2020-04-09 - COVID-19 Update
Best wishes to those celebrating Easter this weekend. We will all be doing things differently this year – and our family gatherings will be virtual rather than in person. We encourage our members to continue to follow social distancing and other public health recommendations in an effort to flatten the COVID-19 curve as quickly as possible. Well done to all the businesses complying with the province’s state of emergency declaration – I know it has been a challenge unlike anything we’ve experienced before, and I commend you for it.
I also want to thank our community for doing their part to support our local businesses through the pandemic and following recommendations in order to keep employees and other customers safe. Whatever we can all do to help keep their lights on while their doors are locked is greatly appreciated – we all want to see our favourite businesses still operating on the other side of this crisis.
You can expect our next updates on Tuesday and Thursday, unless there is important time-sensitive information to share outside of that schedule. As always, be sure to follow our social media channels for the latest.
Thank you to the Honourable Mary Wilson, Minister of Economic Development and Small Business Minister responsible for Opportunities NB for providing this message to the local business community. We appreciate your words of support!
- Ignite Fredericton is conducting a survey to gather information about the local economic impact of COVID-19. I encourage all businesses to participate as the data obtained will help inform the development of responsive and effective economic support programs. The survey should take 5 minutes or less to complete.
- Please take the time to respond to the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC) – this is a partnership between the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Statistics Canada to gain a better understanding of current local conditions. The survey closes 10 April 2020.
- The Canadian chamber is also adding new resources and information to the Canadian Business Resilience Network (CBRN). As information, programs and support evolve, this site will be an important resource for businesses.
- Join us on Wednesday, 15 April 2020 for a virtual conversation with the Hon. Mélanie Joly, federal Minister of Economic Development, Official Languages and responsible for ACOA. Minister Joly will be speaking and answering questions about federal government programs and assistance that have been announced so far. Our meeting capacity will be limited to 100 participants via Zoom. To best facilitate this type of forum, we are asking you to submit questions in advance to Morgan Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org – we will also take questions from the meeting ‘chat’ if time allows. Register here. The zoom conversation will be recorded and posted for those not able to be accommodated by our 100-participant limit.
- Earlier this week, PM Trudeau announced positive changes to the 75% wage subsidy program (Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy – CEWS). Details on the program can be found here. The proposed changes this week include (parliament still has to pass legislation to implement the subsidy):
- employers have the flexibility to compare their revenue of March, April and May 2020 to that of the same month of 2019, or to an average of their revenue earned in January and February 2020.
- for March, reducing the 30-per-cent benchmark to 15 per cent.
- employers be allowed to measure revenues either on the basis of accrual accounting (as they are earned) or cash accounting (as they are received). Special rules would also be provided to address issues for corporate groups, non-arm’s length entities and joint ventures.
- registered charities and non-profit organizations would also be able to benefit from the additional flexibilities being provided to employers with respect to the revenue loss calculation and be allowed to choose to include or exclude government funding in their revenues for the purpose of applying the revenue reduction test.
Thank you to Hotspot CEO Phil Curly for providing insight on the issues for growing companies in the original program proposal – we shared these with the federal department of finance – they were appreciative of the feedback.
- The federal government also announced temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program. The changes to the program for this year include:
- an increase to the wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee
- an extension to the end date for employment to February 28, 2021
- allowing employers to adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services
- allowing employers to hire staff on a part-time basis
- The federal government has clarified in this FAQ that dividend-related income can count towards the $5,000 income threshold to qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit as long as the dividends are non-eligible dividends (generally, those paid out of corporate income taxed at the small business rate). On Monday, PM Trudeau also announced that employees can work 10 hours per week or fewer and still receive CERB – note that this announcement has not yet been implemented in the application process.
- 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.
- The deadline for applying to New Brunswick Workers Emergency Income Benefit is tonight (Thursday, 9 April 2020) at 8:00 pm. Online applications are no longer available – apply by telephone, by speaking with a Canadian Red Cross agent at 1-800-863-6582
- Small, medium and large employers in New Brunswick whose businesses have been impacted by COVID-19 can now apply to the provincial government for loans for working capital. Businesses can access more information about the application processes on a dedicated web page which features frequently asked questions and online resources.
- Earlier this week, Premier Higgs provided some details of the province’s working capital loan program for business. Loans of up to $100,000 will be available through the CBDC network while loans of up to $1 million will be available to business through the Opportunities New Brunswick business navigators.
- The Office of the Official Opposition released a letter this week calling on the government to provide more support to small businesses. The Liberal letter referenced the joint letter written by the chambers of commerce in Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John last week. They have also suggested creation of a Small Business Emergency Support Program under which the provincial government guarantees 25 per cent of working capital loans to a maximum provincial commitment of $10,000 per loan. Read the Liberal here.
- Provincial government COVID-19 News Releases since our last update:
RESOURCES AND DATA
- ONB’s NB Business webinar series continued today with a focus on “Pivoting Your Business Towards A New Reality”. Find the episode here.
- A new funding program to address public health challenges created by the pandemic has been announced by the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF) and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation (NBHRF).
The fund will support research efforts between $2,000 and $50,000 to develop, test, and implement new methods of detecting and/or combatting COVID-19; and assessing its effects on people, communities, and the economy. For information on the award administration and eligible expenses, refer to the NBIF Research Award Administration Guidelines which also apply to funding from NBHRF. Applications will close on 20 April April 2020 at 5:00 pm. Notices of decision will be sent by 11 May 2020.
The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce’s Open, Operational and/or Offering help business directory is live. We are asking 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 available! Watch this page over the weekend as we are updating the design to allow for more easy navigating – many thanks to Carter McLaughlin from Vagrant Creative Inc. for his work on our website!!
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 (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram).
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.
email@example.com / (506) 461-5165
firstname.lastname@example.org / (506) 470-5593
Krista Ross, CEO, Fredericton Chamber of Commerce
- April 09, 2020
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