pet supplies. The number is 1-833-533-9333. Islanders call the toll-free number can also be connected to health information and business support line, if needed.
In addition to the Employee Gift Card Program announced today, programs established from the $25 million COVID-19 Emergency Contingency Fund to support Island workers, the self-employed and small business are:
- Emergency Income Relief Fund for the self-employed,
- Emergency Working Capital Financing for small business, and
- Emergency Relief Worker Assistance Program for employers to provide temporary financial support to their employees who have experienced a significant reduction in their hours of work.
To date, $180,000 has been distributed to self-employed Islanders under the Emergency Income Relief Fund.
Executive Director, Communications and Public Affairs
Office of the Premier