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Weekly Update: August 7-13, 2020

Supports for Business

Government To Provide Additional Funding To Ensure Continued Air Access To Remote Communities

The Government of Canada has announced that it is seeking bilateral agreements with provinces and territories to ensure continuity of essential transportation services to remote communities for at least six months and will establish a $75 million funding program to cover the federal share of the costs. The funding may be increased to $174 million over 18 months, if needed. More information.

Grant deadline for rural Alberta is approaching

The deadline for UFA's Rural Communities Foundation grant is August 31, 2020. This grant is designed to improve the sustainability of farmers and ranchers in the province by improving access to funding for educational, recreational and cultural facilities and program in those communities. Download the application and guidelines.

Government Of Canada Sets National Temporary Minimum Unemployment Rate For EI Benefits Calculations

As the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is set to wind down at the end of August, the federal government has temporarily adjusted the Employment Insurance (EI) program’s unemployment rate to 13.1%, which will be applied nationally (except for in areas where the actual rate is higher). This temporary measure will set a uniform eligibility requirement for EI regular benefits, provide a minimum entitlement of 26 weeks of benefits and set the number of best weeks of earnings used in the calculation of the weekly benefit rate at 14. More information.

Government of Canada launches updated Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Calculator to support employers

The federal government  launched an updated and improved Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy online calculator. It will help small and large employers alike prepare to apply for the next period of the CEWS program, which will open for applications on August 17, 2020. More information.

The CEWS calculator can be found on the CRA’s Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy web page, which includes detailed information to help employers understand how the CEWS can support their employees and operations, who is eligible to apply, and how claim periods are structured. The calculator uses a step-by-step approach to get employers to enter information about their business situation to provide an estimate of the subsidy they can expect to receive.

The International Chamber Of Commerce (ICC) To Host Smart Trade Venture Day Competition

The ICC’s Centre for Entrepreneurship is running a Smart Trade Venture Day competition in partnership with IE University. The competition is a global challenge for start-ups that seeks to find compelling smart trade initiatives related to a post-COVID-19 world. Projects highlighting trade digitalization, health, supply chain resilience, trade finance, access to finance, sustainable trade as well as issues relevant to helping small business are of particular interest. More information.

Riipen Contest: Free Support For Your Organization

We’ve launched a contest to win one of 500 Riipen premium licenses, each valued at $2,500! Let brilliant students help you with your business, chamber or association while they gain the experience they need to succeed in the future. This contest is made possible by Riipen, one of our Essential Business Service partners. Participation is free, and the contest closes August 17. Apply now.

Maintaining Strong Irrigation Systems

The Irrigation Rehabilitation Program (IRP) is providing $10 million in funding to the province’s irrigation districts for infrastructure improvements.This funding will help ensure there is water for irrigation and agricultural operations, municipal use, recreation, wildlife and habitat enhancements.

IRP funds are often used to replace open channel irrigation canals with buried underground pipelines that reduce water loss through seepage and evaporation. Water that would otherwise be lost is then available for irrigation and other uses. More information

Relaunching Funding for Community Projects

Alberta’s government is reopening the Community Initiatives Program Project-Based grant stream to support economic recovery and build social connections. Alberta’s non-profit and community organizations can now apply to the Sept. 15 intake of the Community Initiatives Program Project-Based grant stream, which aims to foster healthy and vibrant communities across Alberta. Funding will focus on events, festivals, programs and projects delivered in innovative and creative ways that align with public health measures. More information

Plant Based Food Sector Receives Federal Support

The government announced more than $2.6 million in federal funding for the Food Processing Development Centre in Leduc, Alberta.This investment will support the installation of equipment specifically focused on supporting companies to develop new plant-based foods and products.

Supports for Individuals

Supporting first responders’ mental health

Over the next three years, $4.5 million will support mental health treatment for first responders, including leading-edge research, prevention and stigma reduction. Alberta’s government is committed to providing additional mental health supports to better equip first responders to manage post-traumatic stress injuries.

Grants totaling $1.5 million per year will be awarded to non-profit organizations and researchers working to improve first responder mental health. Applications to the Supporting Psychological Health in First Responders grant will be open until Sept. 20

Community Supports and Resources

Nominate a shining volunteer in your community

Nominations are open for the Stars of Alberta Volunteer Awards recognizing those who make a lasting impact in their community.

The Stars of Alberta awards highlight and pay tribute to volunteers who give their time, energy and skills to make a difference in the lives of Albertans. Two awards are given in each of the following categories:

  • Youth (up to 24 years of age)
  • Adult
  • Senior

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. Albertans are encouraged to submit nominations online. The deadline for nominations is Sept. 15. Find more information.

Exploring safe, small-scale nuclear technology

Alberta will enter into an agreement with three other provinces to explore emerging, small-scale nuclear technology that could lower emissions and help diversify the energy sector. More information.

Masks for schools procurement

Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange issued a statement on the procurement of reusable masks for students and staff for the 2020-21 school year. Read the statement.

New Surplus Food Rescue Program

The Surplus Food Rescue Program is a $50 million initiative which will help to support Canada’s food system, food processors, and food producers, and distributors to help ensure food availability for all Canadians.

Funding will be used to help manage and redirect existing surpluses to organizations addressing food insecurity and ensure that these surplus products are not wasted.

New Healthy Communities Initiative 

The government has announced a new Canada Healthy Communities Initiative will help local governments and community partners as they adapt to local economic, health and social challenges. The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative will provide up to $31 million in federal funding to support community-led solutions that respond to immediate and ongoing needs arising from COVID-19 over the next two years.

The Initiative will fund smaller-scale local projects under three main themes: creating safe and vibrant public spaces, improving mobility options, and digital solutions. The goal is to fund projects that quickly help communities, including rural and remote communities, adapt to the new reality of COVID-19.

Increased Funding to the Indigenous Community Support Fund

The government announced an additional $305 million to support Indigenous Peoples during the COVID-19 pandemic, through the Indigenous Community Support Fund.

This fund can be used for a wide variety of measures such as supporting Elders and vulnerable community members, addressing food insecurity, educational and other supports for children, mental health assistance and emergency response services, preparedness measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and more.


Canadian Chamber Responds To Labour Force Survey Numbers

Positive job growth across the country and sectors continues the three-month trend of an economy that is slowly reopening. This initial return to work is promising, but today’s numbers demonstrate that momentum is slowing and that we have an extended recovery period ahead of us. Read the statement.

2021 Pre-Budget Submission

As the federal government prepares its 2021 budget and looks for new ideas on how to drive the economy forward, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce  has made a submission to the Standing Committee on Finance for its 2021 budget consultations. The Roadmap to Recovery forms the foundation of the submission, which makes 33 specific recommendations to promote private sector economic growth and competitiveness. Read the submission.

5 Minutes For Business: The Costs Of Complacency

It is hard not to see how complacency played a role in our collective pandemic prevention and preparedness. In this edition of 5 Minutes for Business, we take a look at this and how we can overcome our economic complacency. Read more.

Mark Agnew Addresses Aluminum Tariffs On BNN Bloomberg

Our Senior Director of International Policy Mark Agnew, appeared on Bloomberg Markets with Amanda Lang to discuss the U.S. reimposing tariffs on Canadian aluminum and the need to address fundamental international trade issues. Watch the interview.

Join Us For The Bank Of Canada’s Economic Progress Report

We are hosting the Governor of the Bank of Canada, Tiff Macklem, for the Bank of Canada’s Economic Progress Report. The event will take place on September 10 at 12:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on the Bank of Canada’s website. Register now

New Resources

International Chamber Of Commerce (ICC) and International Organization For Migration (IOM) Publish COVID-19 Guidance On The Protection For Migrant Workers

To help companies address the specific challenges of migrant workers, the ICC and the IOM have published Guidance on the Protection for Migrant Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic. This publication includes general principles as well as specific recommendations relating to physical and mental health, living and working conditions, economic support, ethical recruitment and supply chain transparency commitments. The guidance is adapted from IOM’s more detailed COVID-19 guidance for employers and business to enhance migrant worker protection during the pandemic. Access the guide.

Featured Webinars

Webinar Recording: Working Remotely Through A Crisis And Flex Work Long Term, With CWB Financial

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce were joined by Canadian Western Bank’s Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President of Client Solutions for a webinar to discuss the future of working remotely through a crisis and the long-term outlook for flex work. Get tips for setting up effective work areas for employees and for supporting employees’ mental health as well as learn about what major cybersecurity threats exist for SMEs now and post-pandemic. Watch now.

Executive Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Online Panel Series: Leveraging The SDGs To Achieve A Sustainable And Competitive Canadian Economy Post-COVID-19

Canadian board members, executives, investors and leaders are invited to join us for the upcoming online Executive SDGs Panel Series. We hope you will join us for these important conversations with speakers including our President and CEO, the Honourable Perrin Beatty, PC, OC. Register online

  • Session 1: Workforce Strategies and Inclusive Growth (August 25, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. ET)
  • Session 2: Strengthening Public Health Infrastructure (August 26, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. ET)
  • Session 3: Natural Resources and Sustainable Growth (September 1, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. ET)
  • Session 4: Adopting Technology and Innovation (September 8, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. ET)
  • Session 5: International Policy and Trade (September 15, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. ET)


August 27, 1:00 p.m. ET | Building Digital Resiliency During COVID-19, With TC Energy

Digital innovation was the foundation that enabled TC’s employees to remain productive, collaborative and connected in the wake of the pandemic. Embracing change allows organizations to accomplish things they didn’t know were possible – it unlocks creativity and innovation, inspiring and motiving people to realize untapped potential and deliver outstanding business outcomes to build business resilience. Register now


Candy Consulting workshop: August 20

The Planning with Vision: An Event Planners Vision Boarding Workshop helps in-house and do-it-yourself event planners look at a balanced approach to their lives and planning activities. 

Register online (enter promo code ACCGUEST at the top of the tickets page before checking out)

Upcoming Webinars

August 20: Event Planners Vision Boarding Workshop Register online

August 27: Building Digital Resiliency During COVID-19. Register now

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