Weekly Update: November 27-December 3, 2020
Supports for Business
Face Covering Requirements for Business
Every Operator of a Public Place or Public Vehicle is required to prominently display a sign, as provided by the City, so that it is visible to a person immediately upon, or immediately prior to, entering the Public Place or Public Vehicle. Failure to display signage may result in a penalty of $50. A business is not expected to evict a customer or refuse service to people who are not complying with the bylaw.
Fast Track Permit (FTP) process
The City of Medicine Hat's new Fast Track Permit (FTP) process meant to reduce regulatory red tape and timelines for issuing a Building Permit for the construction of all new detached “Single Family Detached Dwellings”. The new FTP application process will ensure construction starts will not be delayed, while ensuring compliance is maintained with all provincial regulations. Read more.
Attracting private investment for public infrastructure
The Public-Private Partnership Framework and Guideline (P3 framework) and the Unsolicited Proposal Framework and Guideline (USP framework) will help Alberta’s government find alternative ways to build infrastructure, create jobs and stimulate the economy while making the most of limited taxpayer dollars. Read more.
Building roads to economic recovery
During the 2020 construction season, almost $1 billion was invested in more than 150 projects across Alberta. These projects will be built over the next few years and support more than 9,200 jobs. Read more.
Understanding the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)
Canadian businesses, non-profit organizations or charities that have seen a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses up to 65% of eligible expenses, retroactively from September 27, 2020 until June 2021. Qualifying organizations that are under a lockdown or have significantly limited activities under a public health order will have access to Lockdown Support, a top-up subsidy of 25%, meaning that they could receive rent or property expenses support of up to 90%. This subsidy will provide payments directly to qualifying renters and property owners, without requiring the participation of landlords. The Canada Revenue Agency has shared useful infographics that can determine your actions and eligibility.
- Take a Look at the New CERS
- CERS: Got You Covered
- CERS: Here to Help
- Watch the recent webinar session here or register for the next one on December 9th
The CRA also encourages organizations who haven’t already done so to sign up for My Business Account or Represent a Client, as well as for Direct deposit. Please also refer to Protect yourself against fraud. Please visit the CERS webpages for updates.
Support for the Tourism and Hospitality Sectors
The Government of Canada announced additional COVID-19 funding support in its Fall Economic Statement 2020 yesterday. Businesses in highly-affected sectors like tourism will have access to additional funding through government-guaranteed financing, the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), support for workers in the live events and arts sector, and continued support for businesses. See details of new support for the tourism and hospitality sectors.
$55 million for Energy Savings for Business Program
Last month, the Government of Alberta announced up to $55 million in funding for Emission Reduction Alberta’s (ERA) new Energy Savings for Business Program. This program will help accelerate the uptake of commercially available energy efficiency technologies, leading to operational efficiencies and cost reductions for small and medium-sized industrial and commercial facilities. The program objectives are to stimulate investment, create jobs and address longer-term environmental sustainability priorities. You can find out more about receiving incentives through the program or becoming an eligible contractor by:
- Going to the Energy Savings for Business webpage
- Submitting an Expression of Interest (bottom of the page)
- Watching the informational Energy Savings for Business webinar recording from Nov. 25
Make A Change Canada’s GoRemoteNOW Program for Employees with Disabilities
The GoRemoteNow! program provides job-ready candidates and wage subsidies to Canadian employers. This national initiative is being offered to people who self-identify as living with a disability across Canada. Make A Change Canada is looking for employers who are interested in diversity and inclusion hiring to integrate and complete their teams. There are many benefits to the program including a full wage subsidy for the employer for full-time, part-time and contract positions (for up to 25 weeks or until March 31, 2021) along with the opportunity for interested candidates to engage in meaningful employment. Other benefits include access to an untapped talent pool, mentorship, home office set-up and retrofits for employees, training, support for employers including possible retrofits, and ongoing follow-up and support from Make A Change Canada’s team of remote professionals. In these changing times, we need to think differently and this is a way for business to add diversity and inclusion to their teams. Reach out to www.anycareer.ca/employers or 1-888-927-7473 Ext 3 to learn more.
Department of Finance Releases Draft Legislative Proposals for Employee Life and Health Trusts
Revised draft legislative proposals for the Income Tax Act were released that would:
- facilitate the conversion of existing Health and Welfare Trusts into Employee Life and Health Trusts before 2022;
- amend the existing Employee Life and Health Trust tax rules to allow what are currently Health and Welfare Trust arrangements to continue to operate in a manner similar to that in which they currently operate; and
- relax the current restrictions that apply to the participation of “key employees”.
Details on the proposed tax changes can be located here.
Start Up Energy Transition Award 2021 Applications for Global Competition Open
The Start Up Energy Transition Award is an international competition for start-ups and young companies worldwide who are working on ideas affecting global energy transition and climate change. What's in it for start-ups? Apply now for your chance to become one of the top 100 energy start-ups of 2021, a cash prize, access to the SET Global Network (400+ Start-ups), pitch training and much more! For more details on the program, watch this video. Deadline to apply: Jan 31, 2021 Click to apply.
Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge
The Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge aims to recognize new business ideas that leverage technology for social impact from entrepreneurs around the world. This year's $1,000,000 USD prize pool will help accelerate the adoption of breakthrough technology, products, and services that drive economic development and/or solve social or environmental problems. Apply now.
Funding Opportunity: New Photonic Quantum Technology Challenge
The National Research Council of Canada is looking for a solution that will help it detect and distinguish photon number states for the development of photonic quantum technologies. The deadline to apply is January 19, 2021.
Supports for Individuals
Face Covering Bylaw – What is expected of me?
For the safety and protection of our community, Medicine Hat residents and visitors must wear a face covering or mask at all times in public places and public vehicles, even when physical distancing can be achieved, unless the person is separated from others by an installed screen, shield or other barrier (for example, Plexiglas). Read the full bylaw here and find out more. Failure to wear a face covering where required or failure to display signage may result in a penalty of $40 to $50.
Group Activities to Resume for Same Household Members
The Government of Alberta released an amendment to the recently implemented restrictions surrounding sports and group physical activities. Indoor group physical activities are prohibited unless the group only involves members of the same household. For more information on available programs within Medicine Hat, visit the City website or call the FLC at 403.502.8566.
Community Supports and Resources
City Adopts Mandatory Face Covering Bylaw
On Wednesday, Dec. 2, City Council passed Bylaw #4637 - Mandatory Face Coverings, which introduces the mandatory use of face coverings in public places and public vehicles in an effort to decrease the rate of COVID-19 virus transmission. This bylaw does not apply to privately owned vehicles and private dwellings.
The bylaw identifies an appropriate face covering as a medical or non-medical mask, or other face covering, that fully covers the nose, mouth and chin so as to create a barrier and reduce the transmission of respiratory droplets. The following examples are not acceptable face coverings: neck gaiter, neck warmer, or balaclava. Certain face shields are also not acceptable under the bylaw. Children under two years of age are exempt from wearing a face covering, as are those who are at a public place that serves food or beverages, and are seated at a table or bar for the purpose of consuming food or drink. People participating in an athletic activity, theatre performance, or dance are also exempt, provided that all other current health orders are obeyed. For a full list of exemptions, please view the full bylaw. The Face Covering bylaw comes into force on Friday, Dec. 4.
Owners and operators of public places are required to display bylaw signage by Friday, Dec. 11. Public spaces is defined in the bylaw as any part of a building structure or other enclosed area, whether publicly or privately owned, or portion thereof, to which members of the public have access. The bylaw does not apply to private or public post-secondary institutions, school buildings, hospitals, daycares or out-of-school programs. A public vehicle is defined as a transit bus, taxi or transportation network automobile, or any other vehicle which is used to transport members of the public for a fee. For more information, and to download signage, please visit www.medicinehat.ca/covid19
Enforcement of public health measures
The government is granting certain Alberta peace officers and community peace officers temporary authority to enforce public health orders. Expanding these authorities will increase the number of officers able to levy fines by about 700. Not following mandatory restrictions could result in fines of $1,000 per ticketed offence and up to $100,000 through the courts.
Government of Alberta Faith-based and Cultural Facility Relaunch Grant
This one-time reimbursement to relaunch facilities used for cultural, religious, spiritual and ceremonial gatherings during the COVID-19 crisis is currently accepting applications until March 1, 2021. There are 2 intake deadlines, December 15, 2020 and March 1, 2021.
Government of Canada announces extension of travel restrictions
The Government of Canada announced that Canada will extend the Mandatory Isolation Order and temporary travel restrictions for all travelers seeking entry into Canada from a country other than the US, until January 21, 2021.
A new provincial task force has been appointed to prepare for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Several vaccines are undergoing review and awaiting approval by Health Canada. Immunization will proceed in phases, beginning in early 2021, once vaccines are received. Phase 1 will include Albertans most at-risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19, as well as health-care workers and long-term and supportive living staff.
New funding for Civil Societies
The new Civil Society Fund (CSF) provides $20 million in funding to expand civil society’s capacity to address social problems for Albertans and is a one time grant to support an effective and sustainable recovery of the civil society sector. Civil society includes non-profit and voluntary organizations, registered charities, informal groups or movements pursuing shared interests or values and private-sector organizations and individuals pursuing social good. Successful applicants will have 24 months from the date of the grant agreement to complete their grant activities. Apply now before the January 20, 2021 deadline.
Tough, swift penalties for impaired drivers
As of Dec. 1, police will be able to administer stricter impaired driving penalties on the road, while most first-time impaired driving charges will be handled quicker outside of court through SafeRoads Alberta. Impaired drivers could face larger fines and lose their vehicles for up to 30 days. SafeRoads Alberta, a new adjudication branch, will allow drivers to pay their fees online, request more time to pay their penalty, or dispute their Immediate Roadside Sanction or vehicle seizure. Read more.
Fall Economic Statement and a call for a Recovery Plan
This week, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, released Supporting Canadians and Fighting COVID-19: Fall Economic Statement 2020. The Fall Economic Statement was an opportunity to provide a detailed plan to get us from today’s hardships to economic recovery and growth. The statement provided needed supports for businesses and Canadians to build a foundation for growth, though many questions remain about the government’s economic recovery plan. We’re calling on the government to lay out its recovery plan in an early 2021 federal budget. View the News Release. Here's some of the numbers:
- Total support offered during the pandemic is over $490 billion.
- The federal deficit for this year is $381.6 billion
- The federal net debt is $1.2 trillion
Read the full analysis and breakdown here.
The Government of Canada also introduced Bill C-14, An Act to implement certain provisions of the economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 30, 2020 and other measures. Measures include:
- a temporary and immediate support for low- and middle-income families who are entitled to the Canada Child Benefit,
- eliminating the interest on repayment of the federal portion of the Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans for one year (2021-22),
- providing funding as part of the new Safe Long-term Care Fund, and
- formally providing that an expense, such as rent, can qualify as an eligible expense under the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy when it becomes due.
Global Response to Rising COVID-19 Cases
The members of our Global Business Coalition called on G20 governments to deliver a coordinated global response to rising COVID-19 cases. This included measures to support businesses and lay the groundwork for the distribution of a future vaccine. Read the Statement.
Have your Say
Policing in Alberta
The public can have its say on the future of policing in Alberta through an online survey. The survey is part of the Alberta government’s review of the Police Act. The questionnaire covers several topics related to law enforcement, such as the role of police in community, processes for handling complaints from the public and officer discipline. The public survey will remain open until Jan. 4, 2021.
Have you checked out the Covid 19 Interactive Status Map?
The COVID-19 status map shows the level of risk in regions and information about local health measures. It also shows the rate of COVID-19 cases and the number of active cases.
What you should know during times of financial uncertainty
The CRA has financial literacy tips online to help with benefit tips, tax help, education resources and protecting yourself.
How risky is it to go shopping now? Your coronavirus questions answered
CBC is answering questions about the pandemic, publishing a selection of answers online and putting questions to the experts during The National and on CBC News Network. Read the recent post here.
COVID-19 IMPACT SURVEY FINDINGS
We know the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on Alberta tourism businesses—with 89 per cent saying they have been negatively affected. Check out the findings to learn more about how COVID-19 is impacting tourism business operations—including financial losses, staffing challenges and what operators need to recover and rebuild.
Be cash wise this holiday season
Counterfeiters typically see the holidays as a prime opportunity to pass fake notes. The Bank's advice: don't let them.
Remember: Routinely checking all bank notes allows you to intercept counterfeits, keeping them out of the till and out of Canadians' change. Always look at two or more security features when checking bank notes. See the tips for checking security features.
Are you a technical founder, CTO or lead a technical team looking for AI coaching?
Supply Chain AI West is a competitive accelerator program with space available for up to 10 ventures that share SCALE AI and Amii’s vision of positioning Canada as a global leader in AI and supply chain management. The program is currently accepting applications and program activities begin in February 2021. The deadline to apply is December 17, 2020.Find out more.
In our latest episode of Budding Business, National Cannabis Working Group Co-chairs chat about how Canada’s cannabis industry has navigated the COVID-19 pandemic and what comes next. View the episode.
What Are Three Cyber Threats You Need to Keep on Your Radar?
A cyber attack can happen in minutes, and just one incident can prevent access to the systems you need to run your business, compromise your customer data or force you to stop operations entirely. Many small businesses lack the resources or knowledge for strong security defence. Some may not understand the cyber threats targeting their operations or how to get started with cybersecurity. Take the time to better understand the cyber threats targeting your business in this blog.
The changes in customer behaviour and the transformation of online retail | Register here
Telephone Town Hall with the Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation for Restaurants, Food Service, Retail, Casinos, Hospitality (Hotels and Ski Lodges) and Personal Services | Register here.
The Role of Foreign Investment in Canada's Economic Recovery | Register here.
Telephone Town Hall with the Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation for Construction, Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, and Agriculture stakeholders | Register here
Global Economic and Export Forecast | Register here.
Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) question and answer sessions | Register now.
Telephone Town Hall with the Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation for Professional Services and Business Group stakeholders | Register here
RCC Black Friday / Cyber Monday Recap & Anchoring to Ambition Heading into 2021 | Register here.
Cannabis Roundtable: Marketing, Promotions and Labelling | Register here.
Tourism Recovery Series – Workforce Power Session | Register here.
Health Over Hustle: A Conversation about the Mental Health of Canadian Entrepreneurs | Register here.
New approaches to integrate work and learning | Register here.
Supporting Local Business; Essential To Our Economy And Communities | Register here.
Salesforce Canada Path to Growth Summit | Register here.
WCB-Alberta: Training on the job | Registration Details
Resilience in the Workplace | Register here.
COVID-19's Impacts on the Wholesale Trade Sector: What does the survey data tell us about sales, prices and the recovery so far? | 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