Weekly Update: July 27 – 30, 2020
Supports for Business
Canadian Chamber Conducting Independent Tax Review
The COVID-19 pandemic is changing our world and forcing everyone to think differently about many things. To help Canadian policymakers think differently about growing our economy while still paying for today’s health crisis the Canadian Chamber of Commerce announced an independent tax review. To help formulate our final recommendations, a team of Canadian business leaders has been assembled to voluntarily explore ideas for harnessing Canada’s tax system for inclusive recovery and growth.
Read the Financial Post article that highlights this new initiative.
Consultations will feed into a landmark study that we are undertaking to model and quantify different tax reform ideas / scenarios. Through this project, we will build business community consensus for the broadest and most effective tax reforms to support Canada’s economic recovery from the COVID-19-induced global recession.
Members that are tax professionals as well as lawyers, accountants, investment advisors and others are encouraged to participate.
Dates and times of upcoming consultations
Canada Revenue Agency Extends Payment Deadline And Provides Interest Relief For Outstanding Debts
The CRA is extending the payment due date for current year individual, corporate and trust income tax returns, including instalment payments, from September 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020. The CRA is also waiving interest on existing tax debts related to individual, corporate and trust income tax returns from April 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020 and from April 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020 for goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) returns. More information.
Canada Labour Code Leave Of Absence Period Extended
For federally regulated members, this week the Government of Canada amended the Canada Labour Standards and extended the maximum allowable length for a leave of absence due to COVID-19 from 16 to 24 weeks. This change allows the eligibility to match the previously extended Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). More information.
Bill C-20, Which Includes Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Improvements, Receives Royal Assent
The proposed improvements to the CEWS passed through the Senate and received Royal Assent on July 27. Among other things, Bill C-20 extends the CEWS to December 19, introduces a sliding scale and made some eligibility improvements. These are improvements we advocated and are pleased to see implemented on behalf of our members. More information on CEWS improvements. More information on Bill 20.
New opportunities for Alberta’s livestock sector
Amendments to the Meat Inspection Regulation will provide Albertans with greater access to locally produced meat while maintaining food safety. These changes give operators more flexibility to meet legislated requirements and increase consumer access to high-quality local products.
The changes come as a result of consultation with industry and other stakeholders and include:
- Increased licensing options for personal use slaughter. Consumers can now buy an animal direct from the farm and have the animal slaughtered on-site for their personal consumption.
- Allowing provincially licensed meat facilities to salvage and sell meat by-products. As a result, abattoirs will be able to expand into markets that use meat by-products for human consumption, pet food and wildlife bait.
- Allowing for video pre-slaughter inspections in emergency situations. Abattoirs won’t have to wait for an appointed inspector to arrive in person on-farm to perform an inspection if animal welfare is at stake.
Cutting outdated commercial carrier permits
The Commercial Vehicle Dimension and Weight Regulation specifies the legal size, weight and configuration limits for commercial vehicles on Alberta roads. The limits in the regulation have not been updated in decades and do not reflect modern vehicle configurations and equipment.
As a result, commercial drivers in Alberta have to obtain permits for equipment that is allowed in most other jurisdictions, including trucks hauling multiple vehicles, mobile treatment centres, toter-homes, and wide-base single tires. Alberta Transportation routinely grants these permits for standard equipment, making them redundant.
Updating the regulation means commercial carriers will no longer have to get permits for some standard equipment and practices. See the press release for more information.
Expanding eligibility in the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) regulation.
Dozens of industries like potato processing facilities and wood product facilities will now be eligible for exemption from the federal carbon tax because they can be regulated under TIER. Alberta’s government is giving more industries the same opportunity for protection from the federal carbon tax that other provinces and territories have. Find more information.
New framework to manage oil and gas liabilities
A new framework to manage oil and gas liabilities – which includes a series of mechanisms and requirements to improve and expedite reclamation efforts – will enable industry to better manage the clean up of oil and gas wells, pipelines and facilities at every step of the process, from exploration and licensing, through operations, reclamation and post-closure.
The new framework, which will be implemented over the coming months:
- Upholds the polluter-pay principle
- Puts an improved system in place to assess the capabilities of oil and gas operators to meet their regulatory liabilities obligations prior to receiving regulatory approvals.
- Provides practical guidance and proactive support for struggling operators.
- Establishes five-year rolling spending targets for reclamation that every active site operator must meet.
- Establishes a formal opt-in mechanism for landowners to nominate sites for cleanup.
- Implements a process to address legacy and post-closure sites – or sites that were abandoned, remediated or reclaimed before current standards were put in place, and sites that have received reclamation certificates and the operator’s liability period has lapsed.
Two Funding Opportunities
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is looking for a phytosanitary solution for managing plant pests, and Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is seeking a one-stop decision support system, capable of solving marine infrastructure planning and assessing climate change risks. Find information from CFIA and PSPC.
Essential Services Contingency Reserve Registration To Open August 3
The Government of Canada recently announced the launch of the Essential Services Contingency Reserve to ensure essential service organizations have emergency access to the personal protective equipment and critical supplies they need to keep themselves and others safe during COVID-19. Registration will open August 3. More information.
Supports for Individuals
Public Health Agency Of Canada Launches ArriveCAN App
The ArriveCAN app, developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency, provides digital means for all travellers entering Canada to easily and securely submit their information and complete a self-assessment of COVID-19 symptoms up to 48 hours before arriving in Canada.
Post-secondary award supports veterans
A new post-secondary award supports our veterans as they transition from service to new careers.
The Alex Decoteau Award of Honour recognizes the sacrifice of our brave Canadian Armed Forces members and their families and honours the service of Pte. Alex Decoteau. This new $5,000 award supports Albertans who have served our country and wish to pursue a post-secondary education.
Award applications will open on Aug. 1. The award is available to Canadian Armed Forces members who actively served in a designated military operation in the Canadian Armed Forces (Regular or Reserves), or were permanently disabled as a result of participation in Canadian Armed Forces training in Canada. It is also available to immediate family members of Canadian Armed Forces members killed or permanently disabled during active service or training. The award criteria was shaped in consultation with government, Veterans Affairs Canada, the Department of National Defence and veterans’ organizations. More information.
Community Supports and Resources
Funding Given to Municipalities under Safe Restart Agreement
Alberta’s government is providing municipalities with $500 million in additional funding to build shovel-ready infrastructure projects starting in 2020. In addition, Alberta will match $233 million in federal funding to support municipal operating costs during the pandemic and $70 million to support public transit operating costs – for a total of $606 million under the Safe Restart Agreement.
Municipalities and Metis Settlements may begin applying for funding to build roads, bridges, water and wastewater treatment plants, and other important infrastructure that would not have been built in 2020 or 2021 without the stimulus. More information.
Hill Pool Now Open with Pre-registration Required
In line with the City’s reopening strategy, Hill Pool has been reopened for the 2020 season. Pre-registration is required. Information on registration and swim times can be found on the City’s website. The Stay Safe Pass is accepted at this location. For information and to purchase a pass, please call 403.502.8566.
Change rooms and washrooms will be open for public use. These areas will be cleaned and maintained on a strict schedule. Staff will help ensure physical distancing measures are followed in and out of the pool. Residents are reminded to stay home when sick and to continue following AHS guidelines.
The City is continuing to review operational guidelines in order to safely reopen Crestwood Recreation Centre to the community with an anticipated opening of Fall 2020. For more information on open park amenities, please visit the City website.
Government Of Canada Introducing Stricter Rules For Foreign Nationals Transiting Through Canada To Alaska
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is announcing that as of July 31, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. PT stricter rules and additional entry conditions will be imposed on travellers transiting through Canada to Alaska for a non-discretionary purpose. These measures are put in place to further reduce the risk of introduction of COVID-19 cases and to minimize the amount of time that in-transit travellers are in Canada. More information.
Expanded pharmacy testing available for Albertans with no symptoms
Alberta is expanding asymptomatic testing at community pharmacies, helping more people access timely COVID-19 testing close to home. Any pharmacy in the province that wants to participate and is able to meet the safety requirements can now offer testing to Albertans who have no symptoms and no known exposure to COVID-19.
The expanded pharmacy testing follows the success of Alberta’s pilot program launched in June. An initial group of pilot pharmacies safely tested more than 10,300 Albertans, increasing testing capacity and helping support a safe relaunch. To date, almost 677,000 COVID-19 tests have been completed across the province.
Alberta Chambers Media Release: Alberta business community pessimistic about future
The Alberta business community is pessimistic about the province's long-term future, with recent Alberta Chambers of Commerce (ACC) data showing a 26 per cent drop in confidence over the past year. Business confidence declined 20 per cent between July 2019 and March 2020. Since March, confidence has dropped a further 6 per cent—likely due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Read the full release.
The Business Of Business: Canada's Energy Sector And The Challenges Of COVID-19
In this week’s edition of The Business of Business, Ovintiv’s President and CEO, Doug Suttles, joins Canadian Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, the Hon. Perrin Beatty, to discuss the impact COVID-19 has had on the energy sector and how Ovintiv has been able to keep its employees working safely throughout the pandemic. Watch now.
Leading In Policy
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce works closely with our members to listen to their recommendations, understand their needs, insights and challenges, and deliver that feedback to government so we can achieve practical solutions together that will carry us into recovery. You can view a snapshot of our progress on policy measures on CBRN.ca.
Alberta Chambers of Commerce in the News
ACC President and CEO Ken Kobly spoke with Danielle Smith about Alberta's reopening, return to work, and the Alberta business community's pessimism in the future.
Ken also spoke with Alberta Primetime about federal funds for western businesses, stimulus funding for Alberta municipalities, and our recent business recovery survey. Interview starts at 11:24.
Deloitte Canada’s In-Depth Analysis Of The Canadian Survey On Business Conditions
On July 14, Statistics Canada released the second wave of the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC), with the support of our organization. The purpose of the CSBC is to measure the impact of COVID-19 on Canadian businesses, which in turn can inform decision-making to mitigate the impact and improve responses. In collaboration with Deloitte Canada, we have now made available infographics that take a deep dive into the data and what it reveals about the situation for Canadian businesses as they navigate the pandemic. Learn more.
Flattening The Mental Health Curve: Why Organizations Should Continue To Make Mental Health Safety A Top Priority Post-COVID-19
COVID-19 has made significant and long-lasting effects on our colleagues, friends, families and communities. François Poirier, Chief Operating Officer and President, Power & Storage and Mexico at TC Energy, shares why organizations should continue to prioritize mental health post-COVID-19. More information.
Why Your Business Needs An Online Store: Webinar - August 6, 11:30 am
ShopHERE powered by Google provides independent small businesses and artists with a quick, easy and no-cost way to get selling online right away. In this webinar you will get the answers to the top questions we’ve received about the ShopHERE program. Register now.
August 10, 2:00 p.m. ET | The Key To Employee Well-Being During And After The Pandemic, Hosted By Desjardins
COVID-19 has seriously shaken things up for Canadians, in both 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 now
Webinar Recording | Foreign Interference Risks For Canadian Businesses, Briefing With Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)
Canadian companies need to remain competitive to both sustain our domestic capacity to produce innovative products and to be a leader in global supply chains. Watch this recording, led by the CSIS economic security division, to learn more. Watch now.