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2020-04-14 - COVID-19 Update

Good afternoon, 

Welcome back after a most unusual holiday weekend.  We expect our next update to be released on Thursday unless critically important information is provided to us that needs to be shared more quickly. 

The chambers of commerce in Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton sent a joint letter advocating for a  commercial rent subsidy program where tenants and landlords would receive a combination of a grant, a percentage of their rent up to a monthly maximum and a reduction in commercial property tax for 2020 of 25%. The letter can be found on our website here

This week we are seeking clarity and direction for the support programs that have been announced so far by the federal government. To this end, we are hosting federal Minister of Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA, Mélanie Joly tomorrow morning at 10:30. To register, click here. Due to the nature of a large Zoom meeting, we are taking questions in advance to pose to the minister. Please send your questions to Morgan Peters at  

Last week, my latest commentary was published in the Daily Gleaner and Telegraph Journal. This piece was my attempt to take a breath, reflect on the past month and contemplate our future path to recovery. 

If you haven’t yet checked out the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce’s Open, Operational and/or Offering help business directory, now would be a great time to do so. We have made it more user friendly and continue to ask all local businesses that are open, operational and/or offering help to fill out this brief form to help us populate the page.  And please continue to share, share, share so our community knows the services that are available!  More than 250 businesses and organizations have listed their services, products and how you can access them including nearly 20 offering free services to assist you during this time!!  


Today at his daily press briefing, Prime Minister Trudeau stated that the federal government will ‘soon’ announce enhancements to the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) as well as new supports regarding commercial rent for ‘businesses that are the hardest hit’. He also similarly stated that they would be announcing support for students, essential workers and some sector-specific support. His news conference can be viewed here

Late last week, Parliament passed the legislation needed to give the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy force of law, including the recently announced changes. More information can be found here

Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin is hosting a virtual town hall on Wednesday 15 April 2020 at 6:30pm. She will give a brief update on her work as MP over these past weeks, and then open the call up for questions from participants. For more information or to register, click here


Opportunities New Brunswick’s Business Navigators continues to be the primary point of contact for provincially-focused information such as if your business is allowed to remain open during the state of emergency (and if so, to what extent) as well as information on how to apply for provincial government support for business.  

For larger businesses, ONB is providing working capital loans to assist employers in responding to the challenges associated with COVID-19. Working capital in excess of $100,000, up to a maximum of $1 million is available. 

Companies considering a request should first (1) speak to their Financial Institution regarding options, (2) look for federal programs (3) and put cash flow projections together for 6 months to assess Working Capital needs. 

Examples of sectors that would benefit from this support are manufacturing and processing industries, information technology and related sectors, business-to-business service sectors engaged in export, or import replacement activities, and cultural enterprises. 

Government of New Brunswick Small Business Emergency Working Capital Program will be administered by the province’s CBDC network. The general details provided include: 

  • For small businesses engaged in commercial enterprises employing 1 to 49 employees, with sales for the most recent fiscal year of less than $10 million.  
  • For businesses which have experienced adverse effects on or after March 15, 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and have a reasonable plan or prospect to remain viable after the pandemic.  
  • Available to a corporation, proprietorship, partnership or joint venture or First Nation enterprise.  
  • The small business must be registered with Service NB and have its primary place of operations in New Brunswick.  
  • If the business is a corporation, the corporation must be in good standing as of January 1, 2020.  
  • Applicant must have been in good standing and current with their financial institutions, and government remittances prior to the COVID-19 crisis, and have no prior history of bankruptcy or default.  
  • Applicant must have explored options with their financial institution and federal support programs. 
  • Been viable and not experiencing liquidity or other financial difficulties as of March 15, 2020. 
  • Is not engaged in a business that is substantially funded directly or indirectly from public sources.  
  • The business must have been current as of March 1, 2020, to entities that extended financing to the small business and under any lease of premises or asset. 

To get more information or to start the application process, click here

Working NB has published comparative labour force statistics for March 2020, which reflect the current impact of the COVID-19 economic crisis across the country.  

Provincial Government News Releases since our previous update: 


Thank you to Fredericton Mayor Mike O’Brien for providing this message to the Fredericton business community and for your ongoing support of our local businesses and not-for-profit organizations! 


Career Development and Employment Centre (CDEC) on the UNB Fredericton campus is attempting to find summer placement for their post-secondary students. Retaining more post-secondary students and connecting them with our community will continue to be a high priority once the current crisis passes, so if you are able to offer summer work experience, I would encourage you to do so. The CDEC survey can be found here


  • BDC has produced a summarized list of the provincial and federal financial assistance programs that have launched to assist businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. 
  • Export Development Canada is hosting a webinar on 16 April 2020 at 2:00 pm ADT to provide information regarding the assistance programs and resources available to your company through your financial institution, the federal government, and EDC. They will discuss how to determine what assistance you qualify for, how to apply, and the timing you can expect. For more information or to register, click here
  • Could e-commerce be an option to get your business through the COVID-19 crisis? Join the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Shopify on 15 April 2020 at 3:00 pm ADT, to discuss options for navigating your business through this new environment. They will explore the use of resources and e-commerce tools that you can access through Shopify, as well as answer your questions about their platform and transitioning your business to online operations. Register here
  • The Insurance Bureau of Canada is advising that your business insurance policy may have coverage limitations if your business premises are vacant or unoccupied for 30 days or more. You should have someone visit the insured premises regularly to verify they are secure and check for any undetected damage. If you are unable to have someone visit your business premises, contact your insurance representative to determine what solutions are available. For more information, visit their website here. The Insurance Business Canada online magazine has published this article with advice on how to protect your property in these circumstances. For the best determination of what your policy requires, you should contact your service provider directly. 
  • In response to COVID-19, The International Chamber Of Commerce (ICC) and World Health Organization (WHO) launched a survey for the private sector that is intended to gather more information about global business responses and develop solutions that will address the spread of the pandemic.   
    The ICC-WHO survey will improve information flows between different sectors of the global economy and will help develop a framework for managing the economic and human consequences related to the pandemic’s spread.   


You are receiving this message because you are on our email list. If you know other individuals or organizations that could benefit from our information, ask them to join our mailing list here. Of course, all daily emails are also available on our website by clicking here we are continuing to share them on our social media vehicles (FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram). 

We also still want to hear how the COVID-19 Crisis is affecting your business and any specific ways that the government can support you at this time.  Contact either myself or our Policy & Research Manager, Morgan Peters to share information or ask questions. / (506) 461-5165 / (506) 470-5593 


Krista Ross, CEO, Fredericton Chamber of Commerce 


Chamber Blog

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