Weekly Update: November 20-26, 2020
Supports for Business
Chamber responds to State of Public Health Emergency
The Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce issued a statement in response to the Government of Alberta update on Covid 19. "We need to bring down our case counts and it will take the effort of each individual to make this happen. We all need to work together on our common goal of keeping our businesses and our economy open, to prevent further restrictions and to keep everyone safe". Read the press release for more details on the restrictions for business and support links available. Business and service restrictions take effect on November 27th and working from home should be considered where possible. If businesses who are required to reduce their occupancy to 25% are uncertain of the occupancy loads, they can refer to the guidance provided by Fire Services.
New, targeted support to help businesses through pandemic received Royal Assent
Bill C-9, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy) received Royal Assent, implementing new, targeted support to help hard-hit businesses. Read more.
Applications now open for the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy
Businesses and organizations can now apply directly for rent subsidy for the period from September 27 to October 24, 2020 through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) My Business Account, or Represent a Client portals. Applications for the second CERS period (October 25 to November 21, 2020) will open on November 30 and applications for the November 22 – December 19 period will open on December 23. The CRA has also launched a CERS online calculator and application form that are designed almost identically to those of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). The calculator guides applicants through a step-by-step process that allows them to determine the subsidy amount they can claim, based on the information they enter. The new and improved rent relief program provides payments directly to renters and property owners without requiring the participation of landlords and is scalable based on the percentage of revenue loss. Read the full press release here.
If your business or organization experienced a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible to have up to 65 per cent of expenses covered. There is no minimum revenue drop required to qualify for the subsidy. In addition, if your business or organization has been required to close due to COVID-19 public health orders, you may be eligible to have an additional 25 per cent of expenses covered. Your application must be filed no later than 180 days after the end of a claim period. CERS will be in place until June 2021, but there could be changes to its parameters in the new year, depending on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting businesses.
Second Payment Available from Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant
In light of additional temporary health measures announced in November, the Government of Alberta is ensuring affected small and medium-sized businesses receive additional support through the opportunity to apply for a second payment from the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant.
Job creators that have experienced a 40 per cent revenue loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic will qualify for the grant, lowering the threshold from the existing 50 per cent revenue loss requirement. This 40 per cent threshold will be available to impacted businesses retroactive to March.
Job creators that meet the program’s eligibility criteria can apply for 15 per cent of their pre-COVID-19 monthly revenue, up to a maximum of $5,000 in funding, which can offset the costs they are facing as they relaunch their businesses. 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.
Full program details, including eligibility criteria and how to apply, are outlined on the program web page. Applications will be open until March 31, 2021, unless otherwise communicated. More information.
TELUS Launches $10M Fund for Social Responsible Investing
TELUS announced that it has launched its TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good, a $100-million fund to back enterprises aiming to sell “socially responsible” products and services. More information.
Canada’s Centre for Regulatory Innovation supports the development of new and emerging products
Boosting Alberta trucking jobs, training
The new Driving Back to Work grant program will make the Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) required to earn a Class 1 commercial licence more affordable. The new Experience and Equivalency program will reduce the time it takes for Class 3 drivers to upgrade to a Class 1 licence. The $3-million Driving Back to Work grant program will cover up to 90 per cent of the cost of the MELT program for 300 unemployed Albertans to earn a Class 1 commercial truck driver licence. Find out more.
Applications open for the Black Entrepreneurship Program’s National Ecosystem Fund and Knowledge Hub
The National Ecosystem Fund will provide funding to Black-led not-for-profit business organizations to strengthen their capacity to provide support, financial planning services and business training for Black entrepreneurs and business owners. Black-led not-for-profit business organizations that serve Black entrepreneurs and Black-owned businesses are encouraged to apply through the National Ecosystem Fund web page by December 21, 2020. Read more.
Government of Canada launches Food Waste Reduction Challenge
The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada launched the first two streams of the Government of Canada’s Food Waste Reduction Challenge. Challenge Streams A and B are now open for concept applications with a closing date of January 18, 2021. Up to $10.8 million will be awarded to innovators with an innovative way of “doing business” (that is, a new business model) that can prevent or divert food waste at any point from farm-to-plate. Find out more.
Supports for Individuals
Albertans downloading tracer app
All Albertans are encouraged to download the secure ABTraceTogether app, which is integrated with provincial contact tracing. The app will notify people who were exposed to a confirmed case so they can isolate and be tested and early issues with the app have been fixed so the app can run in the background of all mobile devices. As of Nov. 23, 274,649 Albertans were using the ABTraceTogether app, 66 per cent on iOS and 34 per cent on Android.
MyHealth Records quick access
Parents and guardians can access the COVID-19 test results for children under the age of 18 through MyHealth Records (MHR) as soon as they are ready.
A tree for Christmas
Alberta’s government has removed the $5 fee for harvesting up to three Christmas trees from Crown land for personal use. Through the Personal Use Forest Products Permit, Albertans will receive a map of where they can go to access their trees. Permits can be obtained online.
Community Supports and Resources
Strong restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19
On November 24th, Alberta’s government declared a state of public health emergency and put aggressive measures in place to protect the health system and reduce the rising spread of COVID-19 cases, including a limit of 10 to outdoor social gatherings and no indoor social gatherings permitted. It is important that every Albertan become aware of these new measures. Not following mandatory restrictions could result in fines of $1,000 per ticketed offence and up to $100,000 through the courts.
City Suspends Group Activities as well as Esplanade Theatre and Veiner Centre Operations
In accordance with enhanced public health measures outlined by the Government of Alberta, the City of Medicine Hat will be suspending all group activities currently taking place at the Family Leisure Centre, Kinplex Arena, Hockey Hounds Recreation Centre and Co-op Place, effective Friday, November 27, 2020. The FLC will remain open to the public and will offer the following public programs:
- Kinsmen Aquatic Park – pre-registration is required – public swim, lane swim, self-led water fitness and one-on-one lessons
- Cenovus Arena – pre-registration is required - public skating and adult skating only
- Fieldhouse – pre-registration is required - driving range
- South Country Co-op Fitness Area – open at 25% capacity
- Gymnasium – pre-registration is required - self-led activities
o Basketball – one person per hoop
o Floor Hockey – one person per net
Additional times for adult and public skating will be available at the Kinplex Arena. Pre-registration is required. More information is available on the City website.
Performances and shows scheduled between Friday, November 27 and Tuesday, December 15 at the Esplanade Theatre have been postponed or cancelled, following guidance from the Province. Ticket holders will be notified of these changes and refunds will be offered.
The Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre, including guest services, the Museum, the Art Gallery and Archives, remain open to the public during regular business hours.
The Veiner Centre is also closed to the public and all group activities have been discontinued. Staff are available via phone at 403.529.8307 for members who may have questions regarding the closure.
Numerous outdoor amenities will remain open to the public, including all parks, trails, toboggan hills and dog parks. Signs will be posted, reminding the public that outdoor social gatherings are limited to 10 people. Updated information on Parks & Recreation Usage is available on the City website. The Parks and Recreation Department is also looking for volunteers for the Adopt-a-Rink program. Currently there are vacancies at River heights Park, Southlands, Leinweber Park and Southridge Park, but applications for all outdoor rinks are currently being accepted. Volunteers assist in making these spaces operational and give residents an economical option for fun recreational winter activities. Find out more or apply online.
MHTnow Expanding Service to River Flats, South Hill
Medicine Hat Transit’s on-demand service, MHTnow, is expanding service to include the River Flats and South Hill neighbourhoods.The expansion of the pilot project launches on Monday, November 30 and will operate weekday evenings from 6:45 pm to 10:45 pm, replacing the current routes. Riders of route 20 and 22 are encouraged to download the MHTnow app, available on the App Store and Google Play.
Kipling and Spencer Street Corridor Rehabilitation Concludes 2020 Construction Phase
Construction is now complete on the 2020 phases of the Kipling and Spencer Street Corridor Rehabilitation project. The road between Kingsway Avenue SE and College Avenue SE, including the 3rd Avenue SE hill, is now open to traffic.
Alberta to launch rapid testing for COVID-19
Alberta will soon begin piloting point-of-care rapid testing for COVID-19. Alberta’s health officials will use these pilots to determine how to streamline processes related to patient management, results notifications and digital record keeping before the tests are deployed widely across the province. Read more.
Provincial Fiscal Update
The provincial government is projecting a $21.3-billion deficit for 2020-21. Expenses not including COVID-19 measures have decreased $156 million from Budget 2020. Total expense is forecast at $62.7 billion, up $135 million from last quarter and $5.4 billion from Budget 2020. Alberta’s real GDP is expected to contract 8.1 per cent rather than the 8.8 per cent reported in August. Real GDP is expected to fully recover to 2014 levels in 2023. Read the news release here.
Protecting roadside workers
This winter, snowplow operators on Alberta’s highways will be allowed to use flashing white strobe lights to increase their visibility. New signage installed along Alberta highways will remind Albertans to drive to conditions and be cautious near roadside workers. Read the news release.
Call for Proposals for the Community Support, Multiculturalism, and Anti-Racism Initiatives Program
The Government of Canada launched a new call for proposals for the Community Support, Multiculturalism, and Anti-Racism Initiatives (CSMARI) Program. The call for proposals for the Projects and the Community Capacity Building components is open until January 12, 2021. Events component proposals are accepted on a continuous basis. For details on how to apply, visit https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/funding/community-multiculturalism-anti-racism.html.
Canada helps protect the Municipal District of Taber from flooding
The Federal Government announced funding for Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the Horsefly Regional Emergency Spillway. The federal government’s investment of more than $9.8 million in this project through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund will help protect more than 60,000 Albertans in the Municipal District of Taber from the impacts of floods.
More support to advance reform of services for Indigenous children and families
The Prime Minister announced over $542 million in funding to advance First Nations, Inuit, and Métis engagement to co-develop the implementation of the Act, and to assist Indigenous communities and groups in building the capacity to establish their own child and family services systems. Read more.
Government of Canada Supports Initiatives to Prevent and Address Family Violence
The Federal Government announced more than $3.4 million to support three initiatives aimed at preventing family violence and supporting survivors, including the Child Development Institute, the Canadian Association of Midwives and the University of Western Ontario. Read more.
Removing Legal Tender Status from Bank Notes
Effective January 1, 2021, the Government of Canada will remove legal tender status from some older bank notes that are no longer produced - the $1, $2, $25, $500 and $1,000 notes. Here's what you need to know.
Opinion: Albertans aren’t giving up, they’re getting up
On September 30th we met with Senator Doug Black to discuss the issues and opportunities for our region. Recently Senator Black wrote a summary of what he heard on his cross-provincial town hall tour, along with providing a statement to the Senate.
Women’s Participation in the Canadian Economy Affected by COVID-19
Business leaders from across the country are increasingly concerned about the critical impact COVID-19 continues to have upon working women. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce Council for Women’s Advocacy (CWA) is a cornerstone of our diversity and inclusion initiative, established to bring the voice and perspectives of women to national policies and advocate change for the benefit of the economy as a whole. More information.
Have your Say
Feedback for Budget 2021
A telephone town hall will take place on Dec. 3 for those in Southern Alberta with an opportunity to share ideas and priorities directly with Minister of Finance Travis Toews, as Alberta’s government prepares Budget 2021. Those interested can register here. Albertans can also have their say by participating in the online budget survey until Dec. 4.
Input on outdoor recreation and trails
Albertans are invited to share their ideas to help shape future policy and legislation for Crown land, including parks and public lands that support recreation for generations to come. The engagement includes an online public survey, targeted discussions with key stakeholders and consultation with Indigenous Peoples. The online survey closes on Jan. 15, 2021.
Consultation on the Technical and Policy Framework for Licence-Exempt Use in the 6 GHz Band
The Government of Canada launched a consultation on proposals for licence-exempt spectrum to support greater choice and affordability of wireless services. Closing date for comments: January 19, 2021.
#ShopLocal - Share the message!
This #ShopLocal campaign provides consumers with tips on how to safely shop online as well as in-person. Retailers and consumers alike are encouraged to share the video and social media posts, and download the posters. #ShopLocal. #RetailMatters. Watch the Video.
BBB: 6 Little Known Ways Organizations Can Reduce Costs
Are you using these strategies to cut back costs and save money? Read more.
Straight Talk Shared in New Video Series
With rising numbers of new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions, Albertans are being urged to avoid gatherings, wear masks in public, maintain physical distancing and wash their hands regularly. As part of a public education campaign, AHS now has a video series called Straight Talk, in which public health messages are being delivered by healthcare workers, who talk from the heart about what they’re seeing and experiencing at work and in their communities as the virus spreads across the province.
We encourage you to share your appreciation and love for the frontline and behind-the-scenes health care workers by filling out our online submission form and posting your thanks on social media tagging @ahs_media #WeAreAHS #AlbertaCares.
Canadian Fuel Association (CFA) Launches “Driving to 2050 – The Role of Transportation Fuels in Canada’s Low-Carbon Future”
Last week the CFA launched its report Driving to 2050. The report iterates CFA’s vision for the future that includes significant transportation GHG emission reductions without compromising the ability to move people and goods, Canada becoming a leader in the development of clean transportation-energy choices, and reliable, affordable low-carbon liquid fuels. Read more.
Opportunity in the Face of Challenge: A Competitiveness Agenda for Canada’s Future
Remarks by Matthew Boswell, Commissioner of Competition, on the role of competition in Canada and why it matters more than ever as we work to recover from the economic consequences of the ongoing pandemic and aim to build a stronger, more resilient economy. Read the speech. Matthew also made remarks on Protecting Competition in Canada’s Grocery Sector, which can be read here.
Hospitality and Alcohol Industry Survival and Competitiveness through COVID-19 | Register here.
The 5 Biggest Estate Planning Mistakes Everybody Makes | Register here.
Customer experience: The secret to online sales success | Register here
Successfully Managing Your Workplace During a Global Pandemic | Register here.
Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) – Q and A Session | Register here.
December 1, 2 or 3
How Bill 32 affects your industry and provide solutions to ensure you are compliant | Register here.
Detecting and Preventing Fraud in Retail | Register here.
The Role of Foreign Investment in Canada's Economic Recovery | Register here.
RCC Black Friday / Cyber Monday Recap & Anchoring to Ambition Heading into 2021 | Register here.
Cannabis Roundtable: Marketing, Promotions and Labelling | Register here.
Supporting Local Business; Essential To Our Economy And Communities | Register here.
Resilience in the Workplace | Register here.
TourismRecovery.ca Webinar Series | View Resources here and upcoming sessions below:
- Workforce Power Session
Wednesday, December 9 – 12:00 PM MT
Board Leadership Calgary 2020 Virtual Learning Event