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2020-05-21 - COVID-19 Update

Good afternoon,   

Dr Jennifer Russell – is there anything she can’t do? Public Health leader, amazing jazz singer and yesterday she revealed that she cut her own hair (which looks great) with the assistance of a Youtube video! I won’t be doing that, but helloooooo Yellow Phase and a haircut this coming week! 


Yesterday, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that application documents and updated criteria for Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses are now available, and that the program will be opened for applications beginning on May 25 through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation website – and application documents can be accessed now. 

Earlier this week the federal government announced the closure of the Canada-U.S. border would be extended an additional 30 days to June 21. The conditions of the closure remain unchanged, which bans non-essential travel. 


Community-based organizations can now apply for financial support from the Emergency Community Support Fund, which is meant to support a variety of activities that address a pressing social inclusion or well-being need caused by COVID-19, such as: 

  • increasing volunteer-based home deliveries of groceries and medications 
  • scaling up help lines that provide information and support 
  • helping vulnerable Canadians access government benefits 
  • providing training, supplies, and other required supports to volunteers so they can continue to make their invaluable contributions to the COVID-19 response 
  • replacing in-person, one-on-one contact and social gatherings with virtual contact through phone calls, texts, teleconferences, or the Internet 

Applications for financial support will open May 19, 2020 for qualified recipients (including charities) and non-profits serving vulnerable Canadians amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. To find more details on how to apply please visit: 


Today the Government of New Brunswick provided a fiscal update

  • Projections for the 2020-21 fiscal year now forecast a deficit of $299.2 million compared to the budgeted surplus of $92.4 million. 
  • Revenue is projected to be $291.4 million lower than budgeted because of pandemic-related effects. This is largely due to lower projections for provincial taxes, agency revenues, licences and permits, and interest revenue. 
  • Expenses are projected to be over budget by $100.2 million, of which $39.5 million is offset by federal revenue. This is largely due to increased expenditures in response to the pandemic. 
  • The net debt is projected to reach $14.1 billion, an increase of $266.7 million over the 2019-20 level. 
  • The Department of Finance and Treasury Board estimates that real GDP growth will be -4.3 per cent for 2020. The average real GDP forecast among private sector forecasters is -5.5 per cent. 

Yesterday, Premier Higgs announced that the provincial borders will remain closed under the State of Emergency. The news release can be found here. He also confirmed during the media question portion of the GNB news conference that the province would begin to move into the “yellow” recovery phase on Friday, May 22. He is expected to provide more details at the Friday news conference. Today’s news release is here

The Province has also published a new resource providing information about travelling into or through New Brunswick. Travellers looking for more information can call 1-844-462-8387 on Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. 


In support of local restaurants affected by COVID-19, the City of Fredericton is launching a partnership with Downtown Fredericton and Business Fredericton North called “Fredericton al fresco”. 

The initiative will see almost 60 bistro-style and picnic tables set up in public spaces, on the south side and north side of the city, for use by residents as an extension of available seating at sidewalk cafés and outdoor patios affected by physical distancing. 

More information can be found here. Thanks to the City, BFN and DFI for your creative thinking and quick action to support local business! 


  • If you are still creating your operational plan or want to see if yours has everything you need, I encourage you to register for Part Two of a two-part series we are hosting this week: “COVID-19 Workplace Risks and Management Strategies Workshop”. Part One was excellent – you can watch it here in advance of Part Two – but if you don’t have time, don’t worry – the presenters will begin with a quick recap on Friday. The presentation slides and course workbook can be found on our website
  • For further information, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Canadian Business Resilience Network has prepared a reopening toolkit that is designed to provide key information on government regulations, childcare availability, sourcing PPE, government financial supports and communicating to staff, customers and suppliers. The guide also includes links to a wide range of additional toolkits and resources prepared by members of the CBRN. Key sections of the guide will be regularly updated online to provide the most recent information available. 
  • The Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Western Bank for a webinar on Tuesday, May 26 at 2:00 pm to discuss strategies for how businesses can persevere and recover from COVID-19.  
  • Canadian Western Bank will discuss tips and tricks for how to take care of your employees as well as provide insight into how they are able to offer their support to businesses and clients as they navigate the crisis and beyond. Register here
  • Retail Council of Canada is co-sponsoring the Eightfold Talent Exchange, a talent marketplace built and hosted by The online portal will facilitate companies to identify the talent they have furloughed and then accelerate connections between companies hiring and sharing these open opportunities with available employees to match needs across geographies. 
  • Narrative Research has published survey data from more than 1,000 Canadians about how they feel about communication efforts by businesses and organizations during the COVID-19 crisis. The results may help shape your ongoing communication with customers and the public. 
  • WorkingNB is hosting another Virtual Job Fair on June 2 and 3 between 10am and 2pm. You can register for the free event 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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