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Weekly Update: February 19 – 25, 2021

Supports for Business

Innovation Employment Grant

The Innovation Employment Grant opened in January, but is delivered through the corporate tax system and does not follow a formal application process. Eligible corporations will be able to claim the grant when they file their annual corporate tax returns. See How to apply and Additional program details for more information.

Temporary Changes to the Canada Alberta Job Grant

The following program changes expand eligibility to help businesses access the training they need. These temporary changes are effective from February 18, 2021 until February 28, 2022.

  • Eligible trainee now includes employed family members of eligible employers.
  • Business owners (incorporated, unincorporated/sole-proprietor and partnerships) with 4 or fewer employees are now eligible to train themselves.
  • Training is no longer required to be incremental.

The following permanent operational changes will make the application process more efficient. These permanent changes are effective as of February 18, 2021.

  • Training can start once the application is received by the CAJG.
  • Employers may pay for training at any time; however, the training cannot start until all trainee(s) have signed the application and the application is received by the CAJG.
  • Course information is no longer required to be listed on the training provider’s website.
  • Customized training is eligible.

Revised list of the eligible and ineligible training costs. Please see the Applicant Guide for the full list. Read more.

Department of Finance Releases Draft Legislation to Increase Accessibility of Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy

The Department of Finance released draft legislative proposals that would implement technical amendments to these programs. The draft legislative proposals released today would:

  • Provide applicants with more flexibility in determining the revenue decline for the wage and rent subsidies for the qualifying period from December 20, 2020 to January 16, 2021.
  • Ensure that Lockdown Support is available to an eligible property owner whose tenant is not arm’s length but has a qualifying business at the property that is subject to a lockdown and must shut their doors or significantly restrict their activities under a public health order.

The Canada Revenue Agency will administer the subsidies on the basis of these draft legislative proposals. Details on the measures proposed are available in the backgrounder.

Youth Internship Incentive Program

Youth Internship Incentive Program is funding to hire apprentices and 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, contact Kristi Liboiron, Field Director at

New Government of Canada Hub for the Tourism Sector

The department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, has launched a newly designed online hub for the Canadian tourism sector. The site contains information and resources for businesses in the tourism sector, including the latest financial supports available for tourism businesses. Read more.

ESB Program: New Measures Now Available

The Energy Savings for Business (ESB) Program has released new measures eligible for incentives. These new measures will give businesses more opportunities to take advantage of the program, implement efficient equipment, and, ultimately, reduce emissions. You can submit multiple applications for the same location, providing they do not exceed an incentive level of $250,000. More information.

Supports for Individuals

Relief for working parents

Alberta parents who use child care will receive $561 per child with the new Working Parents Benefit, a one-time payment to help parents with the cost of child care. The Working Parents Benefit will see $108 million go to families that used child care – including licensed or unlicensed daycare, day homes, out-of-school care, or preschool – from April to December of 2020. More information.

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) supports through a tax season

February 22 marks the official launch of the 2021 Tax Season and individuals can now file their 2020 income tax and benefit return. The CRA has taken steps to accommodate those who need extra assistance when filing their taxes this year:

  • Adding more call centre agents and extending call hours to give taxpayers more time to have their tax and benefit questions answered;
  • Providing a targeted interest relief for Canadians who received COVID-19 related income support benefits, giving them more time and flexibility to pay if they have an amount owing;
  • Expanding payment arrangement parameters to provide Canadians more time and flexibility to repay a tax debt—those who are in difficult financial situations who find themselves owing money can call a CRA agent for help, toll-free at 1-888-863-8657 between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern time, Monday to Friday (except holidays);
  • Helping employees cope with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by making the deduction for home office expenses more accessible and easier to claim;
  • Supporting community organizations who offer free virtual tax help to individuals with modest income and a simple tax situation through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP);
  • Offering a new pilot program to offer grants to CVITP and Income Tax Assistance – Volunteer Program (IVATP) clinics to help them with the costs of running community tax clinics;
  • Offering a Liaison Officer service that provides free personalized virtual visits by phone or videoconference to small business owners and self-employed individuals to help them understand their tax obligations.

Find out what you need to know for the 2021 tax-filing season.

Expanding Alberta’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Albertans who were born in 1946 or earlier can now book their vaccine online or by calling 811. Appointment availability will be determined by vaccine supply. Alberta Health Services is also offering the vaccine to all residents in retirement centres, lodges, supportive living and other congregate living facilities with residents aged 75 or older. AHS will directly contact these facilities to arrange appointments. In sites where eligible seniors interact with residents younger than age 75, health officials will offer the vaccine to everyone living in the facility in order to reduce the overall risk of disease transmission, severe illness and death. Read more. Additionally, starting Feb. 24, Albertans aged 75 and older will be able to book their vaccination appointment at more than 100 participating community pharmacies in Edmonton, Red Deer and Calgary. Appointments will start the first week of March. As more vaccine arrives, more participating pharmacies will begin to offer the vaccine. This is in addition to the online booking tool available to seniors through Alberta Health Services. More information.

Phase 2 vaccinations will be offered in a staged approach and once completed, will have vaccinated anyone aged 50 to 74 years, anyone with high-risk underlying health conditions, First Nations and Métis people aged 35 and older, residents and staff in congregate living settings, and eligible caregivers. Phase 2 is targeted to begin in April, depending on the supply of vaccine. More information.

COVID Care Teams Outreach

If you or others in your home have been directed to self-isolate/quarantine by Alberta Health Services and are unable to do so safely at home, please contact 211 to discuss options, including accessing an assigned hotel to safely isolate (free of charge). Financial assistance may also be available in the amount of $625, upon completion of the self-isolation period.

Government of Canada introduces legislation to increase number of weeks for EI regular benefits and to prevent international travellers from qualifying for recovery benefits during mandatory quarantine

The federal government introduced Bill C-24, to increase the maximum number of weeks available to workers through EI regular benefits and give them the certainty they need should their job be affected by COVID-19. The proposed legislation would provide workers with up to a maximum of 50 weeks for claims that are established between September 27, 2020, and September 25, 2021.

As part of this proposed legislation, all international travellers who need to quarantine or isolate upon their return to Canada, including people returning from vacation, would be made ineligible to receive support from any of the Canada Recovery Benefits for the period of their mandatory quarantine or isolation. These changes would be retroactive to October 2, 2020. More information.

Community Supports and Resources

2021 Property Assessment Notices

Due to the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis, review of the impact to market value and the late scheduling of 2020 review board appeals, the property assessment notices have been extended. Property Assessment Notices will reflect the valuation date of July 2020 and condition/characteristics of the property as of December 31, 2020 for the 2021 taxation year. All property types will be mailed their Property Assessment Notice for Tax Year 2021 on April 14 with a complaint deadline of June 22.

The separate mailing of the Assessment Request for Information (ARFIs) for both Non-Residential and Multi-Family income-producing properties will be tentatively May 6th mail date with a 60-day filing deadline of July 6.

Currently, there is no change to the mailing date for the 2021 Tax Notices planned.

New 50/50 lottery for junior hockey in Alberta

Albertans will have the chance to support junior hockey with a new 50/50 draw that will help local teams maintain operations impacted by COVID-19. Jackpots For Junior Hockey presented by RE/MAX, a joint 50/50 draw launched Feb. 22 by the Western Hockey League (WHL) and Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL), will share proceeds with Alberta’s five WHL teams and 15 AJHL teams to help offset revenues lost because of the pandemic and the suspension of play. Read more.

Border Pilot Program

As of Feb. 21 at 9:59 p.m. MST, the border pilot program at Calgary Airport and Coutts land border crossing has been suspended. Federal changes requiring travellers returning from outside Canada to quarantine upon arrival have come into effect.

Public Health Agency of Canada to begin COVID-19 testing at land borders

The government of Canada recently announced further testing and quarantine requirements for travellers at land ports of entry. It is mandatory for travellers arriving at Canada's land ports of entry, unless exempted, to present proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test result taken in the United States within 72 hours before entry into Canada or proof of a positive COVID-19 test conducted between 14 and 90 days before arrival. As of February 22, 2021, to meet day 1 arrival requirements, travellers entering Canada at land borders, unless exempt, will be required to take a test using a self-swab kit. This test can be taken either at the traveller's quarantine location or at a border testing site. More information.

Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership

The Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership announced February 23rd establishes a blueprint for a whole-of-government effort against the COVID-19 pandemic. It creates a partnership on climate change, advances global health security, bolsters cooperation on defense and security, and it reaffirms a shared commitment to diversity, equity, and justice. View the joint statement and the press release.

Coal consultation: Minister Savage

Minister of Energy Sonya Savage issued the following statement on forthcoming public consultations with Albertans on a modern coal policy for Alberta: “Since announcing our commitment to widespread consultation on a modern coal policy for Alberta, we have heard from many passionate Albertans and interested groups who want to be engaged.“I’m pleased to announce these public consultations will begin on March 29..." More information.

Special adviser to assist review of the Police Act

Alberta’s government has appointed a special adviser to help with its review of the Police Act. Temitope Oriola, an associate professor of criminology at the University of Alberta, has been appointed for a six-month term. He will provide independent advice to the government as it weighs policy options raised in ongoing stakeholder discussions that began in the fall. More information.


Budget Time Provincially and Federally has many wondering what the next steps will be

The Medicine Hat & District Chamber analyzed the business plans and budget information on February 25th and issued a statement for the Roadmap to Recovery and its plans to align the budget priorities with business needs through its ongoing work with Government. Read more here.

The Alberta Chambers of Commerce provided a pre-budget submission in advance of this Thursday's provincial budget address and issued their statement here along with their analysis. The Alberta Chambers will also be hosting a meeting with Minister Toews for Chambers across Alberta on March 2nd.

MNP has also created a budget highlight document covering personal tax measures, corporate tax measures and other taxes, which can be viewed online.

Read more about Budget 2021 and view some key highlights.

The Canadian Chamber also presented its Pre-budget Submission to the Federal Government. This year’s federal budget comes at a critical juncture for the Canadian economy as the country continues to grapple with the pandemic. Consequently, it is crucial Budget 2021 presents a fiscal framework that both buttresses our immediate response to the pandemic and lays the groundwork for a longer-term economic recovery. Our recommendations focus on the key measures that will enhance the competitiveness of Canadian businesses, which in turn will provide well-paying jobs for Canadians and strengthen the economy as a whole. Read the submission.

Prime Minister Trudeau-President Biden Meeting: We Welcome a Canada-U.S. Relationship Reset

As Canada looks to return to more normalized relations with the U.S., there are opportunities for both countries to help each other build a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery. Read the statement from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

New Resources

Canadian Entrepreneur Mental Health and Well-Being Report

We find that while 64% of entrepreneurs reported having their business situation under control, close to two-thirds also reported feeling tired and unenergetic at least once a week. Get a free copy of the report and access the well-being resources.

Alberta Economic Recovery Summit Report

The Alberta Economic Recovery Summit convened and leveraged the expertise and experience of stakeholders across the province with a vision of developing home-grown solutions to Alberta specific challenges. Read the report.

Encourage Students Working in Retail to Apply for the 2021 Retail Education Scholarship Program

Retail Council of Canada, in partnership with industry sponsors, will award more than $85,000 in scholarships and benefits to students entering or currently enrolled in a business, marketing or retail-related program at a Canadian post-secondary institution. One $5,000 scholarship will be awarded to the top Retail Education Scholarship applicant. Deadline is May 31, 2021. Learn more.

Start-Up Canada #StartupWomen Mentors

Looking for support to start or scale your business? Check out this free month-long mentorship program for women entrepreneurs coast to coast to coast, intended to reduce the barriers women face in building their businesses. Have a look at the 100+ mentors here, and sign up for a 30 minute meeting throughout the month of March!

Building a Workplace Mental Health Strategy

Sun Life has developed a toolkit to help employers like you. It is a practical guide to help you develop the fundamentals of a mental health strategy — something that your organization can grow and develop over time and that can deliver significant and lasting results. Download the toolkit.

Featured Webinars


February 26

Lessons From The Accountant: Preparing for Tax Season for Sole Proprietors | Register

Partnership at Home - family management and work responsibilities | Register

March 2

Industrial Revolution 4.0 – Agriculture in the 21st Century: How Canada Can Lead by Example | Register

March 3

A Brief Overview of Statistics Canada’s Health Data | Register

March 4

Relentless adaptation in the age of COVID-19: 4 lessons to thrive in chaos | Register

Social Media Deep Dive: Instagram | Register

Strike Up 2021 Digital Conference for Women Entrepreneurs | Register

Energy Savings for Business: HVAC and Water Hearing Measures | Register

March 5

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly of Being a Women Entrepreneur in STEM | Register

March 8

New Canadian Emerging Entrepreneurs | Register

March 9

Foundations of Cyber Security | Register

Government Support Programs and Tax Planning Strategies, with Grant Thornton | Register

March 10

Connecting with the retail food buyers and business development advisors | Register

Winning new customers in a changing economy | Register

Women in Entrepreneurship: Support, Innovation and Creativity through Recovery, Reformation and Revitalization | Register

March 11

Transform your Stress - The Resilience Advantage | Register

Inclusive Response and Recovery: A Conversation with Minister Monsef | Register

March 15-18

Tourism HR Canada’s Labour Market Forum | Register.

March 18

A Click Away - Trends for the Future of e-commerce in 2021 | Register

March 23-24

Alberta Rural Connectivity Forum | Register

March 24

Demonstration of the Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics Hub | Register

March 25

Executive Summit Series 2021 | Innovation in a Business-led Recovery | Register

March 23-29

True North Free Trade Forum | Find out more or email to get your invitation to the online event platform. The online platform will allow you to complete your online company and personal profile, access content, see who else is attending, request 1:1 business meetings with anchor companies and register for the Forum's two-day program.

March 30

Retail E-commerce: The COVID-19 Experience | Register

Anyone Can Be a Victim: How to Protect Your Business | Register

Webinar Series

CPA Financial Literacy Webinar Series for Small Business | Register

March BBB Fraud Prevention Series: Register

March 2: 6 Pack App Series kick off - take your idea to an app in the App Store | 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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