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Updated information for the COVID-19

Mesures de prévention pour la COVID-19

All massage therapists, kinesitherapists and orthotherapists must stop practicing until May 1st.

~ April 1, 2020 ~

On Sunday, March 22, Quebec Premier François Legault extended the closure of all services already closed until May 1. He also called for the closure of hairdressing, esthetics and personal care salons, starting at midnight. This last decision is based on the fact that these professionals are not able to maintain the 2 meters distance required to preserve social distancing. As a result, considering that massage therapy is now recognized as personal care, all massage therapists, kinesitherapists and orthotherapists must stop practicing massage therapy until May 1st in order to comply with the government order.

Renewal 2020

We invite you to read the information sent to Réseau members on March 25, 2020 to find out the association’s decision regarding the payment of the renewal for the year 2020-2021.

Government Financial Assistance

The Gouvernement du Québec has put in place a tool that allows you to determine what type of assistance is right for your situation.

Gouvernement du Québec

Temporary Aid for Workers Program
Please note that this program is now only available to those who do not qualify for financial assistance from the federal government.
Financial support program for people who must be isolated to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and who are not covered by other government program. This program applies only if you have just returned from a trip abroad, if you have contracted the virus or are showing symptoms, or if you have been in contact with an infected person.

Financial assistance for businesses
The Government is launching the Programme d’action concertée temporaire pour les entreprises (PACTE), an emergency assistance measure to help businesses that will be affected by the impacts of COVID-19. This $2.5-billion program is a financial measure of at least $50,000 in the form of a loan guarantee.

Taxes
The deadline for filing and transmitting the tax return is extended to June 1, 2020. For individuals and individuals in business, the deadline for paying any balance owing on the 2019 tax return is extended to September 1.

Government of Canada

The Government of Canada announced on March 18 an economic response plan to address COVID-19. Here are some measures that may help you. However, we invite you to check all the special measures in this plan to see if other assistance applies to you.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
On Wednesday, March 25, 2020, the Government of Canada announced the creation of a simplified financial assistance program, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. This benefit replaces the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit. Here is some burst information on this benefit:

  • The amount paid is $2,000 per month for up to 4 months.
  • The amount is taxable.
  • The benefit is retroactive, i.e. it is available from March 15 to October 3, 2020.
  • The first payment will be made within 10 days of application.
  • The Canada Emergency Response Benefit is available to employees, contract workers, self-employed persons, persons who are sick, parents of sick children, whether or not they are eligible for Employment Insurance and who are without income for at least 14 consecutive days in a four-week period for reasons related to COVID-19.
  • The applicant must have made a minimum of $5,000 in 2019 or within the last 12 months to be eligible, regardless of the legal source of income.
  • The secure application portal should be available as of April 6. The website has not yet been released by the government. A telephone number will also be made available to applicants for those who do not have access to the Internet.

We invite you to consult the government’s website for details. Several questions are also answered on their site.

Preparing to Apply for Canadian Emergency Response Benefit
In order to prepare to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, the Government recommends that those who are not already registered open a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) “My Account”. Here are the steps to follow.

  • Go to the Canada Revenue Agency website to register.
  • Choose one of the following two options to create your account:
    • If you are using your financial institution’s online service, you can use your institution’s account if your institution qualifies as a login partner with the Canada Revenue Agency.
    • Register with the CRA and answer the questions. An access code will be mailed to you within 5 to 10 business days.

We also invite you to enroll in direct deposit to receive the benefit within 3 or 5 days. Otherwise, the benefit will be mailed to you, which could take up to 10 days.

Applications for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit will begin April 6. In order to provide the best possible service, the CRA has set specific days to make your application.

CERB Government of Canada
* Screenshot taken on April 1, 2020 on the Government of Canada website.

GST credit
For low- and modest-income families, assistance will be provided through the goods and services tax (GST) credit, which will be doubled.

Support to businesses
The government has also put in place measures to support businesses. We invite you to consult the information to see if this applies to your massage therapy business.

Taxes
The deadline for filing income tax returns will be extended to June 1, 2020, and the payment of income tax amounts that become due on or after today and before September 2020 will be extended beyond July 31, 2020.

EI special benefits for self-employed people
If you have been registered for at least 12 months, you may be eligible for various benefits such as sickness, compassionate care or caregiver benefits.

Mortgages

Note that several financial institutions (article in French only) have decided to defer the payment of their clients’ mortgages. We invite you to check directly with your financial institution.

Hydro-Québec

Hydro-Québec has issued certain measures to help its customers. Here are the measures mentioned on their Web site:

«We are putting the following measures in place to help those affected:

  • We will not cut off power to anyone for non payment.
  • There will be no planned service interruptions for system maintenance, with the exception of those that are absolutely necessary.
  • Starting Monday, March 23, we will stop applying administration charges for unpaid bills until further notice for all customers. Customers unable to pay their electricity bills over the coming months will thus not be penalized. They can enter into a payment arrangement with Hydro Québec to defer payment.

If you expect to have trouble paying your bill, at any time you can make a payment arrangement online, in your Customer Space, or by phone, with one of our agents.»

Union des consommateurs

Several other service companies have decided to put in place measures to alleviate their customers’ financial commitments. We invite you to consult the Union des consommateurs’ web page (in French only) to quickly find out about the various measures available.

Representation of the Réseau

The Réseau is currently working with government relations specialists to see what actions need to be taken to represent the interests of massage therapists in the most effective way possible in the current context. We are also collaborating with Soins personnels Québec and the Commission des partenaires du marché du travail so that massage therapists are considered in the implementation of the financial support measures that will be announced by the provincial and federal governments.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020, we joined forces with a group that represents the interests of self-employed Canadians, among others, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). We wanted to highlight the precarious situation in which massage therapy workers find themselves in Quebec. Following a letter sent to CFIB (in French only), we obtained official support from François Vincent, CFIB’s vice-president for Quebec, in our efforts to highlight the need to provide financial support to workers who have stopped their professional activities in a preventive manner, such as massage therapists.

What if I have symptoms?

The Gouvernement du Québec has issued clear guidelines for those who have symptoms of COVID-19 or if you have concerns. Here is a summary of the guidelines and phone numbers to call for information.

“If you are worried about COVID‑19 or display symptoms such as a cough or fever, you can call toll free 418-644-4545 in the Québec City region, 514-644-4545 in the Montréal area, 450-644-4545 in the Montérégie region, 819-644-4545 in the Outaouais region and 1-877-644-4545 elsewhere in Québec.

If you have symptoms such as a cough or fever:

  • Do not go to a medical clinic unless you have first obtained an appointment.
  • Visit the emergency room only if you have difficulty breathing (difficulty breathing at rest or unable to breathe while lying down).
  • Before you go to the emergency room, you can call toll free 418-644-4545 in the Québec City region, 514-644-4545 in the Montréal area, 450-644-4545 in the Montérégie region, 819-644-4545 in the Outaouais region and 1-877-644-4545 elsewhere in Québec. If your condition allows you to do so and indicate that you are a traveller who has been back for less than 14 days. You will be told how to go there and what precautions to take (wearing a mask, using personal transportation or an ambulance, and so on).1

How do I protect myself?

The Gouvernement du Québec has created a “Self-care Guide” to help citizens make the best decisions for their health and that of their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic. This document brings together all the information you need to know:

  • How to protect yourself;
  • How to take care of yourself;
  • How to give basic care to those around you;
  • Where and when to go for help if you need it.

[1] Source: Quebec.ca/en/coronavirus

How can I help?

In order to limit the spread of the virus, basic hygiene rules apply. You will find these hygiene measures on the websites of Québec.ca and the World Health Organization. (Do not hesitate to share these links with your clientele). These are the major guidelines:

  • Wash your hands often with lukewarm running water and soap for at least 20 seconds;
  • Use a disinfectant with an alcohol base if you do not have access to water and soap;
  • Follow the hygiene rules when you cough or sneeze;
  • Cover your mouth and your nose with your arm in order to reduce the transmission of germs;
  • If you use a paper tissue, throw it out as soon as possible and proceed to washing your hands.1

If you wish to help and support the community, the Gouvernement du Québec invites you to do one of the following steps:

[1] Source: Quebec.ca/en/coronavirus

Reliable sources

As information circulates rapidly through the media and social networks, the Réseau reminds you of the importance of getting information from reliable and regularly updated sources. Les Décrypteurs de Radio-Canada shared an interesting article (in French only) on the steps to follow before sharing information on our networks.

Here are a few links to sources you can consult for more details:

Québec.ca
To follow information on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Quebec.
Government of Canada
To monitor the current status of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Canada.
World Health Organization
For more information on the global development of the COVID-19 health emergency and to deconstruct the myths surrounding the new coronavirus.

Communications to members

March 17, 2020 
March 18, 2020
March 20, 2020
March 23, 2020

Temporary Office Closure of the Réseau

The Réseau team will be working from home.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made the decision to close our offices until April 13. This measure is being taken to ensure the safety of our work team and our members. Our services are still provided by our employees who are now working from home. Receipt orders and renewals can be made by phone at 1-800-461-1312 or on our website. Thank you for your understanding.