[scripts] => Array
            [jquery] => _WP_Dependency Object
                    [handle] => jquery
                    [src] => 
                    [deps] => Array
                            [0] => jquery-core
                            [1] => jquery-migrate

                    [ver] => 1.12.4
                    [args] => 
                    [extra] => Array


            [tc-cart] => _WP_Dependency Object
                    [handle] => tc-cart
                    [src] =>
                    [deps] => Array
                            [0] => jquery

                    [ver] => 3.4.4
                    [args] => 
                    [extra] => Array
                            [data] => var tc_ajax = {"ajaxUrl":"https:\/\/\/wp-admin\/admin-ajax.php","emptyCartMsg":"Are you sure you want to remove all tickets from your cart?","success_message":"Ticket Added!","imgUrl":"https:\/\/\/wp-content\/plugins\/tickera\/images\/ajax-loader.gif","addingMsg":"Adding ticket to cart...","outMsg":"In Your Cart","cart_url":"https:\/\/\/tickets-cart\/","update_cart_message":"Please update your cart before proceeding.","tc_provide_your_details":"In order to continue you need to agree to provide your details.","tc_gateway_collection_data":"","tc_error_message":"Only customers aged 16 or older are permitted for purchase on this website","tc_show_age_check":"no"};


            [tc-jquery-validate] => _WP_Dependency Object
                    [handle] => tc-jquery-validate
                    [src] =>
                    [deps] => Array
                            [0] => jquery

                    [ver] => 3.4.4
                    [args] => 
                    [extra] => Array


            [advanced-ads-layer-footer-js] => _WP_Dependency Object
                    [handle] => advanced-ads-layer-footer-js
                    [src] =>
                    [deps] => Array
                            [0] => jquery

                    [ver] => 1.7.2
                    [args] => 
                    [extra] => Array
                            [group] => 1
                            [data] => var advanced_ads_layer_settings = {"layer_class":"advads-layer","placements":[]};


            [advanced-ads-responsive] => _WP_Dependency Object
                    [handle] => advanced-ads-responsive
                    [src] =>
                    [deps] => Array
                            [0] => jquery
                            [1] => advanced-ads-advanced-js

                    [ver] => 1.9.2
                    [args] => 
                    [extra] => Array
                            [data] => var advanced_ads_responsive = {"reload_on_resize":"0"};


            [advanced-ads-sticky-footer-js] => _WP_Dependency Object
                    [handle] => advanced-ads-sticky-footer-js
                    [src] =>
                    [deps] => Array

                    [ver] => 1.8.1
                    [args] => 
                    [extra] => Array
                            [group] => 1
                            [data] => var advanced_ads_sticky_settings = {"check_position_fixed":"","sticky_class":"advads-sticky","placements":[]};


            [advanced-ads-advanced-js] => _WP_Dependency Object
                    [handle] => advanced-ads-advanced-js
                    [src] =>
                    [deps] => Array
                            [0] => jquery

                    [ver] => 1.22.2
                    [args] => 
                    [extra] => Array
                            [data] => var advads_options = {"blog_id":"1","privacy":{"enabled":false,"state":"not_needed"}};


            [advanced-ds-pro/front] => _WP_Dependency Object
                    [handle] => advanced-ds-pro/front
                    [src] =>
                    [deps] => Array
                            [0] => jquery
                            [1] => advanced-ads-advanced-js

                    [ver] => 2.10.3
                    [args] => 
                    [extra] => Array


            [cfa_ca_head_mini_js] => _WP_Dependency Object
                    [handle] => cfa_ca_head_mini_js
                    [src] =>
                    [deps] => Array
                            [0] => jquery

                    [ver] => v1.0.0
                    [args] => 
                    [extra] => Array


            [cfa_ca_footer_mini_js] => _WP_Dependency Object
                    [handle] => cfa_ca_footer_mini_js
                    [src] =>
                    [deps] => Array
                            [0] => jquery
                            [1] => cfa_ca_head_mini_js

                    [ver] => v1.0.0
                    [args] => 
                    [extra] => Array
                            [group] => 1


            [advanced-ads-pro/cache_busting] => _WP_Dependency Object
                    [handle] => advanced-ads-pro/cache_busting
                    [src] =>
                    [deps] => Array
                            [0] => jquery

                    [ver] => 2.10.3
                    [args] => 
                    [extra] => Array
                            [data] => var advanced_ads_pro_ajax_object = {"ajax_url":"https:\/\/\/wp-admin\/admin-ajax.php","lazy_load_module_enabled":"","lazy_load":{"default_offset":0,"offsets":[]},"moveintohidden":""};


            [wp-embed] => _WP_Dependency Object
                    [handle] => wp-embed
                    [src] => /wp-includes/js/wp-embed.min.js
                    [deps] => Array

                    [ver] => 
                    [args] => 
                    [extra] => Array



    [styles] => Array
            [tc-front] =>;
            [bbp-default] =>;
            [tribe-events-calendar-full-mobile-style] =>;
            [tribe-events-calendar-mobile-style] =>;
            [chld_thm_cfg_separate] =>;
            [cfa_ca_head_mini_css] =>;
            [chld_thm_cfg_parent] =>;
            [plumbing-font] => //,400,500,900|Raleway:400,100,200,300,500,600,800,700,900&subset=latin-ext;


COVID-19 Updates by Region

Federal, Provincial/Territory Information and Updates:

LAST UPDATED: December 22, 2020
CRA posts names of companies that received the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) released the names of all companies that received the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy on Monday, and urged employees to report any suspicious activities related to the pandemic-relief program, which has paid out more than $54-billion since April. The names are in a searchable online database. The information shows only the names of the companies. It does not indicate the amount of the subsidy, or when it was received. The CRA also states that to protect the privacy of individuals, only the corporations will be identified. To date, the agency says, more than 368,000 businesses, non-profits and charities in Canada have received the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). Immediately underneath the search tool, the CRA includes a link for Canadians to report suspected fraud. Before the release of the database, the CEWS recipients that had been identified were mainly large public companies that revealed such information through routine disclosures of revenue and expenses. A recent review of CEWS disclosures by the Financial Post found that at least 68 publicly-traded Canadian companies continued to pay out shareholder dividends while receiving the wage subsidy. The review found those companies got at least $1-billion in CEWS and paid out more than $5-billion in dividends. The CEWS program was administered through the CRA so that it is easier for the federal government to audit businesses that received the subsidy. Those audits began in August 2020 but may ramp up depending on the number of news stories that result from the online database released Monday. CFA Advice to Members With the public release of CEWS recipients, media outlets may develop stories in the new year about large companies and well-known brands that received support under the CEWS. Many franchise systems are nationally and internationally recognizable brands and may become highlighted by the media in these kinds of stories. These stories may fail to acknowledge that franchisee businesses are independently owned and operated by local small businesspeople. This could lead to the mistaken perception in the stories that franchisor corporate head offices are beneficiaries of the CEWS. While the CFA is constantly working to educate and promote that franchisees are independent, local small business owners who live and work in their communities, there are still many people outside of franchising that do not fully understand the franchise business model. The CFA recommends that franchisors work with their franchisees to proactively develop messaging and protocols in advance to help manage any media enquiries that might come in about the release of CEWS recipients in the weeks to come.
Canadians working from home could qualify for new tax deduction
The Canada Revenue Agency has simplified the rules to make millions of Canadians working from home eligible for a tax deduction. Under the new rules, those who worked from home more than 50 per cent of the time over a period of at least four consecutive weeks in 2020 as a result of the pandemic will be now be eligible for the deduction. Eligible employees who opt for the simplified deduction will be able to claim $2 for each day they worked from home during that period, plus any other days they worked from home because of the pandemic, up to a maximum of $400. Their employers will not have to sign a special form. More than one person living at the same address can claim the deduction as long as each one qualifies for it. While the temporary simplified deduction applies to the 2020 tax year, many Canadian workers have been told they can expect to work from home for several more months. CRA officials say they expect the number of people who work from home to be higher in the future than it was before the pandemic, but have not yet decided whether the simplified deduction will continue for the 2021 tax year. Those who claim the simplified work-from-home tax credit will not be able to claim expenses related to using their vehicles for work. Those with larger claims for home office expenses can still use the existing detailed method to claim a deduction. The CRA is making that easier too. Under the existing rules, those working from home had to get their employers to fill out a special form, T2200, attesting to the fact that working from home was a condition of their employment. But many employers balked at filling out the complicated form. Now, the CRA has launched two new simplified forms (T2200S and T777S) and a calculator to help those who want to claim home office expenses. The CRA also has expanded the list of expenses eligible for the detailed working-from-home deduction and will now recognize home internet access fees as a deduction.
Federal carbon tax increases coming
On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released the federal government's strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 — and its centrepiece is a gradual hike in the federal carbon tax on fuels from its current level of $30 a tonne this year to $170 a tonne by that year. The carbon tax will increase significantly from its current level — the tax is just $30 a tonne this year — as part of a push to meet and surpass Canada's ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. The tax already was expected to hit $50 a tonne in 2022. With this new initiative, the tax will now increase by $15 a tonne each year for the next eight years in order to wean consumers off fossil fuels in favour of cleaner energy sources. The tax hike will result in higher costs for consumers when they buy gasoline. The price at the pump will increase by 37.57 cents a litre by 2030 as a result of this new plan, and the cost of light fuel oil for home heating, natural gas and propane will rise as well. $15B in new spending Beyond the carbon tax hike, the government is also promising $15 billion in new spending on climate initiatives over the next 10 years — money earmarked for improvements to the country's electric vehicle charging infrastructure, rebates and tax write-offs for zero-emissions vehicles and funding for home retrofits, among dozens of other proposed policies. Commitment to make it revenue neutral To compensate for the cost-of-living increase, the government said it will continue to return most of the money collected by this program through rebates. Under the current system, the money is returned to individuals and families annually through the 'Climate Action incentive payment' when they file tax returns. Starting in 2022, the carbon pollution rebate payments will be distributed on a quarterly basis. The average family of four in Ontario will collect roughly $2,018 a year in climate rebates by 2030. The cheques will be higher in provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan — $3,242 for a family of four in Alberta and $3,829 for a similar family in Saskatchewan — because the people in those provinces generate more carbon emissions per capita.
Health Canada approves Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
Health Canada announced the approval Wednesday to the Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine after scientists finished a two-month review of the company's clinical trial data. Canada is just the third country in the world to authorize the vaccine, after the United Kingdom and Bahrain. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will hear tomorrow from an advisory panel on whether the vaccine is safe for use in the United States and authorization is expected in "a matter of days. Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada's deputy chief public health officer, said 249,000 doses of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine will be on hand by year's end — shots primarily earmarked for long-term care home residents and the staff working there. Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander leading vaccination logistics at the national operations centre, said 30,000 doses out of the initial run will be shipped from a Pfizer plant in Belgium on Friday.
Bank of Canada keeps rate steady at 0.25%, maintains pledge of it staying low until 2023
The Bank of Canada opted to keep its benchmark interest rate steady at 0.25 per cent on Wednesday, noting that Canada's economic recovery from COVID-19 is proceeding in line with expectations. The bank said that while new infections and lockdowns continue to hold back Canada's economy, stronger demand for energy has pushed up the price of oil, which is giving it a boost. And news of looming vaccines rolling out is also helping. At the bank's last meeting in October, it signalled that it would keep the rate at its current level until at least 2023 because that's how long it thinks it will take to make a full recovery.
Job recovery slows as pandemic hits employment in Western Canada
Economic Insights from the Conference Board of Canada Despite the labour market adding 62,100 jobs in the month of November, the increase is smaller than the previous months and is another indicator the economic recovery is slowing. Rising cases of COVID-19 into early December means employment may decline in the next survey. While the unemployment rate fell, it coincided with a fall in the labour force. The labour force’s decline is likely due to discouraged workers who are struggling to find jobs in industries that are heavily impacted by the pandemic. Nevertheless, the national unemployment rate continues to creep downwards, falling by 0.4 points to 8.5 per cent over November, which is of course, welcome news. Unsurprisingly the jobs recovery is in different stages across the country, depending largely on the progression of the virus in each region. The Atlantic provinces each enjoyed employment growth in the month of November. Employment was strong in Nova Scotia (+10,000), New Brunswick (+4,200) and Newfoundland and Labrador (+2,300). In Newfoundland and Labrador, employment has now recovered to pre-pandemic levels. After employment declined in October, Quebec added 15,700 jobs. Progress continues elsewhere with employment numbers ticking up in Ontario (+36,600) and British Columbia (+23,900) However, there were declines in all three of the Prairie provinces, with strict measures and rising cases leading Manitoba’s employment to fall by 18,100. Losses were also observed in Saskatchewan (–2,800) and Alberta (–10,800). Apart from the utilities sector, all other goods-producing industries, including construction and manufacturing enjoyed employment growth this month. Among service-producing industries the picture is more mixed. After another month of job losses, both accommodation and food services and information, culture and recreation industries will continue to struggle until a vaccine is widely available. However, impressive employment growth in the wholesale and retail trade and transportation and warehousing may reflect an uptick in retail as we approach the end of the year. There is some upside for the retail industry as savings rates have increased substantially since the beginning of the pandemic, and households may decide to spend extra this holiday season. Employment in finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing services now exceeds pre-pandemic levels as do the number of people working in professional, scientific and technical services.
Michael Sabia named Canada’s next deputy minister of Finance
The prime minister has announced that veteran executive Michael Sabia will be the next deputy minister of Finance. He will take the job effective Dec. 14. Sabia replaces Paul Rochon, who will become senior official at the Privy Council Office. Sabia is currently director at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and chair of the board of the Canada Infrastructure Bank. He previously worked at the Department of Finance and the Privy Council Office before joining the private sector and brings a wealth of corporate experience to the job. He is a former chief executive of the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec and a former chief executive of BCE Inc. The deputy finance minister is the country’s third-highest ranking policy maker on economic matters, after the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Bank of Canada.
CEBA $20K Top Up Loans Launch Today
Today (Friday) the federal government announced that Canada’s banks are now able to accept applications for the expanded Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program. The expansion was originally announced in October. Existing borrowers who already received the $40,000 loan can apply for the $20,000 top up through their financial institution. For new CEBA applicants, they can now apply for a loan of $60,000 if they qualify under the program requirements. In addition, the federal government is increasing the maximum forgivable amount from $10,000 up to $20,000 if the total CEBA amount borrowed is repaid by December 31, 2022. The amount of forgiveness is dependant on a number of variables including loan size, which are detailed in the FAQs on the CEBA website. Application Deadline also extended The deadline to apply has been extended to March 31st, 2021.
Canada added 62,000 jobs in November, slowest month of recovery
Canada's economy added 62,000 jobs last month, which is better than economists had been expecting, but it's also the lowest total since the labour market recovery from COVID-19 began in May. Statistics Canada reported Friday that the jobless rate ticked down four basis points to 8.5 per cent. That's down from a peak of 13.7 per cent in May, but still well above the 5.6 per cent rate seen in February, before the pandemic. Canada lost more than a million jobs in March and another two million in April, before the job market started to recover in May. According to Statscan, more than 19.1 million Canadians aged 15 or over had some sort of job in February. Last month, that figure stood at just over 18.6 million. There are currently 1.7 million people in Canada officially categorized as unemployed, which means they would like to work but can't find any. Roughly one quarter of them — 443,000 people — have been out of work for more than half a year. Manitoba lost 18,000 jobs last month, while Ontario added 36,000 and Quebec 15,000. British Columbia added 23,000 and the Atlantic provinces added a total of 17,000.
Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) Question & Answer Sessions — Register Early
Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will host a series of interactive question and answer sessions for eligible organizations on CERS. If you are interested in participating, click here to register. Dates and times areindicated in the registration link. Space is limited. In addition, the CRA has launched CERS webpages, an online CERS calculator and CERS infographics. Take a look at the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy has got you covered and We’re here to help to assist organizations in preparing their applications.
Feds outline plan to administer first COVID-19 vaccines, launching 'dry run' next week
The federal government has outlined its initial plans to administer what are being considered Canada’s “Track 1” COVID-19 vaccines—Pfizer and Moderna—in the “coming weeks and months.” This will include a “soft launch” rehearsal of the Pfizer rollout happening next Monday said Maj. Gen. Dany Fortin, who is running Canada’s logistical side of the vaccine effort, on Thursday at a press briefing in Ottawa.
Federal Economic Update
On Monday afternoon, Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland released Supporting Canadians and Fighting COVID-19: Fall Economic Statement 2020. The Statement offers a first glimpse of the Government’s medium-term fiscal outlook. Here is what you need to know: Federal deficits will continue for the foreseeable future: The Government projects deficits of $381.6 billion in 2020-21, $121.2 billion in 2021-22, and $50.7 billion in 2022-23. Note that those figures do not include the impact of a fiscal stimulus program for the recovery from COVID-19, totalling 3-4% of GDP over three years, that the Government is proposing. Debt to GDP ratio to peak at around 50%: The Government released updated debt to GDP figures that reflect increased expenditures to date on responding to COVID-19. The Federal debt to GDP ratio is projected to rise from 31.2% in 2019-20, to 50.7% in 2020-21, 52.6% in 2021-22, and 52.1% in 2022-23. The Government emphasizes that, while the debt to GDP ratio is increasing, debt servicing costs are projected to remain low. New COVID-19 spending: The Statement announced a number of new measures to help individuals and businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. Most notably for businesses, the Government announced that the maximum benefit under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will be increased to 75% and that a Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program will be launched to support the hardest hit sectors of the economy. Targeted recovery spending: The Government announced a select few programs aimed at spurring a green, sustainable and equitable long-term recovery from COVID-19, including a new program to provide grants to retrofit residential homes, funds to begin work towards a Canada Wide Early Learning and Child Care System, and additional fiscal transfers to the Provinces for skills and employment training. Long-term stimulus program: The Government announced plans for a targeted stimulus program in Budget 2021, with some early “down payments” on that plan included in the Fall Economic Statement. The Government plans to spend between 3-4% of GDP over the next three fiscal years through the stimulus program.
A Deeper Dive into the Federal Fall Economic Statement (FES)
The FES is consistent with the Speech from the Throne in September and Minister Freeland’s speech to the Toronto Economic Forum in October, in that it maintains the Government’s commitment to record-shattering Federal spending in response to COVID-19. As with both of those aforementioned speeches, the Government communicated in the FES that it believes that this spending is affordable, especially due to very low interest rates. Business Supports To support business in overcoming the economic impacts of COVID-19, the FES commits to: Creating a Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program to offer 100 percent government-guaranteed loans of up to $1 million for the sectors most impacted by COVID-19 (e.g. tourism and hospitality, hotels, and arts and entertainment). Increasing the maximum subsidy rate of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to 75 percent, beginning December 20 until March 13, 2021. Extending until March 13, 2021, the current subsidy rates under the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and the Lockdown Support Program. Targeted rent relief and capital and operational support for airlines and airports. Disbursing an additional $500 million to the Regional Development Agencies and the Community Futures Network of Canada and imposing a rule that 25 percent of those programs’ spending must be for tourism sector initiatives. Note that the Wage and Rent program changes will require legislative changes and, as such, the support of at least one other party in the minority Parliament. Social Security The FES commits the Government to augmenting its signature Canada Child Benefit program with temporary support of $1,200 in 2021 for each child under the age of 6 in low- and middle-income families. Meanwhile, an allocation of $20 million over 5 years, starting in 2021-22, will support work – including the founding of a Federal Secretariat on Early Learning and Child Care – to begin developing a national daycare policy. Long-Term Recovery While the FES was overwhelmingly focused on the response to COVID-19, Minister Freeland took pains to underline the Government’s ongoing commitment to creating a greener and more inclusive economy – long the central tenets of the Liberal Party’s fiscal policy. To that end, the FES commits the Government to: Allocate $2.6 billion over 7 years, starting in 2020-21, to provide up to 700,000 grants of up to $5,000 to homeowners for energy-efficient home improvements; and Allocate $150 million over 3 years, starting in 2021-22, for investments in infrastructure for zero-emission vehicles, such as charging stations. Along with the priorly-announced top-up of $1.5 billion for employment skills training programs administered by the Provinces, those announcements were portrayed as the government’s down payment on more significant spending on green, high-tech, and inclusivity initiatives for economic growth in Budget 2021. Many progressives may view that as a muted commitment to those causes, but the FES states that the Government feels such spending must wait until the threat of further outbreaks of COVID-19 subsides. Opposition Reaction The Conservative Party released a statement from Erin O’Toole characterizing the Liberal response to the pandemic as “erratic and confused” and demanding that the Government release a plan for vaccine distribution, as a cornerstone of economic recovery. Both Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-François Blanchet and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh likewise called for more details about the Federal plan to vaccinate Canadians, while Mr. Singh also called for the Government to increase taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations to fund Federal supports for individuals. What’s Next The most substantial outcome of the FES for most stakeholders was the announcement of the planned $100 billion fiscal stimulus program. The Government is still determining how that program will be structured and is committed to public consultations on what the stimulus should be spent on. That presents a substantial opportunity for stakeholders to inform Federal spending for the recovery from COVID-19 and thereafter. With Departmental submissions to the Finance Canada budget development process due imminently, stakeholders should seek to engage policymakers as soon as possible. On December 10, the Prime Minister and the Premiers will hold a First Ministers meeting about long-term funding of the Canada Health Transfer, which will dictate a big portion of long-term Federal spending. The FES appears to set an adversarial basis for the Federal government’s approach to those negotiations, noting that $8 out of every $10 dollars spent on the response to COVID-19 have been Federal funds and that Federal health supports to the provinces already increased 23 percent this year. Finally, the sole overt reference to the recent U.S. Election in the FES bears monitoring. The Government is exploring the idea of imposing border carbon adjustments and will discuss doing so with international partners. Border carbon adjustments – the imposition of an import levy on goods that are manufactured in countries that do not price carbon pollution in some way – were an element of President-elect Joe Biden’s election policy platform and are also being explored by the European Union.
Statistics Canada says economy grew at a record pace in Q3 of 2020
Statistics Canada says the economy grew at a record annualized pace of 40.5 per cent in the third quarter as businesses came out of COVID-19 lockdowns. The previous record for quarterly growth in real gross domestic product was 13.2 per cent in the first quarter 1965, the agency says. As historic as the rebound was, it fell short of expectations. Financial data firm Refinitiv says the average economist estimate was for an annualized growth rate of 47.6 per cent for the quarter. The rebound over July, August and September was a sharp turnaround from the preceding three-month stretch which saw a record drop. Driving the bounce-back were the further rolling back of public health restrictions that allowed businesses to reopen. Statistics Canada also says there was a substantial increase in the housing market owing to low interest rates and household spending on goods like cars. Despite the overall increase, the national statistics office says real gross domestic product still remains shy of where it was before the pandemic. The third quarter ended with the fifth consecutive monthly increase in real GDP after the steepest monthly drops on record in March and April when widespread lockdowns were instituted to slow the spread of COVID-19. September saw a 0.8 per cent increase in real GDP, Statistics Canada says, a slight slowing from the 0.9 per cent recorded in August. The agency also provided a preliminary estimate for October's figures, saying early indicators point to a 0.2 per cent increase in the month. The figure will be finalized at the end of this month.
CRA Hosting Session on the New Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)
The CRA has launched CERS webpages, an online CERS calculator, and CERS infographics (Take a look at the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy has got you covered, and We’re here to help) to assist organizations in preparing their applications. To complement these resources, the CRA will host a series of interactive question and answer sessions for eligible organizations. English language sessions Friday, December 4, 2020 @1:00 pm – 2:00 pm EST Wednesday, December 9, 2020 @1:00 pm – 2:00 pm EST French language sessions Monday, December 7, 2020 @1:00 pm – 2:00 pm EST Friday, December 11, 2020 @1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EST If there are no more sessions available, please add your name to the waitlist.
Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) Open!
Yesterday, the CERS portal opened up for applications. Canadian businesses, non-profit organizations or charities that have seen a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses retroactive to September 27, 2020 until June 2021. This subsidy will provide payments directly to qualifying renters and property owners, without requiring the participation of landlords. Click here for more information
Federal government to deliver economic, fiscal update on Nov. 30
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says the federal government will deliver a long-awaited update on the health of federal finances on Nov. 30. She made the announcement Monday in the House of Commons. The Liberals had promised an update this fall on the federal deficit — a document that also could include the first steps toward a national child care program. The government has not tabled a budget for this fiscal year, but in July delivered what it called a "fiscal snapshot" that estimated the deficit was heading for a record of $343.2 billion. That figure doesn't include added spending since July or the many promises the government has made since. The Liberals also have said the update will provide the government's outlook for the economy and spending guidelines to keep deficits from spiralling out of control.
CRA warns 213,000 Canadians that they might have to pay back CERB overpayments
The Canada Revenue Agency says it's warning about 213,000 Canadians who may have been paid twice through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program that they could be called upon to repay the money. But repayment isn't required right away, says the agency. The CRA has suspended collection of debts for the duration of the pandemic emergency. "The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has issued letters to individuals who may have applied for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) from both Service Canada and the CRA, and who may be required to repay an amount to the CRA". "The letters did not require immediate payment; rather they informed the taxpayer that there may be a requirement to repay amounts received. "We will resume collections activities when it is responsible to do so, including collection of debts related to CERB payments"
Federal Rent Relief and CEWS extension legislation are finally passed
The legislation, which cleared the House of Commons on November 6, has finally passed the Senate after being stuck there for nearly two weeks.
New Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy
This program will provide direct and easy-to-access rent and mortgage interest support to tenants and property owners until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19. The new rent subsidy will support businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop by providing support up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020. Claims can be made retroactively to September 27, 2020. When can I apply? The intake will be run by the CRA using a similar process to the CEWS. Applications will start being accepted on Monday, November 23. For more information, visit: Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy
New Lockdown Support
This support will provide an additional 25 per cent through the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy for qualifying organizations that are subject to a lockdown and must shut their doors or significantly restrict their activities under a public health order issued under the laws of Canada, a province or territory (including orders made by a municipality or regional health authority under one of those laws). Combined, this will mean that hard-hit businesses subject to a lockdown could receive rent support of up to 90 per cent. When can I apply? The intake will be run by the CRA using a similar process to the CEWS. Applications will start being accepted on Monday, November 23. For more information, visit: Lockdown Support for Businesses Facing Significant Public Health Restrictions Extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy goes until June 2021 The subsidy will continue to protect jobs by helping employers keep employees on payroll and re-hire workers. The wage subsidy will remain at the current rate of up to 65 per cent of eligible wages until December 19, 2020. For more information, visit: Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Extension
New $20K Top Up under CEBA
In early October, the federal government announced they are expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loans so that eligible borrowers can access an additional interest free loan of up to $20,000. Fifty per cent of the additional financing would be forgivable if repaid by December 31, 2022. The application deadline for CEBA is also being extended to December 31, 2020. The additional CEBA loan would effectively increase CEBA loans from $40,000 to $60,000 for eligible businesses, of which a total of $20,000 would be forgiven if the loan balance is repaid before December 31, 2022. When can I apply? The intake for the top up has not yet started. There are some issues the federal government is working through with the banks. They hope to have a date for the intake very shortly.
New federal net-zero emissions plan to meet climate change targets
Federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson tabled new legislation on November 19, that would force current and future federal governments to set binding climate targets to get Canada to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The bill, if passed, would require the federal government to set five-year interim emissions reduction targets over the next 30 years to ensure progress toward that ambitious goal. The legislation, C-12, fulfils a Liberal election promise to be more aggressive at cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and to get Canada to net-zero emissions by 2050. Reaching "net-zero" by 2050 would mean that emissions produced 30 years from now would be fully absorbed through actions that scrub carbon from the atmosphere — such as planting trees — or technology, such as carbon-capture and storage systems. The Liberals have promised to plant two billion trees. The Bill doesn't set out exactly how the federal government should go about reducing emissions — it does not mandate further increases to the carbon tax, for example. It simply stipulates that Ottawa must set a goal and work to achieve it through measures that are deemed effective. The legislation calls for the creation of an outside 15-member advisory board — composed of climate experts, scientists and Indigenous representatives, among others — which would provide advice to the minister on setting targets and the best "sectoral strategies" for achieving net-zero. By law, the minister would be obliged to consult with groups before setting targets. The legislation also requires that the minister table a plan in Parliament outlining how Ottawa plans to meet those targets. The legislation does not stipulate what role the provinces and territories will play in this national emissions reduction plan. The first emissions reduction target, and the plan to meet it, would be tabled nine months after the bill is passed through Parliament. That first target would be for the year 2030. Canada's target under the Paris Accord is to reduce emissions by 30 per cent compared to 2005 levels by 2030. Current policies — including the carbon tax, banning coal power plants and regulating methane emissions in the oil and gas industry — will only get Canada about two-thirds of the way there. While the government describes this legislation as "legally binding," there would be no tangible penalty applied if the country fails to drive down emissions as promised. The government would simply have to state publicly in Parliament that it failed to meet its goals. There would be no meaningful legal consequences if Ottawa falls short.
Open Letter to Premiers: Canada needs Coherent and Consistent Approach to COVID-19
Today, several Canadian business organizations issued a join letter to Canada’s premiers urging them to work together to provide coherent and consistent direction and guidelines across all levels of government in the fight against COVID-19. Read More
Canadian Survey on Business Conditions Released
Late last week, Statistics Canada released the results from a third wave of Canadian business surveying. Through the data, we now know that our economy will not recover until at least 2022; the most optimistic scenario assuming widespread vaccine deployment by then. According to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canada needs to carefully consider in the coming months those program supports that are put in place as Canada has a finite pool of money. Their comments on are available here.
CRA extends work-from-home reimbursement to cover office equipment, not just computers
According to an article in the Financial Post, the CRA provided some news at the recent Canadian Tax Foundation’s annual conference in late October. The news came as part of responses to several questions posed during their annual roundtable session. Reimbursement of equipment In April, the CRA issued a technical interpretation dealing with employee taxable benefits that employees may have received as a result of having to now work from home due to COVID-19. At the CTF roundtable session in October, the CRA stated that there are no current plans to increase the $500 reimbursement amount, but that it would “continue to carefully monitor all developments relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and will take further action as necessary.” The CRA also announced that it was extending its administrative position to employer reimbursements for home office equipment purchased by employees and clarified that the $500 reimbursement amount is the maximum for each employee, rather than for each piece of computer or office equipment that an employee may purchase. Please contact your accountant or tax professional to clarify how this applies to your specific situation.
Bill to overhaul Canada's privacy laws released
Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains introduced the Digital Charter Implementation Act today — officially called an "Act to enact the Consumer Privacy Protection Act and the Personal Information and Data Protection Tribunal Act and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts." It represents one of the biggest shakeups in Canada's privacy law in decades. This legislation takes a number of important steps to ensure that Canadians will be protected by a modern and responsive law and that innovative businesses will benefit from clear rules, even as technology continues to evolve, including: increasing control and transparency when Canadians’ personal information is handled by companies; giving Canadians the freedom to move their information from one organization to another in a secure manner; ensuring that Canadians have the ability to demand that their information be destroyed; providing the Privacy Commissioner with broad order-making powers, including the ability to force an organization to comply and the ability to order a company to stop collecting data or using personal information; and ensuring the strongest fines among G7 privacy laws—with fines of up to 5% of revenue or $25 million, whichever is greater, for the most serious offences (the heaviest fines among the G7 nations' privacy laws). companies would have to obtain consent from customers through plain language — not a long, jargon-filled legal document — before using their personal data. Canada already has two privacy laws. The Privacy Act covers government agencies and federally regulated industries, while the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act applies to private-sector organizations. The proposed act is an initial step toward a comprehensive reform of Canada’s privacy framework. The Government of Canada is also proposing to modernize the Privacy Act, which applies to the federal public sector and which the Privacy Commissioner of Canada also oversees. Many franchised and non-franchised business use apps and collect data about their customers. These changes will have an impact on business operations. Click here to access the text of the Bill
Senators question Freeland on business aid package
Bill C-9 would extend the federal wage subsidy until next summer. The House of Commons agreed last week to pass a proposed package of measures quickly, but none can be enacted until the Senate passes it as well. The aid bill known as C-9, now under review by the Senate finance committee, would extend the federal wage subsidy until next summer — cancelling a previously planned decline in its value — and expand a popular business loan program.
Employee Wellbeing During COVID-19: Invitation to participate in new research by the Conference Board of Canada
COVID-19 has challenged Canadian employees and their families. We are seeking to better understand the challenges people like you are facing and invite you to complete our survey. Information from this study will help employers and policy makers understand how to support Canadian employees in their struggle to balance work and family during the pandemic. It will also provide insight into how people cope with the different demands on their time and emotions. This survey is being done in partnership with Dr. Linda Duxbury, Professor with the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University.
Conference Board: Canada’s Two-Year Outlook Summary
Canada’s economy bounced back in recent months following the economic plunge sparked by the COVID-19-related shutdown in March and April. At its trough in April, real GDP was at 82 per cent of February’s (pre-COVID) level, 3 million Canadians were out of work (a 15.6 per cent decline in employment), and total hours worked had plummeted a staggering 28 per cent. As health restrictions began being lifted in May, the rebound set in. Statistics Canada estimates that July’s economic activity was at 94 per cent of February levels, and by August, 1.9 million jobs had been recovered. Still, a gaping chasm remains to be closed before Canada’s economy is back to normal. While economic activity is fully restored in some sectors, many will not see a return to normal until a vaccine is available to the wider public, both in Canada and globally. And for some industries, difficulties will persist beyond that and the business environment might never fully return to normal. The arrival of colder weather, coupled with a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, is expected to continue to disrupt Canada’s recovery. The health measures and testing currently in place should prevent another full shutdown of economic activity, but we do expect localized or regional shutdowns to continue to flatten the path of recovery. We assume that a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus is found and widely available to Canadians by June 2021, after which most domestic-driven industries will recover. Globally, a vaccine is unlikely until the fall of 2021. This will keep international travel suppressed, further hurting industries like air travel, accommodations, and arts and culture. A flattened recovery means that businesses and households will continue to rely on extraordinary monetary and fiscal measures put in place since the start of the crisis. The Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy was adjusted in August to support businesses that have lost varying amounts of revenue. Though set to expire by the end of this year, we assume it will be extended through to the second quarter of 2021. Households have benefited from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which is set to be replaced by an updated employment insurance system and the Canada Recovery Benefit. These programs will help boost real household disposable income by a record 9 per cent this year, despite the recession and massive loss in labour income. Unable or unwilling to spend in the second quarter of this year, households let their balance sheets swell, as the aggregate household savings rate jumped to over 28 per cent. Spending has since rebounded, helping to bring retail sales back to more normal levels over the summer. But consumers remain worried about future job prospects and the resurgence in COVID-19 cases, suggesting that the pace of recovery will slow in coming quarters. Global real GDP will decline by 4.7 per cent this year, crushed by the downturn in the second quarter. Assuming that a second wave of the virus doesn’t derail the global economy, we expect a rebound next year. The U.S. recovery depends crucially on Congress and the president agreeing to additional stimulus measures to keep the economy on track over the next few months. Canadian exports have rebounded, but continued progress is tied to the U.S. and global recoveries. Business investment has underperformed in recent years, and the COVID-19 crisis will take a further bite out of investment this year as firms delay any major investment decisions. One notable exception is the LNG Canada project, a multi-year, multi-billion-dollar project that will propel investment in British Columbia over the next few years. Amid the carnage in Canada’s consumption, investment, and trade sectors, the housing sector has provided a ray of hope for the economy. Canada’s existing housing markets have largely recovered from spring lockdowns. The bounceback has been aided by ultra-low interest rates and strong job growth, combined with generous helpings of support from government and financial institutions. However, slowing economic momentum and weaker government support will soften housing markets early next year. Federal and provincial governments face extraordinary deficits in fiscal 2020–21 and will add substantially to debt over the next two years. Luckily, interest rates in both Canada and the United States are expected to remain near zero, helping federal and provincial governments manage their debt-financing costs. Overall, real GDP is forecast to shrink by 6.6 per cent in 2020. Still, that’s an improvement over our summer outlook, which called for an 8.2 per cent decline this year. Solid gains in 2021 and 2022 will not suffice to bring Canada’s economy back to full potential.
CASSELS: Updates to the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy Program
On November 2, 2020, the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy program was introduced as part of Bill C-9, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy) for first reading before the House of Commons. The purpose of Bill C-9 would be to implement new, targeted support to help businesses that have experienced reduced revenues and increased costs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE
Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) details released
On October 9, the government announced the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy which will provide direct rent relief to businesses affected COVID-19. The new rent subsidy would be available retroactive to September 27, 2020, until June 2021. The government published the proposed details for the first 12 weeks of the program, until December 19, 2020. According the media release the CERS program would mirror the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, providing a simple, easy-to-understand program for affected qualifying organizations. The new rent subsidy would provide benefits directly to qualifying renters and property owners, without requiring the participation of landlords. Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy
New Lockdown Support details released
The new Lockdown Support, which would provide an additional 25 per cent through the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy for qualifying organizations that are subject to a lockdown and must shut their doors or significantly limit their activities under a public health order issued under the laws of Canada, a province or territory (including orders made by a municipality or regional health authority under one of those laws). Combined, this would mean that hard-hit businesses subject to a lockdown could receive rent support of up to 90 per cent. Lockdown Support for Businesses Facing Significant Public Health Restrictions
Details on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Extension released
On November 5, the federal government release more details in the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy details for periods 8, 9 and 10 (until December 19, 2020). The wage subsidy would remain at the current rate of up to 65 per cent of eligible wages until December 19, 2020. Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Extension Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support  
Public Health Agency of Canada quietly updates COVID-19 guidelines on risk of airborne spread
Public Health Agency of Canada has revised its guidelines on how COVID-19 spreads to include the risk of aerosol transmission, weeks after other countries and international health organizations acknowledged the airborne threat of the coronavirus. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) updated its guidance without notice this week, making mention of the risk of transmission from aerosols — or microscopic airborne particles — for the first time. "SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, spreads from an infected person to others through respiratory droplets and aerosols created when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, shouts, or talks," the updated guidance said. "The droplets vary in size from large droplets that fall to the ground rapidly (within seconds or minutes) near the infected person, to smaller droplets, sometimes called aerosols, which linger in the air under some circumstances." The federal agency's guidelines previously said the virus spreads only through breathing in respiratory droplets, touching contaminated surfaces and common greetings like handshakes and hugs. The update to PHAC's guidelines came after Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam recommended the use of three-layer non-medical masks Tuesday to prevent the spread of COVID19 ahead of winter weather that could bring more people together indoors.
Commercial Rent: Federal government tables legislation for new rent subsidy
The federal government tabled legislation on Monday establishing a series of new financial supports to help businesses survive the pandemic — including a redrafted commercial rent subsidy program to replace the federal government's much-criticized rent assistance benefit. Monday's measures include the introduction of the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, CERS, which replaces the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program. It also includes a new "lockdown support" to aid businesses ordered to close by a public health order. The legislation also extends the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy until June 2021. The new CERS allows businesses to apply directly for the benefit without having to go through landlords.
Franchise Awareness Week is underway
Franchise Awareness Week is well underway. Over the course of this week the CFA and our members will be meeting with over 30 Ontario MPPs (including several Cabinet Ministers) to continue to raise awareness about franchising and franchised business issues. We are talking to Ontario MPPs about • Franchising’s contribution to the economy • The Franchisor/Franchisee Relationship and how to clarify it in legislation • Asking Ontario to extend the commercial eviction ban • Urging Ontario to reform the property tax system to protect businesses from unsustainable property tax hikes • Improving access to capital by creating an Ontario working capital program • Maintaining a reasonable, predictable & fair minimum wage • Increase the small business tax threshold • Ensuring a fair playing field under environmental legislation
Federal Tories call for pause on CRA audits for businesses struggling due to COVID-19
Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole is calling for the Liberals to put a pause on federal audits of small businesses hit hard by COVID-19. He says too many small and medium-sized businesses are struggling to survive during the pandemic, and still have been hit by what he calls unfair audit requests from the Canada Revenue Agency. O'Toole says his party will use its time on the House of Commons agenda today to also propose changes to the federal wage subsidy and commercial rent-relief programs.
Bank of Canada plans to keep interest rate near zero until 2023
The Bank of Canada says it has no plans to change its benchmark interest rate until inflation gets back to two per cent and stays there, something it says isn't likely to happen until 2023. The central bank said Wednesday it has decided to keep its benchmark interest rate steady at 0.25 per cent. The news was expected by economists, as although the economy is showing signs of recovering from the impact of COVID-19, things are still a long way from normal, so cheap lending will be needed for a long while yet. The bank outlined a fairly bleak assessment of the worst case scenario when it laid out its last Monetary Report in July. But the roughly eight months since COVID-19 began in Canada have given the bank a clearer picture of how things are shaking out, even if the picture isn't always rosy. The central bank says it expects Canada's economy will shrink by 5.7 per cent this year, but grow by 4.2 per cent next year, and 3.7 per cent in 2022. Inflation, meanwhile, is expected to be 0.6 per cent this year, 1.0 per cent next year, and 1.7 per cent in 2022. Those growth and inflation projections, however, are based on two leaps of faith: that there won't be a second — or third — widespread lockdown in Canada, and that a vaccine or some sort of effective treatment will be widely available by the middle of 2022 at the latest. "The breadth and intensity of re-imposed containment measures, including impacts on schools and the availability of child care, could lead to setbacks," the bank said in the quarterly Monetary Policy Report that accompanied the rate decision.
Finance Minister Freeland says federal government will turn off financial
taps, but not before pandemic ends Freeland told the Toronto Global Forum that the Liberals guiding principle on the economy is that beating COVID is key to a successful financial rebound. “We want to give our businesses and our households a bridge, so that as many of them as possible make it through viable and intact,” she said. She said the Liberals guiding principle on the economy is that beating COVID is key to a successful financial rebound. “Our economy will only be able to recover fully once we have defeated the virus.” Earlier this month, Freeland announced extensions and changes to both the commercial rent subsidy program, as well as the wage subsidy into 2021. She said the pandemic will mean restaurants will have to operate at reduced capacity or even close at times and that businesses can’t get back to normal until there is a vaccine. “It’s just not practically possible, never mind fair, to ask workers to stay home or businesses to shut their doors without providing them with the financial support they need.” The government’s last update in the summer projected Canada would run a $343 billion deficit in 2020, pushing the country into more than a trillion dollars in debt for the first time in its history. Those numbers didn’t include some of the expansions to programs the government offered up last month. Freeland said new projections on the country’s finances would be coming soon. The government has also promised a fiscal update this fall, but no date has been set for that.
Home insurance policy may soon carry a COVID-19 exclusion
Homeowners may see something new when they renew their home insurance policies over the next few months: a communicable disease exclusion. This will protect insurance companies from any claims related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Amanda Dean, vice-president Atlantic for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, said Wednesday. "Generally, pandemic risk is not an insurable thing, as the insurance industry is unable to provide protection for losses of this nature because there's no way to diversify the risk due to it affecting the entire world at the same time," Dean said. The exclusion reflects the changes being made by international reinsurance companies, which primary insurers buy insurance from. Dean said the exclusion endorsement prevents anyone who contracts COVID-19 at someone's house from making a claim against a home insurance policy. While typically no claim related to a pandemic can be made anyway, insurance companies have decided to add the exclusion wording that reinsurance companies have added it their agreements.
Canada Emergency Business Account now open to businesses using personal banking accounts
On Monday, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced that the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will be available to businesses that have been operating out of a non-business banking account. CEBA provides zero-interest loans up to $40,000 to small business and non-profit organizations that have experienced diminished revenues due to COVID-19 but face ongoing non-deferrable costs, such as rent, utilities, insurance, taxes and wages. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000). To be eligible, businesses must have been operating as a business as of March 1, 2020, must successfully open a business account at a Canadian financial institution that is participating in CEBA, and meet the other existing CEBA eligibility criteria. The deadline to apply for CEBA is December 31, 2020. Visit and complete the Pre-screen Tool on Open a business chequing/operating account with your primary financial institution Apply for CEBA at your primary financial institution Follow instructions from your financial institution to complete all relevant parts of the CEBA application.
Federal Liberals hold onto Toronto Centre, York Centre in byelections
The federal Liberals have held onto the Ontario ridings of Toronto Centre and York Centre in Monday's byelections, according to preliminary results from Elections Canada. In Toronto Centre, Liberal Party candidate Marci Ien, a journalist, won with 42 per cent of the vote, against 32.7 per cent for Annamie Paul, Green Party candidate and leader. The NDP candidate, Brian Chang, placed third with 17 per cent, with 144 out of 144 polls reporting. In York Centre, Liberal Party candidate Ya'ara Saks won with 45.7 cent of the vote, against 41.8 per cent for Conservative Party candidate Julius Tiangson after a very tight race. The NDP's Andrea Vásquez Jiménez placed third with 5.8 per cent. Maxime Bernier and his People's Party garnered 3.6 per cent of the votes.
WestJet to provide refunds (not just credits) for flights cancelled due to pandemic
WestJet says it will begin providing refunds to passengers whose flights were cancelled due to the pandemic. The Calgary-based airline said it will begin contacting all eligible flyers with WestJet and Swoop on Nov. 2. It will begin with those whose flights were cancelled in March 2020 at the onset of the pandemic, to offer refunds in the original form of payment. The process is expected to take six to nine months, the company said. It asked customers to wait to be contacted, in order to avoid overloading its call centre.
Single Use Plastics: Are you affected?
The end is coming for plastic grocery bags, straws and cutlery after the federal government announced today which single-use plastics will be covered by a national ban coming into effect next year. Federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson recently unveiled the list of soon-to-be-banned items such as Grocery checkout bags Straws Stir sticks Six-pack rings Plastic cutlery Food takeout containers made from hard-to-recycle plastics (like black plastic packaging) The regulations to introduce the ban will be finalized by the end of 2021, said Wilkinson. Are you concerned? Email to let us know how you feel about the upcoming plastics ban.
After complaints, CRA encourages some failed CRB applicants to reapply
After dozens of Canadians complained to CBC News about problems getting the new Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Revenue Agency is now recommending that some applicants reapply for the benefit on Monday. Media reported that a number of Canadians who appeared to be eligible for the CRB but had their applications rejected. The benefit is supposed to replace the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for those who are not eligible for employment insurance. Anyone who applied for the CRB before Oct. 16 and received [error] code 026 should try reapplying.
Sobeys and Franchisees found to be a Common Employer
Common-employer or joint-employer… these words should send a shiver down the back of every franchisor and franchisee across Canada. Common-employer allows a court to treat separate legal entities (like franchisors and franchisees) as a single employer for the purposes of attaching liability for such things as wages, overtime, vacation pay, benefits, termination notice, severance pay, wrongful and constructive dismissal, etc. The BC Labour Relations Board decision in Sobeys v UFCWI may signal an expansion of the reach of a common employer determination to cover situations where the putative third-party employer has enough control (either real control or the right to control) over the essential employment terms of employees to enable the objectives of the labour relation legislation (e.g., collective bargaining) to be fulfilled. For all franchisors, there is a delicate balance to strike when placing controls on franchisees to protect their business interests. Franchisors would be well advised to consider the lessons emerging from this decision when evaluating their legal and business decisions moving forward. To read the full article: Taking Control: Sobeys and Franchisees found to be a Common Employer Are you concerned? Please email to learn more about what the CFA is doing on the issue.
U.S. Justice Department files antitrust lawsuit against Google
The United States Justice Department on Tuesday sued Google for antitrust violations, alleging that it abused its dominance in online search and advertising to stifle competition and harm consumers. The lawsuit marks the government's most significant act to protect competition since its groundbreaking case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago. It could be an opening salvo ahead of other major government antitrust actions, given ongoing investigations of major tech companies including Apple, Amazon and Facebook at both the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission. "Google is the gateway to the internet and a search advertising behemoth," U.S. Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen told reporters. "But as the antitrust complaint filed today explains, it has maintained its monopoly power through exclusionary practices that are harmful to competition." Lawmakers and consumer advocates have long accused Google, whose corporate parent Alphabet Inc. has a market value just over $1 trillion, of abusing its dominance in online search and advertising to stifle competition and boost its profits. Critics contend that multibillion-dollar fines and mandated changes in Google's practices imposed by European regulators in recent years weren't severe enough and that structural changes are needed for Google to change its conduct. Google responded immediately via tweet: "Today's lawsuit by the Department of Justice is deeply flawed. People use Google because they choose to — not because they're forced to or because they can't find alternatives." The case was filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. It alleges that Google uses billions of dollars collected from advertisers to pay phone manufacturers to ensure Google is the default search engine on browsers. Eleven states will join the federal government in the lawsuit.
5 hand sanitizers added to Health Canada's evolving recall list
Five more hand sanitizers were added to Health Canada's evolving recall list on Tuesday, which now includes more than 100 products that may pose health risks. The newest recalled hand sanitizers are: • Last Best Brewing and Distilling Hand Sanitizer from Last Best Brewery (Calgary) • Nomad Hand Sanitizer (Lemongrass) from Rocky Mountain Soap Company (Canmore, Alta.) • Purify Hand Sanitizer and Antibacterial Spray from Prairie Potions (Winnipeg) • Gel d'alcool pour les mains avec émollients, 70% alcool éthylique en format de 250 mL from Sanix (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.) • Gel d'alcool pour les mains avec émollients, 70% alcool éthylique en format de 4 L from Sanix (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.) The products were recalled either for containing technical-grade ethanol without authorization, containing methanol or missing risk statements. Health Canada said if you own any of the recalled products on the list, you should immediately stop using them and consult a health care professional if you have used them and have any concerns. Any adverse events or complaints can be reported to Health Canada.
WestJet shuts down most of its operations in Atlantic Canada
WestJet will soon no longer fly to Moncton, Fredericton, Sydney, Charlottetown and Quebec City and drastically cut back its service to St. John's and Halifax. The Calgary-based airline said Wednesday it is eliminating 100 flights, which represent about 80 per cent of the airline's service in and out of Atlantic Canada. The airline also says it is also suspending operations to Quebec City, by removing its flight between there and Toronto. The route cancellations mean that the airline will also shutter its operations in the airports of Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton and Sydney. The routes will be cancelled as of Nov. 2.
Ottawa business coalition demanding province justify local closures
A group representing thousands of businesses in Ottawa is asking the premier and his ministers for an immediate meeting about the province's decision to close down certain sectors in COVID-19 hot spots. Dine-in restaurants and bars, gyms, movie theatres, casinos and more were forced to close again on the weekend after the province ordered Ottawa, Toronto and Peel region to return to modified Stage 2 pandemic restrictions, citing the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in those areas. The restrictions are in effect for at least 28 days. The Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas (OCOBIA) penned an open letter Monday to Premier Doug Ford, Health Minister Christine Elliott and Economic Development Minister Vic Fideli. The coalition, which represents more than 6,200 bricks-and-mortar businesses in the city, says those restrictions have impacted its members' ability to survive the pandemic. OCOBIA says the measures will "only cause more economic hardship" on one of the hardest-hit industries. The letter asks the province to review its decision and tailor Ottawa's restrictions based on Ottawa Public Health's (OPH) recommendations for the city, which are based on local data. In early October, Ottawa's medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches said she was looking at closures only as a last resort.
An Insider's Guide to the 2020 US Election
Monday, October 19th, 3:15-4:15pm ET Join Inside Elections’ Nathan Gonzalez for an overview of what to expect in the presidential election and other important races across the country. Learn what the polls are REALLY saying, and what we will find out on November 3 and beyond. Nathan’s well-respected, non-partisan analysis is cited regularly in major media outlets and corporate boardrooms across America. Attendees can elect to receive 50 CFE Credits. You can register here.
In case you missed it: New Commercial Rent Relief Program announced
Today, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, announced new supports to help businesses including a new commercial rent program which CFA has been asking for. According to the news release, the supports, if passed by Parliament, will include: New Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy will provide rent support directly to tenants from now until June 2021. According to Finance Canada, the new program will “provide simple and easy-to-access rent and mortgage support until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19”. We are told that the new rent subsidy program will be administered through the CRA not CMHC. The new rent program will help business who have suffered a revenue drop, by subsidizing a percentage of their expenses, on a sliding scale, up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020. Program parameters for 2021 will be released in the future. Organizations will also be able to retroactively make claims for the period that began on September 27, 2020 and ends October 24, 2020. Rent Subsidy Top Up The program also includes a 25 per cent top up for organizations temporarily shut down by a mandatory public health order. This top up is in addition to the 65 per cent subsidy. This commitment was made in the recent Throne Speech which committed Ottawa to providing direct financial support to businesses temporarily shut down as a result of a local public health decision. CEWS Extension until June 2021 The extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy until June 2021, would continue to protect jobs by helping businesses keep employees on the payroll and encouraging employers to re-hire their workers. The subsidy would remain at the current subsidy rate of up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible wages until December 19, 2020. This measure, according to the Finance Minister, is part of the government’s commitment to create over one million jobs and restore employment to the level it was before the pandemic. Expanding the CEBA Loan Program – new $20K Top Up They also announced they are expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loans so that eligible borrowers can access an additional interest free loan of up to $20,000. 50 per cent of the additional financing would be forgivable if repaid by December 31, 2022. The application deadline for CEBA is also being extended to December 31, 2020. The additional CEBA loan would effectively increase CEBA loans from $40,000 to $60,000 for eligible businesses, of which a total of $20,000 would be forgiven if the balance of the loan is repaid before December 31, 2022. To date, over 765,000 CEBA loans have been approved, representing more than $30 billion. CFA Commentary Giving tenants direct access to rent support is great news for all CFA members. We are happy that government is doing away with the complicated CMHC landlord tenant application process. We have asked the federal government to look at providing a top up rent subsidy for businesses that are forced to reduce capacity by public health (not just close). We are looking for clarity about whether or not new businesses that started after March 2020 will qualify for the new rent program. The CEBA top up is good news but there are many unanswered questions on issues that we, and others, have been raising since March. Business bank accounts vs personal bank accounts: Under the current program criteria, a business that operates using a personal bank account was excluded from applying for the CEBA loan. The federal government is working with the banks on the issue but today’s announcement did not include the outcome of those discussions. Qualifying Thresholds: Under the current criteria, the Borrower’s total employment income paid in the 2019 calendar year was between$20,000 and $1,500,000. The CFA has been advocating for the top and bottom thresholds to be expanded to help more franchised businesses. Multiple Loans based on Location: Each qualifying business is limited to one CEBA loan for every CRA business account. The CFA believes that loans should be allowed for multiple locations based on business licenses, HST/GST accounts, WSIB accounts, etc. instead of simple corporate entities using the CRA account. We will continue to advocate for this change.
Office vacancy rate drops slightly in downtown Edmonton as market remains flat
A recent report shows a slight drop in vacant office space in downtown Edmonton as office vacancy rates remain flat despite the pandemic. The report by commercial real estate company CBRE Canada found increases in vacancies and sublet space throughout Canada in the third quarter of 2020. The about turn comes after a historic run that, according to CBRE, has left Canadian office markets in a more resilient position. Alberta's two main cities topped the list for office vacancies among Canadian cities, with Edmonton just below 20 per cent and Calgary just over 25. But while Edmonton's overall office space vacancy remained about the same since last quarter, its downtown bucked the increasing national trend with a decrease from 19.7 to 19 per cent.
Canada banning plastic bags, straws, cutlery and other single-use items
by the end of 2021 Under the newly-unveiled list of single-use plastics being banned in Canada, plastic grocery bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery and food containers made from hard-to-recycle plastics will be out of use nationwide by the end of 2021. Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson announced the federal government’s next steps towards its plan to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030. As first pledged last year, and re-committed in the Liberal’s September throne speech, the government is moving ahead with banning certain “harmful” single-use plastics that are consistently found in the environment and for which there are readily available alternatives, while finding ways to make sure more plastic is recycled. Citing the need to consult, the government will be soliciting feedback on a “discussion paper” until December 9. The finalized new regulations wouldn’t come into effect until the end of 2021. The federal government has a target of at least 50 per cent recycled content in plastic products by 2030. Under the new regulations the government will require: • A minimum percentage of recycled content; • rules for measuring and evaluating the amount of recycled content; and • guidelines and related tools to help companies meet their requirements. Wilkinson also pledged $2 million for a zero plastic waste initiative, to go to 14 Canadian-led projects. Later this week, the federal government will be publishing a proposed order to add “plastic manufactured items” to the list of regulated products under Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA). Greenhouse gasses is among the items already on that list.
Commercial rent relief – CFA letter to federal and provincial
governments demanding action The CFA sent a letter to Finance Minister Chystia Freeland, Small Business Minister Mary Ng and all the provincial Premiers asking for action on commercial rent. in the letter, which is linked below we ask • Provincial governments to use their powers and resources • Extend the commercial rent program into the second quarter of 2021 • The new program must have a lower threshold than CECRA • Inclusion of “Dark Sites” in the program • Tenants must have support without having to work through their landlord • Expanding CEBA – in addition to a new commercial rent program • Provinces must institute a temporary moratorium on commercial rent default evictions for a sixmonth period Read the Letter
CFA files for Intervenor Status in the BC LRB case on common-employer
On Friday, the CFA filed an application for reconsideration and request for intervenor status in the BC Labour Relations Board (LRB) case where the Board declared Sobey’s and 7 of its franchisees to be common employer under the BC Labour Code. In the decision the Labour Board used many of the common practices of franchisors to reach its conclusion such as the franchisor’s Operating Manual, training, sub-leasing arrangements, and merchandising standards. While the CFA was not party to the original application, the declaration of common employer concerns us greatly, which is why we have asked for standing in this case so we can defend the franchised business model. Why CFA members should be concerned Common employer allows a court to treat separate legal entities, in certain circumstances, as a single employer for the purposes of attaching liability for such things as wages, overtime, vacation pay, benefits, termination notice, severance pay, wrongful and constructive dismissal, etc. Common employer or Joint employer hits at the heart of the franchised business model. It can leave franchisors exposed to claims by franchisee employees for unpaid wages, overtime, vacation pay, benefits, termination notice, pay in lieu of notice, severance pay, wrongful and constructive dismissal, human rights violations, and payroll taxes. Help us protect franchising in Canada. DONATE NOW
Commercial rent relief – we are working on it
I know many CFA members are very concerned that the federal government did not extend the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program into October. While the CECRA program was a very flawed program it was better than no program at all. Over the weekend I spoke with staff within Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s Office about how the program could be modified or replaced to help many more franchised businesses across Canada. A new commercial rent program and expanded business supports should be announced shortly. In the meantime, CFA will be sending another letter to Minister Freeland, Small Business Minister, Mary Ng and all provincial Premiers shortly demanding a new commercial rent relief program.
Health Canada approves first rapid antigen COVID-19 test
Health Canada regulators today approved another rapid COVID-19 test — the first antigen device to receive the necessary approvals for use in this country. U.S.-based Abbott Laboratories can now sell and distribute the Panbio COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test Device, which can produce results in less than 20 minutes. The test is advertised as a solution for mass testing in "decentralized settings." Health Canada has authorized it as a point of care test, meaning it can be used by trained professionals in pharmacies, walk-in clinics or doctors' offices. The Panbio is designed to give "preliminary test results," and, according to Abbott, a negative result "doesn't preclude SARS-CoV-2 infection." Health Canada approved another Abbott rapid test last week, the ID NOW, which is the molecular test that has been used at U.S. President Donald Trump's White House to screen staff since April. Applications Now Available for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit The programs, both part of the package replacing the CERB, may now be applied for. Applications for both programs are available through the Canada Revenue Agency. Applications for the Canada Recovery Benefit will be available starting October 12. CRA’s new CRSB, CRCB and CRB web pages provide extensive information about these benefits including eligibility requirements, how to apply and eligibility period dates. Apply For CRSB Apply For CRCB
Annamie Paul elected leader of the federal Green Party
Green Party members have picked Toronto lawyer Annamie Paul as their next leader, bringing to a close the year-long race to replace Elizabeth May. Paul was the perceived frontrunner heading into the final vote because she had raised the most money — $206,000 — and racked up a number of endorsements from former Green Party candidates. Paul, who is the first Black permanent leader of a major federal political party in Canada, assumes the leadership of a party that has been closely tied to May for the better part of the last 14 years. Before handing the job to Paul, May delivered an impassioned plea to Canadians to do more to address the climate crisis, saying the ongoing fight against COVID-19 can't distract from pressing environmental concerns. Paul claimed victory with 12,090 votes against her closest competitor, Dimitri Lascaris, another lawyer and a self-described radical and "eco-socialist," who had 10,081 votes after eight rounds of voting. A party official said 23,877 Green voters cast a ballot in this race — a 69 per cent turnout. Paul, one of the more moderate candidates who contested this leadership election, ran on a robust environmental agenda that she says will help Canada fight climate change, which she has called "an existential threat to human life."
Minimum wage increases take effect in four provinces
As of October 1, four provinces minimum wage increases came into effect. These changes were announced months or even years ago as part of each government’s multiyear strategy. Newfoundland and Labrador's minimum wage rises 50 cents to $12.15 an hour. Ontario’s minimum wage increased 25 cents to $14.25 an hour. Saskatchewan's minimum wage increased 13 cents to $11.45. Manitoba’s minimum wage increased 25 cents to $11.90
Canadian Chamber Statement: Rent is due Thursday. What’s the plan?
This morning Canadian Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Hon. Perrin Beatty, issued the following statement, regarding the urgent need for clarity on commercial rent support: “When the September extension of the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program was announced, it was made clear the program was being wound down. Businesses needing rent support would need a new and improved program to help keep them afloat. The problems associated with CECRA are well-documented: it was complex, restrictive, took a month-to-month approach, and depended on landlords, to name a few. Governments at all levels understand these issues and that’s why a new program is the preferred path. We agree. The reality, however, is that businesses operate in real time and must be able to plan in order to be successful. Now, rent is due Thursday. That means businesses urgently need to know the plan. A business-led recovery from the pandemic is our goal. But for many sectors, including restaurants, travel, and tourism, recovery from the pandemic remains a long-term challenge as restrictions on those businesses continue. As those businesses continue to be limited, the need for corresponding long-term programs to help cover some of the resulting losses is also ongoing. Together, we need to ensure that businesses are able to survive the winter. Millions of Canadians’ livelihoods depend on it. On commercial rent, it’s time to see the long-term plan.”
Liberals, NDP reach deal on sick leave, avoiding federal election
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says the Liberal government is willing to boost the number of people who can access sick days, clearing the way for New Democrats to support the throne speech and bypass an immediate fall election. Singh said the agreement involves a change to the wording in Bill C-2 — the proposed legislation that would transition people from the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) to an employment insurance program with expanded eligibility, or to one of three new recovery benefits — to significantly expand the number of Canadians who would be able to access paid sick leave. The NDP's support for the throne speech would give the minority Liberals enough votes to pass it in the House of Commons and avoid a snap election. Liberal House Leader Pablo Rodriquez tweeted this Friday afternoon that a deal has been reached, but didn't offer any more details about the sick leave changes.
CERB comes to an end
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) began to wind down over the weekend after officially paying out more than $79 billion to almost nine million Canadians during the pandemic. Millions will be transferred to a beefed-up Employment Insurance (EI) program. Those who were collecting CERB through Service Canada will be automatically transferred, while those who received the benefit through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will have to apply for EI. Canadians who don't qualify for EI may qualify for three new temporary benefits recently announced by the federal government: the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), and Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB). Click here to learn more.
Office vacancies spike in Toronto, Vancouver
Vacancy rates in Canada’s tightest office markets are spiking, as employees continue to work from home and more businesses try to get rid of space amid the economic fallout from the novel coronavirus pandemic. Subleases in downtown Toronto more than doubled over the past three months, sending the office vacancy rate to 4.7 per cent in the third quarter, from 2.7 per cent in the second, according to new data from commercial real estate brokerage CBRE. In downtown Vancouver, sublease space rose 30 per cent, pushing the office vacancy rate to 4.6 per cent, from 3.3 per cent. (Sublease space is included in the overall vacancy rate.) Across the country, the vacancy rate reached 12 per cent in the third quarter compared with 11 per cent in the second. Calgary, which was still trying to recover from 2014′s oil crash when it was hit with another oil downturn and the pandemic, is in a dire position. Its downtown vacancy rate is nearly 30 per cent. Montreal and Ottawa, two cities that had enjoyed a downtown real estate revival, also had more space become available throughout the pandemic. In Montreal, the office vacancy rate in the core rose to 8.7 per cent from 7.3 per cent. In Ottawa, the level climbed to 8.8 per cent from 7.7 per cent. Before the pandemic slowed the global economy, businesses big and small competed fiercely for offices in downtown Toronto and Vancouver. That sent vacancy rates to record lows of around 2 per cent, pushed up rental rates and triggered a flurry of office skyscraper developments. In the early months of the health crisis, a wave of smaller tenants such as Ritual Technologies and CrowdRiff tried to get rid of their office space in downtown Toronto. Over the summer, bigger tenants such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, Cisco Systems Inc. and Oracle Inc. put some of their space up for sublease. Although the new data showed that rent prices remained flat quarter to quarter, brokers say that rents are effectively lower now with some landlords offering more incentives, including a period of free rent and more cash for tenant improvements.
Deeper dive into the Throne Speech – follow up from yesterday’s COVID Updates
As was outlined in yesterday’s CFA Update the Liberal Government presented a renewed policy agenda to Canadians. Following the Speech, the Prime Minister made a rare national television address to speak directly to Canadians, telling them that the Government will continue to spend to backstop jobs and businesses through the pandemic. Commitments in the speech Extending CEWS through to next summer Expanding the CEBA loan program CERB ending and EI changes Banning single use plastics in 2021 Exceeding Paris 2030 climate targets Accelerating steps toward a national pharma-care program Canada-wide childcare program What was missing A new or revised commercial rent relief program Opposition Reaction The Official Opposition Conservatives immediately rejected the Throne Speech, saying that it was divisive, does not support middle class workers in the resource and small business sectors, and creates too much debt. The Bloc Quebecois will also vote against the Speech. Holding only a minority position in Parliament, the Liberal Government will require the NDP’s support for the Throne Speech to remain in power. The NDP previously made its support conditional on the Throne Speech addressing income supports, housing, paid sick days, child care, and long-term care. All of those topics were spoken to in some way today, making NDP support more likely than not. However, the NDP did not announce its voting intentions after the Speech, setting up some nervous days ahead for the Government. The House of Commons rules allow for up to six days of debate before the required confidence vote on the Speech. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh told reporters after question period today, Singh called the boost to $500 a week from the proposed $400 a "major victory" for Canadians but added he still has concerns about how accessible the paid sick leave will be. He refused to explain in detail what he is asking for, saying that negotiations with the government are ongoing and those talks could affect the entire bill. What’s Next The House of Commons and Senate resume their normal sitting schedules as of today. However, an agreement reached by the Parties will allow for reduced quorum in the House, with remote participation and voting by MPs. House Committees are not scheduled to resume work until October 7 at the earliest. The Opposition will use its control of the House Committees to extract compromises in the Government’s policies and to reopen studies of the Government’s ethics. Stakeholders should expect new Mandate Letters in the coming days, which will be key to understanding which Ministers are responsible for developing the new programs announced today. For stakeholders whose issues were addressed in the Throne Speech, immediate engagement at the political and departmental levels is crucial to ensure that legislation and policies are developed quickly and with your views in mind. In addition to the many items mentioned in the Throne Speech, a variety of other initiatives like privacy and broadcast reform will remain on the legislative agenda. Look-Ahead: Fall Fiscal Update The Speech did not define the Government’s fiscal framework for a rapidly expanding policy agenda, after the previous ‘fiscal anchor’ of declining debt-to-GDP ratio was abandoned during the initial response to COVID-19. However, it is clear that the Liberals view significant Federal spending as an essential part of addressing the pandemic. The Government is committed to updating the Federal COVID-19 Economic Response Plan this fall. While unlikely to be a full Budget, that update will set the Government’s new fiscal framework and allocate funding to many of the programs announced today. Given the Government’s rhetoric about the drawbacks of austerity, stakeholders should expect a high Federal deficit and spending as a percentage of the national GDP for the foreseeable future. What This Means The vision for government laid out by the Liberal Party’s Election 2019 policy platform remains intact, with the addition of fighting COVID-19 as the highest priority. With that crowded agenda in mind, the challenge for stakeholders will be ensuring that your issues are prioritized. It is very unlikely that a Minority Government could accomplish all of the goals set out in today’s speech.
Legislation Introduced to Extend Recovery Benefits
Today the federal government introduced Bill C-2, which includes the previously announced Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and the Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit. In concert with other previously announced EI changes, these programs are part of the proposed package designed to replace the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which is winding down. Specifically, the legislation includes: Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) of $500 per week for up to 26 weeks, to workers who are self-employed or are not eligible for EI and who still require income support. This Benefit would support Canadians who have not returned to work due to COVID-19 or whose income has dropped by at least 50%. These workers must be available and looking for work, and must accept work where it is reasonable to do so; Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) of $500 per week for up to two weeks, for workers who are sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19. This Benefit supports our commitment to ensure all Canadian workers have access to paid sick leave; and, Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) of $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household, for eligible Canadians unable to work because they must care for a child under the age of 12 or family member because schools, day-cares or care facilities are closed due to COVID-19 or because the child or family member is sick and/or required to quarantine. More detailed eligibility criteria can be found online.
Home prices across Canada could fall almost 7% in 2021, Moody’s predicts
Moody's 2021 home price index forecasts 6.7% decline for single-family homes, 6.5% drop for condos. According to a forecast by Moody's Analytics, Inc., there is a "dangerous" oversupply of new, single-family homes in Calgary and Edmonton, on top of affordability issues in Vancouver and Toronto, the financial intelligence company said in a report this week. Moody's report did not go into detail on how it created the forecasts, but said that its 2021 home price index also calls for a 6.7 per cent decrease for single-family homes and a 6.5 per cent decline in condo apartments. The prediction from Moody's comes after the Canadian Real Estate Association reported record-shattering home sales in July and August amid low mortgage rates. CMHC echoes Moody’s forecast But Moody's forecast says the real estate sector will lose its momentum in the first half of 2021, and it's not alone. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. economist Bob Dugan also predicted earlier this week that housing prices will fall going forward. "Moody's Analytics expects that the shortlived burst of growth in the third quarter will produce too few job gains to meaningfully reduce unemployment," the report said. For instance, Moody's said that housing starts — a closely watched statistic that has rebounded sharply this summer — partly reflects investments made before the pandemic. While home prices would fall in every region under Moody's model, the impact would be uneven and would favour small, affordable markets. While lower immigration may hurt condos in urban markets, Moody's suggested that buyers seeking more space may look to Oshawa, Ont., as prices rise in other Toronto suburbs like Mississauga.
Speech from the Throne – What is said and what it means
Today, the federal government unveiled the broad details of its legislative agenda in the Speech from the Throne presented by Canada’s Governor General Julie Payette. These speeches outline high level proposals but are often very short on details. This was no exception. The details of the proposals will role out in the coming days and months. Traditionally the speech includes plenty of pomp and ceremony and is attended by senators, members of parliament, Supreme Court justices and various dignitaries. This time numbers will be restricted, according to senate officials, and most parliamentarians are being asked to view the speech off-site. This update provides information on the details of the Speech itself. PM Trudeau, What was in the speech The speech did touch on a few issues that are important for franchised businesses across Canada. Through the Speech the government is promising to extend emergency support for Canadians hit by the COVID-19 crisis while building a more resilient economy that empowers women, fights climate change and tackles systemic racism. Specific highlight the Government want to showcase included: accelerating steps toward a national pharmacare program; extending CEWS through to next summer; banning single use plastics in 2021 creating 1 million jobs; exceeding Paris 2030 climate targets; UNDRIP legislation before end of 2020; Canada-wide child care program The Throne Speech does not extend the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which is set to expire later this month. Instead, it says the recently announced enhancements to Employment Insurance will be the focus of its income support plan and that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy – which flows through employers to help cover staffing costs will be extended. CERB ending and EI changes The Liberals plan to wind down the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which has paid out almost $78 billion in benefits to nearly 8.8 million people. Anyone covered by employment insurance will move to that program with access eased, they say. Those who don't qualify, such as self-employed and gig workers, will be pushed to a new 26-week "recovery" benefit. The throne speech says that new benefit, which Parliament still has to approve, will be a transitional program before moving every worker in the country onto EI. What was missing from the speech was detail about the promises at a time when companies and workers are looking for specifics amid widespread uncertainty. CEWS extended until summer 2021 “One way the Government will create these jobs is by extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy right through to next summer. The Government will work with businesses and labour to ensure the program meets the needs of the health and economic situation as it evolves.” The wage subsidy extension is part of the government's vow to create a million jobs, which would restore employment to pre-pandemic levels. It is also promising to "scale up" its strategy to help young people gain skills and find jobs. Expanding the CEBA Loan program In the economic section of the speech the government said “This fall, in addition to extending the wage subsidy, the Government will take further steps to bridge vulnerable businesses to the other side of the pandemic by: Expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account to help businesses with fixed costs; Improving the Business Credit Availability Program; And introducing further support for industries that have been the hardest hit, including travel and tourism, hospitality, and cultural industries like the performing arts. Ban on single use plastics “The Government will ban harmful single-use plastics next year and ensure more plastic is recycled. And the Government will also modernize the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.” This is the same timeline that the Trudeau government spoke about prior to the pandemic. National Child Care The speech does make a long-standing commitment that Liberal governments have made for years that government will make “a significant, long-term, sustained investment to create a Canada-wide early learning and child-care system.” This is a long-standing goal that has been made in many Throne Speeches over the years. Time will tell if this commitment is implemented. What wasn’t in the speech Commercial rent – there was no mention of a commercial rent program which is concerning. The language in the speech and from Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Small Business Minister Mary Ng over the past few days implies that the government views the extension of the CEWS and the expansion of the CEBA loans to be replacements for the troubled Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program which ends at the end of September. National Addresses from the PM and Opposition Parties PM Trudeau will be addressing the nation tonight. CFA will provide more detailed reaction and a deep dive into what the speech means along with more reaction from the Opposition Parties and other stakeholders. The Opposition responses have been complicated by the fact that Conservative leader Erin O’Toole and Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet have had tested positive for Covid-19, and are isolating. CFA will have more detailed analysis of the Opposition and other stakeholder reaction in tomorrow’s COVID-19 Update. Fiscal Update coming The speech included signs the government still plans to pursue some pre-existing commitments, including implementing national pharmacare, restricting handguns, improving rural broadband access, and investing in public transit and energy efficient retrofits. The government committed to presenting a fall economic update, including fiscal projections and more details on promises to tax the extremely wealthy, and implementing fairer revenue sharing including from tech giants, while emphasizing that in the meantime the Liberals will use whatever "fiscal firepower" it takes to get through the immediate crisis. "The economic impact of COVID-19 on Canadians has already been worse than the 2008 financial crisis. These consequences will not be short-lived," the speech read. "This is not the time for austerity." Opposition Reaction NDP Reaction – NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he hasn't decided yet whether or not he will support the government in the confidence vote that comes as a result of a Throne Speech. "We are making it very clear to the prime minister, if you want New Democrat support, if you want my support, then you have to stop the proposal to cut help to Canadians who cannot get back to work," referring to the Liberal intention to transition CERB recipients on to EI. The NDP is asking for an enhancement and extension of the CERB along with a federal program that gives employees 10 paid sick days per year. Conservative Reaction – The Conservatives will not be supporting the government. Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen said "We’ve looked at this speech from the throne and Conservatives cannot support it. It is another speech that is full of Liberal buzzwords and grand gestures, with very little, to no follow-up plan." Confidence Votes to come The Throne Speech triggers a string of automatic confidence votes. The government must win the votes otherwise it will trigger a fall election. Those votes will happen as early as next week Recent Polling Data Liberal support has stabilized into a relatively modest lead over the Conservatives in national polling. The Liberals would very likely win the most seats if an election were held today, but they are straddling the line on whether it would be a majority or minority government. The Conservatives have improved their position since the arrival of new leader Erin O'Toole, but still have some ground to make up to get back to where they were on election night in 2019. The New Democrats have been trending modestly upwards over the summer while the Bloc Québécois and Greens have held steady. Poll averages based on September 23 poll LIB: 35.8% (-0.6) CON: 31.0% (+1.0) NDP: 17.7% (+0.5) BQ: 7.0% (-0.2) GRN: 6.2% (-0.2) OTH: 2.3% (-0.6) Numbers in brackets denote changes in party support since Aug. 21, 2020.
Wednesday’s Throne speech: Here is what to expect
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government will, on Wednesday, unveil its plans for the country's pandemic response and recovery. The last time Mr Trudeau's government held a Throne Speech - where a government outlines its policies and programmes as a parliamentary session begins - was less than a year ago. The speech will be read by Governor General Julie Payette in the Senate chamber. Traditionally the speech includes plenty of pomp and ceremony and is attended by senators, members of parliament, Supreme Court justices and various dignitaries. This time numbers will be restricted, according to senate officials, and most parliamentarians are being asked to view the speech off-site. The Liberal government is expected to announce plans to tackle both the immediate crisis - a new surge in Covid-19 cases as the country enters the colder months - and a roadmap for a longer term recovery. More specifically, Reuters reports that the immediate to-do list will include investments in childcare, an expanded employment insurance programme, and funds for long-term care homes, which were particularly hard-hit early in the pandemic. The speech likely won’t establish budget targets, which will be left for Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland to detail later this year in a fiscal update. Business groups, like the CFA, have been asking for wage subsidies to be extended and for long-term rent relief. There is also election talk and a new opposition leader in Erin O’Toole. The Throne Speech has led to plenty of speculation about Canadians heading to the polls this fall. The speech does trigger a confidence vote in the House of Commons which will be a key test for the minority government. Canada has already budgeted $380 billion (US$289 billion) in new debt this year as a response to the downturn, spending that will likely drive the federal government’s debt to about 50 per cent of economic output, from 31 per cent last year. That’s triggered a backlash from business groups and economists, who are calling on Trudeau to commit to specific new debt targets to impose discipline on the budgeting process. The speech will begin at 2:10p. CFA will provide members an update on the content following the speech with reaction from the Opposition and other stakeholders.
Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Resumes Additional Activities This Month
The Government temporarily suspended some programs and services, including many collection and compliance activities. The CRA will be resuming these collection and enforcement activities. As a result, you may receive a call or letter from the CRA, with a specific call to action. To protect against fraud, remember “the CRA will never use aggressive language, threaten you with jail time, or demand payment by gift cards.” Learn how to recognize a scam and protect yourself from fraud. Programs that are returning SEPTEMBER 2020 Appeals Audits Charity revocations Collections Compliance activities OCTOBER 2020 Audits Benefits validation Collections For more information please see the CRA website
Liberals pledge $1 billion for cities to buy motels, hotels for rapid-housing program
The federal Liberals plan to spend $1 billion over the next six months so cities and housing providers can buy properties being sold because of the COVID-19 pandemic and use them to keep people from becoming homeless. The details of the program unveiled Monday fill what was seen as a gap in the Liberals' decade-long national housing strategy. The Liberals say the program will create 3,000 new affordable housing units across Canada, and want all the funds committed by the end of March 2021, when the federal fiscal year finishes. Municipalities, provinces, territories, Indigenous governing bodies and agencies as well as non-profit organizations can tap into the money that for now appears to be a one-time program. Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen said the program will only take applications for projects to quickly build or buy units that would also serve vulnerable populations like women fleeing domestic violence, or people at immediate risk of becoming homeless.
Federal Cabinet retreat wraps up
Over the past two days, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his ministers gather for a two-day retreat, where they fleshed out plans for a Sept. 23 throne speech. Media reports suggest that the throne speech will , which will include three priorities:
  • Health measures needed to avoid another lockdown
  • Economic aid needed as the pandemic continues; and
  • Long-term measures needed to rebuild the economy.
The PM will be speaking with NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh later this week about the NDPs priorities for the throne speech. No word on whether or not the PM will be speaking with new Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole or BQ Leader Yves-François Blanchet.
Canada Employment Insurance Commission sets 2021 Employment Insurance Premium Rate and Maximum Insurable Earnings
The Canada Employment Insurance Commission (CEIC) today set the 2021 Employment Insurance (EI) premium rate at $1.58 per $100 of insurable earnings for employees and $2.21 for employers who pay 1.4 times the employee rate, which is unchanged from the 2020 premium rate. Each year on or before September 14, the CEIC is responsible for setting the annual premium rate based on the seven-year break-even rate forecasted by the EI Senior Actuary. The Senior Actuary forecasted the seven-year break-even premium rate to be $1.93 per $100 of insurable earnings, an increase of 35 cents. The forecasted increase is mainly attributable to a rise in unemployment resulting from the pandemic, that is the Government of Canada’s response through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (29 cents) and temporary measures to support transition back to the EI program (6 cents). The CEIC also announced that the Maximum Insurable Earnings (MIE) for 2021 will increase to $56,300 from $54,200 in 2020. The MIE is indexed on an annual basis and represents the ceiling up to which EI premiums are collected and the maximum amount considered in applications for EI benefits. The maximum annual EI contribution for a worker will increase by $33.18 to $889.54 (up $46.46 for employers to $1,245.36 per employee). Self-employed Canadians who have opted-in to the EI program, the annual earnings required in 2020 will increase to $7,555 for claims filed in 2021. The level of earnings required for self-employed Canadians to be eligible for EI special benefits is indexed annually to the MIE. The premium rate in 2021 for residents of Quebec covered under the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) will be $1.18 per $100 of insurable earnings, while their employers will pay $1.65 per $100 of insurable earnings. The maximum annual contribution for a worker in Quebec will increase by $13.94 to $664.34 (up $19.52 for employers to $930.08 per employee). EI premium rates are different for residents of Quebec, because the province of Quebec administers its own parental insurance plan, which is financed by Quebec workers and their employers. Summary of the Actuarial Report on the Employment Insurance Premium Rate
Poll: 90 per cent of respondents supported keeping the border closed to Americans
by pollster Research Co. found that out of 1,000 Canadians surveyed online at the end of August, a whopping 90 per cent agreed with the current Canada-U.S. border closure to non-essential traffic. The Canada-U.S. border closure to non-essential traffic expires on Sept. 21. While American travellers — with the exception of some immediate family members — are barred from entering Canada, the U.S. still allows Canadians to fly to the country. Both Ontario mayors predict the Canadian government will announce this week that it will extend the border closure for at least another 30 days.
U.S. decision to drop aluminum duties
A statement from the U.S. Trade Representative's (USTR) said that after consultations with the Canadian government, the U.S. has determined that trade is expected to "normalize" in the last four months of the year, declining after "surges" experienced earlier in the year. "Accordingly, the United States will modify the terms of the 10 per cent tariff imposed in August on imports of Canadian non-alloyed unwrought aluminum," the statement reads. The USTR's statement lays out shipment volumes for each of those four months, which will be monitored to ensure they aren't exceeded. If they do, the U.S. expects that imports would decline by a corresponding amount the following month. The tariffs could be re-imposed if shipment volumes exceed 105 per cent of the stated volumes, the USTR said. "The United States will consult with the Canadian government at the end of the year to review the state of the aluminum trade in light of trade patterns during the four-month period and expected market conditions in 2021," the statement reads. The Canadian government has welcomed the move. The government had said during the summer that unless the U.S. dropped its latest round of aluminum tariffs, Canada would impose $3.6 billion in counter-measures.
US – Return of Joint Employer in New York
Last week, the Southern District of New York invalidated the US Department of Labor’s (DOL) new joint employer rule. As you may recall, this rule was a significant milestone in IFA’s work to advance a thoughtful, narrow, and clear joint employer standard that supports franchise business owners, brands, and workers. Franchisors and franchisees alike may have questions on how this decision can affect their operations. Pending an appeal of the decision, franchises could potentially again be bound by the harmful expanded joint employer standard that existed prior to the DOL’s new rule and four-factor test. IFA recommends that businesses consider contacting their legal counsel for any specific questions. The CFA will keep members posted on the IFA’s next steps.
CFA Win: CECRA Extended for September!
Today the federal government announced that Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses will be extended by one month to help eligible small businesses pay rent for September. All provinces and territories continue to participate in this initiative and collaborate with the federal government to provide rent supports to those small businesses most in need. Current CECRA application deadlines will also be extended to accommodate this extension. Media Release on the CECRA Extension to September The CECRA program has provided rent relief to 106,000 small business tenants for a total of over $1.32 billion in rent support. The programs budget which was announced in the federal ‘Fiscal Snapshot’ is $2.97 billion.
July and August Extensions
Anyone who is eligible for CECRA for small businesses is also eligible for the July and August extensions. No additional documentation is required. You must opt in by September 14, 2020. If you or your tenant has already been approved for rental assistance 1. Login to the CECRA Portal using your existing username and password. 2. Select “Apply for Extension.” 3. Select the tenants you wish to include in the request from the prepopulated list of tenants in your initial application. (You can’t add tenants to the list and can only apply for the July extension once.) 4. Submit your request. 5. Notify your tenants that you have requested the July Extensions.
September Extensions
Details on the September extension will be available on the CMHC website on Wednesday September 9. CFA still pushing for more changes to the CECRA program CFA still pushing for changes to the program to help small businesses across the country
  • Reduce the 70% threshold so more businesses will qualify
  • Improve the transparency in the application and approval process
  • Include of Pre-Opening/Dark Sites in the program
  • CFA Letter to Minister Freeland – submitted August 26 CFA Op-Ed: Why the feds need to extend the commercial rent program (Published in multiple markets today, all the Sun papers nationally on September 3, 2020)
    CFA announces the passing of Stephane Teasdale, a leader in Canadian franchise law
    With great sadness the CFA wants to pass on to the community that Stéphane Teasdale, a Partner in the Toronto office of Cassels, and a long time active CFA member, passed away this past weekend at the age of 57, after a 2 year battle with colon cancer. He was born and raised in Montreal and practiced Quebec franchise law for over 30 years to became one of the leaders in franchise law in Canada. Family circumstances brought him to Cassels Toronto office about 4 years ago until illness required that he go on a leave. He always talked about returning to the practice of law and the clients he loved, but it was not meant to be. He leaves his wife Nicole Gervais, and their daughter Elizabeth. He will be missed by his colleagues at Cassels, and many in the franchise community here in Canada and around the world.
    Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole announces his Shadow Cabinet
    Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has released the names of his Shadow Cabinet. Opposition Critics usually take the lead on their files, lead questions in the House or at committee. They also are the first to provide their party’s response to the media on topics related to their assignment. It’s notable that Pierre Poilievre remains as the critic for Finance and O’Toole has named himself the critic for Middle Class Prosperity. Andrew Scheer remains active as critic for Infrastructure and veteran Michael Chong takes on Foreign Affairs.
    • The critics most relevant to the CFA are James Cumming (Edmonton Centre), Critic for Innovation, Science and Industry
    • Chris D’Entremont (West Nova), Critic for Intergovernmental Affairs & Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
    • Marilyn Gladu (Sarnia-Lambton), Critic for the President of the Queen's Privy Council & Shadow Minister for Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
    • Pat Kelly (Calgary Rocky Ridge), Critic for Small Business & Western Economic Development
    • Mark Strahl (Chilliwack — Hope), Critic for Labour
    Full List of the Conservative Shadow Cabinet
    CFA asks federal government to extend and amend CECRA to help small businesses survive
    The CFA has written to the new Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland to ask that the commercial rent relief program be extended and changed. In our letter we ask the federal government to
    • Extend the program past August
    • Reduce the 70% threshold so more businesses will qualify
    • Improve the transparency in the application and approval process
    • Include of Pre-Opening/Dark Sites in the program
    The complete letter is available here
    New government-commissioned report recommends cultural shift at WCB to better support workers
    Labour Minister Harry Bains released a report Wednesday by retired labour lawyer Janet Patterson, who was commissioned by the government to review the workers' compensation system and make recommendations for improvements. Patterson's 517-page review calls for an organizational shift to a worker-centric delivery system that treats all injured workers with dignity. Her report, New Directions: Report of the Workers' Compensation Board Review, 2019, calls on the government to amend the Workers Compensation Act to make a cultural shift back to supporting all injured workers as an organizational goal. Patterson heard from more than 2,000 people and organizations. The CFA did work with other stakeholders to provide a comprehensive response to the consultation. We also joined over 50 other business groups when we pulled out of the consultation because the process became overly biased. The CFA will work with our partners in BC to determine next steps.
    Most Canadians pleased with gov't handling of pandemic: poll
    Unlike most Americans, the majority of Canadians believe their government has done a good job in responding to the coronavirus pandemic and they’re more united now than they were before the outbreak. That’s according to a new Pew Research Center public opinion survey, which asked 14,276 adults in 14 countries to rate their nation’s response to the health emergency and the unity of its citizens. Among the 1,037 Canadians surveyed from June 10 to Aug. 3, 88 per cent said their country had done a “good” job of handling the pandemic while only 11 per cent viewed the government as having done a “bad” job. That’s in line with the majority of individuals in other nations who also approved of their country’s ability to handle the outbreak. Overall, a median of 73 per cent of respondents agreed that their respective governments had been successful in managing the crisis while only 27 per cent disagreed. The other countries included in the survey were the United States, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, and South Korea. The United States and the United Kingdom were the only two countries on the list where the majority of citizens said their governments had done badly in their response, with 52 per cent expressing dissatisfaction in the U.S. and 54 per cent in the U.K. Denmark scored highest in the ranking with 95 per cent of its citizens pleased with their government’s response, followed by Australia (94 per cent), and Canada (88 per cent).
    Erin O'Toole wins Conservative leadership race
    By Scott Munnoch, Temple Scott Associates After hours of delays due to a voting count malfunction, early this morning the Official Opposition Conservatives elected Ontario MP and former Cabinet Minister Erin O’Toole as their new Leader. O’Toole won the leadership on the third ballot, beating his former Cabinet colleague Peter MacKay on the last ballot. Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis finished in third place, followed by Ontario MP Derek Sloan who was a distant fourth. O’Toole’s election produces two firsts for the Conservative Party: its first Leader from outside Western Canada and its first Leader from the Progressive Conservative wing of the Party. That said, O’Toole’s campaign made a direct appeal to the Reform/Canadian Alliance wing of the Party. O’Toole must now unite the Party under his leadership following a quite bruising campaign between himself and MacKay. That uniting will have to come quickly as the Conservatives need to get ready for an election widely expected within the next year. That will require staffing his Leader’s Office, building a campaign team, recruiting candidates and developing a platform.
    A New Look Conservative Party?
    It is no secret that in the last two elections the Conservatives have struggled to win seats in urban Ontario, much of Quebec, Atlantic Canada and the Vancouver area. To win an election – and most certainly for a majority – the Conservatives have to make inroads in these regions, and O’Toole frequently highlighted the fact he is an MP from the Greater Toronto Area during the campaign, a region that has not been kind to the Conservatives in the last two elections. O’Toole positioned himself as a “true blue conservative” during the leadership race, appealing to the core base of Conservative Party support. However, to win a general election, O’Toole will need to expand his appeal to people who voted for other parties in the past two elections. To that end, the O’Toole platform, which was a comprehensive document, is very much a mainstream conservative pitch: reducing and simplifying taxes, cutting red tape, balancing the budget, negotiating trade agreements, eliminating interprovincial trade barriers, and so on. That platform also had detailed sections on the environment, climate change, law and order, innovation, agriculture, foreign policy, and defence, to name just a few. The “true blue” pledge that seemed to get the most attention was to cut funding to the CBC and end the Government’s $600 million media support fund. O’Toole is fortunate to have crafted such a detailed platform as defining himself on policy matters will be critical given the Liberal Government’s plan for a Throne Speech on September 23 outlining a vision for a post-pandemic Canada.
    Next Steps
    O’Toole’s immediate priority is to reunite the Party and the caucus following a divisive race, particularly with runner-up Peter MacKay and his supporters. For example, MacKay had the highest number of supporters from the Conservative caucus, and Lewis also had a number of MPs backing her. The need to unite caucus will influence decisions on Critics and other Caucus roles, and O’Toole will want to have these sorted out before the House returns on September 23. Given the minority government situation and the likelihood of an election in the next twelve months, O’Toole will have to immediately undertake election readiness preparations, including the selection of a campaign manager, candidate recruitment and platform development.
    New Staff in the Office of the Leader of the Opposition
    • Tausha Michaud - Chief of Staff to the Leader of the Official Opposition. Michaud is a political veteran with over 10 years of experience working in municipal, provincial, and federal government. She formerly served as Senior Advisor to Mr. O'Toole when he was Canada's Minister of Veteran Affairs.
    • Fred DeLorey - National Campaign Manager. DeLorey most recently served as National Campaign Manager for the Erin O'Toole Leadership Campaign.
    • Alupa Clarke - Senior Advisor to the Leader. Clarke is a former Conservative MP for Beauport-Limoilou (2015-2019) and was Erin O’Toole’s leadership Campaign Chair in Québec.
    • Janet Fryday Dorey - Executive Director, Conservative Party of Canada. Fryday Dorey is the former president of the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party and is the current Atlantic Organizer for the Conservative Party of Canada.
    Who is Erin O’Toole?
    O’Toole has an impressive resume, having enrolled in the Royal Canadian Air Force when he was 18 and eventually serving out of Halifax, participating in search and rescue missions as a tactical navigator. O’Toole served in the Canadian Forces for 12 years. Upon retiring from the military, O’Toole spent the next decade working in the private sector as a corporate lawyer. He is also a founding member of the Board of Directors for the True Patriot Love Foundation, a charity that serves veterans and military families. O’Toole comes from a political family as his father John was an MPP in the Ontario Legislature from 1995 until 2014. Erin entered the political world in 2012, winning a by-election in the Toronto-area riding of Durham. Shortly thereafter, he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade and in January 2015 became Minister of Veterans Affairs. Though the Conservatives lost the 2015 and 2019 elections, O’Toole was re-elected easily both times. He ran for the leadership of the Conservative Party in 2015 following the resignation of Stephen Harper, finishing in third place. Prior to announcing his most recently leadership run, O’Toole was serving as Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs. O’Toole is married and has two children.
    Changes coming to CEBA program?
    On August 17, EEDC posted the following tweet which many are interpreting as a precurser to changes in the CEBA loan program. “In response to important applicant feedback, a new #CEBA call centre is in the works. Applicants will be able to get status updates and support with document requirements. Stay tuned for more details in the coming days.”
    Former Foodora workers reach $3.46M settlement with app's parent company
    Foodora Inc.'s parent company has reached a $3.46-million settlement with its former Canadian couriers after shutting down its delivery service in the country. Under the settlement, Berlin-based Delivery Hero SE and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers will end recent disputes stemming from couriers winning the right to unionize in February and Foodora filing for bankruptcy in April and exiting the market in May. The union alleged in an unfair labour practices complaint filed in April that Foodora pulled out of Canada because couriers and drivers in Toronto and Mississauga, Ont., were granted the right to unionize and be seen as dependent contractors by the Ontario Labour Relations Board.
    Metropolitan Housing Starts: Long-term expectations remain negative
    The monthly Metropolitan housing starts publication provides the recent trends in housing starts for 29 metropolitan areas and expectations for starts over both the short and long term. In the August 2020 report it found the following:
    • There are six census metropolitan areas (CMAs) with positive short- and long-term expectations. That's two more than last month (Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Oshawa, Toronto, Regina, Edmonton)
    • Negative expectations still prevail for the long term.
    • The CMAs with the biggest year-over-year percentage decreases in housing starts in July were Abbotsford–Mission, Windsor, Kitchener–Waterloo, Edmonton, and Greater Sudbury.
    • Saskatoon had the biggest year-over-year percentage increase in housing starts last month.
    Metropolitan Housing Starts, August 2020
    Conference Board: Working Through COVID-19 – Workforce Impacts
    The Conference Board of Canada asked organizations across the country about how COVID-19 is affecting their turnover, attraction, and retention rates—and the strategies they’ve put in place to manage. Read the findings
    Peaches recalled in Canada after salmonella outbreak in U.S.
    Canadians are being warned to avoid some fresh peaches from a California company after a salmonella outbreak in the United States. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued the Class 1 recall on Saturday. Prima Wawona, located in Fresno, Calif., has recalled fresh peaches with various brand names due to possible salmonella contamination. The recall report lists 11 different products with various labels, including Prima Sweet Value Wawona, Sweet 2 Eat, Sweet O, Wegmans and Extrafresh. The recall affects these specific products, mostly sold from June 1-Aug. 22. As of Sunday, there were 68 reported cases in nine states, with 14 hospitalizations and zero deaths.
    Federal government to make EI changes, extend CERB and introduce three new benefit programs
    Today the federal government announced its intention to make changes to simplify EI applications, extend the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) an additional four weeks, and introduce three new benefit programs to take the place of the CERB once it expires: the Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit. The new benefit programs require legislative approval. CERB Extension: will be extended another four weeks to a maximum of 28 weeks. CERB, which pays people $2,000 a month, will now be in place until September 27. The CERB extension is expected to cost a further $8 billion, and $7 billion more to the EI system, and can be done through powers that Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough already has to create temporary EI measures. EI Changes: Anyone eligible for EI will get the same minimum for at least 26 weeks and will need to have worked 120 hours to qualify, well below current EI requirements, since many Canadians have been unable to work to the pandemic. New Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB): will provide $400 per week for up to 26 weeks, to workers who are self-employed or are not eligible for EI and who still require income support and who are available and looking for work. New Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB): will provide $500 per week for up to two weeks, for workers who are sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19. New Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB): will provide $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household, for eligible Canadians unable to work because they must care for:
    • a child under age 12 due to the closures of schools or daycares because of COVID-19.
    • a family member with a disability or a dependent because their day program or care facility is closed due to COVID-19.
    • a child, a family member with a disability, or a dependent who is not attending school, daycare, or other care facilities under the advice of a medical professional due to being at high-risk if they contract COVID-19.
    The three new benefits are expected to cost $22 billion and will be brought in through legislation once the House of Commons returns after being prorogued this week. Government officials estimate about one million people will need the new workers' benefit that replaces the CERB, and three million will go onto the simplified EI program.
    CRA online services working again after attacks shut them down for days
    The Canada Revenue Agency says its online services are now back up and running after being offline for days due to a series of cyberattacks. Over the weekend the Canada Revenue Agency temporarily shut down its online services and applications after hackers used thousands of stolen usernames and passwords to fraudulently access government services in three separate but serious breaches, compromising the personal information of thousands. The Canada Revenue Agency says its online services are now back up and running after being offline for days due to a series of cyberattacks.
    Canada has a new Finance Minister: Chrystia Freeland replaces Bill Morneau
    Chrystia Freeland was sworn in as Canada's new finance minister today, becoming the first woman to take on the powerful role. Up until today, Freeland, the former foreign affairs minister, was serving as deputy prime minister and intergovernmental affairs minister. She will retain her role as deputy prime minister but hands over her responsibilities for relations with the provinces to Dominic LeBlanc. Minister Dominic LeBlanc – a close friend and ally of Trudeau – was appointed as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, re-assuming that role from Minister Freeland now that he is back to full health after cancer treatment.
    PM Trudeau prorogues Parliament until Sept. 23
    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has prorogued Parliament until Sept. 23, putting a more than month-long pause on parliamentary business as his government focuses on plotting its roadmap out of the ongoing pandemic. Trudeau said the late-September throne speech will mark the beginning of a new legislative session that will have a renewed focus on the next phase of Canada’s response to COVID-19. This is the first time Trudeau has taken that massive procedural step of prorogation, after vowing when first elected to not use “prorogation to avoid difficult political circumstances,” as the Liberals accused former prime minister Stephen Harper of doing. News of Trudeau’s prorogation comes almost seven years to the day of Harper’s 2013 prorogation amid the Senate expense scandal. A prorogation effectively ends the current Parliamentary session, killing all legislative business that has not passed. In this case means halting all ongoing WE Charity committee probes and wiping away the remaining pre-pandemic pieces of legislation. Prorogation and a throne speech provides the opposition with a straightforward opportunity for a confidence vote which could force an election if the minority Liberals do not get the support of at least one of the opposition parties.
    Throne Speech in September
    The September Throne Speech will set a new policy agenda for the Government that accounts for both the immediate consequences of the pandemic and the potential for a changed economy thereafter. The Prime Minister said that agenda will focus on: Building healthy and inclusive communities, combating climate change, and supporting immigration. Minister Freeland will be the driving force behind executing that policy vision. Ministers McKenna (Infrastructure and Communities), Wilkinson (Environment and Climate Change), and Guilbeault (Heritage) were already developing policies for a “green recovery”, which both the Prime Minister and Minister Freeland emphasized will be a high priority for the new Parliamentary session.
    A fall election?
    While the Prime Minister claimed today that he does not want a Fall election, but the Throne Speech will be crafted as a de facto election platform – a set of policies that the Liberals are comfortable offering to voters if all of the opposition parties refuse to support the Speech. In any case, we expect all major government communications in the coming months to take on a pre-election tone.
    What’s Next
    We expect the Government will issue new Ministerial mandate letters after the Throne Speech – as signaled by the Prime Minister’s statement today that governing priorities must change to respond to the current circumstances. The Government has committed to giving an update on Federal finances this Fall, although it is unclear if that will take the form of a full budget or an economic statement. The Prime Minister pledged today that taxes will not be increased during the economic recovery. The Official Opposition Conservatives will receive a boost in public profile when the new party leader is announced on Sunday night. The winner – with the odds favouring Peter MacKay or Erin O’Toole – will move quickly to restructure the party’s political leadership, hire political staff, begin election preparedness work, and consider a critic shuffle. The House of Commons Finance Committee will begin pre-budget hearings for Budget 2021 shortly after Parliament resumes sitting. Especially in light of the new Throne Speech, that budget cycle is the best opportunity for stakeholders to get new spending initiatives off the ground – particularly if they align with the Government’s vision for economic recovery.
    Canada Revenue Agency Opens Applications for Enhanced Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
    Yesterday, the CRA announced that applications for period five of the CEWS were now available. Period five is the first of the periods that are a part of the new enhanced CEWS. Eligible employers can apply through their My Business Account or the CRA’s web form application. More Information
    Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Question and Answer Teleconference, With the CRA
    The Government of Canada recently implemented changes to adapt the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to protect jobs and promote growth. The CRA will shortly publish a number of online resources, including updated frequently asked questions, to help eligible employers understand how to apply and take advantage of this fiscal measure. To complement these resources, the CRA will host a series of interactive question and answer teleconference sessions for eligible employers and stakeholder organizations. You are invited to attend one. Register for Aug. 21 at 1:00 p.m. ET Register for Aug. 27 at 2:00 p.m. ET
    CRA shuts down online services after thousands of accounts breached in cyberattacks
    The Canada Revenue Agency has temporarily shut down its online services after the agency confirmed it was recently hit by two cyberattacks that compromised thousands of accounts linked to its services. While the breaches have been contained, services connected to My Account, My Business Account and Represent a Client on the CRA website have been disabled as an additional safety measure. The shutdown means that anyone attempting to apply for emergency COVID-19 benefits, such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or the Canada Emergency Student Benefit, will be unable to do so until further notice. While it was initially reported that 5,500 CRA account users had their personal information accessed, officials confirmed on Monday that a total of 11,200 accounts for Government of Canada services were compromised in the attacks. Officials said that one-third of accounts were used to actually log into government services, while the others are being monitored for suspicious behaviour. Government officials said they first became aware of security issues on Aug. 7, contacted the RCMP on Aug. 11, and yet Canadians were not informed until this weekend, after further attacks were executed. Impacted individuals have had their accounts suspended, and the government is working on notifying all affected users and tallying the damage done by these cyberattacks. Government officials are encouraging all who suspect they have had their accounts compromised to report it, and check the status of other login accounts, such as online banking and to in the future always use unique logins and passwords, especially with services that hold personal information
    Average Canadian house price rose 14% in year up to July, CREA says
    The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), said Monday that 62,355 Canadian resale homes were sold via the Multiple Listings Service, shattering the previous record for most sales in a month. The July figure was 26 per cent higher than June's figure. The sales boom is being led by Canada's biggest cities, as home sales rose by 49.5 per cent in the Greater Toronto Area, 43.9 per cent in Greater Vancouver and by 39.1 per cent in Montreal. CREA says the average price can be misleading because it is easily influenced by sales of expensive properties in big markets like Toronto and Vancouver. The Home Price Index, which it says is a better gauge of the market because it strips out that volatility and adjusts for both the volume and type of housing being sold in every market. The HPI increased at a 7.4 per cent annual rate in July. That's the fastest pace of gain since 2017. All 20 of the biggest housing markets in Canada had a higher HPI number in July than they did in June. The Toronto area, Guelph, Ottawa and Montreal saw the biggest price spikes, with prices climbing faster in most markets east of Saskatchewan. Prices rose more modestly in British Columbia and Alberta.
    Canada-U.S. border will remain closed until Sept. 21
    The federal government will extend the Canada-U.S. land border closure for another 30 days until Sept. 21, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said Friday. The closure to non-essential travel has been in place for months, but with caseloads still high in many U.S. states, the two governments have mutually agreed to continue restricting movement across the world's longest international border. The federal government has also moved to curb the movement of Americans through Canada who are ostensibly on their way to Alaska. U.S. travellers destined for the northern state have been limited to five crossings in Western Canada and they must commit to taking a direct route.
    Canada's Competition Bureau investigates
    Canada's Competition Bureau has launched an investigation into online selling powerhouse to examine whether the website's U.S. owners are "impacting competition to the detriment of consumers and companies that do business in Canada." The competition watchdog said in a release Friday that while its probe is ongoing and stressed that "there is no conclusion of wrongdoing at this time," the bureau is looking into whether or not the site may be engaging in anti-competitive practices, including:
    • Any past or existing Amazon policies that may impact third-party sellers' willingness to offer their products for sale at a lower price on other retail channels, such as their own websites or other online marketplaces;
    • The ability of third-party sellers to succeed on Amazon's marketplace without using its "Fulfilment By Amazon" service or advertising on
    • Any efforts or strategies by Amazon that may influence consumers to purchase products it offers for sale over those offered by competing sellers.
    In a statement to CBC News, a spokesperson for Amazon said "we are co-operating with the Competition Bureau's review and continue to work hard to support small and medium sized businesses who sell in our Canadian store — and help them grow." The bureau is asking any person or business that has conducted sales via to contact them if they have any insights into the issues it is investigating. While personal information must be disclosed, the bureau is promising confidentiality.
    Updated CEWS Calculator released by the CRA
    Click here to access the CEWS Calculator
    Government of Canada Sets National Temporary Minimum Unemployment Rate For EI Benefits Calculations
    As the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is set to wind down at the end of August, the federal government has temporarily adjusted the Employment Insurance (EI) program’s unemployment rate to 13.1%, which will be applied nationally (except for in areas where the actual rate is higher). This temporary measure will set a uniform eligibility requirement for EI regular benefits, provide a minimum entitlement of 26 weeks of benefits and set the number of best weeks of earnings used in the calculation of the weekly benefit rate at 14. For more Information
    Transport Canada says if you can't wear a mask for medical reasons, prove it
    Non-medical masks have been required for air travellers in Canada since mid-April to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A ministerial order issued Friday closes a loophole that may have made it easier for some flyers to avoid face coverings. There are medical reasons that could make wearing a mask difficult, from certain lung conditions to anxiety disorders. Passengers who are unable to wear a face mask due to a medical condition must now present an official doctor's note stating that they are exempt from the rule, or they will be denied boarding. Travellers who want to fly without a mask, they must provide a medical note that:
    • has been issued by a medical professional.
    • is on official letterhead.
    • is dated.
    • clearly states the passenger's name and that they have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask. Since April 20, it's been mandatory for air travellers to cover their mouth and nose during airport screenings while boarding and at all times during a flight, unless while eating, drinking or taking oral medication. Infants are not required to wear masks.
    Former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney advising PM on COVID-19 economic response
    Mark Carney — the former governor of the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England — has been acting as an informal adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the federal government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. News of the informal role was first reported by Bloomberg on Monday. Carney has long been rumoured to have political aspirations since returning to Canada after his term with the Bank of England expired earlier this year. Many in Liberal circles see Carney as a top candidate for finance minister should he seek office or as a possible leadership candidate to eventually succeed Trudeau. With a sudden vacancy in the Toronto-area riding of York Centre there have been rumours that Carney could be a candidate in an upcoming byelection, though senior Liberal sources have repeatedly thrown cold water on that idea. Carney is well-suited to advise the prime minister during difficult economic times. He led the Bank of Canada during the global financial crisis more than a decade ago and held the top job at the Bank of England during the Brexit uncertainty. Carney, a former investment banker currently serving as the United Nations' special envoy on climate action and climate finance, has likened the climate crisis to a financial crisis — and has urged financial sector to help tackle the issue.
    Higgs proposes deal to avoid general election until 2022 or end of COVID-19 pandemic
    Premier Blaine Higgs has made a dramatic offer to the three opposition parties, committing to putting off a snap election and listening to their policy ideas if they agree to keep his minority government in power for another two years. Higgs released a letter Monday to the other party leaders, asking that all four of them agree to avoid forcing an early election until the scheduled date in October 2022 or until the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Higgs has been hinting for weeks that he would trigger a campaign, justifying the threat by saying the province needs stability to manage the pandemic and continue restarting the economy. Liberal Leader Kevin Vickers welcomed the premier's offer. Under the proposed deal, three byelections expected this fall would go ahead as planned.
    Canada added 419,000 jobs in July – still down 1.3M from pre-COVID-19 level
    Canada's economy added 419,000 jobs in July and the jobless rate dropped to 10.9 per cent. Statistics Canada reported Friday that July's job gain, when added to the 953,000 in June and the 290,000 from May, still leaves Canada's economy with 1.3 million fewer jobs than it had in February, before widespread lockdowns to limit the spread of COVID-19 began. The data agency said 345,000 of the new jobs added in July were part-time. Only 73,000 were new full-time positions. Economists polled by Bloomberg had been expecting a gain of about 421,000 jobs. Ontario: Employment rose by 151,000 (+2.2%) in July, building on an increase of 378,000 in June and bringing employment to 91.7% of its pre-pandemic February level. The proportion of people who were employed but worked less than half of their usual hours for reasons likely related to COVID-19 was 10.9% in July, down from 14.1% in June. The unemployment rate in Ontario fell by 0.9 percentage points to 11.3% in July. Quebec: Employment increased by 98,000 (+2.4%) in July, adding to gains in the previous two months and bringing employment to 94.4% of its pre-COVID level. The increase in employment in July was all in part-time work. The unemployment rate decreased 1.2 percentage to 9.5%, the third consecutive monthly decrease. British Columbia: The number of employed British Columbians increased by 70,000 (+3.0%) in July, reaching 93.5% of the February employment level. The proportion of people who were employed but worked less than half of their usual hours was 12.0% in July, down from 14.6% in June. The unemployment rate fell by 1.9 percentage points to 11.1%. Alberta: Employment increased by 67,000 (+3.2%) in July, including gains in both full-time and part-time work. The unemployment rate for the province fell by 2.7 percentage points in July to 12.8%, the first decline since the COVID-19 economic shutdown. Saskatchewan: Employment rose by 13,000 (+2.5%) while the unemployment rate fell 2.8 percentage points to 8.8%. Manitoba: Employment increased (+12,000) for the third consecutive month and the unemployment rate declined by 1.9 percentage points to 8.2%. Newfoundland and Labrador: Employment increased by 4,300 (+2.1%) in July and the unemployment rate dropped 0.9 percentage points to 15.6%. Nova Scotia: Employment rose by 3,400 (+0.8%) in July, reaching 92.7% of its February level. The unemployment rate in the province declined by 2.2 percentage points to 10.8%. Prince Edward Island: Employment rose by 1,100 in July (+1.5%), adding to the gains in the previous two months. The unemployment rate declined by 3.5 percentage points to 11.7%. New Brunswick: Employment was little changed in July after recording employment gains of 39,000 from April to June. Employment in the province—which was among the first to begin easing COVID-19 restrictions—was at 96.6% of its pre-COVID February level, the most complete employment recovery of all provinces to date. Click here to access the complete Labour Force Survey, July 2020
    CECRA Extension information released by CMHC
    CMHC and the federal government have extended the CECRA for small businesses until the end of August. What you need to know:
    • Only those tenants approved in the April, May, June and July application are eligible for the August extension.
    • If a business had an average revenue decline of 70% or more in April, May, and June, it is deemed eligible for the additional month of rent relief. However, not all tenants in the original application need to be included for the August extension.
    Application deadlines
    • If you have been approved for rental assistance and are applying for the July and/or August extension, the deadline to submit your application is September 14, 2020.
    • If you have not yet submitted your application or are still creating it, the deadline to submit new applications that include the July and/or August extension is August 31, 2020.
    • CMHC will open the applications for the extension shortly.
    Get the latest details on the program
    Health Canada recalls more than 50 hand sanitizers in evolving list
    Health Canada is recalling more than 50 hand sanitizers that contain ingredients "not acceptable for use" that may pose health risks. The organization says hand sanitizers with "unacceptable types" of ethanol or denaturants have not been approved for use in sanitizers in Canada, and their safety and efficacy have not been established. Denaturants are ingredients added to ethanol to make it unfit for human consumption to avoid unintentional ingestion of hand sanitizers particularly by children. Health Canada said possible reactions to the ingredients include skin irritation, eye irritation, upper respiratory system irritation and headaches. Health Canada has an evolving list on its website of 51 hand sanitizers that are currently being recalled and says Canadians should consult the list regularly. The organization says to stop using products listed, and to consult a health-care professional "if you have used these products and have health concerns."
    Record number of companies have sought creditor protection
    22 major Canadian companies sought creditor protection in May and June, almost 4 times the typical pace. A record 10 companies began CCAA proceedings in May — followed by a new record of 12 companies in June. Both figures best the previous high of nine seen in December 2011 and the eight hit in in the depths of the financial crisis in October 2009. The number fell back to 4 in July but that's still above the 10 year average of about three per month, according to a database maintained by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada. Many of the recent restructurings are numbered companies, but a some high-profile insolvencies and bankruptcies in Canada have made headlines, including clothiers Reitmans, and Frank & Oak, shoe seller Aldo, hot drink seller DavidsTea, entertainment company Cirque Du Soleil, travel agency FlightHub, various oil companies and even a Christian charity. That list that doesn't even include major U.S. names like Chesapeake Energy, J Crew, Neiman Marcus, Brooks Brothers, Pier 1 and Hertz.
    Porter Airlines pushes back restart date amid COVID-19 pandemic
    Porter Airlines says it is pushing back its restart date amid ongoing travel restrictions. The airline had hoped to resume flights this summer but said Tuesday that won’t be possible, and it will instead aim to restart service on Oct. 7. The company is waiving change and cancellation fees on all flights and vacation packages booked between now and Oct. 7.
    Commercial rent relief program extended into August
    The federal government has extended Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA), its rent subsidy program to support small businesses, by another month. Under the original rent program known as CECRA, small businesses that have lost 70 per cent or more of their revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic only have to pay 25 per cent of their rent. The provinces, territories and federal government combine to cover 50 per cent, while landlords cover 25 per cent.
    Salmonella outbreak in Canada linked to American red onions
    Health officials have tracked a salmonella outbreak in Canada reported earlier this week to red onions imported from the United States. According to a release from the Public Health Agency of Canada, there have been 55 additional illnesses in Canada since the outbreak was first announced for a total of 114 cases of salmonella across five provinces. People in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario are being asked to not eat any red onions imported to Canada from the U.S., including food products containing red onions, until more is known about the outbreak. Health officials are urging retailers and restaurants in these provinces to not use, sell or serve red onions imported from the U.S.
    EI-like benefit for gig, contract workers will be available after CERB ends,
    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government plans to move out-of-work Canadians into the employment insurance system and provide parallel support for millions of people who are set to exhaust their emergency pandemic aid, and who don't have EI to fall back on. The $80-billion Canada Emergency Response Benefit is set to wind down over the coming weeks, and those who are EI-eligible are to start drawing assistance that way. At a media event on Friday morning, Trudeau said many people who don't qualify for CERB, such as gig or contract workers, will gain access to a transitional, parallel benefit that is similar to EI. It will also include access to training and the ability to work more hours without a steep clawback in benefit payments, Trudeau said. More details of the program will be unveiled at a later date. The most recent figures on the CERB show that as of July 26, the government had paid out $62.75 billion in benefits to 8.46 million unique applicants since its launch.
    Canadian economy grew 4.5 per cent in May: Statistics Canada
    Statistics Canada says the economy grew by 4.5 per cent in May as businesses began to reopen after severe lockdowns of March and April. The average economist estimate was for a 3.5 per cent increase in gross domestic product for May, according to financial data firm Refinitiv. Rebounds were seen across multiple industries with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, including retail trade that registered a 16.4 per cent bump to mark its largest monthly increase since comparable readings began in 1961. Motor vehicle and car sales contributed the most to the retail growth. Statistics Canada says the sector would have grown by 11.4 per cent had they been excluded from calculations. In a preliminary estimate for June, the agency says the economy continued to pick up steam, with a five-per-cent increase for the month. Despite the two months of growth after two months of negative readings, Statistics Canada's preliminary estimate is that economic output contracted by 12 per cent in the second quarter compared to the first three months of 2020. The June and second-quarter figures will be finalized late next month. CIBC economists noted that a 12-per-cent drop in the second quarter would be the largest decline ever by a long shot, even if such a decline was expected. The Bank of Canada's most recent economic outlook expected the second quarter of 2020 to be worse than the first, estimating a three-month drop in GDP of 14.6 per cent. The central bank expected an economic contraction of 7.8 per cent this year, warning that after an immediate turnaround as restrictions eased, a recovery would be long and bumpy with some businesses and jobs not surviving the downturn. Statistics Canada says economic activity still remained 15 per cent below pre-pandemic level despite the gains over May as business activity was slowly allowed to resume.
    U.S. economy shrank at fastest pace on record last quarter
    The U.S. economy contracted at its steepest pace since the Great Depression in the second quarter, as the COVID-19 pandemic shattered consumer and business spending, and a nascent recovery is under threat from a resurgence in new cases of coronavirus. Gross domestic product collapsed at a 32.9 per cent annualized rate last quarter, the deepest decline in output since the government started keeping records in 1947, the Commerce Department said on Thursday. The drop in GDP was more than triple the previous all-time decline of 10 per cent in the second quarter of 1958. The economy contracted at a five per cent pace in the first quarter. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast GDP plunging at a 34.1 per cent rate in the April-June quarter. The bulk of the historic tumble in GDP occurred in April, when activity ground to an abrupt halt after restaurants, bars and factories, among others, were shuttered in mid-March to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Economists say without the historic fiscal package of nearly $3 trillion US, the economic contraction would have been deeper. The package offered companies help in paying wages and gave millions of unemployed Americans a weekly $600 supplement, which expires on Saturday. Many companies have exhausted their loans. This, together with the sky-rocketing coronavirus infections, is keeping layoffs elevated. In a separate report on Thursday, the Labour Department said initial claims for unemployment benefits totalled 1.434 million in the week ending July 25.
    Eurozone GDP drops 12.1% in record pandemic plunge
    The coronavirus pandemic caused the largest GDP drop ever recorded for the 19 EU countries using the euro as currency, according to estimates. The eurozone economy has shrunk by over 12%, with Spain bearing the brunt.
    TD, Scotiabank and RBC extend work from home policy until 2021
    Royal Bank of Canada and TD Bank Group say most of their staff will work from home until at least 2021. The move comes after the Bank of Nova Scotia informed head office employees in the General Toronto Area currently working remotely that they can continue to do so until 2021 and after all of the major banks in the city agreed to a May request from mayor John Tory, who asked companies in the area to keep their workers home for the summer.
    Air Transat to cancel all flights from Western Canada to U.S., sun destinations this winter
    Air Transat plans to cancel all flights from Western Canada to sun destinations and the United States this winter, with refunds en route to customers — a policy about-face in the COVID-19 era. The airline is cancelling all southbound routes that were slated to take off from Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria, Air Transat parent Transat AT told customers this week. The only routes out of western gateways between Nov. 1 and April 30 will be from Vancouver to Toronto and Montreal, and some connecting flights to Europe via Toronto. Passengers will automatically receive a full refund rather than the company credit that has previously been offered for flights cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis, Transat said.
    Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Improvements, Receives Royal Assent
    The proposed improvements to the CEWS passed through the Senate and received Royal Assent on July 27. Among other things, Bill C-20 extends the CEWS to December 19, introduces a sliding scale and made some eligibility improvements. These are improvements we advocated and are pleased to see implemented on behalf of our members. More Information
    Shopify revenue doubles amid shift to online shopping in COVID-19
    Shopify Inc. is reporting $36 million US in profits in the second quarter on a nearly doubling of revenues as it reaped the benefits of COVID-19 lockdowns. The Ottawa-based tech company says it earned 29 cents per diluted share for the three months ended June 30, compared with a loss of 26 cents per share or $28.7 million US in the prior year. Reporting in U.S. dollars, adjusted earnings reached $129.4 million or $1.05 per share, up from $10.7 million or 10 cents per share in the second quarter of 2019. Revenues surged 97 per cent to $714.3 million from $362 million a year earlier. Shopify was expected to report a net loss of 59 cents per share or adjusted profit of one cent per share on $513.8 million in revenues, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv. The company says the ongoing effect of the pandemic has been to accelerate the shift of purchase habits to e-commerce with new stores created on the Shopify platform growing 71 per cent in the quarter.
    Bank of Canada faces shortage of $50 bills due to pandemic hoarding
    The Bank of Canada is facing a shortage of $50 bills due to the COVID-19 pandemic and signs point to Canadians hoarding cash as a primary reason. In a statement, the Bank of Canada said the shortage will not impact the consumer’s ability to withdraw cash, but rather it may require banks to alter their cash orders to incorporate other denominations. The Bank of Canada could not specify why the demand has increased for the $50 specifically, but it released a staff discussion paper earlier this month that shows there was a spike in demand for all bank notes -- though $20 and $50 bills were in highest demand -- in April and May, compared to the past five years.
    Cash hoarding an international problem
    A report from the Centre for Economic Policy Research in the U.K. shows cash in circulation has increased in United States, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Australia, Brazil and Russia, to name a few. In the U.S., pandemic hoarding, combined with businesses refusing cash, has led to a shortage of coins. This shortage led to the foundation of the U.S. Coin Task Force, which is meant to “identify, implement, and promote actions to reduce the consequence and duration of COVID-19 related disruptions to normal coin circulation.”
    Government extends 2019 tax payment deadline to September
    Today the CRA announced that it was extending the payment deadline and applying relief to interest on existing debt.
    Payment deadline extension The CRA is extending the payment due date for current year individual, corporate, and trust income tax returns, including instalment payments, from September 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020. Penalties and interest will not be charged if payments are made by the extended deadline of September 30, 2020. This includes the late-filing penalty as long as the return is filed by September 30, 2020.
    Interest on Existing Tax Debt The CRA is also waiving interest on existing tax debts related to individual, corporate, and trust income tax returns from April 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020 and from April 1, 2020, to June 30, 2020, for goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) returns. While this measure for existing tax debts does not cancel penalties and interest already assessed on a taxpayer’s account prior to this period, it ensures that a taxpayer’s existing tax debt does not continue to grow through interest charges during this difficult time. This measure provides immediate relief to impacted taxpayers.
    Filing returns The previously extended filing due dates for individual, corporate, and trust income tax returns remain unchanged. However, recognizing the difficult circumstances faced by Canadians, the CRA will not impose late-filing penalties where a current year individual, corporation, or trust return is filed late provided that it is filed by September 30, 2020.
    For those receiving credits and benefits such as the Canada Child Benefit The CRA temporarily suspended interruptions for those who were unable to file their income tax and benefit return by the June 1 deadline. Currently, if a 2019 individual tax return has not been assessed, the CRA is calculating benefits and/or credits for the July to September 2020 payments based on information from 2018 tax returns. However, if 2019 individual tax returns are not received and assessed by early September 2020, estimated benefits and/or credits will stop in October 2020 and individuals may have to repay the amounts that were issued as of July 2020. The CRA has helpful information and a step-by-step guide to help Canadians complete their taxes. The CRA tax processing system is fully operational and returns are being processed quickly to support Canadians in getting their refunds and ensuring continuity of their benefits.
    RBC – COVID Consumer Spending Tracker
    Spending stabilizes – solidifying early recovery
    • Consumers seem to have hit their stride into July, with card volumes holding relatively steady since the end of June. Spending is hovering near year-ago levels, as many parts of the country continue to slowly re-open.
    • In most categories, spending stuck close to the levels cited in our last report, strengthening a rebound several weeks in the making.
    Online spending holds strong, as Canadians avoid the mall
    • Online purchasing remained robust, with some categories seeing a lasting shift toward more frequent virtual purchases.
    • Canadians continued to embrace remote buying, particularly in categories where delivery and curbside pick-up have been broadly accepted.
    • Even as stores reopened to customers, online and remote spending remained stronger for clothing retailers, restaurants, and grocery stores as consumers avoided crowds.
    • In-person entertainment and health spending bounced back to pre-pandemic levels quickly, especially as things with few online alternatives reopened (e.g., golf courses, hair salons).
    Read the Report
    Statistics Canada says retail sales surged 18.7 per cent in May
    Statistics Canada says retail sales surged 18.7 per cent in May led by motor vehicle and parts sales. The agency says retail sales increased to $41.8 billion in May but that still left them 20 per cent below levels in February, before physical distancing measures were implemented to fight COVID-19. Economists on average had expected a 20 per cent increase in May, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv. Sales were up in 10 out of 11 subsectors with vehicle and parts dealers, general merchandise stores and clothing stores the main contributors to May's strength. The increase in sales followed a record decline of 24.1 per cent in April. Statistics Canada says online sales were $3.8 billion in May, accounting for eight per cent of the total retail market.
    Improved Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Bill Passes the House
    On Tuesday afternoon MPs in the House of Commons passed Bill C-20, including the improved CEWS, which was announced on Friday last week. The Senate must now study the bill before it can be implemented. We have called for the bill to be swiftly passed and are grateful MPs on all sides worked to achieve that goal. We are hopeful the Senate will now do the same.
    Walmart Canada investing $3.5 billion over five years, notably on technology
    Walmart Canada plans to invest $3.5 billion over the next five years to improve service in stores and on the web, renovate 150 stores and build two new distribution centres. Future technology initiatives include the use of payment on mobile devices so that customers can pay for purchases anywhere in the store. The company also aims to soon offer a complete merchandise pick-up service at about 270 branches, or 70 per cent of its locations in Canada. Renovations to more than one-third of its stores will be completed over three years. Walmart is also planning to spend $1.1 billion to speed up the flow of products by building two new distribution centres, in Vaughan, Ont. and Surrey, B.C., as well as renovating an existing centre in Cornwall, Ont.
    Have you paid your HST?
    The HST deferral that was brought in back in March has ended and your HST payments are due. As part of the government’s response to COVID-19 the CRA allowed businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer until June 30, 2020 any GST/HST payment that became owing between March 27 and the end of May 2020. Those deferred tax payments were due effective the end of June. For more information
    Sweeping changes to federal wage subsidy announced
    Finance Minister Bill Morneau is proposing sweeping changes to the federal government's wage subsidy program that would extend the program until the end of the year and open the program to more businesses. The proposed changes will
    • Make the subsidy accessible to a broader range of employers by including employers with a revenue decline of less than 30% and providing a gradually decreasing base subsidy to all qualifying employers. This would help many struggling employers with less than a 30% revenue loss get support to keep and bring back workers while also ensuring those who have previously benefited could still qualify, even if their revenues recover and no longer meet the 30% revenue decline threshold.
    • Introduce a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25% for employers that have been most adversely affected by the pandemic. This would be particularly helpful to employers in industries that are recovering more slowly.
    • Provide certainty to employers that have already made business decisions for July and August by ensuring they would not receive a subsidy rate lower than they would have had under the previous rules.
    • Address certain technical issues identified by stakeholders. The draft legislation would extend the program until December 19. The new changes would take effect retroactively as of July 5. Under the proposed legislation, all qualifying businesses would receive a base subsidy that would vary according to how much revenue they lost. Harder-hit companies would receive larger subsidies. The changes were drafted following extensive consultations with businesses and employers reporting major flaws in the original program.
      Media Release
      Detailed Backgrounder
      Canada-U.S. border closure extended into August
      Senior government officials confirm the arrangement limiting border access to essential travel only will be rolled over for another 30 days. The agreement, which has to be reviewed each month, was set to expire on July 21. It's now being renewed for the fourth time since the border closed to non-essential traffic on March 21.
      Airport cuts 1/4 of staff due to reduced travel demand
      The Greater Toronto Airports Authority, which operates Pearson International Airport, says it will not fill 200 current open positions and get rid of an additional 300 positions through voluntary departures and layoffs. The cuts represent a slash of 27 per cent of the airport operator's pre-pandemic workforce. In April, Pearson airport processed 97 per cent fewer passengers than it did in the same month a year earlier and right now the GTAA says passenger traffic is back where it was in 1996. Other major airports have already made similar job cuts, including 25 per cent of staff at Vancouver's main airport and one third of the staff in Calgary.
      Federal temporary national sick leave program created
      As part of the $19B ‘Safe Restart’ fund the federal government will be creating a temporary national sick leave program — providing 10 days of paid sick leave to those who don't already have it through their employers — at an estimated cost of $1.1 billion.
      July extension now available for CECRA for small businesses
      The July extension for CECRA for small businesses is now available. The July extension is based on the existing program parameters for the April, May and June period. No new documents are needed to opt-in. Not all tenants in the original application need to be included in the request for the July extension. Property owners can only opt-in once and no new tenants can be added. Visit the updated program page to learn more about how it works
      Canada, U.S. confirm extension of travel ban into late August.
      Canada and the United States have agreed to extend their mutual ban on non-essential travel between the two countries until Aug. 20.
      Federal government to provide provinces and territories with $19B for 'safe restart' of economy
      The federal government will provide $19 billion to the provinces and territories to help fund a "safe restart" of the Canadian economy. The direct transfers are part of a comprehensive agreement to help those governments cover some of their budgetary costs over the next six to eight months as they reopen and prepare for a possible second wave of COVID-19. The original plan was for a $14 billion fund — but many premiers said that amount was not nearly enough to cover their needs. The funding will focus on seven priority areas, including $4.2 billion for enhanced COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, $4.5 billion for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) for front line and essential workers, and $625 million to fund more child care spaces so that parents can get back to work, according to a government background document. The federal government will put up to $2 billion toward the operating costs of Canadian cities for six to eight months; provinces and territories will be required to match that amount from their own funds. The feds also will match any new funding that provinces and municipalities put toward public transit, up to $1.8 billion. As part of the agreement, Ottawa will create a temporary national sick leave program — providing 10 days of paid sick leave to those who don't already have it through their employers — at an estimated cost of $1.1 billion. Additional funds will go toward improving the state of long-term care, and to fund mental health services and tackle homelessness.
      Queen Elizabeth knights 100-year-old fundraising captain
      On the lighter side of the news, today, The Queen conferred the Honour of Knighthood on Captain Tom Moore at an Investiture at Windsor Castle.
      Premier Brian Pallister calls on federal government to redesign CERB
      Premier Brian Pallister is again criticizing the Canadian emergency response benefit (CERB), calling on the federal government to make changes to ensure it doesn't penalize Canadians who want to return to work. At a news conference Tuesday, Pallister argued that the current CERB rules disqualify workers who earn more than $1,000 a month. He argues that the federal government should consider a phased reduction of the benefit as workers return to their previous or new jobs. Pallister said he met with representatives from numerous national organizations and think tanks, including the Conference Board of Canada, the Parliamentary Budget Office and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to discuss the country and Manitoba's economic recovery.
      House prices bounced up 6.5% in June compared to last year, CREA says
      Canada's housing market showed signs of recuperation from COVID-19 last month, with prices and sales numbers well up from where they were a year earlier. The Canadian Real Estate Association said Wednesday that the average price of a Canadian resale home was $539,000, up 6.5 per cent from the average price a year earlier. A total of 41,628 homes changed hands during the month, an increase of 63 per cent from May's level, and a jump of more than 15 per cent compared to June 2019. Sales were up in Canada's biggest cities compared to May:
      • Toronto, up 83.8 per cent.
      • Montreal, up 75.1 per cent.
      • Greater Vancouver, up 60.3 per cent.
      • B.C.'s Fraser Valley, up 99.7 per cent.
      • Calgary, up 54.9 per cent.
      • Edmonton, up 59 per cent.
      • Winnipeg, up 22.5 per cent.
      • Hamilton-Burlington, Ont., up 34.8 per cent.
      • Halifax-Dartmouth, up 55 per cent.
      • London and St. Thomas, Ont., up 67.9 per cent.
      • Ottawa, up 55.6 per cent.
      • Quebec City, up 43.6 per cent.
      Prices, on average, were double-digits higher in fifteen of the 26 biggest markets in Canada, compared to where they were a year ago. CREA says the average price figure can be misleading because it can be easily skewed by sales in big and expensive markets like Toronto and Vancouver. So the group calculates another number, known as the House Price Index, which strips out those effects and adjusts for the mix of different homes in different markets. The HPI went up at an annual rate of 5.4 per cent in June.
      Bank of Canada holds interest rate steady
      Canada's central bank opted to keep its benchmark interest rate right where it was on Wednesday, at 0.25 per cent. It's the first rate decision under the stewardship of Tiff Macklem, who took over as governor of the Bank of Canada last month after Stephen Poloz's seven-year tenure ended. The bank says it will keep its rate low to stimulate the economy "until economic slack is absorbed so that the two per cent inflation target is sustainably achieved." The decision was in line with expectations of economists who monitor the central bank polled by Bloomberg. The bank's next decision is scheduled for Sept. 9 and no change is expected at that meeting either. In addition to the interest rate decision, the bank also released its quarterly Monetary Policy Report, which outlines the bank's outlook for the economy. Macklem and other officials at the bank will have more to say about their outlook at a news conference on Wednesday scheduled for 11 a.m.
      Senate committee recommends improvements to COVID-19 emergency programs
      The Senate finance committee says significant gaps remain in the federal government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, despite efforts to adjust and improve emergency support programs rolled out over the previous several months. The committee report found that while programs like the wage subsidy have provided vital support to many businesses, many companies in need remain ineligible. The wage subsidy program's uptake has not been as robust as the government had hoped. "The committee ... does not believe a business should be ineligible from all support simply because its revenue only declined by one per cent below the threshold." The Senate report recommends expanding eligibility to include companies that don't have commercial business accounts — currently a requirement to qualify — and to cover hard-hit sectors like tourism, hospitality and airlines. The committee also urged the government to expand eligibility for the Canada emergency business account and the commercial rent assistance program. The former provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and non-profits, while the latter provides forgivable loans to cover 50 per cent of monthly rent payments for small businesses that have faced financial hardship.
      CFIA’s Toolkit For Food Businesses
      If your business is new to federal food regulations, follow these steps from the Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to help understand the requirements of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR), as well as other food-related requirements. Access The Toolkit
      Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will be extended to December
      In his daily media conference the Prime Minister revealed that the government will be extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to December 2020. Trudeau wasn't saying today how the government will reshape the eligibility rules for the program As of July 6, the wage subsidy had paid out $18.01 billion to 252,370 companies. The government's fiscal and economic "snapshot" last week boosted the budget of the wage subsidy program to $82.3 billion.
      Canada adds health officials at U.S. border crossings to screen for COVID-19
      The Public Health Agency of Canada is adding on-site employees at 36 points of entry across the country. The "increased presence" of officials is at the points of entry — including air and land — that see 90 per cent of travellers. PHAC officials, including quarantine officers, clinical screening officers and screening officers will now be on-site to screen travellers entering Canada at these ports of entry. The news follows a surge in new cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., with large daily increases in some of the country's most populous states. That uptick is paired with an increase in traffic across the international border at airports and land crossings, as restrictions are loosened. Travel across the border has been linked to a new cluster of cases in Prince Edward Island tied to an individual who came from the U.S. with a student visa.
      Economy adds 953,000 jobs in June, unemployment rate falls
      Statistics Canada says the economy added nearly one million jobs in June as businesses forced closed by the pandemic began to reopen. The agency says 953,000 jobs were added last month, including 488,000 full-time and 465,000 part-time positions. The unemployment rate fell to 12.3 per cent in June after hitting a record-high of 13.7 per cent in May. The average economist estimate for June had been for an addition of 700,000 jobs and the unemployment rate to fall to 12.0 per cent, according to financial data firm Refinitiv. Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate would have been 16.3 per cent had it included in unemployment counts those who wanted to work, but did not look for a job. The jobs report this morning says there are still some 3.1 million people affected by the shutdowns of March and April when public health restrictions forced businesses to close and workers to stay at home to slow the spread of COVID-19. About 2.5 million didn't have jobs in June, either due to temporary or permanent layoffs, while the remainder are working less than half their usual hours. As restrictions eased, the number of people participating in the labour force grew by about 786,000 after May's 491,000 gain, bringing those considered in the labour force to within 443,000 of its pre-pandemic level. The unemployment rate for women was 12.7 per cent in June compared to 12.1 per cent for men. Similarly, the participation rate for core-aged men was less than one percentage point below the February level, while for women it was 1.4 percentage points short. The underutilization rate -- which counts those who are unemployed, those who want a job but didn't look for one, and those working less than half their usual hours -- was 28.3 for women and 25.5 per cent for men. The Bank of Canada and federal government say the worst of the economic pain from the pandemic is behind the country, but Canada will face high unemployment and low growth until 2021.
      U.S. members of Congress push Canada to reopen border
      In an open letter addressed to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, 29 bipartisan members of Congress called on the Canadian government to plan a phased reopening of the Canada-U.S. border and to consider easing existing measures. "We are asking that the United States and Canada immediately craft a comprehensive framework for phased reopening of the border based on objective metrics and accounting for the varied circumstances across border regions," read the letter, which was published on Western New York Congressman Brian Higgins' website on July 3. Despite the United States' plea, a spokesperson for Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement that the health and safety of Canadians is "absolutely priority." "Decisions about Canada's border are made by Canadians, for Canadians," said Freeland's spokesperson, Katherine Cuplinskas, in the statement. "Since the beginning of this global pandemic, we have been having friendly ongoing conversations with our American partners about our shared border. Both sides agree that the current measures in place, which are set to expire on July 21st, have worked well in restricting non-essential travel while allowing essential crossings to continue unimpeded." Freeland's office wasn’t alone in pushing back against the call. Social media posts show the Canadians are opposed to reopening the border for non-essential travel. These posts were much less diplomatic than the official response from Minister Freeland’s Office.
      A Deeper Dive into yesterdays federal fiscal ‘snapshot’ By Temple Scott Associates
      The Government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan includes more than $230 billion in measures to support Canadians and businesses. The snapshot is formatted to give the Government flexibility to scale those programs up or down in the coming months, stating that the Government will announce measures to support economic recovery as needed – though no details were offered about what those measures could be. Most notably for businesses, the snapshot indicates that changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy are forthcoming, to “stimulate rehiring, provide support to businesses during reopening and help them adapt to the new normal”. In anticipation of that, the Government set aside additional funding for the program, perhaps indicating that it will be extended beyond August 29th, when it is currently set to end. Notably, no additional funding was set aside for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which is also due to end that day. The impact of COVID-19 on employment has been significant, with approximately 30% of the workforce either losing their jobs or having their hours reduced at the start of the pandemic. However, the Government believes that its response to COVID-19 prevented greater economic damage, arguing that federal programs replaced more than $40 billion in lost income, prevented the real GDP contraction from reaching over 10% in 2020, and stopped the unemployment rate from rising a further 2% over the course of the year. The snapshot accounts for the $14 billion Safe Restart Agreement that is currently being negotiated with the Provinces, but it does not provide greater detail on how that money will be spent, beyond making broad commitments to prioritize healthcare capacity, testing and tracing, personal protective equipment, childcare, and support for municipalities. Minister Morneau promised to announce details of the Agreement as they are decided. Opposition Reaction Although no Parliamentary vote is required to pass the “snapshot”, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh stated that his support for the Government could be contingent on its contents, and the other Opposition leaders were also vocal in setting criteria for the fiscal update. The NDP gave the snapshot a “C+”, primarily criticizing the lack of support for persons living with disabilities and absence of action to increase taxes on the wealthy and eliminate tax havens. The Conservatives argued that the Government lacks a plan to stimulate growth, attract business investment, and get Canadians back to work and they also sounded alarm over the size of the Federal debt. The Bloc Quebecois also called for more measures to get Canadians back to work. What’s Next Marked by both the fiscal snapshot and the virtual Cabinet retreat this week, it is clear that the Government is attempting to transition from crisis management of the pandemic to charting a pathway to a new normal. However, judging by the tone of the snapshot, that transition will be cautious and the Government remains open to further spending in response to COVID-19. Minister Morneau did not fix a date for Budget 2020 today, or even commit to tabling one before Budget 2021. He did commit to providing further details on Federal finances in the Fall, and indicated that the tabling of a full budget at that time will depend on how successfully the pandemic and its economic fallout are limited. Meanwhile, the House of Commons Finance Committee is authorized to continue a virtual meeting schedule over the summer, and it could, in theory, choose to study today’s snapshot, which could result in an appearance by the Finance Minister before the Committee.
      CEWS to be extended
      In a technical briefing an official from the federal Department of Finance said the government will soon announce details of a proposed extension to the wage subsidy beyond its current August 2020 end date. In the fiscal snapshot speech Finance Minister Bill Morneau said “We know there's some things that need to change so we can get people back to work.” “We'll have more to say in the very near term.”
      Fiscal snapshot – by the numbers
      • Deficit for 2020-21 rises to $343.2 billion from $34.4 billion projected before pandemic.
      • Net federal debt will hit $1.2 trillion.
      • Federal debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to rise to 49% in 2020-21 from 31%
      • Direct federal support for Canadians and businesses: $212 billion.
      • COVID-19 slowdown has cost the federal treasury an additional $81.3 billion.
      • GDP will shrink by projected 6.8% this year — worst since the Great Depression.
      • Economy is expected to bounce back by 5.5% next year.
      For more information on the Fiscal Snapshot
      Highlights of the federal fiscal 'snapshot'
      Today, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivered an update on federal spending and economic projections linked to the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The update is a "fiscal snapshot" instead of the traditional economic and fiscal statement that comes between budgets. Back in March, Morneau was forced to put off his spring budget in March after the devastating economic effects of the pandemic became clearer. Here are some of the highlights: Deficit: The deficit for 2020-21 is expected to rise to $343.2 billion from the $34.4 billion deficit projected before the pandemic. The additional deficit can be attributed to the $212 billion in direct support measures the federal government is providing to individuals and businesses. The snapshot says that, aside from the pandemic program spending, the economic slowdown is estimated to have added another $81.3 billion to the deficit in 2020-21. Government revenue: The federal government's revenues are expected to decline to $268.8 billion in 2020-21 from a projected $341 billion in 2019-20. Personal income tax revenue is predicted to shrink to $146.3 billion next year from $170.9 billion in 2019-20 — a decline of 14.4 per cent. Corporate income taxes revenue is are expected to decline by 22.3 per cent, to $38.3 billion from $49.2 billion last year. The revenue from the GST is projected to decline 20.4 per cent to $30.9 billion from $38.8 billion in 2019-20. GDP decline: The Canadian economy is projected to shrink by 6.8 per cent this year before bouncing back by 5.5 per cent next year, making this crisis the worst economic contraction since the Great Depression. The economy is expected to decline in 2020-21 more than twice as much as it did in 2009-10 in response to the global financial crisis. The decline in GDP is expected to take place in the second quarter of this fiscal year, according to private sector projections of a 40.6 per cent decline in GDP. Debt-to-GDP ratio: The federal debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to rise to 49 per cent in 2020-21 (from 31 per cent in 2019-20). The federal government says it's getting a better deal on that debt through very low interest rates. "As a consequence of these developments, the government will save over $4 billion in public debt charges in 2020-21 compared to the forecast presented in the 2019 Economic and Fiscal Update in December 2019," the snapshot said. Job losses: Between February and April, 5.5 million Canadians either lost their jobs or saw their work hours significantly reduced. Those losses pushed the unemployment rate to 13.7 per cent in May — the highest rise on record — from a pre-crisis low of 5.5 per cent in January. Finance Minister Bill Morneau said that without government pandemic programs, the GDP would have contracted by more than 10 per cent and unemployment would have risen by another 2 per cent. Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA): As of July 3, 688,000 applicants have been approved for roughly $27.41 billion in CEBA loans — $7 billion of which is forgivable if the loan is paid back before December 31, 2022. The cost of the program is expected to rise to $13.7 billion by the time it ends. Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS): The total estimated impact of the Canada emergency wage subsidy will be $82.3 billion. That is an increase from the $45 billion estimate provided by the government last month and reflects the proposed extension and broadening of eligibility for the program. Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB): As of June 28, the CERB has provided over $53 billion in benefit payments to 8.16 million Canadians. That amount is expected to rise to $80 billion based on the eight-week extension and significant take-up of the program. Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB): To date, it has provided over $1.4 billion to over 600,000 applicants, which is expected to rise to $5.2 billion by the time it winds down. Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA): As of July 3, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), has approved applications for over 29,000 small businesses and total requested funding of over $221 million. CMHC is working closely with large property owners to complete applications to provide rent support to a further 25,000 small businesses.
      Canadians' COVID-19 fears are rising again – U.S. might be to blame
      Polls suggest Canadians are worried about the situation in the U.S. A Nanos Research survey for the Globe and Mail found that 81 per cent of Canadians polled want the border with the United States to stay closed for the "foreseeable future." Léger finds that 86 per cent of Canadians reject the idea of reopening the border at the end of July, as is currently planned (although the border closures have been renewed and extended repeatedly in the past). Remarkably, 71 per cent of Canadians "strongly disagreed" with a reopening of the border, suggesting a firmly held opinion. In mid-May, Léger reported that 21 per cent of Canadians wanted the border to open by the end of June or earlier. Now, just 11 per cent agree with opening the border by the end of July. These darkening views on the pandemic can't be tied entirely to COVID-19's spread in the U.S., as it's not the the only country with an uncontrolled outbreak. Canadians are also reporting more pessimism about the future, despite the apparently improving situation here. According to the Léger poll, 82 per cent of Canadians expect a second wave — that's up six points from early June. The poll suggests Canadians have lost some of their late-spring optimism. “Although the weather has improved, patios are open and people can get a haircut again, more and more Canadians appear to be coming to the realization that this is likely to be just a temporary reprieve — and not the new normal.”
      Proposed class-action against Skip the Dishes moving forward after Supreme Court's Uber ruling
      A proposed class-action lawsuit against Winnipeg-based food delivery service Skip the Dishes can now move forward through Manitoba courts, after the Supreme Court of Canada reached a decision last month in a similar case involving an Ontario Uber Eats driver. The lawsuit, filed by former Skip the Dishes courier Charleen Pokornik in Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench in summer of 2018, argues the company misled its drivers by classifying them as independent contractors rather than employees, allowing it to avoid labour laws covering minimum wages, paid sick leave and other benefits. Pokornik and her lawyers were seeking class-action certification, but the court process was put on hold last year after the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case brought forward by Uber Eats driver David Heller. Like Pokornik, Heller argues Uber has violated the rights of its drivers by misclassifying them as independent contractors. He is also seeking class-action certification. The Supreme Court decision, released on June 26, doesn't deal with whether or not Uber drivers are employees or independent contractors. Instead, it determined that drivers can seek legal recourse through Ontario's court system, rather than going through an arbitration process mandated by Uber and based in the Netherlands. In July 2018, days before Pokornik filed her statement of claim, Skip the Dishes changed its contract with drivers, requiring them to go through arbitration instead of the courts to resolve disputes. The new contract also stipulated that any action must be brought individually, and not as part of a class. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled in the Uber case, the Skip the Dishes case is set to move to a case management hearing in mid-September, says a lawyer representing Pokornik's class-action application. If the court decides that Skip drivers are in fact employees and not private contractors, the company could be required to pay drivers retroactively for lost wages, overtime, vacation pay and more.
      OECD Employment Outlook 2020 Released
      According to the OECD, there is a real danger that the COVID-19 jobs crisis will increase poverty and widen inequalities, with the impact felt for years to come. Countries now need to do everything they can to stop this jobs crisis from turning into a social crisis. Reconstructing a better and more resilient labour market is an essential investment in the future and in future generations. Explore the Results
      SaskPower taking revenue hit from COVID-19; too soon to rule out rate increases
      SaskPower says it's taking a hit from the COVID-19 pandemic, but it's too early to say what impact that will have on customer rates. The Crown utility says sales were down by 10 per cent from April to June, amounting to millions in lost revenue. It also reports that deferred bill payments totalled $47 million as of the end of last month. Environment Minister Dustin Duncan is responsible for SaskPower and says it's too early to decide whether rates will have to increase to make up for the revenue shortfall this fiscal year. SaskPower president Mike Marsh said some of the utility's expenses are falling and the $50-million drop in revenues doesn't necessarily mean a hit to net income, which is the main factor for rate increases. The utility has not raised rates for the last two years, Marsh noted, and any thought of doing so would have to balance the needs of the Crown with the financial impact on customers. SaskPower's 2019-20 annual report shows the global health and economic crisis had little impact on last year's books. The Crown reported net income of $205 million. The utility also collected $83 million from customers who started paying the federal carbon tax in April 2019.
      Facebook to Pay $9.5 Million Penalty to Competition Bureau for Misleading Privacy Claims
      The Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) recently concluded that Facebook Inc. made false or misleading claims to the public about the privacy of Canadians’ personal information on Facebook and Messenger. Facebook disagreed with the conclusion of the Bureau, but wished to resolve the matter by entering into a consent agreement and not contesting the conclusions for purposes of the agreement. As a result, Facebook is required to pay a $9 million penalty, plus an additional $500,000 for the costs of the Bureau’s investigation. Canadian privacy regulators have not historically had significant tools to financially penalize companies for breaching the privacy rights of individuals. The Bureau is stepping into that gap, at least in part. In light of this recent decision, organizations should take a good look at their privacy policies, statements and notices and consider whether any of the statements contained therein are or may be considered inaccurate or misleading. Click here to read the article.
      Bank of Canada - Quarterly Business Outlook Survey
      The bank's quarterly business outlook survey published Monday suggests many service sector and energy companies don't expect a return to pre-pandemic employment levels. About one-third say they have used a federal wage subsidy to reduce or avoid layoffs, while other firms looking to rehire or hire new staff cited an emergency federal benefit for workers as a hurdle to their plans. The latest figures from the federal government show the $45-billion wage subsidy has paid nearly $17.1 billion to 245,160 companies as of June 29. Meanwhile, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, or CERB, has paid $53.53 billion in benefits to 8.16 million people as of June 28 since it was introduced in late March. The worry among workers about losing their job rose to the highest level seen in the bank's regular survey of consumer expectations, released alongside the business outlook survey. Workers' expectations of how easily they could find new work dropped to the lowest level since the 2015 oil price shock. Consumers' expectations for wage growth were below what they anticipated for inflation, while the outlook for growth in household income dropped to its lowest level in the survey's history. The central bank's business survey detailed some of the impact of the lockdowns and stay-at-home requests
      • Nearly half of all businesses reported an outright decline of their sales in the past 12 months because of COVID-19, low energy prices and the uncertainty both wrought.
      • More than half of businesses expect their total sales over the next 12 months to be lower than they were in the last year, with future sales indicators at record lows.
      • About half of firms expect their sales will "mostly recover" within the next year as COVID-19's effects recede, but the expectations of a return to pre-pandemic levels often depend on lifting government-mandated restrictions. Some companies said they could get back to normal operations within a month of public health restrictions being lifted.
      • Companies' plans to invest in themselves have been cut back. Those companies planning a bump in capital budgets are often trying to digitize their operations, or boost productivity in the context of staff working from home.
      The consumer survey said spending expectations have tumbled, which the banks says suggests consumers have become more cautious due to the economic impact and health risks related to the pandemic. The bank said consumers expect to spend mostly on essentials. They expect to spend less on durable goods like cars and furniture, as well as for services that involve face-to-face interactions like eating out, travel or going to the movies. The business outlook survey and Canadian survey of consumer expectations come ahead of the Bank of Canada's next interest rate announcement and monetary policy report on July 15. The central bank is expected to keep its key interest rate on hold at 0.25 per cent, while the monetary policy report will include an update to its economic forecast. Business Outlook Survey—Summer 2020 Canadian Survey of Consumer Expectations—Second Quarter of 2020
      2/3 of Canadians support closing businesses again if COVID-19 cases spike: survey
      The new poll conducted by Nanos Research for CTV News surveyed 1,049 Canadians within the past week, and found that two-thirds of respondents support, or somewhat support, another round of business closures in the event of a significant rise in cases and hospitalizations. Forty-two per cent of respondents said they support the closures, while another 28 per cent said they somewhat support them. About one in four Canadians oppose (16 per cent) or somewhat oppose (11 per cent) the idea. Support for shutting down businesses during a second wave was strongest in Ontario (53 per cent) and weakest in Quebec (24 per cent). Those older than 55 -- who are more susceptible to the virus -- were more supportive of the closures, at 77 per cent, than younger Canadians aged 18 to 34, at 64 per cent support. 4 in 5 Support Mandatory Masks The poll also found that most Canadians support the mandatory wearing of masks in all public spaces, with 54 per cent in support and 25 per cent somewhat supportive. Nearly one in five respondents said they opposed (11 per cent) or somewhat opposed (nine per cent) mandatory face masks. Support for mandatory face masks was highest in Ontario, at 65 per cent. While Ontario Premier Doug Ford has repeatedly rejected this idea, Toronto -- which accounts for 12 per cent of Canada’s total caseload -- recently made it mandatory to wear a face mask in all enclosed public spaces, such as grocery stores and public transit. Support for mandatory masks in public was lowest in the Prairies, which still saw a majority of support at 68 per cent.
      Seniors who qualify receiving one-time COVID-19 payments of up to $500 this week
      Eligible seniors in Canada will finally be receiving their one-time COVID-19 payments this week, a measure first promised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in mid-May, to aid in the rising costs associated with the pandemic. The federal government estimates there are currently 6.7 million seniors who are eligible for the OAS pension and 2.2 million who are eligible for the GIS. These payments are set to total $2.5 billion. Any senior who is eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension will receive a $300 payment, and an additional $200 is being sent to seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). The payments are being made directly to anyone who is eligible, with no application needed.
      Sask: Restaurants and bars can expand services, indoor rinks and pools can reopen starting Monday
      More restrictions on businesses have begun to ease as the provincial government continues to reopen the Saskatchewan economy. Starting Monday, seating at bars and restaurants across the province will be expanded to "a level that allows staff and customers to maintain two metres of physical distance," a news release from the province said. Previously, restaurants and bars were only allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity. As well, pool tables, video lottery terminals and dart boards will be allowed to be used, as long as physical distancing can be maintained. Casinos and bingo halls will be able to reopen on Thursday. Live entertainment in bars is set to return on July 16, along with race tracks and rodeos.
      Atlantic bubble opens, allowing travellers from within the four provinces to cross borders.
      The Atlantic bubble starts Friday, allowing travellers from within the four provinces to cross borders without having to self-isolate for 14 days, but each province has its own set of rules for visitors. Here is what you need to know before you go. New Brunswick: Peace officers will still stop every non-commercial vehicle at the border and ask travellers to identify themselves and provide proof of residence, said Coreen Enos, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety. Government-issued photo identification, such as a driver's licence, can satisfy both requirements, she said. Nova Scotia: Visitors from the other Atlantic provinces will have to show proof of residency to provincial officials when entering at highway borders, airports or ferries. Every adult will need to show either a driver's licence, government identification card, health card, or a utility bill or bank statement with a valid Atlantic Canadian address. No self-declaration form will be required. Prince Edward Island: Has an online self-declaration form visitors from the other three Atlantic provinces must fill out in advance in order to enter from the Northumberland Strait either via the Confederation Bridge or the Caribou-Wood Islands ferry. Only one form is required per vehicle and people are asked to submit the form at least a day ahead of their scheduled arrival date. A submission identification number will be generated when the form is submitted. Newfoundland and Labrador: Two pieces of identification will be required to verify that the traveller is a resident of one of the Atlantic provinces. One piece of identification must include an address. In addition, visitors must also complete the contact information section on the province's self-declaration forms. For those outside Atlantic Canada: With some exceptions, people from outside the Atlantic provinces cannot come in, and most of those who do get in must self-isolate for 14 days. If they have self-isolated in one Atlantic province, they may enter another one without self-isolating again.
      Federal government, WE Charity agree to part ways on summer student grant program
      The federal Liberal government and the WE Charity are ending a partnership that would have seen the charity distribute around $900 million in federal student grants this summer. The decision to outsource this work to a third party with ties to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's family was criticized by some in the charitable sector and by the opposition Conservatives. Pierre Poilievre, the Tory finance critic, has asked both the auditor general and the federal procurement watchdog to review the sole-sourced contract that would have given WE the authority to administer the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG). Volunteer Canada, a group that promotes volunteerism, refused to work with WE because it objected to how the program was being administered — and they opposed paying students for volunteer work. Trudeau and his mother, Margaret, have appeared at a number of WE Day events, while his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, hosts a podcast for the group called "WE Well-being." WE has said no member of the Trudeau family receives an honorarium for their appearances with the charity, though Grégoire Trudeau has had her travel expenses covered. A spokesperson from the Prime Minister's Office said Grégoire Trudeau's involvement with WE was cleared by the federal ethics commissioner. WE also has gone through an organizational upheaval in recent months, with a series of resignations and layoffs. Trudeau had defended the partnership, saying WE was the only group with a nationwide network capable of operating a program of this sort for young people. Other charitable organizations have questioned that assertion. Trudeau said Friday the move to cut ties was "WE's decision, which we support." The federal government will simply distribute the grants itself.
      Business Resilience Service (BRS) Hotline Closes Today
      As businesses increasingly move into the reopening and recovery phases, the BRS is being wound down. We thank our partners in the accounting profession across Canada who facilitated this project (particularly EY, CPA Canada and Imagine Canada) along with the Government of Canada for their support. The BRS helped thousands of businesses navigate the pandemic. We’re proud of the impact this service was able to provide to help the Canadian business community.
      More details about the CECRA Extension released
      The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program was extended CECRA for small business through the end of July 2020. According to CMHC, Property owners and small business tenants will soon be able to access funding for the month of July. What you need to know:
      • Only those tenants approved in the April, May and June application are eligible for the July extension.
      • If a business had an average revenue decline of 70% or more in April, May and June, they are deemed eligible for the additional month of rent relief. However, not all tenants in the original application need to be included for the July extension.
      To streamline the process and make it easier, CMHC is removing the requirement to claw-back insurance proceeds and provincial rent supports from the CECRA for small businesses forgivable loan amount for both existing and new applicants. Existing applicants who are affected will be notified and will have any previously clawed-back amounts restored to their forgivable loan.
      CRA Deadline Changes – T2 and T3 Returns
      The CRA has advised that T2 Corporation Income Tax Returns and T3 Trust Income tax Returns that would have been due in June, July, or August are now due on September 1. For T2s and T3s, as previously announced, any income tax balance due on or after March 18 and before September 1 will also be due by September 1. More Information
      Government Ends GST/HST And Customs Duty Payment Deferrals
      The federal government has confirmed it ended the payment deferrals as planned on June 30, today. Businesses that continue to experience difficulty in remitting GST/HST and customs duty amounts owing can contact the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to make a request for the cancellation of penalties and interest, and/or for a flexible payment arrangement with the CRA.
      Update on mandatory masks in Canada
      Toronto city council votes to make masks mandatory indoors Toronto city council approved a bylaw Tuesday that makes face coverings mandatory in indoor public spaces. The bylaw will take effect July 7. It will remain in effect until the first city council meeting of the fall, which is currently scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct.1. Children under the age of two will be exempt, as will anyone with a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask. Quebec makes wearing of masks mandatory on public transit starting July 13 Wearing a mask while taking public transit will be mandatory as of July 13 in Quebec, Premier Francois Legault announced on Tuesday. Wearing of masks has been strongly recommended by public transport authorities in Quebec, but not mandatory. The new rule applies to everyone across the province aged 12 and up. Children between two and 12 years old are not required to wear masks, but are still strongly recommended to do so. Children under two years of age don't have to wear them, Hamilton considering making indoor mask wearing mandatory Hamilton public health officials are looking at making mask wearing mandatory indoors. Mayor Fred Eisenberger says there'll be a potential bylaw coming to a city council meeting in the near future. B.C. health officer 'expects' British Columbians to wear masks Dr. Bonnie Henry says the province has stopped short of mandating the use of masks out of concern for those who would have difficulty wearing one. Henry said while the number of COVID-19 cases in B.C. doesn't warrant a similar law, it may be needed in the future.
      Isolation order for anyone entering Canada extended until Aug. 31
      The federal government has extended the mandatory quarantine order for most people entering Canada until the end of August to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Any travellers entering the country -- by land, air or sea -- will have to isolate for 14 days, whether or not they are showing any symptoms of COVID-19. The order made under the Quarantine Act, which first came into effect in late March, was set to expire at midnight Tuesday, but will now remain in effect until Aug. 31. It carries penalties that include six months in prison or a fine of up to $750,000, which could go up to $1 million if the person caused death or bodily harm by wilfully and recklessly breaking the rules.
      Online Multi-jurisdictional Registry Access Service (MRAS) launched in Western Canada
      Until now, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba had separate processes and systems for corporations and limited partnerships to complete their extra-provincial business registrations and maintenance filings. On June 27, 2020, the four provinces were the first to implement the online Multi-jurisdictional Registry Access Service (MRAS), a hub that allows corporate information sharing between the provinces, making extra-provincial registration faster and easier. The four western provinces committed to reconciling business registration and reporting requirements between the jurisdictions, thus simplifying extra-provincial business registration processes. Through MRAS, other jurisdictions will eventually be able to share corporate information, thus extending the New West Partnership’s efficiencies across Canada.
      Canada's economy shrank by almost 20% in March and April, but turnaround seen in May data
      Canada's economy shrank by 11.6 per cent in April, the biggest plunge on record, following March's contraction of 7.5 per cent as COVID-19 lockdowns began. Statistics Canada reported Tuesday that all 20 categories the data agency tracks were lower, and they added up to the biggest monthly plunge since record-keeping began in 1961. April's plunge means the economy at the end of April had lost almost one-fifth of the output it produced at the end of February. Manufacturing was down by 22.5 per cent from March's already low level, while construction plunged 22.9 per cent. Within the retail segment, hotels and restaurants were down by 42 per cent, while arts and entertainment fell by 26 per cent. Oil and gas extraction fell by just 1.8 per cent, while air transportation plummeted by 93.7 per cent. The technology sector, meanwhile, eked out a tiny 0.4 per cent increase, Bank of Montreal economist Doug Porter noted. Toronto-Dominion Bank economist Omar Abdelrahman said that sectors where work-from-home options are more feasible fared better. That included industries such as finance and insurance (down one per cent), professional, scientific and technical services (down 1.3 per cent), and real estate rental and leasing (down 3.5 per cent). Though record-setting, April's plunge was actually not as deep as the 13 per cent contraction that economists were bracing for. Statistics Canada did hint that preliminary GDP numbers for May projecting a slight uptick after bottoming out in March and April. StatsCan's first estimate for May is a moderate three per cent rebound in GDP from the depths.
      TSX has best quarter in more than a decade
      The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 125.50 points at 15,515.22 to finish 2.1 per cent higher in June and ahead nearly 16 per cent over the last three months. This was the indexes best quarter in more than a decade as the price of gold reached its highest level since 2011. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 217.08 points at 25,812.88 as it ended its best quarter since 1987. The S&P 500 index was up 47.05 points at 3,100.29, while the Nasdaq composite was up 184.61 points at 10,083.64, a record close. The stock market gains came amid strong consumer confidence numbers and Congressional testimony by Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell. Powell said the economic outlook remains uncertain with output and employment still far below their pre-pandemic levels. He expects stock markets will move in fits and starts depending on virus headlines, but tread higher in the third quarter and surge into the final months of 2020. The materials sector gained more than two per cent on higher gold prices to lead the TSX. Iamgold Corp. and Hudbay Minerals Inc. rose 7.8 and 7.3 per cent respectively. The August gold contract was up US$19.30 at US$1,800.50 an ounce and the September copper contract was up 3.6 cents at nearly US$2.73 a pound. Industrials increased nearly one percentage point even though shares of Air Canada lost another three per cent. The heavyweight financials sector was up 0.8 per cent. Energy was one of four major sectors to fall as Tourmaline Oil Corp. dropped 3.5 per cent and Seven Generations Energy Ltd. was down 2.6 per cent on lower crude oil prices. The August crude contract slid back 43 cents at US$39.27 per barrel and the August natural gas contract was up 4.2 cents at US$1.75 per mmBTU. The Canadian dollar traded for 73.38 cents US compared with 73.09 cents US on Monday.
      Canada extends ban on most foreign travellers to at least July 31
      Ottawa has extended the travel ban that bars entry to all travellers who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents or people entering from the U.S. for "essential" reasons. The order, which was set to expire June 30, "has been extended until July 31 for public health reasons". The order bans most foreign nationals from entering Canada if they arrive from a foreign country other than the U.S. (There are limited exceptions for air crew, diplomats and immediate family members of citizens. Some seasonal workers, caregivers and international students are also exempt.) Officials confirm the government will maintain the order barring foreign nationals from entering Canada at this time, instead of modifying the order to reopen the border to certain countries — those with low infection rates or those allowing Canadian tourists to visit, for example. A separate order prohibits non-essential travel between Canada and the U.S. and remains in effect until July 21; it was extended earlier this month. Under this order, essential workers, such as truckers and health workers, are allowed to cross the border.
      Canadians to be allowed into EU countries
      The European Union announced Tuesday that it will reopen its borders to travellers from 14 countries. Citizens from the following countries will be allowed into the so-called EU+ area and four other nations in Europe's visa-free Schengen travel zone: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. Travellers from other big countries with high infection rates, like the US, Russia, Brazil and India, will miss out due to soaring coronavirus infections. The EU said China is "subject to confirmation of reciprocity," meaning it must lift all restrictions on European citizens entering China before Chinese citizens will be allowed back into the EU.
      CECRA Extended to July
      At his morning press conference, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the federal government was extended the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program by one month. The program was initially intended to support small businesses during the months of April, May, and June. No additional details were provided. The announcement did catch representatives from CMHC and MCAP (who’s administering the program for CMHC) off guard. The CFA expects more details about the program extension in the next few days.
      Canadian Business Resilience Network Small Business Relief Fund: Recipients Revealed
      Today the CBRN announced the 62 recipients who were each awarded a $10,000 lifeline to help their small business recover and prosper beyond this pandemic through the Canadian Business Resilience Network Small Business Relief Fund. The fund was managed by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and made possible through the generosity of Salesforce. See the Recipient List
      Travel in Canada: What’s allowed
      From the "Atlantic bubble" to Ontario's discouraged trips, the rules for travel vary around the country. Here's a handy list from CTV News to see what's permitted and not.
      Expanded CEBA Now Partially Available
      After a week’s delay, the expanded Canada Emergency Business Account loan program is now available; however, only if you bank with one of Canada’s six largest banks. The CEBA expansion will be available from more lenders over the coming weeks. To apply for a CEBA contact your primary financial institution. As announced by the government in May, CEBA has been expanded to enable a greater number of qualifying sole proprietors, or businesses with payroll lower than $20,000, with eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million to apply for interest-free, partially forgivable loans of up to $40,000. CEBA is administered by Export Development Canada (EDC), which is working closely with banks in Canada to deliver the loans. Full eligibility criteria can be found here: The federal government has set out new terms under which phase three of the program will be available. For the first two phases of CEBA, banks would enroll businesses, once they had attested to their eligibility, and provide funding upfront, while EDC would screen for eligibility after the loans had been extended. In phase three, EDC will approve eligibility in CEBA before funding is released. While businesses will still be required to provide an attestation to their primary business financial institution, they will need to provide additional documentation to EDC, before a loan can be approved by EDC. As of June 15, more than 669,000 CEBA loans have been approved by financial institutions including banks, representing over $26 billion in interest-free credit for eligible businesses.
      Supreme Court sides with Uber drivers, opening door to $400M class-action lawsuit
      The Supreme Court of Canada has cleared the way for Uber drivers to take the next step in their fight to be recognized as employees. In a ruling Friday, the high court upheld an Ontario Court of Appeal decision that opened the door to a possible class-action suit aimed at securing a minimum wage, vacation pay and other benefits for drivers. The man behind the planned class action, David Heller, is a Toronto driver for UberEats, a service that delivers food from restaurants to customers at home. He argued that Uber drivers are employees, which entitles them to protections under Ontario's Employment Standards Act. Ontario's highest court said a clause in the agreement that requires all disputes to go through arbitration in the Netherlands was an unfair bargain and amounted to contracting out of an employment standard. In its decision, the Supreme Court said the arbitration agreement is invalid, noting someone in Heller's position could not be expected to appreciate the financial and legal implications of the arbitration clause. Supreme Court of Canada Ruling CFA Reaction The CFA is reviewing the decision and will be determining our next steps in the coming days and weeks.
      Canada's charitable sector seeks government grants to stay afloat
      Charitable providers of social services — daycare, community venues, support groups and more — have seen a catastrophic drop in revenue, with some forced to cancel fundraising events because of physical distancing requirements while others are simply unable to operate. That means a complete loss of user fees and other regular sources of income. Although many charities qualify for the federal wage subsidy, that covers only part of the cost of staff. Among the casualties so far:
      • The YMCA in Yarmouth, N.S. — a fixture on the city's Main Street for 162 years, has closed for good; other Y locations are at risk.
      • As many as 124 Royal Canadian Legion branches across the country either don't have the resources to reopen, or say they won't last longer than three months if they do.
      • The Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada location in Edson, Alta., has notified the community it won't be able to reopen.
      • IMPACT Parkinson's Centre, a small non-profit in New Westminster, B.C., closed its doors June 1, unable to "make it through to the other side," according to a notice on its website.
      • The Old East Village Grocery in London, Ont., a social enterprise that supported disabled people dealing with food insecurity, had to shut down due to the cost of new sanitation protocols and a lack of staff.
      The federal government has already provided some support to the sector, in the form of the $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund. The Red Cross, the United Way and the Community Foundations of Canada will disburse the funds to non-profits and charities that help "vulnerable populations who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19."
      Canada almost self-sufficient in PPE
      Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadian companies are now producing so much personal protective equipment needed in the fight against COVID-19 that Canada is almost at the point of being self-sufficient. Supply of PPE key preparation for second wave Having a secure domestic supply will be particularly important if there is a second wave of the deadly virus that causes COVID-19 in the fall, triggering another wild, global scramble for PPE. China is the dominant supplier of PPE. With the outbreak starting in that country, there was a severe shortage of equipment as the disease first started spreading around the world in March. Countries were out-bidding one another for supplies that were often never delivered. According to the Public Services and Procurement Canada website, Canada has vast amounts of protective equipment and supplies on order. Some of the contracts are for delivery much later. As of June 16, 55.7 million face shields had been ordered but only 17.6 million were received; more than one billion pairs of gloves were ordered but only 42.3 million have been received; 126.6 million gowns were ordered but only 4.6 million were received; and 20.4 million litres of hand sanitizer were ordered but just 7.1 million litres have been received.
      Federal student service grant unveiled today
      Eligible students can receive grants of between $1,000 to $5,000, depending on hours completed. The program was originally announced more than two months ago. Post-secondary students will be eligible to earn up to $5,000 this summer through a new volunteer service grant. The grant is available for a range of volunteer work, including mask making, tutoring, researching animal behaviour and designing exercise programs for seniors. The grant will be worth between $1,000 and $5,000, depending on the number of hours completed. For every 100 hours worked, a student is eligible for $1,000, which means someone must volunteer 500 hours to receive the full grant. The program opens today and runs until Oct. 31, 2020. Only students and recent graduates 30 years old and younger can enrol. To qualify, an individual must be enrolled part-time or full-time in a recognized post-secondary education program in the spring, summer or fall of 2020, or must have completed post-secondary studies in December 2019 or later. Back in April, Trudeau announced the creation of the Canada student service grant — a way of giving students who can't find summer jobs a chance to earn some money while volunteering in "national service" activities related to fighting the pandemic.
      CRA tip line flooded with 3,300 leads on suspected emergency aid cheats
      Canada's tax agency has received more than 3,300 tips on suspected abuse of emergency aid programs designed to help the people and businesses taking a financial hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of tips about possible fraud involving the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB), the wage subsidy program and student COVID-19 aid is growing fast. As of May 31, the Canada Revenue Agency had received 600 tips; just over a week later, that number had swelled to 1,300. Canadians already have made 361,000 repayments for CERB aid they weren't eligible for. That's up from 190,000 as of June 3. CRA said repayments were made in cases where applicants received a double payment for the same period, were not actually eligible for the benefit or returned to work earlier than expected. CRA would not say how many claims have been found to be fraudulent.
      Fitch Downgrades Canada's Ratings to 'AA+'; Outlook Stable
      Fitch Ratings has downgraded Canada's credit rating to AA+ from AAA, citing the federal government's move to borrow about a quarter of a trillion dollars to prop the economy up during the pandemic lockdown. Fitch Ratings, Moody's and S&P Global Ratings are considered to be the three big credit rating agencies in the U.S. Fitch last confirmed Canada's rating in July of last year. S&P Global Ratings and Moody's both still have Canada listed as top tier borrowers. S&P Global Ratings last confirmed Canada's rating in November of last year, while Moody's last confirmation came in May of this year. Fitch said that while it is downgrading Canada's rating, it expects Canada's debt-to-GDP ratio to stabilize over the medium term before the economy gradually starts recovering with the help of monetary and fiscal stimulus. Fitch predicts Canada's pandemic response will increase its consolidated gross general government debt to 115.1 per cent of GDP in 2020, up from 88.3 per cent of GDP in 2019. A Fitch spokesperson said that to come up with that figure, the company added together Canada's "federal, provincial and territorial, local and other governmental debt liabilities" and subtracted from that amount the value of the Canada Pension Plan and Quebec's Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, which manages several public pension plans. The number does not include unfunded pension liabilities. Fitch said it expects Canada's debt-to-GDP ratio to stabilize at about 120 to 121 per cent sometime between 2022 and 2024. The report said Fitch has confidence in Canada's economic recovery in 2021 because of the advanced, well-diversified and high-income nature of its national economy. It also cites Canada's political stability, strong governance and policies that have "delivered steady growth and low inflation." Full Report Available Here
      Federal Government Extends Time Periods Given To Employers To Recall Employees Laid Off Due To COVID-19
      Prior to these changes, employers could temporarily layoff their employees for up to three months if no notice with a recall date was provided or for a period of up to six months if they provided a notice with an expected recall date before the layoff became a termination. The amendments, which are set out in the Canada Labour Standards Regulations, temporarily extend these time periods by up to six months: For employees laid off prior to March 31, 2020, the time period is extended by six months or to December 30, 2020, whichever occurs first. For employees laid off between March 31, 2020 and September 30, 2020, the time period is extended until December 30, 2020 unless a later recall date was provided in a written notice at the time of the layoff. These changes, which came into effect on June 22, 2020, do not apply to employees who are covered by a collective agreement that contains recall rights. More Information
      Communications Guide And Template Signage For Businesses Reopening
      This communications guide was originally published as part of our in-depth CBRN Reopening Toolkit for Business. By popular request, the communications guide and template signage (including ready-to-print signs) are now available in a stand-alone format. Please feel free to share this resource with your networks. Access The Guide
      Health Canada posts recalls for three more hand sanitizer products
      Health Canada has added more hand sanitizer products to their growing recall list. The agency first announced recalls of some hand sanitizer products on June 6 due to the presence of industrial-grade ethanol, and has continued to update the list throughout the month. The following hand sanitizers were added to the recall list on Monday: • Gel Antiseptique Pour Les Mains, made by Megalab Inc. • Germzero, made by Flash Beaute Inc. • Tekare Instant Hand Cleanser Gel, made by TEKPolymer Inc. The contaminant listed for these products is ethyl acetate. According to Health Canada, industrial-grade ethanol is harsher than the type of ethanol that has been approved for use in hand sanitizers in Canada. Industrial-grade ethanol also could contain extra chemicals not suited for use in hand sanitizers. A list of hand sanitizers approved for sale in Canada, as well as a list of similar products that have been accepted under COVID-19 interim measures can be found on Health Canada’s website.
      Eight more weeks of CERB to cost $17.9 billion, budget officer says
      The parliamentary budget officer estimates in a new report that it will cost the federal government $17.9 billion to provide eight extra weeks of payments through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. The report this morning from budget officer Yves Giroux says that would bring the total cost of the benefit program for people who've lost all or nearly all their work to the COVID-19 pandemic to $71.3 billion. The CERB, now budgeted at $60 billion, has paid out $43.51 billion to 8.41 million people as of June 4 as demand surged past federal expectations. With the first cohort of CERB applicants set to hit the 16-week limit on the payments early next month, the Liberals have promised to increase the limit to 24 weeks to provide help through the summer for those who need it. Giroux's report says the additional cost to the program depends heavily on the outlook for the economy and jobs, as well as the course of the pandemic.
      Update on Federal PPE procurement
      Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand and Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains spoke at today’s briefing to provide an update on the government’s supply procurement efforts. Last week, Canada received nine cargo planes with supplies of gowns, gloves and masks. This brings the total to 78 plane loads of supplies received to date since the start of the pandemic. A 13th shipment of hand sanitizer has arrived in Vancouver and the government continues to receive 500,000 N95 masks from 3M on a monthly basis. This amount is in addition to a larger order that 3M is providing to provincial and territorial health systems. In other good news on this front, CAE is set to begin shipping made-in-Canada ventilators every week to the government following recent receipt of its accreditation. Minister Anand remarked that as COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease, the government will be returning to competitive procurement processes where needed.
      Forecast says economy will grow in 2021 if there isn't another national shutdown
      The Conference Board of Canada says the economy may have already begun to recover from the deepest recession on record if the country can avoid another national COVID-related shutdown. The quarterly forecast estimates Canada's economy will shrink by 8.2 per cent this year, after about three million jobs were lost in March and April due to COVID shut-downs. It also projects Canada's national unemployment rate will peak at 13.7 per cent in the second quarter ending June 30, the highest since the measure was first recorded in 1976. But the report says the addition of nearly 300,000 jobs in May and continued easing of restrictions in June probably indicate the pandemic's worst impact on the labour market has passed. It's projecting the addition of another 1.3 million jobs in the July to September quarter, dropping the national unemployment rate to 10.5 per cent. The Conference Board says that if the country can avoid a second national shutdown, Canada's economy could grow by 6.7 per cent in 2021 and by 4.8 per cent in 2022.
      Business Resilience Service: Still Available
      Need help navigating the services available to help your SME get through COVID-19? The Business Resilience Service, delivered to your organization free of charge, provides: • Guidance on COVID-19 financial support program options and eligibility • Direction on accessing the most appropriate support organizations • Help to make decisions to support recovery plans • Real time insights and feedback to policymakers To access the BRS, call 1-866-989-1080 to connect with a business advisor from the accounting profession. The service is available seven days/week: • Monday-Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET • Saturdays: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET • Sundays: 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET More Information
      Planned CEBA Expansion Delayed
      A promised expansion of a COVID-19 aid program that allows small businesses to access $40,000 loans guaranteed by the federal government will not launch today as planned. Finance Minister Bill Morneau took to twitter late last night to announce the Canada Emergency Business Account expansion delay, saying: "Work continues around the clock to ensure the program can securely launch across over 230 financial institutions. We know how important the program is to small businesses and want to launch as quickly as possible. Updates to come." There's no immediate word on why the program expansion is being delayed. Several weeks ago the Feds announced the small business loan program would be expanded to allow more to access it, including owner-operated small businesses with payrolls under $20,000, sole proprietors receiving business income directly and family-owned corporations compensating in the form of dividends.
      Retail sales plunged 26.4 per cent in April: StatCan
      Retail sales fell by more than a quarter in April due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Statistics Canada said Friday that they regained some of the lost ground in May. The agency said retail sales plunged by a record 26.4 per cent to $34.7 billion in April leaving them down 33.6 per cent since physical distancing measures were implemented in mid-March. However, Statistics Canada said early estimates suggest retail sales rose 19.1 per cent in May. Economists on average had expected a drop in April of 15.1 per cent, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv. However, many retailers started or expanded their online presence and curbside pick-up services in response to the closures. Statistics Canada says online sales surged to a record high, representing 9.5 per cent of the total retail market. Sales were down in all 11 subsectors in April, while motor vehicle and parts dealers took the largest hit in dollar terms as the sector fell 44.3 per cent for the month. Sales at food and beverage stores fell 12.7 per cent as supermarkets and other grocery stores saw a drop of 12.0 per cent compared with March when Canadians stocked up. Retail sales in volume terms fell a record 25.2 per cent in April, following an 8.2 per cent drop in March, leaving them down 31.3 per cent since the onset of the pandemic
      Canada tops 100,000 reported coronavirus cases
      Ontario reported 173 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, pushing Canada's total number of confirmed and presumptive cases above 100,000. As of 12:42 p.m. ET on Thursday, Canada had 100,146 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 62,442 of those cases as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial data, regional health information and CBC's reporting stood at 8,348 after being revised down by one when health officials in Ontario's Peel Region updated their figures.
      Federal deficit could hit $256 billion, PBO
      The parliamentary budget officer says in a new report that this year's federal deficit could hit $256 billion due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The result is the combination of an estimated total of $169 billion in federal spending on emergency aid and a historic drop in economic output. The budget office estimates the economy could shrink by 6.8 per cent in 2020, the weakest showing since 1981 and double the record of 3.2 per cent shrinkage in 1982. The overall deficit figure is only $3.8 billion higher than budget officer Yves Giroux's previous predictions, which his report says is due to a better economic outlook in the second half of the year that offsets some new spending. Previously, Giroux estimated the economy could shrink by 12 per cent in 2020. Giroux stresses that the figures are the outcome of one of many possible scenarios and not a certain forecast. The report comes one day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to deliver a "snapshot" of federal finances on July 8 that will provide short-term spending estimates. CERB and CEWS costs The budget office now estimates the $2,000-a-month CERB will cost the government $61.1 billion, but pull in $7.7 billion when recipients are taxed on the income next year. The Liberals have promised to extend the benefits so recipients can receive 24 weeks instead of the current 16, and previously revised the budget for the program to $60 billion. When the Finance Department increased the cost of the CERB, it also lowered the cost for the CEWS program from to $45 billion from $73 billion based on the take-up rate among businesses. Giroux's office estimates the wage subsidy to cost the treasury $55.6 billion.
      Voluntary nationwide contact tracing app coming soon
      Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today he hopes Canadians will download a new app on their cellphones that will alert them if they've come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The federally-backed project has been spearheaded by the Canadian Digital Service, a federal initiative, and the Ontario Digital Service, with help from volunteers from the tech firm Shopify. It incorporates Bluetooth technology provided by Apple and Google. The app will undergo a security review by BlackBerry. The technology works by having people who test positive upload their results anonymously to the app, called COVID Alert, using a temporary code given to them by a health care provider, said a federal media release. Other users who have the app and who have been near someone who has tested positive will then be alerted that they've been exposed and a notification will encourage them to reach out to their local public health authorities. Ontario will roll out the app first. Officials in that province said they hope to have the app available for download on July 2 for iPhones running iOS 5.0 or later versions, and for Android phones running Android 6.0 or later versions. App use is voluntary, says PM. The privacy commissioner was helping with the development of the app. Therefore, no personal information will be shared. The app is super secure. The app will be available on July 1st. Alberta has been using its own app called ABTraceTogether for weeks now. That has some people worrying about a patchwork of apps across the country that could lead to confusing messaging, low uptake numbers and inconsistent data.
      Thousands of tourists, shoppers still trying to enter Canada despite COVID-19 travel ban
      Canadian border agents have turned away more than 7,500 foreigners – mostly Americans – trying to visit Canada for non-essential purposes, including sightseeing, shopping and recreation, since pandemic restrictions on travel were imposed. The latest data available from the Canada Border Services Agency reveals that 7,639 foreign nationals were denied entry to Canada under the discretionary travel ban between March 22 and June 16. Americans accounted for 87 per cent of those denied entry, with 6,615 U.S. citizens being sent home by Canadian border agents. The remaining 1,024 people denied entry were citizens of other countries not specified by the CBSA.
      Federal finance minister will present a fiscal 'snapshot' on July 8
      The Trudeau government will provide an update on the state of government finances on July 8. Trudeau said that because of the economic uncertainty created by the global pandemic, the update will not be the same as the ones in previous years. Trudeau has previously dismissed calls for a fiscal update/budget, arguing there are simply too many variables to make an accurate projection of how the economy will respond. The PM would not offer a timeframe for presenting a full economic update or a budget, saying only it will happen once the economy has stabilized. The government shelved its plan to present a budget in March, as the novel coronavirus spread around the world and the country went on lockdown. It has been under pressure to give a detailed economic update ever since.
      Mandatory mask laws are spreading in Canada
      Some communities across Canada have started making non-medical face masks mandatory on public transit — or even in businesses or indoor spaces — to curb the spread of COVID-19. Some doctors and epidemiologists are calling for such laws to be more widespread. But others warn about the potential negative impacts and say the scientific evidence isn't strong enough to warrant such heavy-handed measures. Here's a closer look at the issue. The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends wearing a non-medical mask or face covering in public places, especially crowded ones, when physical distancing — keeping a distance of two metres from other people — isn't possible to do consistently. Such places include stores, shopping areas and public transportation. Where in Canada are masks mandatory so far? Most mandatory mask regulations in Canada so far concern transportation situations where people may have trouble physically distancing.
      • Transport Canada made masks mandatory for air passengers starting in April.
      • Some transit agencies in Ontario have announced that masks will be mandatory on buses, streetcars and trains, including Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton and Guelph.
      • In addition, at least two municipalities are implementing mandatory mask laws:
      • Côte Saint-Luc, Que., a Montreal suburb that had hundreds of confirmed COVID-19 cases and dozens of deaths by the beginning of June, is making face masks mandatory in indoor public spaces starting July 1.
      • The municipality of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph in Ontario made masks or face coverings mandatory at most businesses earlier in June.
      Most regulations include exceptions for children under two years old and people who can't wear a mask because of breathing difficulties or another medical condition or disability.
      CAMH survey shows pandemic affecting mental health, but anxiety levels may be easing
      Findings from a new survey by Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) indicate the pandemic has had a significant impact on the mental health of Canadians. "What's unique about this pandemic is it affects everyone," said Samantha Wells, senior director of the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research at CAMH. "It's pervasive and everyone is being affected in some way, shape or form." The study found that 20 per cent of Canadians surveyed say they have been experiencing loneliness during the pandemic. One in five also reported feeling moderate to severe levels of anxiety because of factors such as job loss and fear of contracting the virus. CAMH staff were particularly surprised, however, by one result in the survey. When the second group was surveyed two weeks after the first sampling, the percentage of people saying they were anxious dropped by four percentage points — from 25.5 per cent in early May to 21.5 per cent towards the end of that month. It was a small change, but one that researchers classify as significant. "The explanation we're coming up with now is it's possible that people are really adjusting to the pandemic," Wells said. She said that CAMH jumped at the opportunity to gather this data with Delvinia, a global research technology company, in order to ascertain how this unprecedented event is affecting the mental health of Canadians. The goal is to use the knowledge for future programming at the hospital, as well as to brace health-care providers for what may come should a second wave of the virus hit this country. "We may be facing a mental health crisis," Wells said. "We don't know what will come next. But certainly, if there is another wave of this pandemic, there's a lot to be concerned about in terms of the mental health of Canadians." That's why Wells argued it's essential to gather as much information as possible about the ways Canadians are feeling.
      Canada- U.S. border to remain closed to non-essential travel until July 21
      The Canada-U.S. border will remain closed to non-essential travel for at least another 30 days to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus as confirmed cases in the United States continue to climb past the two million mark. The deal was set to expire on Sunday but will now extend until July 21, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced during his daily news conference today. Both countries reached an agreement in March to temporarily close the border to non-essential travel — meaning no recreational visits — while keeping it open to commercial traffic and essential workers who cross the border for work, and has already extended the deal twice so far. Last week the federal government announced it will now allow some immediate family members separated by the temporary COVID-19 travel restrictions to cross the border into the country.
      CERB payments to be extended for 2 more months
      Today, PM Trudeau confirmed that the government will be extending eligibility for the CERB by eight more weeks. Those who have been receiving the CERB, but cannot find a job, will continue to receive $2,000 a month. Over the next few weeks, the government will look at international best practices and monitor the economy and progression of the virus to determine what changes – if any – are required to continue supporting Canadians. A draft bill placed conditions on CERB payments requiring recipients to actively look for work and to not turn down reasonable work opportunities. That legislation did not pass, but Trudeau said today the government will find ways to encourage people to work when they are able. Employees who make more than $1,000 a month are no longer eligible for CERB. The Conservatives have called for a scaled approach that would allow people to collect a percentage of CERB while working more hours.
      Extension of CERB and changes to CEBA are coming
      Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that the federal government will extend the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB), with details to follow in the days ahead. The CERB is due to run out soon for people who have been on the benefit since it was first launched in April, at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. People can only claim the benefit for 16 weeks — four eligibility periods — and the end of the program's fourth eligibility period is early July. Trudeau announced that "We're working on a solution to extend the benefit for people who can't return to work yet. We'll have more details this week…” Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos said today the "situation has changed" since the CERB was first introduced — the economy has re-opened in many parts of the country — so there will be "new parameters" to the program when the extension is formally announced. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has made extending CERB eligibility a condition of his party's support for a key piece of fiscal legislation that is set to be tabled in the House of Commons this week. The government will present the supplementary estimates on Wednesday and Parliament must pass that bill, which gives the government the authority to spend on programs and services. The legislation is considered a confidence vote — meaning the government could fall if it doesn't obtain the support of at least one of the opposition parties for these estimates. CEWS take up lower than expected While more than eight million Canadians have applied for the relief benefit during this economic slowdown, the take-up for the wage subsidy program — which floats government funds to employers to keep employees on the payroll — has been considerably lower. The government cut its projected budget for the wage subsidy for the 12-week period between April and June from $73 billion to $45 billion. As of June 8, the program has paid out only $10.5 billion in wage subsidies. CEBA changes Friday for those paying dividends Trudeau also announced that the government will start accepting new applications for the Canada emergency business account (CEBA) starting Friday. Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos announced that approximately 670,000 businesses have received a small business loan so far. On Friday, eligibility for the program will expand to those paying dividends, those working with contractors and those that had previously been ineligible for assistance.
      Average house price in May was down, even as sales bounced back from record low in April
      Home sales bounced back by 57 per cent from their worst April in more than 30 years last month, but the average price of a home sold in May still inched lower compared to last year. The Canadian Real Estate Association says home sales were 56.9 per cent higher in May than they were in April. April and May are typically a very busy month for home sales, as warmer weather prompts buyers to start shopping after their winter hibernation. But COVID-19 has thrown the usual seasonal patterns of real estate out the window, as widespread lockdowns and physical distancing requirements slowed most showings to a crawl. This April was the worst such month in almost 40 years for home sales, CREA reported last month. Activity picked up a little in May, but the sales level is still just two-thirds what it was before the pandemic struck.
      Bill C-17 To Allow Deadline Extensions For Federal Corporations
      On June 10, 2020, a new bill was tabled in the House of Commons that will allow the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry to issue orders to extend various deadlines for federal businesses, not-for-profits, cooperatives, and boards of trade. Bill C-17 affects the following acts administered by Corporations Canada:
      • Canada Business Corporations Act
      • Canada Not for profit Corporations Act
      • Canada Cooperatives Act
      • Boards of Trade Act
      The bill grants authority to extend the period for holding annual meetings and, for boards of trade, the deadline for filing annual summaries. We will provide more information as soon as it is available.
      Grocery chains phasing out $2 hourly pay bump for workers implemented at start of COVID-19
      Grocery chains Loblaws and Metro, as well as Walmart, have decided to stop giving their workers the $2-an-hour pay bump they put in place in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Loblaws, whose brands include Shoppers Drug Mart and No Frills, announced the decision in a letter to members of its loyalty program PC Optimum on Thursday. Metro, which owns Metro, Food Basics, Jean Coutu and other brands, confirmed that it, too, plans to phase out its $2 hourly pay bump. Walmart Canada gave its workers a similar pay bump for April and May, and confirmed to CBC News in an email that those payments will now be stopped. But the company said it is adding enhanced support for its workers through things like tele-health services, mental health support and counselling, as well as increased discounts on purchases on top of the discounts they regularly receive. Other major Canadian grocery chains, such as Longo's and Sobeys, did not immediately respond to a request for comment as to whether or not they will scrap their pay increases. While ending the hourly pay bump, Loblaws and Metro plan to disburse one final bonus to workers next month. Metro will pay full-time staff an extra $200 on their July 2 paycheque, while part-timers will get $100. Loblaws workers can expect a $160 bonus next month pro-rated to a 40-hour work week. The two chains and others implemented the pay bump to workers in March as panic buying in the early stages of lockdowns had many stores struggling to keep items on the shelves.
      CBRN Small Business Relief Fund: Applications Close June 12
      The CBRN Small Business Relief Fund will help 62 small Canadian businesses recover and support their resilience, for a total of $620,000 in funds. Businesses can use the $10,000 grants to support their recovery efforts, including paying salaries, retrofitting their workplaces and acquiring technology to adapt their business models. Applications close at 8:00 p.m. ET on Friday, June 12. Apply Now
      $57 Million Investment in Digital Main Street Will Help Businesses Reopen, Recover and Grow
      The Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government, launched a $57-million program through the Digital Main Street platform to help up to 22,900 Ontario businesses create and enhance their online presence and generate jobs for more than 1,400 students. Businesses will be able to take advantage of three new programs to support their digital transformation:
      • shopHERE powered by Google will leverage Ontario's strengths by hiring highly skilled and trained students to build and support the launch of online stores for businesses that previously did not have the capacity to do so themselves. The core goal will be to help small businesses compete and grow, in a world that is increasingly online, and help them recover as quickly as possible following COVID-19.
      • Digital Main Street Grant will help main street small businesses be digitally more effective. Through a $2,500 grant administered by the Ontario BIA Association, small businesses will be able to adopt new technologies and embrace digital marketing. Municipalities, Chambers of Commerce, and Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) can apply for a Digital Service Squad grant, which will allow them to establish teams to provide personalized, one-on-one support.
      • Future-Proofing Main Street will provide specialized and in-depth digital transformation services and support that helps existing main-street firms adapt to changes in their sector and thrive in the new economy. By leveraging teams of digital marketing professionals and talented students, these firms will be able to create new online business models, develop and implement digital and e-commerce marketing strategies, and maximize digital tools, platforms and content.
      In addition, the Recovery Activation Program, operated through the Toronto Region Board of Trade, will help businesses grow and digitize their operations with custom consulting sessions, online resource sharing, learning webcasts and business planning. As a result of the investment announced today, the program will be offered province-wide and at no cost to businesses.
      Ottawa commits $133M in further aid for Indigenous businesses
      PM Trudeau announced an additional $133 million in funding today to help Indigenous businesses suffering the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. About $117 million of this investment will help small and community owned businesses get through the pandemic, while $16 million is being allocated specifically for Indigenous businesses in the tourism industry.
      Federal opposition parties reject CERB/disability support bill
      Opposition parties have refused to give unanimous consent to speedily pass the federal government's latest emergency legislation. They have also rejected the government's bid to split the bill to allow benefits for Canadians with disabilities to go ahead while continuing debate on the changes to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) The bill includes a proposed expansion of the wage subsidy program to include seasonal workers and some additional businesses, as well as proposed penalties for fraudulently claiming the CERB. It also proposes changes to the CERB in response to concerns that the benefit is discouraging people from returning to low-paying jobs. The NDP is balking at the prospect of Canadians who fraudulently claim the $2,000-a-month CERB being fined or sent to jail — despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's assurances that the punishment is aimed at those who deliberately defraud the government, not those who make honest mistakes. The Conservatives are holding out for a full resumption of House of Commons business. The Bloc Québécois is demanding three conditions be met before it will support the bill: a fiscal update this month, a first ministers' meeting before September on health-care transfers to the provinces and a ban on political parties accessing the wage subsidy to avoid laying off staff.
      Canada-U.S. border closure to be extended into July
      The Canada-U.S. border closure to all non-essential traffic will be extended beyond the June 21 date set last month. Media reports suggest that Canada and the United States are holding talks about extending the border restrictions, but the agreement has yet to be signed. Both countries reached an agreement in March to temporarily close the border to non-essential travel — meaning no recreational visits — while keeping it open to commercial traffic and essential workers who cross the border for work. The deal extension was first reported by Reuters on Tuesday. It is unclear how long the border restrictions will be extended. The initial agreement was extended in April by 30 days until May 21, before being extended for another 30 days last month.
      Make the Most of the CBRN Reopening Toolkit for Business
      As many provinces and territories continue to make progress on resuming some economic activities, please remember to make use of the comprehensive CBRN reopening toolkit. The toolkit provides information on regulations and reopening, childcare access, communications materials, sourcing PPE, access to guides and materials from other organizations and more. Access the Toolkit
      Government Launches PPE Supply Hub Website
      The Supply Hub connects Canadian organizations with federal, provincial, territorial and other resources and information about PPE, including consumer guidance. Buyers will find PPE supplier lists, in addition to guidance to help plan their PPE purchases. Access The Hub
      Federal bill proposes tighter rules for CERB
      The Liberal government is proposing legislation that would impose tighter rules for claiming the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) and is threatening to impose fines and jail time on those who deliberately lie on applications. The bill comes as the government faces pressure from the Conservatives on the one hand to weed out fraudulent claims and urge people to get back to work — and pressure from the NDP on the other hand to extend emergency aid and avoid going after Canadians who file ineligible claims. In a bill to be tabled in the House of Commons Wednesday, the government says Canadians won't be eligible to claim the benefit if:
      • They fail to go back to work when it is reasonable to do so, and their employer asks them to return.
      • They fail to resume self-employment when it's reasonable to do so.
      • They decline a reasonable job offer when they are able to work.
      The bill also lays out penalties for claimants whose applications include information that is "false or misleading," and for those who "knowingly failed" to disclose sources of income or other relevant facts when they applied for the federal aid.
      Cyber Threats to Canadian Organizations
      The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security has issued an alert regarding cybercrime during the pandemic. The centre has assessed that the COVID-19 pandemic presents an elevated level of risk to the cybersecurity of Canadian health organizations involved in the national response to the pandemic, including but not limited to medical research, manufacturing, distribution and policy-making organizations. Read The Alert
      WHO backtracks on claim that asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 is 'very rare'
      A top official with the World Health Organization has walked back statements that the spread of COVID-19 from people who do not show symptoms is "very rare," amid backlash from experts who have questioned the claim because of a lack of data. Maria van Kerkhove, an infectious disease epidemiologist and the COVID-19 technical lead for the WHO, said Monday that the available data from published research and member countries had shown asymptomatic cases were not a significant driver for the spread of the virus. Van Kerkhove said she didn't intend to imply that asymptomatic transmission of the virus globally was "very rare," but rather that the available data based on modelling studies and member countries had not been able to provide a clear enough picture on the amount of asymptomatic transmission. Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease physician at Toronto General Hospital, said there has been confusion over the evolving science on the amount of asymptomatic transmission since the start of the pandemic. "At a fundamental level it's extremely important to explain the science well and explain what our current knowledge is and also explain what the unknown questions are," he said. "I don't think the WHO did a very good job of that yesterday and they did a questionable job of that today when they were trying to clarify their comments." Bogoch said there is a key discrepancy between people who do not have symptoms, those who have not yet shown symptoms and those who only have mild symptoms, which can make studying the true number of asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 extremely challenging.
      Hand Sanitizer Recall
      Check your hand sanitizer label. On Saturday, Health Canada issued a recall of six hand sanitizers that are made with industrial-grade ethanol. The chemical can lead to dry skin, irritation and cracking. The brands include Eltraderm, Contract Packaging Distributions, Nature's Own, Sanilabs and Walker Emulsions. More Information
      Canada added 290,000 jobs in May
      After losing more than three million jobs in March and April, Canada's economy added 290,000 jobs in May, Statistics Canada reported Friday. The data agency reported that 290,000 more people had paid employment in May than in April. The surge means May was the best one-month gain for jobs in Canada in 45 years, although it happened from an admittedly low bar. It also means the economy has now replaced about 10 per cent of the jobs it lost to COVID-19. Despite the job gains, Canada's official unemployment rate rose to 13.7 per cent, as 491,000 more people were looking for work in the job market, notably students, whose search for summer work isn't normally recorded in the months before May. In February, Canada's jobless rate was 5.6 per cent. It increased to 7.8 per cent in March and 13 per cent in April. The number of unemployed Canadians has more than doubled since February. The vast majority of the new jobs came in Quebec, which added 230,900. Every other province added jobs except Ontario, which lost 64,500 positions. What do we mean by 'job,' anyway? Scotiabank economist Derek Holt said that while overall the job numbers were certainly positive, he's taking them with several grains of salt because it all depends on what is meant by "employment" in these unprecedented times. StatsCan's job numbers are based on a survey of Canadians, which means they are based on answers by human beings and subject to interpretation. Nearly three million Canadians reported they worked no hours in May, but still told the data collectors at StatsCan that they consider themselves to be employed. "Whether or not you believe that Canada created about 290,000 jobs last month depends, critically, upon what fraction of those who worked no hours in May but said they were employed will ultimately return to their jobs," Holt said. Right now, the millions of people on Canada's federal government wage subsidy program are not considered to be unemployed, despite not actively working, "and hence not as a lost job," Holt noted. "Some will indeed return to full or part hours, and we all hope this to be the case for all, [but] some won't regain the full hours they had before ... and some will not return at all." If those people don't return to active work, May's job surge could vanish as swiftly as it appeared.
      Federal government to provide $14B to provinces, territories to 'safely' restart economies
      The federal government is providing $14 billion to the provinces and territories to help them "safely and carefully" reopen their economies — but the premier of Canada's most populous province says it's not nearly enough. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement at his daily news conference outside his residence at Rideau Cottage this morning, saying the money will help pay for more personal protective equipment (PPE) for front-line health care workers and businesses, and for child care so that parents can go back to work. Some of the money going to provinces and territories is meant to help them improve the state of long-term care, and to help municipalities continue providing core public services such as transit. The government is saying little at this point about how the money will be carved up and when it will flow. Ontario Premier Doug Ford said it's a "start" but $14 billion falls far short of what's required to address the "massive need" in his province. "The reality is, we have a $23 billion problem in Ontario, and $14 billion for all of Canada ... just won't cut it," he said.
      Federal Government Announces One-Time Payment To Individuals Who Are Certificate Holders Of The Disability Tax Credit
      The Prime Minister announced that the government is introducing a one-time, non-taxable payment of up to $600 for Canadians with disabilities. The government will also establish a national workplace accessibility stream to help people with disabilities find and keep a good paying job. In addition, five new projects are being funded across the country to support Canadians in obtaining supportive devices that will help them overcome barriers in the workplace. More Information
      CMHC removes requirement for Tenant to disclose Gross Annual Revenue from CECRA application
      Overnight the CMHC made a change to the CECRA program which removed the requirement for Tenant’s to disclose to their landlords their Gross Annual Revenue. Tenant’s will still have to attest that they meet the requirements of the program. CECRA Website for more information
      Canadian Chamber releases Roadmap to Recovery
      Today the Canadian Chamber of Commerce launched Roadmap to Recovery, which takes a comprehensive look at the challenges facing Canada’s economy and identifies 51 specific recommendations governments should adopt to overcome the challenges identified. Canada was prepared to do whatever it took to ensure we made it through this pandemic, and we need to apply the same mindset to repairing our economy. Read the News Release Access The Roadmap To Recovery
      Personal bankruptcies fell to record low in April
      The number of people filing for bankruptcy fell to a record low in April, as government support programs and mortgage deferrals during the coronavirus pandemic are keeping people's heads above water for now. According to official data released by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada, a total of 6,700 people across Canada filed for bankruptcy or made a formal proposal to their creditors that month, a figure that is down by 43 per cent compared to the same month a year earlier. That's the biggest plunge on record dating back to 1988, and the smallest number of people filing for bankruptcy since at least 2007. But the decline in personal bankruptcies doesn't suggest fewer people are feeling the financial pinch. Rather, it suggests that people are doing whatever it takes to pay the bills for now. Official numbers from Statistics Canada show that more than one million Canadians lost their job in March, and another two million lost their job in April. Numbers for May are due out on Friday, and they are expected to show at least another half-million jobs lost. Counterintuitively, that record-setting pace of job losses may be keeping insolvencies at bay for now. Bankrupcy consultants conceded that "If not working, a debtor is largely creditor proof," and the courts are closed. As of the middle of May, more than seven million Canadians had applied for the Canada emergency response benefit, Ottawa's $35 billion program for laid-off Canadians. The program seems to be having an impact in keeping creditors at bay, as "CERB payments cannot be garnished."
      COVID-19 support for seniors will flow starting July 6
      Today, the Prime Minister revealed the release date for supplemented seniors payments, announced back in May, will flow during the week of July 6, 2020. The government is investing $2.5 billion to provide a one-time, tax-free payment of $300 to seniors eligible for the Old Age Security pension. To support Canada’s most vulnerable seniors, an additional $200 is also being provided to seniors who are eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
      To date only 1.3% of landlords have agreed to take part in the commercial rent relief program
      A recent report by the Globe and Mail indicates that since the program opened last week, only 16,000 landlords of the country's 1.2 million small businesses have agreed to take part in the program. Applications for CECRA opened May 25. The CFA has sent a letter to the federal and provincial governments asking for the following changes to the current program and some provincial actions to help incentivize landlords into participating. 1. Reduce the 70% threshold to 30% 2. Inclusion of “Dark Sites” in the program 3. Allow tenants to apply for the CECRA without their landlord 4. Extend the program beyond the current April, May, June window Provincial governments must use their policy and legislative tools 5. Institute a temporary moratorium on commercial rent default evictions for a six-month period 6. Temporarily suspend property tax rebate for vacant properties 7. Expand access to CEBA so that landlords can use the loan on a site by site basis
      Bank of Canada holds rate steady but scales back some COVID-19 stimulus
      The Bank of Canada held its benchmark interest rate steady at 0.25 per cent on Wednesday and said it thinks the economic impact of COVID-19 on the world's economy "appears to have peaked." Canada's central bank has dropped its rate dramatically since the pandemic began, cutting its rate from 1.75 per cent in late February to 0.25 per cent barely a month later. The bank also announced it will tinker with a number of bond and debt-buying programs in order to make sure there is enough cash in the system. The Bank's programs to improve market function are having their intended effect. As a result, the Bank is reducing the frequency of its term repo operations to once per week, and its program to purchase bankers' acceptances to bi-weekly operations. Bank of Montreal economist Benjamin Reitzes noted that "both of these operations have seen much less take-up (or none at all) of late." In barely two months, the feverish pace of bond buying to buttress the economy has ballooned the bank's balance sheet by $125 billion according to Toronto-Dominion Bank economist James Orlando. GDP decline less than expected When announcing the decision today, the bank noted that it now expects GDP to decline between 10% and 20% compared to last year—a less severe expectation than was forecast in April. The central bank is now projecting that the Canadian economy will recover in the third quarter of 2020.
      Trudeau: Restarting the economy and access to PPE
      Noting that every province and territory will have its own plans to restart their economies, the prime minister highlighted the need for a collaborative approach among governments. The prime minister went on to emphasize that as provinces re-open demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) will increase. He then turned to ongoing procurement efforts. Prime Minister Trudeau noted that the government has procured over 100 million surgical masks and nearly 40 million surgical gloves. The prime minister went on to note that over half of the face shields in the country have been produced domestically. Prime Minister Trudeau went on to announce that the government has delivered funding to four Canadian companies working on rapid testing, including Deep Biologics in Guelph. The prime minister went on to highlight the work of the Industry Strategy Council and the work it is doing to analyze the impact that the pandemic is having on various sectors in the country.
      Conference Board releases Provincial Outlook Summary
      This quarterly economic forecast provides highlights of the Provincial Outlook report, which presents the short-term outlook for Canada’s provinces. Highlights
      • Canada is in the midst of its worst economic downturn in decades, with real GDP expected to decline by 4.3 per cent this year.
      • The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the economic outlook for all provinces, with significant declines in economic activity right across the country.
      • Alberta will be hardest hit this year as it contends with the combination of restrictions on activity to slow the spread of the virus and an unprecedented drop in the price and demand for oil.
      • The economic outlook for next year is much better, with all provinces expected to rebound strongly.
      CRA snitch line now open to report fraudulent CERB, CEWS claims
      The CRAs Leads Program updated its website this week to include the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) funds to its list of reportable cheating activities. As of June 1, the government had processed more than 15 million applications for CERB, including more than eight million unique applicants, and paid out more than $42 billion in benefits.
      Nine business leaders appointed to the Industry Strategy Council
      These leaders come from a diverse array of sectors, including agri-food, digital industries, manufacturing, transportation and clean tech. This panel will provide a forum for business leaders to share their direct perspectives on the scope of challenges that Canadian industries face. The Council will hold virtual meetings every two weeks over the next three months.
      • Murad Al-Katib, President and Chief Executive Officer, AGT Food and Ingredients – Agri-food sector
      • John Baker, M.S.C., President and Chief Executive Officer, D2L Corporation – Digital Industries sector
      • Rhonda Barnet, President and Chief Operating Officer, AVIT Manufacturing – Advanced Manufacturing sector
      • Paviter Binning, President, Wittington Investments, Limited – Retail sector
      • Ben Cowan-Dewar, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Cabot Links – Tourism & Hospitality sector
      • Karimah Es Sabar, Chief Executive Officer and Partner, Quark Venture – Health & Biosciences sector
      • Karen Hamberg, Vice President of External Affairs and Sustainability, Westport Fuel Systems Inc. – Clean Technology sector
      • Mark Little, President and Chief Executive Officer, Suncor Energy Inc. – Resources of the Future sector
      • Sylvie Vachon, President and Chief Executive Officer, Montreal Port Authority – Transportation sector
      Facebook Extends Small Business Grants Application Deadline
      We know your business may be experiencing disruptions resulting from the global outbreak of COVID-19. We’ve heard that a little financial support can go a long way, so Facebook is offering cash grants and ad credits to help during this challenging time. The application deadline for the Facebook grants program has been extended to June 7 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The Facebook grants program is a separate initiative from the CBRN Small Business Relief Fund, which is accepting applications until Friday, June 12 at 8:00 p.m. ET. Businesses may apply for both programs; however, if your business receives in excess of $1,000 from the Facebook program, you will not be eligible to receive a CBRN grant. Apply For A Facebook Grant Apply For A CBRN Grant
      Upcoming Tax Filing Deadlines
      • Filing date for 2019 tax year: June 1, 2020
      • Payment date for 2019 tax year: September 1, 2020
          Self-employed and their spouse or common law partner
          • Filing date for current tax year: June 15, 2020
          • Payment date for current tax year: September 1, 2020
          • Filing date for 2019 tax year:
          • June 1, 2020 for corporations that would otherwise have a filing due date after March 18 and before June 1, 2020.) September 1, 2020 for corporations that would otherwise have a filing deadline in June, July, or August 2020.
        • Payment date for 2019 tax year
          • September 1, 2020 for balances and instalments under Part I of the Income Tax Act due on or after March 18 and before September 1, 2020.
        Canada's economy shrank at an 8% in the first 3 months of 2020
        Canada's economy shrank at an 8 per cent annual pace in the first three months of 2020, worst since 2009. Statistics Canada reported Friday that the slowdown was the sharpest quarterly drop since the financial crisis of 2009, as measures to contain the pandemic such as school and business closures, border shutdowns and travel restrictions brought economic activity grinding to a halt. The eight per cent decline was better than the ten per cent contraction that economists had been expecting for the period. While the vast majority of the contraction came in March when the pandemic hit, January and February's numbers weren't overly strong to begin with due to pre-existing drags such as rail blockades across the country, and a teacher strike in Ontario in February. Canada's gross domestic product was 2.1 per cent smaller over the three months than it was at the end of 2019. But much of that came in March alone, as GDP declined by 7.2 per cent during the month. That makes March 2020 the worst month for Canada's economy since record-keeping began in 1961. By sector, the slowdown in March was striking, including:
        • Accommodation and food services, down 39.5 per cent.
        • Transportation and warehousing, down 12.2 per cent.
        • Air transportation, down 40.9 per cent.
        • Manufacturing, down 6.5 per cent.
        • Retail trade, down 9.6 per cent.
        • Educational services, down 13.5 per cent.
        • Arts, entertainment and recreation, down 41.3 per cent.
        • Construction, down 4.4 per cent.
        • Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction, down five per cent.
        Canadian Economy Shrank More Than U.S. but Less than Other G7 Countries: StatCan
        Today’s StatCan report noted that while Canada’s performance may be worse than that of the U.S., it’s in the “middle of the pack” compared to other developed countries, Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter wrote in a client note. He outlined the change in GDP “from least bad to worst”:
        • Japan (-3.4 per cent)
        • U.S. (-5.0 per cent)
        • U.K. (-7.7 per cent)
        • Canada (-8.2 per cent)
        • Germany (-8.6 per cent)
        • Italy (-17.7 per cent)
        • France (-21.4 per cent)
        Ottawa extends large cruise ship ban until October
        Transport Minister Marc Garneau said Thursday passenger ships with overnight accommodations for more than 100 people — including both passengers and crew — can't operate in Canadian waters until at least Oct. 31. The move extends and expands an order issued in mid-March that barred ships with more than 500 passengers from Canadian waters until July. Ships with more than 12 passengers can't go to the Arctic until at least Oct. 31, for fear that one might carry COVID-19 to a remote northern community.
        4 in 10 Canadians can feasibly perform their job from home – StatCan
        New data released by Statistics Canada reveals that only four in 10 Canadians hold jobs that can be reasonably performed remotely. StatCan data released on Thursday broke down how many Canadians are physically able to work from home, based on their employment, and found that only 39 per cent of Canadians are able to work remotely. The data looked at the “telework capacity” of different industries to measure how likely they were to be able to work from home. Finance, insurance and educational service workers had the highest ability to work from home, at 85 per cent. Other jobs that had a high capacity for being performed remotely were professional, scientific and technical services, at 84 per cent. At the other end of the scale, food services, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting have “almost no telework capacity, The 39 per cent statistic is striking when compared to the percentage of Canadians who worked from home before the pandemic. In 2018, around 13 per cent of Canadians were doing some scheduled work from home hours -- only a tiny raise from the 10 per cent of Canadians who worked from home in 2000, according to the StatCan report.
        CBRN Small Business Relief Fund Now Accepting Applications
        Applications are now open for the Canadian Business Resilience Network Small Business Relief Fund! We are offering grants to Canadian small businesses that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to help them recover and support their resilience. These grants are made possible through the generosity of Salesforce and will be offered as a one-time payment of $10,000 to 62 businesses across the country. Applications are being accepted until Friday, June 12, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. ET. Learn More And Apply Here
        Federal government to provide rent relief to eligible business tenants at all National Parks, National Historic Sites And National Marine Conservation Areas
        The Government of Canada is taking further action to support businesses operating in Canada’s national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas dealing with the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The government will waive up to 75% of eligible commercial rents for the months of April, May and June 2020 or equivalent amounts of annual rents. This relief is additional to measures announced March 27 allowing commercial operators to defer payments normally due on or after April 2, 2020 to as late as September 1, 2020. Parks Canada will be contacting all holders of commercial leases and licences of occupation in national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas to provide details on this additional relief. Information will also be made available soon on the Parks Canada website.
        CBRN Business Reopening Toolkit and Provincial/Territorial Regulation Tracker
        In order to operate, businesses must abide by all national, provincial/territorial and local codes issued by our governments. This includes when and which businesses can open, an array of health and safety measures, social distancing standards, occupancy limits and more. Through the CBRN Business Reopening Toolkit, you can access the rules and regulations that are in place according to federal and provincial/territorial jurisdictions. Reopening Toolkit Regulation Tracker Financial Support
        CBRN Small Business Relief Fund launched
        CBRN Small Business Relief Fund launched to give grants of 10,000 to help support business recovery efforts. The Fund will help 62 small Canadian businesses recover and support their resilience, for a total of $620,000 in funds. Businesses can use the $10,000 grants to support their recovery efforts, including paying salaries, acquiring safety and personal protective equipment for staff, replenishing materials or paying for the measures required to adapt business models to the economic impacts of COVID-19. During the COVID-19 crisis, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to help as many businesses as possible stay afloat and remain open. Small business owners put everything they have into their businesses, and these grants will help give a little bit back. Good people coming together is how Canadians have managed this crisis, and the Canadian Chamber and Salesforce are following their lead, one business at a time.
        Contribute to the CFA’s submission on the future of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
        The Government of Canada is reviewing the CEWS program, and input from businesses is required to inform potential changes to the program to best meet the needs of businesses and their staff. You can participate via a short online survey or by email. Deadline to participate is June 5, 2020. Feel free to share your views on the future of the CEWS by emailing Your comments will help CFA staff craft our response to the public consultation.
        Facebook Canada Launches Grant Program And New Supports, Totalling Nearly $3.5 Million For Small Businesses
        Small businesses are the pillars of our communities and, right now, they need everyone’s support. Today, Facebook Canada launched a program with nearly $3.5 million in support for small- and medium-sized businesses in the Ottawa-Gatineau, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal regions. From grants and virtual training to enhanced resources and new product features, this is Facebook Canada's way of giving a hand to those who give our communities so much. The deadline to apply for the grants is Tuesday, June 2. For more information.
        CRA Extends Filing Deadlines For Corporations And Trusts
        The CRA has extended deadlines for T2 Corporate Income Tax Returns and T3 Trust Income Tax Returns that had been due in June, July or August. Those returns are now due September 1, 2020. As previously announced by CRA, any income tax balance due on or after March 18 and before September 1 is also now due by September 1, 2020. INFO ON T2s & T3s INFO ON TAX FILING AND PAYMENT
        Did you and your landlord apply for commercial rent relief today?
        Federal-Provincial Commercial Rent Assistance Program officially opened this morning. Application documents and updated criteria are now available here. Is you landlord working with you to apply? If not, the CFA wants to know. Send us an email at with
        • Your business legal name
        • Your landlords name
        • Your location
        • A summary of your situation
        • Your contact information
        These stories will help the CFA advocate for changes in the program criteria to help make more CFA members eligible for support.
        Business Resilience Service launched to help businesses navigate government programs
        Canadian Chamber and the Government of Canada team up with accounting profession to provide free advice to small to medium-sized business, not-for-profits and charities. The program, called the Business Resilience Service (BRS), is run through the Canadian Chamber’s Canadian Business Resilience Network in collaboration with EY and with support from Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) and Imagine Canada. The BRS will provide options for any vulnerable small to medium-sized business, not-for-profit or charity to immediately connect with experienced accounting and tax professionals across the country from professional services firms. The program, delivered to organizations free of charge, will:
        • Provide guidance on program options and eligibility
        • Rapidly direct businesses – including enterprises involving Indigenous peoples, women and diverse groups – to the most appropriate support organizations
        • Help organizations make decisions to support recovery plans
        • Provide real time insights and feedback to policymakers
        The BRS program, coordinated by EY, will be provided for four weeks from Monday, May 25, and will involve support from approximately 125 business advisors from across the accounting profession. Organizations can access the BRS seven days a week by calling 1-866-989-1080.
        Federal government to work with province to provide workers with 10 days of paid sick leave per year
        Following recent conversations with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, Prime Minister Trudeau committed to working closely with the provinces to provide workers with 10 days of paid sick leave per year. Trudeau stressed that no one should have to choose between paying bills and taking time off to care for themselves. He also confirmed that the government is considering other mechanisms to support workers “for the longer term”. Specific details about the delivery of paid sick leave is expected to come in the weeks ahead.
        Commercial Rent Assistance Portal Opens Monday, May 25, 2020
        The CECRA for small businesses application portal opens at 8:00 am on Monday, May 25. Application documents and updated criteria are now available here.
        Government launches benefit-finder tool for emergency aid
        The government launched an online tool today to help Canadians navigate the various financial benefits available during the pandemic, as the political parties continue to spar over the resumption of Parliament. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the benefit-finder tool during a daily briefing. The government site is now live to help students, seniors and out-of-work Canadians find out which benefits they can access.
        Update on the PM’s call with the Premiers
        Last night the Prime Minister spoke with the provincial and territorial Premiers for the tenth time since the start of the pandemic. The call has been happening every week since the crisis began. On the call they spoke at length about the safe re-opening of the economy and mutually outlined a set of principles for moving forward. These principles include:
        • Canada needs to continue scaling up its testing capacity to quickly identify new cases and isolate them. The federal government is working with the provinces and territories to expand testing by procuring more reagents and swabs. Some provinces have the capacity to meet current needs, but both levels of government are collaborating to ramp up these efforts.
        • Canada needs to accelerate its ability to conduct contact tracing. The feds have trained federal employees to make 3,600 contact tracing calls every day of the week. Statistics Canada also has an additional 1,700 interviewers available to make 20,000 calls a day. Ontario is already utilizing these federal services and Trudeau noted these resources are available to assist other provinces and territories with their tracing backlogs.
        • Canada needs to ensure that data that is collected across jurisdictions is shared between the provinces and territories to help manage spread.
        While each of the Premiers plans will be different, Trudeau confirmed that they are all working towards one common goal: protecting Canadians. He emphasized the next phase of collaborative efforts will focus on testing, contact tracing and data collection and Trudeau has told the Premiers the feds are here to “support, facilitate and fund” this work.
        COVID-19 pushed Canadian retail sales to their biggest ever plunge in March
        Widespread lockdowns due to COVID-19 across the country pushed Canadian retail sales down by 10 per cent in March, the biggest plunge on record. Statistics Canada reported Friday that about 40 per cent of Canadian retailers closed their doors in March, as government lockdowns and physical distancing requirements set in. March's plunge was more than twice as bad as the previous record of 4.5 per cent, set in February 1998. The data agency says April's preliminary numbers suggest that month's data are likely to be even worse, down 15 per cent from March's already low level, but the numbers released Friday show just how bad things got in just the first two weeks of lockdown. Overall, Canadians spent just $47 billion at retailers in March. That's the worst month since 2016. Just about every type of retailer saw sales plummet during the month, but those deemed non-essential bore the brunt, including:
        • Clothing stores, down 51 per cent.
        • Motor vehicle and parts dealers, down 35 per cent.
        • Furniture and home furnishings, down 24 per cent.
        • Hobby, book and music stores, down 23 per cent.
        • Gas stations, down 19 per cent.
        There were a few bright spots, namely grocery stores that saw booming business as Canadians stocked up to shelter in place. Food and beverage sales were up 22 per cent, while general merchandise stores had their best month ever, with sales up 6.4 per cent. Sales at health and personal care stores rose 4.6 per cent, also to their highest level on record. Cannabis sales rose 19 per cent. Another bright spot was the growth in online retailers, as Canadians spent $2.2 billion online in March. That's 40 per cent higher than it was in the same month last year.
        Have you been denied for the $40K CEBA loan? We want to hear from you!
        If you have applied for the Canada Emergency Business Account ($40k loan) and been denied--let us know. Tell us if you have not received a reason for the rejection or what the reason was and why you disagree. We may be able to help get you some answers. Make sure your email includes:
        • Your business legal name (according to your financial institution)
        • Your financial institution
        • A summary of your situation
        • Your contact information
        These stories will help the CFA advocate for changes in the program criteria to help make more CFA members eligible for support. Send us an email at
        CBRN Launches Reopening Canada’s Economy, A National Guide for Business
        The Canadian Business Resilience Network, which the CFA is a member, launched a guide for businesses moving to reopen, “Reopening Canada’s Economy, A National Guide for Business.” The guide is accessible electronically here
        Uptake on government programs
        During Saturday’s media briefing Prime Minister Trudeau noted that • over 500,000 businesses have been able to receive a loan through the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) • Subsidies through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) have impacted almost 2,000,000 workers. • the CEWS will be extended past June 2020
        Business Credit Availability Program will be expanded for small and medium-sized businesses
        Prime Minister Trudeau revealed that the Business Credit Availability Program will be expanded for small and medium-sized businesses. Support for mid-market businesses will include loans of up to $60 million per company and guarantees of up to $80 million. Through the BCAP, Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will work with private sector lenders to support access to capital for Canadian businesses in all sectors and regions.
        Federal government announces large employer emergency financing facility (LEEFF)
        On May 11, Finance Minister Bill Moreau announced that the federal government is offering bridge financing for big Canadian businesses across all sectors to help them keep employees on the payroll through the pandemic, but there are conditions attached – including the required disclosure of the company's environmental plan. Large employer emergency financing facility (LEEFF) will provide support to employers with annual revenues of more than $300 million whose credit needs are not being met through conventional financing. The program is open to large commercial businesses in all sectors except those in the financial sector, as well as certain not-for-profit businesses like airports. To qualify, businesses must be looking for financing of $60 million or more, have significant operations or workforce in Canada and not be involved in ongoing insolvency proceedings. It is not intended to be a low-cost loan program for companies that don't need it or to bail out companies that were already in financial trouble before the pandemic. Companies must disclose their climate action plans and sustainability goals to qualify and must meet other conditions, including not having "excessive" executive pay. Companies that have been found guilty of tax evasion are disqualified. Details are still being worked out and information on the application process is expected shortly. For more information please see the Prime Minister’s News Release.
        Federal government extending CEWS beyond June
        At his press conference on May 8, the Prime Minister said that the federal government’s emergency wage-subsidy program will be extended beyond its early-June endpoint. The program covers 75 per cent of worker pay up to $847 a week to try to help employers keep employees on the job in the face of steep declines in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More details on the extension will come next week.
        New Industry Strategy Council announced by the federal government
        Today, PM Trudeau announced that Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains will be leading a new Industry Strategy Council chaired by Monique Leroux. The Council will be tasked with taking a deeper dive into how the pandemic is affecting specific sectors and finding ways for the government to best support them. Previous economic strategy tables set up in the government’s first mandate will also be leveraged throughout this process. The Tables are chaired by industry leaders in the following key sectors: advanced manufacturing, agri-food, clean technology, digital industries, health and bio-sciences, resources of the future, and tourism and hospitality. In response to some particular pressures related to the pandemic, the Government is adding two new Tables, representing the retail and transportation sectors.
        Canada's jobless rate soars to 13 per cent in April
        The Canadian economy lost almost two million jobs in April, a record high, as the closure of non-essential services to slow the spread of COVID-19 forced businesses to shutter temporarily. The loss of 1,993,800 comes on top of more than one million jobs lost in March, and millions more having their hours and incomes slashed. The unemployment rate soared to 13.0 per cent, Statistics Canada reported, as the full force of the pandemic hit compared with 7.8 per cent in March. It was the second highest unemployment rate on record as job losses spread beyond the service sector to include construction and manufacturing. Economists on average had expected the loss of four million jobs and an unemployment rate of 18 per cent, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv. The unemployment rate would have been 17.8 per cent had the agency's labour force survey counted among the unemployed the 1.1 million who stopped looking for work -- likely because the COVID-19 economic shutdown has limited job opportunities. In all, more than one-third of the labour force didn't work or had reduced hours in April, an "underutilization rate" that was more than three times higher than in February before the pandemic struck. Here's a quick look at April employment (numbers from the previous month in brackets):
        • Unemployment rate: 13.0 per cent (7.8)
        • Employment rate: 52.1 per cent (58.5)
        • Participation rate: 59.8 per cent (63.5)
        • Number unemployed: 2,418,300 (1,547,000)
        • Number working: 16,184,900 (18,178,700)
        • Youth (15-24 years) unemployment rate: 27.2 per cent (16.8)
        • Men (25 plus) unemployment rate: 10.8 per cent (5.9)
        • Women (25 plus) unemployment rate: 11.3 per cent (7.1)
        Here are the jobless rates last month by province (numbers from the previous month in brackets):
        • Newfoundland and Labrador 16.0 per cent (11.7)
        • Prince Edward Island 10.8 (8.6)
        • Nova Scotia 12.0 (9.0)
        • New Brunswick 13.2 (8.8)
        • Quebec 17.0 (8.1)
        • Ontario 11.3 (7.6)
        • Manitoba 11.4 (6.4)
        • Saskatchewan 11.3 (7.3)
        • Alberta 13.4 (8.7)
        • British Columbia 11.5 (7.2)
        Agreement reached on $4B deal to boost essential workers' pay
        Today, Ottawa announced it has reached a $4 billion agreement with all the provinces and territories to boost the salaries of essential workers who make less than $2,500 a month. The federal government will kick in $3 billion while the provinces will contribute the rest. Some provinces already have moved ahead. Saskatchewan recently announced that employees making less than $2,500 a month while working with vulnerable people are eligible for a wage top-up of $400 per month for 16 weeks. That includes people working at long-term care homes, daycares and shelters. Ontario announced a $4-per-hour increase for front-line workers at long-term care homes, retirement homes, emergency shelters, supportive housing, group homes, correctional institutions and youth justice facilities, as well as for those providing home and community care and some hospital staff. Quebec announce a $4-per-hour pay hike for workers in private long-term care homes, as well as a $24.28-per-hour salary to attract new workers to fill in as attendants at the facilities.
        Federal Update on how many Canadians applied for support
        At today, press conference, President of the Treasury Board Jean-Yves Duclos announced how many Canadians and Canadian businesses have accessed the federal support programs since March 15, 2020. The numbers are staggering considering that there were 19 million Canadians in the workforce in February 2020.
        • 500, 000 businesses have received an emergency loan
        • 10.9 million applications have now been received under the CERB and 7.5 million Canadians have received funding under the program.
        • 100 000 businesses have applied for the CEWS
        Canadian Chamber – Impact of COVID-19 on Diverse Business Owners
        New data from the recent Canadian Survey on Business Conditions was released which shows that COVID-19 had a more severe impact on diversity-owned businesses:
        • 71.14% of diversity-owned businesses experienced a high drop in demand, compared with the national average (64.8%)
        • 34.74% of diversity-owned businesses experienced a 50% or more decrease in revenue, compared with the national average (26.2%)
        • 51.06% of diversity-owned businesses said they could remain open for no longer than 60 days without a source of revenue, compared with the national average (42.2%)
        • 48.92% of diversity-owned businesses said they could remain open for no longer than 3 months amid social distancing, compared with the national average (39.7%).
        However, if they can weather the crisis, the data indicate that each group expects to rebound in a similar time and fashion as other businesses across the country. Further, there are several notable data points demonstrating innovation and ingenuity:
        • Indigenous-owned and visible minority-owned businesses have tested or used R&D at a higher rate (11.1% and 8.6%) than national average (5.7%)
        • 17% of businesses owned by those with disabilities tested or used e-commerce during the crisis compared to the national average (11.6%)
        • Women-owned business have increased investment in training and education at a higher rate (16.2%) than the national average (11.3%)
        Federal support for farmers, food businesses, and food processors
        The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau announced an investment of more than $252 million to support farmers, food businesses, and food processors.
        • $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund to help food producers access more PP), adapt to health protocols, automate or modernize their facilities, processes, and operations, and respond to emerging pressures.
        • $125 million in funding to help producers faced with additional costs incurred by COVID-19. This includes set-asides for cattle and hog management programs to manage livestock backed-up on farms, due to the temporary closure of food processing plants.
        • Increase the Canadian Dairy Commission’s borrowing limit by $200 million to support costs associated with the temporary storage of cheese and butter to avoid food waste.
        • Creation of a Surplus Food Purchase Program (initial $50 million) designed to help redistribute existing and unsold inventories such as potatoes and poultry, to local food organizations who are serving vulnerable Canadians.
        For more information please see the news release
        Most Canadians comfortable with pace of easing restrictions: poll
        77% of Canadians happy with COVID-19 measures, but only 43% of Americans feel same about their government. The poll, conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies between May 1 and 3, surveyed 1,526 adult Canadians and 1,002 adult Americans randomly recruited from its online panel. The internet-based survey cannot be assigned a margin of error because online polls are not considered random samples. People in most provinces taking steps to reopen were between 60 and 70 per cent supportive of those moves, while 16 to 30 per cent would like to see their government slow down a little. Some provinces have already begun loosening physical distancing measures put in place as the growth in the number of COVID-19 cases started picking up steam in March. In Quebec, which has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Canada, the province is allowing some retail stores to reopen outside of Montreal with an eye to reopen the manufacturing and construction sectors next week. On Monday it pushed back the reopening of non-essential stores in the Montreal area at least another week. Ontario, with the second-highest number of confirmed cases in the country, is allowing the partial reopening of some seasonal businesses. Manitoba has gone even further, allowing slightly restricted access to libraries, museums, and restaurant patios. But in Alberta, which plans to allow certain retail stores, restaurants and daycare centres to reopen as early as May 14, people seem less comfortable with how quickly things are moving. There, 50 per cent of respondents would like the province to slow down.
        Visits to Canadian Retailers are down 76% during COVID-19 Pandemic
        In Canada, PiinPoint’s Mobile Location Data shows that visits to retailers are down 76% from this time last year. Not surprisingly, the data shows that restaurants have been hit the hardest, experiencing a 95% drop in visits when compared to the same period last year, given the strict business closures that have been enforced by provincial and federal governments. Those eateries with an option for drive-thru service, such as fast-food restaurants, are seeing a 70% decrease in visits. Banks, clothing, and home decor stores reflect a similar impact as restaurants, with an 89% drop in visits, while electronic and office supply stores have seen an 82% decrease in visits. With stay-at-home measures in place and few people driving to work, gas stations have seen a 90% decrease in visitors, despite record low gas prices. Home Improvement stores have taken a hit with a 35% decrease in visits, and that number is expected to increase as many stores have been forced to move to curbside pickup only. Grocery stores initially saw a massive increase in visits leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic announcement, as people stocked up on supplies. Amidst the battles for toilet paper and panic-buying, there was a surge of visits to Grocery stores, peaking at a 196% increase on March 23 when compared to the previous year. However, following the stock-up period and this large increase, visits are still down 27% year over year. For the full report
        Reminder: CERB recipients must reapply for further benefits
        Canadians who are receiving income from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) must reapply for another four weeks of benefits. The CERB offers $500 per week for Canadians who’ve lost work due to the COVID-19 pandemic up to a maximum of 16 weeks, but recipients must confirm their eligibility for the program every four weeks. The renewal payments are not automatic, meaning anyone who applied for CERB between April 6 and April 10 will need to reapply for the benefit. For the upcoming wave of payments, CERB recipients born in January, February or March can begin applying on May 11, those born in April, May or June can begin to apply on May 12, those born in July, August or September can begin on May 13 and those born in October, November or December can begin their application on May 14, according to the Canada Revenue Agency website . To qualify for the benefit, Canadians must be at least 15 years of age and have been forced out of work due to the pandemic. They must also have earned at least $5,000 in the previous calendar year and now expect to make less than $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB payments. Recipients can reapply for the benefit either online or by calling 1 (800) 959-2019.
        Canada has entered a recession due to pandemic: C.D. Howe
        Canada has officially entered a recession due to the economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the C.D. Howe Institute's Business Cycle Council declared Friday . The council said the economy peaked in February before the steps taken to slow the spread of the coronavirus brought the economy to a standstill. The C.D. Howe council defines a recession as a pronounced, persistent, and pervasive decline in aggregate economic activity and it looks at both GDP and employment as its main measures. The March jobs report showed more than a million jobs were lost in the month, while a preliminary estimate by Statistics Canada suggested the economy contracted by nine per cent in the same month. Statistics Canada reported Thursday that economic growth had stalled going into the crisis, with real gross domestic product essentially unchanged in February due to teacher strikes in Ontario and rail blockades across many parts of the country.
        Tiff Macklem appointed the next Governor of the Bank of Canada
        Finance Minister Bill Morneau has appointed Tiff Macklem , the former senior deputy governor of the Bank of Canada, to take over the top job at the central bank. Macklem is currently the dean of the Rotman School of Management in Toronto but had spent decades with the Bank of Canada before starting that appointment. Macklem began his career at the bank in 1984. He was widely expected to win the contest for bank governor in 2013, but was beaten out by Stephen Poloz, who was then CEO of Export Development Canada. Poloz's term as Governor of the Bank of Canada ends June 2.
        Federal deficit could top $252 billion, says Parliamentary budget officer
        Parliament's budget watchdog says it's likely the federal deficit for the year will hit $252.1 billion as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic — and could go even higher if emergency measures remain in place longer than planned. The figure is an estimate based on the almost $146 billion in spending measures the government has announced to help cushion the economic blow from the pandemic, estimated declines in the country's gross domestic product and the price of oil remaining well below previous expectations. Parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux's report assumes real GDP will contract by 12 per cent this year and help push the federal debt-to-GDP ratio to 48.4 per cent. The report says the estimates are one possible scenario if current public health measures remain in place or are slowly — but not entirely — lifted over the rest of the calendar year.
        Federal government clarifies Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program is based on Gross Rent
        Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses provides much needed relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. It offers forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners so that they can reduce the rent owed by their impacted small business tenants by at least 75% for the months of April, May and June, 2020. Today the federal government confirmed that the rent rebate program will apply to the monthly gross rent. When the program was originally releases on Friday April 24 the focus was on base rent and it was unclear if Common Area Maintenance (CAM) plus Taxes or Taxes, Maintenance, Insurance (TMI). To qualify, “impacted small business tenants are businesses, including non-profit and charitable organizations who:
        • pay no more than $50,000 in monthly gross rent per location (as defined by a valid and enforceable lease agreement),
        • generate no more than $20 million in gross annual revenues, calculated on a consolidated basis (at the ultimate parent level), and
        • have temporarily ceased operations (i.e. generating no revenues), or has experienced at least a 70% decline in pre-COVID-19 revenues.**
        ** To measure revenue loss, small businesses can compare revenues in April, May and June of 2020 to that of the same month of 2019. They can also use an average of their revenues earned in January and February of 2020.” The CFA is working with the federal government to get a better understanding of what the “ultimate parent level” means for franchisors and franchisees under the program. Click here for the CMHC program criteria
        Canadian Chamber/StatsCan Survey – Half of all Businesses See a Decline of 20% or More in Revenue due to Covid-19
        The Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC), a joint effort between Statistics Canada and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, provides the most detailed insight yet into the impact of COVID-19 on Canadian businesses. Many CFA members contributed to the report by providing information to the survey. Nearly one-third (32.3%) of businesses who responded to the survey reported that their revenues from the first quarter of 2020 were down by 40% or more from the same quarter a year earlier. Another 21.2% of businesses reported their revenues had decreased by 20% to 40% over the same period. Businesses in the accommodation and food services (72.6%), arts, entertainment and recreation (66.7%) and retail trade (60.3%) sectors were most likely to report a decline in revenue greater than 20%. In contrast, just over two-fifths of businesses in each of the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (42.0%) and the utilities (40.4%) sectors reported either no change or an increase in revenue. Across the country, over half of businesses in Alberta (57.7%), Ontario (56.3%), British Columbia (54.8%), Newfoundland and Labrador (53.5%) and Saskatchewan (52.8%) saw declines of 20% or more in revenue. In contrast, close to one-third of businesses in Prince Edward Island (33.1%), the territories (32.4%) and New Brunswick (30.3%) reported either no change or an increase in revenue.

        Change in business revenue in Q1 2020 compared to Q1 2019

        • 10.5% experienced an increase in revenue
        • 14.3% saw no change in revenue
        • 17.9% experienced a decrease in revenue of up to 20%
        • 53.5% experienced a decrease in revenue of over 20%

        Staffing decisions taken as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic

        • 38.1% have reduced staff hours or shifts 40.5% have laid off staff

        For more information

        MPs convene first special virtual sitting
        Members of Parliamentmet for the first time virtually April 28 during the all-party special committee on COVID-19. These virtual sittings will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays, until at least May 25, as parliamentarians find new ways to maintain accountability while physical distancing.
        Federal health officials update projections
        Trudeau spoke ahead of a Tuesday afternoon briefing from federal health officials, who delivered revised modelling and forecasts for COVID-19 in Canada. Get the details of the federal COVID-19 modelling update. The new modelling shows that while the number of new cases was doubling every three days previously, it is now doubling every 16 days. Short-term projections predict between 53,191 and 66,835 cases by May 5, and between 3,277 and 3,883 deaths by that date.
        Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy – Keep in mind CRA will be enforcing strict compliance criteria
        As of April 27, 2020, online applications have opened for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). The CEWS provides a 75% wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks and is retroactive to March 15, 2020. The subsidy will be available at a rate of 75% of weekly remuneration paid to a maximum of $847 per employee. Your business must have experienced a drop of at least 15% of revenue in March 2020 and 30% for April 2020 and/or May 2020 to qualify for this subsidy. The Federal Government has implemented severe penalties if a business is found not to have met to the CEWS eligibility requirements after receiving the subsidy. Audits will be conducted by the Canada Revenue Agency to verify the amounts related to the subsidy including revenue and salary calculations. If a business is not compliant with the rules, the consequences can include:
        • repayment of amounts received
        • significant fines of up to 25% of the CEWS received (and up to an additional 200% in the case of fraudulent claims)
        • penalties for up to five years in prison for individuals who submitted fraudulent claims
        Furthermore, the individuals who have the principal responsibility for the financial activities must attest that the application is complete and accurate. As such, the individual(s) that make the attestation can be held personally responsible for the application that is filed and will also be subject to penalties for incorrect and/or fraudulent claims. The CRA intends to publish the name of any eligible employer that makes an application for the wage subsidy and share information with government officials for the purposes of administration and enforcement of the Canada Emergency Benefit Act.
        Federal projected spending on direct supports due to COVID-19 hits $145B
        The federal government's latest projection of how much it will spend on direct support for Canadians to get through the COVID-19 crisis has now reached more than $145.6 billion. Those direct support programs account for approximately one fifth of the overall tally of the measures the government has announced related to the pandemic. Ottawa estimates that overall total — including measures to protect Canadians health and safety and to provide business and tax liquidity support as well as the direct support for individuals, businesses and sectors — amounts to more than $817 billion. But much of that is not spending that will end up on the books. For example, a large portion, $300 billion, is a measure by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OFSI) to free up capital for the banks.

        Another big part of that overall total are tax deferrals and credit and loan guarantee programs:

        • Credit and liquidity supports through the Bank of Canada and CMHC are projected at $200 billion.
        • Income and sales tax deferrals are estimated at $85 billion.
        • Liquidity support for businesses, homeowners and the agricultural sector is estimated at more than $286 billion.
        But while there is a cost associated with those programs, deferrals, credit support and monetary measures essentially just put off when the government gets paid.

        The additional emergency funding and the direct support measures that will have the biggest impact on the deficit and debt in the government's financial books.

        • $73 billion: Canada emergency wage subsidy
        • $35 billion: Canada emergency relief benefit
        • $15.3 billion: Canada emergency business account
        • $5.5 billion: GST credits
        • $9 billion: Financial aid to students
        • $1.7 billion: Orphan well clean up
        Commercial Rent Assistance Program Badly Misses the Mark!
        Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced the new rent subsidy program, jointly funded by the provinces, that is supposed to help businesses (franchised businesses are included in the program).


        • The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50% of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June.
        • The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75% for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25% of the rent.


          • Businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations
          • Businesses who have experienced at least a 70% drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.
          • Support for larger businesses will be announced in the coming days.


          • The CECRA is expected to be operational by mid-May, with commercial property owners lowering the rents of their small business tenant’s payable for the months of April and May, retroactively, and for June.
          CFA does not think this will help many
          Based on our read of the program details the assistance only affects a tenant’s base rent with no support or rebate of the Taxes, Maintenance, Insurance (TMI) that all commercial tenants pay. As CFA members know the TMI is often 50% of a business’s accommodation costs. Here is a link to the program details which are contained in the News Release from the PM. The CFA will be looking at our options but we will continue to push for governments across Canada (federal and provincial) to provide real commercial rent relief.
          Other Stakeholder Reaction
          Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB): Welcomed the rent relief program but warned that it may be too complicated and too reliant on landlords to administer. Restaurants Canada: Very encouraged by PM, JustinTrudeau, April 24th announcement on rent support for small businesses. No eviction provision is there as is direct help to operators. Restaurants are included. Good thing. Ontario Chamber of Commerce: “We applaud both the Canadian and Ontario governments for their leadership to provide rent relief to avoid the mass closure of small and medium-sized enterprises across the province. Speed will be of the essence to get this delivered to those in need quickly. This program will help tenants by lowering the rent burden and protecting against evictions, while supporting landlords who also have bills to pay.”
          Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Portal Opens April 27
          The Canada Revenue Agency will open the application process on April 27. CEWS claims will be subject to verification by the CRA, therefore the CRA will begin to release funds for approved applications on May 5. To get ready, the CRA has released instructions on what you need to do, a wage subsidy calculator and enhanced eligibility information. The Subsidy is NOT first come, first serve. It is available to all business who apply so business do not need to apply on Monday out of fear of missing out. The CRA expects the first cheques to be issued during the week of May 4. They have added 2000 people to their call centre to answer questions and process applications. Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Information Page
          $1.1B for medical research and vaccine development
          Prime Minister Trudeau announced the government will be investing an additional $1.1 billion for a national medical research strategy. The new funding will invest in three primary areas, including research on vaccines, supports for clinical trials, and an expansion of testing and modelling. More specifically, approximately $115 million of the $1.1 billion is being invested in research to develop vaccines and treatments in universities and hospitals across the country. An estimated $662 million will also be provided to support clinical trials in Canada. While the vaccine is a long-term solution to the virus, $350 million dollars is being invested to expand national testing and modelling in the immediate term. For more information please see the News Release.
          Update on Federal Program Uptake
          Finally, Treasury Board President Jean Yves Duclos also provided a brief update on government support programs,
          • 8.9 million applications have now been received for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
          • 351 small businesses have received approvals for loans under the Small Business Emergency Relief Fund
          Friendly reminder – CERB is a taxable benefit
          Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provides Canadians whose jobs have been affected by the COVID-19 with $2000 per month for up to 4 months. The CERB is a taxable benefit so anyone receiving that funding will be expected to report it as income when you file your income tax for the 2020 tax year. Unlike most standard paycheques, CERB payments do not have income tax deducted before they are sent out. The federal government has set the lowest tax rate for 2020 at 15 per cent. That means anyone who earns $48,535 or less in total income for the year will owe tax on their CERB monies. A recipient who earns the maximum benefit of $8,000 will have to repay $1,200 at tax time. Provincial and territorial income tax rates will also apply.
          Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) portal will open April 27, 2020
          The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced that applications under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will open on April 27. The Subsidy is NOT first come, first serve. It is available to all business who apply so business do not need to apply on Monday out of fear of missing out. The CRA expects the first cheques to be issued during the week of May 4. They have added 2000 people to their call centre to answer questions and process applications. Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Information Page $9B in funding for students under the new Canada Emergency Student Benefit On April 22, the Prime Minister announced the Canada Emergency Student Benefit, a $9 billion package of new measures aimed at helping young people. The benefit will give eligible postsecondary students $1,250 a month from May to August. For students taking care of someone else or have a disability, that amount increases to $1,750 monthly. College and university students currently in school, planning to start in September, or who graduated in December 2019 are eligible. Working students earning less than $1,000 per month can also apply for the CESB. The benefit will require additional legislation and talks are now underway about how quickly a bill to implement this new program can be brought forward. Specifically, the federal government is also:
          • Creating an additional 76,000 jobs for young people in sectors that need an extra hand right now, or that are on the frontlines of this pandemic;
          • Investing more than $291 million to extend scholarships, fellowships, and grants for three or four months;
          • Launching a new Canada Student Service Grant of between $1,000 and $5,000 for students volunteering in the COVID-19 fight;
          • Providing more than $75 million to specifically increase support for First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Nation students; and
          • Doubling the student grants that the government gives out for the 2020-21 school year.
          New Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Calculator released
          Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Calculator
          Details leaking out about Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)
          According to the Prime Minister’s announcement last week Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. The program will seek to provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. Implementation of the program will require a partnership between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships. We are working with the provinces and territories to increase rent support for businesses that are most impacted by the pandemic and we will have more details to share soon. In his media conference today, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said Tuesday that the province will participate in a forthcoming federal program to help commercial tenants cover rent during the pandemic. Manitoba will contribute $16 million to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program, Pallister said, although details are scarce about how the program will work once implemented. Stay tuned.
          MPs pass motion to hold in-person, virtual sittings
          Yesterday MPs have passed a motion to hold both in-person and virtual meetings to question and debate the government's response to the COVID-19 crisis. The motion formally adjourns the House of Commons until May 25. A special committee — with every MP a member — will meet once weekly in person. Virtual meetings will occur online twice a week once technological and procedural issues have been worked out. MPs defeated a proposed amendment from the Conservatives which called for two in-person sitting days, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said that doing away with 80 per cent of sitting days does not serve the best interests of Canadians and that more in-person sessions would yield better results in terms of accountability, oversight and proposals from opposition parties. Scheer suggested Trudeau is dodging accountability, preferring the "controlled" environment of daily news conferences outside his residence at Rideau Cottage to opposition questions in the House of Commons. Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet accused the Conservatives of holding Parliament "hostage." NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said regular in-person sessions are important to the work of addressing gaps in programs meant to support Canadians and businesses struggling financially through the health crisis, including students.
          $350M support fund for community groups helping vulnerable people
          Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced $350 million in emergency funds for community groups and national charities that help seniors, the homeless and others made more vulnerable by the pandemic. The funds will support community groups through national organizations such as the United Way Canada, the Canadian Red Cross and the Community Foundations of Canada. The funds will support such activities as:
          • Volunteer-based home delivery of groceries and medications.
          • Transportation services, such as those driving seniors or persons with disabilities to appointments.
          • Scaling up help lines that provide information and support.
          • Helping vulnerable Canadians access government benefits.
          • Delivering training and supplies to volunteers.
          • Replacing in-person, one-on-one contact and social gatherings with virtual contact through telephone, texts, teleconferences or the Internet.
            Parliament returned on April 20, 2020
            Between 36 and 40 MPs, including the House Speaker, have been in the House of Commons for today's sitting, which included a question period. Over the weekend the Liberal government reached a tentative deal with the NDP and Bloc Québécois to have one in-person sitting per week. The Conservatives rejected the idea, insisting on more regular meetings each week. Conservatives proposed having two sitting days per week (Tuesdays and Thursdays). Scheer suggested Trudeau prefers the "controlled" environment of daily news conferences outside his residence at Rideau Cottage to opposition questions in the House of Commons. Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet accused the Conservatives of holding Parliament "hostage." NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said regular in-person sessions are important to the work of addressing gaps in programs meant to support Canadians and businesses struggling financially through the health crisis, including students.
            Canada-U.S. agree to extend border restrictions by 30 days
            Canada and the United States have agreed to extend the current closure of the border to all non-essential travel for at least another month. It's been nearly a month since the two countries negotiated their 30-day agreement that exempted the flow of trade and commerce, as well as vital health-care workers such as nurses who live and work on opposite sides of the border. That agreement was due to expire in a few days.
            $1.4 billion for regional economic development and cultural/sport organizations
            Earlier today the Prime Minister announced $1.4 billion in supports for regional economic development agencies and for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations.
            • $675 million to support their work of the six RDAs (the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, Western Economic Diversification Canada, FedNor, FedDev Ontario, Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) to provide equivalent bridge financing support to businesses unable to access the government’s broader support measures.
            • $287 million for the Community Futures Network, funded through the RDAs, to support rural businesses and communities, including through access to capital.
            • $500 million in Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations to help them address their financial needs. This funding will be administered by Canadian Heritage via contribution agreements.
            All air passengers need to wear non-medical masks starting Monday
            Starting on Monday, all air passengers in Canada have to wear non-medical masks or a face covering that goes over their mouth and nose, or risk being denied boarding Transport Canada has announced. Effective at noon on April 20, it’ll be required that anyone travelling through an airport or on an airplane wear a mask, including when going through screening checkpoints where the screeners are unable to keep two metres distance between themselves and the traveller. For travellers looking to depart from, or arrive in Canada, it will be mandatory that they have a non-medical mask or adequate face covering during the boarding process or they will not be allowed to travel.
            Virtual Canada Day party this year
            With gatherings banned due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year's Canada Day celebrations will take place online, the federal government announced Friday. Canadian Heritage Minister Stephen Guilbeault said his department is working with artists to create a virtual show on July 1. The lineup for the Canada Day show is normally released about a month before July 1.
            ICBC is temporarily waiving a number of fees
            Drivers who choose to suspend their insurance won't have to pay the usual $30 cancellation and $18 re-plating fees. In a statement, ICBC says drivers who cancel must remove their licence plates from their vehicle but can reuse the same plates as long as they reinsure after May 30. Those who do so earlier will be issued new plates for free. Companies that own fleets of cars are also eligible to suspend their insurance. With many businesses now switching to delivery models, ICBC says drivers don't need to change their insurance or pay higher premiums. Previously, additional insurance was required.
            Big changes to the CEBA program
            Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced the federal government is also opening up the eligibility criteria the Canada Emergency Business Account. The program, targeted at small- and medium-sized businesses, offers government-guaranteed loans of up to $40,000 to cover the costs of keeping their enterprise afloat during the COVID-19 crisis. Today the PM lowered the threshold. Now, companies who paid between $20,000 and $1,500,000 in total payroll in 2019 will be eligible to receive a loan (still based on T4 income). Under the first iteration of the program business were required to have a payroll of $50,000 to $1 million based on their 2019 T4 Summary. This should help many more CFA members qualify for the CEBA loans. Since the banks began accepting applications, they have approved more than 195,000 loans worth about than $7.5 billion. To apply for a CEBA loan you must work through your financial institution where you do your day to day business banking.
            Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program being developed
            Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also announced a new assistance program meant to help businesses offset monthly rent. The Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program will help small businesses offset rent in April, May and June, Trudeau said during his daily COVID-19 address. Ottawa will work with provinces to roll out the program, as it falls under provincial jurisdiction. The announcement was made in conjunction with plans to loosen eligibility requirements to the Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA), in order to aid more small- and medium-sized businesses struggling with the fallout of the pandemic. CFA is working to try and find out some details. Please stay tuned.
            DEADLINE APPROACHING: Canadian Survey of Business Conditions
            The Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Statistics Canada have released the Canadian Survey of Business Conditions (CSBC). The CSBC will examine the impact of COVID-19 on businesses, changes that businesses have made to adapt, challenges they continue to face and anticipated challenges as recovery begins. Click here to complete the survey. If you have not already done so, we encourage you to complete the survey and share with businesses in your network. The survey deadline has been extended to Wednesday, April 22. Complete the survey
            Conference Board of Canada - Provincial Outlook Spring 2020 – Preliminary Forecast
            The Conference Board released its preliminary Spring 2020 forecast which estimates that real GDP declined at an annualized pace of nearly 5 per cent in the first quarter. In the second quarter, the decline in GDP is forecast to hit 25 per cent. This will be the steepest quarterly decline in economic output on record, based on modern statistics that date back to 1961. Executive Summary
            Real-time economic data shows Canada frozen in time
            Real Time Economic Data
            Changes to CERB – you can still work and collect
            Today Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced it was changing the CERB eligibility rules to: • Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB. • Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their usual seasonal work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. • Extend the CERB to workers who recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19. The government will be working with provinces to increase pay of essential retail workers who make less than $2,500 a month. These changes will be retroactive to March 15, 2020. More details will be posted on the portal shortly. Quebec and British Columbia have already implemented direct wage support for low-income workers in the essential service sectors. The federal government will now be sharing the cost of this wage support through the new transfer to these provinces.
            Rent Support – expecting an announcement from the federal government soon
            An announcement on rent support will be coming soon. CFA has been trying to learn more about the types of support but officials and political staff have been tight-lipped about the program.
            Bank of Canada holds rate steady at 0.25% - no plans to go lower
            The Bank of Canada kept its benchmark interest rate steady at 0.25 per cent on Wednesday, The bank says it thinks economic activity in the period between April and June will be between 15 and 30 per cent lower than it was at the end of 2019 due to widespread lockdowns, layoffs and other drastic measures will have a dramatic impact on Canada's economy in the months ahead. The central bank said its release that it considers the current level of its rate to be its "effective lower bound." That means the bank doesn't have any plans to cut the rate to zero or into negative territory, despite the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic that has devastated Canada's economy. While the bank is signalling it doesn't see a scenario where it would put its rate into negative territory, the bank says it is doing a lot of other things beyond interest-rate reductions to help support the economy such as buying up more bonds and other debts to help keep the economy running. Last month, the Bank of Canada announced it would buy $5 billion worth of federal government debt every week in order to support the economy. On Wednesday, it said it would keep doing that but also buy up to $50 billion worth of provincial debt and up to $10 billion worth of corporate debt in order to ensure there is enough of what central bankers refer to as "liquidity".
            Home sales fell 14% in March
            Home sales fell by 14 per cent in March as COVID-19 lockdowns slowed the market according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. Sales were down just about everywhere from February's level, including in the following cities:
            • Greater Toronto Area, down 20.8 per cent.
            • Montreal, down 13.3 per cent.
            • Greater Vancouver Area, down 2.9 per cent.
            • Fraser Valley, down 13.6 per cent.
            • Calgary, down 26.3 per cent.
            • Edmonton, down 13.2 per cent.
            • Winnipeg, down 7.3 per cent.
            • Hamilton-Burlington, down 24.9 per cent.
            • Ottawa, down 7.9 per cent.
            The average sale price largely unchanged from February. March started strong and then froze in the second half. Preliminary data from the first week of April suggest both sales and new listings were only about half of what would be normal for that time of year. Year over year the average price in March 2020 was up by 12.5 per cent compared to the average seen in March 2019.
            IMF sees worst global recession since 1930s, Canada’s economy to shrink 6.2%
            The global economy has entered a recession as a result of the novel coronavirus and that the situation is “way worse than the global financial crisis according to International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Kristalina Georgieva. The world economy in 2020 will suffer its worst year since the Great Depression of the 1930s, the International Monetary Fund says in its latest forecast. Data from the fund’s forecast show Canada’s economy being hit harder than countries like the U.S. and Japan but surviving the blow better than others like Italy, Spain, Germany, France and the U.K. The IMF said it expects the global economy to shrink 3 per cent this year — far worse than its 0.1 per cent dip in the Great Recession year of 2009 — before rebounding in 2021 with 5.8 per cent growth. It acknowledges, though, that prospects for a rebound next year are clouded by uncertainty. Top Line Report IMF Full Report
            Parliament returns to pass wage subsidy
            Parliament passed the federal government's wage subsidy legislation Saturday night, on April 11, after an emergency sitting that saw MPs applauding collaboration between parliamentarians of all political stripes. The legislation cleared both chambers of Parliament after days of protracted negotiations between the government and opposition parties produced an agreement to pass a bill that will flow billions of dollars to companies during the COVID-19 crisis. While the Conservatives said they still have some issues with the implementation of the $73-billion wage subsidy, they agreed to waive normal parliamentary procedure to get the legislation through the Commons in a single day to allow bureaucrats to start sending money to businesses in need. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said his party's support for the legislation was conditional on the government agreeing to more accountability measures — namely allowing more parliamentary committees to meet throughout this pandemic. One of those committees will be tasked with studying whether Parliament can meet virtually in the weeks ahead.
            Emergency benefits start rolling out
            As the government worked on changes to the wage subsidy, applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) launched this week with millions of people applying for the benefit. Trudeau said the government will expand the CERB to cover some of those who don’t yet qualify. He said the government is looking to provide additional support to those who’ve had their hours cut back due to COVID-19 and for those who are currently working but are making less money than they would under the CERB. He also promised more help to post-secondary students and announced changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program, including increasing the program’s wage subsidy to 100 per cent.
            Federal government releases public health modelling data
            Earlier today the national COVID-19 modelling projections were officially released by Health Canada. Health Canada used two different modelling scenarios: forecasting – which uses actual data on cases seen in Canada to estimate future cases for the week ahead – and dynamic modelling – which is a longer-term prediction of cases using existing knowledge of how the virus behaves. The forecasting model predicts there will be between 22,580 and 31,850 cases of COVID-19 in Canada by April 16. Based on the case fatality rate to date, we can anticipate there will be between 500 and 700 total deaths by next week. The dynamic model assumes that everyone is susceptible and includes various stages of the disease. Health Canada uses as much available scientific information as possible to predict the potential range of people that may be affected. At a high-level, the modelling found that:
            • With no public health measures: A majority of the population (70-80%) would be infected with over 300,000 deaths anticipated.
            • With some public health measures: Between 25-50% of the population infected and over 100,000 likely deaths.
            • With strong public health measures: Approximately 1 to 10% of the population infected and between 11,000 and 22,000 deaths if infection remains between 2.5% and 5%.
            At this time, it is still too early to know if we are at the peak of this crisis but maintaining current measures – including strong social distancing – will help continue planking the curve. If you’re interested in reviewing the modelling, you can access Health Canada’s slide deck here.
            More businesses now eligible for the 75% wage subsidy
            Today, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced a number of changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). That will have a significantly impact on CFA members To qualify business only must be down 15% in March – The benchmark has been changed for March so businesses who saw a drop in gross revenues of at least 15 per cent in March, and 30 per cent in April and May will qualify for the 75% wage subsidy. 100% refund on EI, CPP, QPP, QPIP contributions for employees who are on leave with pay – The government is also going to give eligible employers a 100-per-cent refund for certain employer contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan paid in respect of employees who are on leave with pay. Start Ups and New Businesses Are Now Eligible – Not-for-profits, high growth companies and new businesses may now be eligible if they have seen a drop in gross revenues of at least 15 per cent in March, and 30 per cent in April and May compared to an average of their revenue from January and February 2020. Businesses who have been in business since March 2019 will still have to use those revenues to determine if they are eligible. For more information please click here
            Intake for the Canada Emergency Business Account starts on April 9
            The intake for the CEBA loans begins on April 9. CEBA loans will provide interest free loans of up to $40,000 to help pay for operating costs that can’t be deferred as a result of COVID 19. $10,000 (25%) of the $40,000 loan is eligible for complete forgiveness if $30,000 is fully repaid on or before December 31, 2022. If the loan cannot be repaid by December 31, 2022, it can be converted into a 3 year term loan at an interest rate of 5%. To qualify business will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019 – based on their 2019 T4SUM Summary of Remuneration Paid. Businesses must agree to use funds from this line of credit to pay for operating costs that cannot be deferred, such as payroll, rent, utilities, insurance, and property tax. How to apply – Businesses should apply through the financial institution that holds their primary business operating account. CFA is lobbying for the program to be expanded so businesses can get one loan per active business location not per corporate entity.
    LAST UPDATED: December 10, 2020

    Alberta COVID-19 Update

    Alberta imposes tough new restrictions
    The Alberta government on Tuesday ordered the closure of all casinos and gyms, banned dine-in service at restaurants and bars, and imposed a mandatory provincewide mask requirement under new restrictions aimed at curbing the province's soaring COVID-19 infection rates. The province also banned all outdoor and indoor social gatherings, and imposed mandatory work-from-home measures. The new restrictions will be in place for at least four weeks. Retail businesses, as of Saturday at midnight, will be allowed to remain open but must reduce capacity to 15 per cent of the occupancy allowed under the fire code. Places of worship will face the same restriction. The closures taking effect at midnight Saturday include all: • Restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges and cafes. In-person service will not be permitted. Only takeout, curbside pickup and delivery services will be permitted. • Casinos, bingo halls, gaming entertainment centres, racing entertainment centres, horse tracks,raceways, bowling alleys, pool halls, legions and private clubs. • Recreational facilities such as fitness centres, recreation centres, pools, spas, gyms, studios, camps, indoor rinks and arenas. • Libraries, science centres, interpretive centres, museums, galleries, amusement parks and water parks. • Businesses offering personal and wellness services such as hair salons, nail salons, tattoo parlours and massage businesses. Regulated health services such as physiotherapy, social or protective services, shelters for vulnerable persons, emergency services and soup kitchens can remain open for in-person attendance. Hotels may remain open but must follow all relevant restrictions. Outdoor recreation is permitted but facilities with indoor space will be closed except for the washrooms. New support for Alberta small business At Tuesday's news conference, Doug Schweitzer, the minister of jobs, economy and innovation, said the government will expand the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant, with a new lower threshold and increased grant amounts. Businesses will be eligible to apply for a second payment through the program, for a total of up to $20,000 in potential funding each, up from the original $5,000. The program will also expand to include businesses that have experienced revenue losses of at least 30 per cent due to the pandemic, lowering the threshold from the former requirement of 40 per cent revenue losses.
    Alberta to impose tough new restrictions
    This afternoon, Premier Jason Kenney, announced a number of new restrictions on Alberta businesses to help stem the spread of COVID-19. These mandatory restrictions apply provincewide and will be in place at least until January 12, 2021. Closures – starting at 12:01 a.m., Dec. 13 Restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges and cafes will be closed to in-person service. Only takeout, curbside pickup and delivery services are permitted. Casinos, bingo halls, gaming entertainment centres, racing entertainment centres, horse tracks, raceways, bowling alleys, pool halls, legions, and private clubs will be closed. Recreational facilities – fitness centres, recreation centres, pools, spas, gyms, studios, day and overnight camps, indoor rinks and arenas – will be closed. Outdoor recreation is permitted, but facilities with indoor spaces except for washrooms will be closed. Entertainment businesses and entities – libraries, science centres, interpretive centres, museums, galleries, amusement parks and water parks – will be closed. Hotels may remain open but must follow restrictions – no spas, pools or in-person dining. Room services only. Personal and wellness services, including hair salons, nail salons, massage, tattoos, and piercing, will be closed. Social gatherings – immediate All indoor and outdoor social gatherings – public and private – are prohibited. Close contacts are limited to household members only. Individuals who live alone will be allowed up to two close contacts for in-person visiting, with those two people remaining the same for the duration of the restriction period. Festivals, parades, events, concerts, exhibitions, competitions, sport and performance remain prohibited. Masking – immediate The mandatory indoor public masking requirement will be extended provincewide. Public spaces include locations where a business or entity operates and is applicable to employees, visitors and the general public. Applies to all indoor workplaces and facilities outside the home. Farm operations are excluded. Rental accommodations used solely for the purposes of a private residence are excluded. Retail – starting at 12:01 a.m., Dec. 13 Retail services must reduce customer capacity to 15 per cent of fire code occupancy, with a minimum of five customers permitted. Curbside pickup, delivery and online services are encouraged. Shopping malls will be limited to 15 per cent of fire code occupancy. Health services, including physiotherapy or acupuncture, social or protective services, shelters for vulnerable persons, emergency services, child care, and not-for-profit community kitchens or charitable kitchens will remain open for in-person attendance.
    Alberta bans all indoor social gatherings
    Alberta rolled out new restrictions on Tuesday that prohibit all social gatherings in people's homes and make masks mandatory for all indoor workplaces in the province's two largest cities. The new measures introduced on Tuesday will be evaluated after three weeks, are:
    • Social gatherings — No indoor social gatherings allowed. Outdoor gatherings limited to 10 people. Kenney said this will be enforced with fines of $1,000.
    • Schools — Beginning Nov. 30, all students in Grades 7-12 will immediately transition to online learning until they begin their winter break. In-person learning for all students will be delayed a week until Jan. 11.
    • Weddings and funerals — Maximum of 10 people for wedding ceremonies or funeral services.
    • Places of worship — Faith-based groups can operate with mandatory reduced capacity, of one-third of the building's occupancy. Mask use is mandatory. This is only in effect in regions with enhanced status on the province's COVID-19 map.
    • Working from home — All businesses are encouraged to have employees work from home as much as possible. Kenney said that would include provincial government employees.
    • Businesses that must close include banquet halls, conference centres, trade shows, auditoriums and concert venues, community centres, children's play places and indoor playgrounds. Sports are also included in this category.
    • Food and beverage — Restaurants, bars, pubs and lounges will be open. Tables can seat a maximum of six people from the same household, while people who live alone can meet with up to two non-household contacts who are part of their cohort. Last call will continue to be at 10 p.m. and licensed food-serving establishments must close at 11.
    Businesses that can remain open with restrictions include most retail businesses, with capacity limited to 25 per cent of fire code occupancy. That includes liquor and cannabis shops, grocery stores, pharmacies, clothing stores, computer and technology stores, hardware, automotive and approved farmers and seasonal markets. Also included are movie theatres, museums and galleries, libraries, casinos (though table games must close) and indoor entertainment centres. Fitness and recreation centres can operate with reduced capacity, but only for individual workouts, with no group fitness, group classes, group training, team practices or games. Restrictions around businesses are only in effect in regions with enhanced COVID-19 status. The detailed media release is available here.  
    Alberta government to announce new COVID-19 measures
    Premier Jason Kenney, Health Minister Tyler Shandro, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Dr. Verna Yiu, CEO of Alberta Health Services, will be at today's COVID-19 briefing to provide an update on the pandemic and the province's response. The news conference has been scheduled for 4:30 p.m. MT. You can watch the briefing here. In a noon-hour tweet Tuesday, Kenney confirmed that he, Hinshaw and Shandro will announce new measures "that will help Alberta slow the spread" of COVID-19.
    Alberta finance minister sees hopeful signs in latest fiscal update
    Finance Minister Travis Toews says he sees reason for hope in Alberta's latest fiscal update, even though the province is well into the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. His optimism is based on slight improvements in some key indicators since the first-quarter update was released in August. Alberta is now forecasting a deficit of $21.3 billion at the end of the fiscal year, an improvement over the $24.2-billion deficit reported at the end of the first quarter. The change is due to increased revenues of nearly $3 billion from the projections in the last quarter. Toews attributed that to a better outlook for bitumen and other resource revenues, increased income from investments and transfers from the federal government. Real GDP is expected to contract by 8.1 per cent in 2020, not the 8.8 per cent forecast in Q1.The update forecasts real GDP growth to hit 4.4 per cent in 2021. The government is setting aside $750 million for COVID-19 expenses in the next fiscal year, an acknowledgement that the pandemic will not be over by March 31, 2021. The appropriations bill, tabled Tuesday, will request an additional $5.7 billion to fund pandemic expenses and the government's economic recovery plan. The second-quarter update forecasts Alberta will end the 2020-21 fiscal year with $41.4 billion in revenue and $62.7 billion in expenses. Taxpayer-supported debt is forecast at $97.4 billion, with a debt-to-GDP ratio of 20.6 per cent. Toews said the government plans to keep that ratio below 30 per cent.
    Alberta government widens criteria for small business pandemic grant program
    The Alberta government has expanded a grant program for small businesses that have taken a large financial wallop during the pandemic. Jobs, the Economy and Innovation Minister Doug Schweitzer said the province has lowered the threshold for small and medium businesses to qualify for a grant of up to $5,000. The government will also offer a second round of grants for affected businesses and will begin taking applications within weeks. Businesses with fewer than 500 employees previously qualified for aid if they'd lost more than 50 per cent of their pre-pandemic revenue. That bar will now drop to 40 per cent, and businesses that previously applied and now meet the new criteria will receive aid retroactively, said Schweitzer's press secretary, Justin Brattinga. Companies have until Tuesday to apply for the first round of grants. Within weeks, the government will take applications for a second round of grants until March 31, 2021.
    Alberta introduces further restrictions
    Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced new restrictions Thursday to slow the spread of COVID-19. For two weeks, from Nov. 13 to Nov. 27, the province will suspend group fitness, team sports, group performance activities, as well as reduce operating hours for bars and pubs, Kenney said. The province has one of the highest infection rates in the country. Almost daily, Alberta is seeing record numbers of new cases, active cases and, perhaps most ominously, hospitalization and intensive care unit occupancy rates.
    Alberta – Improving Workplace Safety Laws
    A new bill introduced by the Alberta government would reinstate a cap on maximum earnings used to calculate worker's compensation benefits, and end a requirement for an organization to reinstate an injured worker. Bill 47, the Ensuring Safety and Cutting Red Tape Act, is the latest legislation proposed by the government that would roll back workplace safety measures and changes to workers' compensation board rules implemented by the previous NDP government. Labour and Immigration Minister Jason Copping said measures in the bill are required to reinstate "balance" to the Workers' Compensation Board system and manage costs. The bill would end the mandatory requirement for employers to reinstate injured workers with more than 12 months of service, which was legislated by the previous government. The previous NDP government ended the insurable earnings cap in 2017. Bill 47 would reinstate that cap to either 90 per cent of a worker's net earnings at the time of the injury or a maximum that would be set by the WCB using a formula. The bill proposes to close the independent Fair Practices Office and Medical Panels Office set up by the NDP to help injured workers make their way through the WCB system. If the bill is passed, only first responders such as firefighters, police officers, corrections officers and paramedics would get presumptive coverage under WCB for injuries related to trauma. The previous government extended that coverage to all workers.
    New bill would change frequency of Alberta child-care centre inspections
    New legislation would change the frequency of Alberta child-care centre inspections to put more focus on those struggling to comply with rules. Children's Services Minister Rebecca Schulz tabled legislation Wednesday that would license daycare centres in good standing for three years at a time, instead of one. The frequency of inspections, and what qualifies a centre as higher risk, will be set later this fall in regulations. Centres in good standing would also have an easier time applying to open new locations. Bill 39, the Child Care Licensing and Amendment Act, would also allow licensed daycare centres to operate 24 hours a day if needed — something the law doesn't currently allow. If passed and proclaimed, the legislation would also allow the province's 2,900 licensed child-care programs to keep digital, rather than paper files. The changes would tweak the rules to encourage more day homes to pursue licences. Under the current rules, for example, unlicensed day homes can care for six kids, plus the owner's children, whereas licensed homes can only have a maximum of six children. If the legislature adopts the proposal, all day home operators could care for their own children plus six kids. The bill would also allow centres more flexibility to mix age groups together, which could help with staffing and in adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Alberta on track to record-setting $24.2B budget deficit
    Alberta is on track to end the current fiscal year with a $24.2-billion deficit, the largest in the province's history, and the finance minister is suggesting more cuts are on the way. The figure was contained in the first-quarter fiscal update released Thursday by Finance Minister Travis Toews. The deficit is forecast to be $16.8 billion higher than was estimated in the provincial budget in February. Revenue is projected to drop $11.5 billion over the course of the current fiscal year. The report reflects Alberta's financial situation in April, May and June, a period when the province was mostly shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and oil prices sunk into negative territory. Debt is now projected to hit $99.6 billion by the end of March 2021 — up $25.4 billion from 2020 — for a debt-to-GDP ratio of 22 per cent. The cost to service that debt is forecast at $2.2 billion. The province is now forecasting total revenue will be $38.4 billion, down $11.5 billion from the budget. Total forecasted expense is now pegged at $62.6 billion, up $5.3 billion. According to economic analysis contained in the report, Alberta will see a decline in real GDP this year of 8.8 per cent.
    Alberta Premier Jason Kenney shuffles cabinet
    Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced a minor cabinet shuffle on Tuesday that changes the portfolios of two current ministers and adds a new face to his front bench. It is the first cabinet shuffle since Kenney led his United Conservative Party to a majority win over the province's first NDP government in April 2019, on a platform of jobs, economy and pipelines Doug Schweitzer has moved from Justice to the new ministry of Jobs, Economy and Innovation, which replaces the ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism. Tanya Fir, the former minister, has been dropped from cabinet and moved to the backbench where she will continue to serve as the MLA for Calgary-Peigan. Kaycee Madu moves to Justice, while Tracy Allard, the MLA for Grande Prairie, takes over his former spot in Municipal Affairs. CFA Note: We will be reaching out to Minister Schweitzer to start to highlight the importance of franchising and franchised businesses in Alberta.
    Masks mandatory in all Edmonton indoor public spaces starting Aug. 1
    Face masks will be mandatory in all indoor public spaces starting Saturday, after city council passed a temporary bylaw. The bylaw requires people to wear face coverings at all times while in indoor or enclosed public places or public vehicles. It includes indoor spaces that are both public and privately owned.
    Calgary to make masks mandatory in indoor public spaces as of Aug. 1
    The City of Calgary will make masks mandatory in all indoor public spaces starting Aug. 1. Council voted 12-3 in favour of the new bylaw on Tuesday. The bylaw, which will require people to wear a face covering over their mouth, nose and chin, would apply to all indoor public spaces in the city, like malls and grocery stores, and on Calgary Transit, in taxis and Ubers. It does not include schools, daycares and multi-family residential buildings. Businesses will be asked to post signs notifying people of the rule, but will not be expected to deny service to those who don't wear masks, as there are exemptions. The bylaw will not apply to children under age 2, people with underlying medical conditions that inhibit their ability to wear a mask, people who are eating or drinking, or people who are engaging in a fitness activity, among other exemptions. Those who fail to wear a mask and don't meet those exemptions could be fined $100 to $200, but city officials say the focus will be on education over ticketing.
    Edmonton city council to debate making masks mandatory
    Edmonton city council will meet Thursday to debate whether to make it mandatory for people to wear masks in indoor public places.
    Regina working to streamline pot store application process as market opens up
    The City of Regina is working to streamline the application process for marijuana retail stores in the city once the cap is lifted on the number of stores allowed in each community. The Saskatchewan government announced last October that the cap on stores in communities would be lifted in September of this year. In a delegation to the city's planning commission meeting on Wednesday, one pot shop owner expressed concern over the plan. The committee voted in favour of a change to the wording of the zoning bylaw, which would essentially ensure prospective applicants for permits to open new stores are approved and cleared by the province prior to applying to the City of Regina. An amendment, introduced by Coun. Andrew Stevens, was approved to prepare a report on the economic impact assessment on the city as a result of legalization. That report is expected back before the committee in 2021. Stevens, who noted the agenda item was about the application process and not the market, said the meeting highlighted the city's opportunity to get ahead of the provincial government when the process changes in the fall. The decision needs approval by city council, which will meet July 29.
    Regina city council considering $2M grant program for struggling businesses
    Regina's executive committee is considering a plan that could provide relief for businesses struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. If approved, the city would set aside a $2 million pot of money that could be divvied out to businesses through grants. Businesses could apply for grants of between $1,000 to $25,000, as long as they agree to match whatever money they receive. Regina's chamber of commerce would help oversee the grant program. Mayor Michael Fougere said he supports the idea for the most part, but said council will need to narrow down which businesses will be allowed to apply. The executive committee approved the plan, which will go before city council for further discussion on July 29.
    Alberta government proposes new agency to attract investment
    Bill 33, the Alberta Investment Attraction Act, would allow for the creation of the corporation, which would be governed by a board that would have up to seven members. The bill was introduced in the legislature on Tuesday by Tanya Fir, the minister of economic development, trade and tourism. The Invest Alberta Corporation would have a budget of $18 million over the next three years to fulfil a mandate of pulling foreign dollars into Alberta as part of an effort to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. If the legislation passes, cabinet will appoint up to seven board members, one of whom will be a member of executive council. The board will in turn select a CEO.
    Alberta providing free non-medical masks to Albertans at drive-thrus resumes Monday
    A Alberta program giving non-medical masks to Albertans through drive-thrus is set to resume on July 13. In June, 20 million masks were distributed through restaurants, municipalities, and long-term care facilities as well as First Nations and Métis settlements, according to a Sunday morning news release from the province. The province said the second round will distribute another 20 million masks. About 600 A&W, McDonald's and Tim Hortons locations across Alberta took part in the program in June, giving away 14 million masks. The province announced it was pausing the program on June 22.
    Outdoor gathering limit doubled in Alberta from 100 to 200 people
    Alberta is doubling the number of people who can gather at an outdoor event from 100 to 200, officials announced Tuesday. The limit for indoor gatherings remains at 50. More information on outdoor and indoor gathering restrictions is available online. Sector-specific recommendations during the relaunch are also available online.
    Alberta recovery plan: billions in infrastructure, cut corporate taxes
    Alberta will spend billions on infrastructure projects, cut its corporate tax rate, establish a new investment agency and introduce a series of targeted incentives for industry as part of a plan to restart its economy. Premier Jason Kenney said his government would spend $10 billion on projects that will immediately create jobs, including health-care facilities, pipelines, schools, drug treatment centres and more. He said the government anticipates the creation of 50,000 jobs directly tied to the projects across the province. . Alberta has been hurt by oil price wars and COVID-19 pandemic. It has seen its deficit balloon from a projected $7 billion to $20 billion this year. Its most recent budget was based on oil fetching $58 US per barrel, a forecast critics called rosy at the time, and was rushed through the legislature as a battle between Saudi Arabia and Russia cratered the price and the global pandemic settled on Alberta. Economists are predicting a severe recession in the once-booming province and even Kenney has warned of "a great fiscal reckoning" to come in a province that has tied its fortunes to the swings of its main commodity. In addition to the spending announced today, Kenney also said his government would speed up the implementation of corporate tax cuts, slashing the rate to eight per cent from 10 per cent starting on July 1. The plan will offer incentives for the tech sector to employ workers and will funnel $175 million into the Alberta Enterprise Corporation to provide venture capital to startups. As well, a new agency, Investment Alberta, will set up international offices and pitch Alberta to potential investors. Sector-specific initiatives to spur diversification will be unveiled in the coming days and weeks. Read more about Alberta's Recovery Plan
    Alberta: SME Relaunch Grant accepting applications
    The Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses, cooperatives, and non-profit organizations that were ordered to close or curtail operations, and that experienced a revenue reduction of at least 50 per cent, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible organizations can apply for 15% of their pre-COVID-19 revenue, up to a maximum of $5,000 in funding. Businesses, cooperatives and non-profits can use these funds as they see fit to help offset a portion of their relaunch costs, such as implementing measures to minimize the risk of virus transmission, which could include:
    • physical barriers
    • purchasing personal protective equipment and disinfecting supplies
    • paying rent and employee wages
    • replacing inventory and more
    For more information on the SME Relaunch Grant
    Alberta pharmacists to begin offering tests for COVID-19
    Alberta will soon begin testing for COVID-19 at community pharmacies, says Health Minister Tyler Shandro. Twenty pharmacies, located primarily in Edmonton and Calgary, will begin to offer swab tests to Albertans without symptoms and no known exposure to COVID-19, Shandro said at a news conference Thursday. The number of pharmacies conducting COVID-19 testing will expand further once processes, flow of test materials and data is working well, he said. Each participating pharmacy will adhere to strict protocols and has the specialized skills needed to protect patient safety.
    Alberta’s free mask distribution a huge success
    The first phase of Alberta’s distribution of free non-medical masks has ended, with more than 14 million masks handed out at A&W, McDonald’s Canada, and Tim Hortons drive-thrus across the province. Full News Release
    Edmonton restaurants close after staff, patrons test positive for COVID-19
    At least five Edmonton restaurants have voluntarily closed their doors after staff or customers recently tested positive for COVID-19. Greta Bar, at 10141 109th St., closed on Thursday after a customer tested positive for the virus. Other closures have affected The Pint's downtown location, Earls Tin Palace on Jasper Avenue, and MKT and Round 2 on Gateway Boulevard. In an Instagram post, Greta Bar management said the customer was at the restaurant on June 14, sitting at a table with several of the restaurant staff. Staff working that day will be tested, the post said. The bar is also urging customers who were there on June 14 to be tested.
    Alberta: Protecting Commercial Tenants
    The provincial government is proposing Bill 23: the Commercial Tenancies Protection Act to protect eligible commercial tenants from having their leases terminated due to non-payment of rent during COVID-19. The act, if passed, would also prevent landlords from increasing rent, charging late fees or enforcing penalties on missed rent. The legislation would cover the period from March 17 to August 31; any rent increases that occurred during that time would require landlords to reimburse tenants.
    Alberta: Continued support COVID-19 – extending unpaid leave
    The Alberta government is proposing Bill 24: the COVID-19 Pandemic Response Statutes Amendment Act to support Albertans as the province reopens. The bill, if passed, will make amendments to current measures and introduce new measures. These include extending unpaid job-protected leave due to COVID-19 until August 2021, increasing the child care cohort size from 10 to 30 staff and children at day cares, and allowing for remote signing and witnessing of estate and care documents through two-way video conferencing.
    Kenney not committing to keeping Alberta's minimum wage at $15
    In response to a question in Question Period, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney would not say whether he'd maintain Alberta’s $15 per hour general minimum wage in a post-COVID-19 economy. Kenney responded to the question from NDP Leader Rachel Notley by pointing to Alberta’s high unemployment rate and blaming the former NDP government for what he called its "job-killing policies." Rachel Notley’s NDP government gradually raised the per hour general minimum wage from $10.20 in 2015 to $15 in 2018. After defeating the NDP and winning a majority government, Kenney’s UCP government introduced a youth minimum wage of $13 per hour in June 2019.
    Alberta bill will prevent commercial evictions, but provide no rent relief
    Today, Economic Development, Trade and Tourism Minister Tanya Fir introduced Bill 23, the Commercial Tenancies Protection Act. The Bill will protect businesses affected by COVID-19-related closures from facing eviction, rent increases and late fees due to missed rent until Aug. 31, if their landlords have refused to sign up for the federal Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program even if they are eligible. The Alberta bill does not provide rent relief to affected businesses. Instead, the government is presuming property owners and tenants can work out a repayment plan. The decision to provide a discount on rent remains with the landlord, meaning they can still demand the full amount owing from March 17 to Aug. 31. For more information
    Alberta Reducing Red Tape
    Bill 22: Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act, 2020 proposes 14 legislative changes across six ministries. If passed, programs and services led by Energy Efficiency Alberta will transition to Emissions Reduction Alberta; unnecessary delays in the oilsands approval process will be eliminated; and it will be more affordable for non-profits to operate in Alberta among other changes.
    Alberta will move to Stage 2 of relaunch on Friday
    Premier Jason Kenney announced that Alberta will moved to Stage 2 of Alberta's relaunch on Friday. Some steps of the relaunch that were scheduled to wait until the third stage of the plan will be rolled into Stage 2. Stage 2 measures – will allow more businesses and services to reopen with two-metre physical distancing requirements and other public health measures in place. That list includes:
    • K-12 schools, for requested diploma exams and summer school;
    • Libraries, with some restrictions;
    • Places of worship;
    • Wellness services, such as massage, acupuncture and reflexology;
    • Personal services, including esthetics, cosmetics, skin and body treatments, manicures, pedicures, waxing, facial treatment and tanning;
    • Movie theatres and theatres, with restrictions;
    • Community halls, with limits on attendance;
    • Team sports, with restrictions, for up to 50 players;
    • Provincial campgrounds can operate at full capacity
    Areas that were part of Phase 3 but have now been moved forward include:
    • Indoor and outdoor recreation, fitness and sports centres, including gyms and swimming pools, with measures in place;
    • Concerts, casinos and bingo halls, arcades and video lottery terminals in restaurants and lounge.
    Events and gatherings that can be larger in Stage 2 include:
    • Indoor social gatherings – including wedding and funeral receptions and birthday parties, with a maximum of 50 people;
    • Outdoor events and indoor seated events, including wedding and funeral ceremonies, with a maximum of 100 people.
    • As long as public health measures and physical distancing are in place, there will no longer be caps on the number of people who can attend worship gatherings, or patronize restaurants, cafés, lounges and bars.
    Fitness centre guidelines – specific guidance for operators of fitness centres will draw a line between high- and low-intensity activities, with more physical distance between participants required for high-intensity training. For lower-intensity activities, a distance of two metres would be adequate, with some enhanced measures for the regular cleaning of equipment. For yoga classes participants should be encouraged to bring their own equipment. Other measures would recommend operators do regular screening to make sure patrons or users are not ill, haven't been in close contact with someone who is ill, and haven't returned from international travel in the last 14 days.
    Commercial Rent – Banning of Evictions in BC, AB, QC, SK and ON
    The governments in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Alberta banned commercial evictions in light of increasing reports of tenants being evicted.
    Alberta may move to Stage 2 of relaunch before June 19
    Alberta may be able to speed up plans to move into Stage 2 of its relaunch strategy, Premier Jason Kenney says. Final decisions have not been made, but Albertans can expect an announcement early next week, Kenney said Wednesday at a news conference. Stage 2 of the relaunch plan has been scheduled to begin on June 19. Under Stage 2, more businesses and services would be allowed to reopen, with restrictions. Businesses listed by the province under Stage 2 include movie theatres and live theatres, libraries, acupuncture and massage therapy, artificial tanning salons, esthetics, cosmetic skin and body treatments, manicures, pedicures, waxing, facial treatments and reflexology. Larger gatherings might be permitted in some situations. Under Stage 3, the list of businesses and venues that would be allowed to reopen, with restrictions, includes arts and culture festivals, concerts and major sporting events, nightclubs, gyms, pools, recreation centres and arenas
    Alberta partners with fast-food chains to offer free masks at drive-thrus
    Albertans will be able to pick up free non-medical masks from the drive-thrus of A&W, McDonald's and Tim Hortons starting in early June. The Alberta government is distributing 20 million masks meant to help limit the spread of COVID-19, said Health Minister Tyler Shandro during a press conference Friday. The masks are for situations where physical distancing is difficult to maintain, such as on public transit or while shopping. The province is distributing the masks through the three restaurants because they provide an ease of access, said the province's health minister.
    Alberta launches new tool available for commercial rent feedback
    The province has since launched a survey for landlords and tenants to provide feedback on any challenges experienced in attempting to develop a payment schedule or meet financial obligations.
    Edmonton launches $5M grant program to help business
    Edmonton businesses struggling to survive the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for municipal assistance through a new program approved on Wednesday. The city's new economic recovery program includes a 50-per-cent discount on business licensing fees — upon request — until the end of 2020. It includes $5.3 million in grant money, with $1,000 to $25,000 available to each successful applicant. The city will implement the recovery program in two phases. Forty per cent of the grant money will be allotted in phase one, from June 10 to Dec. 31, 2020, and the rest will be delivered in phase two, from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2021. Licence fees cut in half Of Edmonton’s 36,000 businesses, 300 have already asked for the 50-per-cent discount on their licence fees. Council approved adjustments to the spring operating budget, moving money from one department to another, to free up the money for the grant program.
    Alberta cuts training for barbers
    Alberta has expanded the hairstylist apprenticeship program to include barber certification, enabling apprentices to choose the path that best meets their needs. The new barber certification path enables apprentices to streamline their training and achieve certification in half the time. Hairstylist apprentices wishing to switch programs or who are currently working as a barber can receive credit for training they have already completed.
    Alberta: Businesses can buy PPE from province until June 30
    Alberta will allow private businesses to buy personal protective gear, including masks and gloves, from the province at fair market prices until June 30, but after that they'll need to secure their own suppliers.
    Calgary business owners excited yet wary as they reopen their doors
    Today restaurants, bars and salons in Calgary can join the rest of the province in Phase 1 of reopening, as the city joins the rest of the province in Phase 1 of its relaunch, allowing salons and barbershops to reopen, and cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars to allow table service at 50 per cent capacity. Those businesses were given the green light to reopen on May 14 across the rest of the province but the cities of Calgary and Brooks have reopened at a slower pace due to higher numbers of COVID-19 cases in their regions.
    Calgary, Brooks can join rest of Alberta Monday in Phase 1 easing
    Calgary and Brooks will join the rest of Alberta by allowing bars, restaurants, hair salons and barbershops to open on Monday, while more COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted across the province on June 1. The rest of Alberta got the go-ahead more than a week ago to move to stage 1 of the provincial relaunch plan on May 14, but the two southern Alberta cities were told to hold off on opening some businesses due to high COVID-19 infection rates — a last-minute announcement that caught many businesses off guard. Starting Monday, hairstyling and barber shops will be permitted to reopen in Calgary and Brooks, and cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars can reopen for table service at 50 per cent capacity. The premier also announced Friday that as of June 1:
    • Day camps would be allowed to open with restrictions.
    • Post-secondary institutions would be able to offer summer classes with caps on participants.
    • Funeral services and places of worship could expand capacity.
    Alberta releases COVID-19 guidelines for sectors that may reopen this week
    Tanya Fir, minister of economic development, trade and tourism, released the new online tool to help businesses that may be allowed to reopen as early as Thursday. The province's online tool has documents to help prepare businesses for stage one relaunch, including: • Day camps • Daycare and out-of-school care • Hair salons and barbershops • Museums and art galleries • Outdoor recreation • Places of worship • Restaurants • Retail The website also includes guidance documents for sectors currently allowed to operate under public health orders, including: • Disability service providers • Farmers markets • Golf course operators • Health non-essential services • Health sector PPE guidelines • Homeless shelters • Industrial work camps • Private/municipal campgrounds Under the current relaunch plan, May 14 would be the earliest date when some restrictions may be lifted.
    Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec lifting some COVID-19 restrictions
    Ontario took its first steps Monday with the reopening of some businesses, including lawn care and landscaping, garden centres for curbside pickup, automatic and self-serve car washes, auto dealerships by appointment, and many construction projects. Manitobans can now visit everything from hair salons to museums to restaurant patios (with fewer seats than normal) provided everyone is following public health rules. In most of Saskatchewan, non-urgent medical offices are allowed to reopen and rules around some outdoor activities — including fishing and boating — are being loosened. But one owner of a physiotherapy clinic told CBC Saskatchewan she's got mixed emotions about opening up. Newfoundland and Labrador plans to move to alert Level 4 on May 11, meaning a relaxation of some public health measures to allow more social and business activities. The province followed New Brunswick's lead and allowed families to come together in "bubbles" made up of two households . Alberta took its first strides toward the large-scale resumption of public life under COVID-19 this weekend as provincial parks and golf courses opened under the government's phased economic relaunch. Alberta began to ease some public health restrictions on Friday, with provincial parks and boat launches reopening with limited services. Alberta has three stage plan starting May 14 called Opening Soon: Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy .
    Alberta to partially open economy on Monday
    The first step in Alberta's plan to reopen its economy will emphasize outdoor activities, with golf courses to open on Monday followed by shops, bars and restaurants by mid-May. Premier Jason Kenney detailed his government's plan for a multi-stage relaunch that will depend on the province's continued ability to control the spread of the coronavirus and curb the number of COVID-19 patients who need hospital care. The gradual relaunch plan will begin Monday with the resumption of some non-urgent surgeries and office reopenings for dentists, physiotherapists, speech and respiratory therapists, social workers and dieticians. Provincial parks will begin opening Monday with some boat launches available though washrooms and garbage pickup in the parks will not be immediately available. The province will open as many campsites as possible by June 1 with Alberta Parks's online reservation system coming online May 14. Private and municipal campgrounds can reopen under their own authority. Vehicle access to parking lots and staging areas in parks and on public lands will begin on Monday. Under Stage 1, some businesses and facilities could be allowed to gradually resume operations as early as May 14, including:
    • Retail businesses, such as clothing, furniture and bookstores. All vendors at farmers markets will also be able to operate.
    • Hairstyling and barbershops.
    • Museums and art galleries.
    • Daycares and out-of-school care with limits on occupancy.
    • Summer camps with limits on occupancy. That could include summer school.
    • Cafés and restaurants with no bar service to reopen for public seating at 50 per cent capacity.
    Under Stage 2, additional businesses and services would be allowed to reopen, with two-metre physical distancing requirements and other public health guidelines in place. That might include:
    • Kindergarten to Grade 12 schools, with restrictions.
    • More scheduled surgeries, including backlog elimination.
    • Personal services, such as artificial tanning, esthetics, cosmetic skin and body treatments, manicures, pedicures, waxing, facial treatments, massage and reflexology.
    • Permitting some larger gatherings (number of people to be determined).
    • Movie theatres and theatres open with restrictions.
    • Visitors to patients at health-care facilities will continue to be limited.
    Stage 3. That would mean fully reopening all businesses and services, with some limited restrictions still in place, and:
    • Permitting larger gatherings, permitting arts and culture festivals, concerts and major sporting events, with some restrictions.
    • Permitting nightclubs, gyms, pools, recreation centres and arenas to reopen, with restrictions. •
    • Resuming industry conferences, with restrictions.
    • Lifting restrictions on non-essential travel.
    Alberta’s staged COVID-19 relaunch
    Alberta releases updated modelling projections
    The Alberta government released new modelling projections on Tuesday that estimate far fewer Albertans will require hospitalization and critical care when the coronavirus reaches its expected peak in the province in late May. That new projection now thought to be the most likely scenario estimates that 298 people will be in hospital with 95 in ICU beds at the peak, if current trends continue. As of Tuesday, 82 people were in hospital with the illness, 21 of them in ICU beds. The total number of deaths in Alberta has now reached 80, and the total number of cases is 4,850. The updated "probable scenario" estimates 596 people will require hospitalization when the virus reaches its peak. That's down from the previous projection of 818 people. The regional breakdown of the cases was:
    • Calgary zone: 3,366
    • South zone: 685
    • Edmonton zone: 486
    • North zone: 202
    • Central zone: 84
    • Unknown: 27
    Calgary extends ban on events on city-owned land to end of August
    The City of Calgary has extended the ban on events on city-owned land until Aug. 31. Previously, the ban extended only until the end of June. That means the cancellation of 166 permitted events, including the annual Canada Day celebrations. Non-permitted events are not included in that tally. The announcement comes one day after both the Calgary Folk Fest and the Calgary Stampede announced their annual festivities would not go forward.
    AB, SK, NL and QC release provincial COVID-19 modeling
    Saskatchewan released its modelling on April 8, which shows the provincial government is planning for 3,000 to 8,300 deaths and approximately 20 to 200 daily intensive care admissions from COVID-19 at its peak. The data does not say when that peak is expected nor when distancing measures might be eased. Newfoundland and Labrador outlined its projections on April 8. Their prediction focused on intensive care capacity instead of expected deaths. They expect to exceed its 57 intensive-care capacity by the end of June if the spread of the virus continues its current rate of growth. The first assumes current restrictions remain in place and projects 32 per cent of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians infected over a two-year period. Under that scenario, the peak of the virus would occur in early November, and the province would have enough hospital beds and ventilators to weather the pandemic. The second model projects a scenario in which current restrictions are eased and assumes 52 per cent of people in the province infected over the same two-year period. In that scenario, the peak comes sooner — mid-September — and overwhelms hospital beds, intensive-care units and ventilators. Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenney outlined what he described as a "probable" scenario for Alberta on Tuesday that suggested the province won't see a peak in the virus until mid-May. That model suggested Alberta could see as many as 800,000 COVID-19 cases by the end of the summer with death figures ranging from 400 to 3,100. Another more "elevated" scenario pointed toward the possibility of both higher case numbers and between 500 and 6,600 deaths. On Tuesday, Quebec’s model predicts at least 1,200 COVID-19 deaths by the end of April, and if preventative measures aren’t continued, the death toll could be as high as 9,000. Public health officials noted that the current thinking is that the number of deaths will be closer to the lower estimate. Prime Minister Trudeau said Wednesday that people would learn more about a national model in the coming days, but did not provide a specific date. The prime minister said it's not yet clear exactly when Canada will reach a peak but said that strict adherence to critical public health measures — including physical distancing and staying home as much as possible — will help reduce the impact of the outbreak. It’s important to note that the federal modeling requires data from provincial health authorities. Some provinces have better data than others which hinders the development of a national level forecast.
    Alberta may be on track for 25 per cent unemployment rate
    Jason Kenney made the prediction on Tuesday, as businesses continue to shed jobs and oil prices hit historically low prices. He said it will be the province's most challenging economic period since the Great Depression. Alberta is on track to hit a staggering 25 per cent unemployment rate as businesses continue to shed jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with historically low oil prices, Premier Jason Kenney said Tuesday. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the highest rate recorded by Statistics Canada since 1976 was in Newfoundland and Labrador, which hit 22.7 per cent unemployment in September 1984. Alberta's highest unemployment rate to date was 12.4 per cent, also in September 1984. Read more about Premier Kenney’s Comments
    Alberta to face its 'worst contraction' ever, ATB chief economist warns
    The COVID-19 pandemic and its related economic fallout is poised to change Alberta's economy permanently, says ATB chief economist Todd Hirsch. "This pandemic and this economic fallout will permanently reshape our economy," Hirsch said during a webinar hosted Thursday by the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. "I've had a hard time in the last couple of weeks being an optimist on this. I do think this is something very serious for our economy … I do expect this to be the worst contraction Alberta has ever seen." Hirsch acknowledged there are many unknowns in the coming months. There are questions surrounding how long physical distancing will last and how long it will take for global oil demand to return. He said Alberta's energy sector is being hit extra hard, and entered the intensifying stages of this pandemic "already in a compromised position." Hirsch said he's "not as convinced" oil demand will be back up by the end of this year, citing concerns with transporting oil. His views on the economy echo Premier Jason Kenney's statement last month that Alberta's oil and gas industry is "on life support." Though the global economy could recover from the COVID-19 pandemic this summer, Kenney said Alberta's finances could suffer if an oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia drags on. Potential opportunities While Hirsch acknowledged the present moment's downsides, he pointed out potential innovation and positive change during the pandemic. He said the downturn could encourage a higher value being placed on information and communication technology or a growing demand for locally-produced food products. Or perhaps the pandemic will help in developing innovative healthcare technology or an increase in innovation around clean technology. "To me, success will be that we do take this opportunity to purposefully diversify our economy," Hirsch said.
    Alberta expanding child care for essential workers
    Alberta expanding child care for essential workers On April 1, Alberta announced an expansion of child care for essential service workers. The province has allowed child-care centres to reopen for a maximum of 30 people. The centres will be compensated for the reopened spaces that are not filled and up to $500 for cleaning supplies.
    Alberta releases list of essential services
    On March 30, Alberta released their essential services list following their announcement last week on the closure of non-essential businesses. ALBERTA'S LIST OF ESSENTIAL SERVICES
    LAST UPDATED: December 17, 2020

    British Columbia COVID-19 Update

    B.C.'s deficit projected at $13.6B, with partial economic recovery anticipated for 2021
    A fiscal update provided by the B.C. government on Thursday confirms the province's deficit is projected to be $13.6 billion, including $2 billion in additional spending on financial supports during the COVID-19 pandemic. Minister of Finance Selina Robinson said there are some indications that B.C.'s economy is recovering more quickly than previously anticipated, but it may not bounce back fully until late 2022 or early 2023. In September the province predicted it would end the year with a $12.8-billion deficit. Real gross domestic product has improved compared to original forecasts, with a projected decline of 6.2 per cent in 2020 and partial economic recovery expected in 2021. Provincial revenues were also not hit as hard as anticipated, with significant gains made in employment, retail sales and housing activity. Retail sales have surpassed pre-pandemic levels, and residential sales are expected to bring in over $500 million more in revenue than last projected. Some sectors — including transportation, accommodation and food services, information and culture — are not expected to recover fully until pandemic restrictions are lifted. An unprecedented 400,000 jobs were lost in March and April, with women and young people hit the hardest. But Robinson said after seven months of consecutive growth, B.C. has the highest job recovery rate of Canada's four biggest provincial economies. Data shows 359,100 jobs were regained between May and November. B.C.'s unemployment rate is projected to average 9.3 per cent in 2021. Unemployment for people aged 15-24 still sits at 14.1 per cent, but is trending downward.
    Vancouver pushes plastic bag ban, disposable cup fee to 2022 due to COVID-19
    Council passed a motion delaying previously approved changes on those items until Jan. 1, 2022, instead of the original Jan. 1, 2021. The new rules, which have not changed, include: • Banning plastic shopping bags (with exceptions for shopping bags used to transport large bulky items). • A minimum fee of 15 cents for paper shopping bags — going up to 25 cents after one year — with at least 40 per cent recycled content. • A minimum fee of 25 cents on disposable cups (with exceptions for charitable food services, hospitals and community care facilities). The B.C. government has already approved civic bylaws banning single-use plastics in several municipalities, and has signalled provincewide regulations for some items are coming. According to city staff, "while the business community has expressed support … they have recently expressed a number of significant concerns around timing, particularly with enforcement, due to the COVID-19 pandemic." Staff originally proposed the 2021 deadline would continue to be in place, but with no enforcement until 2022. However, Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung put forward a successful amendment to move the deadline to 2022.
    B.C. Recovery Benefit — worth up to $1,000 — starting Dec. 18,
    The B.C. government introduced legislation on Tuesday to secure funding for approximately 3.7 million British Columbians to receive the tax-free B.C. Recovery Benefit. According to the province, all eligible adults in the province will be able to start applying for funds starting Dec. 18. Families with incomes under $125,000 will be eligible to receive $1,000 and families earning up to $175,000 will qualify for a reduced amount. Single-parent families also qualify for these benefit amounts. Single people earning less than $62,500 qualify for a $500 payment and individuals earning up to $87,500 will qualify for a reduced amount. To be eligible to receive funds, applicants must be a B.C. resident over the age of 19 and have filed a 2019 tax return. Online applications open Dec. 18 and, starting Dec. 21, phone-based support will be available at 1-833-882-0020 toll-free, Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. People have until June 30, 2021, to apply for the benefit.
    BC: New restrictions mean indoor and outdoor adult team sports are banned, kids' sports limited.
    All indoor and outdoor adult team sports are now prohibited in B.C. and children's programs have returned to earlier, more restrictive guidelines in response to the unchecked spread of COVID-19. The new restrictions were announced Wednesday and were clarified on Thursday. The full order can be read here. Sports programs for children will have to return to more restrictive measure first implemented earlier this year, which include keeping a distance of two metres from other people, small groups, no spectators, modified games and no travel. However, youth dance classes are now allowed to resume, provided the company has a COVID-19 safety plan in place. Aerobics, boot camps, dance classes and dance fitness and circuit training are now prohibited, along with hot yoga, spin classes and high-intensity interval training. Lower intensity activities like yoga, Pilates, and tai chi are currently suspended until new safety guidelines are released.
    New BC landowner registry starting Monday
    The B.C. government has launched a new land registry that it says will help combat money laundering and make the real estate market more transparent. Starting Monday, any corporation, trustee or partnership that buys land in B.C. must disclose the interest holders of that land through the Land Owner Transparency Registry. Existing registered landowners have one year to register and disclose their interest holders. The government says in a news release the information provided may be used by tax and law authorities to investigate and crack down on illegal activity. It says the registry was formed after an expert panel on real estate said the disclosure of beneficial ownership is the "single most important measure" that can be taken to address money laundering. The panel's 2019 report estimated that $7.4 billion was laundered through B.C. in 2018, including $5 billion through real estate.
    BC Premier names new Cabinet
    Premier John Horgan has revealed a new slate of cabinet ministers who will lead B.C. through the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the economic fallout. The cabinet includes some new faces at the helm of major portfolios like finance and education, while some NDP party stalwarts will remain in charge of ministries like health. The NDP are returning to power this fall with an unprecedented majority for the party, holding 57 of 87 seats in the legislature. The new executive council is gender-balanced, with an equal number of men and women in cabinet positions, and includes 20 ministers and four ministers of state. The Minister’s most relevant to the CFA are
    • Finance: Selina Robinson (new to the role)
    • Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation: Ravi Kahlon (new to the role)
    • Labour: Harry Bains (has been Labour Minister since 2017. Before entering politics, Bains was an elected officer of Steelworkers-IWA CanadaLocal 2171 for over fifteen years.
    CFA is concerned that the NDP Majority may push through a number of labour reforms that could have a negative affect on franchised businesses
    B.C. premier calls for restriction on non-essential travel between provinces
    B.C. Premier John Horgan said he is calling on the federal government to implement a "pan-Canadian approach" to non-essential travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although there is currently no official restriction on travel between B.C. and the rest of the country, Horgan said people should not be travelling in and out of the province unless on essential business and this will be the province's guidance for the next two weeks.
    B.C.'s NDP government plans throne speech for Dec. 7
    The British Columbia legislature will return Dec. 7 after the NDP won a majority government in last month's provincial election. Premier John Horgan said Wednesday the brief legislative session will begin with a throne speech that focuses on keeping people safe and the economy moving during the COVID19 pandemic. Premier Horgan’s new cabinet will be sworn in on Nov. 26.
    B.C. real estate agents asked to suspend open houses to protect clients from COVID 19
    The Real Estate Council of B.C. says real estate agents should use virtual tools. The recommendation comes from the regulatory agencies overseeing B.C. real estate professionals as well as the provincial association representing Realtors. Erin Seeley, the CEO of the Real Estate Council of B.C., says in a statement that real estate agents should use virtual tools to protect clients. "Protecting the public during the pandemic remains our top concern," Seeley said. "Real estate professionals in B.C. have been very successful in using virtual tools to limit in-person interactions with clients, and we encourage them to continue those innovative practices to keep themselves, their clients, and community members safe."
    B.C. NDP wins majority government
    NDP had a strong night across the province, with breakthroughs in traditionally Liberal territory. • NDP: 55 seats (544,083 votes) • LIB: 29 seats (427,889 votes) • GRN: 3 seats (184,921 votes) This is the first NDP majority since 1996. It takes 44 seats for a majority government. 50 seats would constitute a decisive victory in any B.C. election, 55 seats for the NDP would breaks the party’s previous record of 51 seats in 1991. Andrew Wilkinson resigning as B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson has resigned as leader of the B.C. Liberal Party, two days after the party had its worst provincial election outcome in decades. Wilkinson announced his resignation in a very brief address to the media on Monday. He said he has asked the party's president to begin the work to find his successor and that he will step down when his replacement is found. Next Steps Once a new Cabinet is appointed, we expect public servants will begin their regular decision-making processes, guided by new mandate letters and priorities, many of which will come directly from the BC NDP’s election platform. The new Minister of Finance is expected to table a fiscal update before the end of the year. Once a fall legislative session and fiscal update are complete, government’s attention will shift to preparation for a Speech from the Throne on Tuesday, February 9, and Budget on Tuesday, February 16. What does this mean for franchising? In the NDP platform they committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, and the platform’s economic commitments continue to connect fighting climate change and growing the economy. They committed to • Provide a special recovery fund targeted at B.C.’s hospitality and tourism sector; • Tie the minimum wage to inflation; • Increase workplace safety inspections; • Banning single-use plastics; • Reducing ICBC premiums by an average of 20%. One issue that was not included in the platform but we expect them to move on is labour issues. You may see a swing towards workers rights and union rights now that the government no longer has to rely on the Green party to pass legislation. We are concerned that these labour changes will make it easier for unionization across brands instead of on a location by location basis. CFA staff will be watching the issues and working with local stakeholders to try and stay ahead of any policy changes that may negatively affect franchised businesses.
    British Columbians are heading to the polls on Oct. 24 Saturday is election day in BC.
    A new poll from the Angus Reid Institute suggests the margin between the B.C. New Democrats and the B.C. Liberals has narrowed. The NDP still holds the advantage and would most likely win the most seats, but their position is not as secure as it was earlier in the campaign. This is due to the Liberals solidifying their support in the Interior and the Greens on Vancouver Island, reducing NDP Leader John Horgan's margin for error. Nevertheless, the New Democrats are still clearly favoured. The New Democrats still hold a big 17-point lead over the Liberals in Metro Vancouver, the region where roughly two-thirds of the NDP's seats are likely to come from. But the Liberals have moved ahead in the Interior and North by about 10 points. On Vancouver Island, the NDP is still ahead by about 27 points but somewhat better numbers for the Greens mean the risk that party would lose most or all of its seats has dropped. Poll averages • NDP: 46.8% (-1.8) • LIB: 34.1% (+0.8) • GRN: 14.8% (+1.3) • OTH: 4.3% (-0.3) Brackets show change in party support since Oct. 16, 2020.
    BC Small Business Week 2020 (October 18-24)
    Small Business BC is joining the national celebration of Small Business Week 2020 from October 18 to 24 with a variety of educational options designed to help business owners navigate the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. To register for these sessions please click
    BC Election – Leaders Debate and Polling Update
    The B.C. leaders' provincial election debate is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 13 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. PT and will be broadcast live. The 90-minute debate will feature Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, NDP Leader John Horgan and Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson. According to recent polling, the trend line so far in the campaign has been steady — and that is good news for John Horgan and the B.C. New Democrats as election day gets closer. The NDP has maintained its wide lead over Andrew Wilkinson's B.C. Liberals and would likely form a majority government if the vote were held today. The B.C. Greens under Sonia Furstenau continue to struggle to build momentum and will need to fight to keep their seats on Vancouver Island. Projections show that the BC NDP has a 99% chance of forming a majority government. Poll averages NDP: 50.0% (+2.1) LIB: 34.1% (+0.2) GRN: 12.2% (-1.2) OTH: 3.7% (-1.1) Brackets show the change in party support since Oct. 8, 2020.
    BC Election: NDP leading by 18 points
    Three weeks into the provincial election campaign the B.C. NDP continues to hold a sizable lead of 18 points, according to the latest poll by the Angus Reid Institute. Data shows John Horgan's NDP with 49 per cent support of the electorate, compared to Andrew Wilkinson's B.C. Liberals with 31 per cent, and Sonia Furstenau's B.C. Greens with 14 per cent. In age and gender categories, the NDP leads across the board and enjoys especially strong support from women. The party also holds the advantage in all regions of the province except for the Interior, where the Liberals have an 11 per cent lead with 46 per cent support compared to 35 per cent for the NDP. On the issues front, the Liberals were judged to be best on the economy by 64 per cent of voters. The NDP was favoured in COVID-19 response, health care and housing affordability. On climate change and the environment, B.C. Greens came out on top with 72 per cent support. Three out of five voters told pollsters the election is unnecessary and should have been held next year, including 28 per cent of those who support the NDP.
    BC Labour Relations Board makes a common employer ruling in Sobey’s et al v. United Food and Commercial Workers International Union
    In mid September, the BC Labour Relations Board made a common employer declaration in a case that was brought forward by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union against Sobey’s, and several of its franchisees in BC. In the decision, Andres Barker, Vice Chair of the BC LRB, ruled that “Sobeys and the Franchisees constitute more than one entity carrying on a business or activity through the franchising and operation of the FreshCo stores. The LRB found that the entities are under common control or direction, and there is a labour relations purpose for making a common employer declaration.” The CFA was not a party to the original matter. However, we are reviewing the decision with members of the Legal and Legislative Affairs Committee to determine if and how we may become more involved in the matter to ensure the franchise business model is protected in Canada. The decision is available here.
    British Columbia Election: Polling Update
    Though polls suggest dissatisfaction with the early election call, it does not seem to have had a major impact on support for the New Democrats, who are in clear majority territory with a wide lead over Andrew Wilkinson's Liberals. They would very likely get the 44 seats needed for a majority government, and potentially much more than that as the Liberals are in danger of losing ground to the NDP. The B.C. Greens are in contention to retain most of their seats but have some work to do to move into a position where they could make any gains. The New Democrats hold a commanding lead on Vancouver Island and are also well ahead in Metro Vancouver, where they can pick up seats from the Liberals. The race is very competitive in the rest of the province between the NDP and Liberals, though there are some significant variations in support across the B.C. Interior and North. The Greens are strongest on Vancouver Island, but they are still narrowly trailing the Liberals for second place there. Polling (brackets indicate change in party support since Sep. 24, 2020) NDP: 46.6% (+2.5) LIB: 32.6% (+1.0) GRN: 13.5% (-1.0) OTH: 7.3% (-2.5)
    BC PST Rebate on Select Machinery and Equipment
    The B.C. PST Rebate on Select Machinery and Equipment is a temporary provincial sales tax (PST) program to help corporations recover from the financial impacts of COVID-19. The program acts like a refund but is separate from the existing PST Refund process. Under this temporary program, corporations can apply to receive an amount equal to the PST they paid between September 17, 2020 and September 30, 2021 on qualifying machinery and equipment. Qualifying Machinery and Equipment – For simplicity, Income Tax Act (Canada) capital cost allowance (CCA) class definitions already familiar to incorporated businesses will be used to establish which types of capital assets qualify for the rebate program. To be eligible for the rebate, eligible property must be: described by the definitions found in Schedule II to the federal Income Tax Regulations, as they read on September 1, 2020, for CCA classes 8, 10, 12, 16, 43, 43.1, 43.2, 46, 50, 53, 54, and 55 obtained substantially (more than 90%) for the purpose of gaining or producing income, and not excluded (as set out in the technical backgrounder) Additionally, software and goods, other than goods obtained by lease, must be capital assets for the rebate to apply. Detailed rules can be found in the Technical Backgrounder: B.C. PST Rebate on Select Machinery and Equipment. You will be able to apply online starting April 1, 2021. More information about the application process will be released in the future.
    British Columbians heading to the polls on October 24
    After weeks of public speculation, B.C. Premier John Horgan is calling a fall election during COVID-19 pandemic. Horgan has asked for the B.C. Legislature to be dissolved and Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin has accepted his request. Election day will be October 24– ahead of the next scheduled election on October 2021. A recent poll from the Angus Reid Institute suggests if an election were held right now, the NDP would win a massive victory. The survey suggests 48 per cent of decided voters would choose the NDP, 29 per cent would vote Liberal, and 14 per cent would opt for the Greens. Today’s announcement comes days after the Horgan Government released a sweeping $1.5 billion B.C. Economic Recovery Plan. The plan offers broad assistance to support the healthcare system, encourage employment, strengthen businesses, and promote stronger communities. British Columbia will be the second province in Canada to hold an election during the COVID-19 global pandemic.
    B.C. announces expanded list of COVID-19 violations for restaurants and bars
    B.C.'s minister of public safety has announced a string of new COVID-19 violations that can be enforced with a fine, as well as an expanded group of officials who can hand out tickets. The expanded list of violations centres on the restaurant and bar industry and comes after B.C. ordered the closure of banquet halls and nightclubs and banned the sale of liquor past 10 p.m. Businesses can now be ticketed for violating the following provincial health orders: Background music or sounds must be no louder than normal conversations. An establishment must close by 11 p.m. unless full meal service is being provided. Premises offering full meal service are allowed to stay open past 11 p.m., but liquor is not allowed to be served until 11 a.m. the next day. Liquor can no longer be consumed onsite by owners, operators or staff past 11 p.m. The 10 p.m. cut-off for liquor sales also applies to private events. If food- or liquor-serving premises hold private events, such as wedding receptions, they must follow the same rules as hotels and other venues. If these orders are not followed, operators and organizers will be fined $2,000, while patrons could be fined $200, the ann
    Amateur sports in B.C. move to Phase 3 of COVID-19 guidelines
    B.C.'s amateur sports leagues are on the path back to the playing field following an announcement that athletes can now engage in more organized sports. In a statement Monday, B.C.'s Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture said the province is moving to Phase 3 of its sports guidelines. Under Phase 3, amateur sport activities can now include additional training, "modified" games and matches, and most importantly, league play and competitions — but within cohorts of between 10 and 100 people, depending on the sport. The guidelines show each sport will advance at a different pace depending on what Krepaikevich called "community capacity and readiness", with sports involving more physical contact being of greatest concern. The viaSport guidelines say that close physical proximity should still be minimized as much as possible, which mean game rules should be modified to keep participants at a safe distance, and organizers should limit the number and duration of contacts between participants when physical distancing isn't possible. Organizers should continue to enforce physical distancing during Phase 3 in areas off the playing field, such as dressing rooms, benches and hallways, and, most importantly, any physical contact should only occur within a sport cohort, the guidelines say. The guidelines rank each sport activity in terms of risk of COVID-19 transmission from lowest to highest based on amount of contact:
    • Skill-building drills or training at home, alone or with family members.
    • Group or team-based skill-building or drills that maintain physical distancing.
    • Group or team-based drills that require close contact.
    • Non-contact competitive activities between teams.
    • Group or team-based activities that include physical contact.
    • Competitive activities that include physical contact between teams.
    The ministry and viaSport have provided a Sport Activity Chart that outlines allowable activities in each of the four Return to Sport phases.
    Grand Forks, BC offering free rent for new businesses to revive the downtown core
    To help revive the downtown core, the local downtown business association is offering new commercial businesses six months of free rent on two-year leases. Businesses just have to submit a business proposal and commit to a minimum two year lease term. The program is meant only for new businesses, because rather than having shops relocate, the association would like to fill up the storefronts downtown to attract both local shoppers and tourists to the area. Wildfires, floods and the global pandemic forced many business owners to look for other space to operate out of. Several have closed their businesses altogether.
    BC: Residential Rent Hikes are frozen, but landlords can evict
    Residential Tenancy Board released details of its plan, which gives renters until July 2021 to repay. Renters in arrears between March 18 and Aug. 17 will have until at least next July to pay back the money owed to landlords. The government says landlords and renters need to work out a payment plan with the extra payment due with the monthly rent. A payment plan has been set out for renters in British Columbia who haven't been able to pay rent during the COVID-19 pandemic as a government moratorium on evictions ends on Sept. 1. The province has also extended its prohibition on rent increases, stopping landlords from raising rents until December. It says anyone who was issued an increase should continue to pay the current amount. The rental supplement remains available until the end of August at $500 a month for families and $300 for renters without dependents. The government says it has helped more than 86,000 households with rent payments during the pandemic.
    BC: Health, bylaw officers to target large parties, banquet hall events
    On Thursday, B.C.'s Health Minister Adrian Dix said public health officers are going to be checking banquet halls and large parties this weekend to make sure health protocols to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus are being followed.
    Start of B.C. school year being pushed back
    The start of B.C.'s upcoming school year is being pushed back to a yet-undecided date, Education Minister Rob Fleming revealed Tuesday. Speaking to reporters from the provincial legislature, Fleming said teachers and staff will need some time on school grounds without students present to ensure they're properly implementing the pandemic guidelines put out by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. That means pushing back the previously announced start date of Sept. 8, though it's unclear exactly when classes will begin. Fleming said the details are still being worked out, but that he expects a gradual start to the school year. The province previously said most students across B.C. from kindergarten through Grade 12 would be able to resume classes after the Labour Day weekend, as they would any other year. But there was swift pushback, including from the B.C. Teachers' Federation, which argued more time was needed to address concerns around returning to work in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fleming noted that B.C.'s back-to-school plan was never finalized, and that changes were to be expected as the stakeholders in its steering committee continued ironing out the details. The province has promised to share final details by Aug. 26.
    Most B.C. students to return to school full time in September
    Most B.C. students from kindergarten to Grade 12 will return to class full time in September, Education Minister Rob Fleming announced Wednesday. Elementary and middle school learning groups will have a maximum of 60 students. Secondary school learning groups will have up to 120 students. The provincial government is putting up $45.6 million to ensure safety measures, including increased cleaning of high-contact surfaces, an increased number of hand-hygiene stations and the availability of masks.
    BC: Wholesale liquor pricing for restaurants, tourism businesses takes effect
    Measures enacted by the Province in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that temporarily allow restaurants and pubs to purchase beer, wine and spirits at wholesale cost instead of liquor store retail prices came into effect on Monday, July 20, 2020. Hospitality customers who have registered with the Province’s Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) can now use a searchable hospitality price list to help with their buying decisions. A complete online hospitality product catalogue will launch Sept. 1, 2020. The temporary authorization will remain in effect until March 31, 2021. A provincial review of the program during this temporary reform will help government determine the financial costs and benefits of the change. Previously, hospitality licensees – including restaurants, pubs and tourism operators with liquor licences – paid full retail price (wholesale price, plus a retail mark-up set by the LDB) on most liquor purchases. The new model allows licensees to pay the wholesale price for the products they purchase, which is the same cost paid by government and private liquor stores in the province when they purchase stock for retail sale. Read the original announcement here
    B.C. forecasts $12.5B deficit due to COVID-19 spending, massive drops in tax revenues
    The financial update presented by Finance Minister Carole James on Tuesday is the first look British Columbians have had at the provincial coffers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The financial snapshot is being described as an atypical forecast and is subject to considerable uncertainty and revision. Based on the current scenario, the province is looking at a 3.9 per cent drop in household income. British Columbia recently has seen a slight surge in revenues due to a gradual reopening of the provincial economy. But the province is reporting a $999-million drop in personal income tax collected, $973-million decrease in corporate income tax collected and a $1.35-billion drop in provincial sales tax collected. Commercial Crown corporations have led to an $882-million drop in money to government and taxpayer-supported agencies have sent $869 million less to provincials coffers due to the pandemic. The deficit also includes $5 billion put aside for relief and $762 million for business relief and tax measures. Of the $5 billion, the province is putting aside $3.5 billion for immediate financial relief to individuals and businesses and $1.5 billion for a long-term economic recovery plan. Government is forecasting a 15.9 per cent drop off in retail sales and a 27.6 per cent drop in residential sales in 2020. Retail is expected to jump up 8.6 per cent in 2020 and residential sales are expected to rise 9.3 per cent. Corporate profits are expected to be down 36.4 per cent in 2020 and unemployment is expected to be 11.3 per cent by year’s end.
    Real estate open houses coming back to B.C. with new guidelines
    The British Columbia Real Estate Association, the Real Estate Council of British Columbia, the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate and WorkSafeBC announced new guidelines Wednesday to resume physical home showings by realtors.
    Greater Vancouver home sales up, with prices holding steady
    Home sales in the Greater Vancouver area are starting to return to more typical levels after dipping to four-decade lows in April, while prices continue to edge up from 2019. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says residential sales last month reached 2,443, a 64.5 per cent jump from May and a 17.6 per cent year-over-year increase. The figure still hovered 21.9 per cent below the 10-year sales average for June.
    B.C. government extends temporary layoff provisions for workers, employers
    British Columbia has extended the temporary layoffs provisions to a maximum of 24 weeks expiring on Aug. 30, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The extension will give employers and workers additional flexibility to support economic recovery in the province with the expectation that businesses honour their obligations to workers and reach agreement with their employees in the event a further extension is required. Section 72 of the B.C. Employment Standards Act provides a tool unique in Canada, allowing employers and workers to extend temporary layoffs by making a joint application to the Employment Standards Branch. Government will continue discussions with worker and employer representatives to ensure the Section 72 applications are processed in a timely and effective manner to support economic recovery and protect workers’ rights.
    B.C. tables economic stabilization act, confirms COVID-19 supports
    The legislation, introduced yesterday, confirms supports for people and businesses announced by the BC government over the past few weeks. The amendments introduced authorize deficit budgets for the next three years, while the Province supports economic recovery from COVID-19. Additionally, the amendments allow government to continue to table supplementary estimates before the legislative assembly. The amendments also clarify the existing limits and uses of special warrants while the legislative assembly is not in session to maintain essential services and respond to provincial emergencies and disasters like a pandemic. While the amendments allow deficit budgets, the legislation makes no changes to salary holdback requirements for executive council for years where deficits occur. The Economic Stabilization Act brings the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers into law and updates the eligibility date to March 1, 2020. The change will allow people whose income is affected by COVID-19 and who filed federal employment insurance claims between March 1 and March 15 to benefit from the support. The application for these individuals will be available as of June 26, 2020. Almost 600,000 people have been approved to receive the benefit to date. The legislation also confirms many of the previously announced supports for people and business from the COVID-19 Action Plan, including: • authorizing filing and payment deferrals for employer health tax, provincial sales tax, hotel tax, carbon tax, motor fuel tax and tobacco tax to Sept. 30, 2020; • postponing the date that late payment penalties apply for commercial properties in classes 4,5,6,7 and 8 to Oct. 1, 2020, to give businesses and landlords more time to pay their reduced property tax, without penalty; • allowing municipalities to keep school taxes and the police tax collected for the Province until January 2021; and • requiring municipalities to remit taxes they collect for TransLink in July 2020 so it can continue operating, as well as allowing other municipalities to continue to make their service payments to BC Transit. Other measures from the B.C. COVID-19 Action Plan are being done through regulation, such as reducing the school property tax rate for commercial properties, enhancing the B.C. climate action tax credit and pausing B.C. student loan payments.
    B.C. has entered Phase 3 of its COVID-19 restart plan
    B.C. Premier John Horgan announced the province has entered Phase 3 of its restart plan, further easing restrictions ahead of Canada Day. The latest guidelines allow B.C. residents to travel responsibly within the province and for many tourism-related businesses to reopen under the guidance of the provincial health officer and WorkSafeBC, including hotels, resorts, spas and RV parks. The film industry and select entertainment venues, such as movie theatres, are also getting the go-ahead.
    B.C. announces next steps to support renters, landlords
    The Government of British Columbia is extending the temporary rental supplement (TRS) until the end of August 2020 to continue to support renters and landlords. It will also maintain the moratorium on rent increases and evictions for non-payment of rent, while enabling other notices to end tenancy to resume. People who have already been approved for the TRS do not need to reapply. They will receive an email asking them to confirm they plan to live at the same address through July and August. New applications will also be accepted until Aug. 31 and will be eligible for a supplement for the month they are received and all subsequent months. The moratorium on evictions has been in effect since March 30 and will continue for non-payment of rent. As the province moves forward with BC’s Restart Plan, the ban on evictions for reasons other than unpaid rent will be lifted later this month. When these changes come into effect, landlords will be able to serve new notices for reasons including landlord/purchaser use, such as where a new owner has purchased a property and intends to move in, and for cause (e.g., where a tenant is putting the landlord or other tenants at risk, or has sublet the apartment without permission). Depending on the type, these will require a notice period of between one and four months. The Province is committed to giving people advance notice before lifting the moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent at a future date. It will put in place a framework that will require landlords to work with tenants to repay rent that is owing over a reasonable period of time. Government has been clear that tenants who have not experienced financial difficulties are expected to continue to pay rent. Tenants will also be responsible for outstanding rent when the ban on evictions for non-payment is lifted. The rental supplement is in addition to funding available from the federal government and the $1,000 B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers. It is part of the Province’s $5-billion COVID-19 Action Plan to provide income supports, tax relief and direct funding for people and businesses, and to support the services people count on.
    Business Council of B.C. Report: The 2020 Shutdown: How Deep is the Economic Hole?
    The World – Under a best-case scenario, global GDP declines by 6% in 2020 and rises by 5.2% in 2021. But if there is a second pandemic wave later this year global GDP would likely decline by 8% in 2020, according to a recent OECD forecast. A second wave would also see a much more modest upturn of 2.8% in 2021. Canada – In either scenario, the demand for Canadian exports will fall sharply. Canada tottered into 2020 with a debt and immigration reliant model of economic growth. This model will be difficult to restart in the post pandemic world, especially considering the depth of the economic hole Canada has fallen into. Emerging from it will be uncertain and challenging given the scarcity of catalysts for private sector GDP generation and job growth. Under the OECD’s scenario of no further outbreaks, Canadian GDP would decline by 8% in 2020 and rise by 3.9% in 2021. Canadian GDP is projected to decline by 9.4% in 2020 and rise by just 1.5% in 2021 if a second COVID-19 wave occurs later this year. Canada’s GDP and employment levels will not recover to 2019 levels of activity by the end of 2021 under either scenario. British Columbia – Turning to B.C., we expect the provincial economy to shrink by 7.8% in 2020, a bit worse than our preliminary estimate for a 7.3% decline released back in March. In 2021, we forecast the provincial economy will expand by 4.8%. This is a strong growth number by historic standards, but comes in the wake of a very steep downturn and will only result in B.C. regaining just over half of the economic output lost in 2020. The magnitude of job losses is especially concerning. Since February, the number of people working in the province has plummeted by roughly 350,000. B.C.’s greater exposure to hard-hit sectors (especially accommodation and food services, and wholesale and retail trade) resulted in the unemployment rate nearly tripling in three months and now sits around 13%. As the shutdown is lifted, employment will rebound significantly. But the process will be uneven and slow. Many businesses will not re-open and several tens of thousands of jobs will be permanently lost. Read the Full Report
    B.C. passed immunity in April
    In April 2020, British Columbia passed a cabinet order this spring saying any person or corporation "providing an essential service" is not liable for damages resulting from COVID-19 infections. The list of B.C. essential service providers granted immunity extends from front-line health workers to long-term care facilities and grocery stores. However, immunity does not apply in all circumstances. Someone could still be found liable in cases of gross negligence or for failing to follow public health guidance.
    BC expands measures to support restaurant, tourism industries
    The Province has approved a temporary wholesale pricing model that will allow liquor licensees to purchase beer, wine and spirits at reduced cost. It will be in place from the end of July 2020 until March 31, 2021, when the program will be reviewed. Currently, hospitality licensees, including restaurants, bars and pubs pay full retail price – wholesale price, plus a retail markup set by the Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) – on all liquor purchases. The new model will have licensees pay only the wholesale price of the products they order. Full Media Release
    Restaurant capacity limits eased in B.C.
    Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Thursday that she is lifting restrictions on restaurants that required them to operate at 50 per cent of their regular capacity. A modified public health order requires restaurants to determine how many people they can serve while still maintaining a two-metre distance between groups. Operators are required to monitor their premises to make sure that capacity isn't exceeded and those distances are maintained, including in line-ups. The order says there can be no more than six people in any party, and if a two-metre distance can't be maintained between tables, a Plexiglas partition should be installed. Buffets and self-serve stations are allowed to operate as long as there is a handwashing facility or hand sanitizer within easy reach and signs reminding customers to clean their hands before touching anything.
    B.C. extends state of emergency by two more weeks
    British Columbia's record-breaking state of emergency has been extended for an additional two weeks. States of emergency can only be extended two weeks at a time. According to the provincial order approved Tuesday, the state of emergency will now last until June 23. B.C. has been under a state of emergency because of the COVID-19 pandemic since March 18, making it the longest period in the province's history during which emergency orders have been in place.
    Commercial Rent – Banning of Evictions in BC, AB, QC, SK and ON
    The governments in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Alberta banned commercial evictions in light of increasing reports of tenants being evicted.
    BC's minimum wage jumps by 75 cents on June 1
    The minimum wage for workers in British Columbia rose to $14.60 an hour on Monday. The jump is part of the provincial government's plan to gradually raise the rate from $11.35 in 2017 until it reaches $15.20 in 2021.
    B.C. bans commercial landlords who eschew federal rent relief from evicting tenants
    Landlords in B.C. who are eligible for emergency federal rent relief and choose not to apply will not be able to evict businesses that aren't able to pay rent, B.C. Finance Minister Carole James announced Monday. The emergency order restricts lease terminations, rent-repayment lawsuits, and repossession of goods and properties, and will stay in place until the end of June, when the federal relief program is currently set to end. James said she's heard from businesses and MLAs around the province that there are landlords who haven't applied for the relief, making the program unavailable to their qualified small-business tenants.
    B.C. parks are set to reopen next week, with restrictions
    According to B.C. Parks, Cypress, Juan de Fuca, Inkaneep, the Kettle River Recreation Area, Liard River Hot Springs, Porteau Cove, Mount Seymour, some Shuswap Lake sites and Shannon Falls will all open their gates to visitors on June 1, along with dozens of others. Services that will and will not be operating in each of the parks are listed on the B.C. Parks website. Hundreds of other provincial parks in B.C. already reopened on May 14.
    B.C.'s extends state of emergency by another two weeks
    British Columbia also moved Wednesday to extend its state of emergency for another two weeks, making it the longest period of time it has been under such orders. States of emergency can only be issued for two weeks at a time in B.C
    B.C.: Gatherings will be limited to 50 people for now
    In her daily press conference, Dr. Bonnie Henry said that even as some COVID-19 restrictions are loosened it is still too early to increase the number of people allowed to gather. The limit on gathers will be limited to a maximum of 50 for the time being.
    BC could 'go it alone' on paid sick leave
    British Columbia's premier says he wants the federal government to take the lead on the issue of paid sick leave so workers can stay home if they are sick — but he added that the province is "prepared to go it alone if need be." Speaking on Wednesday, Horgan said he wants Ottawa to spearhead a national sick pay program for workers so they wouldn't lose pay if they stayed home with flu-like symptoms, something that's particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic, and other issues during a phone-in news conference.
    BC outlines plan to restart
    Late on Wednesday, BC Premier John Horgan outlined the provinces plan for restarting economic activity. This will look different in BC than the other provinces because only a small number of sectors in the province were closed by public health order. Sectors that were ordered closed will be asked to work with WorkSafeBC to develop plans to reopen safely. WorkSafeBC is developing industry-specific guidance to help employers bring workers and customers back safely. Any business restarting operations must ensure it is in compliance with the provincial health officer’s orders and in accordance with occupational health and safety guidance provided by WorkSafeBC. B.C. is currently in Phase 1 of the restart plan. Phase 2 – Begins in mid-May:
    • small social gatherings;
    • a resumption of elective surgeries and regulated health services like physiotherapy, dentistry, chiropractors and in-person counselling;
    • provincial parks open for day use;
    • opening more non-essential businesses in keeping with safe operations plans; recalling the provincial legislature for regular sittings.
    Phase 3 – target date is TBD
    • will include opening up of additional businesses and services, is between June and September 2020, if transmission rates remain low or in decline.
    Phase 4 – target date is TBD
    • will only be achieved when the threat of COVID-19 has been significantly diminished through widespread vaccination, broad successful treatments, evidence of community immunity, or the equivalent.
    For more information please see the Premier’s News Release
    B.C. creates COVID-19 temporary layoff period
    The BC government has extended the temporary layoff period from 13 weeks to 16 weeks for COVID-19 related reasons. Previously under the Employment Standards Act, a temporary layoff longer than 13 weeks in any 20-week period (or about three months in a five-month period) was considered a permanent layoff. With a permanent layoff, employers are required to provide employees with written working notice of termination and/or pay severance to qualifying employees, based on their length of service. Now, temporary layoffs relating to the COVID-19 pandemic can be extended to 16 weeks, if the employee agrees. This change to the Employment Standards Act aligns B.C.’s temporary layoff provisions with the federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit period. The federal period provides 16 weeks of financial support, allowing employees to take full advantage of those benefits. It also allows employees to keep their job, even if they are not working, for 16 weeks of temporary layoff. Employers will be able to quickly resume operations should the public health emergency end within that time. The COVID-19 emergency temporary layoff provisions are not intended to be permanent and will be repealed when no longer needed. For information on employment standards around temporary layoffs.
    B.C. Premier extends state of emergency – details on reopening B.C. coming next week
    B.C.'s state of emergency introduced last month in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been extended until May 12. Premier Horgan also said he will outline details next week about lifting restrictions related to the pandemic. The reopening guidelines will be different than other provinces, mostly because B.C. didn't fully lock down its economy, but allowed construction, agriculture and other industries to continue operating. The reopening plan will focus on ensuring health orders on physical distancing and self-isolation are being practised, so that new COVID-19 cases are kept to a minimum.
    B.C. home sales to fall by 40 per cent but comeback is likely, report says
    B.C. is entering into a deep recession, characterized by falling housing sales and a shrinking economy, according to a new report from the BC Real Estate Association. It finds that the strict social and physical distancing measures by public health are having an immediate impact on the province. However, based on past modelling of recessions in B.C., economists are hopeful the province will be able to stage a comeback once restrictions are gradually lifted. The BCREA examined the impact of past recessions in B.C. to predict how the markets will react during the crisis, as well as its aftermath. Compared to historical recessions in the province, home sales typically have made recoveries of up to 46 per cent.
    B.C. reducing most commercial property tax bills by an average of 25%
    Late last week B.C. Finance Minister Carole James announced enhanced measures to support businesses and local governments. The relief includes:
    • 25% reduction of commercial property tax by and postponed late penalties;
    • Authorizing local governments to borrow, interest free, from their existing capital reserves to cover operating expenses;
    • Delaying provincial school tax remittances until the end of the year;
    • Greater flexibility to carry debt for an additional year; and
    • B.C. Business COVID-19 Support Service operated by Small Business B.C.
      B.C.'s Police can issue $2,000 fines for price gouging and reselling of medical supplies
      B.C.'s Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth announced on Sunday morning that he has has enabled police to issue $2,000 fines for people engaged in price gouging and reselling of medical supplies during the State of Emergency.
      B.C. extends state of emergency to April 28
      The provincial state of emergency in B.C. has been extended another two weeks as the province continues working to flatten its infection curve. The state of emergency gives the government continued power to take any steps necessary to respond to the health-care crisis and preserve the province's supply chains.
      B.C. Assessment appeal extended
      The BC Property Assessment Appeal Board has extended the appeal deadline to June 1 from April 30. The board helps owners who disagree with the assessed value of their homes, which could affect their tax rate. The board says the pandemic may affect peoples' access to their right to appeal to the board. The extension only applies to appeals required to be filed by April 30.
      B.C. Hydro offering 3-month bill credit
      The provincial government has announced BC Hydro is offering a three-month bill credit to people who are out of work or working at a reduced wage because of the outbreak. The credit will be three times their average monthly bill over the previous year and will not have to be repaid. For small businesses forced to close during the pandemic, the utility is offering bill forgiveness for April, May and June. Premier John Horgan said large, industrial customers can have 50 per cent of their payments deferred for the next three months. In addition, the premier said the B.C. Utilities Commission has approved a one per cent rate drop "across the board" to help cut costs for customers.
      B.C. and Saskatchewan extend States of Emergency to mid April
      Saskatchewan announced it is extending its state of emergency for another two weeks to April 15. B.C.'s provincial state of emergency has been extended until April 14
      B.C. releases list essential and non-essential services
      The province defines essential services as "essential to preserving life, health, public safety and basic societal functioning." Non-essential services can only stay open if they can demonstrate they are complying with public health orders B.C. LIST OF ESSENTIAL SERVICES
    LAST UPDATED: December 17, 2020

    Manitoba COVID-19 Update

    Manitoba deficit forecast improves but still expected to reach historic highs
    Manitoba's deficit is expected to reach historic highs by early spring due to the pandemic, though provincial outlooks suggest the deficit will be nearly $900 million less than projections earlier this fall. Despite that uncertainty, the provincial outlook forecasts a deficit of $2.048 billion by the end of March, down from the previous forecast of $2.938 billion in September. Federal transfers helped improve the situation, Premier Brian Pallister said. Multi-year commitments for COVID-19are pegged at $3.2 billion. That includes $1.8 billion in expenditures in 2020-21. The report out Thursday suggests spending soared $633 million above what was budgeted this year, including over $522 million to cover costs of personal protective equipment and gear. Provincial revenue is expected to drop $372 million below what was in the budget due to the economic impacts of the coronavirus. Wages and salaries, the largest chunk of personal tax income revenue, were down four per cent over the first nine months of the year. Personal income tax revenue will be $256 million lower than what was budgeted because of a decrease in household incomes during the pandemic, the report says. Corporate income tax revenues slumped $141 million because of declining profits, and retail sales tax revenue is $44 million lower due to a decrease in collections during the pandemic. The province's net debt is forecast to reach $27.668 billion, increasing $1.232 billion from what was budgeted, the report says. That's expected to result in a debt‐to‐gross domestic product ratio of 38.7 per cent. Real GDP is also expected to decline an average of 4.6 per cent this year compared to a 1.3 per cent increase projected in the budget. Butits 2021 rebound is projected to hit 4.1 per cent, which Fielding attributed to estimates coming from external agencies.
    Manitoba auto insurance rates to drop by an average of 8.8% next year
    Manitoba drivers will see their auto insurance premiums drop by an average of 8.8 per cent next year. The Public Utilities Board (PUB) on Wednesday approved MPI's request, which averages out to a savings of more than $100. The rate cut will take effect beginning next year on April 1. 20% rate hike for vehicle-for-hire drivers Drivers insured under the passenger vehicle for hire class will face a 20 per cent increase in their rates for 2021-22 and a subsequent 20 per cent increase for each of the following two years. The board ruled that insurance rates for these vehicles are heavily subsidized already, which is a "patent unfairness" to taxi drivers. MPI was originally planning an average rate cut of 10.5 per cent, but they downgraded their expectations before the PUB hearing started in October.
    Manitoba passes new law to expand Sunday and holiday shopping
    Bill 4, the Retail Business Hours of Operation Act, gives all businesses in Manitoba the choice to remain open later on Sundays and during statutory holidays. It also gives municipalities the authority to pass bylaws, should they prefer to keep some restrictions in place. Manitoba last expanded Sunday shopping hours in 2012, when the opening time was changed from noon to 9 a.m. The changes take effect this weekend — though current shopping restrictions around COVID-19 remain in place. Disposing of the Sunday restrictions was an election promise of the Progressive Conservative. The legislation was introduced last year but the proposal died in September when the previous legislative session ended.
    Manitoba extends COVID-19 restrictions through holidays
    On Tuesday, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin and Premier Brian Pallister announced that COVID-19 restrictions will continue into January. Initial provincewide restrictions came into effect Nov. 12, and were soon tightened even further, ushering in widespread closures to the retail sector, places of worship and a range of other services deemed non-essential. Stores able to stay open have only been allowed to sell essentials in person since Nov. 21, forcing many big box stores to cordon off items with sheets of plastic wrap. The revised public health orders walk back a ban on drive-in church services, which some churches have flouted recently in defiance of health orders. Worshipers aren't allowed to leave their vehicles, and vehicles should only carry members of the same household. Thrift stores will be allowed to stay open and sell non-essential items.
    Manitoba extends bridge grant to small home-based businesses
    Small business owners in Manitoba who run their operations out of their homes will now have access to COVID-19 financial supports previously not available to them. Beginning Wednesday, a range of home-based businesses will be able to apply for a grant equal to 10 per cent of revenues of their most recent calendar year, up to $5,000, through the Manitoba bridge grant.
    Pallister tells Manitobans to stay apart this holiday season
    The premier provided an update on the provincial government’s response at a news conference Thursday during which he advised Manitobans to change their Christmas and holiday celebrations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The news comes as Manitoba is still dealing with Code Red restrictions, which prohibits gatherings outside of the household, with some exceptions.
    Manitoba bans in-store sales of non-essential items, visitors to homes with some exceptions
    Manitoba is clamping down harder on private gatherings and businesses selling non-essential items in an effort to slow coronavirus infections. New COVID-19 public health orders will forbid people from having anyone inside their home who doesn't live there, with few exceptions, and prohibit businesses from selling non-essential items in stores. Previous orders that came into effect last week allowed gatherings at private residences of up to five people beyond those who normally live there, although Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin and others pleaded with Manitobans to stay home and only go out for essential items. Exceptions to the no visitors rule include parents who do not live with their child, people providing child care and other services deemed essential, such as education, construction or repairs, and deliveries. Exceptions will also be made for people who live alone, who will be allowed to have one other designated person over, and they can also visit that one other person. Businesses that sell essential and non-essential items will be required to remove the non-essential goods from the shelves or rope off those areas. The new orders also further restrict capacity at large retailers to either 25 per cent of normal capacity or a maximum of 250 people, whichever is lower. The orders come into effect on Friday, except for the rule requiring businesses to prevent access to nonessential items, which comes into effect on Saturday. They will remain in effect until at least Dec. 11. Items deemed essential under the new orders include food, personal care and health products, baby and child-care items, outdoor winter clothing and pet supplies. Liquor and cannabis sales will also be permitted. Non-essential items include books, toys, jewelry, flowers, perfume, consumer electronics and sporting equipment. A complete list of essential and non-essential items is available on the provincialgovernment's website.
    Manitoba may extend Christmas break for students by extra 2 weeks
    The Manitoba government is thinking of extending the Christmas break at schools by an additional two weeks as it tries to curb the spread of COVID-19. Premier Brian Pallister confirmed at a Tuesday morning news conference the province is considering the idea. Other provinces, including B.C. and Quebec, have also said they are mulling a longer break over the holidays.
    Last-minute change to gathering restrictions as Manitoba
    Province-wide restrictions took effect in Manitoba at 12:01 a.m. Thursday as the province moved into the red, critical level on the government's pandemic response system. Under these new restrictions, Manitobans must adhere to the following rules: • Restricting travel to and from northern Manitoba, with non-essential travel discouraged; • Retail businesses listed as critical services can remain open at 25 per cent capacity; • Retail businesses that aren’t listed as critical services can only provide e-service, curbside pickup and delivery; • All personal service businesses, such as hair salons, must close; • All religious and cultural gathering places must close, but can provide services virtually; • Gyms and fitness centres must close; • Restaurants need to close to in-person dining, but can provide delivery, drive-thru and takeout; and • Recreational activities, sport facilities, casinos, museums, galleries, libraries, movie theatres and concert halls must close. Initially, the province said under the new restrictions social contacts would be limited to members of each household and social gatherings would be prohibited. On Wednesday night, the province made a last-minute change to this restriction, now allowing group gatherings of no more than five (5) people.
    Manitoba: Social gatherings banned, non-critical businesses closed as province moves to red alert level
    Widespread shutdowns are coming as Manitoba's premier and top doctor order the entire province into the red, or critical, level of the provincial pandemic response plan. Among the "short, sharp set of restrictions" is a ban on social gatherings of any kind starting Thursday, and that could last into December Non-essential retail stores, gyms, movie theatres, salons and churches will close. All recreational facilities and sports activities will be shut down and non-essential travel is discouraged. Schools and child-care centres will remain open because, despite hundreds of cases, there have been only a small number of confirmed transmission events or outbreaks in the K-12 system. Retail stores considered critical may remain open at 25 per cent capacity, while non-essential stores will only be able to function on a pick-up or delivery basis. The orders don't affect regulated health professions such as massage therapy, physiotherapy and the dentist. Supports for businesses To help the Manitoba government the Manitoba bridge grant, which will provide $5,000 before Christmas to businesses that apply, with the possibility of another $5,000 in the New Year if necessary, He announced changes to a provincial gap funding initiative, which he said 10,000 small businesses that didn't qualify for the federal wage support previously received. That program is changing from a conditional loan to a grant that employers will not have to pay back.
    Former golf course at U of Manitoba set to become massive infill site
    Development at the former Southwood golf course will stretch over a 40-year period, under a plan now at the land-use approval stage with the City of Winnipeg. The project could add 10,000 or more housing units to the area over that period. UM Properties was formed to act on the development, following a series of consultations with the community and design ideas solicited from planning and architectural firms. It will develop the land on behalf of the university, allowing private companies to build the housing and commercial outlets on the property. The plan, now at the land-use approval stage with the City of Winnipeg, would see a rolling series of developments over the next 40 years, starting at the edge of the U of M's property along Sifton Road. The initial phase will include multi-family apartment and condominium towers, up to 25-storeys high, with commercial space on the main floors, along with restaurants, small-scale grocery stores, banking and other services.
    Legislation that would allow more Manitoba workers to access paid sick leave during COVID-19 halted
    The province has introduced legislation to make it easier for more workers to take sick days during COVID-19 and access federal benefits. However, the legislation, which expands the criteria for when a person is eligible for job-protected leave, was blocked by the Manitoba Liberals, who didn't like that it had no provincial money for workers behind it. In the legislature Monday, the Pallister government introduced amendments to the Employment Standards Code that would allow more workers to take protected leave and apply for federal benefits. Employees who are unable to work because they are forced to self-isolate are already eligible. The federal government introduced a new benefit this September that gave minimum wage workers and employees who don't have access to paid sick leave up to two paid weeks off work if they become ill or have to self-isolate due to COVID-19. Manitobans can already apply, but the new provincial legislation would ensure all workers — including the expanded criteria — cannot be reprimanded by their employer if they take a leave of absence and take advantage of the federal benefit. The amendments would also expand unpaid protected leave for workers required to self-isolate or care for a family member because of the pandemic to include workers who are more susceptible to COVID-19 because of underlying health conditions, ongoing medical treatments or other illnesses.
    Manitoba Hydro told to charge customers 2.9% more for electricity starting in December 2020
    Manitoba Hydro is being told to charge customers an extra 2.9 per cent for electricity starting in December. The provincial government introduced legislation Friday that includes the rate increase, bypassing the usual practice of Hydro asking for a rate increase and then the Public Utilities Board having the final say. The change was found in the Budget Implementation and Tax Statutes Amendment Act.
    Manitoba eliminates PST from cost of personal tax preparation
    Manitobans are getting a break on the cost of getting their income tax returns prepared. They will no longer be charged the seven per cent provincial sales tax on that service, the Progressive Conservative government announced on Tuesday. The elimination of the PST on income tax preparation is also an election promise the Tories made in August 2019. The change to save Manitobans a total of nearly $5.5 million per year. The Progressive Conservatives plan to implement further tax cuts during this legislative session, including the elimination of probate fees on estates and phasing out the education property tax.
    Manitoba students to return to school, some high schools won't be full time
    All Manitoba students will return to school on Sept. 8 with some restrictions in place, the provincial government announced Thursday. Learning will be full time in classrooms for all students from kindergarten to Grade 8 and students with special needs, while students in high school may have some remote learning, depending on whether schools can ensure physical distancing. Many students in kindergarten to Grade 8 will be in cohorts of up to 75 students. School divisions are developing plans and time tables to allow for the highest number of high school students to attend classes in-person at one time, while still physically distancing. High school students will need to be in school for at least two days a cycle, but the province is expecting schools will achieve a higher level than that. Divisions may bring in more buses The return to classes will begin at Level 1 in September, but this may be scaled up depending on COVID-19 cases in the province. Level 1 involves enforcing two metres of physical distancing between students to the greatest extent possible. When not possible, students will be organized in cohorts and space will be arranged to encourage separation, according to the province's school guidelines for September. In this scenario, there will be a minimum of one metre between students as they sit in their classrooms. Schools will also need to limit gatherings in common areas such as lunch rooms and will be encouraged to use outdoor venues as much as possible. The province is not recommending or requiring the use of masks, but students and staff are welcome to wear them if they want. Under Level 2, schools would prioritize kindergarten to Grade 8 students for in-class learning, while high school students would use remote learning, with limited use of school facilities for specific programming and assessment. If the province needs to go to Level 3, all students would return to remote learning and schools would be closed, with the exception of kindergarten to Grade 6 students of critical workers. If a students starts showing COVID-19 symptoms while at school, they will be isolated in a predetermined space until a parent or caregiver can come pick them up. Where a separate room is not available, they must be kept at least two metres away from others, according to the province's guidelines. The sick student will be given a medical mask to wear until they are taken home, unless there are safety issues that prevent the student from wearing a mask. If a staff member or volunteer becomes symptomatic while in school, they will be required to immediately isolate themselves from other staff and students, notify their supervisor and go home to monitor symptoms.
    Manitoba extends COVID-19 state of emergency once again
    Manitoba's state of emergency has been extended again in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The extension will last until August 13. It may be extended again in August
    Manitoba: Commercial evictions banned during pandemic if landlords are eligible for rent assist
    The Manitoba government has placed a temporary ban on commercial evictions if landlords and tenants are eligible for the Canadian emergency commercial rent assistance (CECRA) program but have not applied, the province said. The change is intended to encourage more landlords and businesses to participate in the federal-provincial cost-shared CECRA program, Finance Minister Scott Fielding said in a press release Friday. The commercial rent assist program is for small businesses being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. It offers subsidies from the two levels of government to help reduce a business tenant's rent by up to 75 per cent for April through to June. But to be eligible, the property owner must forgive a share of the rent and agree not to evict the tenant for the months it covers. Some business owners have said the program is too complicated and that they've had trouble getting landlords to agree to participate. Manitoba has received only 145 applications and has paid out $1.5 million of the available $64 million through the program, the province said on Friday.
    Manitoba will pay people $2,000 to get off COVID-19 benefits and go back to work
    The Manitoba government will pay residents up to $2,000 if they go back to work and stop collecting federal COVID-19 benefits. The province will give successful applicants to its new program an initial $500 payment, plus three payments of $500 every two weeks over a six-week period. Applicants must work at least 30 hours per week to qualify for the first payment, and then declare they are still working in order to receive the next payments. They must also be receiving and voluntarily stop payments from the Canadian emergency response benefit (CERB), Canadian emergency student benefit (CESB) or similar COVID-19-related support from Ottawa, the province said in a news release Tuesday. Premier Brian Pallister says he believes the CERB discourages people from working full-time because it limits how much one can work before losing it, and people would rather be back at work than benefiting from a government program.
    Manitoba's Phase Three reopening plan to take effect June 21
    The Manitoba government has released its plan for the third phase of reopening the province, which raises group size limits, eases travel restrictions, and removes restaurant capacity limits. Under the new plan, group sizes will be increased to 50 people at indoor gatherings, and 100 people at outdoor gatherings. This applies for social gatherings, worship, weddings and funerals, powwows and other Indigenous spiritual and cultural events. The maximum capacity of 300 people has been removed at any site, as long as the gathering can be physically distanced and divided into subgroups of 50 or fewer people indoors, and 100 or fewer people outdoors, to a maximum of 30 per cent of the usual capacity. People gathering at these events are advised to physically distance themselves from people outside of their household, except for brief exchanges. TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS IN MANITOBA EASED As of June 21, people traveling from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, as well as people living in the area of northwestern Ontario, west of Terrace Bay, can visit Manitoba without having to self-isolate for 14 days if they are not showing symptoms and have no known exposure to COVID-19.
    Manitoba state of emergency due extended another 30 days
    Manitoba will be under a state of emergency for another 30 days as of 4 p.m. Monday, in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The province has been under a state of emergency due to the pandemic since March 20 — nearly three months. Prior 30-day extensions were put in place on April 20 and May 17.
    Manitoba unveils draft plans for Phase Three of reopening Premier Brian Pallister announced a draft plan for Phase Three of reopening Manitoba. Phase Three will come into effect on June 21. The draft plan proposes an increase in gathering sizes which could see 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. The province is also looking at the possibility of changing guidelines for faith-based and other cultural gatherings as well as pow wows and other Indigenous cultural and spiritual gatherings. The changes would include 100 people allowed at outdoor events and 50 people allowed in indoor events. The plan also proposes allowing people from Western Canada and northwest Ontario who enter Manitoba to not need to self-isolate anymore for 14 days. The draft proposal is available here.
    Manitoba announces $120M for front-line workers like cashiers, cooks, bus drivers
    Premier Pallister announced that it will be distributing $120 million to Manitobans who have been working on the front lines during COVID-19 through a Risk Recognition Program. The entire list of eligible positions is on the province's website. People will be able to submit an online application starting on June 3 and the application deadline is June 18 which is expected to provide around 100,000 workers about $1000 on average. The payment will be available to employees who worked on a part-time and full-time basis from March 20 until May 29 and who worked a minimum of 200 cumulative hours or could have worked but were required to self-isolate because of public health orders. They also must have a total pre-tax employment income of less than $6,250 during that period and they cannot be enrolled in the Canada Emergency Response Benefit
    Manitoba launches online tool to match employers and students for jobs
    The Manitoba government on Thursday launched an online tool to match students looking for job opportunities with employers who need help. Student Jobs MB helps students apply for multiple jobs with the click of a button. Private-sector employers, not-for-profit organizations and governments can post jobs and connect directly with students.
    Manitoba: Restaurants, gyms, seniors’ centres can reopen June 1
    Businesses that were forced to shutter their doors due to COVID-19 will be allowed to start back up Monday under the second phase of Manitoba's reopening plan, which includes gyms, indoor restaurant spaces and seniors centres, manicurists and pedicurists, film production, pools and a wide swath of other businesses can all resume operating The plan includes expanding capacity at child-care centres and opening bars at 50 per cent capacity. Manitobans will also be allowed to travel north of the 53rd parallel from within Manitoba, though they are advised to stay home if they have any symptoms of COVID-19, which include many cold and flu symptoms.
    MB is considering an early start to the school year
    Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says the province is considering an early start to the school year. It's also looking at allowing access to pools and gyms, and limited travel to Manitoba's north as part of its next reopening phase, though no date was attached to the proposals. Manitoba is allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people and indoor gatherings of up to 25 as of Friday, with physical distancing measures in place.
    Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec lifting some COVID-19 restrictions
    Ontario took its first steps Monday with the reopening of some businesses, including lawn care and landscaping, garden centres for curbside pickup, automatic and self-serve car washes, auto dealerships by appointment, and many construction projects. Manitobans can now visit everything from hair salons to museums to restaurant patios (with fewer seats than normal) provided everyone is following public health rules. In most of Saskatchewan, non-urgent medical offices are allowed to reopen and rules around some outdoor activities — including fishing and boating — are being loosened. But one owner of a physiotherapy clinic told CBC Saskatchewan she's got mixed emotions about opening up. Newfoundland and Labrador plans to move to alert Level 4 on May 11, meaning a relaxation of some public health measures to allow more social and business activities. The province followed New Brunswick's lead and allowed families to come together in "bubbles" made up of two households . Alberta took its first strides toward the large-scale resumption of public life under COVID-19 this weekend as provincial parks and golf courses opened under the government's phased economic relaunch. Alberta began to ease some public health restrictions on Friday, with provincial parks and boat launches reopening with limited services. Alberta has three stage plan starting May 14 called Opening Soon: Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy .
    Hair salons, dentists, patios can reopen in Manitoba starting May 4
    As of May 4, a variety of non-essential health care and retail businesses in Manitoba will have the option of reopening under strict guidelines. Those services, businesses and venues include:
    • Non-urgent surgery and diagnostic procedures.
    • Therapeutic and medical services.
    • Retail businesses.
    • Restaurants — patio/walk-up services.
    • Hair salons.
    • Museums, galleries and libraries.
    • Seasonal day camps.
    • Outdoor recreation and campgrounds.
    If results during or at the end of Phase 1 are not favourable, the province will not proceed with further phases and may instead reintroduce some measures. All businesses and venues being allowed to reopen will be required to continue following social distancing and stringent cleaning practices to protect both employees and customers. Manitoba will continually re-evaluate and adjust plans for further easing of public health restrictions if one or any future phases result in a resurgence of cases. Phase 2 of the reopening, which would happen no earlier than June 1, may include an increase in the size of gatherings and more non-essential businesses, including:
    • Dining inside restaurants.
    • Non-contact children's sports.
    • Film production.
    • Additional personal services, such as nail salons.
    Manitoba introduces $120M to support small and medium sized business
    The Manitoba Gap Protection Program (MGPP) is available to any of the approximately 120,000 businesses in Manitoba who have fallen into a gap in failing to qualify for the various federal government assistance programs and wage subsidies created because of COVID-19. If one in six businesses have fallen into that gap that would mean approximately 20,000 Manitoba businesses would be entitled to this support, the premier noted. The province will advance each eligible business the non-interest bearing forgivable MGPP loan of $6,000, for a total of up to $120 million. The loan will be forgiven on Dec. 31, 2020, if the recipient attests at that time the business has not received any major non-repayable COVID-19 federal supports such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Business Account, as well as sector-specific grant federal programs specifically developed in response to the pandemic. If the applicant has received benefits under a federal COVID program, then the loan will be added to the recipient’s 2020 tax bill. To be eligible for the MGPP funding, a business must:
    • have been operational on March 20, 2020, the date the Manitoba government declared a provincewide state of emergency under The Emergency Measures Act because of COVID-19;
    • have temporarily ceased or curtailed operations as a result of a COVID-19 public health order and have been harmed by the health order;
    • be registered and in good standing with the Manitoba Business and Corporate Registry;
    • have not qualified for federal government COVID-19 grant support; and
    • have an email address and a bank account.
    Manitoba Workers Compensation Board to give $37M surplus back to employers
    Premier Brian Pallister announced that Manitoba WCB will return 20% of 2019 premium to employers starting in May. The Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba is returning a roughly $37-million surplus to eligible employers. $29 million back to private-sector employers and roughly $7 million to small businesses. This is the second year the WCB has returned a surplus to employers. The WCB insures more than 34,000 employers in the province, or roughly three-quarters of Manitoba's workforce, the province said in a news release.
    Manitoba extends COVID-19 public health orders to April 28 but more to come
    Manitoba has extended public health orders shutting down non-essential businesses and limiting public gatherings for an additional two weeks. The orders, which were introduced on March 30, were previously set to expire on Tuesday. They are now set to expire on April 28. Under the current rules, bars, hair salons and massage therapy offices are shut down and restaurants are banned from serving eat-in service. Businesses are allowed to do repairs, provide security services or take items out of a closed establishment if they operate on a remote basis. The province is likely to enhance the orders later this week but Dr. Brent Roussin, the province's chief public health officer declined to provide specifics of what that could look like.
    Manitoba adds new rules for businesses still allowed to operate
    Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer issued the following measures that came into effect on April 1, 2020: All non-exempt businesses may:
    • Continue to operate where customers can order goods online or by telephone; however, customers cannot visit a business’ premises or property to order goods;
    • Continue to sell goods to customers where those goods can be picked up ‘curbside’ or delivered to customers; however, customers cannot pick up goods at a business’ premises or on its property;
    • Allow staff to visit the business’ premises without a limitation on the number of staff, as long as staff take measures to keep social distancing of one to two metres apart from each other; and
    • Accept delivery of goods and may allow services, such as construction, repairs, maintenance and cleaning to occur at their premises and on their property.
    Ontario and Manitoba schools to remain closed until May
    On March 31, the Ontario government announced that publicly-funded schools will remain closed until May 1 for teachers and May 4 for students. Private schools, licensed child care centres and EarlyON programs will also remain closed for at least another two weeks, according to the province's emergency declaration, which only allows closures to be extended for 14 days at a time. In Manitoba, classes for kindergarten to Grade 12 students in Manitoba are suspended indefinitely for this school year. Teachers will continue to teach remotely, assign work, conduct assessments and prepare report cards. Grades will be held at what they were before the classes were suspended, but students will still have the opportunity to improve their grades.
    On March 30, Premier Pallister announced the restriction on non-essential establishment
    The Public Health Order to enforce closure of non-essential businesses is in effect as of April 1, 2020. Manitoba followed suit with many other provinces to allow licensed establishments licensed establishments whose primary business is food to also sell liquor as part of their take-out menus. This will allow an added source of revenue for businesses facing significant financial impacts. MANITOBA'S LIST OF NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES
    Manitoba is shutting down all non-critical services April 1
    The province's chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, made the announcement on Monday, closing any place that serves food for dine-in service, as well as bars, hair salons and massage therapy offices. Grocery stores will still remain open. Read more about what's happening in Manitoba
    LAST UPDATED: December 10, 2020

    New Brunswick COVID-19 Update

    New Brunswick will force companies to reveal who controls them
    Mary Wilson, the minister responsible for Service New Brunswick announced Thursday that New Brunswick has committed to introducing legislative changes aimed at combating tax evasion, money laundering by creating a registry of individuals who have significant control in their companies and make that information available to law enforcement and taxing authorities. The legislative change would bring New Brunswick in line with the federal government and five other provinces that have passed similar amendments.
    New Brunswick revises deficit projection
    New Brunswick is still heading for a huge budget deficit this year because of COVID-19, but a new projection from the provincial government shows the fiscal picture isn't nearly as bleak as it was early in the pandemic. Second-quarter budget results now project a deficit of $183.3 million for the 2020-21 fiscal year, the Department of Finance said in a news release Thursday. That's still far worse than the $92.4 million surplus Finance Minister Ernie Steeves projected in the budget he delivered March 10, just days before the coronavirus sent fiscal plans into a tailspin. The new deficit projection is an improvement on the $343-million deficit NB was looking at when he updated MLAs at a committee hearing in June. That's in large part thanks to infusions of federal money $647 million, revenue from conditional grants from Ottawa are almost double the $324.5 million NB was expecting in the March 2020 budget, because of various COVID-19 programs. That means revenues are on track to be $40.3 million less than what was budgeted, rather than the $291.4 million shortfall that the province was projecting in the spring. Projected spending is way up because of pandemic expenses, but the news release says the majority of it will be offset by federal COVID-19 programs. The Department of Health is on track to spend $110 million more than planned, and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, which had to adjust schooling to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread, is forecast to spend $46 million more than budgeted. The province is still projecting that the provincial economy will shrink by 4.3 per cent this year, a forecast unchanged from the spring.
    NB Premier Blaine Higgs unveils new cabinet
    Premier Blaine Higgs and the members of the Executive Council were sworn in at a ceremony held today in Fredericton. Higgs gave a brief address focusing on economic recovery, health care and education. The Minister’s most relevant to the CFA and franchising are Arlene Dunn – Minister responsible for Economic Development and Small Business, Minister responsible for Opportunities NB, Minister responsible for Immigration, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Gary Crossman – Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Minister responsible for the Regional Development Corporation Ernie Steeves – Minister of Finance and Treasury Board Dorothy Shephard – Minister of Health Trevor Holder – Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour CFA staff will be reaching out to the new Ministers to start to build those relationships.
    New Brunswick Progressive Conservatives win majority
    New Brunswick's Progressive Conservatives won re-election Monday night with a majority government for Premier Blaine Higgs, who last month called a snap election, the first provincial vote to be held during the COVID-19 pandemic. The PCs were elected in 27 ridings, two more than the 25 needed for a majority. The victory ends a streak of four consecutive single-term governments. The Liberals, under first-time leader Kevin Vickers, were elected in 17 ridings, four fewer seats than 2018. Vickers lost his first run at a seat, losing to People's Alliance candidate Michelle Conroy, who took the riding of Miramichi in the last election. Green Leader David Coon was re-elected in Fredericton South, and the party maintained its three seats in the legislature. Kevin Arseneau held Kent North and Megan Mitton retained Memramcook-Tantramar. However, the party couldn't muster the gains it sought during the campaign. Coon said the party was confident it could double the size of its caucus.
    New Brunswick's travel bubble with Quebec shrinks
    The New Brunswick travel bubble will get even smaller Friday, when most of the Avignon Municipal Regional County in Quebec, which borders Campbellton, is removed. Now residents from only two communities in the region, Listuguj First Nation and Pointe-à-la-Croix, will be allowed into New Brunswick without having to self-isolate. This change comes a week after New Brunswick restricted travel from the Témiscouata Municipal Regional County, which borders the Edmundston area. Both the Témiscouata and Avignon regions formed a travel bubble with New Brunswick on Aug. 1, but now people from most parts of these two regions must have an essential reason for travel to get into the province and must self-isolate for 14 days.
    New Brunswick election: Campaign shifts to economic development
    Economic development was front and centre on New Brunswick's election campaign trail Wednesday, with the Liberals pushing for nuclear energy and the Progressive Conservatives promising more help for the province's businesses. During a campaign stop in Saint John, Liberal Leader Kevin Vickers said if he's elected premier, he'll partner with the federal government on the production of small modular nuclear reactors.
    New Brunswick Election Called for September 14
    NB Premier Blaine Higgs has called a provincial election, the first that will be held in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic, for Sept. 14. Higgs visited Lt.-Gov. Brenda Murphy at Government House in Fredericton on Monday afternoon and asked her to dissolve the legislature. She agreed. The decision came three days after the Liberal opposition pulled out of four-party negotiations on a proposal from Higgs that would have allowed his government to stay in power until October 2022 or until the end of the pandemic. The Liberals said that would hand too much power to Higgs and urged him not to go to the polls until the pandemic is over.
    New Brunswick Liberals reject Tory power-sharing deal
    New Brunswick's Opposition Liberals have rejected a proposal from Tory Premier Blaine Higgs for an agreement aimed at avoiding an election until 2022. Liberal Leader Kevin Vickers said Friday Higgs wielded the threat of a snap election in a bid to have his minority government remain in power for another two years. The Liberals have left the talks, setting the stage for a possible election call by Higgs. On Monday, Higgs asked the opposition leaders to sign a formal agreement not to trigger an election until September 2022, or no earlier than 30 days after public health officials declare the COVID-19 pandemic over. The Progressive Conservatives and Liberals each have 20 seats in the legislature, while the Greens and the People's Alliance each have three. There are two vacant seats and one Independent. Negotiations between the Progressive Conservatives, Liberals, Greens and the People's Alliance on the proposal that the opposition support Higgs' minority government began Wednesday and continued through Friday.
    Employers to get break on WorkSafeNB premiums in 2021
    New Brunswick employers are expected to get a break on the premiums they pay to cover benefits for injured workers next year, says the head of WorkSafeNB. The projected average assessment rate for 2021 is between $2.15 and $2.20 per $100 of payroll. That's down from $2.40 in 2020. A decrease in the number of accidents has helped reduce costs. New Brunswick recorded its lowest level of injury frequency in the past 10 years.
    New Brunswick businesses told to collect 'minimum information necessary' for COVID-19 contact tracing
    New Brunswick businesses and other organizations are being asked to collect only the minimum personal information necessary from patrons and visitors for COVID-19 contact-tracing purposes under new guidelines released Monday by Public Health. They should restrict the information collected to the first and last name of only one person per group and that person's phone number, or, if no phone number is available, an email address, the guidelines say. If the collection form is a physical document, it must be protected from the public's view at all times, must never be left unattended and must be stored in a secure location. If it's electronic, it should be password-protected with a limited number of individuals who know the password. The information should not be used for anything or shared with anyone other than when asked for by a medical officer of health or a Public Health inspector. And it should be destroyed after 21 days, after the risk of transmission of COVID-19 has passed, based on the estimated two-week incubation period.
    The guidelines come after the province's privacy commissioner Charles Murray raised concerns about the lack of clarity and risk of a breach.
    Under the province's state of emergency order, any for-profit, not-for-profit, charity or government entity that admits patrons to a venue at which seating is offered for the purposes of eating, drinking, socialization, celebration, ceremony or entertainment "must maintain a record of the names and contact information of all persons who attend." The same requirement applies to anyone who hosts, organizes or permits gatherings of more than 50 people, whether seated or standing.
    New Brunswick nixes new property tax breaks for businesses, cottages
    New Brunswick Finance Minister Ernie Steeves has moved to cancel more than $20 million in property tax cuts for businesses and cottages that he unveiled in his budget just 11 weeks ago. The measures being undone involve proposed relief for residential properties that are subject to secondary provincial taxes, including apartment buildings, cottages and single-family homes not lived in by the owner. That budget proposal was to reduce taxes by $140.40 per year on every $100,000 those properties are assessed to be worth. A second tax cut on commercial and industrial properties is also being withdrawn. It was worth $82.50 per year on every $100,000 of a business property's assessed value. It would have been a substantial saving for some of the province's larger business properties, including a $142,000 tax reduction for Champlain Place in Dieppe beginning next January and a $84,715 reduction in property tax on the Irving Oil refinery. There was also a plan to lower the same taxes identical amounts in 2022, 2023 and 2024, providing a total of $96 million in annual property tax relief to business and cottage properties after the fourth year. Premier Blaine Higgs said the province could not afford the loss in revenue, but he hoped to be able to restore the tax cuts when the province's finances improve.
    NB moves to Phase 2 (Orange) of recovery plan
    Premier Blaine Higgs announced that New Brunswick will be moving to Phase 2, Orange level. Under Phase 2 (Orange), several activities and openings are permitted, subject to maintaining physical distancing measures, general guidelines from Public Health and the Guidelines for New Brunswick Workplaces issued by WorkSafe NB. Businesses do not need to be inspected before re-opening, but they must prepare an operational plan that can be provided to officials, if requested. Businesses may open immediately, but it is up to each business operator to decide if they are ready and if all guidelines have been met. Re-openings and activities include: • Elective surgeries and other non-emergency health services, including dental, physiotherapy, optometry and massage therapy. • Outdoor public gatherings, with physical distancing, of 10 or fewer people. • Indoor public gatherings, with physical distancing, of 10 or fewer people for in-person religious services, weddings and funerals. • All in-person programs at post-secondary institutions, subject to the COVID-19 directives from Public Health. Virtual education options should be continued wherever possible. • Cultural venues such as museums, galleries and libraries. • Offices not deemed essential during the initial phase. • Retail establishments, including malls. • Restaurants. • Campgrounds and outdoor recreational activities, such as zoos and outfitters. • Early learning and child care centres regulated by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development will be permitted to reopen as of May 19. The department will contact operators to provide further information in the coming days. • Non-regulated child care providers may open as of today but must adhere to Public Health guidelines, including having an operational plan. • Day camps, if the organization can adhere to Public Health measures set out in the document called COVID-19 Recovery Phase: Guidance to Early Learning and Childcare Facilities and Day Camps. • ATV trails across the province.
    NB launches job-matching platform
    JobMatchNB, a virtual job-matching platform, was launched Monday to connect New Brunswickers with available positions. Employers can add jobs into the system and they will appear on the site within a few days. Last week, the New Brunswick government announced a ban on any temporary foreign workers entering the province.
    NB extends state of emergency for two more weeks
    The province has extended the state of emergency for another two weeks. The declaration under the Emergency Measures Act does include some revisions. All licences, registrations, certificates and permits issued under provincial laws that were valid as of March 16 have been extended to June 30. Many renewals can be done online. A new paragraph has been added to authorize municipal councils and council committees to hold more meetings electronically. New Brunswick's Local Governance Act normally limits councillors' participation in meetings electronically rather than in person.
    New Brunswick releases four-phase plan to reopen his province's economy
    The first phase of New Brunswick's recovery plan and the loosening of some public health restrictions were announced today by Premier Blaine Higgs, the COVID-19 all-party committee which includes Liberal leader Kevin Vickers, People’s Alliance leader Kris Austin and Green Party leader David Coon, and by Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health. As a first step, the following will be allowed effective today:
    • Two-household bubbles: Households may now choose to spend time with one other household, if both households agree. The selection made is not interchangeable.
    • Golf courses and driving ranges: If all physical distancing and safety measures are in place, golf courses and driving ranges can now open.
    • Recreational fishing and hunting: The delay on springs seasons has been lifted.
    • Outdoor spaces: With physical distancing, people can now enjoy the outdoors including parks and beaches.
    • Carpooling: Co-workers or neighbours can carpool if physical distancing measures are maintained by transporting the passenger in the backseat.
    • Post-secondary education: Students requiring access to campus to fulfill their course requirements will be able to do so.
    • Outdoor religious services: As an alternative to online worship, religious organizations can hold outdoor services if parishioners stay in their vehicles that are two metres apart.
    • A guidance document of the public health measures during the recovery phases is being developed and will be available soon.
    Large gatherings, events and concerts prohibited are prohibited through Dec. 31, 2020, subject to change. New Brunswick four-phase plan
    State of emergency extensions in NB and PEI
    New Brunswick has extended its state of emergency for another 14 days. PEI has extended its state of public health emergency for an additional 30 days. Under the measures, anyone travelling to the province will need to disclose the purposes of their travel to determine if it is essential or not.
    New Brunswick’s State of Emergency has been extended
    New Brunswick's premier said the province's state of emergency has been extended for another two weeks. Blaine Higgs said his province will also put up barriers where needed to discourage people from congregating in public spaces. Request for review period for property assessments extended to May 1 The deadline to request a property assessment review has been extended by 30 days, until May 1. This extension will give property owners an opportunity to thoroughly review their assessments and allow assessors additional time to complete reviews.
    LAST UPDATED: November 24, 2020

    Newfoundland and Labrador COVID-19 Update

    The Atlantic bubble is no more
    Both Newfoundland and Labrador and P.E.I are exiting the Atlantic bubble for at least two weeks as COVID-19 cases rise in parts of the region. Newfoundland Premier Andrew Furey said the province will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in the other Atlantic provinces to see if the two-week break needs to be extended. Travel to and from Newfoundland and Labrador will only be for essential reasons. P.E.I. Premier Dennis King delivered a similar message during a nearly simultaneous news conference, saying his government would re-evaluate over the next two weeks. King said the changing epidemiology in the region was concerning, "and it forces us to use what I believe are the tools in our limited toolbox to do everything we can to avoid an outbreak here in P.E.I." He said that given the province's small size, it wouldn't take much for its health-care system to become overwhelmed. The Atlantic bubble was established July 3. Newfoundland's heightened travel restrictions will come into effect on Wednesday, and P.E.I.'s come into effect Monday at midnight.
    New N.L. premier, new finance minister: Andrew Furey takes office and shuffles cabinet
    Andrew Furey has been sworn in as the 14th premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, at a time when the province faces one of its worst fiscal challenges with a near-record deficit of $2.1 billion this year caused largely by plummeting oil prices and the pandemic. Following a short swearing-in ceremony in St. John's on Wednesday morning, Furey unveiled his cabinet, making major ministerial changes for a fresh start to tackle the formidable financial problems facing the province. Furey named his cabinet ministers, most notably appointing Siobhan Coady as his deputy premier and finance minister. Coady will now oversee the next provincial budget, promised in September after being put off for months due to the pandemic. Tom Osborne, previously the finance minister, was named education minister Furey signalled that his government's priorities will be attracting newcomers, building a burgeoning tech sector and building relationships with Indigenous communities. Gerry Byrne was named immigration, skills and labour minister, while Andrew Parsons is the new industry, technology and energy minister. Lisa Dempster is the new minister of Indigenous affairs and reconciliation and is taking on the status of women and Labrador affairs portfolios. Steve Croker will take over as justice minister, replacing Andrew Parsons. Notably absent among the ministers was Christopher Mitchelmore, who came under fire during his time in former premier Dwight Ball's cabinet for his involvement in a controversial hiring of Carla Foote at the provincial cultural institution The Rooms, thereby triggering an investigation that resulted in the Mitchelmore Report. John Haggie, who remains health minister and has been navigating the pandemic to largely positive reviews. There are three new faces in cabinet as well: Derek Bennett becomes the minister of environment, climate change and municipalities; Elvis Loveless was named minister of fisheries, forestry and Agriculture; and Sarah Stoodley is now in charge of digital government and Service NL. In total, Furey has 13 ministers in his cabinet.
    Andrew Furey will be the next Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador
    Andrew Furey is the next Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador and replaces Dwight Ball as Leader of the Liberal Party. The party’s convention was held today in St. John’s where the results of the vote which began last week by phone and online ballot were revealed. Out of 34,000 eligible voters, more than 21,000 votes were cast. Furey has never run for political office until now. He is an orthopedic surgeon by occupation and founded Team Broken Earth, a medical relief initiative, and co-founded the Dollar a Day Foundation which provides funding to frontline metal health and addictions programs across Canada. Furey beat John Abbott, CEO of the Newfoundland and Labrador branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association, and former Deputy Minister of Health. Premier-designate Andrew Furey will officially be sworn in on Aug. 19, making him the 14th premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. Furey is required to call an election within one year following his swearing in as Premier.
    N.L.'s projected deficit soars to $2.1B
    Newfoundland and Labrador's deficit is expected to hit $2.1 billion for the current fiscal year, an increase of $1.35 billion, as new numbers paint a grim fiscal portrait of the province. The ballooning deficit is the result of increasing expenses combined with plunging revenues since the start of this fiscal year in April, two weeks after the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown gripped the province. The province is reporting an expected increase in expenses of $720 million for the year, with health care costs and the province's pandemic response contributing heavily to that figure. Health care costs alone are projected to increase by $261 million, $90 million of which is directly related to the pandemic, with PPE costs cited as the bulk of that cash. The rest, said Osborne, involves pressures on the health care system overall, like the rising cost of goods. The province's $200-million contingency fund, approved by the House of Assembly in March, also contributes to the rising expenses, of which $118 million has been spent so far, pending reimbursements from the federal government. That money has gone toward items like paying for daycare spaces and daycare workers, a home construction rebate package, the tourism sector, and compensating people who had to self-isolate due to travel restrictions. This year's projected $2.1 billion debt is shy of the worst deficit ever, the $2.2 billion figure that came in 2015-16. The province's projected revenue is expected to decrease by $631 million, the lion's share of that — $560 million — from declining offshore royalties. The province had previously budgeted in 2019 for oil revenues based upon $68 USD a barrel. Currently, oil is commanding half that, at $34 USD a barrel, which is itself an improvement from past months as a global price war waged, with oil markets crashing a result. Another unexpected revenue loss came from the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. Although the province did not provide a dollar figure, the closure of its retail outlets and VLTs due to public health restrictions has meant less money coming in. Friday's numbers mean the province now projects a net debt of $16.7 billion. That figure had previously stood at $14.6 billion. The province will need to borrow $3 billion to see it through, although Osborne didn't anticipate having trouble being able to secure that cash, citing positive market response so far. Early on in the pandemic as Newfoundland and Labrador looked for money, lenders had questioned Newfoundland and Labrador's ability to pay, and the Bank of Canada stepped in to assist.
    Some N.L. businesses charging a COVID-19 service fee as province reopens
    As COVID-19 restrictions begin to relax around Newfoundland and Labrador, people might start to notice a new fee tacked on to some of their bills: a COVID-19 surcharge.
    Newfoundland and Labrador outlines plan for relaxing public health restrictions.
    plan for relaxing public health restrictions. Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald on Thursday unveiled the provincial government's five-stage plan for relaxing public health restrictions, including conditions that need to be met as the province progresses from present conditions — Level 5 — to living with COVID-19 — Level 1. The provincial government has set May 11 as the target date for moving to Level 4 Level 4 – Relaxation of several restrictions: •
    • Low-risk outdoor recreational activities — including golf and hunting — may resume, provided they're done so safely. •
    • Low-risk non-essential businesses — such as law firms, accounting firms, and outdoor businesses like garden centres — can reopen. •
    • Resumption of some medical procedures. •
    • Funerals with a maximum of 10 people, including the officiant, will be allowed. •
    • Limited expansion of child-care centres.
    Level 3 includes further relaxation of public health orders: •
    • Private health-care clinics — such as dentistry, optometry and physiotherapy — can reopen. •
    • Medium-risk businesses — such as clothing stores, hair salons, pet centres — can reopen. •
    • Restaurants can reopen with reduced occupancy. •
    • Medium-risk outdoor recreational activities — such as team field sports — can resume. •
    • Further expansion of child-care centres.
    Level 2 sees further loosening of restrictions: •
    • Small gatherings will be permitted, but there will be physical distancing restrictions. •
    • Higher-risk businesses — larger retailers, shopping centres, theatres, perhaps performance paces — can reopen, subject to conditions. •
    • Medium-risk recreational facilities — such as gyms — can also reopen, also subject to conditions.
    AB, SK, NL and QC release provincial COVID-19 modeling
    Saskatchewan released its modelling on April 8, which shows the provincial government is planning for 3,000 to 8,300 deaths and approximately 20 to 200 daily intensive care admissions from COVID-19 at its peak. The data does not say when that peak is expected nor when distancing measures might be eased. Newfoundland and Labrador outlined its projections on April 8. Their prediction focused on intensive care capacity instead of expected deaths. They expect to exceed its 57 intensive-care capacity by the end of June if the spread of the virus continues its current rate of growth. The first assumes current restrictions remain in place and projects 32 per cent of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians infected over a two-year period. Under that scenario, the peak of the virus would occur in early November, and the province would have enough hospital beds and ventilators to weather the pandemic. The second model projects a scenario in which current restrictions are eased and assumes 52 per cent of people in the province infected over the same two-year period. In that scenario, the peak comes sooner — mid-September — and overwhelms hospital beds, intensive-care units and ventilators. Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenney outlined what he described as a "probable" scenario for Alberta on Tuesday that suggested the province won't see a peak in the virus until mid-May. That model suggested Alberta could see as many as 800,000 COVID-19 cases by the end of the summer with death figures ranging from 400 to 3,100. Another more "elevated" scenario pointed toward the possibility of both higher case numbers and between 500 and 6,600 deaths. On Tuesday, Quebec’s model predicts at least 1,200 COVID-19 deaths by the end of April, and if preventative measures aren’t continued, the death toll could be as high as 9,000. Public health officials noted that the current thinking is that the number of deaths will be closer to the lower estimate. Prime Minister Trudeau said Wednesday that people would learn more about a national model in the coming days, but did not provide a specific date. The prime minister said it's not yet clear exactly when Canada will reach a peak but said that strict adherence to critical public health measures — including physical distancing and staying home as much as possible — will help reduce the impact of the outbreak. It’s important to note that the federal modeling requires data from provincial health authorities. Some provinces have better data than others which hinders the development of a national level forecast.
    LAST UPDATED: December 10, 2020

    Nova Scotia COVID-19 Update

    New aid available for businesses in Halifax and Hants County
    A one-time grant of up to $5,000 is being made available to support businesses in Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) and Hants County that have been ordered to temporarily close indoor dining in response to rising cases of COVID-19 in their communities. Eligible small businesses that received either of the earlier provincial supports — the Small Business Impact Grant or the Small Business Reopening and Support Grant — will be contacted directly with details on how to apply for this targeted extension (Part 2) of the Small Business Impact Grant program. The application process will open in the coming weeks.
    N.S. to provide grants for small businesses affected by latest Public Health protocols
    Nova Scotia's provincial government will make some bridge funding available to bars, restaurants, gyms and other small businesses affected by the most recent round of COVID-19 protocols. A one-time grant of up to $5,000 will be available for businesses in Halifax and Hants County that are now facing more restrictive Public Health protocols than businesses in other parts of Nova Scotia. To be eligible, a business must see a 30 per cent revenue decrease in November due to Public Health protocols or expect a decrease of 30 per cent for December, have been in operation as of March 15, 2020. Businesses eligible for the assistance will get up to 15 per cent of their monthly gross revenue for April 2019 to a maximum of $5,000. For newer businesses, the revenue measure will be for February 2020. Funding for the program is coming from the previously-announced Nova Scotia COVID-19 research council, which is overseeing a $50-million fund. The grant can be used for any operational expense. Applications are expected to open in the coming weeks
    Nova Scotia's plastic bag ban to go ahead, premier confirms
    Nova Scotia's plastic bag ban will go ahead as planned at the end of the month, Premier Stephen McNeil confirmed Tuesday in a media briefing. Prior to the onset of COVID-19, Nova Scotia was set to ban single-use plastic bags at the end of October. That would mean businesses would no longer be able to provide single-use plastic shopping bags at the checkout. Last month, the Department of Environment said it was considering pushing the date back due to concerns about the use of reusable bags during a pandemic. The department said it was consulting with public health officials on the matter. Speaking at Tuesday's briefing, Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, said he's told the department "there's nothing from a COVID reason that would require them to delay that." However, he added the retail sector does not want another burden as it deals with the impacts of COVID-19. Strang said he did not know when a public announcement on the ban would happen. McNeil then chimed in: "It will proceed as scheduled." He did not elaborate on the plan. Retail Council OK with ban Jim Cormier, Atlantic director for the Retail Council of Canada, said in an interview that the council is "somewhat agnostic" when it comes to phasing out plastic bags, but he said that Nova Scotia's retailers have had plenty of time to prepare. If you have a comment on the ban please email the CFA at
    Nova Scotia Premier to step down
    Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil announced Thursday he will step down. McNeil was first elected in 2003 as MLA for Annapolis and has been premier since 2013. McNeil said he will continue to act as premier and Liberal Party leader until the party chooses a replacement. McNeil is in his second term of a majority government. Many do not expect a new leader (and Premier) to be in place before 2021.
    COVID-19 leads to $850-million deficit in Nova Scotia budget
    Finance Minister Karen Casey released documents showing the expected surplus of $55 million is long gone, replaced by a provincial deficit of $852.9 million. That hole was dug primarily by massive overruns in department spending and the $228-million stimulus package the province announced for additional construction projects this fiscal year. Nine departments required additional appropriations, totalling $443.4 million. The lion's share of that was consumed by the Health Department, which required an additional $374 million for personal protective equipment, essential working funding, backfilling employees, increased use of pharmacare and other demands. The province is projecting an unemployment rate of 11 per cent, or 25,000 fewer jobs — the highest in Nova Scotia since 1997. Revenue for 2020-21 is down $532.1 million from the budget tabled in the spring, primarily due to decreases in HST ($234.4 million) and corporate income tax ($160.8 million). Personal income tax is down $50 million, a figure partially offset by federal direct payments to Nova Scotians. Finance Department officials said that's a sign the program is working. Nominal economic growth is 7.6 per cent lower than projected in the budget, household consumption is down 7.5 per cent, residential construction is down 18 per cent and exports are down 13.1 per cent. Net debt is projected to increase from $15.7 billion to $16.9 billion. The net debt-to-GDP ratio is projected to jump from 33 per cent to 38.7 per cent. Finance Department officials said the latter change is consistent with what other provinces and the federal government are experiencing.
    N.S. home sales spike in June
    After a brief dip in real estate transactions because of COVID-19, listings in Nova Scotia rebounded last month and sales spiked. In April, there were 60 per cent fewer new listings than in April 2019, making for the slowest April in more than 30 years. Sales for that month dropped about 47 per cent from the previous year. In May, there were about 42 per cent fewer new listings than in May 2019, a 15-year low, and about 42 per cent fewer sales. But June numbers show the market bucking the downward trend. Listings returned to within 10 per cent of last year's levels, and sales spiked by 30 per cent from the previous year. In June 2019, there were 1,427 real estate sales in Nova Scotia. In June 2020, there were 1,862.
    Nova Scotia lumber shortage causing construction delays
    There's a lumber shortage in Nova Scotia and it's forcing construction companies to make some tough decisions on what jobs they can complete. The shortage has been caused by producers scaling down production due to distancing and COVID-19 precautions and by an unanticipated increase in demand cause by people doing construction projects.
    Nova Scotia: Small Business Reopening and Support Grant
    The Small Business Reopening and Support Grant provides funding for small businesses, non-profits, charities and social enterprises that were ordered to close or greatly reduce operations because of the Public Health Order or were greatly impacted by orders to stay home. The program helps small businesses affected by COVID-19 by providing a grant and a business continuity voucher for advice and services from a business consultant. Funding includes a:
    • one-time grant of up to $5,000 to help your business safely reopen
    • business continuity voucher of up to $1,500 for advice and services to help your business adapt to and become more resilient in a COVID-19 world
    The grant is intended to help businesses reopen and adapt to COVID-19, not to replace lost revenues. MORE INFO
    Parts of N.S. economy, like hair salons, bars, gyms, can reopen if ready June 5
    Parts of Nova Scotia's economy can begin to reopen June 5 if they're ready and follow public health protocol. If ready the following can reopen June 5:
    • Restaurants for dine-in.
    • Bars, wineries, distilleries and craft beer taprooms.
    • Personal services like hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, spas and tattoo parlours.
    • Fitness facilities like gyms, yoga studios and climbing facilities.
    • Veterinarians.
    Other health providers can also reopen on June 5 if they follow protocols in their college or association's plan, as approved by public health, including:
    • Dentistry and other self-regulated health professions such as optometry, chiropractic and physiotherapy.
    • Unregulated health professions such as massage therapy, podiatry and naturopathy.
    Lounges are not permitted to reopen yet.
    N.S. students won't be returning to the classroom this school year
    On May 8, NS Premier Stephen McNeil announced that Nova Scotia students and teachers will not be returning to the classroom this school year. At-home learning will continue until June 5, when the province's school year will end.
    Nova Scotia eases restrictions
    The Nova Scotia government announced Friday it is immediately easing some public health restrictions around COVID-19, including opening all municipal and provincial parks. Some of the initial steps include:
    • Reopening provincial and municipal parks (excluding playgrounds and beaches), trails and community gardens. Skate parks are open. Provincial parks won't have visitor facilities available to the public, including parking lots, washroom facilities and garbage collection because it is still off-season.
    • Reopening garden centres, nurseries and similar businesses.
    • Sport fishing is permitted from shore or boat, but fishing derbies are not allowed. People are now allowed to go to boating, yacht or sailing clubs to prepare boats for use.
    • Golf driving ranges can open, including those at golf clubs. Courses must remain closed, but golf clubs can perform the necessary preparation work for reopening.
    • People can use their cottages, but use is restricted to one household unit at a time. Travel must be directly to the cottage and back. Travelling back and forth frequently from cottage to primary residence is discouraged. This does not apply to cottage rentals.
    • Provincial and private campgrounds are still closed, but staff are now permitted to do maintenance work for reopening. An exception to this rule is recreational vehicles parked year-round at private campgrounds, which can be used but must follow the same rules.
    • Drive-thru religious services will be allowed as long as people stay in their cars and are parked two metres apart and there is no interaction between people in cars or between people in cars and others.
    Rules around physical distancing and social gatherings remain in place. People must keep two metres apart and not gather in groups of more than five.
    Big Win for the CFA getting changes to Nova Scotia’s Rent Deferral
    Over the weekend CFA staff worked with officials within the government of Nova Scotia to get changes to the provinces Rent Deferral Support program so that franchisees are now considered qualified businesses. The COVID-19 Rent Deferral Support Program (CRDSP), was announced on May 27 and will indemnify qualified landlords for losses incurred as a result the State of Emergency in Nova Scotia. In the first iteration of the program criteria franchisees were excluded from the program. Thankfully Nova Scotia made changes to the program so that CFA members can now qualify for the program. The revised program criteria are available online. Under the program the provincial government may guarantee up to $5,000/month if that business tenant must shut its doors and its landlord agrees to defer rent payments from April, May, and June and spread the deferred amount over the remainder of the lease term. Without the CFA’s advocacy franchisees would have been excluded from the program.
    LAST UPDATED: April 13, 2020

    Nunavut COVID-19 Update

    LAST UPDATED: December 22, 2020

    Ontario COVID-19 Update

    Ontario Announces Provincewide Shutdown on December 26 at 12:01 a.m.
    The Ontario government announced yesterday that it is imposing a Provincewide Shutdown, which will put additional restrictions in place and reinforce that Ontarians stay at home as much as possible to minimize the transmission of COVID-19 and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. The Provincewide Shutdown will take effect as of Saturday, December 26, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. and will remain in place for 14 days in Northern Ontario and 28 days in Southern Ontario. The Provincewide Shutdown, which will temporarily replace the current COVID-19 Response Framework, will put in place time-limited public health and workplace safety measures similar to other jurisdictions. Measures include, but are not limited to: Restricting indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household (the people you live with). Individuals who live alone may consider having exclusive close contact with one other household. Prohibiting in-person shopping in most retail settings - curbside pickup and delivery can continue. Discount and big box retailers selling groceries will be limited to 25 per cent capacity for in-store shopping. Supermarkets, grocery stores and similar stores that primarily sell food, as well as pharmacies, will continue to operate at 50 per cent capacity for in-store shopping. Restricting indoor access to shopping malls - patrons may only go to a designated indoor pickup area (by appointment only), essential retail stores that are permitted to be open (e.g. pharmacy, grocery store), or, subject to physical distancing and face covering requirements, to the food court for takeout purchases. Shopping malls may also establish outdoor designated pickup areas. Prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining. Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be permitted to operate by take out, drive-through, and delivery only. All Ontarians are advised to stay home as much as possible with trips outside the home limited to necessities such as food, medication, medical appointments, or supporting vulnerable community members. Employers in all industries should make every effort to allow employees to work from home. Full details on the Provincewide Shutdown measures can be found here. The Ontario government will evaluate the Provincewide Shutdown measures and assess if they need to be revised and/or extended. This includes an assessment of a revised approach for operationalizing the safe reopening of retail.
    NEW FUNDING SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESS: Ontario Government announces new Ontario Small Business Support Grant
    The Ontario government announced a new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which will provide a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 to eligible small business owners impacted by the Provincewide Shutdown. The grant is intended to provide businesses with dollar-for-dollar funding to help cover decreased revenue expected as a result of the Provincewide Shutdown. Small business required to close or restrict services under the Provincewide Shutdown will be able to apply for this one-time grant. Each small business will be able to use the support however it makes the most sense for their individual businesses (e.g. some business will need support to pay employee wages while others will need support for rent). Essential businesses that are allowed to remain open will not be eligible for this grant. Eligible small business include those that: • Are required to close or significantly restrict services subject to the Provincewide Shutdown effective 12:01 a.m. on December 26, 2020; • Have less than 100 employees at the enterprise level; and • Have experienced a minimum of 20 per cent revenue decline in April 2020 compared to April 2019. Businesses must demonstrate they experienced a revenue decline of at least 20 per cent when comparing monthly revenue in April 2019 and April 2020. This time period was selected as it reflects the impact of public health measures in Spring 2020, and provides a representation of the possible impact of the Provincewide Shutdown on small businesses. More information about the Ontario Small Business Support Grant is available here. Further details, including how to apply, will be announced in January 2021.
    Ontario Property Tax and Energy Cost Rebates for Business
    Businesses that are impacted by the Provincewide Shutdown will also be eligible for the property tax and energy cost rebates. In November, the government launched a program to provide rebates to offset fixed costs such as property tax and energy bills for businesses that are required to shut down or significantly restrict services due to provincial public health measures. These Ontario Small Business Support Grant rebates will continue to be available for businesses impacted by the Provincewide Shutdown and earlier restrictions. Business can apply for the rebates here.
    Ontario tells students to bring home materials you might need for remote learning in new year
    Ontario's education ministry is telling school boards to ask students and staff to bring home materials they might need for remote learning when they leave for the holidays in December, just in case school becomes entirely virtual in the new year. Education Minister Stephen Lecce and Deputy Minister Nancy Naylorsent the memo to all chairs of district school boards, directors of education and school authorities on Wednesday afternoon.
    Ontario makes changes to liquor rules, allows permanent delivery of alcohol with food
    The Ontario government announced that it will adjust provincial licensing requirements to allow local restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries and distilleries to sell alcohol in a variety of ways. Throughout the pandemic, Ontario introduced a number of temporary policy changes that expanded the opportunities for businesses in the hospitality sector to sell alcohol, which have now been made permanent. As a growing number of businesses are significantly impacted by the spread of COVID-19, the province intends to support businesses by allowing for the delivery of alcoholic beverages in food boxes; alcohol manufacturers to deliver their own products; restaurants and bars to offer cocktails through takeout and delivery option; and, eligible manufacturers to sell spirit and Ontario wine at farmers markets.
    Ontario has only dispensed 'a few million' from $600M fund to support businesses due to lack of applications
    Premier Doug Ford says that the province has only dispensed a fraction of the money from a $600 million fund meant to support shuttered businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic and he is blaming a lack of applications for the delay. The Progressive Conservative government set aside $300 million for businesses forced to close or significantly curtail their operations back in October and then doubled the fund to $600 million when it decided to move Toronto and Peel into a lockdown in November. The money is intended to help eligible businesses offset fixed costs, including property taxes, hydro and natural gas bills. Applications for money from the provincial fund opened on Nov. 16 but Ford said that only a “few million” has been dispensed so far. CFA is gathering a comprehensive list for members that will be shared shortly.
    Ontario Liquor Board suspends partnership with SkipTheDishes
    The LCBO says it is putting its partnership with food delivery app SkipTheDishes on hold at the end of Sunday after it was instructed to so by the Ontario government. Through the partnership, customers could have ordered alcohol from the SkipTheDishes app and website. The partnership caused consternation in the restaurant and bar industry, which has been relying in part on the sale of alcohol through takeout and delivery to pay its bills. "Following direction from the Ontario Government, effective end of day today, LCBO's partnership with SkipTheDishes is paused until further notice," the LCBO said in a statement on Sunday. In a tweet on Sunday, Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips said he and Premier Doug Ford asked the LCBO to pause the partnership as a show of support for restaurants.
    Ontario investing $4.4 million to support tourism industry
    The Ontario government is investing nearly $4.4 million to support the long-term sustainability of the province's vital tourism industry. This funding will help deliver innovative, safe experiences, like virtual festivals and events, and support tourism operators as they deal with the impacts of COVID-19. For more information
    Food Delivery Fess Bill tabled in Ontario that excludes ‘Chains’
    Today, Minister Sarkaria introduced legislation that would protect restaurants from high delivery fees charged by some food delivery companies. According the media release, the Supporting Local Restaurants Act, 2020, if passed, would reduce fees charged by food delivery companies in areas where indoor dining is prohibited to help more small and independent restaurants stay in business. The Act prohibits food delivery services providers, who are identified in the regulations, from charging restaurants more than the prescribed amount for food and beverage delivery services or related services. The prohibition applies in respect of restaurants that are not chain restaurants, that have indoor dining, and that are prohibited from permitting indoor dining by an order or direction under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 or the Health Protection and Promotion Act. The bill defines “chain restaurant” as a restaurant that is part of a set of related restaurants consisting of 10 or more food service premises in Canada that operate under the same or substantially the same name, regardless of ownership, and that offer the same or substantially the same food items. The CFA is working with Minister Sarkaria and the Opposition Parties to try and get the legislation amended to ensure that franchised businesses are not excluded.
    Ontario announces COVID-19 workplace education and enforcement campaigns
    On November 19, 2020, the government of Ontario announced that it is undertaking a series of education and enforcement campaigns to promote compliance with COVID-19 health and safety requirements. Over 1,000 businesses have been visited by enforcement officers to date. Currently, the safety campaign has focused on education rather than ticketing, but businesses should be aware that they could be liable for fines ranging from $750 to $10,000,000 for noncompliance with the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020. Upcoming campaigns are planned for Eastern Ontario, York Region, Ottawa, and Toronto. For more information, see the government’s press release.
    Toronto and Peel Region to move into 'lockdown' Monday
    Toronto and Peel Region are moving into "lockdown" on Monday as Ontario tries to curb a steep rise in COVID-19 cases, Premier Ford announced on Friday afternoon. That means:
    • No indoor gatherings with anyone outside a person's household.
    • Individuals who live alone can have close contact with one other household.
    • Outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people.
    • Restaurants are limited to take-out, drive-through and delivery only.
    • Religious services and weddings are limited to 10 people indoors or 10 people outdoors.
    • Gyms are closed.
    • Non-essential retail and malls are limited to curbside pickup or delivery only.
    Meanwhile, Durham and Waterloo regions are moving into the red "control" zones. Huron-Perth, Niagara, Simcoe-Muskoka, southwestern Ontario, and Windsor are moving to the orange zone. The measures come as Ontario reports 1,418 more cases of COVID-19. The province reports that eight more people with COVID-19 have died, bringing the official death toll to 3,451. So far this month, 315 people have died of COVID-19 in Ontario.
    Ontario government risks missing climate change targets, Ontario auditor general says
    On Wednesday, the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario released the 2020 Annual Report of Environmental Value-for-Money Audits and the Operation of the Environmental Bill of Rights, which noted the Ontario government is at risk of not fulfilling its 2030 emission-reductions target and its broader goal to fight climate change under the Paris Agreement. The series of audits found that two government ministries and a key government agency do not have adequate long-term energy plans or frameworks in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, several ministries may not be publicly posting or considering environmentally significant proposals which goes against the Environmental Bills of Rights.
    Tough new measures coming to Ontario tomorrow
    During a Thursday afternoon press conference, Ford promised to release new public health restrictions tomorrow (Friday). "These measures will have to be tough in the hardest hit areas," Ford said. Neither Ford nor Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams would specify exactly what those measures would be, saying they still need to go before cabinet
    Ontario Commercial Eviction Ban is being extended
    Cassels – Armen Khajetoorian, Randy Bassi Bill 229, Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act (Budget Measures), 2020 (the Act), an omnibus budget bill, was introduced by the Ontario government on November 5, 2020. This Act is subject to change as it makes its way through the legislative process. If passed, Schedule 5 of the Act will provide protection for commercial tenants under Part IV of the Commercial Tenancies Act by establishing a Non-Enforcement Period (as defined below) in respect of certain commercial tenancies. During the Non-Enforcement Period, judges are prohibited from ordering a writ of possession if the basis for ordering the writ is an arrears of rent, and landlords are prohibited from exercising a right of re-entry and from seizing any goods or chattels as a distress for arrears of rent. For more information
    Ontario could hit 6,500 new COVID-19 cases daily by mid-December without further action, modelling shows
    Ontario could see 6,500 daily new cases of COVID-19 by mid-December if no further action is taken to curb the fast-rising curve, new modelling shows. New projections by Ontario's science advisory table show the pandemic is worsening across the province overall. Long-term care residents' deaths are increasing each week and case numbers likely exceeding those of European cities currently in some form of lockdown, if case counts grow by five per cent. But a five per cent growth rate is an "optimistic" scenario, according to Adalsteinn Brown, dean of the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health and co-chair of Ontario's COVID-19 science advisory table. The province's seven-day growth average right now is already about four per cent, Brown said at a news conference Thursday. Over the last three days, the growth rate has been about six per cent. Asked if restrictions could effectively control the level of growth seen today, Brown said: "I do not believe there's a way that the cases will change without action."
    Toronto to extend prohibition on indoor dining at bars and restaurants, order continued closure of casinos and meeting spaces
    Indoor dining will not resume at Toronto bars and restaurants this weekend as planned and a number of other businesses, including meeting spaces, movie theatres and casinos, will be ordered to remain closed amid the recent rise in COVID-19 cases. The additional restrictions were announced by Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa during a briefing at city hall on Tuesday afternoon. She said that as of 12:01 a.m. on Saturday the city will formally be moved into the “red” zone in the province’s tiered framework but will face a number of additional restrictions that she is issuing under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. Those restrictions include the prohibition of all indoor dining at bars and restaurants as well as all indoor group fitness and exercise classes for at least the next 28 days. Gyms that have been shuttered since last month will be allowed to reopen but will be required to adhere to a capacity limit of 10 people or less, as per the restrictions outlined by the province for red zones. Movie theatres, meanwhile, will be required to remain closed as they are not permitted to operate in red zones. Premier Doug Ford announced last week that Toronto would be moved into the orange level in the province’s tiered framework as of Nov. 14, allowing most businesses to reopen and indoor dining to resume with additional restrictions.
    2020 Ontario Budget – a Deep Dive (courtesy of Temple Scott Associates)
    Finance Minister Rod Phillips released the 2020 Ontario Budget today, delayed by the government’s response to COVID-19. It sets in place a platform that will be further built out when the next budget is released in March 2021, just four months away. Thursday’s Budget had three pillars. The first is to PROTECT – making good on Premier Ford’s commitment to do whatever it takes to get through the pandemic. The second pillar is SUPPORT with measures aimed helping families and businesses cope with the economic fallout from COVID-19. The third pillar is RECOVERY – setting out measures for post-pandemic economic recovery. Highlights include: PROTECT: $7.5 billion in new spending on healthcare, particularly the ongoing COVID-19 response. This is in addition to the existing $7.7 billion in supports to date, and includes investing an additional $572 million in hospitals for costs incurred during the pandemic. SUPPORT: $2.4 billion in new measures for individuals and businesses, including an additional $1.8 billion in funding for the Support for People and Jobs Fund over the next two years. RECOVERY: $4.8 billion in recovery funding, including an investment of $680 million over the next four years in broadband infrastructure and an additional $57 million for the Digital Main Street program to help small businesses enhance their online presence. Fiscal Overview For 2020–21, the government is projecting a deficit of $38.5 billion, unchanged from the deficit forecast at the time of the 2020–21 First Quarter Finances. Beyond 2020-21 the government is forecasting deficits of $33.1 billion in 2021–22 and $28.2 billion in 2022–23. Ontario’s real GDP is projected to decline by 6.5 per cent in 2020 and rise by 4.9 per cent in 2021, 3.5 per cent in 2022, before moderating to 2.0 per cent in 2023. Program spending is set to grow by an annual average growth rate of 4.2 per cent between 2019–20 and 2022–23, primarily due to the temporary expenses associated with COVID-19. Ontario’s 2020–21 net debt-to-GDP ratio is now forecast to be 47.0 per cent, compared to 47.1 per cent at the time of the 2020–21 First Quarter Finances. Budget Highlights Infrastructure: The government forecasts major investments in transit, highways, schools, hospitals and broadband. Planned investments over the next 10 years total $142.9 billion, including $13.6 billion in 2020–21. Health Care: Ontario's COVID-19 health response is now projected at $15.2 billion. Key measures from today’s budget include: An additional $572 million for Ontario's hospitals to support additional testing, assessment centres, laboratory and medical equipment, and PPE. This brings the total funding to hospitals above and beyond what was provided last year to over $2.5 billion. $18 billion in capital grants over 10 years to build new and expanded hospital infrastructure. $500 million to improve infection prevention and control, allow for the purchase of more personal protective equipment (PPE), and to build a strong health care workforce for those in long-term care. A COVID-19 contingency fund of $4 billion for 2020/2021 and $2 billion the following year to plan for the unknown life of the pandemic. Contingency funding will be available to support hospital beds, address the surgical backlog and purchase additional influenza vaccines. Support to Business: The budget announced a number of new supports for Ontario businesses. The following key measures were announced: $60 million was set aside for one-time grants of up to $1,000 for eligible small businesses — in retail, food and accommodations, and other service sectors, to offset the unexpected costs of personal protective equipment (PPE). $50 million for the Ontario Together Fund. This fund will provide support for those businesses who retool their operations in order to manufacture essential medical supplies and equipment or provide other innovative solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic. New measures to improve access to high-speed internet and cell service for households, businesses, and farms across Ontario. This includes an additional $150 million for the Improving Connectivity for Ontario (ICON) program. New funding for the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP). With the new funding there will be over $1 billion in federal and provincial funding under the newly established COVID-19 Resilience stream. This additional stream will support health and safety through the accelerated delivery of priority municipal infrastructure projects as well as investments to retrofit schools and long-term care homes. $300 million to assist eligible businesses to pay the costs associated with property taxes and energy bills, in any region in Ontario where the Province determines recently modified Stage 2 public health restrictions are necessary. An additional $1.8 billion in funding for the Support for People and Jobs Fund over the next two years. $57 million Digital Main Street program to help small businesses increase their online presence. Taxation Measures: The Budget announced a number of tax measures designed to stimulate the economy as Ontario moves beyond the pandemic and back to a normal economy. A lowering of the Business Education Tax (BET) rates for over 200,000 employers, or 94 per cent of all business properties in Ontario, to a rate of 0.88 per cent. Giving municipalities the ability to cut property tax for small businesses and a provincial commitment to consider matching these reductions. Making permanent the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption increase from $490,000 to $1 million. With this additional relief about 90 per cent of employers would pay no EHT, saving them $360 million in 2021–22 that could be reinvested in jobs and growth. Providing a six-month interest- and penalty-free period to make payments for most provincially administered taxes. Allowing a six-month deferral of premium payments to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. Freezing of beer tax rates until March 1, 2022, and is proposing to retroactively cancel the increase in wine basic tax rates legislated to occur on June 1, 2020. Seniors: The Budget announced a new Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit for the 2021 taxation year — a 25 per cent credit on eligible renovations of up to $10,000. Tourism: Budget 2020 is investing $100 million over two years for the Community Building Fund to support community tourism, cultural and sport organizations that are experiencing significant financial pressures due to the pandemic. Opposition Reaction NDP Reaction: Andrea Horwath (NDP Leader): NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the budget amounts to the Premier “waving the white flag” at the Coronavirus pandemic. Ms. Horwath stated that the budget did not address the needs of Ontario workers and their families. Liberal Reaction: Steven Del Duca (Liberal Leader): Liberal leader Steven Del Duca called the budget a betrayal of seniors in nursing homes and school aged children and their families, groups that are significant risk of contracting COVID-19. Green Party Reaction: Mike Schreiner (Green Leader): Called the budget a bare bones budget that fails to help Ontarians now. What This Means for the CFA and its members While showing its commitment to supporting Ontarians through the pandemic, the budget is very much a stepping stone to March 2021 when the government will begin the process of dealing with a deficit blown out of proportion by the pandemic. Consultations on the March budget will begin almost immediately, and the CFA is working to advocate for more supports for franchised businesses in Ontario over the next three months in the lead up to the March 2021 Ontario budget.
    Ontario budget comes with record spending and deficit, breaks for business – moves on some CFA asks
    The Ontario government rolled out its latest budget on Thursday, a plan that includes a record deficit as the province battles a resurgence of COVID-19 and tries to lay the groundwork for an economic recovery. The fiscal outlook details about $187 billion in total spending this year with a deficit of $38.5 billion. It offers no path to balance as many typical provincial budgets do, though the government says that will come in next year's budget. The Progressive Conservative government says it has earmarked $7.5 billion in new health-care sector spending over the next three years. It will also spend $2.5 billion more on hospitals this year than last, including $572 million aimed specifically at offsetting COVID-19 expenses. CFA Win: Business property tax assessment changes Ontario is proposing the creation of optional new assessment tools to address concerns regarding assessments on permitted land use versus speculative land use. CFA has been lobbying for the property tax assessment change which will help protect franchised businesses from the unsustainably high property tax increases because many property owners are being taxed on the future development potential of their sites with little regard for the current use of the property or the cash-flow or profitability of the current business. Ontario will lower the Business Education Tax The Province will lower the Business Education Tax (BET) component of property bills to 0.88%. This will benefit over 200,000 business properties or 94% of all business properties in Ontario, providing an annual savings of $450M beginning in 2021. New small business property tax subclass The 2020 Budget will allow municipalities to create a reduced small business property tax subclass. For all municipalities that agree to create a lower small business property tax subclass, the province will consider matching these municipal property tax reductions in order to provide further support for small businesses. Total municipal and provincial property tax relief for small businesses could total $385M by 2022-23. Temporary Employer Health Tax exemption now permanent In March our government expanded the exemption from the Employer Health Tax (EHT) for 2020 from $490,000 to $1 million. The 2020 Budget we are making this change permanent. This change will permanently reduce the EHT on a restaurant with $700,000 in payroll from $4,095 to 0, and would reduce the EHT on a Building Contractor with a payroll of $1.5 million from $19,695 to $9,750.
    Ontario announces reopenings and new colour-coded system
    Ontario says it is introducing a new set of specific criteria for imposing anti-COVID-19 measures in different regions, as the province reported a record-high 1,050 new cases of the illness on Tuesday. The new colour-coded system is, in part, intended to provide clarity on how decisions about restrictions for different industries and businesses, like restaurants and bars and fitness facilities, are being made at the provincial level. It also means changes for the public health units currently in a modified Stage 2 of Ontario's recovery plan, namely Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa. All three areas were rolled back for a period of 28 days on Oct. 11, meaning the additional measures are set to expire this weekend. York Region is also in a modified Stage 2, but is only in its third week of the 28-day period. At the province's daily news conference Tuesday, Premier Doug Ford said that as of 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 7, Ottawa, Peel and York Region will move out of the modified Stage 2, which means gyms and indoor dining will once again be permitted, with capacity limits. The same will happen in Toronto a week later, on Nov. 14.
    Ontario Budget coming November 5
    Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips is set to release the 2020 Budget on Thursday, November 5, 2020 after being delayed in March due to the impacts of COVID-19. The budget will reveal a three-year action plan that lays out three scenarios for the province, presumably explaining how it plans to move forward with the pandemic still upon us. The 2020 Budget will build substantially on Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, which was updated this summer to make available a projected $30 billion in response funding available to address the impacts of the second wave of COVID-19 and beyond. Minister Phillips projects that the ongoing pandemic will lead to a provincial deficit of $38.5 billion by the end of 2020-21, which is something that Premier Ford has acknowledged as necessary to pull Ontario out of a pandemic-induced recession. All eyes will be on Queen’s Park as we look to see how the government strikes a balance between protecting the health and safety of Ontarians, while plotting a course for our economic recovery.
    Ontario's new blue box plan will recycle more, but it'll cost you more
    With the Ontario government proposing a new recycling system that relieves municipal governments of running blue box programs, experts are expecting to see the cost passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices for packaged goods. The proposed regulations revealed by the government of Premier Doug Ford Monday shift responsibility for recycling onto the companies that produce packaging. If passed, the government estimates the proposed regulatory changes will see municipalities save $135 million annually as producers take over the blue box program. The proposed new Blue Box regulation will: Standardize and increase the list of materials accepted in the blue box including paper and plastic cups, wraps, foils, trays, and bags and other single use items such as stir sticks, straws, cutlery and plates. Transition the costs of the program away from municipal taxpayers by making the producers of products and packaging fully responsible for costs, resulting in an estimated savings of $135 million annually for municipalities. Expand blue box services to more communities, such as smaller, rural and remote communities, including those under 5,000 people. Set the highest diversion targets in North America for the various categories of waste producers are expected to recycle such as paper and plastic cups, wraps, foils, trays, as well as single-use bags, stir sticks, straws, cutlery and plates. The province will also expand blue box services to facilities such as apartment buildings, long-term care homes, schools and municipal parks in 2026 to provide the people of Ontario with more opportunities to recycle and keep their communities clean. The draft Blue Box regulation will be posted for 45 days for public feedback, ending December 2, 2020. Reducing plastic waste and litter and making producers responsible for managing the full life-cycle of their products is a key part of the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan commitment to balance a healthy economy, a healthy environment and keep Ontario clean and beautiful.
    Ontario to provide COVID-19 liability protection to businesses, workers and some organizations
    Ontario will provide liability protection to some workers, businesses and non-profits against COVID-19 exposure-related lawsuits. Health-care workers and institutions, front line retail workers, and charities and non-profits would be covered by the bill. The legislation would also cover coaches, volunteers and minor sports associations. Attorney General Doug Downey introduced the new bill Tuesday at the provincial legislature. Downey said the bill, if passed, would ensure anyone making an "honest effort" to follow public health guidelines while working or volunteering not be exposed to liability in civil proceedings. He said the bill will not prevent lawsuits against those who willfully, or through "gross negligence", endanger others. The legislation is retroactive to March 17, 2020, when Ontario first implemented emergency measures as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Back in the spring Premier Doug Ford and his government were considering drafting such legislation. By then, a number of lawsuits had already been filed against long-term care providers in the province over the deaths of seniors from COVID-19.The legislation was only tabled Tuesday because the consultation process included a wide range of stakeholders from various sectors of Ontario's economy and health-care system.
    Ontario Continues to Support Restaurants
    Last week, the province introduced additional targeted public health measures in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Region in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts to help slow the spread of the virus. Over the next 28 days, indoor food and drink service at restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments in these regions will be prohibited, but they may continue to offer takeout, delivery and outdoor dining. To provide relief for local restaurants and other businesses impacted by the new public health measures, Ontario announced $300 million to help offset fixed costs, including property taxes, hydro and natural gas bills. The government is also supporting small business through its Main Street Recovery Plan by: Committing to permanently allow licensed restaurants and bars to include alcohol with food as part of a takeout or delivery order before the existing regulation expires; Permanently allowing 24/7 deliveries to restaurants; Supporting the distribution of local food and food products by increasing the range of products sold at the Ontario Food Terminal; Ending outdated and duplicative rules so businesses can focus on their work; Modernizing regulations to allow businesses to innovate and meet the challenges of today; Providing mental health supports to business owners and employees who are struggling; Providing $57 million with federal partners through the Digital Main Street program and creating new Digital Main Street squads to help small businesses grow online; and Launching a new portal to assist small businesses to quickly find the supports and information they need.
    Typical Ontario electricity bill set to increase nearly 2% as fixed pricing ends
    Energy bills for the typical Ontario home are going up by about two per cent with fixed pricing coming to an end on Nov. 1, the Ontario Energy Board says. The province's electricity regulator has released new time-of-use pricing and says the rate for the average residential customer using 700 kWh per month will increase by about $2.24. Time-of-use pricing had been scrapped for residential bills for much for the pandemic with a single price set for all hours of the day. The move, which came into effect June 1, was meant "to support families, small business and farms while Ontario plans for the safe and gradual reopening of the province," the OEB said at the time. Fixed pricing meant customers' bills reflected how much power they used, rather than when they used it. Customers were charged 12.8 cents/kWh er no matter their time of use. Beginning November, the province says customers can choose between time-of-use and tiered pricing. Rates for time-of-use plans will be 21.7 cents/kWh during peak hours, 15 cents/kWh for mid-peak use and 10.5 cents/kWh for off-peak use. Customers choosing tiered pricing will pay 12.6 cents/kWh for the first 1000 kWh each month and then 14.6 cents/kWh for any power used beyond that. The energy board says the increase in pricing reflects "a combination of factors, including those associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, that have affected demand, supply costs and prices in the summer and fall of 2020."
    Ontario introduces changes to the Business Corporations Act
    On Tuesday, Ontario tabled Bill 213, Better for People, Smarter for Business Act that makes a number of changes to the Business Corporations Act. This red-tape reduction legislation that will, amongst other things, repeal the requirement that Ontario corporations have 25% Canadian resident directors. Once the bill passes and is proclaimed companies may longer need to incorporate in other provinces Text of Bill 213
    Ontario Supports Small Main Street Businesses with $60 Million in Funding through PPE Grant
    Ontario's Main Street Recovery Plan and intends to introduce the Main Street Recovery Act, 2020, proposed legislation that would support small businesses and modernize rules to allow them to innovate and meet the challenges of today. If passed, the act will remove hurdles faced by small businesses and allow them to pursue new opportunities — while maintaining or enhancing protections for public health, safety and the environment. The plan includes: • A one-time grant of up to $1,000 for eligible main street small businesses — in retail, food and accommodations, and other service sectors — with two to nine employees to help offset the unexpected costs of personal protective equipment (PPE); • Ontario's Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Network, which links 47 Small Business Enterprise Centres across the province as places where small businesses can access tailored advice and information on local, provincial and federal programs; • Digital Main Street Squads to help small businesses grow online; • Mental health supports for families, frontline workers, young people, children, and Indigenous communities; • Ontario's Small Business Recovery Webpage to provide single window access to small business supports.
    Ontario Provides $461 Million to Temporarily Enhance Wages For Personal Support Workers
    The Ontario government is supporting personal support workers (PSWs) and direct support workers in the home and community care, long-term care, public hospitals, and social services sectors by investing $461 million to temporarily enhance wages. This investment will help the province attract and retain the workforce needed to care for patients, clients and residents in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, and Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health. The province is providing a temporary wage increase effective October 1, 2020 to over 147,000 workers who deliver publicly funded personal support services: $3 per hour for approximately 38,000 eligible workers in home and community care; $3 per hour for approximately 50,000 eligible workers in long-term care; $2 per hour for approximately 12,300 eligible workers in public hospitals; and $3 per hour for approximately 47,000 eligible workers in children, community and social services providing personal direct support services for the activities of daily living. The temporary wage enhancement will be reviewed on a regular basis and could extend through March 31, 2021, in connection with regulations made under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020.
    Ontario imposes tighter restrictions on bars and restaurants
    The Ontario government is implementing a number of new provincewide restrictions and public health measures aimed at curbing a surge in new cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government is taking the following measures: Last call at bars and restaurants, including nightclubs, is 11 p.m. All strip clubs will be closed until further notice. Require all businesses and organizations to comply with the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams, including screening people who wish to enter their premises for COVID-19 symptoms. The orders took effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.
    Office vacancies spike in Toronto, Vancouver
    Vacancy rates in Canada’s tightest office markets are spiking, as employees continue to work from home and more businesses try to get rid of space amid the economic fallout from the novel coronavirus pandemic. Subleases in downtown Toronto more than doubled over the past three months, sending the office vacancy rate to 4.7 per cent in the third quarter, from 2.7 per cent in the second, according to new data from commercial real estate brokerage CBRE. In downtown Vancouver, sublease space rose 30 per cent, pushing the office vacancy rate to 4.6 per cent, from 3.3 per cent. (Sublease space is included in the overall vacancy rate.) Across the country, the vacancy rate reached 12 per cent in the third quarter compared with 11 per cent in the second. Calgary, which was still trying to recover from 2014′s oil crash when it was hit with another oil downturn and the pandemic, is in a dire position. Its downtown vacancy rate is nearly 30 per cent. Montreal and Ottawa, two cities that had enjoyed a downtown real estate revival, also had more space become available throughout the pandemic. In Montreal, the office vacancy rate in the core rose to 8.7 per cent from 7.3 per cent. In Ottawa, the level climbed to 8.8 per cent from 7.7 per cent. Before the pandemic slowed the global economy, businesses big and small competed fiercely for offices in downtown Toronto and Vancouver. That sent vacancy rates to record lows of around 2 per cent, pushed up rental rates and triggered a flurry of office skyscraper developments. In the early months of the health crisis, a wave of smaller tenants such as Ritual Technologies and CrowdRiff tried to get rid of their office space in downtown Toronto. Over the summer, bigger tenants such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, Cisco Systems Inc. and Oracle Inc. put some of their space up for sublease. Although the new data showed that rent prices remained flat quarter to quarter, brokers say that rents are effectively lower now with some landlords offering more incentives, including a period of free rent and more cash for tenant improvements.
    Ontario rolls out $1B updated testing and contact-tracing plan
    Today, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said his government will invest $1 billion to expand testing and contact-tracing capacity heading into flu season, including some $30 million to "prevent and manage outbreaks" in priority settings like long-term care facilities, retirement homes and schools. The province's network of labs is currently facing a backlog of 53,840 test samples, the most since cases of the respiratory infection were first detected in January. During a media briefing Thursday morning, health officials said that publicly funded testing sites are moving away from offering tests to asymptomatic people. Instead, the province will return to a more targeted approach, as hospitals, testing sites and labs have reported being overwhelmed by public demand for tests.
    Ontario Limits the Size of Unmonitored and Private Social Gatherings across Entire Province
    The Ontario government is reducing limits on the number of people permitted to attend unmonitored and private social gatherings across the entire province. Unmonitored and private social gatherings include functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, BBQs or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, parks and other recreational areas. The new limit on the number of people allowed to attend an unmonitored private social gathering across the province is: • 10 people at an indoor event or gathering (previous limit of 50); or • 25 people at an outdoor event or gathering (previous limit of 100). • Indoor and outdoor events and gatherings cannot be merged together. Gatherings of 35 (25 outdoors and 10 indoors) are not permitted. The new limits will not apply to events or gatherings held in staffed businesses and facilities, such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, convention centres, banquet halls, gyms, places of worship, recreational sporting or performing art events. Existing rules, including public health and workplace safety measures for these businesses and facilities, continue to be in effect. These new limits are effective immediately. The Ontario government is also creating a $10,000 minimum fine for the organizers of these gatherings.
    Ontario puts 'pause' on further loosening of public health measures as COVID-19 numbers rise
    Ontario is putting a "pause" of four weeks on any further loosening of public health measures in the province, Minister of Health Christine Elliott said Tuesday. The province reported 185 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, and 190 on Monday — the most on any single day since July 24. Data for both days was released early Tuesday because the province did not issue an updated report on Labour Day. At the province's daily news conference, Elliott said Ontario's "latest trends and numbers have raised some concern." She said the pause includes things like expanding the size of the province's social circles and the number of people allowed at sporting events. That pause does not include schools, which started reopening in parts of the province on Tuesday. Elliot acknowledged community spread will likely mean spread in schools, but said the province's approach is to limit the spread at the community level to keep the virus from entering schools. The pause also doesn't include casinos, several of which will reopen on Sept. 28, with a limit of 50 guests per room.
    Ontario-Québec Summit to Convene on Economic Recovery
    Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Québec Premier François Legault will convene their first-ever Ontario-Québec Summit to advance shared priorities on economic recovery and health preparedness, issues important to the people of the two provinces. The summit will take place on September 8 and September 9, 2020 in Mississauga. According to the media release, “the provinces plan to work together to share lessons learned from the pandemic, accelerate economic recovery and growth by reducing barriers to international trade and promoting Ontario-made and Québec-made products, and advocate on behalf of Ontarians and Quebeckers with the federal government to provide fair, flexible and sustainable funding for important priorities, including health care, infrastructure and broadband.”
    Ontario Expands Indoor Capacity for Meeting and Event Facilities
    The Ontario government is safely reopening more of the economy by easing restrictions for facilities that rent out professional meeting and event spaces. Beginning August 21, 2020, facilities can have up to 50 guests for each indoor meeting room or event space within the facility. The facility would have to adhere to a plan approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. The current indoor gathering limit will now apply on a per meeting room or event space basis at professional meeting and event facilities, including convention centres, hotels, motels, resorts, banquet halls and conference centres. Outdoor meeting and event facilities remain subject to the 100-person gathering limit for the entire outdoor area. Capacity limits exclude employees or event personnel. Safely allowing these facilities to host more meetings and events is an important step in Ontario's economic recovery. In addition, new regulatory amendments have come into force requiring contact information for only one person in a party entering indoor or outdoor dining areas starting today, with exceptions. This will reduce the administrative burden on businesses such as restaurants, bars and other food and drink Guidance for professional meeting and event facilities during COVID-19
    Ontario Launches Consultation on Strengthening Provincial Privacy Laws
    On August 13, 2020, Ontario’s Ministry of Government and Consumer Services announced that the Ontario government has launched consultations to improve the province’s privacy protection laws. The focus of the consultations is on strengthening transparency and accountability concerning the collection, use and safeguarding of personal information online, with the goal of creating a “legislative framework for privacy in the province’s private sector”. The government cited the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on increasing reliance on digital platforms to carry out day-to-day tasks as a key motivator for launching these consultations now.
    Ontario: Premier announces increase in gym capacity limits
    Beginning August 15, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., these facilities can have up to 50 patrons for each indoor sport or fitness room, while ensuring physical distancing of at least two metres. The announcement was made today by Premier Doug Ford and Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. The revised capacity limits are on a per room basis. They will apply to the gymnasiums, health clubs, community centres, multi-purpose facilities, arenas, exercise studios, yoga and dance studios and other fitness facilities that are able to follow the new guidance. The change was enabled by amendments to the Stage 3 regulation and a new plan and guidance document to apply a per room limit for sport and recreational fitness activities at facilities with the necessary space or layout. For more information
    Ontario's projected deficit will grow to a record $38.5 billion this year
    Ontario's projected deficit will grow to a record $38.5 billion this year, as the province takes a significant financial hit from the effects of COVID-19, forcing the government to increase its pandemic rescue package to $30 billion in 2020-2021. During the height of the pandemic provincial tax revenues dropped by $10.7 billion, largely owing to declines in personal income and corporate tax revenue, as well as lower income from the gasoline and fuel tax. Ontario’s net decline in revenue comes in at $5.7 billion, thanks to $6.2 billion in transfers from the federal government. At the same time the province's program spending saw a dramatic $13.1 billion increase, to a total of $30 billion, which includes:
    • $2.4 billion for municipalities and transit (paired with $1.7 billion from the federal government as part of the Safe Restart agreement)
    • $1.5 billion for the temporary pandemic pay program ($1.1 billion from the federal government, $424 million from the province)
    • $610 million to purchase personal protective equipment for healthcare workers
    • $218 million for Long-Term Care, to increase capacity in the sector during the pandemic, and protection for staff
    • $176 million for to provide hydro users around-the-clock off-peak electricity prices
    • $241 million contribution for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program for small businesses Ontario's economy is expected to a significant hit in 2020 with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expected to decline by 6.6 per cent, which is "the largest annual real GDP decline on record." The province also said the pace the of economic recover "cannot be predicted with certainty". One of the reasons behind a slower-than-expected recovery, the government said, is the high infection rate in the United States which could impact exports, supply chains and consumer confidence. To help businesses deal with the extended closures the province is extending its tax deferral policy for another month, giving businesses until October 1, 2020 to pay their taxes. The government says the exemptions would apply to: Employer Health tax; Tobacco tax; Fuel tax; Gas tax; Beer, Wine and Spirits tax; Mining tax; Insurance Premium tax; International Fuel Tax and the Race Tracks tax.
      Windsor-Essex - Stage 3 reopening on Wednesday
      Windsor-Essex has now been given the go-ahead to join the rest of Ontario in Stage 3 of the province' s reopening plan. In a news release issued Monday, the province confirmed that the region, which is the last part of the province to remain in Stage 2, will be able to advance to the next stage on Wednesday at 12:01 a.m. The number of new cases in Windsor-Essex has fallen significantly in the past week, with just four new infections confirmed on Sunday and three on Saturday. The region saw a spike in cases in July due to an outbreak of the virus among migrant farm workers. Gyms, spas, and movie theatres will be permitted to open in Windsor-Essex for the first time since March and indoor dining can also resume. Having all regions of Ontario in Stage 3 also means the province could be one step closer to reopening amusement parks. Last week, officials confirmed that Canada’s Wonderland would not be given the green light to resume operations until the entire province had entered Stage 3.
      Hydro One extends ban on electricity disconnections until further notice
      Hydro One in Ontario says it is extending a ban on disconnecting homes from the power grid until further notice. Hydro One first issued the ban towards the beginning of the province's COVID-19 outbreak, saying customers needed to be able to rely on electricity while they were kept at home during the pandemic. The ban was initially set to expire at the end of July, but has now been extended without a fixed end-date. Hydro One says the move is necessary given the ongoing restrictions posed by the pandemic, as well as persistent hot weather across much of the province. It says it's also planning to extend a financial relief program to help customers struggling to pay their hydro bills.
      Ontario releases plan to reopen schools in September
      Elementary students in Ontario will be heading back to school full time come September, the provincial government revealed today, while most high school students will split their time between the classroom and online learning. Elementary level students will remain a single cohort, five days per week, including for recess and lunch. Further, school boards will be required to provide the full curriculum. Class sizes will remain at the mandated maximum levels in place before the COVID-19 outbreak. Secondary students in 24 "designated boards" — mainly in urban and suburban areas with relatively high student populations — will attend school on alternating days, in cohorts of about 15. High schools in non-designated boards, which typically have smaller enrolment, will be able to offer full-time learning, the province says. (A full list of designated and non-designated boards can be found at the end of the PDF slides at the bottom of this story.) Students in Grades 4 through 12 will be required to wear a non-medical mask or cloth face covering while at school. Younger children will be encouraged, but not required, to do so. Medical masks will be provided for teachers and other staff. Parents will be able to opt their children out of in-person classes, if they wish. Children with special education needs who struggle with remote learning will be allowed to attend school daily for instruction. The province says other measures that will be in place to ensure the safety of students include:
      • "Self-screening" by families and teachers.
      • Emphasis on hand hygiene.
      • Distancing when possible.
      • Limiting visitors in schools.
      • Directional signage to limit the cross-flow of students in hallways and on playgrounds.
      When the academic year begins, schools can offer clubs and organized sports if physical distancing is possible and spaces are cleaned and disinfected between each use.
      Voluntary COVID-19 notification app rolls out in Ontario
      COVID Alert is the federal government's latest move in the battle to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as Canada's economy gradually reopens. Here's how it works: • You start by downloading the app to your smartphone. • That will allow the phone to use Bluetooth technology to exchange signals with nearby phones. • If someone tests positive for COVID, their public health authority will give them a one-time key to enter into the app. • The app will then send out notices to every phone that has been within two metres of the infected person's phone for at least 15 minutes over the previous 14 days — as long as those other phones also carry the app. • Those who receive a notification will receive instructions on what to do next. Officials say that the app will become more effective as more people download it — and they stress that it's a notification app, not a contact-tracing app. Other provinces, such as New Brunswick, have worked to develop their own apps. Alberta launched a contact tracing app called ABTraceTogether on May 1.
      Toronto and Peel Region move to Stage 3 reopening on Friday
      Toronto and Peel Region will move into Stage 3 of Ontario's COVID-19 recovery plan this Friday, the Ministry of Health said this morning, as the province reported its fewest number of new cases since March 23. Windsor-Essex, the only other area of the province that is still in Stage 2, will not be permitted to proceed to the next phase at this point. Stage 3 allows for activities such as indoor dining in restaurants, live performing arts shows and the reopening of movie theatres and playgrounds. It also permits larger gatherings of people, though social distancing requirements remain in place. For more information
      Ontario: Declared Emergency Leave is No Longer Available
      As of July 24, 2020, the COVID-19 declared emergency ended in Ontario. As a result, Declared Emergency Leave (DEL) under the Employment Standards Act (ESA) is no longer available to employees as of the same date. However, employees who had been eligible for DEL may meet the eligibility criteria for Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL). For example, if the employee is:
      • Acting in accordance with an order under section 22 or 35 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act that relates to COVID-19,
      • Providing care or support to certain individuals due to COVID-19, including, but not limited to, school or day care closures, or
      • Unable to perform the duties of their position due to an order under the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020 (ROA).
      “COVID-19 Period” Ends September 4, 2020
      The IDEL regulation defines the “COVID-19 period” as beginning on March 1, 2020 and ending six weeks after the day the COVID-19 declared emergency ends. As the COVID-19 declared emergency was terminated on July 24, 2020, the final day of the COVID-19 period – in which the provisions described below apply – is September 4, 2020. The following provisions for non-unionized employees end on September 4, 2020:
      • Employees are entitled to IDEL under the ESA if their hours of work are temporarily reduced or eliminated by the employer for reasons related to COVID-19,
      • Employees whose hours of work or wages are temporarily reduced or temporarily eliminated by the employer for reasons related to COVID-19 are not considered to be laid off under the ESA, and
      • A temporary reduction or temporary elimination in an employee’s hours of work or wages by the employer for reasons related to COVID-19 does not constitute a constructive dismissal under the ESA. For more information please contact the Employment Standards Information Centre at 1-800-531-5551 or TTY (for hearing impaired) at 1-866-567-8893 or visit the Employment Standards Act guide at
        CFA plays a key role as Ontario moves forward with changes to the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000
        Today, the Ontario government announced that it was moving forward with changes to the Arthur Wishart Act. The CFA worked closely with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, the Business Law Modernization and Burden Reduction Council and the Premier’s Office on these changes over the past year. We started by pushing government to move forward with the enabling regulations that had not been implemented since the passage of Bill 154. This advocacy led to a public consultation in the fall of 2019 and many follow up meetings, phone calls and briefings in the Winter and Spring of 2020. Thanks to all the hard work of David Black, CFA’s Director of Government Relations, Darrell Jarvis (Fasken), Chair and Andraya Frith (Osler), Vice Chair of the CFA’s Legal and Legislative Affairs Committee, Larry Weinberg (Cassels), the CFA’s General Counsel, Peter Snell (Gowlings) and Clark Harrop (Dale Lessmann), a former member of the Board, who was appointed to the Business Law Modernization and Burden Reduction Council following the CFA’s advocacy day in March 2019. This group helped draft the CFA’s detailed submission to government and they also participated in numerous meetings, phone calls and brief sessions with the Ministry, Minister’s Office and Premier’s Office on the changes that were being considered.
        The changes, which are effective September 1, 2020, implement un-proclaimed legislative amendments in the AWA will be brought into force. Regulatory amendments to the General Regulation (O. Reg. 581/00) under the AWA will also come into force on this same date, including regulatory amendments needed to enable the legislative amendments noted above. These changes, once in force, are expected to reduce burden on the franchise sector. Bringing the remaining un-proclaimed legislative amendments in the AWA into force will, among other things:
        • Clarify when certain exemptions from disclosure requirements under the AWA apply;
        • Specify that franchisor disclosure obligations are not triggered by certain ancillary agreements, with certain exceptions; and
        • Require statements of material change provided by a franchisor to include information prescribed by regulation.

        The amendments to the General regulation will:
        • Clarify the accounting standards that can be used for financial statements referred to in the regulation;
        • Specify certain information to be included in a statement of material change provided to prospective franchisees;
        • Specify the threshold for a deposit payment under an agreement for which a franchisor would be exempt from disclosure obligations in certain circumstances;
        • Specify the thresholds for exemptions from disclosure requirements based on “total initial investment” and the manner for determining “total initial investment” for such exemptions; and
        • Make housekeeping amendments to update phrases and terms used in the regulation to align with the legislative amendments.

        You can find these changes reflected in the AWA here:
        Most of the GTA to move to Stage 3 on Friday – Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex will remain at Stage 2
        Most of the GTA will be allowed to move forward to Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan at the end of this week. Durham, Halton, Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand-Norfolk, Sarnia-Lambton and York regions will all be permitted to enter Stage 3 at 12:01 a.m. on Friday. Toronto, Peel Region and Windsor-Essex Region will, however, remain in Stage 2 for at least another week. It should be noted that the holding back of Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex regions is in line with previous comments from Health Minister Christine Elliott, who has said that officials need about four weeks of data to decide whether it is safe to proceed to the next stage in any given region. Toronto and Peel regions only entered Stage 2 on June 24, so there won’t be four weeks of data available until Wednesday. Windsor Essex, with the exception of Leamington and Kingsville, moved to Stage 2 on June 25 and there won’t be four weeks of data for that region until Thursday. Stage 3 represents a much wider reopening of the province with indoor dining resuming at bars and restaurants and gyms, movie theatres and other entertainment venues allowed to reopen. The limit on indoor gatherings will also increase from 10 to 50 and outdoors crowds of up to 100 people will be able to gather.
        Most of Ontario enters new stage of reopening; Toronto remains in Stage 2
        Several regions across Ontario have entered Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan allowing nearly all businesses to finally open their doors, except in the Toronto area and a few other regions. Only 10 regions stayed behind as the rest of the province, 24 regions altogether, leaped into the new stage on Friday, which allowed gyms, bars, dine-in services and cinemas to finally reopen. For regions that are at Stage 3, indoor gathering limits will increase from 10 to a maximum of 50 people, while outdoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 100 people.
        Ontario – Phase 3 reopening plans announced
        The Ontario government announced today that starting on July 17, most of the province (except the GTHA and southern Ontario) will move to Stage 3 of the reopening plan. The Greater Toronto Area and other parts of southern Ontario, which will remain in Stage 2 for now. Under Stage 3, nearly all businesses and public spaces will reopen with public health and workplace safety measures and restrictions in place. As part of the Stage 3 reopening, Ontario will be increasing gathering limits for those regions entering the next stage to the following:
        • Indoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 50 people;
        • Outdoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 100 people;
        • Gathering limits are subject to physical distancing requirements.
        Public gathering limits apply to indoor and outdoor events, such as community events or gatherings, concerts, live shows, festivals, conferences, sports and recreational fitness activities, fundraisers, fairs, festivals or open houses. A two metre distance must still be maintained at such events. The following, places and activities are not yet allowed to open, even if a region has entered Stage 3:
        • Amusement parks and water parks;
        • Buffet-style food services;
        • Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment following specific requirements;
        • Overnight stays at camps for children;
        • Private karaoke rooms;
        • Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports;
        • Saunas, steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bars;
        • Table games at casinos and gaming establishments.
        For more information on the restrictions that will remain in place during Stage 3, as well as the public health guidance necessary to keep the people of Ontario safe, visit
        Ontario set to end cannabis delivery, curbside pickup
        Ontario has announced that delivery and curbside pickup services will no longer be allowed at weed stores in the province's state of emergency ends. Since April, the province has allowed privately-owned cannabis stores across Ontario to better cater to customers staying at home during the pandemic with delivery and curbside pickup. The announcement has sparked major concern for some of the province's retailers, many who hastily shifted their business models to provide delivery or curbside pickup to compete with illegal delivery services, which still make up more than 80 per cent of Ontario's cannabis sales.
        Ontario Economic Recovery Act introduced
        Today, the Ontario Government introduced the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, 2020, in an effort to boost the province's economic recovery, create jobs. Some of the changes include amendments to the Building Code Act, Environmental Assessment Act, Planning Act, Occupational Health and Safety Act. Invest Ontario created Invest Ontario will promote the province as a key investment destination, making Ontario more competitive while sending a strong signal to investors that the province is open for business. It will be a "one stop shop" for businesses and investors. It will move at the speed of business and drive greater economic growth, support strategic domestic firms and attract business from around the world to create good jobs in Ontario. It will initially focus on three important sectors for COVID-19 recovery where Ontario has a globally competitive advantage: advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and technology. Invest Ontario will include greater business development and deal structuring expertise and build on the many benefits of investing in Ontario, including: a good quality of life, a highly skilled talent pool, a strong and growing innovation sector, and a pro-job creation jurisdiction that can help businesses thrive. Reducing Regulatory Costs to Business Act, Burden Reduction Reporting Act and Modernizing Ontario for People and Businesses Act Ontario is proposing to merge the Reducing Regulatory Costs for Business Act, 2017 with the Burden Reduction Reporting Act so that all burden reduction requirements would now be in a single law - the Modernizing Ontario for People and Businesses Act. This new act would enshrine the government's seven burden reduction principles into legislation, so that businesses can count on clear, focused and effective rules that maintain or enhance protections for people's health, safety, and the environment. These proposed changes will broaden the reach of burden reduction requirements to encompass legislation, regulation, policies and forms - and to include additional stakeholder groups like for-profit and not-for-profit businesses. This will ensure the government is doing everything it can to communicate clearly, ensure digital rather than paper pathways where possible, and deliver on the province's commitment to be a modern regulator. Occupational Health and Safety Act As part of the government's commitment to keeping workers safe, an amendment to the Occupational Health and Safety Act will allow nationally and internationally recognized standards to be updated more regularly. These standards set workplace safety expectations for everything from protective clothing to equipment, and they are established by organizations such as Canadian Standards Association Group (CSA). Updating standards without requiring regulatory amendments will allow employers and workers access to more current information on workplace standards. For more information on this omnibus legislation
        Ontario introduces legislation to extend emergency orders into 2021
        Ontario introduced new legislation Tuesday to enable the extension of some pandemic emergency orders over the next year. The legislation, to be tabled Wednesday, would allow the government to extend or amend some emergency orders a month at a time, with the law expiring a year after it's passed. Under current legislation, the province can only issue emergency orders while the state of emergency is in place. Ontario's state of emergency is set to expire July 15, and the Premier's office said it would introduce a motion Wednesday to extend it until July 24 to ensure there is no gap between the provincial declaration and when the new bill takes effect. If the bill passes, the government could move parts of the province back to earlier stages of the pandemic lockdown if required.
        Ontario amends Emergency Orders to help Restaurants expand patios faster
        The Ontario government is helping restaurant and bar owners reopen and safely serve more customers by issuing a new emergency order and amending another under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, which will allow municipalities to quickly pass temporary bylaws for the creation and extension of patios and allow covered outdoor dining areas to serve customers. Under the Planning Act, the process to pass temporary use bylaws to create or extend a patio could take several weeks or more. As restaurants are currently only permitted to host dine-in guests on outdoor patios under Stage 2, this exemption under the emergency order will cut red tape and reduce the process time for passing these bylaws to a matter of days. Municipalities would still be responsible for compliance activities and ensuring proper health and safety practices, like proper physical distancing. The government also amended an emergency order to clarify that outdoor dining areas can open if they have a roof, canopy, tent, awning or other covering. At least two full sides of the outdoor dining area must be open to the outdoors and must not be substantially blocked in any way. If the outdoor dining area has a retractable roof, the roof must be fully open and at least one full side must be open to the outdoors and must not be substantially blocked in any way. For more information
        Ontario Launches Online Training to Promote Safe Workplaces
        Premier Doug Ford, along with Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton, announced that the Ontario government is investing $3 million to provide free online health and safety training through Employment Ontario. These virtual courses will make it easier for job seekers and workers to get essential qualifications, while continuing to practice physical distancing. Up to 100,000 job seekers will now have access to free online workplace health and safety training on topics including infection control, conducting health and safety incident investigations, and slips, trips and falls prevention. Premier Ford remarked that these types of online tools will instill business and consumer confidence, which are critical for getting the economy open again. For more information
        Stage 3 of Ontario's COVID-19 reopening plan looms nearer
        The chances of large parts of Ontario moving soon to Stage 3 of the province's COVID-19 reopening plan are looking good. It's been nearly three weeks since most of the province advanced to Stage 2 which allowed the opening of shopping malls, hair salons, swimming pools, and bar and restaurant patios. Data from those 24 public health units — everywhere but the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, Niagara, Windsor-Essex, Lambton and Haldimand-Norfolk — shows the spread of the virus remains largely contained. The new mobile app meant to help with contact tracing of COVID-19 cases won't roll out across Ontario today as planned. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health said the province is still working with the federal government and the app is expected to launch soon. The province didn't give a new date for the app's launch. Provincial-level discussions are happening about when to announce Stage 3. An announcement on Stage 3 could come within the next week or so. Ontario has not laid out precisely what changes will come in Stage 3 of the reopening. Its general framework released back in April suggested Stage 3 would mean "opening all workplaces responsibly" and "further relaxing the restrictions on public gatherings." Even with a move to Stage 3, mass gatherings such as concerts and spectator sports events would remain prohibited "for the foreseeable future," the framework said. Restrictions in place in Stage 2 that could be eased include the closure of playgrounds, the 10-person limit on social gatherings and the ban on indoor seating at restaurants and bars. While the daily number of new COVID-19 cases is a crucial metric for determining the timing of Stage 3, the other measures that are considered include the availability of hospitals beds, speed of testing and effectiveness of tracing close contacts of each person who tests positive.
        Ontario extends emergency orders
        On Saturday, Ontario has extended the emergency orders put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 for another 10 days. The dozens of orders issued by the Ford government under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act were supposed to expire on June 30 but in a news release issued on Saturday the province confirmed that it would extend them until July 10. The state of emergency, which allows the province to issue and amend the orders, is currently set to expire on July 15 after being extended earlier this week. In addition to extending the emergency orders, the province also announced Saturday that it is removing some restrictions on indoor sports and recreational facilities so that they can be used to “train amateur or professional athletes, or to run certain non-contact amateur or professional athletic,” so long as public health guidelines are followed.
        Toronto, Peel Region now allowed to move into Stage 2 of reopening on June 24 Today, Premier Doug Ford along with Minister of Health Christine Elliott, Minister of Finance Rod Phillips and Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton, announced that the City of Toronto and Peel Region will join 31 other public health regions and move into Stage Two of reopening. Windsor-Essex will be the last region to remain in Stage One. This is due to a recent spike in cases associated with temporary foreign workers. For more information on Stage 2 Reopening in Ontario
        Ontario Releases School Safety Plan for the 2020-21 School Year
        Premier Doug Ford, along with Minister of Health Christine Elliott and Minister of Education Stephen Lecce, announced the government’s plan for the resumption of in-person classes in Ontario’s public schools in September. Readers will recall that last month, Minister Lecce revealed the government would cancel in-person classes for the remainder of the academic year due to the pandemic, but noted that schools would reopen in the fall. Ontario’s plan to safely reopen schools will provide optionality for parents (i.e. parents will have the choice of sending their children to school for in-person instructions, or parents can enroll children into online learning) in accordance with the province’s health and safety guidelines. The safety plan for schools was created following extensive consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, health experts on the COVID-19 Command Table, medical experts at The Hospital for Sick Children, education sector partners, parents and students. Further, Premier Ford outlined that Ontario’s 72 school boards have been asked to plan for the following three scenarios, one of which will be implemented in September, depending on the public health situation at the time: 1. Normal school day routine with enhanced public health protocols: Students going to school every day in classes that reflect standard class size regulations; 2. Modified school day routine: Based on public health advice, an adapted delivery model has been designed to allow for physical distancing and cohorts of students. Under this model, school boards are asked to maintain a maximum of 15 students in a classroom, and adopt timetabling that would allow for students to remain in contact only with their cohort and a single teacher for as much of the school day as possible. This model would require alternate week delivery to a segment of the class at one time; 3. At home learning: Should the school closure be extended, or some parents choose not to send their children back to school, school boards need to be prepared to offer remote education. Premier Ford also outlined that the government has instructed school boards to be prepared with a plan that includes an adapted delivery model, which could include alternate day or alternate week attendance, staggered bell times and recess, and different transportation arrangements to ensure the safety of students and staff.
        Ontario Pauses Commercial Evictions
        Ontario passed the Protecting Small Business Act, temporarily halting or reversing evictions of commercial tenants and protecting them from being locked out or having their assets seized during COVID-19. The legislation applies to businesses that are eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance for evictions from May 1, 2020 until August 31, 2020. Ontario is encouraging landlords and tenants to participate in the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. The pause on evictions does not apply to those participating in CECRA for small businesses, as the program requires landlords to enter into a rent reduction agreement with their impacted small business tenants and commits them to a moratorium on evictions for three months.
        Ontario government extends emergency orders to June 30
        Ontario has extended all emergency orders currently in force until the end of June. The province will review each of the orders on a case-by-case basis to determine whether they can be adjusted or lifted as officials work to curb the spread of COVID-19. Some emergency orders were eased earlier this month, including a limit on social gatherings which is now set at 10 people instead of the previous limit of five. Most of the province has also entered the second stage of re-opening, allowing more businesses to operate again. The existing emergency orders were set to expire on Friday but are now in effect until June 30.
        Ontario considers 'good faith' immunity from COVID-19 lawsuits
        Ontario is considering granting some degree of immunity from civil lawsuits related to COVID-19 according to CBC News. The move would protect organizations and people — including health-care providers — from lawsuits if they spread COVID-19 while acting in good faith, according to a provincial government source. Another source close to the government said a key purpose of the legislation would be to prevent lawsuits against companies whose staff unwittingly infect customers or other workers as the province allows more non-essential businesses to resume operating. Premier Doug Ford confirmed Tuesday that an immunity provision is on his government's radar. It's unclear what effect — if any — Ontario's move would have on the handful of lawsuits already filed against long-term care providers over the deaths of seniors from COVID-19.
        Ontario Releases Guide on How to Develop a Workplace Safety Plan
        The Ontario government is providing employers with a new general workplace guide, which will help them develop a safety plan to better protect workers, customers and clients. The new downloadable toolkit offers tips on how to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as more people get back on the job during Stage 2 of the reopening of the province. The announcement was made today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. The new guide will help each employer create a safety plan that is right for their own unique workplace. It includes information on the use of face coverings, as well as applying controls in the workplace, from most important to least important. It also includes information on what personal protective equipment may be needed for workers. The government's first general workplace guide is accompanied by a template that employers can fill in to develop their own unique COVID-19 safety plan. The materials will help employers: • Identify the risks for transmitting the virus through person-to-person contact and actions such as touching faces with hands that have been contaminated by contact with surfaces and objects; • Determine what controls are needed to help mitigate risk, such as engineering controls like the installation of plexiglass to separate workers from customers, administrative controls limiting the number of workers in a space at one time, and personal protective equipment including face and eye protection; • Create a workplace safety plan based on the identified risks and appropriate controls specific to the employer's workplace; • Implement the plan in the workplace, and review and update it as the situation evolves; and • Communicate the actions being taken to workers and othe r people entering the workplace. The new guide is supported by 121 workplace resources available at to help protect workers from the virus. They include safety guidelines and helpful posters with tips for 28 distinct sectors such as construction, food, agriculture, manufacturing and long-term care. These materials were developed by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development in consultation with provincial health and safety associations.
        More Ontario regions to enter next phase of reopening (except Toronto, Peel and Windsor)
        Premier Doug Ford said as of Friday, June 19, the following areas of the province will move into stage two: • Durham • Hamilton • York • Halton • Niagara • Haldimand-Norfolk • Sarnia-Lambton County For regions in stage two, shopping malls can reopen, restaurants and bars can serve customers seated outdoors, barber shops, hair salons and tattoo parlors can operate, and swimming pools and campgrounds can reopen. (You can read the province's full stage two plan at the bottom of this story.) Toronto, Peel and Windsor will remain at Stage 1
        Ontario's new social bubble rules for COVID-19
        The Ford government revealed new rules for how Ontarians can gather during the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday. The province says that allowing Ontarians to expand their social circles to 10 could help families with child- or senior-care needs, for example, and help alleviate the mental health impacts of isolation. People in higher-risk groups should be discerning about who is part of their social circle, a public health official said at a morning briefing on the new policy. And if your current household already includes up to 10 people, then you cannot expand it further. The new guidance takes effect today everywhere in Ontario, regardless of whether or not your region is moving into the next phase of reopening.
        Toronto is the Fast-Growing Metropolitan Area in North America
        The Toronto metropolitan area is now recognized as the fastest-growing city region in the two countries, while the City of Toronto is the fastest-growing central city, according to a new report from Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Research (CUR). CUR analyzed the latest population growth estimates for US metropolitan areas and central cities from the US Census Bureau for the 12 months ending July 1, 2019, and comparable estimates for the same 12 months from Statistics Canada. The data showed that Toronto dethroned Dallas-Fort Worth Arlington for the top spot, with Toronto’s metro area adding 127,575 persons in 2019, according to the CUR report. The City of Toronto added 45,742 persons last year, more than the two fastest-growing US central cities combined, Phoenix and the city of San Antonio, which grew by 26,317 and 17,237 persons, respectively. The GTA has received about one-third of the country’s migrants, or about 100,000 people, in the past couple of years which has helped fuel home prices and new home market activity. A May 12 report from The Conference Board of Canada estimates the number of people coming into the region will drop to 65,710 due to the pandemic in 2020. While the government aims to announce a post-COVID immigration plan before its annual announcement this fall, a 35% decrease in the number of migrants in the GTA will certainly impact
        Toronto to make face coverings mandatory on public transit
        Toronto plans to make face coverings mandatory on its public transit system, a rule that could go into effect starting July 2. "As the restart and reopening begins, we know that more people will be back on the TTC … at the same time, physical distancing will become a greater and greater challenge," Mayor John Tory said. The Toronto Transit Commission board will need to approve the recommendation at its meeting next week, though TTC CEO Rick Leary has already said he supports the plan.
        Ontario releases plan to reopen postsecondary education
        Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Ross Romano unveiled the province’s plan to reopen postsecondary education and ensure academic continuity for Ontario’s students. As part of this, the province plans for the gradual and safe resumption of in-person instruction at postsecondary institutions for the summer term. Minister Romano noted that the province would also be developing a more comprehensive framework to be released to the sector in the coming days, which will provide guidance on the summer reopening and on health and safety measures. Minister Romano explained that starting in July, limited in-person education and training may restart for students who were not able to graduate as a result of COVID-19 closures – referred to by the government as “academically stranded students”. The first phase will permit institutions to provide in-person instruction to students in essential, frontline and high labour market demand areas, including nursing, personal support workers and engineering. Further, beginning in September, all students will have the opportunity to attend postsecondary education through virtual learning, in-class instruction or hybrid formats. Minister Romano also noted that the government would continue to collaborate with the postsecondary sector to determine how best to move forward with reopening campuses in the fall, and beyond, in a way that is responsible and safe for all students and staff.
        Ontario Province Reopening Child Care with Strict Protocols
        Today, the Ontario government announced its plan to reopen child care centres across the province to support the next stage of the province's reopening framework. The plan will require child care operators to follow strict health protocols to ensure the safety of child care staff and children. Similar to the safety guidelines required for emergency child care centres. Centres will be required to adopt specific rules, including:
        • Cohorting ― putting children and staff in groups of 10 or less day over day;
        • COVID-19 response plan ― all child care settings will be required to have a plan in place if a child, parent or staff member/provider is exposed to COVID-19;
        • Screening ― all staff and children must be screened prior to entry to the child care setting. Anyone feeling unwell must stay home;
        • Daily attendance records ― child care settings must keep daily records of all attendees in order to support contact tracing;
        • Cleaning ― child care settings must be thoroughly cleaned before opening and frequently thereafter;
        • No visitors ― only essential visitors are permitted entry into the child care setting;
        • Implementing drop-off and pick-up protocols in a way that facilitates physical distancing.
        Staff can re-enter child care facilities and begin preparation for reopening. When these operators have met all the strict and stringent guidelines for reopening, they will be permitted to reopen. Emergency child care will wind down effective June 26, 2020 as all licensed child care centres are permitted to open province-wide. Families served through emergency child care will be supported by service system managers to return to their previous arrangement or finding new space during the transition back to regular childcare. As child care reopens across the province, if families are not offered access to their previous child care arrangement, operators will continue to be prevented from charging fees for these spaces.
        Commercial Rent – Banning of Evictions in BC, AB, QC, SK and ON
        The governments in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Alberta banned commercial evictions in light of increasing reports of tenants being evicted. Ontario will ban commercial evictions between June 3 and August 31 Today, the Ontario government announced today that it intends to take action to protect commercial tenants from being locked out or having their assets seized by their landlords due to the negative impacts of COVID-19. The proposed changes to the Commercial Tenancies Act would, if passed, temporarily halt evictions of businesses that are eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance. If passed, the legislation would reverse evictions that occurred on or after June 3, 2020. The government intends to bring this legislation forward as soon as possible. If passed, the proposed legislation would make it illegal to evict a commercial tenant until August 31, 2020. For more information on the Ontario ban
        Ontario: Restaurants, hair salons, malls and houses of worship outside GTHA can reopen by Friday
        Restaurants, hair salons, shopping malls and public pools will be permitted to reopen in some parts of the province outside the GTHA and parts of southern Ontario by as early as this Friday. But municipalities within the GTHA as well as some hard-hit areas of southern Ontario will not be allowed to reopen additional businesses until June 19 at the earliest. Starting June 12, all Ontario municipalities outside the GTHA, Lambton, Niagara, Windsor-Essex and Haldimand-Norfolk will be able to open shopping malls, all personal care settings including hair salons, barbers and spas, outdoor dining on patios or in parking lots, public pools, houses of worship, museums and other historic sites, community centres and flim, television and photography production. Strict physical distancing will be enforced in all settings, including near-universal use of gloves and masks. Gatherings of up to 10 people will also be permitted in all areas of the province starting on Friday. For instance, personal care settings including tattoo parlours, tanning salons, spas providing massage services, hair removal centres and weight loss clinics will be allowed to reopen, with increased cleaning protocols, appointment only service, questionnaires about COVID-19 for clients and physical distancing measures. Places of worship will be asked to enforce a limit on occupancy of no more than 30 per cent of regular pre-pandemic capacity. Restaurants and bars will be able to seat diners in a physically distant manner, not indoors but only on patios or parking lot space and all diners will have to make reservations. Stores in malls will be under strict occupancy restrictions, enforced walking traffic patterns, and stores with change rooms will be ordered to clean them in between uses. Food courts in malls will be restricted to take-out only. Public pools, community centres and pools in other settings such as condos and hotels will be allowed to reopen, but change rooms will only be allowed to open “if operators can adequately sanitize and disinfect the facilities.” To access the Media Release
        Ontario Extending Outdoor Patios to Allow for Social Distancing During COVID-19
        The Ontario government will allow restaurants and bars to temporarily extend outdoor patio spaces to safely accommodate patrons and staff once licensed establishments are permitted to fully reopen for business. Licensed establishments may create a patio adjacent to their premise or increase the size of their patio once they are permitted to welcome patrons on-site. This temporary measure will allow the public to safely enjoy service that meets social distancing requirements and other public health guidelines. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will not require licensees to apply or pay a fee for these temporary extensions. Licensed establishments MUST ensure they have municipal approval and meet all other applicable requirements. These measures will be in effect until January 1, 2021 at 3:00 a.m. For more information
        Ontario considering Stage 2 of reopening
        Premier Doug Ford is signalling that he could announce the next phase of loosening Ontario's pandemic restrictions as early as next week, despite a recent uptick in new cases of COVID-19. Ford said the question of moving to Ontario's Stage 2 of reopening is now being considered by the senior officials who form the COVID-19 command table. Stage 2 would allow a wider number of office-based businesses to reopen and expand the maximum size of social gatherings that's currently limited to five. The province's top criteria for further easing its semi-lockdown is a consistent decline over a two- to four-week period in the daily number of new cases. That benchmark has not declined consistently in the three weeks since May 14, when Ford announced Ontario's first stage of looser restrictions, including allowing non-essential retail stores outside of shopping malls to open for customers.
        Ontario lifts restrictions on short-term rentals
        Ontario has announced short-term rentals will be allowed to resume operations on June 5 including cottages, cabins, lodges, condos and B&Bs. Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli announced the news in a tweet, adding as of 12:01 Friday, the restrictions on rentals would be lifted.
        Ontario extends state of emergency until June 30
        As the CFA reported on Monday night, the Ontario legislature formally voted on Tuesday to extend the state of emergency until June 30. Ontario's emergency measure bans gatherings larger than five people. It also orders the closure of some businesses such as restaurants and bars, except if they offer takeout or delivery. At a news conference Tuesday, Premier Ford said the extension does not mean plans to reopen the province will remain on hold. Ford said his government is continuing to work on a plan for a regional, phased approach to reopening.
        Ontario Together Portal receives 25,000 submissions
        Premier Doug Ford, along with Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Vic Fedeli and Minister of Health Christine Elliott, began today’s media conference by highlighting that, since launching in March, the Ontario Together portal has received 25,000 submissions, which has led to $200 million in purchases of personal protective equipment (PPE). As part of this, the government has procured 120 million face masks, 4 million face shields and 1 million surgical gloves for frontline workers. As the government continues investing in local manufacturers to keep communities safe during the pandemic, Premier Ford and Minister Fedeli announced an additional $2.8 million in financial support for three innovative businesses. This funding is being provided through the Ontario Together Fund to re-tool processes and increase the capacity of these businesses to make PPE. Premier Ford finished his address by noting these partnerships will unleash the true potential of Ontario’s manufacturing sector to ensure the province is never again at the mercy of other countries when it comes to procuring PPE.
        Ontario considering a regional phased approach to reopening
        Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he's considering a regional phased approach to reopening the province, an approach he had previously resisted. Ford said that the province's expanded testing guidelines, released Friday morning, will help public health officials better understand trends and hot spots. The new strategy will focus on communities with relatively high numbers of cases and certain high-risk workplaces while also boosting Ontario's contact-tracing work.
        Ontario increases the cost of electricity to 12.8 cents from 10.1 cents
        Premier Ford announced the COVID-19 Recovery Rate of 12.8 cents per kilowatt hour that will be applied 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. This rate is a slight increase from the previous 10.1 cents per kilowatt hour but continues the suspension of time-of-use (TOU) energy pricing by offering a single, fixed hydro rate. The fixed rate will be applied to TOU customer bills automatically in an effort to provide stability in pricing. The rate will be in place until October 31, 2020. In addition, the Ontario Energy Board has extended its disconnection ban until July 31 for residential customers. In addition to the COVID-19 Recovery Rate, Energy Minister Rickford announced that customers will have the ability to choose the rate best for them beginning November 1, 2020. Beginning then, electricity customers will have the choice to be billed on TOU electricity rates or through tiered pricing. Finally, Minister Rickford announced the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business. The $8 million dollar assistance plan will provide support to businesses that are struggling with energy bill payments as a result of the pandemic.
        Ontario extending State of Emergency to June 30
        The state of emergency, which was set to expire on June 2, will be extended until June 30 if the motion is passed on Tuesday at Queen's Park. The province declared a state of emergency on March 17 as the number of COVID-19 cases in Ontario continued to climb. Ontario entered the first phase of the reopening plan on May 19. A number of businesses, including those with a street-front entrance were allowed to reopen. The province was hoping to make an announcement on allowing larger social gatherings last month but said last week they delayed it due to an uptick in cases.
        Ontario makes temporary change to layoff regulations to help businesses
        Ontario is temporarily amending its labour laws to help businesses avoid permanently laying off workers and paying out severance, which could send some into bankruptcy during the pandemic. The government is expected to announce today that it will amend the Employment Standards Act, which requires businesses to terminate employees who have been laid off for 13 weeks. The law then requires the business to pay severance to workers. The change will see non-unionized workers who have had their hours reduced or eliminated placed on a temporary leave that preserves their job. Workers will still be eligible for federal emergency income support programs. News Release
        Ontario Extending Emergency Orders to June 9
        The Government of Ontario declared a provincial emergency on March 17, 2020 under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. This declaration of emergency was most recently extended on May 12, 2020, and is currently in effect until June 2, 2020. Current emergency orders include the closure of outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment, public swimming pools and outdoor water facilities, as well as bars and restaurants except for takeout and delivery. Additionally, there continues to be restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people, and staff redeployment rules remain in place for long-term care homes and congregate settings like retirement homes and women's shelters. Full News Release
        Ontario announces support for apprenticeship, tourism and hospitality sector
        Premier Ford announced the launch of a new Ontario Tools Grant program this summer, to help apprentices purchase equipment. An estimated 11,600 Ontario apprentices are eligible to receive: $1,000 each in motive power sectors; $600 each in construction and industrial trades; and $400 for those in-service sector trades. The grant program is slated to invest $2.5 million in 2020-21 and $7.5 million in 2021-22 and ongoing. To support tourism and hospitality workers displaced by the economic shut down, the Premier announced a partnership with UNITED HERE Local 75 to launch a Virtual Action Centre. The centre is expected to help up to 7,000 workers in the sector with supports from counselling for mental wellness to employment preparation through video conferencing. Read the full announcement
        Ontario deficit could hit $41 billion – FAO
        The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) released its spring Economic and Budget Outlook report, which highlighted that Ontario is facing a $41 billion deficit – its largest ever. The annual operating shortfall is now estimated to be almost four times larger than projected prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the next two years, Ontario is expected to add an extra $78 billion in red ink to its provincial books. Financial Accountability Officer Peter Weltman stated that these numbers might even prove “too optimistic” if a second wave of COVID-19 forces longer shutdowns of the economy. The FAO projects that Ontario’s real GDP will decline by 9 per cent in 2020, the largest annual decline on record.
        Ontario expected to extend state of emergency to June 2
        Ontario's legislature will sit Tuesday and is expected to extend the province's state of emergency to June 2, while also holding question period again. A statement from the government house leader's office says unanimous consent is also expected to quickly vote on all stages of a bill that makes COVID-19-related changes to several acts.
        Ontario reduces the minimum price for spirits ordered with food for takeout and delivery by 33%
        Late Tuesday Ontario announced it had reduced the minimum price of spirits sold by licensed establishments with food takeout and delivery orders by 33 percent. This pricing change applies specifically to spirits with an alcohol content greater than 14.8 percent. The reduction in minimum pricing will be in effect until January 1, 2021. For more information please see the news release
        Ontario announces a list of more businesses than can open with strict guidelines
        The Ontario government is allowing all retail stores with a street entrance to provide curbside pickup and delivery, as well as in-store payment and purchases at garden centres, nurseries, hardware stores and safety supply stores.
        • On Friday garden centres and nurseries will be allowed to reopen
        • On Saturday, hardware stores and safety supply stores will also be allowed to reopen.
        • On May 11, retail stores with a street entrance will be allowed to reopen for curbside pickup.
        The government is also expanding essential construction to allow below-grade multi-unit residential construction projects like apartments and condominiums to begin and existing above-grade projects to continue. This will help clear the way for the housing and jobs our economy will need to support economic recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.
        Ontario Extends Electricity Rate Relief During COVID-19
        The Ontario government is extending emergency electricity rate relief to families, farms and small businesses until May 31, 2020. Customers who pay time-of-use electricity rates will continue to be billed at the lowest price, known as the off-peak price, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This electricity rate relief, initially provided for a 45-day period starting on March 24, 2020, has been extended. For the full news release click here
        Ontario Extends State of Emergency until May 19
        On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is extending all emergency orders that have been put in place until May 19, 2020.
        Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec lifting some COVID-19 restrictions
        Ontario took its first steps Monday with the reopening of some businesses, including lawn care and landscaping, garden centres for curbside pickup, automatic and self-serve car washes, auto dealerships by appointment, and many construction projects. Manitobans can now visit everything from hair salons to museums to restaurant patios (with fewer seats than normal) provided everyone is following public health rules. In most of Saskatchewan, non-urgent medical offices are allowed to reopen and rules around some outdoor activities — including fishing and boating — are being loosened. But one owner of a physiotherapy clinic told CBC Saskatchewan she's got mixed emotions about opening up. Newfoundland and Labrador plans to move to alert Level 4 on May 11, meaning a relaxation of some public health measures to allow more social and business activities. The province followed New Brunswick's lead and allowed families to come together in "bubbles" made up of two households . Alberta took its first strides toward the large-scale resumption of public life under COVID-19 this weekend as provincial parks and golf courses opened under the government's phased economic relaunch. Alberta began to ease some public health restrictions on Friday, with provincial parks and boat launches reopening with limited services. Alberta has three stage plan starting May 14 called Opening Soon: Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy .
        Ontario government allowing some businesses to reopen on May 4
        Ontario government has announced that certain businesses and workplaces can reopen on Monday with strict public health measures in effect. The government said businesses permitted to reopen include seasonal businesses and some essential construction projects. The government said following proper health and safety guidelines, these businesses can reopen as of May 4 at 12:01 a.m.:
        • Garden centres and nurseries with curbside pick-up and delivery only
        • Lawn care and landscaping
        • Additional essential construction projects that include: shipping and logistics, broadband, telecommunications, and digital infrastructure; any other project that supports the improved delivery of goods and services; municipal projects; colleges and universities; child care centres; schools; and site preparation, excavation, and servicing for institutional, commercial, industrial and residential development
        • Automatic and self-serve car washes
        • Auto dealerships, open by appointment only
        • Golf courses may prepare their courses for the upcoming season, but not open to the public
        • Marinas may also begin preparations for the recreational boating season by servicing boats and other watercraft and placing boats in the water, but not open to the public. Boats and watercraft must be secured to a dock in the marina until public access is allowed.
        CFA pens Op-Ed with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce
        CFA President Sherry McNeil and Ontario Chamber of Commerce President Rocco Rossi penned an op-ed that was published in the Toronto Sun arguing for changes in the Canada Emergency Business Account to better help CFA and OCC members. A link to the op-ed is below. “All small business owners (franchised and non-franchised) are an essential part of the nation’s economic and social fabric. Like everyone, they are suffering through this crisis and need help to survive. Expanding the CEBA loan program will help more of these businesses survive the COVID-19 economic downturn and help ensure their employees still have jobs. Without this support, recovery will be tougher than it needs to be.” OPINION: Franchisee owners cannot be left behind
        Ontario Providing Employers with Workplace Safety Guidelines to Help Businesses Adapt to New Environment
        Ontario released safety guidelines released to provide direction to those working in manufacturing, food manufacturing and processing, restaurant and food service, and the agricultural sector.
        • 61 sector-specific guidelines are available here from Ontario’s health and safety associations.
        • Guidelines for construction are available here
        . These new sector-specific guidelines recommend actions employers can take as they adapt to the new reality during COVID-19, including:
        • Ways to ensure appropriate physical distancing, including staggering shift times and using ground markings and barriers to manage traffic flow;
        • Changes to the workplace, including installing plexiglass barriers;
        • Promoting proper workplace sanitation.
        Ontario is also issuing posters to promote a variety of useful safety tips on physical distancing and sanitation. They are downloadable from the website .
        58 new inspectors are on the job
        Starting this week, 58 new inspectors will join the hundreds of existing provincial labour inspectors on the ground who are tasked with communicating COVID-19 safety guidelines to essential workplaces and enforcing emergency measures, including physical distancing and the closure of non-essential businesses.
        Ontario to reveal reopening plans
        Ontario announces three-stage process to reopen economy.
        While there is no firm starting date Ontario announced it will reopen its economy through a three-stage process in the coming weeks and months. Ontario’s reopening will depend on a consistent two-to-four week drop in new daily COVID-19 cases; a decrease in cases not traced to a source; and a decrease in new hospitalizations. The stages for reopening are as follows:

        Phase One:

        • Opening select workplaces that can meet the current health guidelines;
        • Allowing essential gatherings of limited numbers;
        • Opening some outdoor spaces;
        • Allowing hospitals to begin providing some non-urgent and scheduled surgeries; and
        • Protecting vulnerable populations.

        Phase Two:

        • The opening of additional workplaces with mitigation plans;
        • Opening of additional public spaces; and
        • Larger public gatherings.

        Phase Three:

        • Reopening all workplaces responsibly; and
        • Relaxing restrictions on public gatherings.
        Each stage will last at least two to four weeks, at which point Ontario's chief medical officer of health will be able to tighten certain restrictions, extend the stage or advise that the province can move into the next phase.
        Ontario’s publicly funded schools will remain closed until at least May 29.
        Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced that all publicly-funded schools will remain closed until at least May 31. At a news conference on Sunday, Lecce said the decision was made based on the advice of Dr. David Williams, the province's chief medical officer of health, and the province's COVID-19 Command Table. He said the announcement is also to provide students, parents and teachers with "greater certainty" as the pandemic continues.
        Ontario Supporting Frontline Workers with Pandemic Pay Increase
        The Ontario government is providing frontline staff with a temporary pandemic payment. This increase will provide $4 per hour worked on top of existing hourly wages, regardless of the qualified employee's hourly wage. In addition, employees working over 100 hours per month would receive lump sum payments of $250 per month for each of the next four months. This means that eligible employees working an average of 40 hours per week would receive $3,560 in additional compensation. Those eligible to receive the payment will be staff working in long-term care homes, retirement homes, emergency shelters, supportive housing, social services congregate care settings, corrections institutions and youth justice facilities, as well as those providing home and community care and some staff in hospitals. Click here for more details on the Pay Raise for Frontline Workers
        Community spread 'appears to have peaked' in Ontario, but long-term care cases rising
        Community spread of the novel coronavirus in Ontario appears to have peaked earlier than expected, updated modelling suggests, but the public must "stay the course" to ensure a best-case scenario remains achievable in the weeks ahead, public health officials say. The revised projections come as health authorities provide a briefing on Monday afternoon on the current status of COVID-19 in Ontario. The total number of cases for the span of this wave of the outbreak is "now likely less than 20,000" — if the physical distancing and other emergency measures remain in place, documents provided by the province's dedicated COVID-19 task force say. That figure is "substantially lower" than the worst-case scenario of 300,000 and expected-case scenario of 80,000 included in Ontario's previous modelling update on April 3. Experts initially anticipated a peak of community spread at some point in May. Unfortunately, spread in long-term care and other congregate settings seems to be growing. Outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported in 127 long-term care facilities, according to the province's task force. The Ministry of Health says there has been 249 deaths among residents at long-term care homes in the province, while one staff member has died. The figures provided today by the COVID-19 task force put deaths in long-term care at 367. Health officials said on Monday that they've now tested all residents and staff, even if they were asymptomatic, at 21 long-term care homes in the province. April 20, 2020 Pandemic Modelling for Ontario
        Ontario – Lower energy consumption might mean higher global adjustment costs for some small businesses, manufacturers
        Ontarians are using about 12.2 per cent less power compared to two years ago, according to the Independent Electricity System Operator. Unfortunately, Ontario's electricity system has substantial fixed costs through contracts meant to ensure stable ongoing supply, and this system did not anticipate a dive in demand related to a pandemic. Ontario also uses a global adjustment, which in part covers the difference between the guaranteed price and what generators can earn on the wholesale market. Residential ratepayers, who are currently paying the lowest amount on the time-of-use scale for all hours of the day, are protected from the global adjustment increase at this time, as are farms and some small businesses. Class B ratepayers, which includes some other small businesses and manufacturers, are not protected. With fewer ratepayers paying the freight, these ratepayers will have to pay a larger proportion to make up the difference. The CFA will be working with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce because we are very concerned about the impact the COVID-19 crisis is having on small business’ electricity bills.
        Ontario launches COVID-19 Action Plan: Long-Term Care Homes
        Premier Doug Ford announced Ontario’s Action Plan for Long-Term Care Homes to prevent further outbreaks and deaths. The Action Plan includes:
        • Aggressive Testing, Screening, and Surveillance: enhancing testing for symptomatic residents and staff and those who have been in contact with persons confirmed to have COVID-19; expanding screening to include more asymptomatic contacts of confirmed cases; and leveraging surveillance tools to enable care providers to move proactively against the disease.
        • Managing Outbreaks and Spread of the Disease: supporting long-term care homes with public health and infection control expertise to contain and prevent outbreaks; providing additional training and support for current staff working in outbreak conditions.
        • Growing our Heroic Long-Term Care Workforce: redeploying staff from hospitals and home and community care to support the long-term care home workforce and respond to outbreaks, alongside intensive on-going recruitment initiatives.
        Ontario Extends State of Emergency for 28 days until May 12
        During a special session of the Legislature Ontario passed a bill to extend the State of Emergency to May 12, 2020. The order closes non-essential businesses and child-care centres until May 12. Ontario public schools will not reopen on May 4 The provincial government initially planned to reopen schools on May 1 for teachers and May 4 for students, and suggested that any further closures would be up to the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
        Ontario long-term home workers will not be permitted to work at multiple facilities amid COVID-19
        Ontario Premier Doug Ford will issue an emergency order that will prohibit employees from working at multiple long-term care facilities in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Ford, who said long-term care homes are quickly turning into the front lines in the fight against the novel coronavirus, said at a news conference that the order will take effect Tuesday night. Of the province's 626 long-term facilities, 114 are currently reporting infections, representing about 14 per cent of all such homes. Ontario will be launching an action plan Wednesday that would see available resources within Ontario's health system redeployed to homes experiencing outbreaks.
        Ontario extends State of Emergency
        Emergency orders remain in place until April 23. That means the continued closure of amenities in parks and recreational areas, non-essential workplaces, public places and bars and restaurants, along with restrictions on social gatherings and the prohibition of price-gouging. The Ontario Legislature will reconvene tomorrow where the Legislature will approve a few items including an extension of the province’s state of emergency by 28 days. A state of emergency declaration can be extended by no more than 14 days with approval by the Lieutenant Governor, but it requires a vote by the legislature to be extended by 28 days. The extension, if approved, will extend the State of Emergency into May.
        Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee created to start mapping out the economic recovery
        Premier Ford announce the creation of the “Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee,” which will aim to help the economy recover after the COVID-19 pandemic is over. The committee will be chaired by Finance Minister Rod Phillips. Other Ministers on the committee are Vic Fedeli, minister of economic development, job creation and trade, Caroline Mulroney, minister of transportation and Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development. The committee will focus on “getting businesses up and running and people back to work,” according to a press release.
        Ontario Providing One-time Payment of $200 or More Per Child
        Today the Ontario government announced the new Support for Families initiative offers a one-time payment of $200 per child 0 to 12 years of age, and $250 for those 0 to 21 years of age with special needs. Families can complete a simple online application at Ontario's Support for Families web page to access this financial support. Parents already receiving Support for Parents ( payments through direct deposit will be automatically eligible for this financial support and do not need to submit a new application. Through this initiative the government is providing over $300 million in relief to parents across Ontario as part of Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19.
        Ontario halts commercial and industrial construction
        The Ontario government revised the list of essential businesses. Following the update all industrial and commercial construction projects are required to stop work at by the end of day on April 4, 2020. Any business that has not been deem essential and continues to operate can be fined up to $500,000 per offence. ONTARIO LIST OF ESSENTIAL WORKPLACES
        COVID-19 Modelling Update
        On Friday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford released extensive COVID-19 modelling, revealing several scenarios that project the potential number of cases and deaths. In doing so, the province is providing the public with full transparency about the consequences should everyone but essential workers fail to stay home and practice physical distancing. The detailed graphs were not available in time for the April 3 update. DETAILED COVID-19 MODELLING The Quebec government is being asked to release their projections for the aftermath of the crisis. The "most likely" scenario for Quebec should be available by Tuesday, April 7.
        Ontario reduces list of essential services to 44
        On April 3, 2020, Ontario updated the list of essential businesses that can remain open. The restrictions are aimed at further reducing contact between people and stopping the spread of COVID-19. The number of essential businesses has been reduced from 74 to 44. Among those businesses no longer allowed to operate are
        • Private sector industrial, commercial and institutional projects will be affected, while public sector infrastructure work and some residential construction will be allowed to continue.
        • Projects related to the health-care sector, including any work necessary to ensure the production of critical equipment and medical devices, as well those required to maintain the operations of petrochemical plants and refineries, will be exempted from the shut down.
        • Ontario's retail cannabis outlets have been taken off the essential list and will be forced to close, although people can still order from the province's online store.
    LAST UPDATED: December 8, 2020

    Prince Edward Island COVID-19 Update

    P.E.I. restaurants takeout only due to COVID-19 restrictions
    All restaurants on P.E.I. are now closed for indoor dining. The announcement was made by the province on Sunday after seven cases of COVID-19 were confirmed over the weekend. Restaurants are still allowed to operate for takeout.
    The Atlantic bubble is no more
    Both Newfoundland and Labrador and P.E.I are exiting the Atlantic bubble for at least two weeks as COVID-19 cases rise in parts of the region. Newfoundland Premier Andrew Furey said the province will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in the other Atlantic provinces to see if the two-week break needs to be extended. Travel to and from Newfoundland and Labrador will only be for essential reasons. P.E.I. Premier Dennis King delivered a similar message during a nearly simultaneous news conference, saying his government would re-evaluate over the next two weeks. King said the changing epidemiology in the region was concerning, "and it forces us to use what I believe are the tools in our limited toolbox to do everything we can to avoid an outbreak here in P.E.I." He said that given the province's small size, it wouldn't take much for its health-care system to become overwhelmed. The Atlantic bubble was established July 3. Newfoundland's heightened travel restrictions will come into effect on Wednesday, and P.E.I.'s come into effect Monday at midnight.
    P.E.I. to make masks mandatory in indoor public places
    P.E.I. Premier Dennis King says the province will make mask wearing mandatory in indoor public spaces in order to blunt the impact of COVID-19. As of 12:01 a.m. on Friday and continuing until Feb. 15, non-medical masks will be required in all indoor public places, King said at the Island's weekly public health briefing.
    PEI makes extra $1.1M available to small businesses
    Innovation PEI will increase funding for eight programs to help Island businesses affected by the COVID19 pandemic, it announced Thursday, changes estimated to cost the province approximately $1.1 million. The government chose the eight programs that businesses use the most and increased the funding for each program. They are: capital acquisition, small business investment grant, information technology planning, information technology implementation, human resources planning, human resources implementation, marketing assistance and web presence assistance. For example, small business grants had been capped at a reimbursement rate of 15 per cent or a maximum of $3,750, and will now be increased to 30 per cent or $7,500. Government is currently reviewing all of Innovation PEI's programs with an aim to simplify things for businesses, and plans to reveal changes in the spring. The changes come into effect Nov. 1 and end March 31, 2021.
    P.E.I. strengthens recommendation on mask wearing
    P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison recommended masks should be worn more often to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at a briefing Tuesday morning. Previous recommendations included wearing masks in places such as on public transit. Morrison said she was now strongly recommending masks be worn in other indoor, public spaces where people are unable to maintain a physical distance of two metres. Wearing a mask is a strong recommendation, said Morrison, not mandatory. The changed advice is based on new evidence from around the world about how the coronavirus spreads.
    PEI: Phase 4 of reopening starts today
    Phase 4 highlights include:
    • Larger organized gatherings – organized gatherings of up to 50 people will be re-introduced, including for worship services, organized sports, day camps and events like weddings and funerals.
    • Personal gathering limits – limits will remain at no more than 15 people indoor and 20 people outdoor while maintaining physical distancing with individuals who are not part of a person’s household.
    • Long-Term Care visitation – anticipated scheduled indoor visits with up to two individuals at one time and additional access for clergy will be permitted at both private and public Long-Term Care facilities.
    • Businesses – additional businesses providing personal services, such as facials and piercings, can open. Accommodations will open for non-PEI residents, including campgrounds, hospitality homes, inns and bed and breakfasts.
    • Child care – licensed child care centres can accept an additional three children who are between 22 months and school entry age. Unlicensed child care centres and day camps will continue to operate under current requirements.
    • Health care – all non-urgent health care services will resume.
      New emergency leave available for Islanders unable to work during pandemic
      A new emergency leave from work is now available on P.E.I. to those who can't work because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation passed third reading and received Royal Assent last week. The unpaid leave offers increased job security and is available to anyone affected by an officially-declared emergency by the Chief Public Health Officer. It covers those who are in quarantine due to self-isolation or who tested positive to the coronavirus and are not allowed to work, or can't access child care.. Before this leave was introduced, there were two forms of leave available to Island employees: three days of unpaid sick leave or four days of unpaid leave plus one day of paid leave, and that was only available to employees who have been with the same employer for five years or more.
      P.E.I. will move to phase four of province’s reopening plan on June 26
      Dr. Heather Morrison, Prince Edward Island’s chief medical officer of health, announced that Prince Edward Island will move to phase four of its reopening plan on Friday, June 26. Phase four will permit:
      • Up to 50 people for team and organized sports
      • Up to 50 people for small festivals and events
      • An increase in personal services, for things like facials and electrolysis
      • The opening of VLTs and casinos
      PEI premier touts prospect of Atlantic bubble, NS hesitant
      Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King said Wednesday evening after discussions with other Atlantic premiers that people should be able to travel within the four provinces sometime in early July. But on Thursday, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said he is reluctant to commit to a date for establishing a travel bubble. The Atlantic bubble has been discussed for some time now. The premiers say they want to provide safe and efficient travel in the region without the need to self-isolate, which would allow for tourism and family visits.
      PEI extends state of emergency until June 14
      Cabinet extends state of emergency until June 14.
      PEI moves to Phase 2 reopening
      Many Prince Edward Island business are getting set to reopen tomorrow as the province moves into Phase 2 of its recovery. There were no new cases reported on P.E.I. Thursday.
      On the lighter side: Quit smoking and get some lobster
      The P.E.I. Lung Association is luring smokers with lobster as a way to convince them to quit. A Smoke-Free Now Challenge launching this week offers people who quit for 28-days $30 worth of lobster or a $30 local gift card. There is an online Facebook group where Islanders and those participating from Nova Scotia can all go on and get support from one another. The promotion is modelled after a similar challenge in Nova Scotia that's helped more than 1,000 people quit over the last few years. P.E.I.'s Smoke-Free Now Challenge starts Friday at noon. It's open to all residents aged 19 or older who are current smokers.
      Re-Open plans are starting to be discussed
      Several provinces have begun to talk about reopening the economy, which has been virtually shut down since mid-March, the pressure is on to find reliable, rapid tests to determine who is infected with the virus and who has developed immunity to it. Prince Edward Island, where the caseload is low, is aiming to ease measures put in place to slow the spread in late April and reopen businesses in mid-May.
      State of emergency extensions in NB and PEI
      New Brunswick has extended its state of emergency for another 14 days. PEI has extended its state of public health emergency for an additional 30 days. Under the measures, anyone travelling to the province will need to disclose the purposes of their travel to determine if it is essential or not.
      Big Win for CFA on P.E.I. Commercial Rent Deferral Program Guidelines
      On April 7, P.E.I. amended the Rent Deferral Program Guidelines that will now allow franchisees to participate in the program. The original program, which was similar to the Nova Scotia program, prevented franchisees from taking part in the program. The CFA spent the weekend working with the PEI government to get the program guidelines amended with the changes being announced this afternoon. The program allows landlords to defer rent for tenant’s whose business is closed to the public due to the related to the COVID-19. Landlords can be eligible for coverage (up to a maximum of $50,000 per landlord and $15,000 per tenant) if you can’t recover the deferred rent. To be eligible for the COVID-19 Small Business Rental Deferral Guarantee Program, landlords must register with Finance PEI by April 20, 2020 by emailing The Rent Deferral Agreement must be in place by April 20, 2020. For more information, read the Commercial Lease Rent Deferral Program documentation. CFA working with other provinces to get commercial rent relief The CFA continues to work with provincial governments across Canada to get them to put in place rent deferral and rent rebate programs to help franchisors and franchisees through this difficult time.
      P.E.I. announces COVID-19 supports for businesses and individuals
      On April 3, the Province of Prince Edward Island announced a $1,000,000 fund for Islanders who may not qualify for existing support programs.
      • COVID-19 Business Adaptation Advice Program – The program will cover the entire cost for businesses and entrepreneurs, up to $2,500, to hire a professional to provide advice and support on how to adapt or recover from the impacts of the pandemic. Professional services may include human resources and financial planning, digital or IT solutions, or even marketing. COVID-19 Special Situations Fund – will provide up to $1,000 to Islanders who have experienced urgent income loss as a result of COVID-19 and are not eligible for other federal and provincial funding support.
      • Temporary Rental Assistance Benefit – will provide $1,000 per household to help cover the cost of rent for a three month period. Eligible Islanders will receive $500 in the first month they apply and $250 the next two months.
      • Community Champions Initiative – a new $300,000 partnership with Loblaw Companies Limited to create a Community Champions Initiative where community organizations across all 27 provincial electoral districts will receive gift cards which can be used at any Loblaw’s store to support the food-related needs of their populations.
    LASTED UPDATED: December 15, 2020

    Quebec COVID-19 Update

    Quebec heads into 18-day lockdown; non-essential businesses to close from Dec. 25 to Jan. 11
    Non-essential businesses will be closed across the province from Dec. 25 through Jan. 11, Premier François Legault announced in a Tuesday press conference. For the period of time between Dec. 17 and Jan. 11, the province's yellow zones will be upgraded to orange and orange zones to red — the highest alert level — with restaurant dining rooms, gyms, museums and theatres shutting down as a result. Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, hardware stores and pet stores will be allowed to remain open. Big box stores will be allowed to open but will be restricted to selling essential goods, such as groceries and pharmacy products. Provincially run liquor stores and cannabis stores will also remain open. Dentists, optometrists and other health services will be allowed to stay open, but hair salons, spas and manicurists will have to close. The lockdown, which Legault dubbed “the holiday break,” will also see the province's elementary schools have their holiday break extended to Jan. 11. Previously, elementary schools were supposed to re-open on Jan. 4. High schools will have an extended holiday break between Dec. 17 to Jan. 11. Almost all office workers in both the private and public sectors will be required to work from home beginning on Dec. 17 and lasting until Jan. 11.
    Quebec cancels plan to allow Christmas gatherings
    Premier François Legault has backtracked on his plan to allow gatherings over the Christmas holiday period after a rise in cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Legault announced last month people would be allowed to gather in groups of 10 over a four-day period, from Dec. 24 through Dec. 27 if they isolated for a week prior and after. He later said people should only gather twice during that period. On Thursday, Legault said that gatherings in the province's hard-hit "red zones," which comprise most of the province, will be prohibited over the holidays. Legault acknowledged that those who live alone, particularly the elderly, would welcome some company. He said they can have a single visitor, but he urged both people to wear a mask and maintain their distance. Quebec reported more than 1,500 daily cases for the first time ever on Wednesday, and more than 1,400 again Thursday.
    Quebec cracking down on crowded malls, stores during holiday shopping season
    Quebec is tightening the health guidelines for stores and malls for the holiday shopping season in an attempt to limit the transmission of the coronavirus. Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault said Wednesday she wants Quebecers to be able to shop for loved ones in a safe environment. The measures include: • A maximum capacity of customers based on floor space available to customers. The capacity must be displayed at the front of the store or shopping mall. • Signs about distancing rules to ensure compliance while shopping and waiting in line. • Clear markings so that shoppers can more easily navigate the store. Guilbault acknowledged that many shopping venues already have these measures in place. But she said those that don't risk being fined up to $6,000 or closed altogether.
    Quebecers can have some holiday cheer if they quarantine before, after Christmas
    Quebec is proposing a voluntary quarantine period before and after Christmas to allow the province to lift a ban on indoor gatherings from Dec. 24 through Dec. 27. Under a plan released Thursday afternoon, Quebecers would begin to quarantine on Dec. 17. They would then be able to have small gatherings, with no more than 10 friends and family members,around Christmas, then re-enter quarantine until Jan. 3. The plan also includes a modified school schedule. Learning will be done online for all schools scheduled to be open between Dec.17 and and Dec. 22. While elementary students will return to class as scheduled after Christmas, high school students will only return to class in-person on Jan. 11. High school classes will be given online for the first week of January. Child care services will be offered only to essential service workers from Dec. 17 through Dec. 22.
    Quebec premier mulls temporarily closing schools
    Quebec Premier François Legault says schools might have to close this winter, extending the holiday break in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. Schools and workplaces have the highest rates of transmission, Legault said during his Thursday news briefing. The premier said 1,174 classes are currently shut down due to positive cases, 324 of those in the last two days alone. It is clear, he said, that schools are a vector for the virus in the province. Closing schools in advance of the December holiday break, or extending the break after the holidays, may be a way to give the province a better shot at stopping the second wave. That could then mean extending the school year into the summer — as far as July, he said. He said the government has been in discussion with unions about this possibility as it would affect teachers and staff as well.
    Quebec premier mulls temporarily closing schools this winter to reduce spread
    Quebec Premier François Legault says schools might have to close this winter, extending the holiday break in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. Schools and workplaces have the highest rates of transmission, Legault said during his Thursday news briefing. Closing schools in advance of the December holiday break, or extending the break after the holidays, may be a way to give the province a better shot at stopping the second wave. That could then mean extending the school year into the summer — as far as July, he said. He said the government has been in discussion with unions about this Legault made it clear that this is still up for discussion. It is a last-resort solution, he said, and no decision has been made.
    Red-zone restrictions to continue in Quebec
    Quebec Premier François Legault has ruled out the possibility of lifting red-zone restrictions early, with two weeks remaining in the second 28-day partial lockdown. Legault said Tuesday the spread of the virus is particularly concerning in certain regions, including Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Lanaudière, Mauricie-Centre-du-Québec and the Gaspé.
    Legault prolongs red-zone restrictions until Nov. 23, extends hybrid learning to Grade 9 students
    Quebec Premier François Legault has announced they will be prolonged into November, and even expanded — with Grade 9 students joining their older peers who have been learning from home every other day. The seven-day average of new daily cases in the province was at more than 1,000 for much of October. Restaurant dining rooms and gyms are also closed in red zones, but stores and a number of other businesses and workplaces, including shopping centres, are allowed to remain open.
    Quebec City to Montreal, nearly everything is now in the COVID-19 red zone
    Health Minister Christian Dubé announced Thursday that nearly all the municipalities between the Montreal region and the Quebec City area along the St. Lawrence river are now considered red zones. New red zones include the MRCs (regional county municipalities) of Bécancour, Nicolet-Yamaska, Drummond, Portneuf as well as the city of Trois-Rivières. New, stricter measures will soon be enacted, along with police checkpoints to protect other zones, such as the Lac Saint-Jean. Police will be checking to ensure people are travelling for essential reasons, the health minister said. In the new red zones, restaurants, bars, theatres and other restricted businesses will close on Saturday, while masks will be required at all times in high schools starting Wednesday of next week. For a complete list of which areas are now in the red zone, Quebec provides a website
    Quebec to provide up to $100M for businesses forced to close because of red zone rules
    Starting today, bars, restaurant dining rooms and reception halls in the province's so-called red zones — which include Montreal and Quebec City — must close for the next 28 days. Restaurants and bars will be eligible for up to $15,000 in loan forgiveness for businesses who are forced to close, or scale back due to the partial shutdowns. The money will help offset fixed costs, including municipal taxes, insurance and mortgage payments. The affected businesses can also apply to a federal wage subsidy program. The $100 million in financial aid package will be available to the estimated 12,000 businesses that are shutting down this month because of new lockdown measures.
    Quebec tightening COVID-19 restrictions
    Greater Montreal, Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches regions are now considered red zones under the province's COVID-19 alert system, Quebec Premier François Legault said Monday. The new restrictions, announced after Quebec reported 750 new coronavirus cases, take effect 12:01 a.m. ET on Thursday and are set to last for 28 days, until Oct. 28, in the red zones. The restrictions are: A ban on home gatherings, with some exceptions, such as a single caregiver allowed per visit. All bars, casinos and restaurants are closed (takeout only). Libraries, museums, cinemas and theatres will also be closed. Being less than two metres apart will be prohibited. Masks will be mandatory during demonstrations. Houses of worship and venues for events, such as funerals and weddings, will have a 25-person limit. Hair salons, hotels and other such businesses will stay open. Schools will remain open.
    Defying mask rules in Quebec will now be punished with fines up to $6,000
    Quebecers who do not comply with public health guidelines amid the COVID-19 pandemic -- particularly, those who don't wear masks inside public places and on public transit -- will now be subject to fines up to $6,000. The measure came into effect on Saturday, but Premier Francois Legault made the announcement at a press conference in Quebec City on Thursday morning alongside Health Minister Christian Dube and the province's director of public health, Dr. Horacio Arruda. The decree specifies that masks must be adjusted properly so the nose and mouth are both covered.
    Quebec: Legault calls situation 'critical' as province increases alert level in 4 regions
    Quebec has a seven-day moving average of 28 cases per million inhabitants, far surpassing the 20 cases per million public health had set as a threshold last month. Legault announced that four regions classified as green under Quebec's colour-coded alert system — Montreal, the Montérégie, Lower Saint-Lawrence and Chaudière-Appalaches — were moved up to the yellow level under the province's regional alert system. Quebec City, the Eastern Townships, the Outaouais region and Laval are already designated as yellow. Several regions, including Quebec City and the Lower Saint-Lawrence regions, are being watched closely, and could move to the orange — or "moderate alert" — level next week, sources told Radio-Canada. Health Minister Christian Dubé said that would mean new restrictions, including the possible closure of bars and reducing the number of people allowed at private gatherings from 10 to six. For now, though, Dubé limited the new restrictions to the closure of kitchen service at bars after midnight. People will also now be required to wear masks in private seniors homes. A region's alert level is based on three criteria: the epidemiological situation, the rate of transmission and the capacity of the region's health-care system.
    Quebec unveils colour-coded regional alert system as cases climb
    Quebec has announced a new, colour-coded regional alert system aimed at keeping the public informed about the state of COVID-19 in the province. The system is intended to help people understand the current level of risk, but also what actions will be taken in the event of serious outbreaks. The four levels are:
    • Vigilance (green). Basic measures o Activities maintained in compliance with provincial health rules.
    • Early warning (yellow). Strengthened basic measures o Activities maintained in compliance with health rules, but with added enforcement, such as increased fines. Required when there's an increase in transmission.
    • Moderate alert (orange). Intermediate measures o New measures that target specific sectors and activities where the risk of transmission is deemed higher.
    • Maximum alert (red). Maximum measures o Includes targeted additional and more restrictive measures that could extend to prohibiting non-essential activities, while avoiding provincewide confinement.
    Health Minister Christian Dubé said Tuesday the assessments for each region will be updated weekly. A region's alert level will be based upon three criteria: the epidemiological situation, the rate of transmission and the capacity of the region's health-care system.
    Ontario-Québec Summit to Convene on Economic Recovery
    Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Québec Premier François Legault will convene their first-ever Ontario-Québec Summit to advance shared priorities on economic recovery and health preparedness, issues important to the people of the two provinces. The summit will take place on September 8 and September 9, 2020 in Mississauga. According to the media release, “the provinces plan to work together to share lessons learned from the pandemic, accelerate economic recovery and growth by reducing barriers to international trade and promoting Ontario-made and Québec-made products, and advocate on behalf of Ontarians and Quebeckers with the federal government to provide fair, flexible and sustainable funding for important priorities, including health care, infrastructure and broadband.”
    Quebec invests in 30,000 laptops and tablets for students in need
    Quebec is investing $18.9 million to create a reserve of computer equipment for students as they return to school during the COVID-19 pandemic. Education Minister Jean-François Roberge announced Wednesday the government is purchasing about 30,000 laptops and tablets for use by students most in need. The devices will be reserved for children who don't have computers or exclusive access to them, as well as for Grade 10 and 11 students who will be on alternating schedules of in-person and remote learning.
    Blanchet will push for election if Trudeau, Morneau, Telford won't resign
    Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet says he will try to trigger a fall election if the prime minister, his chief of staff and his finance minister don't resign. Blanchet said the government is not "worthy" of the public's trust in the wake of the WE Charity controversy, which was sparked by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau failing to recuse themselves from cabinet talks involving the organization despite family ties to it. While his preference is to see the trio step down, Blanchet said he's prepared to table a motion of non-confidence in the government if they remain in their jobs. If that motion passed with the support of other parties, it would lead to an election campaign in the midst of a pandemic. NDP MP Charlie Angus accused Blanchet of throwing a "hissy fit" and said Canadians want the opposition parties to press the government to do what's best for Canadians. CFA Comment: The risk of the motion passing is fairly low as the Conservatives, NDP and Bloc would all have to vote together to topple the Trudeau government.
    Quebec now allowing festivals of 250 people across the province
    Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx said that organizers can go ahead with indoor and outdoor festivals and events, as long as public health guidelines are followed. The limit of 250 people must be respected at all times and that means organizers who push ahead with their events must be responsible for crowd control at entry and exit points. They must also put in place measures to make sure people are maintaining a minimum two metres distance between households. As of Aug. 3, the maximum number of people who can attend indoor or outdoor events in public venues increased from 50 to 250.
    Montreal's Crescent Street to be car-free for rest of summer
    Montreal's Crescent Street is going to be closed to cars until Sept. 30 as part of the city's effort to make downtown more pedestrian-friendly during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of today, the street is closed to traffic between de Maisonneuve Boulevard and Ste-Catherine Street. Steve Siozios of the Crescent Street Merchants Association said the association requested the closure to allow people more room to spread out during the pandemic.
    Wearing a mask became mandatory in Quebec over the weekend
    Effective now, masks are mandatory in indoor public spaces across the province. The new measure is kicking in as Quebec witnesses a slow but steady increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. The regulation applies to everyone aged 12 and up, although Legault said even children as young as two could be encouraged to wear a mask — either a certified medical face covering or a handcrafted one, as long as it covers the nose and mouth.
    Quebec: Employees may to return to the office July 18
    From 18 July, private employers whose staff used to work from home will be able to return to the office provided the number of staff is below 25%. The 25% occupancy rate could be increased gradually over the next few months depending on the evolution of the pandemic situation in Québec. Telework is still strongly encouraged for activities that can be carried out remotely. Businesses that wish to have employees return to the workplace must put in place the recommended health measures. This includes respecting social distance guidelines of 2 metres between individuals in order to protect the health of employees and the population. In addition, the wearing of masks will be mandatory in all common areas of establishments, particularly those in office buildings, such as lobbies, elevators and corridors, since a physical distance of two metres is not possible.
    Quebec: Masks now mandatory in enclosed public spaces
    At today’s press briefing in Montreal, Quebec Premier François Legault announced that the wearing of masks will be mandatory in enclosed public places in Quebec as of Saturday, July 18.
    • This measure affects shops, grocery stores, shopping and sports centres, and all other indoor locations.
    • Citizens will not be penalized, but may be denied access.
    • It is the owners of closed public places who are responsible for enforcing this new regulation and will face fines ranging from $1000 to $6000, depending on whether it is a first offence or a repeat offence.
    This announcement coincides with the beginning of the construction holidays, which have the government fearing a resurgence of the virus, as is currently the case in the United States. The Premier also reiterated that the most important instruction is to maintain social distancing.
    Quebec to crack down on bars with 1 a.m. closing time, reduced capacity
    Starting Friday, bars in Quebec will have to close by 1 a.m., operate at no more than half capacity and ensure clients are seated while they're drinking, following a flare-up of COVID-19 infections linked to a bar and two house parties on Montreal's South Shore. Speaking at a news conference Thursday afternoon, Health Minister Christian Dubé said last call for alcoholic beverages will be midnight instead of 3 a.m., and bars must be cleared of customers an hour later. Customers must remain seated at tables and no dancing is allowed. The new regulations will also include an increased police presence around bars and surrounding streets, to make sure clients and owners are respecting the guidelines.
    Quebec threatens to close bars, nightclubs that don't comply with COVID-19 rules
    Quebec's health minister says the province will not hesitate to shut down bars, nightclubs and other gathering places if they don't comply with COVID-19 regulations, after a new spike in infections was detected last week on Montreal's South Shore. By Thursday, the province will release details about how customers and venues could be fined if they don't respect the rules. Health Minister Christian Dubé said at a news conference Monday. There will also be an increased police presence in these venues starting on Thursday and that they are also looking at different ways to ensure COVID-19 restrictions are followed, such as stricter enforcement of a venue's reduced capacity, closing bars and nightclubs earlier and ensuring clients remain seated. The penalties won't be limited to nightlife, Dubé said. Quebec will also crack down on any venue where people gather — including beaches and pools — if physical-distancing rules aren't being respected. Bars across the province were given the green light to reopen on June 25.
    Montreal mayor says masks will soon be mandatory in enclosed public spaces
    Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante says her administration is working on a new regulation that would make it mandatory to wear a face covering in enclosed public places. Plante said the city is intending on having the new rule in place by July 27, but there will be a grace period before it's enforced. Wearing a face covering on public transit in Quebec will soon be mandatory. The province's new regulation goes into effect on July 13.
    Quebec to make masks mandatory on public transit across province
    Wearing masks will soon become mandatory on public transit across Quebec. Premier François Legault is expected to make the announcement on Tuesday.
    Quebec: Casinos, amusement parks, water parks, spas, hotels and bars can all reopen
    As of today, June 25, all sectors of activity, with three exceptions, are authorized to resume their activities while applying public health guidelines, including wearing masks and social distancing. Bars, water parks, tourist accommodation sites, casinos and gaming houses as well as spas are all affected by this announcement. • Sector guides will be made available to help businesses adapt to public health guidelines. • The 2-metre distance remains applicable at all times and in all sectors. • Bars, in particular, will have to limit their clientele. Dance floors are prohibited, and customers must consume their drinks while seated at a table, with a distance between people who are not from the same household. • The applicable guidelines for the sectors reopened earlier still apply. However, these measures do not apply to festivals and major events, overnight summer camps and fights in a sporting context, as these activities are still considered to be at high risk of spreading the virus.
    Quebec Cabinet Shuffle
    Quebec Premier Francois Legault made major changes to his cabinet Monday, including replacing the province's health minister in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Danielle McCann, who shepherded the Health Department of the province worst-hit by COVID-19, will take over the higher education portfolio, which had belonged to Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge. Treasury Board President Christian Dube will replace McCann to run the province's biggest department. The cabinet reshuffle concerns the following ministers: • Mr. Christian Dubé: Minister of Health and Social Services and Minister responsible for the Montérégie region; • Mme Nadine Girault: Minister of International Relations and Francophonie and Minister of Immigration, Integration and Francization; • Mr. Simon Jolin-Barrette: Minister of Justice, Minister responsible for the French Language, Minister responsible for Secularism and Parliamentary Reform and House Leader of the Government; • Mme Sonia LeBel: Minister responsible for Government Administration and Chair of the Treasury Board, Minister responsible for Canadian Affairs and the Canadian Francophonie and Minister responsible for Democratic Institutions, Electoral Reform and Access to Information; • Mme Danielle McCann: Minister of Higher Education; • Mr. Jean-François Roberge: Minister of Education. For the full list of the new Cabine></a<
    Pandemic pushes Quebec into record $14.9 billion deficit
    Finance Minister Eric Girard announced Friday, and it could take the province years to bounce back from "an unprecedented shock to the economy." Girard delivered an update on how the pandemic impacted Quebec's finances, and the numbers are grim: Quebec estimates that its deficit will reach a record $14.9 billion for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, and the government said it could take up to five years to balance its books again. That return to budgetary equilibrium "will not be achieved at the expense of public services or by increasing Quebecers’ tax burden," the government pledged. The first few months of the pandemic in Quebec also took a huge bite out of the province's productivity (GDP), which is expected to contract by 6.5 per cent in 2020; that is the biggest downturn since the compilation of such statistics began in 1981. (Quebec's budget had estimated a 2 per cent increase in GDP for the year). Girard said the province hopes to return to its pre-pandemic levels of productivity by the end of 2021. Girard said that Quebec spent some $6.6 billion in just the first few weeks of the pandemic to shore up the province's health care system, provide economic relief to Quebecers and otherwise mitigate the economic effects of the public health crisis. That amount is more than the province spent over two years to counteract the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, Girard noted. The finance minister also reiterated his government's promise that taxes won't go up -- on individuals or on companies -- to help bring the province back to budgetary balance. "Quebecers are already sufficiently taxed" he said. Girard's March budget included a $14-billion financing program to stimulate the economy with infrastructure projects. Now, with a $14.9 billion deficit, the province will be borrowing more than $30 billion this year alone. However, Girard said Quebec has a "credible plan" to balance the budget in five years and a strong track record of sound fiscal management that he said is appreciated by investors who will be buying the province's debt. "We have the capacity to face a second wave," he said. Quebec responded to the pandemic by injecting $3.7 billion in the health sector, as well as $1 billion to help workers and another $2 billion for companies. The deficit for fiscal 2020-21 includes a $4-billion contingency fund as well as a $2.6-billion payment to a fund dedicated to paying down the provincial debt, which will stand at just below $200 billion in 2020.
    Quebec drops physical distancing rules for children in daycares
    As of Monday, children in groups of 10 or less in Quebec daycares will no longer have to respect physical distancing rules between one another or their educators. However, adults will still have to follow the two-metre guideline while in a day care centre. Daycares outside of the Montreal, Joliette, and l’Épiphanie regions will also be able to operate at 100-per-cent capacity as of Monday; this applies to home daycare providers as well. Daycares in the regions exempt from this new phase will still have to operate at 50 per cent capacity, and home daycare providers will still only be allowed to watch four children at a time. Health officials say this may change as of June 29, but it will depend on whether or not the COVID-19 situation in the province will allow it.
    Quebec: Relaxation of rules for team sports
    Isabelle Charest, Minister of Education and Minister responsible for the Status of Women, announced the easing of certain restrictions imposed on physical activities (sports, recreation and outdoor activities) on June 22. This phase includes:
    • Reopening of indoor sports facilities, including fitness centres, arenas and gymnastics arenas.
    • Reopening of public and private beaches
    • Resumption of matches for team sports
    • Pool and beach lifeguard training, however, can begin as soon as today.
    As with the other recovery phases, public health guidelines must still be respected and applied. Contacts between players, for example, is always prohibited unless it is accidental or sporadic. The government is asking athletes and organizations to avoid reopening locker rooms to avoid closer contact between athletes. Guides for resuming activities developed by sports federations will also be made available to athletes and staff.
    Quebec to allow indoor gatherings of up to 50 people soon
    Starting on June 22, Quebec will allow indoor gatherings of up to 50 people — provided social distancing rules are respected, the province's public health director announced Monday. Those indoor gathering places include movie theatres; in places with seating, people will be expected to keep 1.5 metres from one another, Dr. Horacio Arruda said. In larger gathering areas where there is a lot of circulation, such as when waiting in line, Quebecers will still be expected to keep two metres apart. The province is also allowing children under 16 to be closer together — only one metre apart instead of two. This will also apply in day camps and schools. Across most of Quebec, dining in restaurants and having small indoor gatherings of fewer than 10 people are permitted starting today, as long as they continue to keep a safe distance from each other and make sure to clean surfaces. Only businesses permitted to serve food can reopen this month, and there is no word on when bars will be allowed to do the same. Montrealers and those living in Joliette and L'Épiphanie will have to wait until June 22, but hairdressers, tattoo parlours and other personal-care businesses reopen in Montreal and Joliette today. Quebec's workplace health and safety board, CNESST, has provided virtual guides on how to reopen these businesses safely in the midst of the pandemic. There will also be a health standards check list available, produced in collaboration with public health and the various associations representing the businesses. Personal-care services were allowed to resume June 1 outside of the greater Montreal and Joliette areas.
    Quebec: Support Program for the Development of Tourist Attractions (PADAT)
    Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx, accompanied by Finance Minister Éric Girard and Economy and Innovation Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon, also announced an investment of $753 million over two years in Quebec's tourism sector. This announcement would affect more than 30 000 Québec businesses of all sizes throughout the province. Minister Fitzgibbon also announced that the Temporary Concerted Action Program for Businesses (PACTE), announced last March and endowed with $2.5 billion to support Quebec businesses to overcome their cash shortages, would be enhanced by a $200 million component dedicated to the tourism component. This measure will make it possible to provide businesses in need with emergency working capital assistance for up to 18 months.
    For more information
    Quebec: Bill 61 for economic recovery getting a bumpy ride
    On June 3, the government introduced the Act to stimulate the economy of Quebec and mitigate the consequences of a state of health emergency, which focuses primarily on accelerating more than 200 public infrastructure projects over the next five years. Since that announcement, however, many opposition parties, the media and experts have been very critical of the bill's potential downfalls. The two main sticking points concern environmental assessments and the risks of corruption. Today, the monitoring committee of the Charbonneau Commission sounded the alarm, saying that Bill 61 could create 'extremely favourable conditions for the emergence of corruption, collusion and other related malpractices' in addition to giving 'exorbitant powers' to the government. Finally, Premier Legault appealed to the opposition parties for their full cooperation in this urgent context for Quebec's businesses and economy, and also said he was prepared to extend the parliamentary session, which was to end this Friday, if necessary.
    Quebec: $140M in financial assistance for commercial rents
    This morning, Minister of Economy and Innovation Pierre Fitzgibbon announced a $140 million increase in federal assistance for commercial rents. The cost of this program, shared between the federal and provincial governments, now totals nearly $280 million for Quebec, doubling its investment.
    • Quebec intends to compensate 50% of the owners' losses.
    • Landlords, who had to commit to absorbing a 25% loss by registering for this program, will thus receive an amount equivalent to 12.5% of the total cost of rent in order to reduce their loss by half.
    • Landlords of commercial buildings in all regions of Québec are eligible for this measure.
    Quebec: Reopening of the restaurant sector
    On the other hand, while respecting social distancing guidelines, restaurants will soon be allowed to reopen their doors to the public. The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food André Lamontagne and the Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity Jean Boulay, accompanied by Dr. Richard Massé, strategic medical advisor at the Health and Social Services Department, held a press briefing at the end of the day to detail this announcement, which was eagerly awaited by the restaurant industry. This measure is aimed at the complete resumption of restaurant activities, with the possibility of eating a meal on site. It will be effective June 15 for all of Québec except the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal, Joliette and L'Épiphanie, which will have to wait until June 22. Important conditions and changes will be imposed on restaurant operators to ensure the safety of customers and workers:
    • Maintaining the 2-metre distance at all times, in particular
    • Wearing a face cover and eye protection when physical distance is not possible;
    • Posting of rules applicable to the entrance to establishments;
    • Displaying menus on slates or screens to avoid sharing objects; and
    • Disinfecting tables, menus and surfaces such as counters and door handles several times a day.
    • A guide to sector standards has been produced by CNESST and food service organizations.
    Commercial Rent – Banning of Evictions in BC, AB, QC, SK and ON
    The governments in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Alberta banned commercial evictions in light of increasing reports of tenants being evicted. Quebec invests $50 Million for Montreal’s Small Businesses – will also reduce commercial rents The Government of Canada, through Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, is planning to grant up to $30 million to the PME MTL network through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF). The Quebec Government is also contributing $20 million. This support is aimed at Montreal businesses ineligible for other federal measures related to COVID-19 that are already in place. The funds will be administered by PME MTL, the City of Montreal’s business support network. For more information on the Quebec program
    Quebec to reopen restaurants in some regions as of June 15, everywhere by June 22
    Quebec is reopening restaurants in many areas of the province as of June 15. The Montreal region, Joliette and L'Epiphanie will open a week later, as of June 22. New health rules will require “considerable” measures from restaurants in order to safely reopen, said Lamontagne. Labour Minister Jean Boulet said kits will be available from the government’s workplace safety board, the CNESST, including a guide of standards for hygiene rules, disinfection guidelines, social distancing and a daily checklist.
    Quebec: Reopening the rec sport sector
    Deputy Minister of Education and Minister responsible for sports and recreation Isabelle Charest announced that public health authorities have authorized the gradual resumption of activities for outdoor team sports as of June 8. Supervised training and outdoor skills competitions will be authorized as of next Monday. More than 30 sports federations have developed guides and protocols to ensure that such trainings will be consistent with public health measures. The government anticipates a potential resumption of team matches at the end of June, depending on the state of public health. However, major adaptations will have to be made to the sports in order to comply with public health guidelines. Private swimming pools open to the public, especially those in campsites, as well as supervised practice of individual outdoor sports, such as yoga classes and guided outdoor activities, will also be able to resume their activities from 8 June. As for minor, semi-professional and professional sports teams, the resumption of training and matches is not permitted for the time being, but the public health authorities and the government are working very closely with the sports organizations to ensure that training and matches can resume from the end of June.
    Quebec: 80,000 applications for 10,000 orderly positions
    A few weeks ago, Quebec Premier François Legault launched a recruitment process for more than 10,000 people who will undergo condensed training to become orderlies. The government received nearly 80,000 applications.
    Quebec: Hairdressing, personal care will reopen June 15
    The government also announced that hairdressing, beauty, personal care and tattoo salons will be able to resume operations as of June 15. Reopening is conditional on compliance with public health regulations and institutions are responsible for implementing precautions to ensure the safety of staff and clients. Quebec: Relaunching the cultural sector After thanking and congratulating Quebec artists for their ability to innovate and adapt in the face of this crisis, and for using their influence to share the government's health instructions, Legault announced a $400 million plan to ensure recovery in culture. Minister Roy was present to provide several clarifications to the government's plan and hopes that these funds will give artists the financial freedom they need to create and work.
  • $91.5 million to encourage film and television productions;
  • $71.9 million to help cultural businesses and organizations that have had to close their doors to the public because of the pandemic;
  • $50.9 million to support the performing arts in the creation and dissemination of innovative performances through calls for projects to continue their activities despite health regulations;
  • $33.5 million to the music industry and its craftspeople to meet the challenges of new listening habits and health measures;
  • $6.5 million to writers in order to better remunerate their works, part of which will be dedicated to an emergency fund managed by the UDA.
  • $5.9 million to enhance existing festival support to encourage online events; and
  • Investment of $13.5 million in advertising and promotion to boost culture.
  • The minister also pointed out that this assistance is in addition to the $59 million announced at the end of March in advance credit to cultural organizations and a $50 million loan program to ensure the working capital of cultural businesses and organizations. Filming in the television and film sector will be able to resume on June 8, and the government hopes to reopen venues by June 24.
    Quebec courthouse to reopen June 1
    Today, Quebec Justice Minister Sonia LeBel confirmed that courthouses in Quebec would reopen on June 1. She said there will be a limited number of people allowed inside, physical distancing rules and Plexiglas barriers for judges. On a more positive note, the Minister also stated that the pandemic had considerably accelerated the process of digital transformation of the justice system in Quebec. The resumption of activities will thus rely on the reopening of courthouses and tribunals, on the one hand, and on technology, on the other. • 136 virtual courtrooms have been created and have been permanently integrated into how the justice system operates. • All judicial institutions that will reopen on June 1 will be adapted in order to comply with social distancing instructions: o Transparent plastic screens will be installed where appropriate; o Hand washing stations and disinfectant will be made available; o Facilities will be redesigned to respect the 2-metre distance; o Each facility will be able to resume operations at a pace that corresponds to its capacity.
    Shopping centres reopening in Quebec (outside Montreal) June 1
    Quebec's Minister of Economy and Innovation Pierre Fitzgibbon confirmed the reopening of shopping centres as of June 1 for all regions of Quebec, except for the Greater Montreal area and Joliette. The epidemiological situation is being studied very closely following the reopenings in order to determine whether or not there is a risk of a second wave. CNESST has published a detailed protocol on the sanitary upgrading of shopping centres as well as a list of mandatory daily checks for each merchant and shopping centre. The measures include:
    • A limit on the number of customers;
    • Installation of partitions at transaction counters;
    • Maintaining the closure of dining areas; only take-out meals will be permitted;
    • Traffic directions can be indicated on the ground;
    • Increasing the number of security guards to enforce the 2-metre distance;
    • Increasing the number of security guards;
    • Denial of access to any person with symptoms;
    • Recommending that masks be worn.
    Quebec to allow outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people – more openings on June 1
    Quebec is loosening more of its COVID-19 restrictions, despite continuing to have the highest number of new cases in the country. The province's deputy premier, Geneviève Guilbault, announced Wednesday that as of Friday, people will be allowed to hold outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people, composed of up to three households. She said people must maintain physical distancing and must not hold the gathering indoors. Quebec private health-care services, such as dentists and physiotherapists, will be allowed to reopen as of June 1. Businesses that provide personal care services, such as hairdressers, will be allowed to open on the same date — but not in the greater Montreal and Joliette areas, where there are still significant COVID-19 outbreaks.
    Montreal reopening delayed to May 25
    The Quebec government has postponed the planned reopening of elementary schools, daycares as well as businesses in the Montreal area. They are now reopening May 25. Premier François Legault said the government was looking at two factors when it decides whether to go ahead with reopening part of the province: how fast the virus is spreading and the availability of hospital beds. Elementary schools and daycares outside of the Montreal area are still expected to open on May 11. The return to class is voluntary.
    Quebec premier delays restart date for retail stores in Montreal
    The reopening of non-essential stores in the Montreal area, which was scheduled to begin May 11, has been pushed back to May 18, Quebec Premier Francois Legault announced Monday, but the region's schools are still set to reopen as planned. Legault cited the high number of COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations in the Montreal area as one of the reasons for pushing back the gradual business reopenings. Non-essential stores in the rest of Quebec started reopening Monday . Manufacturing and construction, two other industries that are set to reopen in the Montreal area May 11, will do so as scheduled, Legault added. Elementary schools in the Montreal area are also still scheduled to reopen as planned on May 19. Elementary schools in the rest of the province are due to reopen May 11.
    Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec lifting some COVID-19 restrictions
    Ontario took its first steps Monday with the reopening of some businesses, including lawn care and landscaping, garden centres for curbside pickup, automatic and self-serve car washes, auto dealerships by appointment, and many construction projects. Manitobans can now visit everything from hair salons to museums to restaurant patios (with fewer seats than normal) provided everyone is following public health rules. In most of Saskatchewan, non-urgent medical offices are allowed to reopen and rules around some outdoor activities — including fishing and boating — are being loosened. But one owner of a physiotherapy clinic told CBC Saskatchewan she's got mixed emotions about opening up. Newfoundland and Labrador plans to move to alert Level 4 on May 11, meaning a relaxation of some public health measures to allow more social and business activities. The province followed New Brunswick's lead and allowed families to come together in "bubbles" made up of two households . Alberta took its first strides toward the large-scale resumption of public life under COVID-19 this weekend as provincial parks and golf courses opened under the government's phased economic relaunch. Alberta began to ease some public health restrictions on Friday, with provincial parks and boat launches reopening with limited services. Alberta has three stage plan starting May 14 called Opening Soon: Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy .
    Quebec outlines how some businesses will reopen in May
    A day after outlining a plan to allow children to return to daycares and primary schools in May, Quebec Premier François Legault laid out his plans Tuesday to begin reopening some businesses in the province. Over the course of the month of May, three sectors will be allowed some degree of reopening. They are:
    • Retail stores not in shopping malls.
    • Retail stores that are in malls but have a direct door to the outside.
    • Construction and civil engineering.
    • Manufacturing.
    Stores outside of the Montreal region will be permitted to reopen May 4, while those in the Montreal area will reopen May 11. Construction projects, including road work, will fully resume May 11, with about 85,000 workers expected to be back to work. Manufacturing companies will be allowed to reopen May 4 with some restrictions: those that have 50 or fewer workers will be allowed to reopen with full staff; those with more than 50 employees will only be allowed to have 50 workers plus 50 per cent of the total number of employees above that for any shift throughout the day.
    Quebec to reveal reopening plans
    Quebec moves forward with plan to begin opening schools. In his daily briefing Quebec Premier Francois Legault said elementary schools and daycares will begin reopening on May 11 outside of Montreal and on May 19 on the island of Montreal. All other schools — high schools, colleges and universities — won't reopen until late August. Legault said that timeline will depend on the number of hospitalizations for COVID-19 remaining stable. There are now 1,541 people in hospital — an increase of 23 over Sunday. Some 210 patients are in intensive care, down five from yesterday.
    Quebec real estate brokers get the green light to return to work amid COVID-19 pandemic
    The Quebec government has authorized the province's real-estate brokers to get back to work during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it won't exactly be business as usual. The brokers have been granted permission to work only on transactions deemed to be a priority, defined as those that must be completed before July 31. The Organisme d'autoreglementation du courtage immobilier du Quebec (OACIQ), the agency that regulates real-estate brokers in Quebec, said it has sent directives to ensure that public-health orders put in place during the pandemic are respected. Open houses are not allowed, and in-person visits and home inspections must respect physical distancing guidelines. No broker, or any party involved in a physical interaction regarding a transaction, can have COVID-19 or any of its symptoms and must sign a document attesting to that. During in-person visits, the current occupants of a property must wait outside. Only one person can enter the property along with the broker, maintaining a two-metre distance at all times. No children or people over 70 may take part in a visit. Parties involved in a transaction must also sign a document confirming that the sale is urgent. The brokers are also being asked to work remotely as much as possible. Brokers who do not respect the directives could face disciplinary measures from the OACIQ, which is reminding its members that not respecting the current public health orders means breaking the law.
    Economic relaunch planning starting in Quebec
    As the current state of COVID-19 spread seems relatively under control (with low rates of hospitalization), Premier Legault has said the government of Quebec is starting to think more seriously about allowing businesses to reopen in the upcoming weeks. The government reminded the population that this is not a simple process and that everything must be thought through in order to avoid a second wave of contamination.
    • The government has also announced that, even as businesses start to reopen, the 2-metre rule will be enforced for several months.
    • Businesses that are able to apply the principles of social distancing in their daily activities will be able to restart operations first.
    • Residential construction will probably be able to resume in the coming days or weeks, in an effort to prevent some people from becoming homeless.
    • It is unlikely that schools and daycare centers will be able to reopen before the end of the school year, since it is impossible to maintain a distance of 2 meters in these contexts.
    AB, SK, NL and QC release provincial COVID-19 modeling
    Saskatchewan released its modelling on April 8, which shows the provincial government is planning for 3,000 to 8,300 deaths and approximately 20 to 200 daily intensive care admissions from COVID-19 at its peak. The data does not say when that peak is expected nor when distancing measures might be eased. Newfoundland and Labrador outlined its projections on April 8. Their prediction focused on intensive care capacity instead of expected deaths. They expect to exceed its 57 intensive-care capacity by the end of June if the spread of the virus continues its current rate of growth. The first assumes current restrictions remain in place and projects 32 per cent of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians infected over a two-year period. Under that scenario, the peak of the virus would occur in early November, and the province would have enough hospital beds and ventilators to weather the pandemic. The second model projects a scenario in which current restrictions are eased and assumes 52 per cent of people in the province infected over the same two-year period. In that scenario, the peak comes sooner — mid-September — and overwhelms hospital beds, intensive-care units and ventilators. Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenney outlined what he described as a "probable" scenario for Alberta on Tuesday that suggested the province won't see a peak in the virus until mid-May. That model suggested Alberta could see as many as 800,000 COVID-19 cases by the end of the summer with death figures ranging from 400 to 3,100. Another more "elevated" scenario pointed toward the possibility of both higher case numbers and between 500 and 6,600 deaths. On Tuesday, Quebec’s model predicts at least 1,200 COVID-19 deaths by the end of April, and if preventative measures aren’t continued, the death toll could be as high as 9,000. Public health officials noted that the current thinking is that the number of deaths will be closer to the lower estimate. Prime Minister Trudeau said Wednesday that people would learn more about a national model in the coming days, but did not provide a specific date. The prime minister said it's not yet clear exactly when Canada will reach a peak but said that strict adherence to critical public health measures — including physical distancing and staying home as much as possible — will help reduce the impact of the outbreak. It’s important to note that the federal modeling requires data from provincial health authorities. Some provinces have better data than others which hinders the development of a national level forecast.
    Quebec releases projections that suggest Covid-19 will kill between 1,200 and 9,000 in April.
    Public health experts with the Quebec government are projecting between 1,200 and 9,000 people could die of COVID-19 by the end of the month, although authorities hasten to add they believe the current trajectory for mortalities is toward the lower end of that range. Public health officials in Quebec had been reluctant to release the models because there is a still a huge amount of uncertainty involved in the calculations. Quebec released two scenarios about what could happen by April 30.
    • Optimistic scenario: projects 29,212 confirmed cases, with as many as 1,404 people in hospital at once and 1,263 deaths.
    • Pessimistic scenario: 59,845 confirmed cases, with as many as 3,208 people hospitalized at one time and 8,860 deaths. Ontario released projectionsOntario released projections late last week and federal officials, who have faced questions about projections and transparency, have indicated they plan to release some projections in the days ahead.
      $100M to train Quebecers
      Quebec Minister of Labour Jean Boulet announced Monday afternoon that the government has earmarked $100 million to cover the cost of training employees in new skills. The aim, he said, is to have an even stronger workforce once the economy is restarted. Quebec will cover as much as 100 per cent of employee salaries while those workers improve their skills — be that worker a chef learning a new culinary technique or a window-installer learning to do that job more efficiently. Independent businesses of all sizes are eligible for up to $100,000 in subsidies, with the goal of retaining employees and improving their skills and abilities.
      Quebec offers low-wage essential workers extra $100 weekly to stay on the job
      The Quebec government is giving low-wage workers an extra incentive to stay on the job during the COVID-19 pandemic. Finance Minister Eric Girard announced Friday the province will give up to $100 extra weekly to cashiers, grocery stockers, delivery people and everyone else who keeps the province running. The program is meant to ensure that those essential workers will earn more by working than by applying for the federal government's emergency benefits program (CERB), which provides Canadians struggling financially with $2,000 a month. The new program will be retroactive to March 15, for a maximum of 16 weeks. With this compensation, the worker will obtain, in addition to their wages, a taxable lump sum of $400 per month, or $1,600 for a period of 16 weeks. Workers can apply for this benefit through Revenu Québec's website starting May 19, and the direct deposits will start on May 27.
      Quebec announces $150 million to support small business
      Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon announced a new $150 million in funding for small and medium-sized businesses requiring less than $50,000 in assistance. This program is intended to provide temporary support for the working capital of businesses in all sectors, including cooperatives, non-profits and social economy enterprises carrying out commercial activities, whose financial situation became precarious because of COVID-19. The government of Quebec also announced a two-year extension of the Local Investment Funds (LIFs), until December 31, 2022, to enable RCMs to better meet the current needs of Québec businesses. New measures to ease the repayment terms of loans granted under the FLI are also planned.
      • Offers businesses an additional 3-month respite for the repayment of their loan (principal and interest).
      • These new measures are in addition to those announced on March 19 and bring the delay period for businesses to 6 months.
      Supports for Workers in Quebec The Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity Jean Boulet and the Minister of Finance Éric Girard also announced a temporary wage increase for low-income workers in essential services. This measure would affect close to 600,000 workers and more than 50 sectors. It is intended to compensate workers who earn less money to work than those who have access to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Temporary benefit of $100/week retroactive to March 15, 2020. To access this benefit, workers must:
      • Demonstrate that they are working in an essential sector;
      • Prove to have worked during this period;
      • Have a gross weekly income of less than $550; and
      • Have a gross annual income of less than $28,500.
      The web form will be available as of May 19, 2020 and payments will be made by direct deposit.
    LAST UPDATED: December 17, 2020

    Saskatchewan COVID-19 Update

    Sask. government reduces self-isolation period for people who test positive for COVID-19 to 10 days
    Effective immediately, Saskatchewan residents who test positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate for 10 days from when they were first symptomatic. Previously, the self-isolation period was 14 days. There are exceptions for close contacts and international travellers, who must still self-isolate for 14 days or they could be fined $2,000. Close contacts of a positive case must self-isolate for 14 days because they may not show symptoms until two weeks after exposure, said Shahab, adding that a close contact who tests positive would then have to isolate for 10 more days.
    Sask. restricting most private gatherings to household members only starting Thursday
    More restrictions also to be implemented from Dec. 17 through Dec. 25. Saskatchewan residents will only be allowed to mingle indoors with people they live with starting Thursday, the province announced via a news release. Starting 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 17, private indoor gatherings will be limited to household members only. There are a few exceptions. People living alone can meet with one household that has less than five people living in it. Co-parenting arrangements are allowed to continue. Caregivers and support services workers are still allowed in a home as well. Outdoor gatherings will be capped at 10 people, assuming that physical distancing between people from different homes can be maintained. More rules coming Dec. 19, Dec. 25 On Saturday, Dec. 19, casinos and bingo halls will have to shut down. Personal services such as hair salons, massage therapy and tattoo parlours will only be allowed to operate at half capacity, the province says, adding that staff are included in that capacity. Event venues, such as conference halls, arenas, museums and movie theatres, can still host events with up to 30 people. During the events, all guests must be seated. Food and drink are not permitted "unless explicitly stated in the order," the province said. Starting Christmas Day, retail services will be reduced to half capacity and large retail locations — retailers with an area larger than 20,000 square feet — will be reduced to 25 per cent capacity.
    Sask. eliminating small business corporate income tax for two years
    The Saskatchewan government has introduced legislation that will eliminate small business corporate income tax for the next two years, then see it come back at a reduced rate for another year. Small Biz Tax Rate to Zero Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, the tax rate will be reduced from 2% to 0%. July 1, 2022, tax rate will move to one per cent. Jul 1, 2023, tax rate will move back to two per cent. The threshold for businesses to get the reduced tax rate is $600,000. The government estimates the changes will benefit 31,000 small businesses and save them an average of $6,100 over the next three years. Strong Recovery Adaptation Rebate (SRAR) The government also introduced the Strong Recovery Adaptation Rebate (SRAR) on Monday. The rebate is for businesses forced to adapt to COVID-19, either physically or by changing their business or model. To be eligible each business will need to: Employ fewer than 100 people. Have incurred or will incur expenses to adapt business from Apr. 1, 2020, to Feb. 28, 2021. Plan to continue operating. Have lost at least 30 per cent of revenue from 2019. Continue to earn less revenue than before pandemic. Those eligible will receive a rebate of 50 per cent up to a maximum of $5,000, "with amounts being determined based on business expenditures for changing business models to adapt to the current environment brought about due to the global COVID-19 pandemic." The government said applications will be made available in a few weeks. "Small businesses are continuing to do their part by not only protecting public health, but also helping to ensure a strong economic recovery in both the weeks and months ahead, and in the longer term as well," said Minister of Trade Jeremy Harrison in a statement.
    Sask. government renews small business emergency payment program
    The Saskatchewan government has renewed a support program for small businesses in the province for the month of December. The Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment (SSBEP) program was renewed for the period of Dec. 1 to Dec. 31 on Thursday. The SSBEP program was launched in April to provide support to small businesses that temporarily closed or were forced to substantially curtail their operations due to COVID-19. The eligibility period for this phase of the SSBEP spans Dec. 1 to Dec. 31, 2020 and is estimated to cost $8 million. Applications will open on Dec.11, 2020 and the application deadline is Jan. 31, 2021. The province's news release said eligible applicants will receive a payment of 15 per cent, to a maximum of $5,000, of their monthly sales revenues based on November 2019, December 2019 or February 2020. Seasonal businesses will be eligible for 15 per cent of the average monthly sales revenue for full months the business operated in 2019. Eligible applicants must prove the following: • They are a small or medium business that employs less than 500 people. • They are permanently established in Saskatchewan and allocate a portion of their income to the province. • They were operating as of Oct. 31, 2020, or were eligible to operate if it were a seasonal business. • They are subject to public health orders that affect operations between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31. • They experienced a loss of sales revenue. • They plan to reopen when public health restrictions are lifted.
    Saskatchewan reports lower deficit, touts recovering economy in mid-year report
    The provincial government released its mid-year report today and projected a deficit almost $400 million lower than expected. Earlier this year, the provincial government forecasted a $2.4 billion deficit but today's report showed that to be sitting around $2 billion, an improvement of $381.5 million from this year's budget. Revenue projections also saw an increase, to the tune of $503.5 million, or 3.7 per cent from the provincial budget announcement. Tax revenues were projected to decrease by $41.2 million as a reduction in the small business tax rate was factored in. Other tax and own-source revenue forecasts were unchanged from the budget. Expenses were forecasted to be $16.2 billion, an increase of $122 million, or 0.8 per cent. The increase covered money for the health, education, municipal and tourism sectors and was partly offset by lower-than-budgeted pension expenses and crop insurance claims expenses. The mid-year forecast included the impacts of the government's election commitments, totalling $91.7 million. Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said $260 million was set aside as contingency, which she said is a substantial cushion that's built in for the remaining six months of the year. She said data from the first six months of the year will help guide the province through the remainder of the year
    Saskatchewan: New COVID-19 restrictions suspend sports, extend mandatory masking to schools
    Sports competition is suspended and gatherings at restaurants are being further limited under new COVID-19 restrictions announced by Saskatchewan on Wednesday. Limits on private gatherings like weddings and funerals, along with places of worship, will also be introduced. Premier Scott Moe said he does not believe a full lockdown is "imminent" because he thinks the restrictions will make a difference. Starting 12:01 a.m. on Friday, no more than four people will be allowed to sit together at a table at a restaurant, and tables will need to be separated by three metres unless there are "impermeable barriers" between them, in which case they can be placed two metres apart. Restaurants will also need to keep information about guests or patrons. All team sports and group activities are suspended, but athletes and dancers 18 years old and under may keep practising in groups of eight or fewer if they use masks and practise physical distancing. Fitness activities in groups of eight or less are still allowed, with conditions. All places of worship must reduce capacity to 30 people, and no food or drink can be served. Mandatory non-medical masking is being extended to apply to all students, employees and visitors at schools. All employees and visitors in common areas in businesses and workplaces, even where the public does not have access, also have to wear a mask. All residents, employees and visitors in all common areas in provincial and municipal correctional facilities will also have to wear a mask. Capacity will be restricted to 30 people at casinos, bingo halls, arenas, live theatres, movie theatres, performing arts venues and other facilities that currently have a capacity of 150 people. Indoor gatherings such as banquets, weddings, funerals, conferences will also have a limit of 30 people, and food and beverage service will be prohibited. The limit for private indoor gatherings will remain at five but the province said "gatherings of any size beyond your immediate household are strongly discouraged at this time." The government announcement was initially scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, but was postponed for a day.
    Sask. Court cancels jury trials
    The Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench is cancelling all jury trials effective now through to the end of the year because of the worsening COVID-19 situation across the province. Jury trials involve many members of the public from a fairly broad geographic area, particularly during the selection process. As well, they require more people to be physically present in the courtroom each day for the duration of the trial, said Chief Justice Martel Popescul.
    Sask: More restrictions coming after 6th-straight day of triple-digit case increases
    Sask. makes masks mandatory in public indoor spaces, reduces private gathering size to 5
    Saskatchewan announced new COVID-19 restrictions Tuesday, including expanding its mask mandate for indoor public spaces to include the entire province. Originally, a mask mandate was in place for Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert. That was expanded last week to include communities surrounding those three urban centres and communities with populations of at least 5,000 people, which impacted roughly 65 per cent of the province. Tuesday's announcement put all Saskatchewan residents under the same restriction. Capacity limits on private indoor gathering sizes have also been reduced to a five-person max from 10. Families of five or greater cannot have visitors inside their home, the province says. There are exceptions, however, such as allowing caregivers or tradespeople to enter, but physical distancing should be maintained and a mask should be worn at all times. Saskatchewan continues to log triple-digit increases of COVID-19 cases and officials say more restrictions may be in store. The rise has spurred hundreds of doctors around the province to sign a letter calling for more action from the provincial government. Earlier Thursday, Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili called for a province-wide mask mandate. Earlier this month, Premier Scott Moe and Shahab announced a mask mandate on indoor spaces for Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Regina. That will remain in place until early December at least. Stricter regulations on gatherings were also announced, with private gatherings limited to 10 people and public gatherings limited to 30 people
    Sask. Premier Scott Moe announces significant cabinet shuffle
    Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe announced a significant shuffle to the provincial cabinet on Monday. This is Moe's first major cabinet shake-up since becoming party leader in January 2018 with changes in health, education, justice and social services. The most relevant for CFA members are Donna Harpauer becomes Deputy Premier and retains the Finance portfolio Jeremy Harrison remains Minister of Trade and Export Development and Minister of Immigration and Career Training while adding responsibility as Minister Responsible for Innovation Saskatchewan and Minister Responsible for Tourism Saskatchewan. Don Morgan becomes Minister of Crown Investments Corporation and becomes Minister responsible for all major crown corporations, including SaskEnergy, SGI, SaskPower, SaskTel, SaskGaming and SaskWater. Morgan remains Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety and Minister Responsible for the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board. Jim Reiter becomes Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority. Warren Kaeding becomes Minister of Environment.
    Sask. making masks mandatory in some cities, reducing gathering sizes provincewide
    Saskatchewan will be making masks mandatory in indoor public spaces in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert, and reducing the allowed size of gatherings provincewide. The orders were announced Tuesday and take effect on Friday. The public health mandatory masking order will be in place for 28 days The maximum allowable gathering size for private gatherings in the home will decrease to 10 from 15. This includes those who ordinarily live in the home. Any event that occurs in a private home and any outbuildings including weddings, religious gathering and funerals must abide by the 10-person gathering limit issued by the province.
    Saskatchewan Party wins 4th majority government
    The Saskatchewan Party has won a majority government for the fourth time in a row. The first party to manage that in the province since the CCF under Tommy Douglas over 60 years ago. Premier Scott Moe, replaced former Saskatchewan Party Leader and Premier Brad Wall in February 2018, SP: 50 seats (242,638 votes) NDP: 11 seats (112,263 votes)
    Saskatchewan heads to the polls on Monday October 26
    Monday is election day in Saskatchewan. Three polls have been published so far in this campaign, all of them giving Scott Moe's Saskatchewan Party a wide lead over Ryan Meili's New Democrats. The Sask. Party would be very likely to win a big majority government if an election were held today. The margin between the two parties is slightly closer than in 2016, however, which suggests the NDP could gain a few seats. The Sask. Party's advantage in the rural areas of the province give it a stranglehold on a majority government. They are likely to win the 31 seats needed for a majority outside of Saskatoon and Regina. The race is more competitive in the two cities, with the NDP and Sask. Party in a virtual tie in Regina. The Sask. Party's edge in Saskatoon is more comfortable. Poll averages • SP: 58.8% (+2.2) • NDP: 34.0% (-1.7) • GRN: 2.1% (-0.2) • OTH: 5.2% (-0.3) Brackets show change in party support since Oct. 14, 2020
    Saskatchewan Election
    Only one poll has been published since the start of the campaign, but it confirms the trends seen in polls conducted over the summer. Scott Moe's Saskatchewan Party continues to hold a very wide lead over Ryan Meili's New Democrats, and would be very likely to win a big majority government if an election were held today. No other party is in contention to win seats. Projections show that the Saskatchewan Party has a 99% chance of forming a majority government. Poll averages Sask Party: 56.8% NDP: 32.6% (+5.6) GRN: 1.6% (+0.2) OTH: 9.1% (-5.8) Brackets show change in party support since the Sep. 3, 2020 pre-election poll.
    Saskatchewan election kicks off
    Saskatchewan's election is underway. Premier Scott Moe, leader of the Saskatchewan Party, met with Lt.-Gov. Russ Mirasty Tuesday morning and asked him to dissolve the legislative assembly in order for the province's 29th election to begin. The province will go to the polls on Oct. 26.
    Regina unveils grant for businesses forced to transform because of pandemic
    Regina entrepreneurs can now apply for a new grant to help them reshape their business during the pandemic. Under the Regina Economic Recovery Grant, businesses can receive help for initiatives such as starting curbside pickup or ramping up e-commerce. Businesses have the option to apply before the end of the year for smaller grants up to $5,000 for immediate short-term needs such as personal protective equipment, or apply for grants up to $25,000 available in the New Year for longer-term initiatives, but they can't choose both. The city said grant applications are only available online and will be received every Monday starting at 9 a.m. CST for 24 hours or until 40 have been submitted. An adjudication committee will award the grants to the applications that best meet the core criteria, which include helping people return to work, keeping the business open and diversifying or transforming the business in response to a changing market. The city estimates businesses chosen to receive the grant will receive payment within two to three weeks of applying.
    City of Regina recommends mask use indoors, in public vehicles
    Regina's mayor and some city councillors came together Thursday to recommend mask use. Mayor Michael Fougere said the city would look at a mandatory mask policy in the coming days, weeks or months. He wouldn't commit to timelines on a decision. Fougere said the province was not opposed to municipalities creating their own bylaws around mask use.
    No mandatory masks or reduced class sizes planned for school reopening in Saskatchewan
    Saskatchewan will send its K-12 students back to school next month without requiring them or their teachers to wear masks and without a plan to reduce class sizes, although the Ministry of Education says it's planning to buy masks in case the COVID-19 situation worsens. The province's back-to-school task force has been reviewing proposed plans from boards in recent weeks. Regina Catholic Schools, Saskatoon Public Schools and Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools are among the school boards that publicly released their submitted plans immediately after the ministry's announcement. All of the province's school board plans account for four potential "levels" of precautions, the province said in a release. It did not detail what would prompt a school board to go from one level to another. Level 1 does not call for masks, reduced class sizes, or on-site testing and screening. Students going back as early as Sept. 1 will do so under "Level 1," meaning "as close to normal as possible, with additional health measures and precautions." Level 2 would involve mask usage if the province's chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, thought it was necessary, according to the release. Level 3 would see a reduction in "school capacity." Level 4 would involve "transitioning to mandatory remote learning." The province also announced that, as of Tuesday, daycares can take in up to 25 children, up from a previously limit of 15.
    Saskatchewan: Phase 4 of reopening plan
    The Saskatchewan government announced the easing up some of the COVID-19 precautions Tuesday, such as allowing the return of door-to-door canvassing and sales, as well as 24-hour gyms and yard or garage sales. Salespeople or others going door-to-door are asked to maintain adequate physical distance, practise regular hand-washing and not share pencils or other supplies. For yard and garage sales, the government guidelines recommend getting adequate physical distancing, keeping group size limitations in order and holding single household sales rather than group sales. The current limit on groups of people in Saskatchewan is 30, with adequate physical distance up to 150 people, or less in some areas. As of Tuesday, there reduced the distancing requirements for several activities:
    • Drive-in theatres: distance between vehicles reduced to two metres, down from five metres.
    • Retail guidelines, libraries and places of worship: the length of time that returned or donated items must be held has been reduced to 24 hours, down from 72 hours.
    • Fitness facilities: 24-hour access to fitness facilities is permitted, but the gym should ensure registration of guests to facilitate contact tracing, if required.
    • Campgrounds: laundry facilities are now able to open following under guidelines for safe operation.
    Saskatchewan: Libraries, museums, galleries, movie theatres, live theatres can reopen on Monday
    Libraries, museums, galleries, movie theatres and live theatres in Saskatchewan will be able to reopen next Monday under the second part of Phase 4 of the province's reopening plan. Movie theatres and live theatres will be allowed a maximum of 30 per cent of normal capacity, up to a maximum of 150 people, per room, as long as physical distancing can be maintained, the province's guidelines say. The reopening of other activities such as indoor pools, indoor rinks, indoor sports and activities, casinos and bingo halls will be announced in the next two weeks, according to a Tuesday news release. The province said as of June 26, parks and campgrounds will be able to open to 100 per cent capacity for overnight stays and limited-term campsites. Washroom and shower facilities can be accessed, but increased cleaning and disinfection must take place. If physical distancing can be maintained, sports games and other activities can now begin. The province said for sports that can't maintain physical distancing, such as full-contact sports, mini-leagues should be formed to allow teams to safely return to playing games, while helping mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19. Restaurant staff and workers at fitness facilities and personal care services that cannot maintain two metres of distance must wear a non-medical mask. Locker rooms, shower facilities and change rooms are now permitted to open in places like gyms and fitness facilities, beaches, campgrounds, golf courses and facilities where outdoor sports and activities are played. Change rooms in clothing and retail stores can now move to 100 per cent occupancy.
    Saskatchewan: Timing of Phase 4 for reopening
    Saskatchewan will soon see its parks, outdoor pools and sports fields become increasingly busy as Phase 4 of the province's reopening plan is set to start Monday. Many of the services opening on Monday will be encouraging people — especially children — to get outside in a more organized fashion, and experts say it's a logical time for these types of activities to start.
    Saskatchewan: Government forecasts record-high $2.4B deficit
    The Saskatchewan government is forecasting a record-high $2.4 billion deficit — what Finance Minister Donna Harpauer is calling a "pandemic deficit" — for 2020-21. Adjusted for inflation, the forecast is in line with the late 1980s deficits of the Saskatchewan Progressive Conservative government. A more recent comparison is 2016-17, when the province posted a $1.2 billion deficit. The province released its full budget Monday afternoon, nearly three full months after it was originally expected. On March 18, Harpauer announced the government's spending plan but held off on revenue projections because of the March oil price collapse and the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, the province projected $14.15 billion in expenses, with an additional $1.3 billion in expenses from across other government entities, for a total of $15.5 billion. Non-renewable resource revenue is forecasted to drop by 43 per cent or $753 million, to the lowest point in two decades. Revenue is projected to be $13.6 billion, down 8.3 per cent from last year. Expenses are projected to be $16.1 billion, up 7.2 per cent from last year's budget.
    Commercial Rent – Banning of Evictions in BC, AB, QC, SK and ON
    The governments in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Alberta banned commercial evictions in light of increasing reports of tenants being evicted.
    Saskatchewan to open bars, restaurants in Phase 3 reopening, set for June 8.
    Saskatchewan's bars, restaurants and many other businesses will be allowed to reopen June 8 when Phase 3 of the government's reopening plan starts. However, eateries and licensed establishments will have to operate at 50 per cent capacity to comply with physical distancing rules in the COVID-19 era. In addition to restaurants, gyms and fitness facilities will also be able to open for business. Childcare facilities and places of worship will also be allowed to open their doors. The additional list of personal service businesses that will be allowed to open include: • Estheticians. • Tattoo artists. • Make-up applicators. • Electrologists. • Manicurists. • Pedicurists. • Sun tanning parlours. The amount of people allowed to gather will also be increased as part of Phase 3. Indoor gatherings of up to 15 will be permitted, along with outdoor gatherings of up to 30. Phase 2 of the reopen plan began Tuesday, allowing many retail stores to reopen.
    Emergency Support Program For Saskatchewan Small Businesses Extended
    On Friday, the Government of Saskatchewan announced the Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment (SSBEP) program will be extended to the month of May for businesses that are required to remain closed or substantially curtail operations after May 19, 2020. Businesses will not need to reapply to the program. Businesses that qualify for the program will automatically receive a second payment after May 19. Launched on April 13, 2020, the SSBEP program is a $50 million program providing financial support to small and medium businesses that have had to temporarily close or substantially curtail their operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible applicants receive a payment of 15 per cent of their sales revenue from April 2019 or February 2020, up to $5,000, to help businesses with expenses including fixed costs such as rent. To date, the SSBEP has processed more than 4,700 applications and provided more than $15 million in support to Saskatchewan businesses. For more information and the SSBEP application, businesses can visit
    Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec lifting some COVID-19 restrictions
    Ontario took its first steps Monday with the reopening of some businesses, including lawn care and landscaping, garden centres for curbside pickup, automatic and self-serve car washes, auto dealerships by appointment, and many construction projects. Manitobans can now visit everything from hair salons to museums to restaurant patios (with fewer seats than normal) provided everyone is following public health rules. In most of Saskatchewan, non-urgent medical offices are allowed to reopen and rules around some outdoor activities — including fishing and boating — are being loosened. But one owner of a physiotherapy clinic told CBC Saskatchewan she's got mixed emotions about opening up. Newfoundland and Labrador plans to move to alert Level 4 on May 11, meaning a relaxation of some public health measures to allow more social and business activities. The province followed New Brunswick's lead and allowed families to come together in "bubbles" made up of two households . Alberta took its first strides toward the large-scale resumption of public life under COVID-19 this weekend as provincial parks and golf courses opened under the government's phased economic relaunch. Alberta began to ease some public health restrictions on Friday, with provincial parks and boat launches reopening with limited services. Alberta has three stage plan starting May 14 called Opening Soon: Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy .
    Saskatchewan Plan for reopening released
    The Saskatchewan government is to outline a plan Thursday for how some businesses and services could be allowed to resume next month if the number of cases there stays low. The plan introduces five phases to methodically, gradually and cautiously re-open businesses and services beginning May 4, 2020.
    • Phase One – Beginning May 4, 2020 – Re-opening of medical services restricted under the current public health order, and the resumption of low-risk outdoor recreational activities, including fishing and boat launches, golf courses and a fixed date for parks and campgrounds. The size restrictions of public and private gatherings will remain at a maximum of 10 people.
    • Phase Two – May 19, 2020 – Re-opening of retail businesses and select personal services that were previously not deemed allowable. The size restrictions of public and private gatherings will remain at a maximum of 10 people.
    • Phase Three – Date To Be Determined – Re-opening of remaining personal services, along with the re-opening of restaurant-type facilities, gyms and fitness facilities, licensed establishments and childcare facilities. Capacity limits will remain in some facilities, such as limits to 50 per cent of regular capacity for restaurants and licensed establishments. Other than in allowable businesses, the size of public and private gatherings will increase to a maximum of 15 people.
    • Phase Four – Date To Be Determined – Re-opening of indoor and outdoor recreation and entertainment facilities. All businesses and customers will be expected to maintain physical distancing practices, guidelines and recommendations. Other than in allowable businesses, the size of public and private gatherings will increase to a maximum of 30 people.
    • Phase Five – Date To Be Determined – The fifth phase will be implemented following an evaluation of transmission patterns of COVID-19 and the preceding four phases, and will include the consideration of lifting long-term restrictions.
    Saskatchewan releases Preliminary Revenue Impacts of Covid-19
    Saskatchewan Premier Moe and Minister of Finance Donna Harpauer held a news conference to announce three scenarios of projected revenue impacts related to the economic impact of COVID-19. The potential revenue decline in 2020-21 ranges from $1.3 billion to $3.3 billion, depending on the duration of pandemic-related economic restrictions. The potential revenue declines are based on three economic scenarios. Each scenario includes assumptions on a number of economic factors, including the duration of current economic restrictions, how soon resource prices may recover and anticipated consumer behaviour once restrictions are lifted. Real GDP scenarios for 2020 are all negative and range from a decline of 4.1 per cent under the most optimistic scenario to a decline of 14.9 per cent in the most pessimistic scenario. At this time, the Government is managing spending within the amounts allocated in the budget estimates released on March 18, 2020. Saskatchewan was on track for a surplus in 2019-20 and 2020-21 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and oil price collapse. Saskatchewan has maintained the second highest credit rating in the country, continues to have among the lowest net-debts as a percentage of GDP and continues to maintain a solid cash position.
    Saskatchewan – Schools not likely to reopen soon
    Saskatchewan's Premier Scott Moe said today that it isn't likely schools in that province will reopen this academic year.
    Saskatchewan announces $50 million Emergency Support Program for Small Businesses
    On April 9, Premier Scott Moe announced that small businesses will receive additional provincial support through the new Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment (SSBEP). The $50 million program will provide financial support to small and medium-sized businesses that have had to temporarily close or significantly curtail operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The SSBEP provides a one-time grant for small and medium-sized enterprises directly affected by government public health orders related to COVID-19. Grants will be paid based on 15 per cent of a business’ monthly sales revenue, to a maximum of $5,000. To give maximum flexibility to businesses, the grant is not dedicated to specific cost pressures. Through the consultation process, many businesses made it clear they are facing acute cash flow pressures in the immediate term due to fixed overhead costs, such as rent and lease payments. The SSBEP will help businesses address these immediate pressures. To be eligible for the SSBEP, a business must:
    • have been fully operational on February 29, 2020;
    • have ceased or curtailed operations as a result of the COVID-19 public health order;
    • have less than 500 employees; and
    • commit to reopen business operations following the cancellation of the COVID-19 public health order. The Government of Saskatchewan will be requesting that the federal government exempt the SSBEP from business income for tax purposes. The SSBEP supplements previously announced supports for businesses, including waiving penalties and interest charges for three months for late PST returns, zero-interest bill deferral for up to six months for all Crown utilities, and waiving Workers Compensation Board premium penalties until June 30, 2020. For more information on the supports Saskatchewan is providing click here
      AB, SK, NL and QC release provincial COVID-19 modeling
      Saskatchewan released its modelling on April 8, which shows the provincial government is planning for 3,000 to 8,300 deaths and approximately 20 to 200 daily intensive care admissions from COVID-19 at its peak. The data does not say when that peak is expected nor when distancing measures might be eased. Newfoundland and Labrador outlined its projections on April 8. Their prediction focused on intensive care capacity instead of expected deaths. They expect to exceed its 57 intensive-care capacity by the end of June if the spread of the virus continues its current rate of growth. The first assumes current restrictions remain in place and projects 32 per cent of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians infected over a two-year period. Under that scenario, the peak of the virus would occur in early November, and the province would have enough hospital beds and ventilators to weather the pandemic. The second model projects a scenario in which current restrictions are eased and assumes 52 per cent of people in the province infected over the same two-year period. In that scenario, the peak comes sooner — mid-September — and overwhelms hospital beds, intensive-care units and ventilators. Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenney outlined what he described as a "probable" scenario for Alberta on Tuesday that suggested the province won't see a peak in the virus until mid-May. That model suggested Alberta could see as many as 800,000 COVID-19 cases by the end of the summer with death figures ranging from 400 to 3,100. Another more "elevated" scenario pointed toward the possibility of both higher case numbers and between 500 and 6,600 deaths. On Tuesday, Quebec’s model predicts at least 1,200 COVID-19 deaths by the end of April, and if preventative measures aren’t continued, the death toll could be as high as 9,000. Public health officials noted that the current thinking is that the number of deaths will be closer to the lower estimate. Prime Minister Trudeau said Wednesday that people would learn more about a national model in the coming days, but did not provide a specific date. The prime minister said it's not yet clear exactly when Canada will reach a peak but said that strict adherence to critical public health measures — including physical distancing and staying home as much as possible — will help reduce the impact of the outbreak. It’s important to note that the federal modeling requires data from provincial health authorities. Some provinces have better data than others which hinders the development of a national level forecast.
      B.C. and Saskatchewan extend States of Emergency to mid April
      Saskatchewan announced it is extending its state of emergency for another two weeks to April 15. B.C.'s provincial state of emergency has been extended until April 14
      Saskatchewan is expanding the list of businesses that need to close during the COVID-19 outbreak
      Saskatchewan is lowering the number of people permitted at a public gathering to 10, down from 25. Read more about what's happening in Saskatchewan, including a plan in Regina to get bagged lunches to kids who are not in class.
    LAST UPDATED: May 21, 2020

    Yukon COVID-19 Update

    Yukon extends business relief program for 2 more months
    The Yukon government is extending a relief program aimed at keeping local businesses afloat through the COVID-19 pandemic. The Yukon Business Relief Program was announced last month and was set to expire on Friday. Economic Development Minister Ranj Pillai announced on Tuesday that it's been extended for another two months — to July 23. The program is aimed at businesses that have seen a reduction in revenue of at least 30 per cent due to lost business during the pandemic. Businesses can apply for up to $30,000 per month, to cover fixed costs including rent, water, sewer, electricity, internet, or insurance.
    Yukon gov't offers $10M in relief money to businesses hurt by pandemic
    The Yukon government says it's looking to keep local businesses afloat through the COVID-19 pandemic, with a new relief program worth up to $10 million. Businesses can apply for up to $30K per month for two months to cover fixed business costs including rent, water, sewer, electricity, internet, or insurance. It's aimed at businesses that have seen a reduction in revenue of at least 30 per cent due to lost business during the pandemic. The grant is available to cover a two-month period from March 23 — when the territorial government ordered many businesses to close — to May 22. The Yukon government expects there could be up to 4,000 applications under the program.

    CFA knock-out Logo

    Canadian Franchise Association (CFA)
    116-5399 Eglinton Ave W
    Toronto, Ontario
    M9C 5K6

    T: 416-695-2896
    F: 416-695-1950
    H: Weekdays, 9am-5pm