Weekly Update: Holiday Catch Up Edition
The key highlights since December 18th
If you checked out for the last couple of weeks like we did to detox on news and social media, here are the latest updates to get you up to speed....
Supports for Business
Provincial Health Measures Extended until January 21
Businesses, organizations and service providers must continue to follow existing health measures until at least Jan. 21. Active evaluation of the latest public health data is underway and will be used to re-evaluate the current level of restrictions over the coming weeks. Businesses, organizations and service providers will be given at least one week’s notice prior to changes to the current health measures that may affect them. Government will continue to consult with affected industries.
Canada Summer Jobs Grant Application Now Open
The employer application period for the 2021 Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program is now open. Applications can be submitted until Friday, January 29, 2021. For more information on CSJ, including the eligibility criteria and application guide, visit Canada.ca/Canada-summer-jobs, a Service Canada Office or call 1-800-935-5555.
New support for organizations hosting free tax clinics
The CRA will invest more than $10 million over three years in a new grant program to help organizations offset some of the costs associated with organizations providing free tax clinics. Currently, community organizations that run tax clinics must cover their costs. However, recognizing the challenges of COVID-19, related costs including PPE, sanitation supplies, and plexiglass dividers will also be covered under the grant program. Starting in February 2021, organizations that plan to apply for the grant need to track their tax clinic expenses and the number of tax returns that their volunteers complete. The CRA will start accepting applications in May 2021. This pilot project will run for three years. To learn more about the CVITP grant program, visit canada.ca/free-tax-clinics-grant.
Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs initiative
Six telephone town halls will take place from January 6-14 and is the final key component of the formal consultations on the Building Skills for Jobs Initiative.
The material presented at each town hall will be the same, but the events are organized by stakeholder group to facilitate more focused discussions. Please register for a town hall docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSczDQ25KqHlWLpETXoO8mMLm3wanQS7iX0m1egjGGsoVdHtcQ/viewform.
The Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs strategy is a priority for Alberta’s government, and an important step in strengthening the post-secondary system for all Albertans, now and in the future.
Safe Food for Canadians Licence Renewals
Some Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) licence holders will need to take action now to ensure they renew their licence before expiration. Some SFC licences will expire as early as January 15, 2021. If you have an SFC licence, it can be renewed online through your My CFIA account.
Supports for Individuals
HAT Smart launches 2021 Residential Incentive Program
Returning for 2021 are incentives for Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems, EnerGuide Rating for New Homes, ENERGY STAR® Air Conditioners, and Scratch & Win. Scratch & Win allows residents to recover up to $200 of the cost of small ticket energy conservation items. For a full list of eligible products please visit the HAT Smart website. The program also includes two new incentives: ENERGY STAR® Natural Gas Furnaces and EnerGuide Home Evaluations. Read more.
New pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirements come into effect for all air travellers flying into Canada
The Government of Canada issued an Interim Order formalizing new COVID-19 testing requirements for all air travellers coming to Canada and providing additional guidance to airline operators and the travelling public regarding the new pre-departure testing requirement that was announced on December 31.
Travellers from U.K. and South Africa should get a COVID-19 test
All travellers who have arrived from the United Kingdom and South Africa since Dec. 7 should immediately get a COVID-19 test, whether they have symptoms or not. Also, travellers from the United Kingdom or South Africa who are participating in the border pilot must immediately quarantine, whether they’ve had a negative test or not. All returning travellers currently in quarantine must remain in quarantine for the full 14 days.
Community Supports and Resources
K-12 students return to in-person learning
All students will return to in-person learning, as planned, on Jan. 11. Mandatory health measures will remain in effect across the province until at least Jan. 21. The decision to return to in-class learning is based on the latest evidence which shows that before the winter break, new case rates in schools plateaued and then dropped in December, once restrictions on social gatherings and group activities were in place.
Medicine Hat Mayor, Councillor and School Board Trustee Candidate Nomination Packages Now Available
Candidates for the 2021 election to be held in October are invited to learn more about running for office, and download their nomination packages, available now on the City’s website. Nominations can be filed at the City Clerk Department, 3rd Floor at City Hall and nominations will close Monday, September 20, 2021. Find out more.
City Receives Approval of Municipal Stimulus Program Funding
With MSP funding confirmed, the City of Medicine Hat will proceed with five projects (to be completed in 2021.)
- Gas City Campground Construction
- Multi-Use Trail Development and Extension
- Multi-Court Pickleball Facility
- Town Square – Redevelopment of 603 1st Street SE and Riverside Veterans’ Memorial Park
- BMX Track Upgrades
Read the full press release.
MHTnow Expanding Service to Include Hospital Area
Medicine Hat Transit’s on-demand bus service, MHTnow, has expanded service to include the Hospital area, route 21, and will operate weekday evenings from 6:45 pm to 10:45 pm. The City of Medicine Hat is also asking the public for feedback regarding Transit services, including MHTnow. An online survey can be found on Shape Your City. Read more.
Vaccine Roll Out
Vaccines are being administered across the province, with 56.9 per cent of vaccines received to date already given to Albertans: read more with additional details regarding the Moderna Vaccine and Vaccine usage here.
AHS is actively recruiting additional staff to join their team of immunizers. In addition to public health immunizers, they are also actively recruiting other groups such as healthcare providers, healthcare retirees, undergraduate nurses and community pharmacists to provide immunizations across the province. Those interested in nursing positions can apply here and indicate their interest in supporting immunization or other COVID-19 related roles during screening.
New substance use data will support addiction recovery
Up-to-date substance use data is now accessible via the new Alberta Substance Use Surveillance System, which will replace quarterly reports. Albertans struggling with addiction can contact the Addiction Helpline at 1-866-332-2322 for support, information and referral to services. The toll-free, confidential helpline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Read the press release.
Launch of the Federal Action Plan for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors
The federal action plan marks an exciting step forward in our collective exploration of this new small-scale nuclear technology, which has the potential to produce clean electricity to help meet Canada’s and Alberta’s future energy needs. Read the Government of Alberta's response.
Partnerships for 170 parks and public recreation area sites across the province
Alberta’s government has secured or maintained partnerships for 170 parks and public recreation area sites across the province so that no sites included under the Budget 2020 optimization plan will be delisted. All will remain open and accessible to Albertans. All will retain their current designations and associated protections. Read more.
Check out our Year in Review
ICYMI - we featured our year in review including highlights from our advocacy in action, membership, events, trade shows, communications and our Covid-19 response. Would you like to read about the road so far? You can check it out here.
You can also view all the news and headlines from our Chamber this past year here.
Perrin Beatty: We Need to Send a Confident Message to Business and Canadians
Our President and CEO joined BNN Bloomberg’s Amanda Lang to discuss the current situation facing Canadians amid rising case numbers and the possibility of strict lockdowns returning. Watch now.
Taking the Lead: A Pan-Canadian Strategy to Manage COVID-19
With COVID-19 cases increasing at an alarming rate, our leaders face a difficult balancing act. We need to chart a path forward that protects Canadians’ health — on COVID, mental health and other aspects — as well as their economic well-being. See the strategy.
Canada Revenue Agency launches the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Registry
Paper tax filing may delay your assessment
If you are planning to file on paper this year, COVID-19 may affect your filing experience. Canadians should file their taxes online and sign up for direct deposit to get their refund faster and avoid any delays. The CRA’s digital services are the fastest and easiest way to view your tax and benefit information. We encourage you to sign up for My Account ahead of time, and gather all your information for filing your return. Find out more.
Fuel up, Save the Dates and Register for these upcoming sessions
Home office expenses question and answer sessions | Register here.
Revamping your Website | Register here.
AWE Coffee Chat: A Discussion about eCommerce | Register here.
Business Insurance 101 – Supporting Businesses during the Pandemic | Register Now.
What’s next? Managing your business’s finances in 2021 | Register Now.
WESTEM Breaking Down Barriers: The First Steps to Success | Register Here.
WESTEM Breaking Down Barriers: Set Yourself Up for Successs | Register Here.
WESTEM Value Proposition | Register Here.
Reimagining the Customer Experience (During and After Covid-19) | Register Now.
Grant Writing 101 | Register now.
Breaking Down Barriers: Money Management for Success | Register Here.
Psychological Safety in your organization. | Register here.
Breaking Down Barriers: Successfully Build & Optimize Your Website | Register Here.
Breaking Down Barriers: Successfully Reaching Potential Clients | Register Here.
State of the City Address | Register today
Food for Thought: Leveraging the Value of Culinary Tourism | Register Now.
Google Guide for SMEs | Register Now.
Canada 360 Virtual Summit Save the date
Various Dates in January and February
Canada Summer Jobs 2021 Overview and how to apply | Register here.
Culinary Tourism February 9 and 16 | Register here.
Women Entrepreneurs in STEM: Breaking Down Barriers to Starting a Business | Register here.
Board Development Series | Register here.