Weekly Update: October 30 – November 5, 2020
Supports for Business
Government introduces legislation for new, targeted support to help businesses through pandemic
The Federal government introduced Bill C-9, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy), which would implement new, targeted support to help businesses. As previously announced, the business supports include:
- The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, which would provide direct and easy-to-access rent and mortgage interest support to tenants and property owners until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19. The new rent subsidy would support businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop by providing support up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020. The government is proposing to allow claims retroactively for the period that began September 27 and ended October 24, 2020.
- The new Lockdown Support, which would provide an additional 25 percent through the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy for qualifying organizations that are subject to a lockdown and must shut their doors or significantly limit their activities under a public health order issued under the laws of Canada, a province or territory (including orders made by a municipality or regional health authority under one of those laws). Combined, this would mean that hard-hit businesses subject to a lockdown could receive rent support of up to 90 percent.
- The extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy until June 2021, which would continue to protect jobs by helping employers keep employees on the payroll and re-hire their workers. The wage subsidy would remain at the current rate of up to 65 percent of eligible wages until December 19, 2020.
New Employment Standards in Effect
There are new employment standards that were announced in July and have come into effect as of November 1, 2020. Find information on the new changes here and see the fact sheets to help understand the new rules.
Government of Canada extends support program for farmers and processors to protect temporary foreign workers' health and safety during pandemic
The federal government announced that the Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program will be extended until November 30, 2020. The decision follows the Government of Canada's announcement to extend the Quarantine Act to the same date. The Act requires anyone arriving from outside Canada, including temporary foreign workers, to undergo a mandatory 14-day isolation period upon arriving in Canada. More information.
Funding to Alberta through the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund
The federal government announced approximately $100 million from the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund to support initiatives in Alberta aimed at growing the clean economy. Projects funded through these programs can include operational energy retrofits, the scaling up of biofuel production, clean technology deployment, and geothermal generation. More information.
Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program (APIP) is now open
APIP offers a direct financial incentive on new petrochemical or fertilizer facilities, or on expansions to existing ones. Once a project is up and running, companies that have successfully applied will receive grants worth 12 per cent of their eligible capital costs and the grant will be issued in the final step in the process, ensuring that only projects already built and employing Albertans receive funds. View the announcement along with the grant overview and application process here.
Funding for Emissions Reduction Alberta Programs
Alberta’s government is using up to $280 million from the TIER system and LCELF to fund three Emissions Reduction Alberta programs. Up to $180 million from the TIER fund and up to $100 million from LCELF will support innovative projects for small, medium and large industries across all sectors in Alberta. Projects can include technologies like carbon capture, utilization and storage, industrial energy efficiency and geothermal to help facilities lower emissions, create investment opportunities and cut costs. More information.
Changes to Insurance Act
Alberta’s government is proposing changes that will contain costs and stabilize premiums in the auto insurance system while increasing medical benefits to support Albertans injured in collisions. Other changes include cutting red tape and bringing efficiencies to the system to give Alberta drivers more options and flexibility. In addition, Alberta’s government will consider recommendations of the Automobile Insurance Advisory Committee, which was tasked with reviewing Alberta’s auto insurance system. More information.
Beekeeper Stock Replacement Program Expanded
The governments of Canada and Alberta are expanding and extending the Alberta Beekeeper Stock Replacement Program. Now accepting applications, the Canadian Agricultural Partnership program will help Alberta’s beekeepers offset increased colony replacement costs by ensuring any queens purchased between April 1 and Sept. 30 will be eligible for funding, and by extending the submission deadline to Jan. 29, 2021. More information.
Federal Government Sets Immigration Targets
The federal government tabled the 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plans today, which sets out a path for increases to immigration targets. Although Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) continued to accept and process applications throughout the pandemic, the global travel restrictions and capacity constraints led to a shortfall in admissions over the last several months. To compensate for the shortfall and ensure Canada has the workers it needs to fill crucial labour market gaps and remain competitive on the world stage, the 2021 to 2023 levels plan aims to continue welcoming immigrants at a rate of about 1% of the population of Canada. More information.
Updates to Financial Services Sector Legislation
If passed, Bill 44, the Financial Statutes Amendment Act, 2020, will update seven pieces of financial services sector legislation. The legislation that will be amended includes the Credit Union Act, the ATB Financial Act, Loan and Trust Corporations Act, Financial Administration Act, Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Credit Union Amendment Act, and the Local Authorities Capital Financing Act. Read more about the proposed changes.
Financing Alberta's Strategic Transportation Act (FAST) Introduced
The Financing Alberta’s Strategic Transportation (FAST) Act will enable Alberta’s government to pay for new or expanded transportation infrastructure by collecting user fees. The legislation explicitly forbids user fees on existing lanes and bridges. The FAST Act only enables user fees if there is a toll-free alternative and mandates that Albertans must be engaged before a project can be built using user fees. More information.
Drive-Thru Recruitment Events
Are you looking for employees? Sign up to participate in the next Drive-Thru Recruitment Event on Wed Nov 25th! The Medicine Hat YMCA Employment Centre along with partners Medicine Hat College and Government of Alberta have created a series of FREE drive-thru job fairs to assist you with your hiring needs in a COVID-friendly environment. Space is limited to the number of employers, so please CLICK HERE to apply by noon on Monday, November 9th.
Recruiting for Hard-to-fill Positions
Are you currently or chronically struggling to fill certain specific positions within your business/organization? What occupations are in low supply, remain unfilled, or are difficult to recruit? Do you have ideas/suggestions/comments on how to attract skilled labour to our region? Email Melanie.Friesen@gov.ab.ca.
Export Readiness Program
Alberta businesses have plenty to offer other provinces and the rest of the world. Knowing this, we designed the Export Readiness Program to help you reach new domestic and international markets. Through the program you will work with a Business Link Strategist trained to provide advice and guidance as you start your export journey. More information.
Supports for Individuals
Expanded Intern Partnership for Students
Mitacs is a national, not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving challenges with research solutions from academic institutions. Mitacs is funded by the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta, along with the other provincial and territorial governments. Alberta will now expand its support to other Mitacs programs to add about 1,275 new internship opportunities annually, through an additional $5-million investment each year over the next three years. More information.
Creation of Alberta's Heroes Fund Proposed
Creating the Alberta’s Heroes Fund will improve benefits for the families of fallen first responders. The Heroes Fund will provide a one-time tax-free payment of $100,000 to eligible families through the Workers’ Compensation Board. Eligible first responders include firefighters, police officers, paramedics, sheriffs and provincial corrections officers. Alberta’s Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) will administer the Heroes Fund and will begin identifying eligible families and administering payments, which are retroactive to April 1, 2020. More information.
Community Supports and Resources
City Announces Accelerated Financially Fit Initiative
The City of Medicine Hat announced today the Accelerated Financially Fit Initiative, fast tracking the initial effort launched by City Council in 2016. The original initiative committed to finding $23M in annual net cost reduction in response to the loss of the City’s commodity-based revenues. Over the past four years, the initiative has solved approximately one-third of the target, but with increasing financial pressures, the gap is growing - shortening the time the City has to execute solutions. Read the press release.
Re-opening the Veiner Centre: Better Together
The Veiner Centre will reopen its doors on Monday, November 9, 2020, reconnecting its members through limited activities while keeping health and safety a priority.
The Centre will operate under reduced hours, from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, Monday to Friday. Fitness Classes will start November 16. In-person registration will be available from November 9-13.The Bistro will be open from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm for beverages Lunch will not be available at this time. More information.
New supports for Indigenous peoples and communities
The federal government announced new funding to provide support to Indigenous peoples and communities including support for early learning and child care facilities, reserve infrastructure and post-secondary institutions. More information.
November is Movember
November is a month where we focus on men's health, both physical and mental. The Minister of Health released a statement on Movember and included information on confidential provincial addiction and mental health supports. See the full statement.
Health Statutes Act Proposed Amendments
The provincial government announced proposed amendments to the Health Statutes Act. Some of the proposed changes include regulating health care aides, establishing a centralized online registry of health professionals, authorizing health organizations and professionals to share information in Alberta Netcare. More information.
New Labour Bill proposed - Bill 47, Ensuring Safety and Cutting Red Tape Act
The goal of the legislation, as stated by the provincial government, is to make workplace safety laws easier to understand and create a more sustainable workers' compensation system. See the amendments and changes to the OHS Act.
Chamber/Business Council Pen Op-Ed On Government Spending During COVID-19
With finite public resources available, we need to look carefully at the return on investment of government spending. We need to make sure federal spending focuses on quality over quantity. Read more.
Chamber Issues Statement Today on Workforce Resilience
As Canadian governments plan for a post-pandemic reset and recovery, ensuring businesses have workers with the skills to help them transform and innovate should be a high priority. Read more.
Canadian Chamber welcomes rent and CEWS legislation; calls for changes and all-party cooperation for swift amendments and passage
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Director of Parliamentary Affairs and SME Policy, Alla Drigola, released a statement on Bill C-9, concerning commercial rent support and the wage subsidy. While the Canadian Chamber welcomed the extension and redesign of these programs there are still improvements that can be made. Read the full statement.
250+ Businesses And Associations Join Together To Urge The Finance Minister To Halt Planned Tax Hike Amid Pandemic
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce have made public a letter sent to Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland on October 30. The letter from our President and CEO, the Hon. Perrin Beatty, is co-signed by 261 businesses and associations and urges the federal government to freeze its planned excise tax increase on alcoholic beverages, currently scheduled for April 1. Read more.
Chronic Condition Calculator
Developed in a collaboration between the Conference Board of Canada and Shoppers this calculator lets you input data and see how much chronic conditions are costing your business annually.
Recovery Interviews with Business Members
During our AGM and Conference, we played a short series of recovery interviews featuring three of our business members. We are pleased to share these videos here.
New and updated OHS resources
- Emergency response planning: an occupational health and safety tool kit for the hospitality industry
- Workplace ergonomics considerations arising from the COVID-19 pandemic
- Operating during a pandemic webinar
- Find more COVID-19 resources
OHS Code Review Plan
The OHS Code three-year review plan for 2020-2023 is now available. The plan provides OHS with an opportunity to improve health and safety outcomes while enabling innovation, competitiveness and streamlining of requirements. Work has begun on reviewing Parts of the Code for Year 1. Public consultation is planned for early 2021. Watch eNews for Code review stakeholder engagement opportunities.
Build a COVID-19 toolkit
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety has a build-your-own-toolkit for COVID-19 resources. Simply check off the resources you need – ranging from a workplace health and safety guide to tip sheets and posters – and download them into a package for reference or distribution.
Preparing For Smart And Sustainable Growth To Benefit Canadian Businesses (Port of Vancouver) | Register here.
Building Strategic Community Partnerships | Register here.
How to Use Social Media to Build Customer Confidence – Travel Alberta Panel Discussion | Register here.
The Role Of Technology For Business Transformation In A Post-Covid Economy | Register here.
Solar Installations on the Farm | Register here.
3 Things You Can Learn from Your Customers | Register here.
The E-commerce Experience | Register here.
Human Rights And Your Supply Chain for Business Professionals | Register here.
The Tourism Industry Association of Canada's virtual Tourism Congress | Register here.
Empowering connected workers of the future: AI for improved efficiency, safety and job satisfaction | Register here.
How Canadian Companies Can Navigate 'Business as Unusual' | Register here.
Human Rights And Your Supply Chain for Board Professionals | Register here.
The Tourism Industry Association of Canada's virtual Tourism Congress | Register here.
Policy and a Pint - U.S. Election Results and Ramifications. What Lies Ahead? | Register here.
Searching for Purpose & Engagement in Challenging Times | Register here.
Employee Engagement | Register here.
Canada-Japan Trade and Investment Opportunities | Register here.
Executive Western Summit Series with Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos | Register here
Grant Writing 101 - A Live Interactive Webinar | Register here.
Energy Savings for Business Information Session | Register here.
Resilience in the Workplace | Register here.
TourismRecovery.ca Webinar Series | View Resources here and upcoming sessions below:
- Building Strategic Community Partnerships
Tuesday, November 10 – 12:00 PM MT
- Adapting to New Market Realities:
Products, Pricing, Placement, Positioning
Tuesday, November 24 – 12:00 PM MT
- Workforce Power Session
Wednesday, December 9 – 12:00 PM MT
Board Leadership Calgary 2020 Virtual Learning Event
- Board Governance Basics - Introduction to the Essentials of Effective Partnerships
Saturday, November 7 - 10:00 AM
- Funding and Financial Management - Cash Flow Management in Times of Uncertainty
Friday, November 27 - 12:00 PM
- People / Human Work - Anti-Racism and Equity for Everyone
Friday, December 11 - 12:00 PM
- Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE)'s Bold Leadership Courses in November | Register here.
- Women's Entrepreneur Day Virtual Conference | Register here.