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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.
 
We are reviewing information, sources and updates daily and aggregating that on our website , this can be your one stop shop for links to updates, business resources, funding, supports and tools you can use.
 
We will also be pushing information out on Facebook and Twitter as our primary two social media feeds, but also on LinkedIn and Instagram using the Hashtags # InThisTogether #YXH2gether #COVID19AB #FlattentheCurve #AlbertaCares.
 
There is also a YXH Business Support Group that every business owner and employee can join for supports and information as well. We will be providing daily live speaker presentations at 7:30 am each morning (before you start your day) with business tips and news. If you can’t join at 7:30, you can view them anytime in the support group as a recording.
 
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.

See the recording with our Executive Director, Lisa Kowalchuk, from Friday, March 20th, by clicking on the image below:
Information For Business
There's so much information. Where do I begin?
A nalyze your business and determine where you are at right now and what your options are
  • Talk to your banker and accountant
  • Talk to your insurance provider and health benefit provider
  • Talk to your staff
  • There are supports for employers and self-employed who would not normally quality for EI as well as financing opportunities. More information
How do I keep my employees?
There is a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.

Businesses will be able to benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. Employers benefiting from this measure will include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities. Information on how to access this subsidy.
What do I do if I have to layoff employees?
You are still required to adhere to the notice periods required by the Government of Alberta and issue Record of Employment (ROE).
  • When the employee is sick or quarantined, use code D (Illness or injury) as the reason for separation (block 16). Do not add comments.
  • When the employee is no longer working due to a shortage of work because the business has closed or decreased operations due to coronavirus (COVID-19), use code A (Shortage of work). Do not add comments.
  • When the employee refuses to come to work but is not sick or quarantined, use code E (Quit) or code N (Leave of absence), as appropriate. Avoid adding comments unless absolutely necessary.

Tips
  • Avoid adding comments as this will mean that they are flagged to be looked at and will take longer to process.
  • Use internet explorer if you are facing difficulties.
  • Due to the high volume, wait time is longer than normal.

How do I access the utility bill deferral?
Nothing is required at this time in order to enact the utility bill deferral for the next 90 days. Effective immediately:

  • Automatic utility bill deferral for the next 90 days for all residential, farm and small commercial customers without penalty
  • No utility disconnection will occur for the next 90 days
  • No late penalties for customers utilizing the deferral.

Other customers requiring the utility bill deferral or other payment arrangements are encouraged to contact the Collections Group at  collections@medicinehat.ca  or phone 403.529.8113 .

Find more information : City of Medicine Hat and Government of Alberta
Driving Business Forward
This past week has been challenging and overwhelming as we all social distance and become more home bound but it also makes us appreciate our amazing community and its attractions. Absence does make the heart grow fonder and, while we can't visit our favourite places anymore, we can show our love by nominating them for our Community Attraction Award.

This award, sponsored by the Medicine Hat Accommodation Association , which promotes the things that make Medicine Hat and area an amazing place to live, work and play, recognizes a business or organization that enhances our community and attracts people to our area. Let us know that quintessential Medicine Hat business, attraction or organization that you're going to make sure you get to, once we are out and about again and, in the meantime, nominate them today! 
Information For Individuals
EI: Do I qualify and how do I access it?
I f you are laid off due to work closures apply for regular EI benefits . To qualify you will need 700 hours worked in the last year and an Record of Employment saying you've been laid off from your employer to get benefits. There is a 1-week wait period. You can find more information and apply online or call 1-800-206-7218.

If you are unable to work due to self-quarantine , apply for EI Sickness Benefits . You will need 600 work hours in the last year and do not need an ROE or sick note to qualify. The 1 week wait period is waived. Find more information and apply online or call 1-833-381-2725.

If you are laid off and ineligible for EI apply for the Emergency Support Benefit . $5 billion dollars has been allocated to this program with more details to come and applications will be available in April. Make sure you have a CRA My Account to apply for this benefit. A toll free number is yet to be released.

If you are self-quarantined and ineligible for EI apply for the Emergency Care Benefit , including the self-employed, who are sick with COVID-19, quarantined, or taking care of a family member with COVID-19. This benefit allows up to 15 weeks of benefits up to $900 bi-weekly. Applications will begin in April . Make sure you have a CRA My Account to apply for this benefit. A toll free number is yet to be released.

If you are a parent that is unable to work because of school closures you can apply for the Emergency Care Benefit . This benefit allows up to 15 weeks of benefits up to $900 bi-weekly. Applications will begin in April . Make sure you have a CRA My Account to apply for this benefit. A toll free number is yet to be released.

Find more information on the federal government's Resources for Canadian Business page.
W hat are my rights as an employee?
Full and part-time employees are entitled to take 14 days of job-protected leave if they are:
  • required to self-isolate
  • caring for a child or dependent adult that is required to self-isolate

The leave does not apply to self-employed individuals or contractors.

Employers are not required to pay sick leave if you are not required to self-isolate.
Your employer will have their own policies. Contact them to receive information specific to your position.
Support Local
Looking to support our local restaurants in this uncertain time? Tourism Medicine Hat started a list of who is open and offering delivery. Know of a restaurant that is open or delivering and isn't on this list? Let us know! So click on the picture below, find your faves and show them some love! 
Information For Community
The "curve" refers to the projected number of people who will contract COVID-19 over a period of time. The faster the infection curve rises, the quicker the local health care system gets overloaded beyond its capacity to treat people. A slower infection rate means a less stressed health care system, fewer hospital visits on any given day and fewer sick people being turned away.  More information
What is the difference between quarantining, isolation and social distancing?
Quarantine should last 14 days for people who have been exposed to COVID-19, those who are at risk for coming down with COVID-19 and those who have traveled anywhere outside of Canada. Two weeks provides enough time for them to know whether or not they will become ill and be contagious to other people. Those who are in quarantine should not leave their houses under any circumstances.

Isolation is keeping people who have COVID-19 away from those who are not infected by avoiding contact with people including those in your household. Isolation can take place at home or at a hospital or care facility but limits all contact.

Social distancing is deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness.
Helpful Webinars

This webinar will provide you with an overview of the impact of the rapidly-changing COVID-19 situation on employment law. Topics covered in this webinar include layoffs, sick leave, quarantine leave and terminations. It will also provide you with the opportunity to ask questions to legal experts.

Date: March 24, 2020
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Michael Kerr will share some ideas and strategies for leading and finding the humor during these challenging, uncertain times!

Date: March 24, 2020
Time: 11:00 AM - 11:45 AM

The spread of COVID-19 poses important challenges to Canadian businesses. With the situation constantly evolving, you need to be prepared for any disruptions. Join BDC experts as they share short-term economic perspectives and advice on how to manage through the crisis.

Date: March 25, 2020
Time: 10:00 AM

Technology is rapidly transforming how we behave as human beings. Join Chris Massie for a talk about the seven essential technologies that are behind these transformations and how we can adapt our businesses, our lives, and our industries to capitalize on this transformation.

Date: Thursday, March 26
Time: 12 PM to 1 PM

Join BBB VP Marketing Communications Camie Leard for a primer on crisis communications. Who should you be communicating with? What should you be saying? Which channels are the best for which audiences or messages? How do you explain what’s happening with your business to your employees, customers and suppliers?

Date: Friday, Mar 27, 2020
Time: 11:00 AM - 12 PM
#YXH2gether
Grit City Distillery
Grit City is utilizing their distillery to create free hand sanitizer for the Medicine Hat area. They have already distributed large amounts to First Responders and the Hospital. We love your innovation!
Herald School
To both support the community, Herald School offered a free bagged lunch while the schools are shut down. They also reminded us of the importance of social distancing through great comic relief!
In the weeks to come, we will be answering more questions and outlining more resources as applications becomes available. Until then, there is a plethora of resources on our website and we are always here to help through phone or email .

If there is a gap in supports please let us know ! We have access to all levels of government and are working to provide you with the supports that you need.
Useful Links