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Weekly Update: September 11 – 17, 2020

Supports for Business

Alberta’s Investment and Growth Strategy (IGS) 

A government-wide strategy will create jobs and drive investment and diversification in Alberta, while a new consultation will modernize intellectual property in the province. Alberta’s Investment and Growth Strategy (IGS) is a $75-million initiative led by the Ministry of Jobs, Economy and Innovation.  In addition a consultation with the technology sector to modernize Alberta’s intellectual property laws will be conducted. More information.

Creating innovative jobs and building for the future

Alberta Innovates and Western Economic Diversification Canada are providing funding to the Smart Sustainable Resilient Infrastructure Association (SSRIA). The funding will be used to establish a network of test buildings for small and medium-sized construction firms to develop new innovations in energy-efficient construction through testing, commercializing and adoption of new products and technologies.

Canada Employment Insurance Commission sets 2021 Employment Insurance Premium Rate and Maximum Insurable Earnings

As a result of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada used its authority under the Employment Insurance Act to temporarily limit the change in the premium rate to zero in order to freeze the EI premium rate for 2021 and 2022 at the 2020 level. The EI premium rate is $1.58 per $100 of insurable earnings for employees and $2.21 for employers who pay 1.4 times the employee rate. More information.

Business Scale-up and Productivity

BSP supports high-growth businesses that are scaling up and producing innovative goods, services or technologies. It offers interest free repayable funding to incorporated businesses. Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is taking steps to streamline and improve the BSP program for western Canada’s businesses and entrepreneurs. WD will be accepting expressions of interest on the following dates:

• September 15 – October 14, 2020
• January 15 – February 16, 2021

Government of Canada invests in clean technology start-ups from around the country

The Government of Canada announced an investment of $24.8 million in nine small businesses across Canada that are using innovative solutions to tackle climate change, support well-paying jobs and create a more sustainable future. The nine projects, including three in Alberta, are receiving funding and support from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), which finds, funds and fosters the game-changing technologies that are critical in a low-carbon economy.

Sustainability gets a boost in Alberta with federal funding for green projects through FCM

The Government of Canada and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), announced more than $8.7 million for four projects in Alberta through GMF. More information.

Supports for Individuals

Alberta is shifting to targeted COVID-19 testing

To reduce testing wait times, speed up access to results and support Albertans during influenza season and the winter months, any Albertan with symptoms, is a close contact of a confirmed case or linked to an outbreak will continue to be tested as usual. Voluntary asymptomatic testing will continue to be offered for priority groups that are most at risk of spreading COVID-19 to vulnerable or at-risk populations. This includes:

  • school teachers and staff
  • residents and staff in congregate settings
  • health-care workers
  • Albertans experiencing homelessness
  • travellers who require testing prior to departure

Voluntary asymptomatic testing is no longer recommended for other Albertans who have no symptoms and no suspected exposure to COVID-19.

Alberta’s online map lists every school where there are two or more confirmed cases and an outbreak is declared. The map is updated Monday to Friday, on school days, and will also list schools that have shifted into scenario 2 or 3 to protect the health of students and staff. Read more.

COVID-19 measures for youth and students

The Government of Canada released an update on COVID-19 measures to support youth and students including the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS), Canada Emergency Student Benefit, Canada Summer Jobs 2020, Enhancing Student Financial Assistance for fall 2020 and the Student Work Placement (SWP) Program.

Community Supports and Resources

Medicine Hat Transit Introduces On-Demand Pilot Project to NE/NW

A new on-demand system, MHTnow, will begin operating on Monday, September 28, 2020. The pilot project will be limited in scope, replacing the current weekday evening service in the northeast and northwest areas for the duration of the pilot, which will run until the end of 2020. More information.

Alberta's Recovery Plan

The Government of Alberta has released its expanded recovery plan.

Next Steps for the Safe Restart Agreement

Provinces and territories were asked to outline in a letter how these funds from the federal government would best be allocated within their jurisdictions, based on their priorities. Read Alberta's letter.


Tax Reform: Canadians To Have Their Say Through Canadian Chamber Review

Everybody agrees that Canada’s tax system is outdated and uncompetitive, but few agree on where to start. That’s where our tax review project comes in, and we want to hear from you. As COVID-19 continues to affect the ability of Canadians to come together in person, we have launched a new website,, to collect your ideas on potential tax reforms that will help businesses and individuals recover from the economic impact of COVID-19. Read the news release and contribute your ideas.

Freeze the Alcohol Tax Campaign

In 2017, the federal government introduced a measure that will further increase taxes on Canadians on beer, wine and spirits every single year. This escalator tax increases the excise duty rate on alcohol every April 1, which increases the cost of alcohol for Canadians while making domestic producers less competitive.

What was a bad idea in 2017 looks even worse as Canadians navigate their way through the COVID-19 pandemic. After the year we have had, Canadians do not deserve an automatic annual tax increase on their favorite alcoholic beverage. Find more information.

Canadian Chamber Welcomes Lifting Of Unjustified U.S. Aluminum Tariffs

The United States removed its tariffs on Canadian aluminum hours before Canada was set to announce its retaliatory measures. However, the United States has not unconditionally lifted its tariffs on Canadian aluminum and continues to seek to restrict market-driven trade flows. We call on the United States to fully and without precondition remove the threat that tariffs could be re-imposed in the future. Read the Canadian Chamber statement and the USTR statement.

New Resources

5 Minutes For Business: A Severe Recession And Uneven Recovery

On September 10, we had the honour of hosting Tiff Macklem, newly appointed Governor of the Bank of Canada, to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our economy and the progress made on economic recovery.

Governor Macklem showed us that Canada’s economy saw the sharpest drop on record this past spring, causing the most severe global downturn since the Great Depression. The economy saw the steepest decline in the second quarter. Gross domestic product fell about 13% in the first half of the year. Read 5 Minutes for Business.

Featured Webinars

September 21

CETA's Coming into Force | Register HERE

September 22

Future Of Transportation: Rail | Register HERE

September 22nd

Updated Humane Transport Regulations | Register HERE

The Journey of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Tech Adoption | Register HERE

September 23rd

Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) Training Program | Register HERE

Crisis Communications In Times Of Pandemic: Maintaining Your Brand While Facing Financial Challenges | Register HERE

September 24th

Attract Your Dream Clients Without Spending All Your Time on Social Media | Register HERE

Recalling Your Workforce After COVID-19  | Register HERE

POS buying guide Webinar | Register HERE

Lessons Learned Through COVID-19 | Register HERE

September 25th

Exit Planning for Alberta Business Owners | Register HERE

October 5th

NAFTA 2.0 (CUSMA): How does it work and what's new? | Register HERE

November 5th

Mental Health S.O.S - Hosted by the Medicine Hat Chapter Committee | Register HERE

Various Dates

September 17-December 3: Family Business Transition - In Depth Workshop Series | Register HERE

September - October: The Oil & Gas Council's Webinar Debate Series | Register HERE

October 1 - November 4:  Think Small And Aim High With Canada Post’s Small Business Digital Event Series | Register HERE

Upcoming Webinars
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