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Weekly Update: July 31 – August 6, 2020

Supports for Business

Expansion of the BIG Grant – BIG Changes to the BIG Grant

The City of Medicine Hat is proud to announce that the Business Innovation Grant (MHBIG) will now include up to $1,500 for registered ShopHERE powered by Google businesses for the use of a local professional photographer and a local marketing specialist to elevate their e-commerce experience. 

If your business needs an e-commerce website, let us help you build a Shopify site for free. Get started and register your business at  

To apply for the MHBIG for ShopHERE users, visit the Community Futures Entre-Corp website at

Invest Medicine Hat Launches Residential Infill Incentive Program

Invest Medicine Hat announced the Residential Infill Incentive Program designed to incentivize development and reconstruction of Infill properties. The Program will benefit established neighborhoods and provide economic stimulus to grow the property assessment base of the City as part of the City’s COVID-19 response.

The Residential Infill Incentive Program is comprised of five separate grants:

  • Land Use Bylaw Amendment Application Fee Grant
  • New Construction Residential Densification and Renewal Grant
  • Hazardous Materials Survey and Abatement Grant
  • Professional Design Services Grant
  • Eligible Utility Infrastructure Upgrades Grant

Each of the five individual grants have a unique, specified criteria and application process.

Owners of an infill property can apply and may be eligible for up to a combined maximum of $25,000 for each single civic address. Act quickly as funding is limited to the first $250,000.

The application process will commence on August 4, 2020 and completed applications must be sent to Invest Medicine Hat no later than December 31, 2020 by 12:00 p.m.

 For full program details, visit the City of Medicine Hat’s website or contact Invest Medicine Hat directly at 403.529.8148 or by email

Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant

The Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses, cooperatives and non-profit organizations with fewer than 500 employees that faced restrictions or closures from public health orders, and experienced a revenue loss of at least 50 per cent due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those that meet the program’s eligibility criteria can apply for up to $5,000 in funding, which can offset the costs they are facing as they reopen their doors. This includes the costs of implementing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as physical barriers, PPE and cleaning supplies, as well as rent, employee wages, replacing inventory and more.

The program launched with a budget of up to $200 million. Application intake will remain open until Aug. 31, or for four weeks following the start of Stage Three of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy – whichever is later.

Full program details, including eligibility criteria and how to apply, are outlined on the program web page.

Commercial Rent Relief Extended Into August

The Government of Canada announced that the CECRA program is being extended by one month to cover August rents. All provinces and territories are continuing to participate in the program. Find more information and access CECRA.

Funding for protections for Temporary Foreign Workers and Address COVID-19 Outbreaks on Farms

The Government of Canada is going to spend additional money to address COVID-19 outbreaks on farms that are affecting Temporary Foreign Workers. The spending will be directed towards inspections, outreach and education as well as improving living conditions. More information.

New online marketplace for Alberta producers

Farming the Web is now live. Alberta Forage Industry Network (AFIN) created this marketplace for farmers to buy and sell their agriculture-related products and services. Farming the Web replaces the former Alberta Agriculture and Forestry's Ropin' the Web classifieds. This project was funded by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

Improving irrigation in southern Alberta

More than $2.6 million in grant funding will support St. Mary River Irrigation District in managing and delivering water for irrigation in southern Alberta. The grant is part of Alberta’s $10-million Irrigation Rehabilitation Program. This funding will ensure Alberta’s irrigation districts continue to improve water infrastructure that provides water for irrigation and agricultural operations, municipal use, recreation, wildlife and habitat enhancement.

Rehabilitation projects supported by these grants include lining unlined canals, converting canals to pipelines and more. Projects like these increase the water conveyance network’s efficiency, allowing more acres to be irrigated with the existing water allocation. Find information on the irrigation strategy.

New OHS Guidelines 

New guidelines are now available for employers and their employees: 

Psychological hazards: returning to the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic

Occupational health and safety guidance for workers during a pandemic

Find more resources here.

Provincial Government Invests into the TIER Program

Government is investing $10 million into three projects through the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) system which came into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. More information

Supports for Individuals

Search for Alberta’s Artist in Residence begins

The Artist in Residence program will coincide with Month of the Artist this September, to showcase Alberta-based talent while raising awareness of the value and contributions of artists in the province. The program has an emphasis on an arts ambassador role to strengthen promotion and support for artists in Alberta. The residency will last for one year, and the successful artist will develop a project designed to promote the arts in Alberta and engage in community outreach. To apply, and for rules and eligibility, visit the Artist in Residence website.

Passport services in Canada resuming by mail and by appointment for travel in less than 30 days

The Government of Canada has started the gradual resumption of some passport services in Canada.

Canadians can now apply for a passport by mail. If Canadians have an immediate need for a passport or are travelling in less than 30 days with proof of travel, they can request in-person appointments. Applicants can visit to learn more and find out how to apply.

Statistics Canada Collecting Data On The Impacts Of COVID-19 On Canadians' Experiences Of Discrimination

StatsCan is conducting a questionnaire that asks if you have experienced discrimination based on race, sex, gender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability or language, and whether this has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The electronic questionnaire is available until August 17.

Additional COVID-19 homelessness supports

Alberta’s government is providing an additional $48 million to continue providing supports for people struggling with homelessness during the pandemic. This funding will help shelter operators respond to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding will also help community organizations continue operating safe isolation and care centres.

Additional funding ensures expanded shelter sites set up to meet physical distancing guidelines can continue to operate, and will incorporate 24-7 access, where possible. Find shelters and more information.

Updating Alberta’s Wildlife Regulation

Alberta’s Wildlife Regulation sets out rules about wildlife use, such as fees, licences, reporting requirements and hunting and trapping activities. The changes will give hunters and trappers clarity on rules. The amendments take effect on Aug. 25 and will be incorporated in this year’s hunting and trapping guides. More information.

40 Million Masks Provided to Albertans

The Masks for Albertans program has ended, with 40 million non-medical masks being distributed to Albertans, more than half of which were handed out at A&W, McDonald’s Canada and Tim Hortons locations.This distribution of non-medical masks was the first – and so far only – program of its type in Canada.

Community Supports and Resources

Nominate a Shining Volunteer in Your Albertan Community

Nominations are open for the Stars of Alberta Volunteer Awards recognizing those who make a lasting impact in their community. This year, the new Breaking Barriers category will recognize exceptional volunteers who are working to create communities that are diverse and inclusive. Three awards will be presented in this category to individuals or groups who are addressing racism, advocating for LGBTQ2S+ inclusion and fighting gender discrimination in their communities.

Government of Canada announces new measures to support essential air access to remote communities

Today, the government announced new measures to support essential air access to remote communities. These include:

  • Seeking bilateral agreements with provinces and territories to ensure continuity of service for at least six months.
  • Establishing a $75-million funding program for the federal contribution for the first six months and maintaining these essential services through an investment of up to $174 million over 18 months, if needed.
  • Additional funding will depend on the needs of communities and the pace of recovery of air travel into remote communities.
School health measures now include mandatory masks

As part of a number of new school safety measures to combat COVID-19, mask use for Grade 4 to 12 students, and all school staff, will be mandatory when school returns for the 2020-21 year.  While mandatory mask use is for students in Grades 4 to 12 and all staff, all students and staff in public, separate, Francophone, charter and independent schools will receive two reusable masks from Alberta’s government. More than 1.6 million masks will be distributed to 740,000 students and 90,000 staff. Additional single-use masks will be available at schools, if required.

Mask use will be mandatory for staff and teachers in all settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained. Students will be required to wear them in all shared and common areas such as hallways and on buses. Exemptions will be made for students and staff who are unable to wear a mask due to medical or other needs.

Mask use for kindergarten to Grade 3 students will continue to be optional. Mask use for younger children is a challenge due to difficulties with proper fit and compliance. In addition, evidence shows that children under 10 may be less likely than older children or adults to transmit COVID-19.

The chief medical officer of health has been studying the evidence around masking in schools, and this decision is a direct result of evolving medical advice.

Face shields

School staff will receive one reusable face shield for their use in the schools. Shield use is at the discretion of the individual staff member. Plastic face shields can help reduce exposure but are not equivalent to masks. A mask must still be worn while wearing a face shield.

Hand sanitizer

About 466,000 litres of hand sanitizer will be distributed between all school authorities. The specific volume provided to an individual school authority will be based on student population.


Each school will receive two contactless thermometers to assist with managing student and staff health. Thermometer use will be at the discretion of the school authority.

Staff testing

Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services are working hard to expand testing capacity and reduce turnaround times for testing, including in-school staff, teachers and students, so that anyone with symptoms or close contacts of cases can be rapidly tested and receive test results promptly.

All supplies will be distributed to school authorities by the beginning of the 2020-21 school year. Authorities will then distribute to individual schools, staff and/or students based on the needs of their own communities.

Provincial health guidance for a safe return to school will continue to evolve as necessary to reflect the latest evidence on the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Individual school authorities are developing return-to-school plans that meet the needs of their own communities. These plans are based on direction provided under the provincial school re-entry plan, and supporting health guidance documents.

Read Alberta’s Return to School Plan

Nominations are now open for Canada's Volunteer Awards 2020

The call for nominations for Canada's Volunteer Awards is officially until September 30, 2020. By nominating, you are helping to raise awareness of the vital role that volunteers play in strengthening communities across Canada, especially now, during this challenging period of a global pandemic.

Now is the time to nominate a socially responsible business and/or social enterprise for an award in the following categories:

Business Leader - recognizes businesses and social enterprises that demonstrate social responsibility to benefit their communities. 

Social Innovator - recognizes not-for-profit organizations and social enterprises that use innovative approaches to address social challenges in their communities.

In addition to receiving an award at a ceremony from the Government of Canada, recipients can choose a not-for-profit organization to receive a grant of $10,000 (national award) or $5,000 (regional awards). 

Find information on how to Nominate. Contact 1-877-825-0434 or

Changes to the Alberta Curriculum  

Alberta’s government is ending the focus on ‘discovery” or “inquiry” learning by repealing the 2013 ministerial order on student learning and replacing it with a new curriculum. The new curriculum will focus on creating a foundation of literacy and numeracy and a knowledge of the rich and diverse history of Alberta and Canada. It is anticipated that all students attending school in Alberta will be learning from the new K-6 curriculum by the 2022-23 school year. More information

Funding to complete dam safety review

The governments of Canada and Alberta, through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, are helping the Eastern Irrigation District with up to $100,000 in funding to complete a dam safety review.

This project is funded through the partnership’s Emergency Preparedness Program and will provide the district with information about how to improve safety and reduce the risk of dam failure. Find more information.

Explore Alberta at Open Farm Days

Albertans have more opportunities to support local farmers and explore their own backyard this summer with Open Farm Days events taking place across the province. Open Farm Days will take place on Aug. 15 and 16, with about 80 host farms across the province opening their doors to offer open houses, great local food experiences, tours and an opportunity to buy locally Alberta-grown and produced products. Find more information.

Government Of Canada's COVID-19 Resilience' Infrastructure Funding Stream

The federal government announced the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program is being adjusted so that provinces and territories can use federal funding to act quickly on a wider range of more pandemic-resilient infrastructure projects. Under a new COVID-19 Resilience funding stream worth up to $3.3 billion, projects will be eligible for a significantly larger federal cost share – up to 80% for provinces, municipalities and not-for-profit organizations in provinces and raising it to 100% for remote, northern and territorial projects designated under the new stream. More information.

Government Of Canada's Vaccine Task Force Update

The federal government announced the members of its Vaccine Task Force as well as agreements with Pfizer and Moderna to secure doses of COVID-19 vaccine candidates. More information.

Government of Canada's COVID Alert App Is Available

The contract tracing app is available for iOS and Android devices and will alert users if they come into contact with anyone who tests positive for COVID-19. More information.

 Hill Pool Closed for 2020 Season Due to Vandalism

Hill Pool is closed to the public, following an act of vandalism which occurred overnight.

The nature of the vandalism requires the pool to be drained entirely before staff can conduct a full cleaning, including scrubbing the pool surface, as well as thoroughly rinsing out the water lines. Hill Pool will remain closed for the rest of the season as staff work to clean and prepare it for winterization. Swimming lessons scheduled for this location will be cancelled. Parks staff are currently reviewing the ability to accommodate lessons at other facilities.

Strathcona Pool remains open for public swimming. Pre-registration is required. More information is available on the City website.

Hand Sanitizer Recall Expanded Further

A recall that was first initiated in June has again been expanded and now includes more than 40 products. The recalled hand sanitizers are made with ethanol or denaturants that are not acceptable ingredients for use in hand sanitizers in Canada. Please check the list to ensure you are not using a recalled product. View the recall list


Statistics Canada Releases May GDP Numbers

The Canadiam Chamber of Commerce commented on today’s numbers: “May’s GDP numbers demonstrate that our economy is rebounding from all-time lows, but the growth numbers we’re seeing simply represent businesses reopening after needed lockdowns. Apart from a temporary rebound related to businesses reopening, the road to recovery begins now by focusing on the economic fundamentals that will bring back investment, stimulate demand and create new jobs.  We must keep in mind that we are currently projecting a 12% quarterly decline in Q2, which is comparable to hard-hit countries like Italy (12.4%) and a larger quarterly economic downturn than the United States (9.5%). Our economy is still only 90% of the size it was in February, and public sector spending will only get us so far.” See the data from Statistics Canada.

#AirCargoCan...A National Air Cargo Supply Chain Roundtable

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce was joined by the Honourable Marc Garneau, Canada’s Minister of Transport and Deborah Flint, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, for a discussion on the importance of Canada’s air cargo supply chain in our economic recovery and what further action and collaboration is needed from government to ensure the continuing success of this critical industry. Read more.

Canada's Technology Infrastructure Key To Powering Prosperity Post-COVID-19

Canada’s networks, among the highest performing in the world, played a critical role in carrying us through this crisis and will continue to play a central role as we rebuild and secure the country’s future prosperity. Learn about the importance of staying connected and the vital role our networks play in enabling these connections in the latest blog from Rogers. Read more.

Canadian Chamber Responds To New U.S. Tariffs On Canadian Aluminum

This afternoon President Trump announced a 10% tariff on raw aluminum imports from Canada. We have urged immediate action to have the tariffs removed. Read the Canadian Chamber’s Statement

Health Canada's Economic Relief For The Cannabis Industry Falls Well Short, Says The Canadian Chamber

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s National Cannabis Working Group issued a statement in response to the Order Amending the Cannabis Fees Order (Extension of Deadline for Payment of 2020-2021 Annual Fee) published in the Canada Gazette, Part II.

New Resources

Register your business with Ownr

Ownr is the simplest, most convenient way to register or incorporate your business and build your brand. Find more information.

Navigator Resilience: Building Back Better Report

HSBC recently launched the Navigator Resilience: Building Back Better Report, which surveyed more than 2,600 companies globally and sought to uncover how businesses are dealing with the unprecedented crisis of COVID-19. The research shows that even amid a challenging first half of 2020, businesses in Canada and around the world have shown notable resiliency – and many are embracing a more sustainable future. See full report.

Join the Alberta Perspectives Community and Have Your Voice Heard

This week, the Alberta Chamber of Commerce was proud to launch the Alberta Perspectives community—an exciting new hub for Alberta's job creators to hear about new surveys and see research results. Sign up here

Featured Webinars

The Key To Employee Well-Being During And After The Pandemic | August 10 at 2:00 p.m. ET

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 now

August 12, 1:00 p.m. ET | Getting Back To Business: Adapting Your Marketing Message For The New "Business As Usual", With Canada Post

As the retail landscape has dramatically changed over the last few months, small businesses have had to navigate challenges they may not have anticipated. Regardless of the scenario, companies had to adapt their business models at the onset of the pandemic and are now faced with the next phase, transitioning into “business as usual.” 

In this webinar, Mamta Dogra, Senior Manager, Small Business Marketing at Canada Post, will share tips and resources on how to get your message in-market as you adapt your business, generate renewed brand awareness and find the right customers. Register now.

Planes, Trains, Trucks (and Ships) Oh My! COVID-19 Impacts on Logistics – Wednesday, August 12, 2020 from 1 to 2:30 pm. 

This webinar will help with navigating the challenges of transporting products in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and help find solutions. Christian Siviere of Solimpex is the presenter of the first 3 webinars in this series. Register now.

Using technology to give your business an edge-August 13

This panel will answer your questions on how to incorporate technology in your growing business and how to use the online world to give you business an edge. Participants will gain a better understanding of basic technology to support small business, how to build your own online presence as well as have the opportunity to connect with our panel of experts with your burning technology questions. Register now

So You Think You Can Export? Exporting 101, Part 1 – Thursday, August 20, 2020 from 1 to 2:30 pm. 

This webinar will give an overall view of what is needed to know to export goods abroad with a focus on agricultural products. Register now.

Pivot Your Business During and Post-Pandemic with Non-Branded Manufacturing – Wednesday, September 9, 2020 from 1 to 2 pm. 

This webinar will explain some options to help pivot your business during the pandemic with non-branded manufacturing as the main driver. Ron Lewis of Trajectory the presenter of this and the next webinar. Register now.

How to Enter the Foodservice Sector – Thursday, October 15, 2020 from 1 to 2 pm. 

This webinar will provide insights into preparing your company to penetrate the foodservice sector. Register now.

Save the dates!

Competent Boards, our EBS partner, will be hosting a series of roundtables on a variety of  topics. Registration details to come shortly!

August 25, 1:30 p.m. ET Workforce Strategies & Inclusive Growth

August 26, 1:30 p.m. ET Strengthening Public Health Infrastructure

September 1, 1:30 p.m. ET  Natural Resources & Sustainable Growth

September 8, 1:30 p.m. ET  Adopting Technology & Innovation

September 15, 1:30 p.m. ET  International Policy & Trade

Upcoming Webinars

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

August 12: Getting Back To Business: Adapting Your Marketing Message For The New "Business As Usual" Register now.

August 12: Planes, Trains, Trucks (and Ships) Oh My! COVID-19 Impacts on Logistics Register now.

August 13: Using technology to give your business an edge-August 13 Register now

August 20: So You Think You Can Export? Exporting 101, Part 1 Register now.

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