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Weekly Update: July 17-23, 2020

Supports for Business

Government Of Canada Rolls Out Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Improvement Details 

The federal government released details of the proposed CEWS program extension and improvements. Legislative approval is still required, however the draft would: 

  • Allow the extension of the CEWS until December 19, 2020, including redesigned program details until November 21, 2020.
  • Make the subsidy accessible to a broader range of employers by including employers with a revenue decline of less than 30% and providing a gradually decreasing base subsidy to all qualifying employers. This would help many struggling employers with less than a 30% revenue loss get support to keep and bring back workers while also ensuring those who have previously benefited could still qualify, even if their revenues recover and no longer meet the 30% revenue decline threshold.
  • Introduce a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25% for employers that have been most adversely affected by the pandemic. This would be particularly helpful to employers in industries that are recovering more slowly.
  • Provide certainty to employers that have already made business decisions for July and August by ensuring they would not receive a subsidy rate lower than they would have had under the previous rules.
  • Address certain technical issues identified by stakeholders.

Find more information on CEWS improvements. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce  issued a statement about the improvements helping to  get Canadians back to work.

City Releases eProcurement Tool

The City of Medicine Hat will launch a new eProcurement tool that will allow vendors to register, view and download bid opportunities online in one quick, easy and convenient location.

The City will continue to post bidding opportunities on the Alberta Purchasing Connection (APC) website, aligning with previous practice, but a link will now direct potential bidders back to the new City of Medicine Hat eProcurement webpage. More information

Reminder: Property Assessment Forms Due July 31, 2020

To simplify the process property owners can fill out the form mailed or use the PDF form found on the City’s website to enter the information for your fiscal period ending between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020.  Forms can be returned by email to by the due date of July 31, 2020.

Applications are now open for The Entrepreneurship World Cup! 

An incredible opportunity to accelerate your business and get exposure on a global scale. All entrants get access to free training, mentorship and perks to help accelerate their business and the opportunity to pitch on a global stage for a share of $1 million in cash prizes, plus additional investment opportunities and another US$75 million of in-kind support. Apply Now.

CECRA Updates

Rent relief for Canadian small businesses is being extended through CECRA for small businesses.
What you need to know:

  • Only those tenants approved in the April, May & June application are eligible for the July extension.
  • If a business had an average revenue decline of 70% or more in April, May and June, they are deemed eligible for the additional month of rent relief. However, not all tenants in the original application need to be included for the July extension.
  • We are also removing the requirement to claw-back insurance proceeds and provincial rent supports from the CECRA for small businesses forgivable loan amount for both existing and new applicants.
  • Existing applicants who are affected will be notified and will have any previously clawed-back amounts restored to their forgivable loan.
  • We'll let you know when you can apply for the extension and how the process will work.
  • Visit the updated program page to get the latest details.
Registering for the tourism levy 

The tourism levy is a percentage charged on the purchase price of accommodations, and it’s now easier, faster and more convenient using the new online registration form.  See how to register online website and to find out more information.

Government Of Canada Creates The ‘Essential Services Contingency Reserve’ Program

The Essential Services Contingency Reserve will allow organizations that provide essential services to apply for temporary, urgent access to personal protective equipment and other critical supplies. It aims to help bridge gaps in their supplies to avoid any significant disruptions in services to Canadians. Eligible associations and organizations will be able to apply online for a range of equipment, available for purchase at cost. Registration will begin in early August. More information.

Supporting Small and Local Businesses with #CanadaUnited

We’re excited to be participating in the #CanadaUnited campaign —a nationwide social media campaign to encourage Canadians to buy local — and we hope you will join us in lending your support for small and local businesses.

#CanadaUnited is offering relief grants of up to $5,000 to help Canadian small businesses with their recovery efforts as a result of COVID-19. Your participation is important! The grant funds will grow over the next several weeks as every campaign video watched and social media post liked and shared will result in a 5¢ contribution from RBC!

Essential Business Services Contest with Riipen

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce Essential Business Services (EBS) partner Riipen is launching a contest that will give away 500 premium licenses valued at $2,500, for FREE. This contest is made possible thanks to a partnership between Riipen and The Business + Higher Education Roundtable, and with the support of The Government of Canada.

Riipen helps organizations get ahead by leveraging bright student talent from colleges and universities across the globe for short term projects. Students get real-world experience and course credit. Organizations get the support they need, especially during this time. Watch this 2-minute video to learn more about it.

To apply,  just need to fill out this 5-minute application form. The contest will close on August 8th and successful participants will be notified the week of August 10th. 

New Innovation Employment Grant

Effective Jan. 1, 2021, Alberta’s government is introducing the Innovation Employment Grant (IEG). This program will promote economic growth and job creation by supporting small and medium-sized businesses that invest in research and development (R&D). The IEG rewards businesses that make investments in technology and innovation by providing a grant of up to 20 per cent of R&D spending. It is significantly more generous than similar tax credits offered in British Columbia and Ontario.

Supports for Individuals

Funding for Indigenous-led work

The Government of Canada announced $600,000 in funding for 10 new projects, under the Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program. The funding will support the projects in 2020–2021 under the First Nations tier 1 stream of the Program.

The Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program strives to advance Indigenous-led work to protect and conserve ecosystems, develop and maintain sustainable economies, and reinforce cultural connection to the land. The 10 successful projects were chosen out of more than 100 proposals by a joint working group of First Nations experts and federal representatives. All proposals were reviewed against rigorous criteria for their benefit to Indigenous communities and sustainability.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Youth Employment and Skills Program fully subscribed

Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister, Marie-Claude Bibeau today announced that approximately 800 new positions are expected to be created through the Youth Employment and Skills Program for the 2020/2021 program year. The enhanced program, which launched on May 26, 2020, is now fully subscribed and the application intake is closed.

This program provides youth from across the country, and particularly youth facing barriers to employment, with job experience in agriculture that will provide career-related work experience. Eligible applicants included producers, agri-businesses, industry associations, provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous organizations and research facilities. More information.

Community Supports and Resources

Government Confirms Canada-U.S. Border Closure To Extend Until August 21

As had been widely reported earlier this week, the government has confirmed the current closure of the Canada-U.S. land border will be extended until August 21. The government will continue to reevaluate the situation on a month-by-month basis. More travel information.

Students returning to school for 2020-21 school year

Students will return to learning in classrooms across Alberta at the beginning of the new school year. Schools will be ready to welcome students under scenario 1, which is near-normal daily operations with health measures.

Alberta’s government has developed a re-entry tool kit to prepare parents and students for what to expect in the new school year. The tool kit includes videos for students explaining some of the health measures, a guide for parents, frequently asked questions, school posters, a self-screening questionnaire in multiple languages, and links to health guidelines.


Under scenario 1, schools will implement a number of public health measures, which include frequent cleaning of surfaces, placing hand sanitizers at school entrances and classrooms, grouping students in cohorts, and planning the school day to allow for physical distancing, which could include staggering start times for classes, recesses and lunches. Additional public health measures may be established prior to September on the advice of the chief medical officer of health in consultation with the education system.

In addition, students, staff, parents and school visitors will be expected to use a self-screening questionnaire daily to determine whether they can enter the school.

Find more information on school re-opening.

Employment And Social Development Canada: Supporting Black Canadian Communities Call For Proposals 

ESDC’s Supporting Black Canadian Communities Call for Proposals (CFP) provides capital assistance to Black organizations in Canada to build capacity to better fulfill their missions and serve Black communities in Canada. Not-for-profit organizations that are Black-led, can apply for up to $100,000 for: 

  • equipment purchases for work or community spaces; and/or
  • renovations or retrofits of existing workspaces or community spaces to improve their functionality.

You can apply only once for this CFP for a maximum of $100,000. The deadline to apply is July 27 at 3:00 p.m. ET. More information

Canada Joints the Three Percent Club to Improve Global Energy Efficiency

Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, today announced that Canada is joining the Three Percent Club. The Minister highlighted Canada’s involvement, and the importance of energy efficiency in transitioning to a low-carbon future, during a discussion with IEA Executive Director Dr. Fatih Birol. The event was part of the agency’s Big Ideas Speakers Series, where global leaders, top thinkers and decision-makers discuss thought-provoking issues.

By joining the Three Percent Club, Canada commits to working collaboratively with international partners, including 15 other countries, to increase energy efficiency, accelerate the clean energy transition and help meet climate change goals. This collaboration of governments, businesses and institutions spearheaded by the International Energy Agency (IEA) has committed to work together to help drive an annual three percent improvement in global energy efficiency.

Reminder: Accessibility Standards Canada Seeking Volunteers To Help Create The First Accessibility Standards

Accessibility Standards Canada is recruiting volunteer experts for two technical committees. These committees will create Canada’s first accessibility standards in the areas of plain language and outdoor spaces. Each technical committee will consist of 12 to 18 members and represent the following categories: 

  • Persons with disabilities
  • Industry and commerce
  • Government authorities
  • Consumer and public interest
  • Labour and unions
  • University and research groups
  • Non-governmental organizations

More information.

Alberta government is reinvesting federal child care dollars

As part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, the Alberta government is reinvesting federal child care dollars to support families. Under a renegotiated bilateral agreement with the federal government, the Alberta government will receive $45 million to assist in the delivery of affordable and accessible child care.

The funding for the three key priorities includes:

  • $29 million for affordability – Supporting low-to-middle-income families through higher child care subsidies. 
    • A simplified formula and renewed investment in child care subsidy will result in 16,000 lower-income families paying an average of $25 per day for child care compared with about 7,500 families of all incomes paying $25 per day in the former pilot project.
    • Parents of more than 24,500 children will see their subsidy support increase by 18 per cent and parents of another 3,500 will also see subsidy increases.
  • $9.7 million for accessibility – Meeting the diverse needs of parents and children across the province. 
    • The new Inclusive Child Care program will expand on the pilot to provide child care operators access to coaching, professional development, and funding for additional staff to support children who have complex needs.
    • Providing programming that address cultural and linguistic needs, such as Indigenous and Francophone programs.
    • Creating up to 385 spaces this year in communities with high need and working with operators, communities, and parents on innovative solutions for parents who work outside typical business hours.
  • $4.7 million for quality – Supporting childhood learning and development with high-quality programming and training. 
    • The Flight curriculum, a framework that helps guide early learning and child care educators for young children, will be made available online to all child care centres.
    • Supporting ongoing professional development to ensure Alberta has a well-trained and highly skilled early childhood workforce.

With a renewed focus on affordability for those who need it most, the federally funded ELCC Centre pilot program will come to its natural conclusion in March 2021. Phase 1 ELCC Centres (provincially funded) will receive funding until July 31.

More information and supports are available on the child care during COVID-19 page.

Safe Restart Agreement funds investment in municipalities

$2 billion in federal funding will be made available to cities and towns across Canada. The funding will support front line workers and critical municipal services. Provincial and territorial governments will continue to support municipalities, and will cost-match federal supports with investments made this fiscal year. The Government of Canada will also be providing $1 billion in federal transit funding. Find more information.


How COVID-19 Changed Canada’s Conversation On Digital Infrastructure

In a matter of months, Canadians’ primary thoughts about broadband connectivity went from cost to need and from “nice to have” to “must have.” Read the recent article in The Hill Times featuring Dr. Trevin Stratton, Canadian Chamber of Commerce Chief Economist and Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, and Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia, Senior Director of Digital Economy, Technology and Innovation, where they discuss the importance of digital infrastructure that works for every Canadian, today and tomorrow. Please note that this article is behind a pay wall. More information.

Joint letter from Chamber Network on the Prolonged Recovery of the Food Service Industry

When the pandemic hit, our restaurants were among the first and the hardest hit. Notwithstanding their own losses, which includes 800,000 jobs lost, the food services industry stepped up to serve their communities, their customers, and continued to bring Canadians together – just in new and innovative ways. But despite their best intentions and best efforts, the food services industry will be among the last to resume normal operations, on a timescale stretching at least into the next 12-18 months. 

Find what actions we are urging governments of all levels to consider in this joint letter.

Media Spotlight: Challenges Facing The Food Service Industry

Following the news release and joint letter issued on July 20 by our organization and 20 other business groups (including Restaurants Canada, Molson Coors and numerous provincial, territorial and local chambers of commerce and boards of trade), there has been significant media coverage of the dire situation the food services industry finds itself in. Read and watch more.


Town Hall with MP Glen Motz

On July 22nd we held a virtual town hall with MP Glen Motz. As MP for Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner, this town hall provided the Medicine Hat and area business community with an opportunity to share their challenges and ask questions. Executive Director, Lisa Kowalchuk summarized a number of local challenges including:

  • Challenges with the Canada Commercial Rent Assistance program and the difficulty for business to access rent support
  • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy thresholds which have prevented some businesses from being able to access the program in subsequent periods because they were unable to continue to meet the 30% decline in revenue as they reopened and relaunched their business. While the program has been beneficial and one of the most utilized programs, as businesses have reopened, they are gaining additional revenue, but also have much higher expenses rendering them ineligible, so we’re pleased that there will be more of a sliding scale. 
  • Limited financing for innovation and remote work options and while it’s been beneficial for the City of Medicine Hat to fill this gap, there are still many other businesses outside of Medicine Hat that don’t have this same kind of support.
  • The challenge of deferrals and pay back periods - these needs to be reasonable and realistic for those who use deferrals, so that they are not caught with one larger sum due all at once.
  • There are challenges for industry specific sectors such as agriculture and food services, tourism/hospitality and the not for profit sectors who are unable to obtain funds through other funding streams. They also have been impacted by a lack of revenue coming in due to not being able to have the same level of traffic and customers and not being able to host revenue generating events due to mass gathering restrictions.
  • CERB is preventing workers from going back to work, so there needs to be a transition, while still making sure business owners who were accessing CERB as their only source of income don’t fall through the cracks. This is why we need additional funds allocated to the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund in Alberta or expansion of CEBA to meet the same criteria as the RRRF. CEBA could work if it was opened up, as there are still certain restrictions, such as business owners who do not have a business bank account.
  • Long term financial impacts - the Government needs to have a plan for economic recovery and a roadmap and can reference the plans from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. The goal should be to encourage investment and business activities that will generate federal and provincial/territorial revenue, thereby helping to offset the extraordinarily high levels of public spending required during the pandemic. We need to support innovation, technology and broadband connectivity. 

We need to:

  • Support 100% of wage costs of youth who are helping to get businesses online
  • Get Canadians Back to Work
  • Keep Supply Chains and People Moving
  • Manage Debt and Deficits
  • Navigate Global Fragmentation
  • Adopt Technology and Innovation
  • Ensure a Resilient Resource Sector
  • Plan for Small and Medium Business Continuity
  • Strengthen Our Public Health Infrastructure
  • Rethink Government’s Role and Priorities
New Compensation Survey Open for Participation through the Conference Board of Canada

The Conference Board of Canada’s Compensation Planning Outlook Survey is now live! All responses will remain confidential and will be reported in aggregate only. All participants will also receive a copy of the full report.

You can rely on these results as a key resource in your pay planning activities. The report will include information on:

  • The pay environment
  • Non-unionized and unionized pay increases
  • Incentive pay and plans
  • Labour market challenges

It’s free to participate. To complete the survey, please click here. Deadline to participate is August 7

New Resources

Free Legal Help

McLeod Law LLP’s Commercial Real Estate group is offering complimentary services to the tourism and hospitality industry to help the sector get back on its feet.   

Updated Keep Exploring Content Hub

Updated Keep Exploring Content Hub: As part of our Destination Canada’s domestic recovery program, on July 1, they launched a new digital content hub to curate and feature content from Partners and Destination Canada that highlights Canada Nice. This aggregated story content will seed future story-telling efforts for inter-provincial travel. The new hub will be updated regularly and includes new features such as:

  • A unique landing environment that houses owned and repurposed content​
  •  An interactive map of Canada which includes up to date information on where travellers can go in Canada and each Province and Territories’ related travel restrictions.
  • A new playlist on our YouTube channel housing owned and curated content​
  • Curated Canadian road trip content ​ Explore More
Digital Boost for Business

Digital Boost is a partnership between BCG Digital Ventures and Founders4Schools, offering a platform for organisations in need to connect with volunteer digital experts. They are offering free digital advice for small businesses and charities impacted by coronavirus, provided by expert volunteers. Find out more here.

Get Started with Google Search

Search engines make it simple to find what you're looking for with a click of a button. But how do they work, and how can you improve your visibility on them? Learn the difference between organic and paid search results and why advertising on search engines is so effective. Start learning here.

Master the Google tools you use at work with free online training: Develop skills you can apply right away, with e-learning courses designed by Google product experts. Learn at your own pace and get Google product certified. Get started.

New OHS Resources

OHS obligations and consent forms for COVID-19 relaunch and Worker deconditioning following an absence from the workplace. Extreme heat and sun exposure are just a couple of the hazards of working outside in summer. Learn about some typical summer hazards and suggested controls in Working in summer.

TradeCert Now Available

They offer a variety of import and export services that can help businesses ship or bring goods across international borders, often at a discounted price. Taking advantage of all opportunities is important, especially now. Their TradeCert Canada referral program is now available to associations that would like to offer document certification and Certificates of Origin services to their members. To learn more, please email Melissa Lamirande. 

National Reopening Government Regulation Tracker

In order to operate, businesses must abide by all national, provincial/territorial and local codes issued by our governments. This includes when and which businesses are allowed to open, an array of health and safety measures, social distancing standards, occupancy limits and more.

Refer to our national reopening government regulation tracker to access the rules and regulations that are in place according to federal and provincial/territorial jurisdictions. Access the tracker.

Ebay is Waiving Fees and Offering Free Store Fronts

Register as a new Canadian business seller between May 31st, 2020 and August 22nd, 2020 and receive an all-in-one online business solution to get more out of the eBay marketplace and millions of buyers.

Here's their commitment to all new businesses who join the eBay seller community through this offer:

Featured Webinars

CPA Canada’s Webinar Recording: Rebuilding The Canadian Economy

We were joined by Rogers, recently, for a webinar to discuss business continuity through COVID-19 and beyond.  The webinar included tips on how to equip employees to work from home and how to access and protect your business data from anywhere. Watch the recording.

Alberta Business Family Institute: Charting Your Course: 

Use promo code UA2020 for FREE ONLINE SessionConduct a comprehensive, rapid fire evaluation to identify critical focus areas for moving you, your family, and your business forward in a healthy and sustainable way. Efficiently scan your internal & external environments to identify hidden opportunities for both growth & overcoming challenges Register for July 24@ 8:00AM MST.

July 29 at 2:00 pm ET: Navigating your business to recovery

Have questions about navigating through the government support programs? Want to learn more about e-commerce and cyber-security? Or maybe you have questions about labour laws during the pandemic? Join this packed webinar to hear from experts on all these topics to help you navigate to recovery.  

  • Navigating government support programs 
  • Focus on leveraging online in the ‘’new normal’’ for growth but understanding how to manage risk (cyber-security/privacy) 
  • An employers’ guide to reopening the workplace from the legal standpoint 

Register here

August 10 at 2:00 pm ET: The key to employee well-being during and after the pandemic

In partnership with Desjardins. COVID-19 has seriously shaken things up for Canadians, both in their professional and personal lives. With our new normal, which—for many of us—means teleworking and homeschooling, we’re seeing an uptick in health problems that organizations and insurers need to address and adapt to.

In this webinar, we’ll be looking at how overall health culture, which includes physical, mental and financial health, is especially important during a crisis. And how going forward, this culture will be an integral part of group plans. Register here

Webinar Recording: Get Ready Workplace IPAC Program

We were joined by Get Ready for a webinar to discuss the Get Ready Workplace IPAC Program. This program equips Canadian businesses with the tools and knowledge to appropriately respond to an infectious disease outbreak. Watch now

Webinar Recording: Brave New World – Navigating The Crisis And Its Aftermath With Desjardins

We were joined by Jimmy Jean, a Macro Strategist with Desjardins Capital Markets, on July 7 for a webinar to discuss Canada’s economic outlook, how we adapt to this new reality and what innovation is needed for Canadian businesses to thrive in the wake of COVID-19. Watch now.

Webinar Recording: Grains: Essential and Sustainable, Looking Forward

Canada’s economy is starting to turn its engine over again, and that includes agriculture jobs with major export growth potential of agri-food products. Join us to look at sustainability measurement, technology, and best practices in Canada’s grain industry, and how it is poised to become one of the major drivers of Canada’s economic recovery, meeting both sustainability and economic goals. Click here to view the presentation slides and watch the recording here.


Upcoming Webinars

July 24: Alberta Business Family Institute: Charting Your Course. Register online with promo code UA2020.

July 28: Career Practitioners Working With Oil & Gas Workers in Transition. Register here.

July 29: Navigating your Business to Recovery. Register here.

August 10: The Key to Employee Well-Being During and After the Pandemic. Register here.

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