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Weekly Update: April 16 – 22, 2021

Supports for Business

SMERG Application intake for the spring 2021 payment from Alberta’s small business grant is now open

The Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant program has been reopened for a new payment to businesses affected by the April 2021 public health orders. Eligible organizations can now apply for this additional COVID relief funding.

The Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant (SMERG) offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses, cooperatives and non-profit organizations with fewer than 500 employees that have faced restrictions or closures due to COVID-related public health orders, and have experienced revenue losses of at least 30 per cent. Hotels, taxis and ride-sharing services are also now eligible for this payment.

Eligible organizations will receive a payment of up to $10,000, which follows the previous intake that provided up to $20,000. Funds can be used to:

  • Cover costs of items that help prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies.
  • Pay rent, employee wages or replace inventory.
  • Help businesses expand their online presence or e-commerce opportunities so that they can continue to serve customers.

Application intake for the program is open until May 31 with a budget of $350 million and does not need to be repaid. Applications received before the previous program closure on March 31 will continue to be processed.

Updated Guideline Documents

Alberta Health has updated the documents on the guidance page.  Most businesses will fall under General Operational Guidance.  Any previous guidance for activities currently not permitted were removed from the website. As activities with special circumstances/operations are permitted to open, more guidance documents may be updated and posted.

Vaccine Resource Hub

Our Vaccine Resource Hub provides businesses with a one-stop-shop to help in building vaccine confidence amongst their team. This includes practical guidance for how employers can speak with their employees about vaccinations. Check out the resources.

Workplace Recovery Toolkit

Our Workplace Recovery Toolkit includes the latest information and best practices for businesses to operate safely. Find out more.

Supports for Individuals

AstraZeneca vaccine eligibility drops to age 40

Participating pharmacies and Alberta Health Services will be booking appointments for AstraZeneca vaccinations for Albertans born in 1981 or earlier. Walk-in vaccinations will be available at the walk-in clinics in every zone, as well as specific pharmacies across the province. Find out more.

Paid COVID-19 vaccination leave

The Alberta government has passed legislation that amends the Employment Standards Code for working Albertans to access paid, job-protected leave to get each COVID-19 vaccine. Read more.

Supporting Alberta Working Parents Advisory Group

The Supporting Alberta Working Parents Advisory Group will look at the latest research, data and economic analysis to consider short and long-term initiatives to ensure parents, particularly women, can take part in Alberta’s economic recovery. The advisory group will also provide advice on how best to leverage federal funds to suit the unique needs of Alberta parents and child care operators.

Budget 2021 sets a goal of on average $10 a day child care within the next five years

In a statement by the Prime Minister, the federal government will work with provincial, territorial, and Indigenous partners to build this Canada-wide, community-based early learning and child care system. The government will invest $30 billion over the next five years, with a minimum of $9.2 billion per year ongoing. By the end of 2022, this new system would reduce fees for parents with children in regulated child care by 50 per cent on average.

First Albertans receive CAR T-cell therapy

A promising new cancer treatment is now available in the province, ensuring cancer patients no longer need to travel elsewhere for this leading-edge care. Read more.

Community Supports and Resources

MHTnow Transit - On-Demand Update

Beginning on Sunday, May 9th the City will be expanding the MHTnow “On-Demand” transit service to include Sunday in the North areas of Medicine Hat. MHTnow will replace regular service in the Northeast and Northwest areas (Routes 10 and 11), on Sundays from 8:15 AM to 7:15 PM. Download the MHTnow “app” today.

Election Statutes Amendment Act, 2021

The Election Statutes Amendment Act, 2021, would make it clear that all members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) can take part in public debate and express their views on the topics of referendums. Read more.

Making money matter to Alberta students

Alberta’s government is releasing a call for grant proposals totalling $1 million to help junior and senior high students have the financial knowledge for today’s world. Details on the call for grant proposals will be available in May through the Alberta Purchasing Connection.

MyAlberta Emergency Registration System

The MyAlberta Emergency Registration System makes it safer and easier to register for a reception centre during an emergency, such as a wildfire or flood, and also removes the need for in-person contact. When an emergency is declared, Albertans who need to evacuate will be directed to register online through the MAERS. Albertans without internet access or those having trouble with online access can call the Government of Alberta call centre (310-0000) to register over the phone.

Coal exploration halted on Category 2 lands

In response to concerns raised by Albertans, including those who participated in a recent online survey, Alberta’s government is immediately halting all coal exploration projects in Category 2 lands. Read more.



Budget 2021 Updates and Reactions

The federal budget was announced on April 19th. “For all of the subsidy and stimulus spending Canada has seen and will continue to see, the only path to real, sustainable growth starts with helping this country’s business owners create more opportunities for more Canadians. Businesses are the ones that drive the economy, start and grow organizations that hire Canadians and build projects. The Budget’s focus on growth and jobs is an important step towards our economic recovery, but our growth drivers will need to shift from public spending to private investment to help get our finances under control. The plan to reduce deficits over the coming years is important, but it will depend on meeting our growth targets,” said Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Read the statement and the budget analysis. Ken Kobly, ACC President and CEO also commented on Federal Budget, along with President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance Travis Toews who issued a statement following Monday's budget.

The Last Lockdown: Canadian Chamber makes urgent case for change in approach to COVID-19

Since re-opening success relies on partnerships with governments at all levels, the Canadian Chamber has set out a number of areas where we need governments to act quickly to accelerate the business-led recovery, including improvements to public health frameworks; support for rapid testing and allowing businesses to stay open if they have the right measures in place along with the acceleration of vaccine deployment. Read more.

Request for Establishment of an Industry Council

A letter to Premier Jason Kenney issued by our Chamber on April 21st calls on the Alberta government to establish a new Economic Recovery Council to address three primary issues impacting the business community:

  • Ongoing financial challenges
  • Growing mental health concerns
  • A need for greater clarity and certainty in information and re-opening plans
Extended Producer Responsibility Feedback

The Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce issues a letter on April 25th regarding the consultation on Extended Producer Responsibility.

As there are already private and not-for-profit operators that currently provide recycling programs, we want to ensure that a provincially mandated program does not put these organizations out of business. There are many operators currently providing both residential and commercial recycling services effectively. Government-mandated programs should not compete with these existing sectors but rather be something created that can be complementary. It would also be beneficial for the Government to work with existing programs and operators to ensure costs don't exceed those already in place for consumers and that existing service standards are at minimum maintained. Read the letter.

Feedback is still open until April 30.

Have Your Say

Share your thoughts on labour protections in Canada before April 30

The Government has launched an online consultation, which concludes April 30, to better understand:

  • the experiences of gig workers in federally regulated sectors, including those who work through digital platforms like delivery or freelance applications; and
  • how federally regulated workers could benefit from a “right to disconnect” policy.

Backgrounder: The "Right to Disconnect"

Backgrounder: Gig workers and digital platform workers

Estimating Edible Surplus Food

Canada’s commitment to reduce food waste and associated carbon emissions, coupled with recent events including the COVID-19 crisis and its impacts on the number of vulnerable Canadians requiring food supports, have placed increased emphasis on the importance of redistributing excess edible food. Second Harvest, Canada’s largest food redistribution organization, has commissioned Value Chain Management International (VCMI) to identify the volume, types and potential sources of edible food.

Your participation will help gather data that is critical to this study. The survey should take no longer than five to seven minutes to complete. The survey can be accessed HERE. Please complete the survey by Monday, April 30.

New Resources

Labour Market Information

Understanding labour market information is essential to building a skilled and resilient workforce. Access to labour market information can help you make decisions that may improve your company, your workforce and the overall success of your organization.

Labour Force Survey Highlights of the current state of the Alberta labour market.

Alberta Labour Market Notes: Broad-based employment gains ahead of third wave.

Energy Savings for Business (ESB) Program

The ESB team has added more resources to the program website. This includes the updated Measures List, recordings of last month's webinars, and application checklists for light systems, lighting controls, and motors and drives. Check out the products eligible for incentives. Don't forget to use the 5 Step resource to streamline your energy savings application.

Issues facing Tourism webinar

Tourism industry leaders recently gathered to discuss issues and opportunities for recovery of the industry and recommendations for how government can help the industry recover and drive economic growth for Alberta and the nation. Watch the recording.

Alberta Tech Sector is Growing

Alberta has more than 3,000 tech companies and the rate of female founders is 50% higher than the global average. These are two findings in the Alberta Enterprise Corporation’s 2021 Alberta Technology Deal Flow Study revealing the number of technology companies in the province has more than doubled since 2012.

Featured Webinars

April 27

Modernizing Through Change in the Family Enterprise, featuring local business owners from Rosenau Transport | Register

April 28

What you need to know if you provide taxable goods and services | Register

Employer Workshop - Alberta Employment Standards | Register

April 29

How Tourism Businesses use Content and social Media to Market | Register

April 30

Women Entrepreneurs - What's Your Money Mindset? | Register

March 30-April 30

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

May 4

Canada Life’s Workplace Strategies for Mental Health | Link to Join at 11:00 am MST

May 5

Industrial Revolution 4.0 Continues: Getting Canadians Back to Work | Register

May 12

Executive Summit: Re-globalization in a Business-led Recovery | Register

ICYMI: Top 10 HR Questions answered by Peninsula Employment Services now viewable on Demand

Webinar Series

April 8-July 22: Alberta Business Family Institute - Transition Planning series | Register

CPA Financial Literacy Webinar Series for Small Business | Register

Family Enterprise Leadership 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

Federal relief funding with Vexxit: CEWS, CERS and CEBA | Watch now

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