Daily COVID-19 Update: April 24, 2020
Supports for Business
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance
Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced that the federal government has reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses and the province of Alberta is on board with a $67million commitment.
The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 percent of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June.
The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25 per cent of the rent.
Impacted small business tenants that qualify are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.
The program is anticipated to be running by mid-May and will be administered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Further details on CECRA will be shared in the near future once final terms and conditions are available. The federal government and provincial and territorial governments urge property owners to provide flexibility to tenants facing hardship in this uncertain time.
Under a rent forgiveness agreement, which includes a moratorium on eviction, the mortgaged commercial property owner would reduce the small business tenant’s monthly rent by at least 75 per cent. The tenant would be responsible for covering 25 per cent, the property owner 25 per cent, while the federal government and provinces would share the remaining 50 per cent. The forgivable loans would be disbursed directly to the mortgage lender.
Site Rehabilitation Program Opening on May 1st
The Site Rehabilitation Program – mainly funded by the federal government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan – will provide grants to oilfield service contractors to perform well, pipeline, and oil and gas site reclamation work. This program will launch on May 1, with an initial focus on providing grants to service companies that have been significantly impacted by the unprecedented economic downturn. The program will provide funds in $100-million increments.
The first $100 million will be available for service companies to do eligible work anywhere in the province. Future increments may be allocated for work conducted in specific regions within the province, directing funds where they can have the most significant environmental benefits.
All laws, regulations, directives, and environmental and occupational health and safety standards, including physical distancing and COVID-19-related health guidelines, must be followed in carrying out the work.
Find information on eligibility requirements, activities that will be supported under this program and eligible costs that will be covered by this program here.
Certificate of Recognition (COR)
In response to COVID-19, COR audits have been simplified and limited to documentation-only (no interviews or observation). Documentation-only audits will be accepted for certification, recertification and maintenance purposes, and will be eligible for PIR refunds from the WCB. Employers who are certified or recertified with this process will receive a one-year COR. This process will be in place from March 17 to December 31, 2020.
The minimum requirement for this simplified audit is three months of documentation. The passing score for documentation-only certification and recertification audits is 80 percent overall (element scores will not be counted). The passing score for documentation-only maintenance audits is 60 percent overall (element scores will not be counted). For more information, contact your Certifying Partner.
Community Supports and Resources
Stay at Home Gala
Brought to you by Community Champion Sponsors, Pritchard & Co. Law Firm, LLP, a one-of-a-kind Stay at Home Gala will be hosted online across Southeast Alberta, May 2nd at 5:30 pm. The virtual gala will join hundreds of Canadians across the country and aims to strengthen community efforts. Social distancing at its finest, the first-of-its-kind event will host all the familiar elements: dinner (arranged by you or for certain sponsors, they’ll get door to door delivery), game-changing speakers, entertainers, musicians, and much more. Don your best, log on, and dine to support the members of our communities across Southeast Alberta who have been impacted by the pandemic. Emceeing the gala will be award-winning entertainer, entrepreneur and coach, Trevor Moore with special guest, MacKenzie Porter. All proceeds will stay local! Your donation will be tax receipted by Community Foundations of Canada, which will direct all funds back to the Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta into the most in need charities across the region. Get your ticket here.
Voluntary tracing app coming soon
To help enhance and complement contract tracing, the Government of Alberta has developed a mobile contract tracing application: AB TraceTogether. The app is in the final testing phase and is expected to be available to all Albertans in the coming weeks. Strong tracing and tracking of contacts - leveraging technology - can be an important tool to augment manual contact tracing while limiting the spread of COVID-19. Being contacted earlier will allow individuals to take action sooner to prevent the spread. This app, which will be available to all Albertans for voluntary download, will help Albertans protect themselves, their loved ones and their community, while maintaining their privacy.
As the temperature rises, Albertans may want to get outdoors to improve both physical and mental health, but they should keep in mind recommendations about physical distancing. Albertans can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by following all public health orders when outdoors. Restrictions on events, gatherings and certain types of businesses are in place to limit situations where COVID-19 could be transmitted through contact with an infected individual or through contact with frequently touched surfaces and objects. More details, including examples of activities that can be done while maintaining physical distancing, can be found online at https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx
Increased investment in rural health services
Effective immediately, the $60,000 cap on the Rural and Remote Northern Program (RRNP) will be abolished. This program will now be the most generous in the country. Overhead changes announced earlier this year will be paused for urban physicians while an extensive review by AHS with physician involvement is completed. Rural physicians will be exempted from any changes permanently.
Medical liability rates for all rural physicians, including obstetrics, will be frozen at $1,000. Rates for all family physicians in Alberta will also be frozen at $1,000. Rates for all other urban physicians will range from a low of $1,200 to a maximum of $4,000.
On-call rates for all rural physicians will range from $20 per hour to $23 per hour, increasing payments to more than 1,500 physicians who are on call in rural Alberta.
$6 million will be used to pay for the schooling of 20 medical students over the next three years to incentivize young Albertans from rural communities to return to practise in their home communities after completing medical school.
PPE Supply For Businesses Needed Before Economic Reopening
The Canadian Chamber issued a statement regarding the need for national production of personal protective equipment (PPE) ahead of reopening the economy.
ICC Call to Action on COVID-19 and Competition
ICC released today the ICC Call to Action on COVID-19 and Competition developed by the ICC Commission on Competition in line with the organisation’s commitments to help chart an effective international response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Aimed at governments and competition agencies alike, the ICC paper benefited from input from antitrust experts from the private sector as well as private practitioners. Its objective is two-fold: (i) to minimise the negative economic crisis on economies, markets and consumers in the short to medium term, and, more fundamentally (ii) to protect the structure of economies and the competitive fabric of markets in the longer term to confront the economic challenges that lie ahead.
Aidlocal.ca is a platform for businesses across Canada to connect directly with local customers and let them know what they can offer during this time of adjusted operations. This free service is easy to use. You can search by your location or by an address and you will see a list of nearby companies along with what they have available. Right now, aidlocal.ca is growing daily as businesses become aware of this new way to reach the local community. Companies that would benefit from this platform can submit their business here.
Don’t forget about all the local directories that have been created to make sure you get business exposure there’s Things that are open from JPBG, CJCY and Rock 105.3 have Operation Support Local, bounce back Medicine Hat from MinuteMan Press and the Chamber of Commerce Support Local page.
Occupational Health and Safety Resources
Alberta Cannabis Association
Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters
Alberta Occupational Health Nurses Association
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
Food and Consumer Products of Canada
Please share your stories with us, send us your questions or connect with us online.
"Leadership is using the greatness in you to achieve and sustain extraordinary outcomes by engaging the greatness in others" - Susan Colantuono
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