April 9 - updates & changes to the already made stimulus announcements
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).

Below are updates on the already announced subsidy programs and then there is a list of programs that have been implemented that help small and medium businesses from within the Chamber network.

What we learned this week about the wage subsidy:
  • A business will now be able to compare its revenue to the same month last year OR an average of January and February 2020. This will help new and growing firms who may not have qualified based on a comparison to the same month in 2019. 
  • A business needs only to demonstrate a 15% reduction in gross revenues for March. A 30% reduction will still be required to receive the subsidy in April and May. 
  • The program will now allow businesses to use either accrual or cash accounting methods. 
  • Employer paid Employment Insurance (EI), Canada Pension Plan (CPP) premiums will be reimbursed. 
  • Registered charities and not-for-profit organizations are eligible employers to apply for the wage subsidy. They also have the choice of whether or not to include government funding in their revenue calculations.
  • Canada Summer Job Grants will be covered 100%, and the program is extended until February 28, 2021.
  • The temporary layoff period has been extended 120 days from 60 days.
In partnership with Stats Can, the Canadian Chamber is looking to measure the impact of COVID-19 on businesses, trade & our economy with the Canadian Survey of Business Conditions.
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
A large change announcement was made yesterday morning about this program. Businesses no only have to show a 15% drop in revenues compare to January and February 2020, not a 30% loss in revenues from March 2019, as was initially announced.

The Federal Government is trying to roll this program out within 3 weeks, as opposed to the initial plan of 6-8 weeks. We know that many businesses do not have the liquidity to cover their next payroll, so this help needs to come sooner. The issue with this program is that it has to pass legislation.

There are many questions that have been presented to the Federal Government from CPA Canada, the answers are expected to come after Easter. The questions include:
  • What is the definition of a revenue - is it money that has been received, or is it the invoiced amount?
  • How will the money be received? Cold hard cash?
  • How will businesses apply?

The main information we know now is:

  • 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, and for 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 - NOW OPEN FOR APPLICATION!
  • 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. $10,000 of this loan will not have to be repaid
  • 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.

The temporary changes to the program for this year include:
  • an increase to the wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee
  • an extension to the end date for employment to February 28, 2021
  • allowing employers to adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services
  • allowing employers to hire staff on a part-time basis
What businesses can access NOW!
There is a temporary wage subsidy for a period of 3 months. The subsidy will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during the period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,373 per employee and $25,000 per employer.

Businesses will benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. Employers benefiting from this measure include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations & charities. Click to find information about this subsidy.
Business-2-Business Programs
This week, Parkland County, the City of Spruce Grove and Stony Plain Family and Support Services (FCSS) are launching a new free app to support residents in our communities. This is especially needed in this uncertain time of COVID-19. Tri-Region residents, looking for local services, can now use the mobile HelpSeeker app to search for local organizations offering programs, services and supports.

Helpseeker will also help our service providers by providing insight into community needs, identifying gaps and potential partnerships in service delivery to improve our community’s health and wellbeing.
“Our region has so many passionate service providers who are actively working to keep our community healthy and strong during this time,” states Lisa Gilchrist, Director of Stony Plain Family and Community Support services. “Helpseekers is a great new tool to help our residents and service providers connect.”

Emergency Mail Forwarding for business customers who need it is offered free of charge online as of April 3. Business customers who already purchased the service as of March 13 will be able to receive a refund by calling customer service.
Led by the Canadian Chamber and supported by the Government of Canada, the CBRN is an inclusive campaign that focuses on mitigating the impact of the pandemic on our economy and our communities by helping the business community drive Canada’s economic recovery. 
We understand the impact COVID-19 is having on your daily business operations during this period of change and uncertainty.
Our top priority is to ensure we offer you the support and services you need to keep your business productive while ensuring the health and safety of everyone concerned.

As workplace environments change, we have developed several offers for businesses to help enable greater collaboration and communication amongst your teams.

Alberta Bits & Pieces Program
The program is named after the “bits and pieces program” established by Canada’s Minister of Munitions and Supply during the Second World War, C. D. Howe. The program coordinated innovative production and procurement efforts from across the Canadian economy to support the war effort.

If you, your company, or your organization has a product or service to offer, please click the button below.
Chairman's Blog
Since the announcement of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen many of our members have to close their store fronts. Initially, businesses were directing non-essential employees to work from home, leaving store managers and owners to care for the business. Later, when the provincial government mandated non-essential businesses close their doors, our members implemented creative and innovative ways to serve their customers. 

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.”

Greenhouses are deemed an essential service
Day cares open for essential worker's children
Upcoming FREE Webinars
GPRC COVID-19 Webinar Series
Your Chamber of Commerce has put together a series of webinar, with the next one being Wednesday, April 15. You can check out past webinars and register for future ones on our website. Click here to register now.

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!

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.
Guidance for non-health care workplaces
WCB: COVID-19 worker fact sheet
WCB: COVID-19 employer fact sheet
Help Prevent the Spread Posters
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