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Weekly Update: March 19 – 25, 2021

Supports for Business

Extension of Canada Emergency Business Account to Help Small Businesses

The federal government announced that the deadline for new Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) applications has been extended from March 31 to June 30, 2021. This deadline extension applies to any new applications for CEBA loans of $60,000 or to new applications from businesses that have already received the $40,000 loan and intend to apply for the additional $20,000. More information.

Expanding child care options for working parents

Alberta’s government is supporting working families across the province by allocating $9.7 million in grants by March 31 for operators to create 1,500 more spaces in day homes and daycare centres, including overnight care. The number of child care spaces capacity building grants will support include 186 in southern Alberta (serving Bassano, Brooks, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Taber), including 39 overnight spaces. Read more.

Virtual Workshops: The Government of Canada’s Advisory Council on Artificial Intelligence Public Awareness Working Group

As part of the government’s Advisory Council on Artificial Intelligence Public Awareness Working Group, in partnership with CIFAR and Algora Lab (University of Montreal), we are happy to share that the group is inviting Canadians to participate in a series of virtual workshops about AI. More information and register

Expansion of rapid testing in Alberta

Alberta’s government is offering millions of free rapid testing kits to public, private and not-for-profit employers and service providers provincewide. At least two million rapid tests will be available for businesses and sectors in Alberta. Any employer or service provider in Alberta can apply for the free rapid tests. More information.

Government of Canada helps employers create accessible and inclusive workplaces for employees with disabilities

To help improve workplace accessibility and access to jobs, the Government of Canada introduced the National Workplace Accessibility Stream under the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities. Approximately $3 million of funding has been earmarked for the National Workplace Accessibility Stream for the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW) and its Accommodation and Inclusion Management (AIM) program. More information.

Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN) Announces $80 Million to Create Positive Environmental Improvements

The CRIN announced $80 million for three large-scale technology competitions that will create positive environmental improvements for Canada’s oil and natural gas industry and end-users. Through the Government of Canada’s $100-million commitment from the Strategic Innovation Fund, CRIN’s three competitions will accelerate solutions to commercialization and wide-spread adoption to increase competitiveness and significantly reduce environmental impact. More information.

Changes to Agristability for farmers and ranchers

The March 25 federal, provincial and territorial agriculture ministers’ meeting resulted in a deal for farmers and ranchers. All three Prairie provinces voted in favour of removing the reference margin limit (RML), which will provide support to producers across the country experiencing declines in farm income. More information.

Supports for Individuals

Driving Back to Work Grant Program

The Driving Back to Work grant program will cover up to 90 per cent of the cost of Mandatory Entry-Level Training to help eligible unemployed Albertans get their Class 1 commercial truck driver’s licence and pursue careers as professional truck drivers. More information.

New overdose prevention app coming to Alberta

Alberta’s government will be testing a new Digital Overdose Response System (DORS). Albertans using substances alone can utilize DORS, which will trigger a call from the STARS emergency centre if the individual becomes unresponsive to a timer. Emergency response will be dispatched to their location in the event of a presumed overdose. The app will also provide information about recovery-oriented supports and services available in the area to ensure people have the information they need on their journey to recovery. More information.

Community Supports and Resources

Government Announces Additional Pandemic Support 

The Government of Canada introduced Bill C-25. This legislation would provide an additional $7.2 billion in support for urgent health care needs across the country, the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, and for local infrastructure projects in our cities and communities. The proposed funding includes $4 billion through the Canada Health Transfer, $1 billion for vaccine roll-out and $2.2 billion to address short-term infrastructure priorities.

Bill 58, the Freedom to Care Act

Bill 58, the Freedom to Care Act, would make it easier for non-profits to access exemptions, allow Alberta’s government to grant new one-time regulatory exemptions and provide individual volunteers with liability protections. Non-profits and charitable organizations are governed by regulations, just like businesses. However, regulations for commercial purposes can prevent non-profit organizations from addressing immediate needs in their communities. More information


Carbon Tax Ruling Provides Policy Certainty but Concerns Remain About the Competitiveness of Canadian Businesses

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled the federal government's carbon pricing regime is constitutional. Following this decision by the Supreme Court of Canada, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce issued a statement that reiterates that while the decision provides clarity, the issue remains divisive for many Canadians. Understanding that the federal carbon tax and its incremental increases on the price of carbon over the following decades are here to stay is one thing. Ensuring businesses are able to successfully navigate a carbon price with confidence is quite another. Read the statement.

Budget Rollouts | Where Do We Go from Here?

On April 19, the federal government will present its first budget in more than two years. There can be no doubt that Canada’s recovery will be business-led. While subsidies and stimulus spending have been important, the only path to real, sustainable growth is job creation and business investment. Our members, business owners from Main Street to C-suite and everything in between want one thing from this budget: a clear plan to help them lead Canada’s economic recovery. This week, we issued a statement on those policy pushes that will help Canada’s recovery. Read the statement.

Precision Agriculture Is a Game-changer for Canada’s Farmers

Canadian Chamber member Syngenta Canada, along with CCC Policy Advisor Jarred Cohen, discuss the future of farming and the importance of ongoing funding and incentives for digitization with the food and farmer sectors and how this will position Canada well for post-COVID-19 recovery in this recent piece from The Globe and Mail. Read more.

Disappointed by a Lack of Agreement between Union and Employers, Chamber and Industry Associations Call for Federal Government to Prevent Strike Action at the Port of Montreal

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce called upon the federal minister of labour to immediately use all tools at her disposal to resolve and prevent any disruption of service at the Port of Montreal. We must work to ensure smooth and uninterrupted operations at the port. It is critical to keeping Canadians employed, safe, and healthy throughout this tumultuous time. Read the letter.

Alberta’s Business Community and Post Secondaries Team Up on Talent Development

Alberta’s business community and post-secondary institutions are taking action to align skills development with labour market demands through a new Talent Development Task Force. Led by the Alberta Chambers of Commerce (ACC) and Council of Post-Secondary Presidents of Alberta (COPPOA), the task force will focus on strengthening the alignment of post-secondary programming with opportunities for business growth and expanding work-integrated learning opportunities for post-secondary students. The task force will be comprised of regional representatives from the business community and post-secondary institutions, industry, and funding leaders. We are pleased that the Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce will be an active member of this task force as it moves forward as the work of this task force aligns well with work already in progress in our region. Read the Alberta Chambers press release online.

Fighting for better programs for farmers and ranchers

The March 25 federal, provincial and territorial agriculture ministers’ meeting resulted in a deal for farmers and ranchers. All three Prairie provinces voted in favour of removing the reference margin limit (RML), which will provide support to producers across the country experiencing declines in farm income. The Prairie provinces are also working closely to advance policy reforms as part of the next agricultural funding framework in 2023 to improve AgriStability for all agriculture producers. Our Chamber will also continue to push for improving risk management programs for agriculture producers and the recommendations we've outlined in our policy position.

Carbon tax ruling leaves concerns about the competitiveness of Canadian businesses

The government will need to address issues for businesses facing sector-specific challenges, including agriculture, and small-to-medium-sized businesses that will be particularly hard-hit by the tax. Finding solutions will require government working alongside business to help them successfully navigate policies and address industry concerns like the high costs of decarbonisation and how to stay competitive. Read the Canadian Chamber's full statement.

Government of Canada Announces Date of Budget 2021

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, will present Budget 2021 in the House of Commons on April 19, 2021, at approximately 4:00 p.m. ET. The Canadian Chamber issued a pre-budget statement leading up to April's announcement: "For all of the subsidy and stimulus spending Canada has seen and will continue to see, the only path to real, sustainable growth is job creation and business investment. Our members, businesses from Main Street to C-Suite and everything in between, want one thing from this budget: a clear plan to help them lead Canada’s economic recovery. They are ready to kick start our shared recovery, but they need the government to do its part and create an encouraging business environment”.

New Resources

CRA Tax Tips

Donate to a charity? Claim your tax credit! Read more.

Annual interest rates that will apply to any amounts owed to the CRA, effective April 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021. View the rates for overdue taxes, CPP, EI, and other taxes, duties and charges.

Go digital to make it as easy as possible, and reduce tax-filing impacts and possible delays due to COVID-19. Find out more.

Identity Fraud: What To Do Next

As more of our activities shift online, fraud and identity theft are increasingly common. Acting quickly and efficiently is your best defence. If you suspect that you or a loved one may be a victim, here’s what you should do: Gather your information, call your financial institution, flag it, report it, lock down your email and secure your social media. Read more about each of these tips through AMA online.

Watch the Interviews from the Executive Summit: Innovation in a Business-led Recovery

The Canadian Chamber hosted their Executive Summit Series. These interviews are now available on the Canadian Chamber YouTube channel. Please click on the links below to watch.

Free webinars offered by Employment Standards

Alberta Employment Standards is offering free webinars beginning March 31, 2021. The webinars will provide an overview of the Employment Standards Code and Regulation, and cover changes from Bill 32: the Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces Act, as well as changes made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sign up for a webinar on the registration page.

Featured Webinars

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 7

Greening Canada’s Transportation Technology | Register

April 20-22

Canadian Family Enterprise Forum | Register

April 22

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

March 30-April 30

Open Dialogue: Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Canada | Find out more.

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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