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Weekly Update: December 11-17, 2020

Supports for Business

The portal for the expanded Small & Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant is now open

Businesses can now start applying for the second round of funding through SME Relaunch grant. This is a grant, not a loan, so you do not have to pay it back but it is taxable. The application portal has been updated with the ability to submit your application for a second payment.  Upon signing into the program’s application portal, you will see a ‘Second Payment’ button associated with your initial application(s) if you applied for the first payment. The updated Application Companion Guide can be used to help you through the application process.

Updated Program Guidelines are now available. Please review the eligibility criteria to ensure that your organization was affected by the recent public health orders and you are eligible for the second payment.

Call for Applications: Canada Summer Jobs 2021 

The annual call for applications for the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program will launch on December 21, 2020, and will remain open until January 29, 2021. Applicants will be able to seek funding to hire youth between April 26, 2021 and February 26, 2022. While employers are encouraged to offer quality jobs on a full-time basis (35 hours per week), part-time jobs (minimum of 12 hours per week) will also be eligible for funding. This flexibility was introduced to enable hiring of youth outside of the summer period.

Approved employers from the not-for profit sector will still be eligible for a wage subsidy reimbursement of up to 100% of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage. Approved public and private sector employers will be eligible to receive a wage subsidy reimbursement of up to 75% of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage. Apply through this link after December 21.

For more information click:

Call: 1-800-935-5555 (ATS: 1-800-926-9105)

Visit: a Service Canada Centre

If you are interested in attending an information session, please register here:

A Simplified Process For Claiming Home Office Expenses

Employees who worked from home more than 50% of the time over a period of a least four consecutive weeks in 2020 due to COVID-19 will now be eligible to claim the home office expenses deduction for 2020. The use of a shorter qualifying period will ensure that more employees can claim the deduction. A new temporary flat rate method will allow eligible employees to claim a deduction of $2 for each day they worked at home in that period, plus any other days they worked from home in 2020 due to COVID-19 up to a maximum of $400. Under this new method, employees will not have to get Form T2200 or Form T2200S completed and signed by their employer. Read more and find out how to apply. Backgrounder: Employer-provided benefits and allowances: CRA and Covid-19.

This is the type of tax reform Canada needs and something the Canadian Chamber’s Think Growth project called for specifically. Simplifying and streamlining the deduction for home office expenses means far less paperwork for Canadian employers and more money in Canadians’ pockets. The Canadian Chamber calls on the government to continue reforming Canada’s complex and outdated tax system in 2021 to support and hasten inclusive economic recovery and growth. To learn more about the tax reform we need, visit

Energy Savings for Business Funding program

Energy Savings for Business Program is a program that 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. Businesses such as manufacturing facilities, agricultural operations, office buildings and fabrication shops can cut costs and reduce emissions by adopting modern building systems and updating facility operations, enabling smarter energy use and less waste.

Applications are expected to open in January 2021 for businesses to submit their eligible projects for pre-approval. Find out more about receiving incentives through the program or becoming an eligible contractor by:

The Innovation and Employment Grant to launch January 1, 2021

When this program launches, companies can receive a grant of up to 20% toward qualifying research and development expenditures.

Supports for Individuals

Numbers to know during the holidays

Essential government services are available 24-7 to help anyone who needs support during the holidays. Find out more.

When Home Isn't Safe

The Medicine Hat Women's Shelter has a 24-7 Helpline for help supports, safety planning, intake for the emergency shelter and other programs. You can call 403-529-1091 or 1-800-661-7949 for help. The Phoenix Safe House provides a safe haven for individuals with or without children fleeing family violence and abuse, along with support, information, safety planning and referrals to other community resources. They also have the Musasa 2ns Stage Shelter with wrap around supports and service. Find out more.

Rapid testing expands to include vulnerable Albertans

Rapid testing will be expanded across the province to reach Albertans in homeless shelters, long-term care facilities and remote rural communities, starting Dec. 18. Read more.

Climate Action Incentive Payment Amounts for 2021

People will receive their Climate Action Incentive when they file their 2020 personal income tax returns. A family of four will receive $981 in Alberta. Families in rural and small communities receive an extra 10 per cent. Full details on payment amounts for individuals and families in 2021 are specified in the backgrounder related to the news release.

Community Supports and Resources

Experience A Downtown Christmas StoryWalk® 

In collaboration with the Medicine Hat Public Library, Police Point Park and 14 participating downtown businesses, the Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre has created a cheerful holiday outdoor experience that can be safely enjoyed with your household. This special edition of StoryWalk® will last until Thursday, January 7, 2021. Check out where to start your walk and all the stops along the way.

Federal transfers: Statement from Premier Kenney

The Government of Alberta issued a statement on the estimates for major federal transfer payments released today. Read the Federal announcement.

New direction for affordable housing

The provincial government has accepted all 19 recommendations outlined in the Affordable Housing Review Panel’s final report. Based on the panel’s advice, government will look to redefine its role, tap into community expertise, expand partnerships, reward innovation and simplify the system. View the recommendations, next steps and the panel report here.

Government introduces legislation to support safe, secure and accessible voting during the pandemic

The Government introduced legislation that would temporarily supplement provisions of the Canada Elections Act (the Act) and mitigate potential challenges associated with administering an election during the pandemic in the event an election were to occur.

Immunization of priority health-care workers provincewide

During the week of Dec. 21, Alberta will receive 25,350 vaccines from Pfizer at dedicated vaccine sites across the province and provided to respiratory therapists, intensive care unit physicians and staff, and eligible long-term care and designated supportive living workers across the province.

Pending final approval from Health Canada, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is expected to arrive in Alberta later in December. The Moderna vaccines can be transported to other locations, so the initial shipment will be used to immunize residents at long-term care locations beginning with those at highest risk. As more shipments arrive in early January, immunization will focus on Phase 1 priority populations and will include residents of long-term care and designated supportive living facilities, followed by seniors aged 75 and over and First Nations on reserve, Inuit and on-settlement Metis individuals aged 65 and over.

Phase 2 is still expected to start by April 2021 and will be targeted to the next groups of prioritized populations. Final decisions regarding eligibility in Phase 2 have not yet been determined. Phase 3 will involve rolling out vaccinations to the general Alberta population, and is anticipated to start later in 2021. Read more.

Expansion of the rapid-testing clinical pilot began during the week of Dec. 7 and the expansion of rapid testing systems to new locations across the province will provide faster and more convenient testing, helping to identify and isolate positive cases more rapidly than previously possible. Read more.




The Alberta Chambers has been working hard for Alberta Businesses

The Alberta Chamber has been busy working on behalf of the business community in Alberta with recent meetings with:
• Dale Nally, Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity
• Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education
• Jason Copping, Minister of Labour and Immigration
• Rick McIver, Minister of Transportation
• Sonya Savage, Minister of Energy

Upcoming meetings include:
• Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry
• Sonya Savage, Minister of Energy (roundtable with chambers)
• Tracy Allard, Minister of Municipal Affairs

Pan-Canadian Strategy to Manage COVID-19

Canada’s leading business groups, including the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, outlined their plan to turn the tide against the country’s floundering patchwork approach of simply reacting to rising daily COVID-19 numbers and launched a Pan-Canadian Strategy to Manage COVID-19 with the full framework available at You can sign on to Support the Plan here.

5 Minutes for Business: New Year's Resolutions for the Canadian Cannabis Industry

There was a lot of economic optimism and excitement when Canada became the first large, developed country in the world to legalize recreational cannabis for adult use in 2018. While this new industry and governments alike have accomplished an incredible amount in the two years since, it was anything but smooth sailing for cannabis businesses even before the COVID-19 pandemic added more challenges. So as 2020 (finally) comes to a close, here are some New Year’s resolutions for the industry. Continue Reading.

Federal hydrogen strategy

Minister of Energy Sonya Savage and Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity Dale Nally issued a statement on the federal government’s newly released hydrogen strategy. Read more.

Have Your Say

Competition Bureau seeking input on Canadians’ experiences accessing and using digital health services

Today, the Competition Bureau launched a short online survey to learn about Canadians’ experiences accessing and using digital health care services. This 5-minute online survey, will help guide the Bureau’s current market study of Canada's health care sector. Whether you’ve used digital health services or not, you can participate. You can share your experiences by completing the online survey before December 31, 2020.

Shaping Canada’s Response and Preparation for a Sport Hosting and Economic Reboot

Destination Canada is working in conjunction with Sport Tourism Canada and Sport for Life, to shape Canada’s response and prepare for the return of sports hosting to restart local economies through sport tourism. As part of this work, they need the industry’s input and insight into the current state of Sport Hosting/Sport Tourism in Canada. Please take 15 minutes to complete a survey that will provide the data to help sport tourism be reimagined and become more nimble in bidding for and hosting sport events in the future. When complete, the results will be shared as a resource for the entire sport, sport hosting, and sport tourism industries. Deadline for responses: December 18, 2020. Take the Survey.

Consultations on Air Passenger Protection Regulations

The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) today launched a consultation to hear from members of the public, consumer groups and other interested stakeholders on requests by airlines for temporary adjustments to certain obligations under the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR). You can send your written submissions to by January 15, 2021. Please consult the Consultation Paper or read more here.

New Resources

Canadian NORAD Region is ready to track Santa

The NORAD Tracks Santa website ( is now live. Featuring Santa’s North Pole Village, the website includes a holiday countdown, games, activities, information regarding NORAD’s mission of defending North America, and more. The website is available in eight languages and tracking opportunities are also offered through social media on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Check out the resources.

Alberta’s government is launching the Municipal Measurement Index

This new tool allows Albertans to view, explore and compare financial and statistical information, including property tax rates, major revenue and expense categories, and assessment values and debt values, for all of Alberta’s 338 municipalities. Currently, the dashboards are only viewable on a laptop or desktop with the government working towards allowing the dashboards to be used on smartphones. Read more.

New Report: Restart, Recover and Reimagine Prosperity for All Canadians

The Government's Industry Strategy Council, made up of experienced business leaders, provided a report to Government focused specifically on identifying the scope and depth of COVID-19’s impact on industries and informing the government’s understanding of specific sectoral pressures. The Council has outlined recommendations to support the recovery and growth of key sectors moving forward. The report, Restart, Recover and Reimagine Prosperity for All Canadians: An Ambitious Growth Plan for Building a Digital, Sustainable and Innovative Economy, details findings on COVID-19’s impact on industries and added recommendations to position for recovery across sectors.

Breaking down the CERS (MNP)

Under the CERS, either tenants or building owners may apply for the subsidy. Owners may be able to apply for expenses such as property taxes, insurance and mortgage interest if they are using the property in their ordinary business or are not directly or indirectly renting to an arm’s length party. Check out the full breakdown and details.

2020 Federal Fall Economic Statement Breakdown (MNP)

The Fall Economic Statement summarized the federal support measures previously introduced and delivered various income and sales tax measures. Read the breakdown.

Budding Business with Ryan Greer and Nathan Mison

Budding Business is a new podcast that explores Canada’s potential to be a world leader in the nascent global cannabis industry. Listen now.

Report Now Available: Immigration Levels Plan and the Municipal Nominee Program

An official report based on our consultation activities with stakeholders across the country on the Immigration Levels Plan and the Municipal Nominee Program, in August and September 2020 is now available. We also encourage you to visit the Immigration Matters website, which aims to show the benefits of immigration at the local, community level. If you have any questions or comments related to the consultation or the Immigration Matters initiative, you can contact us at

Johnson Insurance: What Every Canadian Should Know about Identity Theft Protection 

Forty-two per cent of Canadians have noticed an increase in suspicious emails, texts, phone calls or online advertisements. But did you know 52% of Canadians are unable to identify all of the warning signs of identity theft, even when the signs are provided in a list? Continue Reading.

Join the 2021 Census team!

Canada's next census will take place in May 2021. Statistics Canada is hiring approximately 32,000 people across the country to work on the collection phase of the 2021 Census. Apply online at Census jobs.

Featured Webinars

January 4

Pivot Online Webinar: Success in a Digital World - Social Media | Register here.

January 7

Innovate to grow: Strategy in a world of disruption | Register now.

January 14

Revamping your Website | Register here.

January 15

Business Insurance 101 – Supporting Businesses during the Pandemic | Register Now.

January 21

Reimagining the Customer Experience (During and After Covid-19) | Register Now.

Grant Writing 101 | Register now.

January 28

Food for Thought: Leveraging the Value of Culinary Tourism | Register Now.

February 4

Google Guide for SMEs | Register Now.

February 17

Canada 360 Virtual Summit Save the date

Various Dates in January and February

Canada Summer Jobs 2021 Overview and how to apply | Register here.

Women Entrepreneurs in STEM: Breaking Down Barriers to Starting a Business | Register here.

Board Development Series | Register here.

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