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Weekly Update: January 29 – February 4, 2021

Supports for Business

Alberta begins Step 1 of plan to ease restrictions

Step 1 of Alberta’s four-step framework to ease restrictions is underway as pressure eases on the health system and hospitalizations remain below 600. School-related and limited indoor and outdoor children’s sport and performance activities, one-on-one indoor personal fitness with a trainer, and dine-in service at restaurants, cafés and pubs are now permitted provincewide. More information.

Limited school and team sports allowed as of Feb. 8

Limited school and minor sport training will be allowed under Step 1 of Alberta’s four-step framework to carefully ease restrictions as pressure on the health system declines. Starting Feb. 8, children and youth will be allowed to participate in lessons, practices and conditioning activities for indoor and outdoor team-based minor sports and athletics. All games continue to be prohibited. More information.

New online service makes trades verification easier

Employers in Alberta now have an online service to verify the credentials of tradespersons and apprentices with just a few clicks of a mouse.
The Tradesperson Credential Verification Service gives employers streamlined, online access to verify the credentials of a skilled tradesperson or apprentice. The new online verification service can be accessed via

Southern Alberta Newspapers - Community Marketing Grant

Southern Alberta Newspapers has begun the second round of the Community Marketing Grant program.  $2.1 million in matching grant funds is available to help local businesses. Businesses can market in Medicine Hat and can reach additional consumers in southeastern Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan through this network of newspapers. Find more information and apply.

Mitacs Funding for Employers

In partnership with participating Canadian post-secondary institutions, Mitacs has launched a new initiative: a $10,000 award to provide them with the support of undergraduate and graduate students through a four-month long project. Deadline to apply is February 15. More information.

2021 Alberta Business Awards of Distinction

Nominations and submissions for the Alberta Chambers of Commerce Business Awards of Distinction is February 14th. Find out more about the award categories and how to nominate a deserving business here.

Applications open for new business relief

New businesses and unregistered sole proprietors can now apply for Alberta’s small business relaunch grant. Expansions to the Small and  Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant program announced in January are now included on the Government of Alberta’s application portal. New businesses that began operating between March and October 2020, as well as unregistered sole proprietors, can now apply for COVID relief funding. More information.

Government of Canada temporarily waives the one-week waiting period for Employment Insurance claims

In response to the increase in people needing support, the federal government announced EI regulations will be amended to temporarily waive the waiting period for EI claimants who establish a new claim between January 31, 2021 and September 25, 2021. This includes claimants of regular, fishing and special benefits. This temporary change will allow people who are applying for benefits to be paid for their first week of unemployment. More information.

Supports for Individuals

Expanding COVID self-isolation supports for all Albertans

All Albertans are now eligible to receive self-isolation supports to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Prior to this expansion, only Albertans in Edmonton and Calgary were eligible for the $625 payment when they completed self-isolating in their assigned hotel. Now, Albertans across the province – including First Nations individuals living both on and off reserve and people living on Metis Settlements who cannot isolate safely in their own home – are eligible. More information.

Province warns of prohibited non-certified gas fireplaces

Alberta Municipal Affairs issued a regulatory notice warning residents of prohibited installation and use of non-certified gas fireplaces manufactured by Canadian Fire Hearth Manufacturing Inc. and Luxor Manufacturing Inc. The notice affects various years, makes, and model numbers as identified in the three-page warning. Notice: Installation or Use of Non-Certified Gas Fireplaces

All affected fireplaces must be immediately removed from operation and shall have the gas supply to the appliance terminated immediately in accordance with the CSA B149 – Natural gas and propane installation code. Read more.

More supportive campus experience for veterans

A new initiative at the University of Alberta will help veterans get the education they need to transition to other careers. The two-year pilot initiative will provide specialized on-campus supports and resources to help veterans achieve their educational goals and build new careers once their service has ended. Students can begin accessing these services in the 2021-22 academic year. More information.

Community Supports and Resources

Support for students and school staff through the Safe Return to Class Fund

The federal government announced the second instalment of the Safe Return to Class Fund. The second instalment of up to $1 billion is provided to the provinces and territories and can be used for various measures, such as supporting adapted learning spaces and remote learning, improving air ventilation, increasing hand sanitation and hygiene, purchasing personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies, and providing health and safety training for staff. More information.

New support to produce COVID-19 vaccines and treatments in Canada

The federal government announced they have signed a memorandum of understanding with Novavax to pursue the production of its COVID-19 vaccine at the National Research Council of Canada’s Biologics Manufacturing Centre in Montréal. More information.

Heart Health Month

Minister of Health Tyler Shandro issued a statement on Heart Health Month. Part of this statement reads: "Prevention is key, especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic when activity levels have decreased for many people. It’s important to find ways to stay active and make healthy choices to reduce your risks. Many risk factors can be managed through eating a healthy diet, exercising, reducing stress and more." Read the full statement and check out additional resources under our health and wellness section here.

Increasing protection for vulnerable Albertans

Alberta’s government is providing $68.5 million to protect vulnerable Albertans and staff in continuing care and residential addiction and mental health treatment facilities, as well as home care clients, from COVID-19. This one-time funding will support operators of non-contracted licensed supportive living and both contracted and non-contracted home care, hospices and residential addiction and mental health treatment centres. It will help operators pay for increased staffing, additional cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment. More information.

Government of Canada supports projects to encourage vaccine uptake in Canada

The federal government announced an investment of more than $64 million through the Immunization Partnership Fund (IPF) to help partners across the country in Canada increase COVID-19 vaccination uptake. More information.


Help Spread the Word: There Is an Urgent Need for Widespread Rapid Testing

Widespread vaccination of Canadians is many months away — with worrying supply concerns — while the real harm of the virus continues to be felt every day. The widespread use of rapid testing and enhanced contact tracing can play a significant, positive role in the fight against COVID-19. Canadian governments at all levels have significant ground to make up on this front and must do so urgently. Read the op-ed.

“Dragon” Arlene Dickinson sits down with Canadian Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Perrin Beatty

Noted investor, author and “Dragon” Arlene Dickinson sits down with our President and CEO, Perrin Beatty, for a candid conversation on the impact COVID-19 has had on Canadian business. Watch now.

Alberta Chambers of Commerce letter to Minister Champagne

The ACC sent a letter to federal Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne in support of the Canadian Chamber's Workforce Supply and Demand Matchup (WSDM) proposal. Read the letter.

New Resources

Additional CRA Services to Help Canadians this Tax Filing Season

The new service enhancements for the 2021 tax season include: additional call agents to further increase call centre capacity, new automated callback service and extended call centre hours. Read more.

Featured Webinars

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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