COVID-19: Surviving Today & Preparing for Tomorrow
Since our last issue of ACCion News, the world has been turned on its head.
Everyone’s COVID-19 experience is unique. From coping with loss of income to personal isolation to low-income jobs becoming essential to the provision of health services and food security, our perceptions of the value of people and their roles in society will be decidedly altered.
Getting through this together has been adopted as the guiding principle of our response. Never before have we seen governments at all levels as responsive and business interest groups as collaborative . Even in the face of unprecedented challenges, Canadians have rallied to provide support to minimizing infection and protecting the most vulnerable.
Chambers Helping Businesses in Need
In their role of representing business, Chambers of Commerce across the region are striving to help local businesses navigate the numerous, complex, hurriedly developed financial support programs designed to protect businesses and employees from the possibility of permanent closure. With no previous experience to guide us, governments and businesses are doing a commendable job of creating a financial safety net that can get many through the shock of social distancing.
Chambers of Commerce themselves have not been spared from the liquidity crunch imposed by forced business closures. Some have had to cut back on operations and staffing levels temporarily as their membership and event revenues have been drastically reduced. But the Chambers are rising to the challenge with volunteer board members and members at large stepping up to help ensure businesses can get the information they need. Governments at all levels view Chambers as a key resource to provide information and gather feedback from business affected by the COVID-19 shut down.
Whether sufficient or sufficiently quick, we are grateful Canada is in a position to create programs that offer deferrals and financing to avoid foreclosures. And to the extent possible, the Atlantic Chamber’s critical role is to ensure our network of businesses are aware of and can access the critical resources that will allow them to weather the current circumstances and emerge in a position to serve their clients.
To support Chambers of Commerce across the region, the Atlantic Chamber is committed to providing regular updates on federal and provincial program options and the evolving eligibility criteria for accessing the new benefits and financing. Our team is monitoring and reporting on national/provincial initiatives; and our network is sharing these updates with their members to inform their decisions about staff, retention, reduction, deferral of payments and additional financing to make monthly payments.
Preparing for the New Reality

Whether the worst is over or not, we don’t know exactly what the world will look like after. But the Atlantic Chamber is working with its Chambers, talking to business owners and leaders, and evaluating what needs to be done to hit the ground running as quickly as possible. It is clear just from the magnitude of support programs so far, that the country does not have the power or resources to just make all payments go away. So, the earlier we can relax business restrictions, get business back to business, the less economic pain we will have to endure.
We do know that things will be different for a long while after COVID as consumer confidence rebuilds, but most certainly there will be an increased acceptance and use of virtual business models and e-commerce for transactions. What has been imposed on many will now become a new operational reality. Businesses will need to be agile and ready to adapt and invest in new service models.
But we must subdue the virus. We must maintain patience and vigilance. As our economic restart will likely involve an easing of restrictions that require a managed step-by-step approach while ensuring public safety is maintained. From plexiglass shields for cashiers to new hygiene practices for construction and manufacturing, these could become standard business practices as we attempt to operate and rebuild consumer confidence in a post-COVID, pre-vaccine environment.
There is much thinking and planning that needs to be done.
A Voice & Helping Hand for Business in Atlantic Canada
Chambers of commerce have always been a primary resource for business and communities - a voice and a solid support in times of need. We are ready to play a role in rebuilding in the 94 communities we serve as they each find their way back to prosperity.
We continue to solicit business feedback so that we can provide it to all levels of government. Our teams continue to monitor daily updates nationally and from each of the four Atlantic Provinces. Our Chambers are hosting webinars with subject matter experts that are being shared throughout the entire Chamber network. And we are working with our benefit providers to make sure member businesses have access to savings and programs that will ease the burdens on their bottom lines (e.g., health insurance, e-commerce solutions, online courier services, and other insurance needs).
We know livelihoods are at stake and that this has been an economic shock of epic proportions. If you are a business owner and need information or help, please connect with your local community Chamber (by town or chamber name) or refer to our COVID-19 support page on the Atlantic Chamber website that houses support measures information and links, key government contacts, webinars and free training that is available. 
We are a strong network of support and we are here to help you .
Be Heard: Help Shape Feedback Our Government
Elected officials and governments at all levels are approaching the Atlantic Chamber as the voice of business, seeking insight and feedback from our network of businesses.
Leaders rely on us because our network includes 16,000 businesses in 94 local communities throughout Atlantic Canada. Government engagement is at an all-time high and we want to make sure your voice is heard as we try to shape better outcomes for business.
Please participate in our business community insight surveys, Atlantic IMPRESSIONS Atlantique.
We will be conducting occasional surveys to help provide your feedback on programs direct to elected officials and other government bodies.
Enrol here to join our insight community.

 Federal Assistance Programs
Corporate #MemberMoment
I n this issue of ACCion News, the Atlantic Chamber would like to thank all of our Corporate Partners who are making a difference in their respective sectors and fields of expertise. COVID-19 has affected every person and every business in extraordinary and unforeseen ways in just a few short weeks.

We thank you for all that you are doing and for your continued support of the Chamber network and the communities they serve throughout Atlantic Canada. 
Helping the Bottom Line & Getting Online
We know most businesses are facing an economic shock due to the shutdown imposed by COVID-19 and livelihoods are at stake. We also know that other businesses are experiencing an unparalleled upswing in business for the same reason. Respectfully, we want make businesses aware of two programs we have available if you need them.

A Discount Shipping Program with one shipping website with one-stop comparison of Purolator, UPS, FedEx, Canpar and DHL discounted rates – savings up to 70% ! Enrol with your local community Chamber and start saving today.

Let First Data take your business online in a few easy steps
Ecwid is now integrated to both Clover and Bambora and FREE for 90 days . If a business is already using Clover from First Data, they can download Ecwid’s app called “Sell Online” and start selling online immediately. If the merchant isn’t already using Clover and doesn’t have a need for a card present solution, we recommend using Bambora.
As a special promotion, First Data Canada merchants can get the first 3 months of any paid monthly plan of Ecwid for free .

If you are not a First Data client or want more information, please contact Mohamed-Ali Kessentini –
  Forge Ahead Atlantic
Increased productivity through smart technology, automation and digitization will be important now more than ever due to the implications of COVID-19. In turn, the world of work as we know it will change, influencing the type of work available and providing new career options for young people throughout Atlantic Canada.
In as many weeks we have witnessed companies pivot and retool their operations to produce much needed personal protective equipment (PPE) and other products so rapidly it is astonishing. And we anticipate that this will continue—because if there is one thing we know about Atlantic Canadians, it is that we are no stranger to innovative firsts and good ideas.
Has your company done things differently lately, bringing in smart technological solutions to overcome the crisis? If yes, we'd love to hear and share those inspirational stories. If you have an innovation story to tell, please reach out to Valentin Boinitski , project manager for our Forge Ahead initiative .
Procurement Opportunities: Visit ACC’s Atlantic Notice Board
Your source for Government and other agency procurement opportunities, agency information, services, programs and opportunities for businesses in the region. Find your next opportunity, visit the Atlantic Notice Board regularly.
Advertise Your Business or Service: ACC’s MarketPlace
Looking for a way to promote your business throughout Atlantic Canada cost-effectively. Visit The Market Place, our Business-2-Member (B2M) site that provides you with #AllAccess to unique programs and services from companies that can help you do business in the region.

Our goal is to help drive awareness, create a dialogue within communities, and communicate value-added programs and issues to our members in Atlantic Canada. Visit The Market Place to see our promotional pricing and social media packages. 
About ACCion News

ACCion News is the policy and membership newsletter of the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce. Published monthly except July, content  submissions  are always welcome.