Daily COVID-19 Update: March 25, 2020
Supports for Individuals
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 CERB combines the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.
Who is eligible?
- Canadians who have lost their job,
- Are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19,
- Working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures.
- Wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.
- Workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19,
How to Access CERB
- The portal to access CERB will be available in early April
- Do not apply if you are already or in the process of receiving EI regular and sickness benefits. You will automatically qualify.
Canadians would begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of application. The CERB would be paid every four weeks and be available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020. Read More.
Emergency Isolation Supports
Emergency isolation supports are now available for eligible working Albertans. Individuals 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. Applicants can view eligibility criteria and apply at alberta.ca.
Support for Business
Supply Chain Management
The Canadian Chamber has a task force working on supply chain issues across all sectors and we have been engaged in this conversation at a federal level. There is a critical need for federal-provincial coordination to have a coherent definition of essential services in addition to supporting the supply chain in both the goods and services needed, as well as the routes for delivery.
We are encouraging the government to maintain an active dialogue with the business community on any new supply chain measures to ensure they are not unduly restricting trade. We need to work with international partners on issues such as the continuity of medical supplies and the inputs that make those products, as well as global standards on air cargo. We are working on several sector concerns including agriculture and agrifood, aviation, medical and essential services. There is also work being done on transportation and logistics, customs processes, along with trade finance and guidance documents.
Flexibility for Small Business Benefit Plans
During the COVOD-19 crisis, benefit providers are looking at options to support business. With the Chambers Group Insurance Plan, this includes waiving waiting periods for short term disability coverage, relaxed payment structures, ability to temporarily reduce benefits, assistance to lay-off employees and bring them back without underwriting to their previous levels and, covering laid off employees (where premium is paid) even if they are not actively at work. With so many options to consider, we encourage you to make sure you talk to your benefit advisor to find out options and supports your business needs.
Becoming Aware of Employment Standards rules
On March 24th on the YXH Business Support Facebook Group, Luke Day from Stringam LLP presented on the employment standards regulations and clarifying information for employers. In addition, Kelly Moody from Being Human Services presented on March 25th on the importance of Human Resources and being strategic when your business is being temporarily impacted. Both highlighted the importance of knowing your responsibilities, options and opportunities as an employer and what you need to know. You can join the YXH Business Support Group to view the recordings and find out more. We will have daily presentations to help you with the information, advice and support you need through the week.
Community Information and Support
Enforcing measures to stop spread of COVID-19
Public health orders will now be enforced by law to protect the health and safety of Albertans. Fines for violating an order have increased to a prescribed fine of $1,000 per occurrence. Courts will also have increased powers to administer fines of up to $100,000 for a first offence and up to $500,000 for a subsequent offence for more serious violations.
- Public health orders will include mandatory self-isolation for travellers returning from outside of Canada for 14 days, plus an additional 10 days from the onset of any symptoms should they occur, whichever is longer.
- This legal requirement also applies to close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases, as well as to any individual with COVID-19 symptoms, which consist of a cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or sore throat.
- Orders regarding restrictions around mass gatherings, public recreational facilities, private entertainment facilities, and visitations to long-term care and other continuing care facilities are also enforceable, along with any future public health orders.
- In addition, mass gatherings must be limited to no more than 50 attendees.
The Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services are working with local enforcement agencies to manage complaints, which can now be submitted online.
A letter from our medical community: #FlattentheCurve
We received a letter of concern from our medical community, highlighting the importance to show our leadership as a business community. For those using gas pumps and shopping at their local grocery stores, it’s important to remember to sanitize your hands and practice social distancing to prevent the spread of people. There may be individuals who are silent carriers of the COVID virus and we need to protect our most vulnerable. When touching handles, food packets and produce at a grocery store or filling your tank with fuel, it is inevitable that there would be the potential for cross contamination in the community. So we ask you to do your part to #FlattentheCurve
For businesses, we ask you consider making hand sanitization for your customers mandatory during these times and map out a safe, social distance in areas where people gather, such as by the checkouts. We all have a responsibility to do our part and we ask you to show your leadership as a business community. #FlattentheCurve #YXH2Gether
Canada’s Leading Business Organizations Call on Government to Protect Jobs and Postpone Non-Essential New Measures
To win this fight, we need every possible human and financial resource and we must be able to focus all of our attention on this struggle. The proposed 10 per cent wage subsidy for small businesses was a step in the right direction by the government. But more needs to be done to help businesses and workers through this crisis and maintain the connection between employers and employees. The Chamber network is calling on governments to provide more direct funding for employees. Other countries have recognized this need and are offering to cover as much as 80 per cent of the incomes of workers who are laid off as a result of the health emergency. We encourage the government to backstop the economy by implementing income supports at similar levels as Denmark and the United Kingdom. We’re also asking governments at all levels to support our efforts by postponing any increases in taxes, non-essential new regulations, and unnecessary consultations that take us away from this mission. Businesses and governments need to be focused 100 per cent on the current crisis, leaving other priorities aside until the crisis abates. Read the statement.
Update on Temporary Foreign Workers
The Canadian Chamber has heard from the Minister’s office and we expect the details will be announced and go into place imminently (tomorrow March 26, 2020). The office confirmed in the first instance that it will apply to everyone/anyone with an approved work permit, regardless of occupational field or industry and that ESDC and Health officials are working on details around the 14 day isolation requirement and how to implement measures.
The Government of Alberta has launched the Critical Infrastructure Strategic Impact Survey.
Questions are intended to assist provincial planners and decision makers in identifying strategic issues to be considered during the COVID-19 pandemic response. Responses are anonymous and consolidated results will be kept confidential. To access the survey here.
Shopify has compiled resources, information and tools to support Canadian businesses and help them navigate through the COVID-19 crisis, including $200 million in small business funding, physical and digital gift cards, local pick up and delivery options and a 90 day free trial for all new customers. Click here to learn more.
MNP: Business Recovery: Defining Your New Normal
Practically overnight, commerce has slowed, restaurants and shops have closed and those who can are working from home. In the face of this challenge, organizations look to implement policies and practices to mitigate risks to their employees and their businesses. With a pandemic situation that continues to evolve, it can be difficult to think about anything besides the immediate response and just “getting through.” However, all businesses must remain vigilant in their immediate response to managing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic with a view to building a new future. This crisis will eventually end, as all crises do. For the health of the Canadian economy, businesses will need to start the journey to recovery now. The key to recovery will be defining your new normal and taking near-term action to ensure you achieve it. Read more
Webinars and Training
March 26: Negotiating Rent Relief In A Coronavirus World. Register here.
March 27: Mental Health & Resiliency for your employees. Register here.
March 27: Crisis Communications. Register here.
March 31: Workplace Safety Issues & COVID-19. Register here.
April 1: Business Planning in Uncertain Times. Register here.
April 1: Leading and Laughing During These Turbulent Times. Register here.
April 2: Temporary Layoffs and Frustration of Contract. Register here.
April 3: Handling HR During Crisis. Register here.
April 6: Financing Options for Small Business. Register here.
April 7: Managing a Remote Workforce. Register here.
April 13: : Business Development in Trying Times. Register here.
On Demand Webinars
The Importance of Human Resources & Being Strategic When Your Business is Being Temporarily Impacted. Watch Now.
How to cope with the impacts of COVID-19 on your business. Watch Now.
Destination Canada: The Visitor Economy: Watch Now.
Webinars Series from the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. Watch Now.
Webinar Series from the Conference Board of Canada, Mental Health and COVID-19. Watch Now.
For the CPHR Alberta Webinar Series: HR Pandemic Essentials, click here.
For the Conference Board of Canada Webinar Series, Mental Health and COVID-19, click here.
So, what acts of ‘creative kindness’ can you offer to help customers through this difficult time and to be their ‘hero’? Join the YXH Business Support Group and connect with some of the best minds and hearts in our community and see what great ideas you can generate.
"If we commit to our ‘best selves’ throughout this mess, relationships will not be cancelled, kindness will not be cancelled, love will not be cancelled and hope will not be cancelled." - Donald Cooper
For more resources visit our COVID-19 page