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Daily COVID-19 Update: May 5, 2020

Supports for Business

Government Announces Support For Agriculture Sector

The Government of Canada announced $252 million to support farmers, food businesses and food processors that provide essential services to Canadians every day by ensuring a safe and reliable food supply. The government also announced that it intends to propose an additional $200 million in borrowing capacity for the sector. These supports include:

  • Creating a $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund to help food producers access more personal protective equipment (PPE), adapt to health protocols, automate or modernize their facilities, processes, and operations, and respond to emerging pressures from COVID-19 so they can better supply Canadians with food during this period.
  • Launching a national AgriRecovery initiative of up to $125 million in funding to help producers faced with additional costs incurred by COVID-19. This includes set-asides for cattle and hog management programs to manage livestock backed-up on farms, due to the temporary closure of food processing plants. This new federal funding will help beef and pork producers and processors adapt to a changing market, and help farmers and ranchers keep their animals longer before marketing.
  • Announcing the intention to increase the Canadian Dairy Commission’s borrowing limit by $200 million to support costs associated with the temporary storage of cheese and butter to avoid food waste. The government will work with opposition parties to achieve the required legislative change.  
  • Launching a first-ever Surplus Food Purchase Program with an initial $50 million fund designed to help redistribute existing and unsold inventories, which could include products such as potatoes and poultry, to local food organizations who are serving vulnerable Canadians.
  • Working with provinces and territories to increase interim payments from 50 per cent to 75 per cent through AgriStability, a federal, provincial and territorial program that supports producers who face significant revenue declines. This change has already been enacted in some provinces.
  • Working with provinces and territories to explore possibilities for expanding the AgriInsurance program to include labour shortages as an eligible risk for the horticulture sector. This work with provincial and territorial partners would insure against lost production due to an insufficient workforce, should producers be unable to find enough labour to harvest.

The supports announced today are a first step but they fall short of what the sector needs and will lead to delays in the ability of agriculture firms to address the impacts of COVID-19. The sector will inevitably require more assistance in the future, and many businesses will suffer in the interim. Read the statement from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Championing Alberta’s agriculture sector

In the midst of a global health pandemic, international market and trade challenges, the Alberta government has established an industry advisory committee to act as Champions of Agriculture. This group will meet regularly and provide Agriculture and Forestry with strategic advice and recommendations on emerging issues and priorities related to consumer confidence, and work to debunk myths in the agriculture industry. Championing the agriculture sector focuses on ensuring continued growth and long-term success for the sector by advocating for Alberta’s world-class sustainable agriculture management practices. News and success stories will be shared on the Champions of Agriculture and Forests website.

Agriculture Industry Advisory Committee membership

  • Jill Harvie – committee co-chair and owner/operator of Harvie Ranching
  • Nichole Neubauer – committee co-chair and owner/operator of Neubauer Farms
  • Allison Ammeter – chair, Plant Protein Alliance of Alberta, and farmer
  • David Collwell – president and CEO, JBS Foods Canada
  • Jeff Fitzpatrick-Stilwell – sustainability and agriculture lead, McDonald’s Canada
  • Bob Lowe – president, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
  • Jean-Marc Ruest – senior vice-president, Corporate Affairs and General Counsel, Richardson International Limited
  • John Simpson – chair, CANA group of companies and owner/operator of Simpson Ranching
  • Baljit Singh – dean, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary
  • Gary Stanford – grain farmer and past-chair, Alberta Wheat Commission
Alberta Tourism Information Service Launches Alberta At Home

Across the province, tourism businesses are finding innovative ways to stay connected with their customers now—from virtual concerts to watch from the comfort of their couch to beverage kits they can buy to create an at-home happy hour—and inspire them to try their products and experiences in person when the COVID 19 restrictions are lifted. If you have created a virtual experience or found a unique approach to offering your products to your customers, Travel Alberta wants to help you spread the word. They have updated the Alberta Tourism Information Service (ATIS) to give you the opportunity to promote virtual Offers and Events that customers can experience from home or purchase online to experience later.
How To Participate: Simply log in to ATIS and identify your content with the new ‘Alberta At Home’ activity tag. This content will be collected and shared on a new page on and on other Travel Alberta marketing channels. To use the Alberta At Home ATIS tag, submit content as an Offer (a product or virtual experience that you are charging for) or an Event (a virtual experience that is free and showcases your business):

  • To submit an Offer, you need to have or create a business listing in ATIS and provide a specified price point for what you are selling.
  • To submit an Event, you do not need an ATIS business listing, however, the online or virtual experience must be free of charge. If there is a cost attached, please submit the experience as an Offer.

Supports for Individuals

Canada Emergency Response Benefit Reminder to Re-Apply

Canadians who are receiving income from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) must reapply for another four weeks of benefits. CERB offers $500 per week for Canadians who’ve lost work due to the COVID-19 pandemic up to a maximum of 16 weeks, but recipients must confirm their eligibility for the program every four weeks.The renewal payments are not automatic, meaning anyone who applied for CERB between April 6 and April 10 will need to reapply for the benefit. For the upcoming wave of payments, CERB recipients born in January, February or March can begin applying on May 11, those born in April, May or June can begin to apply on May 12, those born in July, August or September can begin on May 13 and those born in October, November or December can begin their application on May 14, according to the Canada Revenue Agency website.

Government enacts utility relief measures to support Albertans

Government will introduce legislation that will allow Albertans and businesses to defer electricity and natural gas utility payments. when legislature reconvenes on May 6. Residential, farm, and small commercial customers can defer bill payments for electricity and natural gas until June 18. Customers need to contact their utility directly to sign up for the deferral program. Customers will still have to pay for their deferred electricity and natural gas bills after the program ends on June 18, unless otherwise specified, as municipalities such as the City of Medicine Hat have implemented measures beyond the provincial supports. Read more.

Community Supports and Resources

Investment in Provincial Highway Infrastructure

The government is investing in highway safety to create 600 jobs in southern Alberta. Supported projects include highway and bridge maintenance, as well as pothole repairs. The projects that are part of this investment are shovel-ready, so Albertans can get to work as quickly as possible. Further projects will be identified over the next few months.

Some of the road and bridge repair projects in southern Alberta include:

  • Intersection improvements at Highways 1 and 3.
  • Bridge replacement on Highway 560 near Langdon.
  • LED lighting retrofit in Medicine Hat.
  • 19 kilometres of repaving on Highway 1, between Highways 36 and 875.
  • 22 kilometres of repaving on Highway 1, between Highway 561 and Highway 901.
  • 30 kilometres of repaving on Highway 21, between Highway 1 and Rockyford.
  • 17 kilometres of repaving on Highway 22, between Highway 541 and the Town of Black Diamond.
  • 12 kilometres of repaving on Highway 550, between Rosemary and Highway 36.
  • Roundabout at Highway 566 and Range Road 11.
  • Seven kilometres of grade widening on Highway 817 between Highways 24 and 901.
  • Bridge deck rehabilitation on the South Saskatchewan River bridge on eastbound Highway 1.

In addition, $60 million is available provincewide to repair potholes and complete critical safety measures. Read more.

Increased COVID-19 Testing Capacity

A $4.5-million investment in new virus detecting equipment and technology will help strengthen Alberta’s COVID-19 response. The funding includes a $1.7-million donation by Calgary Health Trust, with Alberta Health Services and the Government of Alberta making up the balance. This investment will increase COVID-19 testing from 7,000 to 16,000 tests per day, more than doubling Alberta’s maximum capacity for testing. Albertans are also encouraged to download the ABTraceTogether app to help prevent community spread. The app is available to download free from the App Store and Google Play.


Discussing Reopening, Incentives To Work And The ‘New Normal’ For Canadian Companies

Ryan Greer, Senior Director and Cannabis Policy Lead for the Canadian Chamber, joined CTV News yesterday to discuss the first phase of businesses reopening in several provinces, incentives to return to work and the ‘new normal’ for Canadian companies amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Resources

Negotiating Rental Assistance for Tenants

The recent announcement of government aid through the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program will certainly support both tenants and landlords, but not solve all issues. The BusinessLink has provided an article outlining the important of speaking to your landlord or property manager and knowing your options for rent assistance. Read more

COVID-19 Business Toolkit

COVID-19 is changing the way businesses operate. The key to operating safely is keeping employees and customers safe while enhancing the customer experience. Download the Calgary Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 business toolkit here for steps to support your business through the next phase of COVID-19.

#SmallBusinessMatters series

Thank you to our member RBC for supporting the new 10-part #SmallBusinessMatters series, available at the Chatter That Matters podcast, bringing together business owners and experts to share insights, advice and tips for surviving COVID-19. Listen now.

Shaw is working on a new video project to help spread some gratitude in our community! 

So many people have been stepping up during this global pandemic; from nurses to neighbours to grocery store warriors. Perhaps there’s someone you’d like to thank? Send them some good vibes through Shaw Spotlights community channel! Record your virtual high-five/thank-you message with your cell phone (horizontal videos, please!) or web cam and send it to us as a DM on Messenger  and we’ll get your message out and help spread the love. Submissions will be accepted until midnight on May 11th, 2020.

CEWS Webinar For SMEs

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will host an interactive question and answer session for the small and medium business sector on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) on May 7. The session will respond to general questions about the CEWS and provide resources needed to apply. Due to space limitations, the CRA asks that each organization only have one participant register and participate in the session. Register now.

Payroll Continuity Planning: How Prepared Is Your Organization?

The Canadian Payroll Association has made an archived version of this webinar available to businesses at no cost. Learn about the benefits of having a payroll continuity plan in place, along with key considerations and a step-by-step process to build your plan.Watch now.

The Lemonade Summit

Alberta Business Family Institute invites you to join us on May 20, 2020.

As you continue to face the challenges of the global pandemic, we are committed to providing resources and support. You’ve told us one of the most beneficial opportunities we provide for you is a forum for engaging with other family business leaders and subject matter experts who understand the unique strengths and challenges family businesses face. That is why we have partnered with family business centers from across the North America and Orange Kiwi to bring you the Lemonade Summit.

What is the Lemonade Summit?

The 1-day virtual thought leadership forum is dedicated to helping family business owners explore practical insights for addressing the challenges associated with COVID-19. More than a series of talking heads, the carefully selected speakers were chosen to help family businesses explore strategies for building your new normal.

Use code: UA2020 for a complimentary registration (this is our gift to you)

May 20: 9:00-4:00. Click here for more Information and Details


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

Recognize your heroes by using the hashtag #YXHheroes.

Honour your everyday heroes through the Alberta Northern Lights Volunteer Awards program. Nominations can be submitted online.


"Knowledge is like money: to be of value it must circulate, and in circulating it can increase in quantity and, hopefully, in value." - Louis L'Amour


For more resources visit our COVID-19 page

On Demand Webinars

Alberta Bits & Pieces Webinar. Watch Now.

Canadian Business Resilience Network Video Content

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

Destination Canada: The Visitor Economy: Watch Now.

BDC Economic Pulse (April 20): 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.

Keeping Your Company and Employees Secure When Working Remotely. Watch Now.

Leading During a Crisis and Switching to Remote Work. Watch Now. 

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

Shopify E-Commerce Tools. Watch Now.

Social Media in Crisis. Watch Now.

Understanding, Accessing and Optimizing the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. Watch Now.

Working From Home During COVID-19. Watch Now.

Webinar Series

AMHSA, CSSE, Howatt HR, AUMA Mental Health Webinar Series. Click here.

APEX Alberta Webinars: Watch the recorded series

BDC Webinar Series. Click here. 

BusinessLink: View upcoming events.

Calgary Chamber of Commerce. Watch Now.

CPA Small Business Webinar Series. Click here. 

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.

D2L Webinar Series: Digital Transformation for Associations. Watch Now.

Economic Developers Alberta (EDA) Wednesday weekly: Business & Economic Recovery During the COVID-19 Crisis

Free Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS)® IDS™ sessions. Register here.

International Economic Development Council Webinar series. Watch now.

StartUp Canada Women Entrepreneur Webinar Series: Click here.

Travel Alberta Webinar Series. Watch Now.

Upcoming Webinars

May 6: COVID-19 Webinar Series - Beyond Reacting: How to Re-Invent and Disrupt in the New Reality. Register here.

May 6: SEO for Beginners: How Customers Find You Online. Register here.

May 6: CBRN: M & A strategies, succession planning and preparing for recovery. Register here.

May 7: APEX Alberta: F&S Safety Buzz presents Re-launch Safely. Register now.

May 7: Selling Food in Alberta? Know the Regulations! Register here. 

May 7: Write Like a Rockstar. Register here.

May 7: AWE: To Pivot or Not to Pivot? FAQ about adapting your business. Register here.

May 7: BusinessLink: Business Growth During & After COVID-19. Register here. 

May 7: Business Sustainability During Times of Crisis. Register here.

May 7: Grant Thornton LLP - Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Webinar. Register now. 

May 7: Startup Canada - Innovating at the Speed of the Crisis. Register now. 

May 7: Travel Alberta: Creating Engaging Content (Even During a Pandemic). Register here. 

May 8: Remote Leadership in Times of Crisis. Register here. 

May 12: APEX Alberta: Facebook 101. Register here. 

May 14: Introduction to e-commerce with Shopify. Register Now.

May 14: APEX Alberta: Facebook 2.0. Register here.

May 20: APEX Alberta: Human Resources Fundamentals. Register here.

May 27: APEX Alberta: Everything DiSC Workplace. Register here.

June 3: APEX Alberta: Personality Dimensions – Sales and Customer Service. Register here.

June 17: APEX Alberta: Everything DiSC Productive Conflict. Register here.

Don’t forget Joe Social Media – Free Social Media training from May 1 – June 30 (times vary). Register here. Use promocode: Resilience

Check out more events on our Pandemic Training Calendar


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