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Daily COVID-19 Update: May 15, 2020

Supports for Business

Government Announces Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Extension

The government announced more details of the CEWS extension today. The wage subsidy will be extended to August 29, 2020 and additional types of organizations are now eligible to apply. Neither the 30% drop in revenue requirement nor the allowed types of payroll used in calculations have changed. The government will consult with key business and labour representatives over the next month on potential adjustments to the program to incent jobs and growth, including the 30 per cent revenue decline threshold. Read more.

Canada Summer Jobs start rolling out

The federal government kicked off the hiring period for Canada Summer Jobs 2020. Starting today, thousands of opportunities are being posted to the Job Bank website for jobs available across the country. Thousands more will be posted over the coming weeks and months, with a target of approximately 70,000 placements. 

Agri-Food Pilot begins accepting applications May 15

The federal government announced that effective today, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will begin accepting applications to the Agri-Food Pilot. The 3-year pilot will test an industry-specific approach to help employers in the meat processing, mushroom and greenhouse production, and livestock-raising industries fill ongoing labour needs for full-time, year-round employees. 

Helping the dairy sector mitigate the impact of COVID-19

On May 5, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the government’s intention to amend the Canadian Dairy Commission Act and increase the Canadian Dairy Commission’s (CDC) borrowing limit by $200 million to allow cheese and butter to be temporarily stored and avoid waste. Today, Parliament adopted these amendments that will increase the CDC’s borrowing limit from $300 million to $500 million. Read more.

When to Report a COVID-19 Incident to Alberta OHS?

All serious incidents and potentially serious incidents, including those related to COVID-19, must be reported to OHS. These include the following:

  • Fatalities and hospitalizations (admitted to hospital) related to incidents where COVID-19 was acquired as a result of the worker’s engagement in a work activity.
  • Incidents where a worker at the work site is“exposed” to confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 (potentially serious incidents).
  • A COVID-19 “exposure” would include the following:
    •  incidents where the work site is not following the rules, procedures and guidance related to COVID-19 protection and a worker is exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19; or 
    • incidents where the COVID-19 controls in place have failed and a worker is exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19.

More information can be found in the Reporting and investigating injuries and incidents bulletin.

Supports for Individuals

Support for Research Staff

The federal government announced $450 million in funding to help Canada’s academic research community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The investment will:

  • Provide wage supports to universities and health research institutes, so they can retain research staff who are funded from industry or philanthropic sources and are unable to access some of the government’s existing COVID-19 support measures. This would apply even if their work has been temporarily suspended. The government will provide up to 75 per cent per individual, with a maximum of $847 per week.
  • Support universities and health research institutes to maintain essential research-related activities during the crisis, and to ramp back up to full research operations once physical distancing measures are lifted. This will cover up to 75 per cent of total eligible costs, and will support activities such as the safe storage of dangerous substances, and restarting data sets that were interrupted during the pandemic.
Benefits Payments For Eligible Canadians To Continue Until Fall 2020

The federal government announced that benefit payments will continue for an additional three months for those who are not able to file their 2019 returns on time. Eligible Canadians who are presently receiving the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) credit and/or the Canada child benefit (CCB) will continue to receive these payments until the end of September 2020. 

Canada Emergency Student Benefit Applications Open Today

Students and recent graduates can start applying for the CESB program today. The benefit provides $1,250 for each four-week period or $2,000 for each four-week period if you have dependants or a disability. Please note: if you have already applied, or are receiving support from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance (EI), you are not eligible to apply for the CESB. Apply here.

Community Supports and Resources

Put safety first this Victoria Day weekend

All Albertans are encouraged to follow public health guidelines and take extra steps to keep themselves and members of their household safe as they head out to provincial parks, cottages and onto public land this weekend. COVID-19 has altered many routine experiences and opportunities, but that doesn’t mean Albertans can’t have a safe and enjoyable kick-start to the summer. Provincial parks are open, but some facilities remain closed, campfires are not permitted, and camping does not open until June 1. Learn more here. This weekend make sure you:

  • Respect the health and safety of small communities along the way by planning their trip without stops for gas or food, where possible.
  • Continue to practice physical distancing and proper handwashing.
  • Respect municipal restrictions for playgrounds. If playgrounds can be accessed, encourage children to play with children in the same household or their cohort family, sanitize hands before or after playing on a play structure, and remember to wash everyone’s hands thoroughly as soon as possible.
  • Download the ABTraceTogether app and turn it on when leaving home.

To support the safety of Albertans and enforcement staff, including fish and wildlife officers, conservation officers, public lands officers, forest officers and commercial vehicle officers, sheriffs and RCMP will be out on the roads and landscape to promote and enforce good behaviour through education and awareness. If necessary, they will issue fines for violations. More information  

Parks Canada Update

Starting June 1, 2020, Parks Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada will gradually resume some operations at selected national parks, national historic sites, national marine conservation areas and national wildlife areas. The full news release is available here

Limits extended for outside gatherings

Effective May 15, outside gatherings which are currently restricted to 15 people will be increased to a maximum of 50. Physical distance of two metres must remain between people from different households, and attendees must follow proper hygiene practices.Attendees should not share food or drinks. Indoor gatherings are still limited to fewer than 15 people, except when otherwise identified in public health orders such as workplaces, places of worship, and in restaurants.

Limited road tests to begin

Alberta Transportation is developing a plan to safely resume all road tests while preventing the spread of COVID-19. As part of the Government of Alberta’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a limited number of road tests are available. Information on the limited road tests can be found on the COVID-19 Commercial Carrier Information website.

Funding communities and civil society

After reviewing applications from across the province for the emergency social services funding announced in April, government will provide $30 million to more than 460 successful applicants to support their responses to COVID-19. Food banks across Alberta are being provided $5 million in funding to help them feed vulnerable populations. Read more.

National Allied Golf Association provides clarification

The National Allied Golf Association - Alberta provided insight into what’s allowed for golf courses. Stage 1 of the province’s Relaunch Strategy permits the re-opening of pro shops and restaurants for golf and would follow the guidelines for retail businesses and restaurants. They also provided clarification on a few questions that have been asked:

Can you arrive at the course more than 15 minutes before your tee time?  

The initial protocol said you can’t arrive until fifteen minutes before your tee time, however if you are planning to visit for retail (pro-shop) or the restaurant, you can arrive early so long as social distancing rules are followed. IE. If you want to grab a sleeve of balls or a hot dog before your round, respect the rules and follow AHS protocol.

Can two people share a power cart if they do not live together? NO 

The protocol states that you can only share a cart if you have the same address on your drivers’ licenses.

Can the beverage cart operate? YES  

NAGA-AB is requesting further clarification on beverage carts and concession services however, it is our interpretation that the beverage cart is delivery and the cart operators must adhere to all the AHS protocols. Under no circumstances can a golfer touch the product or get their own drink. Only the cart operator can touch the products and all AHS protocols must be followed. 

Can Golf Professionals conduct lessons? YES 

It is our interpretation that golf professionals are allowed to teach and provide other services as long as proper social distancing rules are applied.  


Sick Pay Coverage Under the Employment Insurance Act (EI) During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Today, the heads of more than 20 business organizations—including the ACC—issued a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regarding COVID-19 sick pay. The letter states:

"In these circumstances, we believe senior governments should shoulder any costs associated with time away from work (i.e. sick pay) associated with the current pandemic. At a time when many businesses have been hit extremely hard by the economic fallout from the pandemic, it is simply not reasonable for businesses to be expected to cover sick-pay costs for COVID-19 which, at its core, is a global pandemic and a national and provincial public health emergency."

Wage Subsidy Program Extension a Welcome Change, But Improvements Needed To Ensure More Businesses Qualify

Canadian businesses have undertaken many efforts to support their employees through the crisis and keep them connected to the labour force.  When businesses have been forced to lay off workers, they have been determined to get as many employees back to work as quickly, safely and smoothly as possible. Unfortunately, the update for the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy is far below original expectations. Improvements are needed to ensure more businesses get the support they need to get them through this crisis. Read the Statement.

Smaller Businesses Hit 50% Harder By COVID-19

The Canadian Survey on Business Conditions demonstrates some surprising resilience of small- and medium-sized businesses despite having outsized disadvantages when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Read more.

The Economic Effects Of COVID-19

Chief Economist and Vice President of Policy, Dr. Trevin Stratton, was a guest on the Political Stripes podcast with Bob Rae where he discussed the economic effects of COVID-19 on the Canadian economy from the perspective of small businesses.

Canadian Business: Where Do We Go From Here?

Chief Economist and Vice President of Policy, Dr. Trevin Stratton, and Tim Caddigan, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, discuss the next steps for Canadian businesses amid COVID-19. Watch now.

What It Will Look Like Is Not How We Used To Know It

“Business as usual” was a thing we used to hear people say. However, this week’s edition of 5 Minutes for Business will help you to better understand how unusual business has become amid COVID-19. Read more.

New Resources

Camp At Home – Tourism Marketing In A Pandemic

Tourism Medicine Hat is promoting Camp at Home this May long weekend. The first long weekend of the warmer weather is traditionally the opening for camping and cottages. That's not easy right now. So, making the best of the situation, Tourism Medicine Hat is encouraging locals to camp at home and share their experience on social media. You can also register and share your dream camping experience or the one from this holiday weekend. There are prizes to be won! Register Now.

Alberta Pulse Check Survey

The Alberta Chambers of Commerce, Economic Developers Alberta, and Community Futures Alberta have launched a short pulse check survey as Alberta begins the process of relaunching its economy: . The survey is open until May 22 and will help our network gather insights on the barriers businesses face reopening in phase one of Alberta's relaunch as well as ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and low oil prices.

Canadian Business Resilience Network Tools and Templates

For your convenience, tools and templates linked throughout the CBRN website are available for download here. The Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce 5 Steps for Business to Relaunch has made the resource list as well on the national site under reopening and recovery.

Market Research Support

Whether you need research to determine if your new business idea is feasible or for developing your business plan, the BusinessLink has you covered. They can provide you with market data such as industry trends, demographics, and competitors, all for free! Click here.

Retail Recovery Playbook - Merchandising and Marketing, Retail Operation

Retail Council of Canada and the Boston Consulting Group are working in partnership to leverage global best practices and input from RCC members to develop Canadian-specific guidelines for a diverse range of retail formats as leadership teams work through their recovery strategies. Newly posted sections include: Merchandising and Marketing Playbook and Retail Operations Playbook

Retail Council of Canada short videos for retailers

RCC On-Air is an on-demand resource to educate you and your teams and keep you up to date on the latest retail, tech, consumer trends, and legislative issues affecting retail. Many short videos can be accessed here. To be informed of when new videos are released, please subscribe.

Preparing retailers for the new normal

Now that the world has shifted its perceptions about the critical importance of digital transformation, how can retailers quickly enable entirely new engagement methods with their customers, while capitalizing on what is being coined as the new normal? Download the e-book.

Tender Opportunity: Cloth Facial Masks For The RCMP

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has posted an urgent requirement for cloth facial masks on the Government of Canada’s procurement site. This opportunity closes on May 28, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. ET. View the tender.

Apply for FREE Radio Ads from Stingray

Through this program, Stingray will provide a minimum of $15 million in radio advertising grants to local businesses in markets across Canada where Stingray operates local radio stations. Stimulant grants will range from a minimum of $1000 up to a maximum of $100,000 in radio advertising per business.

The recipient business will have twelve months to utilize the radio advertising grant provided towards booking and airing a radio advertising campaign and will not be required to invest additional sums with Stingray radio stations to receive the grant. Read the full press release here, and contact Rick Walters via email or call (403) 978-1466 if you have questions about the grant. 

Conference Board of Canada: Ask an Economist

In the latest installment of the Conference Board of Canada’s Ask an Economist video series, Senior Economist, Robyn Gibbard addresses the following questions: How long can Canada support the federal and provincial subsidies? When will Canada run out of money? Will our creditors stop lending us money? Watch the video now to learn more.

A Q&A With The Canada Revenue Agency On The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will host an interactive Q & A session for SMEs on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). The session will respond to general questions about the CEWS and will provide resources needed to apply. The session takes place via teleconference on May 20 from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. ET. Please note: If the session is full, you will be able to add your name to the CRA’s waitlist. CRA will contact you if it organizes future sessions. Register now.

Free Webinars From The Office Of Small And Medium Enterprises (OSME)

Are you a business that can supply products or services in support of Canada’s COVID-19 response and recovery? Are you wondering how to find specific opportunities that may be of interest to your business? Do you want to better understand how the government buys goods and services? 

The Office of Small and Medium Enterprises (OSME) is hosting a series of free webinars to help businesses find federal bid opportunities and related procurement information in the current context of COVID-19. The first seminars are scheduled for May 20 (in French) and May 21 (in English). Register for upcoming sessions.

Travel Alberta: Research and Insights to Help Guide Alberta’s Tourism Recovery

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Travel Alberta has been actively monitoring the impact on tourism and the economy, placing great importance on data and insights to help guide business decisions going forward. Join Travel Alberta’s Marney St. John, Director of Insights, to learn about the evidence-based research that went into the creation of a signals framework that outlines when travel and tourism could return and what it could look like. Marney will outline ongoing research and analysis that looks at traveller sentiment, changing behaviours and expectations as a result of this pandemic, as well as short and long-term market potential as we begin to rebound. 

 Thursday, May 21, 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Register now.

Retail Council of Canada (RCC) COVID-19 operations webinars

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 6-7pm EDT,  RCC leads webinars where we talk with experts, provide the latest information about COVID-19 related policies and programs, and discuss suggested best practices for retailers. 

These webinars are free and open to all retailers. Please invite your colleagues working in retail to participate in the webinars and sign up our daily COVID-19 News Bulletin.

Webinar Recording: The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Explained, With Grant Thornton LLP

The CEWS was created to help businesses retain their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. The application for this subsidy opened on April 27 and managing through eligibility requirements, meeting the specific revenue tests and ensuring your documentation is correct can be complex and cumbersome. Grant Thornton LLP hosted a webinar for us where one of its tax partners provided an overview of the CEWS and addressed some frequently asked questions. If you weren’t able to attend the session, a recording is available here.

Webinar Recording: What To Feel When Stressors Collide, With Canada Life

We all juggle work, financial, family and social demands, but unexpected circumstances, like the ones we are experiencing right now, can cause multiple stressors to coincide. Canada Life hosted a webinar for us where Leah Nord, our Director of Workforce Strategies and Inclusive Growth, and Mary Ann Baynton, Director of Collaboration and Strategy from Workplace Strategies for Mental Health (compliments of Canada Life), discussed building resilience when stressors are high. If you weren’t able to attend the session, a recording is available here.


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.


“Always put your best foot forward, because you never know where your next step may lead you.” - Stephan Labossiere


For more resources visit our COVID-19 page

On Demand Webinars

Alberta Bits & Pieces Webinar. Watch Now.

Canadian Business Resilience Network Video Content

13 Ways COVID-19 and Your Business Part 1: Watch Now.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Explained: Watch Now.

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.

How to Navigate Government Programs with KPMG. 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. 

Maintaining Sales in the face of COVID-19. 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.

What To Feel When Stressors Collide, With Canada Life. 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. Learn how to find bid opportunities. Register now.

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.

Retail Council of Canada

StartUp Canada Women Entrepreneur Webinar Series: Click here.

Travel Alberta Webinar Series. Watch Now.

Upcoming Webinars

May 20: Q&A With The Canada Revenue Agency On The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). Register now.

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

May 20: ABFI The Lemonade Summit for family business owners. Register here.

May 20: Create a Powerful Marketing Strategy in 7 Steps. Register here.

May 21: 13 Ways Easing Into The New Normal. Register here.

May 21: Recovery & Overcoming Adversity with Business Link: an Online Panel. Register here.

May 21: Research and Insights to Help Guide Alberta’s Tourism Recovery. Register Now.

May 22: How To Create A Brand For The Digital Era. Register here.

May 22: BDC Planning for recovery: How to restart your business in the wake of COVID-19. Register here.

May 22: Valuing Nature: Value Balancing Alliance – Impact Measurement And Green Accounting. Register now.

May 26 & June 2: Rock My Business Plan. Register here.

May 26: Investigating Insolvency When Facing Financial Uncertainty. Register here.

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

May 27: Digital Strategy in a Time of Crisis. Register here.

May 27: Marketing Your Business Re-Opening. Register here.

May 28: Work-Life Wellness for Entrepreneurs: During & Beyond the COVID-19 Crisis. Register here.

May 28: Succession Planning Webinar. Register here.

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

June 4: Cash Flow Management in Times of Uncertainty Webinar. 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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