Weekly Update: May 14 – May 31, 2021
Supports for Business
Open for Summer Plan
Alberta’s Open for Summer Plan is a three-stage road map to lifting health restrictions and safely getting back to normal as vaccine targets are met. Based on current numbers, the province will enter Stage 1 on June 1. As of May 27, 60.3 percent of eligible Albertans received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, which means Stage 2 easing could begin on June 10, subject to hospitalizations being below 500 and trending downwards.
- Stage 1: Two weeks after 50 per cent of Albertans age 12-plus have received at least one dose of vaccine and COVID-19 hospitalizations are below 800 and declining.
- Stage 2: Two weeks after 60 per cent of Albertans age 12-plus have received at least one dose of vaccine and COVID-19 hospitalizations are below 500 and declining.
- Stage 3: Two weeks after 70 per cent of Albertans age 12-plus have received at least one dose of vaccine.
SME Relaunch Grant Extended to provide additional relief for Alberta businesses
Application intake for the spring 2021 payment from Alberta’s small business grant has been extended to June 30. 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. 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 as business owners see fit.
Additional relief for Alberta’s tourism industry
Alberta’s government is allowing accommodation providers to keep the tourism levy amounts they collect for an additional three months, from April 1 to June 30. Hotels, short-term rental hosts and other lodging providers that have already remitted tourism levy amounts collected on or after April 1 will receive a refund from Alberta’s Tax and Revenue Administration. Businesses are still required to file returns as per the Tourism Levy Act and will be expected to resume regular tourism levy payments on amounts collected on or after July 1. For more information, visit alberta.ca/tourism-levy.
Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) still accepting applications
Tourism has been among the sectors hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic due to the unique challenges presented by shutdowns and travel restrictions. There is over $8.4 million available for 20 tourism business support organizations across the Prairies. One measure of support is the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), delivered in the West by Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD). WD is still accepting applications from small businesses until June 30, 2021. Learn more in the backgrounder. Apply locally through Community Futures Entre-Corp
Alberta Jobs Now Program
The Alberta Jobs Now program will provide up to $370 million to help private and non-profit businesses support much-needed jobs for unemployed and underemployed Albertans across the province and help Alberta’s economy recover. Employers can now apply at alberta.ca/jobsnow for a grant that covers 25 percent of an employee’s salary for a 52-week period up to a maximum of $25,000 per employee. The grant can be used to cover salary or training costs. Employers who hire persons with disabilities will receive a grant 1.5 times higher than the amount they receive for other new employees. To be eligible for the program, private sector business or non-profit organizations must use the funding to hire unemployed Albertans in a new or vacant position. The new hire must reside and work in Alberta and must not have worked for the employer within the past 90 days. Employers can apply for funding for up to 20 new employees and have until Aug. 31 to apply. A second intake will open on Sept. 15 and close on Dec. 31. Read more.
Government of Canada to reimburse self-employed workers who repaid the CERB
Self-employed workers who applied for the CERB and would have qualified based on their gross income are not required to repay the benefit, provided they also met all other eligibility criteria. The Government of Canada announced further details on how this approach will be applied. Read more.
Growing Indigenous tourism in Alberta
Alberta’s government is increasing funding to support Indigenous tourism experiences across the province through Indigenous Tourism Alberta. This funding will help Indigenous entrepreneurs expand their skills, leading to new business development and employment, particularly in Indigenous communities.
Call for Proposals: Development of a portable detection device
The Public Health Agency of Canada and the National Research Council of Canada are seeking to facilitate the development of a field portable SARS-CoV-2 wastewater detection device that incorporates sampling, analysis, data storage and date transmission. Closing date: June 10 at 2:00 p.m. ET. Propose a Solution
Supports for Individuals
Quarantine rules have changed for asymptomatic close contacts who are partially or fully vaccinated.
New Masking Restrictions Announced
Effective May 13, any Albertan seeking a medical exemption from mask use due to a verified health condition must have an exemption letter from a physician, nurse practitioner or psychologist. More information
New Canada Greener Homes Grant
Homeowners will be able to receive grants of up to $5,000 to make energy efficient retrofits to their primary residences, and up to $600 to help with the cost of home energy evaluations. Eligible home improvements and upgrades include replacing windows and doors, adding insulation, sealing air leaks, improving heating and cooling systems – such as with heat pumps – and purchasing renewable energy systems like solar panels. Read the update find out about eligible grants and apply.
Challenging stigmas and ending period poverty
Alberta’s government will support the Period Promise campaign to help the organizations provide menstrual products, install menstrual product dispensers in schools throughout the province and ensure students have access to free products in schools. More than 100 schools will benefit from Period Promise, which will launch in fall 2021. Albertans are also encouraged to donate period products to their local food banks and women’s shelters.
Community Supports and Resources
Interactive map breaks down Alberta vaccine coverage
Albertans are now able to use a new online map to see vaccine uptake in their communities and break down vaccine coverage by local geographic area. Complete information on active cases, and current and historical case rates specific to different geographic areas, is also available at alberta.ca/stats/covid-19-alberta-statistics.htm. More information on the vaccine program and booking can be located online.
Preserving Canada’s Economic Prosperity Act
Bill 72, the Preserving Canada’s Economic Prosperity Act would replace the previous act with the same name and provide the Minister of Energy the authority to restrict the export of crude oil and natural gas from Alberta. Read more.
Helping Children Cope with COVID-19 Fatigue
After more than 15 months of pandemic, many Albertans are naturally experiencing COVID-19 fatigue — and not just adults. In the latest Mental Wellness Moment, Dr. Nicholas Mitchell — Provincial Medical Director of Addiction and Mental Health — provides parents and guardians advice on how they can help children manage their COVID-19 fatigue.
Canadian Chamber supports the ‘Faster, Together’ campaign
Faster, Together. has created a warehouse of free creative assets that partner organizations can access in order to help support vaccine confidence among their staff, colleagues, friends and communities. Learn more
Business Groups Call for a Plan to Reopen the Economy
As Canada nears a major milestone in the vaccination campaign, business groups from across the country, including the Canadian and provincial and territorial chambers, have written the Prime Minister to urge him to take a leadership role in developing a clear and consistent roadmap out of lockdown. The letter states that a clear and predictable plan for a gradual and safe return to a more normal life would instill public confidence while demonstrating concern for the physical, mental and economic health of Canadians. The letter — copies of which were sent to the premiers — is signed by the heads of more than 60 business organizations representing companies of all sizes, in all regions of the country, employing millions of Canadians. Read the letter.
Latest Job Numbers Show Restaurants Are Still Hard-hit
On the heels of a federal budget that announced the wind-down of the wage and rent subsidy programs, fresh job numbers released by Statistics Canada this month underscore the dire reality that businesses face in the hardest-hit sectors. Read more.
Major Skills Shortages Expected Over Next Three Years
In a recent survey conducted by the Alberta Chambers of Commerce (ACC) network, valuable data provided insights regarding skills, training, and the labour market. Read more.
Line 5: Efforts by Business and Team Canada to Change the Outcome
An opinion editorial authored by three chambers of commerce appeared last week in Crain’s Detroit Business, and a multiple signatory op-ed by Canadian energy ministers ran in the National Post. These were among the efforts put into play last week to raise awareness of the gravity of shutting down Line 5.
Have Your Say
Child and Youth Well-Being Review panel
The government wants to hear from Albertans, review available data and expertise, and ensure government and community supports are working for kids and families. This panel will work to understand the full scope of the psychological, social, educational and physical impacts resulting from and related to the COVID-19 pandemic on children and youth, providing recommendations to government in the fall of 2021, to help support young people both now and into the future. Take the Survey.
All farmers across Canada are invited to complete the Census of Agriculture questionnaire.
The Census of Agriculture is a key tool for tracking the health of our country’s agriculture sector. By providing information about their farms, operators are doing a service to their fellow farmers and the agricultural sector at large. Complete it now
Tax Form Buster: Which Tax Forms Do You Think Should Be Eliminated or Digitized by the CRA
Through our outreach with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and political offices, we have been asked to suggest ideas for tax reform. Please provide your input on specific suggestions for tax forms to be digitized, consolidated or eliminated through our Tax Form Buster. Everyone has an opinion on taxes. We would love to hear yours! Get involved.
Labour Market Information - May 2021
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 – Highlights of the current state of the Alberta labour market (Alberta Labour and Immigration – May 7/21)
- Alberta Labour Market Notes – Third wave weighs on employment recovery (Alberta Treasury Board and Finance – May 7/21)
OHS New and Updated Resources
- New: Driving safety tips
- New: Vehicles as work sites
- Updated: COVID-19 publications by industry
- Updated: Positive stop or limiting devices and multiple-overhead crane lifts
BDC’s Hire & Retain the Best Employees - An HR Guide for Entrepreneurs
Discover how to ensure your employees fit into your business plan, how to create effective job postings, how to conduct an interview and score job applicants’ responses, how to attract a more diverse workforce, how an employee manual is a communications tool. Click HERE to download the guide
Adapting Risk Mitigation for Remote Work
Conference Board of Canada spoke to 97 risk and emergency management leaders on how they've adapted their risk mitigation and emergency management strategy as an outcome of the pandemic. Key themes that emerged include artificial intelligence and machine learning, talent gaps, and answering to new operational demands. Read more
Conference Board of Canada’s “Ways to Reduce Mental Fatigue” video
Click HERE to watch Dr. Bill Howatt provide a framework for managing mental (“Zoom”) fatigue
How to tell you’ve been contacted by the CRA, and what to do if you are
Now that you’ve filed your 2020 income tax and benefit return, it’s possible that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) contacts you to discuss your tax and benefit situation. However, you should be aware of scammers pretending to be CRA employees. They often contact Canadians to try to trick them into making payments, and may try to reach you by telephone. To protect yourself from scams, it’s important to know when and how the CRA might contact you. Here is some information on how to tell if you’ve been contacted by the CRA, and what to do if you are.
How to change your income tax return after you file it
If you think that the income tax and benefit return you filed for the 2020 tax year is missing important details such as the Home office expenses for employees or you made a mistake, you don’t need to file a new return. Here’s what you can do if you need to change your return.
What to do if you can’t pay your taxes
If you are struggling with your tax payments, you can work with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to find ways to pay your tax debt based on your financial situation. You have several payment options if you can’t pay your tax debt in full including partial payments, payment arrangements and pre-authorized debit. Find out more.
Make sure your refunds and rebates aren’t held back. File your GST/HST returns!
As a GST/HST registrant, you are likely familiar with your responsibility to collect, report, and remit GST/HST on taxable supplies. But, did you know that you are required to file a GST/HST return with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), even if you do not have any GST/HST to report or remit for a particular filing period? That means if you temporarily stop your business, you still need to file your GST/HST returns. If you have not filed your GST/HST returns, any refund or rebate you are entitled to will be held until we receive your required returns. This includes your T2 corporation income tax refund if you are a corporation, and your T1 personal income tax refund if you are a sole proprietor or partnership.
It’s important to keep your taxes on track to receive the refunds and rebates you’re entitled to receive, when you’re expecting to receive them.
For more information on your responsibilities when it comes to GST/HST, including filing deadlines, see canada.ca/gst-hst.
Chamber Import Bond Services | Let Us Help You Do Your Business, Better
An import bond is obtained when a Canadian business is looking to import product into Canada for consumer/resale purposes and doesn’t have the immediate cash flow to pay duties and taxes upon import. The import bond acts as a type of contract between CBSA, the importer and the surety company to ensure duties, taxes and fees associated with the importation of goods into Canada will be paid.
We’ve developed content to help you understand the costs, the benefits and where you can turn for more information. And, most importantly, how you can activate your first bond! Find out more.
*New* Changes to Temporary Foreign Worker Program
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) have been posted in relation to changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program regarding COVID-19.
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