Atlantic Chamber's major advocacy initiatives and primary issues affecting business in Atlantic Canada.
COVID-19 Information for Business


Atlantic Chamber will continue to share information as it becomes available, we will also be share information from the Canadian Chamber and their resources, but if you need additional information, don’t hesitate to call us.


In today’s global world, systems are more interconnected than ever. It stands to reason then, if a pandemic strikes in one part of the world, the opportunities for it to spread are that much greater.

Some of the things businesses need to plan for include:

  • Staff absences due to a number of reasons (personal illness, ill family members, looking after children if schools close, feeling of safety being at home etc.). In some cases employees may themselves elect to stay home; in other circumstances the government may authorize or require them to do so.

  • Disruption to essential services like information, telecommunications, financial services, energy supply, and logistics;

  • Disruption to supply of necessary materials or contractors;

  • A major increase or decrease in demand for products and services;

  • Cancellation or disruption of travel and cross-border movement of people and goods;

  • Cancellation of public meetings or gatherings like sports events, concerts or religious services;

  • Impact on the trade status of Canada, or of our trading partners; and

  • Increased public fear that causes citizens to avoid public places, including front line retail and tourist–related attractions, restaurants and leisure businesses.

  To help businesses prepare for and manage through a potential COVID-19 escalation in Canada, the Canadian Chamber has developed a brief guide source from a number of best practice documents and designed to assist business planning and continuity efforts. This tool includes links to the some of the most relevant and credible information, best practice tools and resources and can be found here  Pandemic Preparedness Guide .


 
 
Resources for Business
 
Canada

COVID-19


Economic Response Plan


Know the Difference : Self-monitoring, self-isolation, and isolation for COVID-19

 
Atlantic Chamber of Commerce
 
Canadian Chamber of Commerce  
 
Canadian Centre for Occupation Health & Safety
 
Trade Commissioner Service
 
BDC
 
EDC
 
NS
 
NL
 
PE
 
NB

 
WHO
www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
ACC Policy Pillars for Growth 2020 Announced
 
Based on the input from chambers of commerce across Atlantic Canada, the ACC recently released its annual advocacy priority issues: the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce 2020 Policy Pillars for Growth. This year’s policy recommendations reflect the four greatest concerns of our region’s business owners who believe that if prioritized, they will contribute to increased economic activity and investment in Atlantic Canada.
 
The primary concern of our members and reiterated by organizations like the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, is Improving Access to Qualified Workers . While the region’s unemployment rate remains above the national average, many job vacancies at various skill levels continue to go unfilled. Addressing the issue will require coordinated action on a variety of fronts beginning with improving basic employment skills, matching training to future demand, attracting and retaining skilled immigrants and students, facilitating credential recognition and expanding work experience programs to create early workplace connections.

Because our system of taxes has been subject to a massive amount of tinkering for over 50 years since the last review, our members continue to call for a Comprehensive Review of the Tax System . All Canadians will benefit from an assessment by an independent Royal Commission on Taxation with a mandate to recommend changes in the interests of fairness and reducing the burden of compliance. The business community proposes that all forms of taxation be included in the review in recognition of the cumulative tax burden imposed on business and its effect on competitiveness and investment attractiveness.
 
In all provinces there are certain expenditures that are growing faster than inflation and in some cases can be avoided. In recognition of the need to practice fiscal responsibility, our members call upon provincial and federal leaders to Reduce the Cost of Government . Given that health, education, and debt service consume more than half of each province’s annual budget, it is essential that efforts be devoted to improving outcomes and efficiently managing the expenditures on services and managing the public debt. Our advocacy will focus on the reduction of unnecessary regulation, operational efficiency and productivity, and reducing the size of government.
 
Finally, our network has indicated a desire for government to accelerate efforts to develop strategic Regional Economic Development Plans , recognizing opportunities are a function of local circumstances. A plan that works for urban centres may not provide appropriate supports to rural areas. Strategic plans should include consideration of required services and infrastructure that will contribute to the communities’ attractiveness for living and operating a business that creates jobs.
 
The 2020 Policy Pillars for Growth will be communicated to the Atlantic Premiers and key cabinet ministers on behalf of the 93 chambers of commerce in the region. To support local chambers in informing members and communicating with local elected officials, a one-page summary and individual pillar handouts will be circulated directly to chambers and accessible on the ACC website.

Should you wish to comment on or ask questions about the four Policy Pillars for Growth, please connect with Glenn Davis (902-292-0121)



Blockade Effects: Significant and Destructive
By the time this newsletter is published, hopefully the blockades and closure of the rail system will be resolved. If not, then everyone will clearly understand the enormous importance of a working rail system to our economy and every Canadian’s daily life.
 
Media coverage of the recent strike identified many key commodities that quickly become scarce in Atlantic Canada when rail service is unavailable. The more lengthy blockade has added to the list of crippling economic impacts that occur when our single rail connection to the rest of Canada is severed.
 
In addition to quickly depleting supplies of propane that heat homes and power farms and businesses, other commodities like airplane de-icing fluid are becoming scarce. Demonstrating the interconnectedness of our transportation systems, the lack and recent unreliability of rail service is threatening short- and long-term shipping volumes throughout our region’s port system.
 
The list continues to grow, prices climb, and the urgency to remove the blockades accelerates. While patience is a prerequisite of reason over force, it is essential our elected leaders be reminded of several facts that underlie the need to quickly establish rules to avoid future disruption to our economy.
 
In relation to the impact of disruptions, it should be recognized our transportation systems are mutually reliant and the removal of one will eventually affect other modes. Following the resolution of disruptions, the return to normal operations extends well beyond resumption of service. It is estimated that after 10 days, it will take up to 6 weeks to clear the backlog of goods and commodities stranded at manufacturers and ports that are reaching a breaking point.
 
All of this contributes to shrinkage of the economy as a whole. Sales lost due to lack of efficient shipping options are unlikely to be regained. Investment decisions based on a reliable transportation system will likely be lost or at minimum delayed until the root causes of the disruptions are addressed.
 
Our current federal government appears to have committed philosophically to the very laudable goal of reconciliation, but this commitment has not translated into a workable solution. Without a path to respectful and reliable consultation and informed consent, whether with First Nations or environmental activists, our court decisions will become increasingly ineffective and our attractiveness as a good place to invest will diminish, to the detriment of job creation and economic growth.
 
ACC has participated in communicating the concerns of Atlantic Canadians to the Prime Minister and Atlantic members of parliament via letters and the media . However, the message is often overshadowed by the more provocative actions of protesters. The chamber network urges its members and all Canadians to lend their voices to the message that our future prosperity depends on a regulatory environment that accommodates dissent and creates a balance that embodies the desires of all Canadians, not simply those who assume they can impose their will on the nation through civil disobedience.

Rural Internet: One Step Forward, One Step Back
For several years, chambers of commerce across the region have repeatedly urged provincial and federal governments to deliver on the promise of connecting rural communities to high-speed internet and reliable cellphone services. It is obvious that the survival and growth of smaller distant communities is heavily influenced by the ability of residents to access the information, entertainment and trade opportunities available on the internet.
 
Government has responded, most recently in Nova Scotia with the  announcement by the Internet for Nova Scotia Investment Trust Fund of more than $100M in public and private funding for rural internet expansion. It is expected to provide connections to 42,000 homes and businesses. The initiative is one of several announcements across the region intended to increase high speed connections to all Canadians. Between federal funding announced in 2019 and private sector investment, Atlantic Canada is poised to see rural infrastructure investment totaling several hundred million dollars in the near future.
 
But while actively promoting and funding universal access to high-speed internet, the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) has issued an order for the nation’s internet service providers (ISP) to reduce their wholesale rates to internet re-sellers by up to 70%, ostensibly in the interest of promoting competition. Fair competition is a good thing, however the re-sellers benefiting from low-cost access to existing internet infrastructure are under no obligation to invest in and contribute to the required infrastructure to support rural internet access. And a recent study by the Competition Bureau recently assessed the Canadian wireless sector as highly competitive.
 
The order, currently being contested by the ISPs, is intended to alter free market forces in favour of creating low-cost providers, but at the expense of the ISPs who built and continue to invest in service provision in the less profitable rural communities.
 
In support of encouraging the most rapid expansion to under serviced communities, ACC submitted a letter to government calling for re-evaluation of the order to include consideration of its impact on infrastructure investment.
 


Corporate #MemberMoment
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) is the voice of Canada’s upstream oil and natural gas industry. CAPP’s advocacy program - Canada’s Energy Citizens - is one of the largest grassroots, pro energy groups in Canada. We equip Canadians with the tools, and information, as so they can take action and advocate on behalf of one of Canada’s most important job creators. We believe this is necessary, as Canadians have been exposed to unbalanced and often erroneous information, that has portrayed Canada’s Energy sector negatively, and unfairly. We believe we should be proud of our environmental, social, and innovation record, and it should be celebrated. More information on Canada’s Energy Citizens is available at www.energycitizens.ca
NEW NON-DUES REVENUE PROGRAM FOR CHAMBERS
As you know, ACC launched Flagship.com a new courier solution for our Chambers and Boards of Trade in Atlantic Canada. To date, we have had 11 chambers enroll in this non-dues revenue generating program.

Recently, we received this notice from Daniel Rondeau, Director National Accounts at FlagShip Courier Solutions and wanted to share it with you.
 
Hi – My name is Daniel Rondeau, Director National Accounts at FlagShip Courier Solutions. As you already know, we made a great partnership agreement with the ACC to offer you an amazing Program plus a new Chamber benefit for your members.
 
I’m reaching out to you today to invite you personally to join this Chamber of Commerce Discount Shipping Program. This Program has been implemented in 2014 with the Quebec Chambers of Commerce and since November 2019, with the Atlantic Chambers of Commerce. It is made so that members can have special discounts with major couriers and great commissions for the participating Chambers.
 
Here’s some highlights of the FlagShip Discount Shipping Program:

1.        A turnkey program to help ACC affiliated Chambers to increase membership and help renewals

2.        An exciting 4% commission plan to help Chambers get more revenues (potential to make thousands of dollars per year!)

3.        Automated reports such as the members list who signed up (monthly) and the Commission report (3 time a year)

4.        Full marketing tools to help you promote the Program easily

5.        Direct billing to members/users

6.        Free and zero obligation accounts for members

7.        One shipping website with access to Purolator, UPS, FedEx, Canpar and DHL at great discounted rates – savings up to 70%!
 
To sign up as a participating Chamber, simply fill out the attached FlagShip Partnership Agreement and General Information form and send them back to me at daniel@flagshipcompany.com . Upon receipt of the signed document, I will send you back my signed copy and right after, I will send you our Marketing Tools Box to help you promote this fantastic program to your members.

If you have any question, please feel free to contact me, or Sheri and Tracy at the ACC.
 
Yours truly
 
Dan
1-866-320-8383 ext. 252
Flagship.com is just one of many benefits ACC offers to member Chambers and Boards of Trade.
 
 
ACC LAUNCHES ADVANCED MANUFACTURING AWARENESS CAMPAIGN
It’s About Myth Busting
Imagine a high school student somewhere in Atlantic Canada looking at their career options. What would she say—let’s let it be “she” for the sake of this thought experiment—when offered a profession in manufacturing?
 
Well, probably something along the lines of “Nah, manufacturing’s not cool. Besides, it’s for men, and it’s manual labour—all of those drills and hammers. It’s for those who don’t have much education, and it doesn’t pay well. I’m more into techie stuff!”
Right? Wrong!
 
Because today’s manufacturing is an exciting fast-paced industry, driven by technology and innovation. It requires advanced skills, offers high wages, and is very well suited for women too.
 
Likewise, if you ask an owner of a small business in Atlantic Canada whether they have considered getting better productivity by investing in new technology—you will probably hear that it’s too expensive, and too sophisticated, and not really worth it at the end of the day.
 
Another wrong assumption. Because advanced manufacturing technology does not have to be complex and costly. There are many off-the-shelf solutions that are easy to implement and will generate a clear return on investment.
 
It’s because of such stereotypes that businesses in the Atlantic region lag behind the rest of Canada in innovation and productivity. If we want our region to thrive, our businesses need to be competitive and that will not be possible without investments in modern productivity-improving technologies, and without more young people choosing manufacturing as their profession.
 
ACC’s new awareness project – Forge Ahead – is meant to break outdated stereotypes and show the reality of modern manufacturing: both to the business owners striving for better productivity, and to the students choosing their future careers.
 
The bilingual campaign was launched on February 26. It is a pilot project funded by ACOA and will cover all four provinces of Atlantic Canada.
 
Follow the campaign's website – www.ForgeAheadAtlantic.com – for the latest news and updates.
CYBERSECURITY: EMAIL FRAUD

We’ve all received junk emails. Buy this. Save that. Click here. While these emails are fairly easy to spot in most cases, law enforcement reports that for every million pieces of junk email sent, roughly 8 people will fall victim to the scam. Not a bad return for a low-cost undertaking from the bad guys point of view.

Like any business however the bad guys are always looking to increase their return on investment. Introducing “CEO Fraud” or Business Email Compromises as the FBI terms it.

These are emails sent by criminals made to look like they are coming from the CEO, other executive or a Director on the Board. The goal is to fool an employee, typically in accounting or HR, into sending wire transfers or providing confidential employee tax information.

The variations of this scam are endless. In Atlantic Canada, a popular version of the scam saw hackers sending email to staff asking them to obtain Gift Cards on behalf of the CEO. Often these emails said the CEO was about to go into an important meeting and not to call and disturb them. 

One case I’m familiar with saw email sent out to specific company employees just weeks before Christmas. The Boss was just about to go into a meeting and needed the staffers help on a secret mission to run to the store to pick up some Amazon Gift Cards, fifteen $100 cards, to be given out as Christmas bonuses to staff. 

Unfortunately, one of the staffers fell for it and only realized their mistake after the scammer asked him to scratch off the back of the cards and provide the numbers by email so the CEO could award the “Christmas Bonuses”. Calling the Boss to make sure he was providing the correct numbers; he discovered the request was fraudulent and was now out $1500. 

The loss could have been worse. MacEwan University in Edmonton was defrauded $11.8 million after a staffer fell for a similar trick. Law enforcement reports variations of this scam has netted the bad guys approximately $2.3 billion, and that is just in reported losses. The number has been estimated to be closer to $26 billion by some.

Education is key to combatting Cyber Crime. Make sure your staff are aware and alert to such threats. Put a policy in place that staff are to call the reported sender of the email, no exceptions, BEFORE transferring funds or sensitive information, or your organization might become the next victim.
 
Scott Beck is CEO of the fast-growing cyber security & IT Services firm BeckTek in Moncton New Brunswick. He’s a two-time international best-selling author and award-winning speaker, including appearances at NASDAQ and Harvard Club of Boston. Co-star of the Amazon Prime documentary “Cyber Crime”, Scott is a frequent celebrity guest expert with appearances on NBC, ABC, Fox and Global.
ACC 2020 AGM: MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR MONCTON
Be sure to mark the dates May 26 & 27 for our 2020 AGM & PD Day in your calendar.

The 2020 AGM event will be held in Moncton, NB and will feature a full slate of speakers and topics that are sure to impress! Based on your feedback we are changing up the format to provide more interactive engagement, networking, and sharing of best practices.

We hope to see you there!
Atlantic Notice Board
The ACC’s  Atlantic Notice Board  is a central source for government and other funding agency information, services, programs and opportunities available to members and businesses in the region.
ACC Corporate Partners
ACC’s Corporate Partners are leading Atlantic Canadian and national companies dedicated to making a difference for business in the region.
They provide strategic insight, guidance and support to the network as we work together toward economic prosperity. Click here to become a Corporate Partner in our network.  Click here  to become a corporate partner in our network.
ACCess Our Chamber Network
The Atlantic Chamber offers a unique Business-2-Member (B2M) service allowing external organizations several ways to promote or share information with our network, including:

• Event Calendar listing
• The Market Place ads
• ACCion News monthly ads
• CEO Newsletter bi-monthly ads
• Follow Our Leads monthly eBlasts
• Social network blasts on Facebook and Twitter
• ACC homepage box ads

To learn more about these B2M services,  click here  to review our Third-Party Promotional Policy and Rate Card for our terms of service and promotional pricing.
Atlantic Chamber Matters
ACC Member Status
 
ACC currently has 94 chambers and boards of trade, 26 corporate partners as members and represents more than 16,000 businesses and 300,000 employees.



2020 Meeting Dates

Rural Caucus Meetings

May 13           Conference Call
Aug. 26          Conference Call
 
PAC & All Chamber Meetings

Note: PAC meetings will be held via Zoom Video Conference Calls only and the provincial All Chamber meetings will be conducted “in person” at rotating locations throughout each province. 
New Brunswick 
PAC
 
  Mar. 17 PAC Conference Call     
                      
Jun.10   PAC Conference Call
 
Nov. 3    PAC Conference Call 
All Chamber           
                                                          
Mar. 18 All Chambers Meeting    
 
Nov. 4 All Chambers Meeting-Florenceville-Bristol
 
Newfoundland and Labrador 
PAC     
                                 
Apr. 22 PAC Conference Call
                      
Jun. 24 PAC Conference Call
 
Oct. 20   PAC Conference Call
All Chamber
 
Apr. 23 All Chambers Meeting
 
Oct. 21 All Chambers Meeting-Gander
 

Nova Scotia 
PAC                                                                                                  
Jun. 3   PAC Conference Call
 
Nov. 24 PAC Conference Call          
All Chambers
 
Nov. 25    All Chambers Meeting-Strait
Prince Edward Island
. PAC                                                     
 
Mar. 31 PAC Conference Call 
                         
 Jun. 17   PAC Conference Call

Oct. 6 PAC Conference Call  
All Chambers
 
Apr. 1 All Chambers Meeting 
         
Oct. 7  All Chambers Meeting-Charlottetown
 
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.

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