March 31 - Stimulus Announcement Updates
Many stimulus announcements were made late last week, and details have started to be released yesterday and today. We have done our best to filter the information and present it to you here. Immediate updates from the Alberta Government and the Canadian Government will be share on our social media channels (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @GPRChamber).

The most recent support has been to avoid layoffs for businesses. At this time, no information has been provided on temporary changes to severance packages if layoffs surpass the temporary definition of 60 days. The Chamber advises businesses to speak to their lawyers or seek information from the Alberta Government's website. Information on temporary layoffs can be found here: https://www.alberta.ca/temporary-layoffs.aspx

Rent relief is a provincial issue, not federal, however the federal government is urging businesses to use the wage subsidies announced to cover labour costs freeing up cash to pay rent, and if needed use the $40,000 access to credit they have extended. It was announced this morning that $10,000 of the extended credit is non-repayable, however we have not found information to back this claim up on the Government of Canada's website.

Below is point form information about the recent subsidy packages announced. The Chamber urges members to click on the hyperlinks for further information, which is provided by the appropriate government (federal, provincial or municipal).

For people who have lost their job permanently or temporarily due to COVID-19 (sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures)

  • Employees who have been laid off due to COVID-19 work shortages are eligible to get $500 per week
  • Maximum is $2,000 per month, up to 4 months
  • Must be out of work, with no income for 14 consecutive days
  • The employee has to have made $5,000 in wages with the company/association prior to being laid off
  • The need to have a required medical note has been waived
  • Available starting April 6


The Work-Sharing program is offered to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers.

  • In place until March 14, 2021
  • 76 weeks maximum
  • Businesses can apply now
  • Removed mandatory cooling off period
  • Have to been in business for a minimum of 1 year, not 2 under the original guidelines.

75% wage subsidy
Details of this subsidy are sparse, as government officials are still creating the details of this program. More details will be shared in the coming days on the Federal Government's website. The Chamber will share that information with our members once we have it. The main information gathered from our network is:

  • Businesses who have seen a 30% drop in revenue due to COVID-19 are eligible (size of business does not matter, only that revenues have fallen 30%)
  • The Federal Government will cover up to 75% of employee salaries on the first $58,700 of each employee, which is equal to $847 per week
  • The threshold is $58,700 because that is the pensionable income amount.
  • Retroactive to March 15, up to 3 months
  • Businesses can receive this benefit whether you are open or not.
  • Assessed afterwards, so big problems if you lie, be honest now.

BDC and EDC are working with private sector lenders to coordinate on credit solutions for individual businesses, including in sectors such as oil and gas, air transportation, exportation and tourism.

This program includes:
  • Canada Emergency Business Account
  • The new Canada Emergency Business Account will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced.
  • To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019
  • Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
  • EDC is working with financial institutions to issue new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs.
  • Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
  • BDC is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements.
  • Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts of up to $6.25 million through the program.

These programs will roll out in the three weeks after March 27, and interested businesses should work with their current financial institutions.

Hotels and other lodging providers can delay paying the tourism levy until Aug. 31 for amounts that become due to government on or after March 27, 2020.

Corporate Provincial Income Tax
The collection of corporate income tax balances and instalment payments is deferred until Aug. 31. This gives Alberta businesses access to about $1.5 billion in funds to help them cope with the COVID-19 crisis.
What are the Municipalities doing to ensure resiliency of our businesses community as we face challenges posed by COVID-19?
Parkland County
On March 31, 2020 Parkland County Council voted to defer the property tax penalty deadline to August 31, 2020 and allow for a 90 day deferral on all municipal utility bills.

Municipal utility bills including water, wastewater, and/or curbside waste pickup (in Entwistle) can be deferred without penalty for up to 90 days through to June.

City of Spruce Grove
In recognition of the significant impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on the economy, Spruce Grove City Council will be providing our community with options that will give some short-term financial relief to those who need it, including the deferral of utility and tax payments.

  • Residents will be able to defer utility payments for 90 days without penalty starting April 1.
  • Additionally, taxpayers who find themselves financially impacted by COVID-19 will be able to apply to have residential and non-residential tax payments deferred until Sept. 30.

Effective Thursday, April 2, the City of Spruce Grove will temporarily suspend  Spruce Grove Transit’s  commuter connector shuttle service (Route 566 and Route 567).


Town of Stony Plain
Stony Plain Town Council will forego late fees on utilities for individuals unable to pay their utilities for the next 90 days

Village of Wabamun
The Village office is closed, however utility payments can still be made using a number of options:
  • Personal cheque using the drop box located outside at the Village Office
  • E-transfer to admin@wabamun.ca
  • With a credit card over the phone or by using the drop box located outside at the Village Office
  • Bill payments may also still be paid at the Servus Credit Union
Receipts will be sent by mail or via email if an email address is provided.

2020 Stony Plain Construction Coupon Book
The Coupon Campaign is coming back again for the 2020 construction season to help support downtown businesses. We're kicking things off early this year, and putting out the call for submissions starting... now! If you would like to have your business included in the coupon book, please submit the following by email to downtownredevelopment@stonyplain.com :

  • Business Name,
  • Business Address,
  • Business Phone Number,
  • Copy of your logo (.eps or high quality .png),
  • Details for you deal, including any exclusions.

The Coupon Campaign is expected to run from June 1, 2020 to October 31, 2020, with coupon books being distributed throughout May.

The deadline for submission is  April 3, 2020  . We will be placing a single order this year, so please take the time if you would like to be included.
#DoingMyPartGPR
With the support of Parkland County, City of Spruce Grove, Town of Stony Plain, and Village of Wabamun, the Greater Parkland Regional Chamber of Commerce has launched a shop local social media contest called #DoingMyPartGPR
During this time of social distancing let’s remember our local businesses economy - snap a pic and win one of two $1,000 prizes to spend at local businesses! The Greater Parkland Regional Chamber of Commerce (GPRC) is rolling out a #DoingMyPartGPR Contest through social media. Local businesses, run by our friends and neighbours, are open and need our help too. Local businesses are the first to step up and support our communities, our local sports and our local events. So, let’s all get out there and shop local because if we all support our friends and neighbours – together, we’ll come through these uncertain times and be stronger because of it!
If you are working from the comfort of your home, or still out and about, here’s how to enter: from March 23, 2020 to April 30, 2020 we want you to post how you are supporting local business with an Instagram or Facebook post using #DoingMyPartGPR and tagging the Greater Parkland Regional Chamber (@GPRChamber). 
  • For those who are not up for going out in public, this could be a picture of the food or items you had delivered or the item you purchased locally online, via phone, or taken up the offer for doorstep delivery. 
  • For those times when you have to venture out to pick up your items, take a pic of your click and collect haul, curbside pick up (that many of our local shops are offering), or drive-thru purchase.
Businesses can print off the below page to include with deliveries, or post to drive-thru windows if they like. We designed it as a simple 8.5" x 11" page so that printing was simple
Essential vs Non-Essential
Many businesses think they have to close because they are non-essential.

This is a misunderstanding as the announcement on Friday, March 27 was only about non-essential retail.

Retail businesses
Albertans are prohibited from attending all non-essential retail businesses, including:
  • gift, hobby, antique and specialty stores
  • non-essential health and beauty care providers
  • clothing stores that sell mens’, ladies’ and children’s wear as well as unisex, lingerie and maternity wear, shoes, bridal wear, jewellery and accessories
  • retail stores that sell, luggage, art and framing supplies, computers and gaming equipment, toys, photos, music, books, and sporting goods
These businesses may choose to offer online shopping and curb-side pick-up.

Exempt retail businesses
Retailers that can remain operational with appropriate public health measures in place are identified on the essential workplaces list as “retailers.”

Upcoming FREE Webinars
Economic Developers Alberta COVID-19 Webinar Series
EDA has created a series of FREE virtual seminars designed to connect us with community leaders from Alberta, across Canada and around the world. These weekly webinars will not only provide information to help mitigate the economic impacts of this pandemic disaster; they'll also give participants some relief from the social isolation this pandemic is causing. 
Each webinar is held on Wednesday from 12:00 - 1:00 pm.  Click here for more info and to register
New Dates for the Expo!
The Chamber has worked with our vendors to secure a new date for the Tri-Expo & MARKETPLACE for 2020. The Expo will take place October 2 - 4 at the TransAlta Tri Leisure Centre in Spruce Grove. Current exhibitors have already received a phone call from Julie about their booth, and an email if she was unable to reach a person. We will release information about our remaining booths for sale in the coming days. You will be able to find that information on our website soon!

Membership Survey
If you haven't already, you can still fill out our survey! The Chamber wants to know what we can do for our members at this time. To best serve you, we have created a  short survey so that we can better understand the impacts COVID-19 are having on Greater Parkland Regional businesses. Please take five minutes and fill out this survey.
Resources shared by our Members!
We would like to thank our member, Tober Hembling & Associates LLP,for providing the below document regarding the key points announced by the government up to March 18, 2020. This may be useful to individuals and small businesses in the area.
Member, McLennan Ross LLP have created a designated page on their website to monitor new developments to keep clients up to date. Click the button below to check it out.
Edmonton Global is the economic development organization for the Edmonton Metropolitan Region in Alberta. Edmonton Global maintains a COVID-19 Business Resources page containing updated information for the Edmonton metro region’s business community.
Neighbourhood Connect - Neighbours helping Neighbours
Recognizing that neighbours are our most powerful resource, Stony Plain Family and Community Support
Services (FCSS) is launching a Neighbourhood Connect project to support, inspire and further connect
neighbours and neighbourhoods.

Residents interested in volunteering during this time of crisis are being encouraged to register as
Neighbourhood Connectors and help us ensure that their neighbours and neighbourhoods are connected and
supported. The method of connecting will require innovation as all residents must use physical distancing
protocol.

Click to read more
New Resources Added
Guidance for non-health care workplaces
WCB: COVID-19 worker fact sheet
WCB: COVID-19 employer fact sheet
Help Prevent the Spread Posters
Existing Resources
Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Online Screening
Alberta Government - COVID-19 Info for Albertans
Canadian Chamber - Pandemic Preparedness for Businesses
Alberta Government - Cancelling Large Events
CDC - Keeping the Workplace Safe
Alberta Health Services - Latest Updates
Alberta Government - Self Isolation Information Sheet
This e-Blast is from: Greater Parkland Regional Chamber of Commerce

Name: Kendra Wambold
Title: Communications & Media Specialist
Company: GPRC
Contact: kwambold@gprchamber.ca