Daily COVID-19 Update: April 9, 2020
Supports for Business
Reminder: Interest-Free Loans Now Available
The Government of Canada is providing small businesses and not-for-profits with interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to help cover costs. The Canada Emergency Business Account program is for businesses with a total payroll between $50,000 to $1 million in 2019. Repayment of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25% (up to $10,000). Applications are available now through your primary financial institution. See more.
Provincial Government Modifying Transportation Regulations
The Government of Alberta is temporarily modifying some regulations for truck drivers and railway operators to protect the supply chain and ensure Canadians can access necessities like medical supplies, groceries and fuel during the COVID-19 crisis. Regulation changes will temporarily allow commercial truck drivers transporting essential supplies in direct support of the COVlD-19 relief efforts to:
- Work for longer periods of time, provided all safety conditions are met.
- Apply for fewer municipal and provincial overweight permits by increasing the limits on weight of loads some vehicles can carry.
- Be exempt from road bans.
- Be exempt from municipal bylaws that restrict the hours they operate and park.
These temporary adjustments are being offered as part of pandemic response efforts, provided all safety conditions are being met. The regulation changes also allow provincially regulated railways to temporarily delay audits and retesting of existing operators’ skills and medical fitness, to ensure physical distancing requirements can be met.
Agriculture Jobs Connector Open to help Albertans find Jobs
The Alberta government has launched an online resource to help strengthen the food supply chain and fill agriculture and agri-food jobs. Keeping Alberta’s food supply chain safe and intact is a priority. The new Agriculture Jobs Connector website is a tool for Albertans to find essential agriculture work opportunities and for essential agriculture businesses to find workers.
Currently, some farms in Alberta rely on a federal temporary foreign workers (TFW) program to hire seasonal workers. However, with travel restrictions, typical users of this program are concerned about the availability of foreign workers. With so many Albertans now out of work due to no fault of their own from COVID-19, there is an opportunity for the needs of both employers in the agriculture sector and Albertans wanting work to connect. Agriculture and food employers and workers can access hiring, job search and farm safety resources through the new Agriculture Job Connector at alberta.ca/AgJobConnector.
Agriculture employers are encouraged to post available jobs on the connector so the positions can be filled by hard-working Albertans who will help keep the food supply chain operational.
Supports for Individuals
Alberta Connects Contact Centre
The Alberta Connects Contact Centre continues to operate over the long weekend, and will be available to Albertans from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., April 10-13. Direct lines to specific services (such as MyAlberta Digital Identity) will be closed. Albertans should call 310-4455 for assistance.
Family violence prevention
A 24-hour Family Violence Information Line is available at 310-1818 to get anonymous help. Alberta’s One Line for Sexual Violence is available at 1-866-402-8000 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in more than 170 languages. Information sheets and other resources on family violence prevention are available at alberta.ca/COVID19.
Community Supports and Resources
National modelling released
Today, the Government of Canada released national-level modelling on the COVID-19 epidemic in Canada. While models cannot predict what will happen, they do help us understand what might happen to ensure we can plan for worst cases and drive public health action to achieve the best possible outcome and support decisions on public health measures while helping the health care sector plan for the number of expected COVID-19 patients.
Capital Plan Receives Additional Funding from the Provincial Government
In response to the COVID-19 recession, the Alberta government will allocate almost $2 billion from the 2020 Capital Plan to resurface roads, repair bridges, restore schools and fill potholes. The government is doubling the capital maintenance and renewal (CMR) funding in 2020-21 from $937 million to $1.9 billion by accelerating the capital plan. This will allow the government to act quickly and work with companies across the province so they can keep their workers employed during these challenging times.
A long-term capital maintenance and renewal strategy ensures capital assets are sustained and repaired to generate the most value. These assets include schools, roads, post-secondary institutions, justice facilities and more. By accelerating the capital plan, significant additional work will be undertaken, including $410 million for transportation projects. This includes an additional $60 million for operating, which covers work repairing potholes across the province.
Share your Feedback with the Provincial Government - How are COVID-19 and low oil prices affecting your business?
The Alberta Chambers of Commerce network is collaborating with Economic Developers of Alberta and Community Futures to collect insights and inform government responses to help business through COVID-19 and low oil prices. Your feedback will help policy makers understand the most pressing impacts your business is experiencing and what measures they can enact to provide the greatest relief. We will reach out every two weeks with these short business pulse check surveys to ensure the government remains informed about the evolving needs of business. The survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete (follow the progress bar below). The survey will close on April 26th, 2020.
International Chamber Of Commerce (ICC) And World Health Organization (WHO) Launch Worldwide Survey
Today, in response to COVID-19, the ICC and WHO launched a survey for the private sector that is intended to gather more information about global business responses and develop solutions that will address the spread of the pandemic. The ICC-WHO survey will improve information flows between different sectors of the global economy and will help develop a framework for managing the economic and human consequences related to the pandemic’s spread. Take the survey.
Time is of the essence: Job numbers show urgent need to deliver wage subsidy
Countless more jobs will be lost if we can’t urgently get employers the wage supports they need. However, businesses are still weeks away from receiving the funds they require to support their employees. Read the statement by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
Parliamentary Finance Committee Appearance
Today at a virtual meeting of the House Finance Committee, the Canadian Chamber presented evidence and advocated on behalf of our members – and all Canadian business – as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 crisis. They spoke to the impact of COVID-19 on SMEs, the government's response and the need to get help to businesses more quickly. In addition, they highlighted the transition through the recovery period and the need for solutions “by small business for small business” and “by communities for communities.” These solutions will need to be driven by local and real time data, including labour market information. Listen to the Committee Meeting.
Business Link: Pandemic Support for Small Business
Business Link is helping small businesses learn about and connect to available COVID-19 supports based on their unique business needs. Business Link can provide one-on-one guidance to Albertans who operate a small business or are pursuing an entrepreneurial venture. Small businesses can access a list of available supports on Business Link’s website, or connect with a business strategist by phone, email or live chat. Business Link is also offering free programming through June, including webinars on a variety of topics, online events, and free expert sessions with lawyers, accountants, marketing specialists, e-commerce specialists and more. More information
Everyone is being strongly encouraged to stay home, in their communities, in the province and off the highways this long weekend to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Alberta and British Columbia have released a joint statement asking families and friends to stay in their home provinces and celebrate the holidays virtually. This will reduce the risk of highway crashes – tying up emergency and medical responders who are busy with pandemic planning and care – and help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus between families and provinces.
While we recognize your holiday activities will look different this year, we hope you and your family will enjoy your celebrations and the long weekend. We will also be enjoying our time with our families, so our Daily Update will not be published this coming Friday and Monday, unless something urgent comes up over the weekend.
Happy Long Weekend!
As always, be sure to share your stories and resources with us and connect with us for any questions you have.
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.
Conflict Escalation & What to Do About It
Destination Canada: The Visitor Economy: Watch Now.
How to cope with the impacts of COVID-19 on your business. Watch Now.
Rent Relief in a World of the Coronavirus: Watch Now.
AMHSA, CSSE, Howatt HR, AUMA Mental Health Webinar Series. Click here.
BusinessLink: View upcoming events.
Calgary Chamber of Commerce. Watch Now.
CPHR Alberta: HR Pandemic Essentials. Click here.
Conference Board of Canada Webinar Series: Mental Health and COVID-19. Click here.
Constant Contact Webinar Series: View the line up of sessions and register.
Economic Developers Alberta (EDA) Wednesday weekly: Business & Economic Recovery During the COVID-19 Crisis
April 13: Business Development in Trying Times. Register here.
April 13: Business Development in Trying Times. Register here.
April 16: Self Care 101 for Entrepreneurs webinar. Register here.
April 16: Get financing and support for your business. Register here.
April 17: How to Protect Your Mental Health for Business Decision Making. Register here.
April 22: Communication and Conflict Management for Business Families. Register here.
April 23: Crisis Comunications. Register here.
May 7: Write Like a Rockstar.Register here.
Check out more events on our Pandemic Training Calendar