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2020-05-19 COVID-19 Update

Good afternoon,  

I hope everyone had a nice May long weekend – it was nice to get out of the house and enjoy some of our beautiful spring weather.  

With New Brunswick now well into our recovery process, my commentary piece this month focused on some of the broad lessons we have learned so far during the COVID-19 crisis and looks forward to getting our economy increasingly back online in a safe manner. 


Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) 

Today Prime Minister Trudeau, announced an expansion to the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to include many owner-operated small businesses. 

The program will now be available to a greater number of businesses that are sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll. 

To qualify under the expanded eligibility criteria, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 would need: 

  • a business operating account at a participating financial institution 
  • a Canada Revenue Agency business number, and to have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return. 
  • eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance. 

Expenses will be subject to verification and audit by the Government of Canada. Funding will be delivered in partnership with financial institutions. More details, including the launch date for applications under the new criteria, are forthcoming.  

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) 

The federal government announced more details of the CEWS extension on Friday. The wage subsidy will be extended to August 29, 2020 and additional types of organizations are now eligible to apply. More information can be found here

  • The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will host an interactive Q & A session for SMEs on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) on Wednesday, May 20 from 4:30 to 5:30. The session will respond to general questions about the CEWS and will provide resources needed to apply. 
    Register here

Changes were made to the rules around partnerships, business mergers/amalgamations, tax-exempt trusts, and seasonal employees. Neither the 30% drop in revenue requirement nor the allowed types of payroll used in calculations have changed. The Chamber network is advocating for expanded eligibility criteria to ensure more businesses can qualify.  

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) 

KPMG is advising that employers that set up a registered Supplementary Unemployment Benefit (SUB) plan with Service Canada to provide additional amounts to employees temporarily laid-off due to COVID-19 should ensure these employees are aware they will likely need to repay any amounts received under the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Service Canada has now clarified that SUB plan payments of more than $1,000 in a benefit period will disqualify an employee from collecting the CERB. These payments would have been allowed under the Employment Insurance (EI) rules to top up employees’ EI benefits. As a result, employers who have already made payments of more than $1,000 should advise employees that they must repay CERB amounts they may have received for the same benefit period. To read more click here


Government of New Brunswick COVID-19 news releases since our last update: 


If you are seeking guidance creating or refining your Operational Plan, WorkSafeNB’s reopening guide includes a template. For specific questions regarding opening requirements or procedures, we encourage you to contact WorkSafeNB (contact info contained in the document). 

I would also recommend registering for an upcoming two-part webinar series we are hosting on Wednesday, May 20 and Friday, May 22. Topics covered in this session will include: 

  • Understanding Pandemics  
  • Managing Risk: COVID-19 Symptoms/Transmission 
  • Screening for COVID-19 in the Workplace 
  • Managing Potential COVID-19 Incidents in the Workplace 
  • Workplace COVID-19 Management Plan Cornerstones 
  • Right to Refuse Under Occupational Health & Safety Act  
  • COVID-19 Workplace Audits 

Dr. Matthew Burnstein, Occupational Physician 
Glen O’Neill, Occupational Health and Safety Advisor 
David Clark, Labour and Employment Lawyer 
Brad Proctor, Occupational Health and Safety Lawyer 

The session on Friday is focused primarily on operational plans. Register here

Join the Canadian Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, May 20 at 3:00 p.m. for a discussion regarding the issues facing the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. This will be an opportunity to share feedback and concerns on policy developments in this sector. To register, email  

The Office of Small and Medium Enterprises (OSME) is hosting a series of free webinars to help businesses find federal bid opportunities and related procurement information in the current context of COVID-19. The first seminars are scheduled for May 20 (in French) and May 21 (in English). For more information or to register, click here

Many businesses are now open or will be planning to re-open soon. If you have posted information on our “Who’s Open” directory and would like to make changes, please send your edits to To view your current listing, visit our directory here

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 with the addition of our Personal Protective Equipment and Business Protective Products sections. And please continue to share, share, share so our community knows the services that are available!  Nearly 500 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!! 


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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