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It's been over a month since the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic. A lot has changed since then but now it seems as if we are settling into a 'new normal'. As we adjust to our new reality we understand that it's going to be a tough adjustment. But while we can't control the circumstances, we can control how we respond. Doing everything we can to flatten the curve is something we can control and will protect those that need it the most. Remember to choose kindness, compassion and resilience because we are stronger together.

We love our community and we are dedicated to support our businesses, their employees, members, non-members, old and young. Even though it feels like everything has changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our commitment as an organization to our community remains constant.

We are here for you and we will emerge stronger than ever.

See our Stronger Together video below:
The Chamber of Commerce is being used as the hub for business information and news for our region and we are asking businesses direct their inquiries and question to us. If we don’t have the answers, we have contacts at every level of Government through our network that we are reaching out to with questions and we are advocating to government with recommendations when we find gaps in supports and resources.
A short four weeks ago, I brought you a story on the rapidly emerging field of Machine Learning (ML). APEX, in partnership with the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (AMII), was about to hold a workshop to introduce small and medium enterprises (SME) to the possibilities of incorporating ML and AI into their business models. Foreshadowing??

Today, four weeks later, many of us have had to learn a fairly radical new way of working. We are working from home, we have had to redesign our workflows and processes, we have had to re-tool our manufacturing and many have volunteered to close their business to protect their staff and customers. We are physically distancing ourselves, isolating, washing our hands until they are raw, some are wearing masks and gloves and installing plexiglass barriers and we are learning. Read more
Keep up with the latest
We know that right now it can be overwhelming with the amount of new information coming out each day. We've got you covered with our Chamber Daily COVID-19 Updates. All levels of government, all relevant info, all in one place every weeknight. We also have quick summary videos you can watch at the top of each post.
Find more updates on our social media
#InThisTogether #YXH2gether #COVID19AB #FlattentheCurve #AlbertaCares
Your Weekly Tune Up
Information For Business
Changes to Employment Standards
The Government of Alberta is allowing greater flexibility for employers to appropriately respond to public health measures and at the same time allow employees to remain attached to jobs and have the ability to access federal assistance programs. The changes will:
  • Provide employees access to unpaid job-protected leave if they are caring for children affected by school and daycare closures or ill or self-isolated family members due to COVID-19.
  • Increase the maximum time for a temporary layoff from 60 days to 120 days.
  • Remove the 24-hour written notice requirement for shift changes and the two weeks’ notice for changes to work schedules for those under an averaging agreement.
  • Remove the requirement to provide the group termination notice to employees and unions when 50 or more employees are being terminated.
  • Streamline the process for approvals related to modifying employment standards.
The changes above take effect immediately and will be in place as long as government determines it is needed and the public health emergency order remains.   More information
Important Changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
The  Government announced some welcome changes  to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) today including:
  • flexibility to compare revenue of March, April and May 2020 to that of the same month of 2019, or to an average of the revenue earned in January and February 2020.
  • demonstration of a 15 percent reduction in gross revenues for March with the 30 percent reduction required in April and/or May. 
  • the ability to measure revenues either on the basis of accrual accounting (as they are earned) or cash accounting (as they are received). Special rules would also be provided to address issues for corporate groups, non-arm’s length entities and joint ventures.
  • eligibility to receive a 100-per-cent refund for certain employer-paid contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan .
  • eligibility for registered charities and not-for-profit organizations including the choice of whether or not to include government funding in their revenues for the purposes of comparison.
Information For Individuals
Changes to Canada Summer Jobs Program
Temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program were announced last week. 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 percent 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
The temporary changes are only available for companies that have already submitted an application for the Canada Summer Jobs Grant. The application has not re-opened. We are lobbying government to re-open the application window
Emergency Isolation Support Closure
The Government of Alberta's Emergency Isolation Support program is now closed. The purpose of the program was to bridge the short period until the Government of Canada announced its own support program. The Government of Canada’s new   Canada Emergency Response Benefit   is available and accepting applications. Payments for eligible applicants are retroactive to   March 15
Information For Community
Province Releases COVID 19 Modelling Data
Modelling projections   from the provincial government for COVID-19 highlights the importance of continuing aggressive countermeasures to protect the lives and livelihoods of Albertans in order to stop the pandemic and restart the economy. Alberta Health’s modelling projections indicate total cases range from 800,000 to one million infections, from mild and undiagnosed to detected, confirmed and treated, under two provincial scenarios. The Government of Alberta is advising that existing public health orders could be in place until the end of May to protect the health and safety of Albertans. 

Both scenarios estimate that after the virus reaches its peak, the number of cases will decline over the summer months. Without any provincial interventions to manage the pandemic response, projections show that about 13,000 Albertans could have been hospitalized with 3,900 requiring intensive care.
The modelling helps the province anticipate and prepare for the demands on Alberta’s health-care system. Alberta Health has been scaling up the capacity of the province’s health care system by expanding the capacity of hospitals, opening up more acute care beds, intensive care unit spaces, and ventilators. These measures will ensure that under both provincial scenarios, our health-care system is prepared to support patients at the peak of the pandemic.
New Visitor Restrictions in All Continuing Care Facilities
The Chief Medical Officer of Health is ordering a province wide ban on visitors to long-term care centres, licensed group homes and other facilities as part of the ongoing work to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect Albertans. Under an amended public health order, no visitors will be allowed unless a resident is dying or the visitor is essential for delivering care that cannot be delivered by staff.  Read more
Medicine Hat Police Service Expanded Online Reporting Capabilities
The Medicine Hat Police Service has expanded online reporting capabilities to improve service delivery to the community while practicing safe distancing measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Online reporting can be used for reporting a crime if the loss or damage is under $5,000 and there are no suspects. Reports can be filed online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Online reports can be submitted via the MHPS mobile app, which is free to download and available for both Apple and Android devices or submitted via the MHPS website. If you do not have internet access, you can report the incident by calling (403) 529-8481. Continue to use 9-1-1 for all emergencies and to report crimes in progress.   Read more  
Advocacy in Action
Our   Canadian Business Resilience Network   campaign launched today [ watch the Prime Minister’s announcement ] in partnership with the Government of Canada and Canada's leading business and industry associations, including the Business Council of Canada, the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters. A key element of the campaign is a   microsite   dedicated to help Canadian businesses navigate the COVID-19 reality and prepare for recovery. See the full announcement from Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau   here   and the message from President & CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Perrin Beatty   here .
Connect with the Business Community
Join the YXH Business Support Group that every business owner and employee can join for supports and information. We will be providing daily live speaker presentations at 7:30 am each weekday morning with business tips and news. Then each evening, we'll be posting a daily update of all the important news and information released that day. We're working for you, from sunup to sundown.
Please remember, when crisis hits, the Chamber is here for business, regardless if businesses are Chamber members are not. We are here for each of you.
Want to learn more about the importance of implementing Human Resources practices in your business?  Offered in an interactive, digital format , this session of the RTB series will provide an introduction to the fundamental principles of Human Resources practices and show how to effectively lead and support a successful workforce. 
With a focus on our current reality, learners will understand the value and gain a general knowledge of: Labour Standards, Job Descriptions, Policy and Procedure Manuals, Employment Letters, Performance Appraisals, Disciplinary Procedures, Workplace Bullying and Harassment, Drug and Alcohol Policies. There's no better time to Raise The Bar in HR!
April 27, 2020: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Eligible for Chartered Professionals in Human Resources - 3 CPD Hours
Helpful Webinars
CPHR: What You Need to Know About Virtually Laying Off Employees During a Crisis
April 16, 2020
Get Financing and Support for Your Business

April 16, 2020
How to Protect Your Mental Health for Business Decision Making
April 17,2020
See our Pandemic Training Calendar for more
Support Local
Have you changed your hours? Are you offering curbside pickup, delivery, or are doing something a little differently?
Our Support Local page is a way to connect businesses, who are still operating, to their community. We have always promoted the importance of shopping local and COVID-19 makes it more important than ever to get behind our locally owned businesses. Our goal is to make this page a community wide resource for everyone in Medicine Hat to use as their source to find out what businesses are open, so that when it comes time to spend precious hard earned dollars, we can encourage those resources to be spent in our local economy. Send your hours of operation and promotions to membership@medicinehatchamber.com.
Driving Business Forward
While this pandemic has challenged our community it has also highlighted the heart of our community and how much we care for each other, especially those that may seem more vulnerable.

Every year our Diversity Award recognizes an inclusive business/organization which demonstrates best practices in appreciating diversity so that employees, clients, customers and others are respected and valued as unique individuals, while being instrumental in removing barriers to employment, particularly for persons with disabilities. These values are a reflection of our sponsor for this award, CORE Association, as they envision a day all people regardless of needs and challenges are personally fulfilled and valued as members of their community. 

Take a moment to focus on the amazing businesses in our community that show their heart by making sure their employees are a reflection of everyone in our community and then Nominate them Today !
All nominations are also forwarded to the Alberta Chamber's Business Awards of Distinction. Click here to see this year's submission featuring some of our nominees and winners from our 2019 Business Awards.
Business Impact Survey
How can government help your business stay viable while
COVID-19 health measures are in place? The Alberta Chamber of Commerce wants to hear directly from Alberta job creators. Please take their short survey (less than ten minutes). They will share your feedback directly with government
Stay #healthyathome with free virtual workouts online. The YMCA , Temple Fitness , Anytime Fitness , and Kollektiv Cycle are posting daily workouts with easy-to-follow tutorials on their social media pages or find a source of namaste with virtual yoga from Yoga U4ia and Taekwando with Fire Dragon Taekwando . Great job helping us get off our couches and keep active!
Crafting Stores
Its been an adjustment for all of us having our kids at home. While those scheduled activities that kept our children busy have been impacted there are still lots of options available to keep those kids busy throughout the day. Top Notch Custom Kreations created some great t-shirt kits, DIY signs and  Paint of Interest has fun to go kits. Thank you for helping our children adjust to the new normal too.
Useful Links