Daily COVID-19 Update: March 26, 2020
Supports for Business
Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank of Canada
The Business Credit Availability Program (BBCAP) through EDC and BDC allows both of these crown corporations to expand their programming to collaborate with private lenders for delivery of this program.
The program provides:
- Working capital loans of up to $2 million with flexible repayment terms such as principal postponements for qualifying businesses;
- Flexible repayment terms, such as postponement of principal payments for up to 6 months, for existing BDC clients with total BDC loan commitment of $1 million or less;
- Reduced rates on new eligible loans;
Additional details regarding Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) measures, including industry specific support, to be announced in the coming days.
What you need to know about the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)
- Businesses seeking support through BCAP should first contact their financial institutions for an assessment of their situation.
- Financial institutions will refer to EDC and BDC their existing clients whose needs extend beyond what is available through the private sector alone.
These new measures aim to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on business activity and complement services offered by other financial institutions, with whom BDC will continue working. For BDC, eligible businesses needed to be financially viable entities prior to the impact of the coronavirus. Find more information on the Government of Canada website.
Work Sharing Program
Adjustments have been made to this program including:
- Reducing the requirement from 2 years to one year of operation
- Removing the requirement for financial documentation
- An extended maximum duration of WS agreements from the current 38 weeks to 76 weeks
- Waiving the mandatory waiting period between agreements, and
- Ease recovery plan requirements for the duration of the WS agreement
To be eligible for WS, your employees must:
- be year-round, permanent, full-time or part-time employees needed to carry out the day-to-day functions of the business (your "core staff")
- be eligible to receive EI benefits
- agree to reduce their normal working hours by the same percentage and to share the available work
You can find out more online
Annual meetings of federal corporations during the COVID-19 outbreak
By law, federally incorporated businesses and not-for-profit corporations have to hold an annual general meeting of shareholders or members every year. As it is currently unsafe to host public gatherings, Corporations Canada has outlined some options for federal corporations, including:
- Hold a virtual or partially virtual meeting. Under both options, participants could vote digitally as long as it is not prohibited by the corporation's bylaws and it complies with regulations.
- Delay calling the annual general meeting. Not-for-profits have to apply by email to IC.corporationscanada.IC@canada.ca at least 30 days before sending the notice calling the meeting. For more information on this option, see the federal government's policy document.
Essential Technologies of the Next Decade (and Beyond)
Technology is rapidly transforming how we behave as human beings. Our means of communication, productivity, transacting, and thinking are being innovated and disrupted and now more than ever we are being required to adopt and adapt to these technologies. It’s important as business owners that you learn about these essential technologies that are behind our transformations and how we can adapt our businesses, our lives, and our industries to capitalize on this transformation. The technologies include the internet of things; robotics; drones; 3-D printing; artificial intelligence; blockchain; virtual reality and augmented reality. APEX Southeast Alberta Regional Innovation Network delivered a session on machine learning and are well positioned to assist in equipping entrepreneurs with the coaching, community, capital and creative learning spaces needed to build a successful business in Southeast Alberta. Contact APEX for more information at or email Sandra Milne.
The Canadian Chamber a cybersecurity program through their Essential Business Services with CIRA, the non-profit that runs the .CA web domain. With more people working from home and many businesses switching to online operations, it is more important than ever that we remain vigilant for email phishing scams and other malicious cyber attacks. Find this resource here: https://www.cira.ca/cybersecurity-services/partners/chamber
A text scam is going around on the new emergency response benefit. Prime Minister Trudeau said Canadians should be looking at reliable sources for information on the pandemic and relief efforts, such as government websites. Visit the Anti-Fraud Centre for more information and find out how to protect yourself: https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/features-vedette/2020/covid-19-eng.htm
NGen has established a funding program to support companies in launching the production of critical products to fight COVID-19. To learn more, visit: ngen.ca/covid-19-response.
Supports for Individuals
Emergency isolation supports
Emergency isolation supports are available for Albertans who are self-isolating or who are the sole caregivers for someone in self-isolation, and have no other source of income. Applicants can view eligibility criteria and apply at alberta.ca. To carefully manage the flow of applications, we are periodically closing access to MADI and the Emergency Isolation Support. We will provide daily updates about system availability.
Community Supports and Resources
There are greater restrictions on travellers who are coming home from international destinations with a mandatory 14 day quarantine. The Quarantine Act has been instituted with serious fines and jail time possible for offenders.
Mental Health Supports
Alberta Health Services (AHS) has boosted its service to help Albertans should they need to speak with someone about mental health concerns.
If Albertans call the Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642 or the Addiction Help Line at 1-866-332-2323 between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., seven days a week, they will be connected directly to a dedicated team of AHS addiction and mental health staff.
This change will support 811 operators to focus on COVID-19 calls during the day and improve wait times for others needing telephone advice. Calls placed from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. will continue to be routed through 811.
Pausing some health construction projects and non-essential service contracts
In order to protect patients, families and staff providing key services inside health-care facilities, AHS has informed some contractors and vendors that provide non-essential services at some health facilities that their projects will be temporarily paused.
These include non-essential delivery services and facility maintenance, such as flooring replacement, departmental renovations or lighting retrofit projects.
Alberta Infrastructure is also working with AHS to ensure that construction projects being done inside health facilities do not impact the operations of the facility.
As each project is reviewed and assessed, Infrastructure will provide notice to affected contractors if any projects are deferred.
Access to justice
Provincial Court of Alberta’s case management offices are closing and the Court of Queen’s Bench has updated processes.
Effective March 27, the Provincial Court of Alberta will close all of its case management offices. More information: https://albertacourts.ca/pc/resources/announcements/closure-of-case-management-offices-(cmo)
The Court of Queen’s Bench will allow remote commissioning of affidavits in certain situations. More information: https://www.albertacourts.ca/qb/resources/announcements/npp-remote-commissioning-of-affidavits.
The Court of Queen’s Bench has updates regarding modified hearings, processes for criminal, civil and family matters and rescheduled hearings. More information: https://www.albertacourts.ca/qb/resources/announcements/covid-19-amendments-to-master-order-2.
Medical evaluation for drivers’ licences
Alberta Transportation has extended the timeline to 90 days for most drivers requiring a medical evaluation to complete their medical form when applying for or renewing their licence. This will reduce the current strain on the health-care system. Medically high-risk drivers will still be required to present their medical evaluation at the time of their application or renewal.
In the News
On March 26th, we joined association and chamber network members to discuss issues and actions to date. We had representatives from BDC and HRSDC who shared updates from their departments to help our members seek clarity on the supports available to businesses.
We recognize that there is a shortage of PPE and so are calling on anyone who may have PPE (masks or sanitizer), please offer that to front line workers in health care.
Alberta Chambers of Commerce, President and CEO, Ken Kobly also sent a letter to Premier Jason Kenney outlining key recommendations to support Alberta's business community during COVID-19.
- Freeze collection of insurance premiums tax.
- Require commercial landlords to amortize deferred rent payments.
- Mandate municipalities to defer property taxes and utility services payments.
- Freeze municipal franchise fees at current rates until at least 2022.
Conference Board of Canada: Covid-19 Implications for Canada and the Economic Impact
Cybersecurity: Today, as part of our Essential Business Services, we launched a cybersecurity program with CIRA, the non-profit that runs the .CA web domain.
Anti-Fraud Centre: A text scam has been circulating. Do what you can to protect yourself and your business.
Deloitte Articles: A series of articles to help businesses manage through the pandemic.
MNP Tax Update: Response to Covid-19: MNP has provided a table highlighting key changes as it pertains to filing deadlines, income tax amounts owing, temporary wage subsidy, employment insurance, GST, Canada Child Benefit, RRIF’s and the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit. You can read more online here.
In the face of adversity, our strength is embodied in the “heart” of our community. As community leaders, decision makers and committed citizens – we are the sole authorities over our destiny.
Let us know what you are doing to support our community and the incredible stories you have to share.
"In order for business to thrive, our community must thrive and in order for our community to thrive, so must our businesses" - Lisa Kowalchuk
For more resources visit our COVID-19 page
Webinars and Training
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.
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.
March 31: Resilience and Crisis Management. 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.