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Weekly update January 22-28, 2021

Supports for Business

Provincial Health Measures Will Ease on Feb. 8

Additional health measures will be eased for restaurants, indoor fitness and some children’s activities, effective Feb. 8.

Step 1 of Alberta’s four-step framework to ease restrictions is based on a COVID-19 hospitalization benchmark of 600, including intensive care patients. This benchmark was reached on Jan. 28. The full, four-step framework for easing restrictions can be viewed here.

Indoor and outdoor children’s sport and performance

  • Children’s sport and performance activities are permitted if they are related to school activities, such as physical education classes.
  • This will allow K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions to use off-site facilities to support curriculum-related educational activities.

Indoor fitness

  • Only one-on-one training is permitted for indoor fitness activities (e.g. fitness in dance studios, training figure skating on ice, one-on-one lessons).
  • One-on-one sessions cannot interact with others and there must be a minimum of three metres distance between sessions in the same facility.
  • Sessions have to be scheduled or by appointment.
  • No drop-in for individuals or groups is allowed.
  • No sports games, competitions, team practice, league play or group exercise of any kind.
  • Trainers must be professional, certified and/or paid trainers who are providing active instruction and correction. Passive supervision of a physical activity is not considered training.
  • Trainers should remain masked during the session; clients are not required to wear a mask while exercising.
  • More than one trainer and client ‘pair’ are allowed into the facility, studio, rink, court, pool, ice surface, etc., as long as:
    • Each trainer and client stays three metres away from all other trainers and clients at all times, including in entryways and exits.
    • Each trainer only interacts with their assigned client, and each client only interacts with their assigned trainer.
    • No interaction between clients or between trainers is allowed.
    • No ‘cycling through’ multiple trainers, as in circuit training.

Restaurants, cafes and pubs

  • Restaurants, cafes and pubs must collect the contact information of one person from the dining party.
  • Up to a maximum of six people per table; individuals must be from same household or the two close contacts for people living alone.
  • Liquor service ends at 10 p.m.
  • In-person dining must close by 11 p.m.
  • No entertainment allowed (e.g., no VLTs, pool tables, live music, etc.)

Read more

New plan will guide easing of health measures

Easing of provincewide health measures will occur in steps based on COVID-19 hospitalization benchmarks. These steps and benchmarks will provide a transparent approach to easing restrictions for businesses and individuals while protecting the health-care system.

Each step has an associated benchmark of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, including intensive care patients. Changes to restrictions will be considered once a benchmark is reached.

The hospitalization benchmarks are:

  • Step 1 – 600 and declining
  •  Step 2 – 450 and declining
  • Step 3 – 300 and declining
  • Step 4 – 150 and declining

With hospitalizations dipping below 600, Alberta will move to Step 1 on Feb. 8. If after three weeks the hospitalization numbers are in the range of the next benchmark, decisions will be considered for moving to Step 2. The same three-week re-evaluation period will be used for all subsequent steps.

Indoor masking and distancing requirements will remain in place throughout the entire stepped approach, and some degree of restrictions will still apply to all activities within each step. The grouping and sequencing of steps is based on relative risk for COVID-19 transmission. Actions with the lowest relative risk will be those first considered for easing.

Early steps: In effect Jan. 18

  • Outdoor social gatherings allowed up to 10 people.
  • Personal and wellness services opened for appointments only.
  • Funeral service attendance was raised to 20 people.
  • In-person classes resumed for K-12 students (Jan. 11).

Step 1: Hospitalization benchmark – 600

  • Potential easing of some restrictions related to:
    • Indoor and outdoor children’s sport and performance (school-related only)
    • Indoor personal fitness, one-on-one and by appointment only
    • Restaurants, cafes, and pubs

Step 2: Hospitalization benchmark – 450

  • Potential easing of some restrictions related to:
    • Retail
    • Community halls, hotels, banquet halls and conference centres
    • Further easing of some restrictions eased in Step 1

Step 3: Hospitalization benchmark – 300

  • Potential easing of some restrictions related to:
    • Places of worship
    • Adult team sports
    • Museums, art galleries, zoos and interpretive centres
    • Indoor seated events, including movie theatres and auditoriums
    • Casinos, racing centres and bingo halls
    • Libraries
    • Further easing of some restrictions eased in Steps 1 and 2

Step 4: Hospitalization benchmark – 150

  • Potential easing of some restrictions related to:
    • Indoor entertainment centres and play centres
    • Tradeshows, conferences and exhibiting events
    • Performance activities (e.g., singing, dancing, wind instruments)
    • Outdoor sporting events (e.g., rodeo)
    • Wedding ceremonies and receptions
    • Funeral receptions
    • Workplaces – lifting work-from-home measures
    • Amusement parks
    • Indoor concerts and sporting events
    • Festivals, including arts and cultural festivals (indoor and outdoor)
    • Day camps and overnight camps
    • Further easing of some restrictions eased in Steps 1-3

More information

Youth Internship Incentive Program Funding

The Youth Internship Incentive Program is designed to increase the number of employers supporting work integrated learning internships in trades and technologies. By providing a financial incentive for employers, this program will expand an employer’s ability to achieve their goals as well as to enhance opportunities for youth that align with Alberta’s skilled worker needs. For more information, visit or contact Kristi Liboiron, Field Director at

Drive-Thru Job Fairs

The next Drive-Thru Job Fair will be held on Wed March 10. This COVID-friendly event offers employers a cost-free opportunity to recruit employees. Apply to participate now! For more information, click:

WCB Training-on-the-job (TOJ) program

The TOJ program is designed to help people who are no longer able to go back to their regular job and employer. The worker develops skills and gains work experience while you receive financial and other support from WCB during your new employee’s training period. This program is designed to help employers bring a new employee into a position. Find out more.

Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program Launches

The federal government announced the launch of the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program, or HASCAP. Through HASCAP, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will work with participating Canadian financial institutions to offer government-guaranteed, low-interest loans of up to $1 million. Hard-hit businesses, like a chain of hotels or restaurants with multiple locations under one related entity, could be eligible for up to $6.25 million. Eligible businesses can start applying as early as February 1 at principal financial institutions and more widely by February 15. Interested businesses should contact their primary lender to get more information and to apply.

More information is available at

Federal Government invests in Sectoral Initiatives Program

Distributed through a call for proposals, which will remain open for six weeks, this investment will fund sector-specific projects to help Canadian workers gain skills and access resources. It will also help businesses and networks scale up strategies to drive job growth and create standards for education and certification purposes. Find out more.

Stabilizing Alberta’s performing arts, sports, rodeo sectors

Alberta’s government is investing $17 million to ensure the stabilization of performing arts, sports and rodeo organizations.
Alberta’s live experience organizations have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. They have lost a full season of programming and revenue but still, have ongoing overhead costs. The Stabilize Program will provide one-time grant funding to support live experience presenting and performing arts, sport and rodeo organizations. The funding will help these organizations continue to operate and reopen when it is safe to do so. More information.

Extension of employer application period for Canada Summer Jobs 2021

The Government of Canada announced that the employer application period for the 2021 Canada Summer Jobs program is being extended until February 3, 2021, to allow more employers to apply for funding to hire young people. Not-for-profit organizations and private and public sector employers who have not already applied for funding are encouraged to do so today. More information.

Supports for Individuals

Students: Put more money in your pocket with benefits and credits!

Even if you didn’t make any income last year, you are still encouraged to file your income tax and benefit return, so you don’t miss out on a refund, benefit, or credit that you may be entitled to receive. Find out more.

Statistics Canada Hiring to Assist with Census Data Collection

Statistics Canada is currently hiring approximately 32,000 people for census enumerator and crew leader positions across Canada. For more information on the jobs available for the 2021 Census and the hiring process, please visit the 2021 Census jobs FAQ. For any questions regarding the online recruitment application, please refer to the Online job application FAQ. Find more information.

Scholarships Available for Female STEM Entrepreneurs

Ammolite Analytx in partnership with Economic Development Lethbridge, Women Entrepreneurs in STEM is providing 5 women in Southern Alberta with scholarships for the Foundations of Cybersecurity Certification. No prior knowledge or experience is required. Launching March 9th, this course includes 3 live instructional hours weekly over 8 weeks, peer-to-peer networking, plus one-on-one coaching and mentorship throughout. Space is limited, please pre-register.

Community Supports and Resources

Government of Canada introduces further restrictions on international travel

The Government of Canada announced new rules on international travel. The government and Canada’s airlines have agreed to suspend all flights to and from Mexico and Caribbean countries until April 30, 2021. This will be in effect as of January 31, 2021.

Further, effective midnight (11:59 PM EST) February 3, 2021, in addition to proof of a negative pre-departure test, Transport Canada will expand the existing international flight restrictions which funnel scheduled international commercial passenger flights into four Canadian airports: Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Calgary International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport. More information.


Canadian Chamber Objects to Further Buy American Restrictions

The Biden administration issued a new Buy America Executive Order. It confirmed our view that a lack of Canada-specific targeting in Buy America rules does not equate to a Canadian exemption from these unilateral restrictions by the U.S. government. Read the Canadian Chamber of Commerce statement.

A Year of Business Insights

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce Senior Director of Tax and Financial Policy, Patrick Gill, talks with Statistics Canada and Deloitte about the biggest business insights to come out of 2020’s Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC) — a series of surveys deployed in 2020 that explores what Canadian businesses and their employees were experiencing during the year against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more.

5 Minutes for Business: Let's Talk Mental Health

This year, the conversations around proper mental health resources and funding are more important than ever. A recent poll shows that 40 percent of Canadians have reported their mental health declining over the past year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the continued enormous pressure and strain families, employees and employers have been dealing with. There is no question this pandemic has taken a toll and as we continue to navigate a second wave and ongoing lockdowns, now more than ever it is important we take a moment to remember our own needs and support each other to get through these challenging times. While we are physically apart, no one is alone when it comes to dealing with mental health issues. Read more.

Have Your Say

Government Launches Pre-Budget Consultations

The federal government has launched its public consultations ahead of the 2021 budget. Canadians, including businesses and organizations, can participate directly by completing an online questionnaire or uploading a submission. Participate now.

Medicine Hat - Cardston - Warner Business Survey

Glen Motz, Member of Parliament for Medicine Hat - Cardston - Warner is asking businesses to complete a brief business survey (4 -5 minutes) to understand the priorities of the business community ahead of the upcoming Budget 2021 and beyond. A single survey should be completed for each business no later than Tuesday, February 16, 2021. Complete the survey.

New Resources

Small and Medium Enterprise Reluanch Grant

New application training video here.

It’s tax time! You’ve got questions? We’ve got answers.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) understands that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the usual ways Canadians manage their taxes. The CRA is here to answer questions you may have regarding your tax affairs, and to help you successfully file your income tax and benefit return. Here are the answers to the top questions asked at tax time, as well as some answers about COVID-19 benefits. You can also check out the questions and answers about filing your taxes for help on COVID-19 benefits, and the tax filing process. Find out more.

Transforming tax season for your business with MNP Ease

Receipt management made simple, integrated bank feeds and elimination of tax surprises can all be managed through MNP's solution. Read more.

New Report: State of the Canadian Commercial Property & Casualty Insurance Market

Several sizable external pressures are negatively impacting insurers, intermediaries, and their clients and creating tension in the commercial insurance market. The Canadian commercial insurance market became a “hard market” in 2019, which means the market entered a period of higher rates and reduced underwriting capacity for certain lines of business and/or geographies.. The environmental and macroeconomic events of 2020 have exacerbated these market dynamics, driven by three immediate pressures: 1. Rise in Extreme Weather Events; 2. Covid-19 Pandemic; 3. Macroeconomic Conditions. Read more in this report from IBC and Deloitte.

How to prepare for shipping rate changes in 2021

It’s important to keep an eye on the costs of running your business, especially as they change. You can expect some changes to your shipping costs, which may factor into both your shipping strategy and pricing strategy for 2021.

Every year, shipping carriers review their pricing and make adjustments to their rates due to increased costs like fuel and labor. These updates are normally implemented every year in January, so now’s the time to prepare for upcoming rate changes.

Here’s an overview of the rate increases coming in 2021 to help you optimize your shipping and fulfillment strategy in light of these changes. Read more.

A Year of Business Insights

Canadian Chamber of Commerce Senior Director of Tax and Financial Policy, Patrick Gill, talks with Statistics Canada and Deloitte about the biggest business insights to come out of 2020’s Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC) — a series of surveys deployed in 2020 that explores what Canadian businesses and their employees were experiencing during the year against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This discussion focuses on the data and insights uncovered during phases one to three of the CSBC as we prepare to launch phase four.

This valuable information will help inform business decisions when it comes to retooling, pivoting and working towards economic recovery and growth. Learn more.

Featured Webinars

January 25

Breaking Down Barriers: Successfully Build & Optimize Your Website | Register Here.

January 26

Breaking Down Barriers: Successfully Reaching Potential Clients | Register Here.

State of the City Address | Register today

January 27

Tax year-end filing for businesses | Register here.

January 28

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

Industrial Revolution 4.0: E-commerce | Register Now.

February 2

WESTEM: Breaking Down Barriers: Legal & Marketing Needs | Register

Energy Savings for Business Program: $55 Million in funding available | Find out more

February 4

Google Guide for SMEs | Register Now.

LinedIn 101 - The Basic Tenets of the World's Most Powerful B2B Platform | Register

WESTEM: Breaking Down Barriers: Money Matters | Register

February 8

WESTEM: Breaking Down Barriers: Essentials Of Writing & Organization | Register

February 9

WESTEM: Breaking Down Barriers: Managing Your Time & Reaching More Clients | Register

Scale up! How to use technology to boost your business's efficiency | Register

February 11

Bridging the Gap Between Employment and Immigrants | Register

WESTEM: Breaking Down Barriers: To-Do-List For Business Success | Register

Introducing Alibaba Group's Cross-border B2C Platform: Tmall Global | Register

February 17

Canada 360 Virtual Summit | Register Now with discount code CCCMember

February 24

Amazon Business Webinar | Register Now

February 25

Employer Workshop - Understanding and Recruiting Gig Workers | Register

March 4

Strike Up 2021 Digital Conference for Women Entrepreneurs | Register

Webinar Series

Culinary Tourism February 9 and 16 | Register here.

Self-Management Series on Time, Energy and Attention Management February 2, 9 and 16 | Register

Facebook Fundamentals Video Series: January 26 - February 16, 2021 | Register

February 17: Getting Into Retail 1: Food and Retail Landscape | Register

February 24: Getting Into Retail 2: Thinking Strategically About Getting Into Retail | Register

March 10: Getting Into Retail 3: Connecting with the retail food buyers and business development advisors | Register

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



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