Your Weekly Tune Up
New Provincial bills and reforms introduced
Bill 1, the Alberta Taxpayer Protection Amendment Act, 2023, fulfils a promise from the government and would ensure that Albertans are guaranteed a say in whether their provincial taxes increase. If passed, the legislation would prevent the government, now and in the future, from increasing personal and corporate income tax rates without first consulting Albertans through a referendum.
Bill 2, the Alberta Pension Protection Act, would provide Albertans four guarantees to protect the pensions they have built up during their working careers under the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). The legislation guarantees:
- Albertans must vote in favour of an Alberta Pension Plan during a public referendum before the government withdraws assets from the CPP.
- Contribution rates under an Alberta Pension Plan would be the same or lower than the rates for the CPP.
- An APP must provide the same or better benefits to Albertans.
- The entire asset transferred from the CPP would be used solely to set up and operate an Alberta Pension Plan.
Bill 4, the Tax Statutes Amendment Act, 2023, proposes legislative amendments that would:
- Retroactively legislate the extension of the provincial fuel tax pause to the end of 2023.
- Amend Alberta’s Tourism Levy Act to align with current administrative practices and set rules for online brokers in the tourism industry to collect and remit the tourism levy, with more specific details to follow in regulation;.
- Make technical amendments to the Alberta Personal Income Tax Act and the Alberta Corporate Tax Act to reflect existing provincial policy and align with changes to federal legislation.
New reforms will address the pressing issue of automobile insurance rates in the province as the government explores longer-term solution.
- Albertans with good driving records would experience price protection, ensuring their insurance rates do not increase higher than inflation. The proposed reforms would start Jan. 1, 2024.
- Alberta’s government will be taking further action to amend regulations, ensuring that insurers must offer payment plan options so Albertans would not have to pay the full amount for their coverage upfront.
- Grant Alberta’s Automobile Insurance Rate Board (AIRB) the authority to direct auto insurers to return premiums to Albertans in years when insurance industry profits are significantly higher.
Access all provincial bills here.
Government of Canada Changes International Student Program to protect students
On October 27, the Government of Canada announced plans to implement several measures aimed at strengthening Canada’s International Student Program and at better protecting genuine students from fraud. These measures include the following:
- Starting December 1, 2023, post-secondary designated learning institutions (DLI) will be required to confirm every applicant’s letter of acceptance directly with IRCC.
- In time for the fall 2024 semester, IRCC will adopt a “recognized institution” framework to benefit post-secondary DLIs that set a higher standard for services, support and outcomes for international students.
- IRCC will complete an assessment of Post-Graduation Work Permit Program criteria and begin introducing reforms to better calibrate it to meet the needs of the Canadian labour market, as well as regional and Francophone immigration goals.
Alberta’s government is expanding the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation’s (AIOC) capacity to support Indigenous investment and create long-term economic benefits
Alberta’s government has doubled the AIOC’s loan guarantee capacity to $2 billion from $1 billion, and it will increase again to $3 billion in 2024-25, more than fulfilling a key Indigenous Relations mandate item. Since its launch in 2019, the AIOC has backed more than $500 million in investments, benefitting nearly 30 Indigenous communities in Alberta. Find out more.
Government of Canada extends Workforce Solutions Road Map and introduces new wage requirements under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program
On October 26 the Government announced changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program Workforce Solutions Road Map. These extended measures will be in place until August 30, 2024, and will be reviewed as labour market and economic conditions continue to evolve in the following months. They include:
- continuing to allow employers in seven sectors with demonstrated labour shortages to hire up to 30% of their workforce through the TFW Program for positions under the provincial or territorial median hourly wage;
- maintaining the maximum duration of employment for positions under the provincial or territorial median hourly wage at up to two years; and
- adjusting the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) validity period from the current 18-month maximum to a maximum of 12-months to better respond to the labour market.
Along with these temporary measures and to better support workers and address concerns of wage suppression, employers will now be required as of January 1, 2024, to annually review temporary foreign workers’ wages to ensure that they reflect increases to prevailing wage rates for their given occupation and region of work. Find out more.
Advocacy in Action
Throne Speech Highlights
The speech, read in the assembly on Oct. 30 to open the first sitting of the 31st legislature, describes a tax cut on one’s first $60,000 of income, a law against tax increases without voter agreement, steps to limit costs of insurance, electricity and fuel, increasing health care and education staff, and more affordable housing options. Find out more.
New measures for Canadian home heating options
These new measures announced by the Government of Canada on October 26 include:
- Temporarily pausing the fuel charge on deliveries of heating oil in all provinces and territories where it currently applies, effective November 9, 2023;
- Doubling the rural top-up for pollution pricing rebates (Climate Action Incentive payments) from 10 per cent to 20 per cent, with increased payments to rural residents starting in April 2024;
- Making the average heat pump free for low- to median-income Canadians in provinces and territories that have agreed to support the delivery of enhanced federal heat pump grants; and,
- Incentivizing the switch to heat pumps with $250 upfront payments for low- to median-income Canadians.
Facing challenges hiring skilled workers in Alberta? You're not alone.
We've know that Alberta is experiencing a skills shortage - and we want to learn more about the challenges that you face hiring the skills you need.
The Alberta Chambers network has partnered with industry partners and the Government of Alberta to explore skills shortages and labour market issues.
If you're struggling to hire skilled talent, this is your chance to have your voice heard.
The survey will take 5 minutes to complete and is open until 5:00 P.M. on November 17th. Survey results will be made publicly available on the Alberta Perspectives insight community Hub. https://www.albertaperspectives.ca/c/r/ab-slmoct23-chambers
Important Regulatory Changes Affecting the Glazing Industry, including the glass and window industry
The Alberta Construction Association (ACA) is assisting the Provincial Glaziers of Alberta Association (PGAA) with an industry survey to help raise industry awareness of impacts on the glazing trade from the new Apprenticeship Act (STAE) and to gather input from industry to help inform PGAA recommendations to AB Apprenticeship. AB Apprenticeship encouraged PGAA to undertake this work and encouraged ACA’s involvement to ensure that industry beyond the PGAA membership has a chance to respond to the survey. The Act potentially impacts not just glass shops and glazing contractors, but also firms that install residential windows.
You can view further information here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1W4Hgixmz8NzOMe1SOxGgMxIYoA2qRThosHZytwwqSi8/edit?usp=sharing. Please complete the survey before November 29 https://forms.gle/qJkjtEc8gMj4fnx3A
Next Level Events
Over 40% booths sold, book today! 2024 Home + Leisure Tradeshow
Each year the Chamber invests time and resources into creating a quality trade show for our community, and we are proud to host not only the longest-running, but the largest trade show in Medicine Hat. With thousands of consumers visiting the shows over the course of three days these trade shows give an incredible opportunity to gain exposure for your business, demonstrate and sell products, and showcase your services.
With over 40% of the booths sold, don't miss out on securing your space! Register now
Midnight Madness is coming up! What should you check out?
Midnight Madness is a yearly event that usually takes place a week before Black Friday to encourage people to shop early and support the local shops and owners within the downtown core.
Come on down and enjoy all that downtown has to offer with live entertainment, giveaways, retail sales & specials, food and beverage offerings from your favorite local hot spots, a petting zoo, buskers, horse & carriage rides (weather dependent) and so much more. Check out the deals, specials and discounts that will be happening that night here!
2023 AGM & President's Reception
See what we've been up to, drink, eat, and connect with others at this annual event!
Our Annual General Meeting (AGM), President’s Reception and Member Appreciation is an opportunity to meet and network with Chamber of Commerce members, current/past Directors and Presidents of the Board, and the Chamber operations team.
Our AGM's theme this year is "Taking the Time to Reflect"; look back through the past year and learn how the Chamber of Commerce has played a pivotal role in our business community through our advocacy efforts, business engagement and member benefits programs. Register to save your spot here!
Enriching Your Business
Fueling the Business Community
• NEW MEMBERS •
We would like to welcome EnviroWay, Brothers Hospitality Inc. O/A, Clarion Pointe Hotel and The Cliff to the Chamber Family!
We continually look forward to helping our members during their business journey and wish each the best in all future endeavors. We are extremely happy to have such amazing members, and are very glad that we can serve a part in that journey! Keep your eye out for more new member posts moving forward!
Perfecting Your Pitch with Craig Elias
Then join us for one or all three of a special three-part series titled "How to Nail Your Pitch."
Designed for aspiring entrepreneurs and early-stage business owners, this series shares the secrets to getting customers, investors, and mentors. The series will also cover some of the best ways to access Alberta's business incubators and accelerators.
Each week's session will feature fresh content and the opportunity to practice your pitch and get feedback from the facilitator and the other participants. There is no cost to attend thanks to Alberta Innovates / the Rural RINs, and businesses can attend these sessions multiple times.
Registration for the different sessions here. These sessions will run again in January, February and March: https://entre-corp.albertacf.com/news-events/upcoming-events
Fill Up On Funding
Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) | Program Update
Thousands of Canadian businesses are growing their online presence and upgrading or adopting digital technologies with CDAP support. Applying to the Boost Your Business Technology grant just got easier for Canadian businesses.
The business landscape changes quickly — especially for small business owners. It’s possible that SMEs may now meet the eligibility criteria for the Boost Your Business Technology Grant, so it might be time to consider reapplying!
Canadian companies can get up to $15,000 in grants to work with a professional digital advisor to develop a tailored digital adoption plan. Find out more.
One-stop access to supports and services for non-profits and charitable organizations
To simplify access to resources, the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Status of Women has launched a new online tool for those working and volunteering in non-profit organizations to find and access services, funding and programs available to support them. https://www.alberta.ca/grants-funding-and-supports-for-non-profits
Funding Futures $10,000 for Your Business
Funding Futures is a new pilot initiative from connectFirst Credit Union that will help unlock potential for small business in Alberta to have access to the capital needed to support innovative frameworks. With three areas of focus for the initiative - Agri-Tech, Energy Transition and Social Impact - each sector will see $10,000 ($30,000 in total) awarded to a small business that is helping drive innovation and impact in our local communities.
Key qualifications to apply:
- Be an Alberta based business (anywhere in Alberta).
- Have 4-20 employees.
- Make an annual revenue between $250,000 and $3,000,000.
- Describe how the funding would help drive an existing or new initiative focused on either Agri-Tech, Energy Transition or Social Impact for our community.
Apply before November 19. It’s a simple application with a few short questions about the business.
Innovators and Entrepreneurs Foundation Micro-Grants | Due November 12
Innovators and Entrepreneurs Foundation is thrilled to offer eleven micro-grants of $5000 each ($55,000 total in micro-grants!) for their Fall 2023 Micro-grant series, presented in partnership with UPS. The IEF Micro-grants aim to support Canadian entrepreneurs and small business owners in surmounting financial challenges and fostering business growth. The deadline to apply is November 12 at 11:59 pm. Apply now
How to finance your company’s growth projects
You’ve got big plans to expand your small business. Say you’d like to buy a new delivery truck, hire a sales representative or move into a bigger office. Your plans will cost money—so how will you pay for them? Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of paying for growth projects out of everyday cash, instead of using small business financing. Read more here.
Grow Your Skilled Workforce with up to $20,000 in Grants for Hiring First-Year Apprentices
Register today for the Canadian Apprenticeship Service and receive up to $20,000 in grants for hiring and training first year-apprentices in 39 Red Seal construction and manufacturing trades. In addition to financial incentives, resources and training are provided to assist with recruiting, onboarding, and retaining apprentices. Read more here.
Crossword Puzzle Answers
Did you figure it out? Here are the answers for the October 30th crossword puzzle.
Remember that if you subscribe to our weekly email, you get access to the crossword puzzle! Anyone who sends us their answers will get their name put into our quarterly draw. The prize? Receive 5 promotional credits with us (for members) or credit towards a membership (for non-members)! Oh and bragging rights that you're a crossword master!
First draw will be NEXT WEEK with the winner being contacted via email and announced in the Voice! Get your answers in this week for the chance to win!
Labour Market Notes – Labour market pulls back
Alberta Regional Dashboard - information about living, working, and doing business in Alberta’s diverse regions.
November 9 | Startup Global | Ready, Set, Go Global! Assessing Export Readiness | Register
November 14 | HERizons Workshop: Developing Your Financial Wellness | Register
November 17 | Midnight Madness | More information
November 21 | Employment standards in Alberta – General overview | Register
November 30 | Presidents' Reception & Member Appreciation | Register
Procurement Assistance Canada webinars | Register
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