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Daily COVID-19 Update: April 15, 2020

Supports for Business

COVID-19 response: Approved grants extension

There is greater flexibility now with the Canada Alberta Job Grant with deadlines for current approved grants extended by 3 months. Training can start within 9 months of grant approval and must be completed within 15 months of the training start date. If a course is postponed, contact Canada-Alberta Job Grant (CAJG) to update your file when you get a new course date from the training provider. If a course is cancelled you can contact CAJG to withdraw. If you plan to re-apply for a course at a later date, make sure you get a refund from the provider or institution, not a credit. If a course changed format from in-person to online, include this in the Training Completion Form; you don’t need to notify CAJG of that change. Please keep in mind that grant applications and training completion forms may take longer to process, but you can email if you have questions or click here to read more.

Government of Canada provides $20 million to support critical food inspection services

The Government of Canada is providing $20 million to the CFIA to support critical food inspection to help ensure that Canadians will have continued access to safe, high-quality food to feed their families.This investment will allow the CFIA to hire, train and equip additional staff (including recently retired CFIA inspectors and veterinarians) to conduct critical inspection activities, reassign staff from within the Agency to focus on critical services, and work closer with industry and trading partners to minimize supply disruptions during this crisis. The funding will also support the CFIA in developing flexible ways to carry out inspections, including through the expanded use of electronic tools such as tablets and access to the CFIA's remote service delivery network. Read more.

Supports for Individuals

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) Expanded

The federal government announced it will be expanding the CERB in order to help more Canadians benefit from the program. The government will be changing the eligibility rules to:

  • Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
  • Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their usual seasonal work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Extend the CERB to workers who recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed particular demands on low-income workers in certain sectors, including those on the front-line in hospitals and nursing homes, those ensuring the integrity of the food supply, or providing essential retail services to Canadians.

In recognition that these essential workers’ salaries are often less or similar than what they would receive from the CERB, the government will work with provinces and territories through a new transfer to cost-share a temporary top-up to the salaries of workers deemed essential in the fight against COVID-19, who make less than $2,500 a month. Details as to the application and delivery of this measure will be released shortly following further work with provinces and territories. This measure could help several million workers currently involved in the COVID-19 response. The government will continue to look for ways to better help all Canadians during this difficult time. Read more.

Government announces relief for federally regulated pension plan sponsors

Finance Minister Bill Morneau today announced that the government will provide immediate, temporary relief to sponsors of federally regulated, defined benefit pension plans. This relief will be in the form of a moratorium, through the remainder of 2020, on solvency payment requirements for defined benefit plans.

Community Supports and Resources

Increased Provincial Mental Health Supports

The Government of Alberta announced more than $53 million to implement more online, phone and in-person mental health and addiction recovery support to make it easier for Albertans to access services from anywhere in Alberta during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Alberta is investing $21.4 million to improve access to phone and online supports with existing helplines, including the Addiction Helpline, the Mental Health Helpline, the Kids Help Phone and the Community and Social Services Helpline (Alberta 211). Further spending will contribute to online resources, available to all Albertans, supporting people who may not be able to access face-to-face services, including those in self-isolation or those in rural locations.

Here are the supports currently offered by the province:

Alberta’s Mental Health Helpline is available 24-7 toll-free and offers confidential support for mental health concerns: 1-877-303-2642.
Alberta’s Addiction Helpline is available 24-7 toll-free and offers confidential support for alcohol, tobacco, other drugs and problem gambling: 1-866-332-2322
The Kids Help Phone is available 24-7 and offers professional counselling, information and referrals and volunteer-led, text-based support to young people by texting CONNECT to 686868.
The Crisis Text Line Alberta is a service available 24-7 that offers information, referrals and volunteer-led, text-based support for Albertans of all ages, by texting CONNECT to 741741.
Alberta 211 is a free helpline that connects Albertans to community and social services in their area 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in over 150 languages.

Federal Mental Health Supports

The federal government launched a new portal dedicated to mental wellness. Wellness Together Canada will connect Canadians to peer support workers, social workers, psychologists and other professionals for confidential chat sessions or phone calls and will make it easier to find credible information and help address mental health and substance use issues.


Calgary Chamber of Commerce hosts the Honourable Perrin Beatty

Canadian Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, the Hon. Perrin Beatty, issued the following statement regarding the urgent need to support Canada’s oil and gas sector: “The Canadian Chamber of Commerce urges the federal government to launch the long-promised support package for Canada’s oil and gas sector. Despite the recent international agreement to reduce production, COVID-19 will continue to put extreme pressure on global demand. Canada must consider the steps it can take to ensure that low prices and insolvency amongst Canadian oil and gas producers does not jeopardize the resiliency of Canada’s energy system.”

On a virtual web conference today, Perrin Beatty stated that “a global pandemic requires a global response”. Businesses will be looking at their supply chain and also looking at what can be done closer to home, as well as looking at self-sufficiency within our own country. One example is the energy industry, as it has the ability to not only serve Canadians, but also to supply the rest of the world. We also have to look at how this pandemic is changing and how it will change the position of Canada in the global economy.

Meeting With Federal Labour Minister

On April 15, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce had a wide-ranging virtual meeting with the Hon. Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour. The national Chamber conveyed the effectiveness of current government programs to address the COVID-19 crisis and where improvements need to be made and reiterated the call to put a hold on regulatory changes and consultations during the crisis. A number of labour issues were also discussed, including interprovincial labour mobility, foreign credential recognition, the importance of inclusive growth during recovery and the Talent Pipeline Management initiative (where planning is done by business for business and by communities for communities).

New Resources

Your Delivery & Ecommerce Enabled POS Solution

Star-Plus is your complete point of sale, inventory and cash management solution that is provided right here in Southeast Alberta. Auto-Star Compusystems has an innovative mobile delivery management android app and Ecommerce enabled inventory management system included to help you meet the challenges of retail today and into the future. Take your business to the next level with an intuitive POS user interface that takes less time to train and more time to focus on growing your business. Read more.

The Business of Business: A Conversation with Rick Hansen

In this edition of the Business of Business, Hon. Perrin Beatty, our President and CEO, has a conversation with Rick Hansen, Founder of the Rick Hansen Foundation. They discuss the challenges COVID-19 poses for persons with disabilities and what employers can do to accommodate their needs, as well as how we can all deal with adversity. Watch now. Click here for helpful resources for people with disabilities during COVID-19 from the Rick Hansen Foundation.


Share your stories and resources with us and on the YXH Business Support Group. and connect with us for any questions you have.


"If you believe in a dream and have the courage to try, anything is possible" - Rick Hansen


For more resources visit our COVID-19 page

On Demand Webinars

Alberta Bits & Pieces Webinar. Watch Now.

Conflict Escalation & What to Do About It. Watch Now.

Destination Canada: The Visitor Economy: Watch Now.

How to cope with the impacts of COVID-19 on your business. Watch Now.

The Importance of Human Resources & Being Strategic When Your Business is Being Temporarily Impacted. Watch Now.

Rent Relief in a World of the Coronavirus: Watch Now.

Working From Home During COVID-19. Watch Now.

Webinar Series

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

Upcoming Webinars:

April 16: Bow Valley College Commercial lease questions, concerns and approaches with COVID-19. Register here

April 16: 13 Ways: COVID-19 and Your Business. Register here.

April 16: Calgary Chamber Business Continuity and new markets. Register here.

April 16: CPHR: What You Need to Know About Virtually Laying Off Employees During a Crisis. Register here.

April 16: Travel Alberta: Communicating with Your Customers During a Crisis. Register here.

April 16: Self Care 101 for Entrepreneurs webinar. Register here. 

April 16: Get financing and support for your business. Register here.

April 16: Travel Alberta - Communicating with Your Customers During a Crisis. Register here.

April 17: How to build trust and position your brand during COVID-19. Register here.

April 17: How to Protect Your Mental Health for Business Decision Making. Register here.

April 21: A guide to successful email marketing for small business. Register here.

April 21: CPHR: Leadership in Times of Crisis. Register here.

April 22: BBB Savvy Consumers: How to Identify and Avoid Covid-19 Scams and Frauds. 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

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