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Weekly Update: March 12-18, 2021

Supports for Business

Applications for city development incentives to open this week

Invest Medicine Hat and the City of Medicine Hat will begin accepting applications for the development incentive program starting on Wednesday, March 17 at 8 a.m. The City of Medicine Hat encourages development and redevelopment in the City and incentives are an effective way to stimulate investment and support desirable economic growth that would have not otherwise occurred. Visit for full program details. More information.

Travel Alberta’s Cooperative Investment Program Is Back For 2021

Travel Alberta is committed to supporting our industry partners and Alberta’s visitor economy through a variety of funding programs with the Spring/Summer application in-take opening April 1! Stay tuned for more information about eligibility guidelines and other details.

Feminist Response and Recovery Fund: Call for Proposals

Since the COVID-19 virus took hold in Canada, the impacts of the pandemic have exposed gaps in our systems and amplified existing inequalities for women across the country. Women have faced increased job losses, experienced reduced hours of work, shouldered the majority of additional unpaid care responsibilities at home and continue to be on the front lines of the pandemic. At a time of greater confinement, there have also been widespread reports of increased intimate partner and other forms of violence. These impacts have been further compounded for Indigenous women, racialized women and other underrepresented groups of women.

To ensure progress on gender equality is not rolled back as a result of the pandemic, there is a need to accelerate systemic change for women across economic, social and political spheres. That’s why the government has initiated the Feminist Response and Recovery Fund call for proposals. More information.

Government announces comprehensive plan to protect foreign workers

The government will be moving forward with a two-pronged approach to quarantine requirements for TFWs after March 21, 2021, based on their final destination. Asymptomatic TFWs will be able to travel directly to their place of quarantine after getting a COVID-19 test at the airport provided they travel by private transportation and are accompanied only by others who travelled with them to Canada. TFWs who will need to travel by public means to a secondary location upon arrival in Canada will be required to stay in Government Authorized Accommodation (GAA) and await the results of their COVID-19 test. Provided TFWs have a suitable quarantine plan and safe transportation arranged to their place of quarantine, the government intends to ensure employers and TFWs will not assume incremental costs associated with the three-day quarantine requirement at the point of entry. Workers will also be provided with supports on arrival and during their hotel stay. More information.

Government of Canada supports recovery and growth of women-led businesses

The federal government announced more than $3.18 million in top-up funding for Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund recipients in the Prairies. The top-up funding aims to support women entrepreneurs in the Prairies to navigate this pandemic and continue to grow their businesses. Funding will support coaching, mentorship and networking opportunities. It will also support women-owned businesses continue to start-up, scale-up and access new markets as Canada recovers. More information.

Government of Canada launches consultations to ensure labour protections meet new realities of working Canadians

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed gig workers’ vulnerability and Canadians’ dependence on them to provide essential services. The pandemic has also meant that more Canadians are now working from home, blurring the lines between their home and work lives.

Canadians are invited to participate in an online consultation to share their views on:

  • gig work (where workers enter into short-term contracts to complete specific and often one-off tasks, generally through digital platforms) in federally regulated sectors; and
  • a “right to disconnect” and its potential benefits for federally regulated workers, for example, improving work-life balance by setting clear expectations around the use of cellphones after the workday is done.

The consultation is open to everyone and includes a discussion forum and a space to share stories about what it’s like to work in Canada today. Individuals have until April 30, 2021, to share their views. More information.

Supports for Individuals

COVID-19 Vaccinations Expand

All Albertans born between 1947 and 1956 will be able to book at an increasing number of participating pharmacies across Alberta including Medicine Hat and Redcliff, as well as by calling 811 or booking online. Participating Chamber member pharmacies include:

Please Share, You Could be Saving Someone: The Signal for Help

The social isolation measures necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic are making it more difficult for those who are at risk of abuse or violence to safely reach out for help. “Signal for Help” is a simple one-handed sign someone can use on a video call. It can help people silently show they need help and want someone to check in with them in a safe way. More information.

Community physicians will soon administer vaccines

Community physicians will soon begin administering the COVID-19 vaccine, helping more Albertans get their dose as soon as possible.
Alberta Health has been working with the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) to incorporate community physicians into the vaccine distribution plan as vaccine supply increases. The first community physicians are expected to begin administering vaccines in their clinics in April. More information.

More than 250 pharmacies now offering vaccines

Alberta’s government is rapidly expanding the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines through community pharmacies provincewide.
There are now 259 pharmacies in 107 communities offering the vaccine – a 154 per cent increase in participating pharmacies since March 1. The number of participating pharmacies will keep increasing as more vaccine doses arrive, with up to 500 locations booking appointments by early April. These pharmacies are rapidly increasing the province’s ability to immunize people as quickly and safely as possible. More information.

Working Parents Benefit application open

Working parents have until March 31 to apply to receive a one-time $561 per child benefit to help with the cost of child care. More information.

Funding for Alberta Elder Abuse Awareness Council

Alberta’s government is providing $750,000 over two years to the Alberta Elder Abuse Awareness Council, to provide one-time funding to the province’s 31 eligible coordinated community responses (CCRs) to elder abuse. CCRs are multidisciplinary partnerships that can include a range of partners such as local governments, non-profit organizations, businesses, health service providers and police services. More information.

Support to workers and families increases with the passage of EI legislation and the coming into effect of recovery benefit regulations

Workers claiming EI regular benefits can now access up to a maximum of 50 weeks for claims established between September 27, 2020 to September 25, 2021. In addition, self-employed workers who have opted into the EI program to access special benefits are now able to use a 2020 earnings threshold of $5,000, compared to the previous threshold of $7,555. This change is retroactive for claims established as of January 3, 2021, and applies until September 25, 2021. More information.

Post Secondary to Prepare for Return to In Person Learning

Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides issued a statement on returning to in-person learning this fall: “Alberta’s COVID-19 immunization program continues to move forward. As per recent announcements by the Minister of Health, we anticipate that we will offer every adult Albertan their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of June. With that in mind, I encourage all post-secondary institutions, students and families to prepare for a full return to on-campus learning this September." Read the full statement

Community Supports and Resources

2021 Community Spirit Awards Call For Nominations

The awards, formerly known as the Civic Recognition Awards, honour individuals who have made an extraordinary contribution to the community and who by their dedication, activities and/or accomplishments have enhanced the quality of life in Medicine Hat. Residents can nominate individuals for the 2021 Community Spirit Awards in the following categories: Arts/Culture, Sports/Recreation, Compassion, Environment, Community Inclusion, Volunteerism and Civic Pride. The deadline to submit a nomination form is Friday, May 31, 2021 at 4:30 p.m. For more information, please call 403.529.8296. To download a nomination package, visit the City website. More information.

Nominate Albertans who enhance community safety

Albertans are encouraged to nominate groups or individuals involved with crime prevention initiatives, youth justice committees, victim services, restorative justice programs and other community-based justice efforts. Albertans can submit award nominations in five categories including leadership, innovation, service enhancement, community mobilization, partnerships and collaboration. Nominate a community leader or organization before April 16th at noon.

The Recall Act

Bill 52, the Recall Act, would allow Albertans to initiate a process that could lead to removing and replacing elected officials including members of the legislative assembly (MLAs), municipal officials and school trustees during their term. Under the proposed Recall Act, recall of an elected official becomes an option 18 months after the respective provincial, municipal or school board election. An eligible Albertan could begin the process to have their MLA recalled by applying to the chief electoral officer. In the case of municipal officials, the Albertans would need to notify the chief administrative officer of the municipality. For school board officials, they would apply to the secretary of the relevant school board. The Albertan would then have 60 days to gather signatures from 40% of eligible voters in their constituency for MLAs. For elected municipal officials, the Albertan would need signatures from electors that represent 40% of the population in the municipality or ward. For school board trustees, the Albertan would have 120 days to gather signatures from 40% of eligible voters in that school district or ward. Read more.

Public engagement on Canada’s first National Infrastructure Assessment

The federal government launched an Engagement Paper on Canada’s first National Infrastructure Assessment: “Building the Canada We Want in 2050.” It sets out the purpose and benefits of undertaking a National Infrastructure Assessment and seeks input from the public, Indigenous Peoples, provinces, territories, municipalities, and stakeholders on three main priorities of the assessment:

  • Assessing Canada’s infrastructure needs and establishing a long-term vision;
  • Improving coordination among infrastructure owners and funders; and
  • Determining the best ways to fund and finance infrastructure.

The National Infrastructure Assessment, once in place, will help identify Canada’s evolving needs and priorities in the built environment and undertake evidence-based long-term planning toward a net-zero emissions future. More information.

Bill 51, the Citizen Initiative Act

Bill 51, the Citizen Initiative Act, would allow Albertans to bring their concerns and proposals forward to government for discussion or referendum. The proposed Citizen Initiative Act would allow any Albertan who is an eligible voter to bring forward an initiative for consideration. To bring an initiative forward, an Albertan would apply to the province’s chief electoral officer to start a petition for an initiative. They would have 90 days to gather the signatures of:

  • Ten percent of voters provincewide for legislative and policy initiatives.
  • For constitutional initiatives, petitioners would need the signatures of 20 percent of voters province-wide and would need that level of support in each of two-thirds of Alberta’s constituencies.

More information.

Formal consultations to design a made-in-Alberta solution to plastic, packaging, and hazardous household waste

Alberta’s government is seeking ways to better manage this waste through a circular economy approach –an extended producer responsibility (EPR) program that will reduce volume in our landfills and diversify the economy. Under this approach, the cost and management of recycling shifts from municipalities and municipal taxpayers to those directly producing and consuming goods, encouraging companies to produce less waste and packaging and come up with innovative ways to recycle more materials. The consultation will occur with municipalities, industry experts, Indigenous communities through stakeholder meetings and with the public through an online survey. open until April 30. More information.


Joint Association Statement on Bill C-11

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, along with numerous associations, sent a signed statement to the federal government urging it to update federal privacy legislation. Privacy and data protection are critical in our modern economy, where Canadians are constantly accessing digital services to support their work, connect with friends and family, engage in e-commerce and access critical government services. To ensure consumer data is adequately protected and Canadian businesses remain competitive, it is imperative for the federal government to establish national standards. Bill C-11 provides an opportunity to modernize Canada’s federal privacy legislation to achieve this goal. We call on Parliament to prioritize Bill C-11 so this legislation can be debated, important amendments can be adopted and it can continue to move forward. More information.

New Data Portrays the Stark Reality for the Food Service Sector in 2020

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce released a statement late today regarding a new report from Statistics Canada examining the impact of COVID-19 on food services and drinking places during the first quarter of 2021. The numbers highlight the unique challenges of the food services sector during the pandemic and the disproportionate impact upon sectors dependent upon in-person transactions. Read the statement.

Leading Industry Associations Call on Federal Government to Prevent Strike Action at the Port of Montreal

Canada’s leading national industry associations have issued a statement regarding the threat of strike action by longshoremen at the Port of Montreal. It is with great urgency that we call on the federal Minister of Labour to take steps towards resolution between the longshoremen and the Maritime Employers Association. More the statement.

Canadian Chamber Comments on Labour Force Survey: A Jarring Juxtaposition with International Women’s Week

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce issued a statement regarding recent Labour Force Survey numbers. Below the positive headline numbers, the pandemic has seen one-third of all employment losses affecting women aged 15-24. Read the statement.

New Resources

A short guide to using the Business Model Canvas to start an e-commerce website

The COVID-19 crisis has created an unprecedented rise in online purchasing by Canadian consumers with e-commerce sales more than doubling for basically every type of merchant since the beginning of the crisis. For entrepreneurs who want to develop their e-commerce business, the time to act is now. Customers could be forming habits that will last long after the pandemic has passed, whether your company sells to other businesses, directly to customers or to both, as e-commerce behavior is similar. Follow this easy business model canvas method to plan out your e-commerce model.

MNP Employee Fraud Series
2020: A Very Different Tax Year - What could we expect in 2021?

The impact of billions of dollars in federal pandemic relief programs will likely be reflected in Canada’s up-coming tax season. Find out what this could mean for your business, including:

  • Highlights of 2020 Fall Economic Statement
  • Signals of changes ahead
  • New rules, compliance and enforcement
  • Steps to protect your estate and business

Watch this on-demand webinar to find out more.

MNP resource on subsidy program rates 

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) and Lockdown Support programs will remain in effect to June 5, 2021 at the current rates. Find out more about the revenue decline reference periods and the baseline remuneration periods.

New Procurement Service in Place with the Government of Canada

Public Service and Procurement Canada has a new procurement service (SAP Ariba) that is now open to businesses wishing to bid on upcoming tender opportunities. During the transition to the new service, tender opportunities will still be posted to the current, which is the authoritative source of federal tender opportunities. Some opportunities, however, will require bidding through the new procurement service, SAP Ariba. For those tenders, businesses must be registered in SAP Ariba to both view the solicitation details and to submit a bid. To register for a free account in SAP Ariba, go to the CanadaBuys Getting Started page. For support with registration, contact the CanadaBuys service desk. Stay informed about website updates and procurement news by subscribing to the Email notification service for news.

Featured Webinars

March 23

Industrial Revolution 4.0: Geoeconomics and Technology | Register

March 23-24

Alberta Rural Connectivity Forum | Register

Industrial Revolution 4.0: Geoeconomics and Technology | Register

March 24

Canada-Alberta Job Grant: Updated and Explained! | Register

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

Simplifying Federal COVID-19 Relief for your Business | Register

March 25

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

Selling to the U.S. - Shipping and Logistics | Register

Small Tech Businesses: Growth & Adjusting During and Post COVID-19 | Register

Using the Canada-Alberta Job Grant for your Small Business | 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

Business Continuity within the Family Business | Register

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

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

Growth through Brand & Purpose: Building an Identity You Can Rally Around | Register

March 31

Demystifying Tech | Register

Work Unplugged | Elevated Experiences for Employee Well-Being | Register

April 1

Applied Research: Supporting a Business-led Recovery, with Polytechnics Canada | Register

April 20-22

Canadian Family Enterprise Forum | Register

April 22

A Budding Business – Building the Foundation for a Cannabis Store | Register


Webinar Series

CPA Financial Literacy Webinar Series for Small Business | Register

March BBB Fraud Prevention Series: Register

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

Alberta Innovates: Inventures Unbound | Free Pass

View an overview of events and market intelligence related to the technology sector globally here



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