Daily COVID-19 Update: April 6, 2020
Supports for Business
Canadian Business Resilience Network Launched Today
Our Canadian Business Resilience Network campaign launched today [watch the Prime Minister’s announcement] in partnership with the Government of Canada and Canada's leading business and industry associations, including the Business Council of Canada, the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters. A key element of the campaign is a microsite dedicated to help Canadian businesses navigate the COVID-19 reality and prepare for recovery. See the full announcement from Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau here and the message from President & CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Perrin Beatty here.
Letter from Minister of Health to Employers: Temporary Foreign Workers
Temporary foreign workers have been exempted from the prohibitions on entry into Canada that were imposed under the Quarantine Act in order to facilitate access to important labour supply, particularly in supporting food security and other industries critical to the Canadian economy. However, there are certain obligations imposed on temporary foreign workers arriving in Canada and associated obligations that employers have. Penalties of up to $750K can be levied against a temporary foreign worker for non-compliance with an Emergency Order made under the Quarantine Act.The Government is also assessing options for penalties for employers of foreign nationals under other regulatory regimes, such as the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, given the severity of concerns for the health of Canadians. As of March 25, 2020, it is now mandatory for all persons who enter Canada to self-isolate for 14 days. It is also intended that a temporary foreign worker’s period of employment will begin upon their arrival to Canada, will include any mandatory self-isolation period and that they will be paid during this period. Employers of temporary foreign workers will be responsible for facilitating the employees’ self-isolation according to public health requirements, and employers are required to provide housing under program policy that meets these minimum standards:
- providing adequate space in accommodations to allow for social distancing (remain 2 metres apart at all times);
- ensuring those who are in self-isolation are separated from other individuals who are not in self-isolation;
- keeping self-isolated workers away from older adults and those with medical conditions who are at risk of developing serious illness; and,
- providing materials that enable workers to practice adequate sanitation (i.e. soap).
Surfaces in the accommodations should be cleaned and disinfected regularly and workers should have access to facilities that enable them to wash their hands often with soap and warm water, or use an alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water are not available. View the letter and additional resources here.
FAQ for Business
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has prepared an FAQ document, which is updated daily, with answers to the questions our members are asking us about the government supports for business. Access it here or on our COVID-19 web page in the FAQ section.
Relief for Forest Companies Affected by COVID-19
In response to COVID-19 and the economic effects to our forestry industry, the Alberta government will defer timber dues for six months. This will help forest companies continue operating and retain staff during this pandemic.
Supports for Individuals
Canada Emergency Response Benefit
Canadians can now apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
The Medicine Hat Local Immigration Partnership made us aware of a new resource - the Calgary Local Immigration Partnership has developed a number of multilingual resources that provides updates and resources in Arabic, Chinese, Punjabi, Spanish and French. These resources are available online and through our COVID-19 resource page.
Canadian Banks Offer Reduced Credit Card Interest Rate For Clients Affected By Virus
Several of Canada's largest banks are offering reduced interest rates on personal credit cards for Canadians in financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
New Horizons For Seniors
New Horizons for Seniors Program projects can now be used for COVID-19 support.
Community Supports and Resources
Access to Additional Community and Social Services Information and Support
Most people are aware of the 811 service through Alberta Health, but there is also a 211 helpline and online database of Alberta's community and social services now available. 211 is answered and updated by highly-trained specialists and can help navigate the complex network of human services quickly and easily. Topics covered include caregivers, children and families, community programs, disability supports, disaster, education and students, emergency and crisis, employment, financial supports, food and basic Needs, government, health, homelessness, Indigenous Peoples, LGBTQ2S+, legal, mental health and addictions, newcomers, seniors and older adults, shelter and housing, violence and abuse, volunteering and donations, and youth. You can access the services by visiting the website at https://www.ab.211.ca/, by calling 2-1-1 or text 2-1-1. There is also a live chat option on their website.
Medicine Hat Police Service Expanded Online Reporting Capabilities
The Medicine Hat Police Service has expanded online reporting capabilities to improve service delivery to the community while practicing safe distancing measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Online reporting can be used for reporting a crime if the loss or damage is under $5,000 and there are no suspects. Reports can be filed online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Online reports can be submitted via the MHPS mobile app, which is free to download and available for both Apple and Android devices or submitted via the MHPS website (mhps.ca) or click the direct link here. If you do not have internet access, you can report the incident by calling (403) 529-8481. This phone number is also available for all other property-related offences, where officers are available to answer questions and take some reports over the phone. To report a motor vehicle collision with no injuries call the Collision Reporting Centre at 403-581-1070. Continue to use 9-1-1 for all emergencies and to report crimes in progress. Read more.
Canadian Survey On Business Conditions
The Chamber network has partnered up with Statistics Canada to launch the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions. This comprehensive survey will measure the impact of COVID-19 on Canadian businesses and help the Government of Canada devise strategies and mechanisms to foster the survival and continuity of businesses in Canada.Governments, chambers and business associations need accurate information to help them devise strategies for the survival and continuity of businesses of all sizes, from all sectors, across all regions of Canada, as such the survey will examine:
- Changes that businesses have made to adapt to the ongoing situation.
- Challenges businesses continue to face and challenges they expect to face as the recovery begins.
- Trends within the business community.
We encourage you to take this survey here.
Teleconference call with Minister Joly
Today the Alberta Chambers of Commerce hosted a conference call with Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages. She highlighted programs that have been announced and then took the opportunity to take questions from participants.
- We had the opportunity to ask whether someone using the Work Sharing program could still receive the 75% wage subsidy and found out they are hoping to have this detail worked out this week.
- In response to the question on whether the Government would consider other technological supports/funding to assist with the requirement to rework/retrofit production lines in order to continue efficient operations in agriculture and value-add food processing as an essential service, the Minister stated that they have increased funding through Farm Credit Canada and encouraged we reach out to Western Economic Diversification to look at options to support productivity and investment.
- The Alberta Chambers of Commerce encouraged the federal Government to also look at extending federal programs for financial institutions to credit unions, ATB Financial and the Canadian Western Bank.
- We also found out that if people were paying themselves dividends, they would be eligible for CERB, as long as they were under the tax rate of a small business.
- The Minister also recognized that the Canadian Emergency Wage subsidy may be a challenge for startup businesses who don’t have a year over year comparison yet, so they have said they will assess these applications on a case by case basis.
- In addition, we were able to clarify that for the Canada Emergency Business Account, that they will factor in both payroll and dividends in order to reach the $50,000 payroll minimum.
- They are also looking at the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and how they can apply this to not for profits.
Make the most of your benefits, credits and support payments: CRA and COVID-19
CRA is recommending you file your income tax and benefit return electronically before June 1, 2020 to make sure your benefits and credits are not interrupted. The Government is also strongly urging people to register for direct deposit on CRA's My Account for the quickest and most reliable way to get benefit and credit payments. Read more.
BusinessLink: How To Start Selling Online
Having a reliable eCommerce platform is more important than ever for businesses that need to find a new way of selling to customers who are no longer able to visit their stores. The BusinessLink has listed a few things to consider when exploring the eCommerce options available to you. Read More.
Please share your stories with us, send us your questions or connect with us online.
‘Changes are inevitable and not always controllable. What can be controlled is how you manage, react to and work through the change process’ - Kelly A. Morgan
For more resources visit our COVID-19 page
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.
Rent Relief in a World of the Coronavirus: 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.
Leading Through COVID-19: Institute on Governance offers this free webcast series. Subscribe to YouTube Channel.
April 7: Get Selling Online. Register here.
April 7: Legal Best Practices during COVID-19. Register here.
April 7: Leading During a Crisis and Switching to Remote Work. Register here.
April 7: Managing a Remote Workforce. Register here.
April 7: Preparing Your Startup for the Impact of COVID-19. Register here.
April 8: COVID-19 Gov't Support for Business Owners. Register here.
April 8: Human Resource Planning. Register here.
April 8: A conversation with the Honourable Melanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages. Register here. Register here.
April 9: Restructuring and turning around. Register here.
April 13: Business Development in Trying Times. Register here.