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It's been a challenging week and it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Remember we are  i n this together and when we all look out for each other and choose kindness, compassion and resilience, we are stronger as a community. Let's do what we can to  f latten the curve for each other, everyone we care about, and those that need us to protect them the most.

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 is changing 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

Find more updates on our social media
# InThisTogether #YXH2gether #COVID19AB #FlattentheCurve #AlbertaCares
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 at 7:30 pm daily. We also have quick summary videos you can watch at the top of each post.
Your Weekly Tune Up
Information For Business
Wage Subsidy for Employers
A major change was announced on Friday by the Prime Minister. The previously announced 10% wage subsidy has been increased to 75% to help small businesses keep operating and retain their employees.   This 75 per cent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, is retroactive to March 15, 2020. This will help businesses to keep and return workers to the payroll. More details on eligibility criteria will start with the impact of COVID-19 on sales, and will be shared before the end of the month.

Deferral of GST/HST payments until June
The Government of Canada is allowing businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments until June, as well as customs duties owed for imports. The deferral to June of GST/HST payments, as well as customs duties owing on imports, will generally apply to remittances that become due in March, April, and May. These amounts would normally have been due to the Canada Revenue Agency and the Canada Border Services Agency as early as the end of this month. This measure will take effect immediately, through existing authorities.

Canada Emergency Account
The Canada Emergency Business Account will provide up to $25 billion to eligible financial institutions so they can provide interest-free loans to small businesses in the form of lines of credit of up to $40,000 to businesses with payrolls of less than $1 million. A quarter of this loan (up to $10,000) is eligible for complete forgiveness. These loans – guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada – will ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need, at a zero percent interest rate, so they can pay for rent and other important costs over the next number of months.

Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee
The Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank, for guaranteed loans when small businesses go to their financial institutions to help weather the impacts of COVID-19. Export Development Canada will provide guarantees to financial institutions so that they can issue new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to small and medium-sized businesses. These loans will be 80 per cent guaranteed by Export Development Canada, to be repaid within one year. This will be available through businesses financial institutions who will then work with EDC and BDC to allow businesses to access these funds.

What do I need to know before I go to my bank?
Have an understanding of your financial situation. Start by determining your monthly expenses including payroll, overhead costs, contracts. Then calculate your monthly “burn rate” , which is the amount of cash spent each month on rent, salaries, and other overhead, and your net “burn rate”, which is calculated by subtracting operating expenses (gross burn rate) from revenue.
Businesses should have a general plan for repayment of any borrowed capital to show that the request has been given thought to show that businesses will not be in a worse position by increasing their debt load. If any calculations of cash flow have been done and it can be shown that the access to capital will help keep their cash flow going through the pandemic this would be helpful information for a financial institution. Banks have committed to working with businesses and businesses are encouraged to contact their account manager.
Information For Individuals
Canada Emergency Response Benefit
This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CERB combines the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.
Who is eligible?
  • Canadians who have lost their job,
  • Are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19,
  • Working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures.
  • Wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.
  • Workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19,
How to Access CERB
  • The portal to access CERB will be available in early April
  • Do not apply if you are already or in the process of receiving EI.
Canadians would begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of application. The CERB would be paid every four weeks and be available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020.

Emergency Isolation Supports
Emergency isolation supports are now available for eligible working Albertans. Individuals can receive a one-time emergency isolation support payment of $1,146 if they are required to self-isolate or are the sole caregiver of someone in self-isolation and they have no other source of pay or compensation. Applicants can view eligibility criteria and apply at  alberta.ca .

Increased Security For Alberta Renters
Effective immediately, tenants cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent and/or utilities before May 1. Rents will not increase while Alberta’s state of public health emergency remains in effect, late fees cannot be applied to late rent payments for the next three months and landlords and tenants need to work together to develop payment plans while the state of public health emergency is in effect.  Read more 
Information For Community
Alberta Closure of Non-essential businesses
As a result of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the provincial government announced that attendance at certain businesses and organizations across the province will be prohibited effective immediately. Restrictions will be in place for the following classifications of business:

  • Close contact businesses including hair salons and barbershops, tattoo and piercing studios, esthetic services, as well as wellness studios and clinics and non-emergency and non-critical health services provided by regulated health professionals or registered professionals including dentistry, physiotherapy, massage, podiatry, chiropractic and optometry services.
  • Dine-in restaurants will no longer be able to offer dine-in service. Take-out and delivery services will continue to be available.
  • Non-essential retail services that fall into the categories of clothing, computer and gaming stores, and services in shopping malls and shopping centres such as hobby and toys, gift and specialty items and furniture.
Businesses that are non-essential can still operate, however their physical location must be closed to the public.
Complete list of businesses considered essential and non-essential
New Enforcement Measures
Any business or organization not following the public health order will be subject to a fine. Courts have the power to administer fines of up to $100,000 for a first offence and up to $500,000 for a subsequent offence for more serious violations. Individuals aware of any businesses violating these orders can submit complaints online .
Public health orders will now be enforced by law to protect the health and safety of Albertans. Fines for violating an order have increased to a prescribed fine of $1,000 per occurrence. Courts will also have increased powers to administer fines of up to $100,000 for a first offence and up to $500,000 for a subsequent offence for more serious violations. 
  • Mandatory self-isolation for travellers returning from outside of Canada for 14 days, plus an additional 10 days from the onset of any symptoms should they occur, whichever is longer.
  • Also applies to close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases, as well as to any individual with COVID-19 symptoms, which consist of a cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or sore throat.

City Assessments Notices Delayed
Due to the challenges of the recent COVID-19 crisis and the impact on department operations, the City of Medicine Hat is extending the notice of assessment date.. For Single Family Residential and Farmland, the mail date was February 28th with a notice of Assessment Date of March 6 and a complaint deadline of May 8th. However for Non-Residential and Multi-Family properties, the mailing date is now moved from April 9th to May 14 , with a notice of assessment date of May 22nd and a complaint deadline of July 21st. The City will advise property owners further when tax notices are scheduled to be mailed.  Read more.
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.
Click on Lisa's picture for her FB Live presentation on March 27, 2020
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."
Advocacy in Action
We've been working diligently on behalf of our business community and are actively filtering up concerns we've heard locally through our chamber network to the highest levels. Here is an update on our work in the past few weeks:

WINS for Business
  • Deferring tax deadlines, audits and payments (both for individuals and businesses) to both assist with short-term liquidity and allow them to focus on dealing with the pandemic.
  • Offering flexibility on remittance payments (e.g. consider eliminating interest penalties).
  • Building upon previous announced measures to help affected businesses of all sizes access credit and capital swiftly.
  • Temporary foreign workers will be able to remain and those who have been approved can still come, but will need to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Agriculture is now recognized as an essential service
  • Implementation of income support options vs just deferrals and loan options.

Ongoing Advocacy: What we would like to see
  • Reductions on tariffs on essential goods and medical supplies needed to deal with the pandemic.
  • Helping businesses, particularly SMEs, pay furloughed employees and finance remote work options.
  • Accelerating government payments owed to private sector and non-profit vendors.
  • Postponing government consultations that are not germane to COVID-19 and place a moratorium on the introduction of new regulations and policies that are nonessential
  • Identifying and supporting front line workers for essential goods and services.
  • Carbon levy suspension and putting a hold on moving from $20 to $30/tonne on April 1st
  • Rent and lease supports for business specifically
  • Defining who would qualify for child care through critical employees (trying to create a balance to provide essential services and keeping social distancing).
  • Further defining essential “business travel” and implementing definitions around essential vs non-essential travel within Canada.
  • Implement reasonable and realistic pay back arrangements for those who will use deferrals.
  • Ensure fluid supply chain management.

Ongoing Actions: Tactical items we’ve requested include:
  • Government put the ROE form online in a fillable PDF format, as currently you can only do this through the online web portal or by ordering paper forms.
  • Provide more clarification on EI supports and additional economic supports for business.
  • Additional information and clarification on insurance supports.
  • Options for businesses dealing with Accounts Receivable collections challenges.
  • An extension to lay-off rules beyond 60 days as many will have to pay severance if we go longer than that. We are requesting an option to change the rules so it’s a 90 day span.
  • Clarification of what businesses are essential and the parameters for essential services to operate.
  • Eligibility for corporations that operate as a partnership for the wage subsidy offered.
  • Clarification on managing layoffs/terminations for employers who have staff who are close to going on maternity leave, as employers do not want an employee’s maternity leave to be based on subsidy/support payments.

Is there anything else that should be on our radar? Let us know!
Helpful Webinars
Business Planning in Uncertain Times
April 1, 2020
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Temporary Layoffs and Frustration of Contract
April 2, 2020
12:00 PM
 Handling HR During Crisis
April 3,2020
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Driving Business Forward
The next Chamber Business Award that we are profiling is exactly right for so many of our businesses and organizations who have stepped forward to respond to the needs of their community. Likewise, the sponsor of this award, Grant Thornton, make it their mission to help their client's meet today’s challenges and prepare for tomorrow’s opportunities.

As our community is tested by unprecedented circumstances, leaders have emerged and shown their commitment to their fellow citizens. They have taken an enormous challenge and created opportunities of giving and generosity, emerging as a source of inspiration, and hope, when our community needs them most.

A great way to recognize those who have stepped forward during Medicine Hat & District's time of need is to nominate them for our Community Involvement Award. Nominate them today!
Kollektiv Cycle
Despite their physical location being shut down, Kollektiv Cycle decided to rent out spin bikes and organize virtual spin classes online. What an awesome way to keep us active and pivot their business!
Salon Purity
Salon Purity is creating custom made professional colour kits to help uplift their clients during this time! The kits include everything you would need to give yourself a custom colour at home. We love the innovation!
Useful Links