Chamber Chatter - August 4 2020
Connecting Business. Creating Opportunity.
The Chamber of Commerce along with the City of Grande Prairie and County of Grande Prairie are working together as a Business Resiliency Taskforce to provide a unified approach to supporting local businesses.

On our website is a list of resources to help you navigate various levels of financial support and reopening guidelines.

Digital Marketing Training -

The Business Resiliency Taskforce has partnered with Community Futures Grande Prairie & Region and nine10 Inc. to offer pragmatic and in-depth digital marketing training to local businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19.

The purpose of the program is to equip local businesses with the skills and knowledge to grow their business utilizing the latest digital marketing tools. The areas of focus will be digital content strategy, branding & visual identity, web design tools and applications, social media, search engine marketing and websites & e-commerce.

Once complete, businesses will come out of the workshop with the knowledge to grow their social following, enhance their visual brand, run effective marketing campaigns, and setup a powerful website.

While the value of the program is estimated at $4,000 per business, thanks to the partnership and municipal funding, businesses will have access to the program for $250.

Due to the experiential and hands on format of the workshops, space is limited so businesses are encouraged to apply early. Applications for the program will be accepted until August 5. Digital onboarding will begin at the end of August with in-person training beginning mid-September. COVID-19 risk mitigation and physical distancing measures will be acknowledged during in-person training with a contingency plan in place for a digital delivery model.

For full program details and eligibility or to apply, visit 

MNP has partnered with the Business Resiliency Taskforce including the Grande Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce, City of Grande Prairie and County of Grande Prairie to ensure that our business community has the latest information regarding access to the new updates to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program.

MNP Partners Heather Hilhorst and Tracy Leishman will lead the discussion on what you need to know to navigate the most recents CEWS updates.

DATE: Thursday, August 6, 2020
TIME: 10:30 AM via Zoom

(This webinar is being recorded for dissemination among the public to help support and provide information to businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.)

Thursday, August 13, 2020
Bear Creek Golf Club

  • Registration
  • Shotgun Start
  • Buffet Dinner served by Course Staff and can be eaten on site or taken home
  • Mulligan and Grand Prize Draws
  • 4-Person Texas Scramble Format

Member Registration: $150+GST/person; ($600+GST/four-person team)
Green Fees, Power Carts, and Supper included

* Please contact Cindy Simigan at for sponsorship opportunities and for more information.

(one available)

(one available)

Alliance Disposal
County of Grande Prairie
(two more available)

(two available)

CMB Insurance Brokers
Paradise Inn & Conference Centre
Roger Arcand Professional Corp.
(one more available)

City of Grande Prairie
Community Futures Grande Prairie & Region
Grande Prairie Regional Tourism Association
Northern Doors
Sherry Drysdale, Mortgage Associate, Dominion Lending
The Glass Shop
(eight more available)

Thank you to our 13 hundred member businesses for supporting our Chamber. In our efforts to best promote your services, we need your help. Please take a few moments to check your information with us. This includes your business name, mailing address, physical address if different, your contact information including phone, email, website, and fax number if in use, number of employees, and the categories in which you are listed. We also ask you to review your web page with us to ensure you are making the most of your membership and look your best to users searching for your info!

Please contact Leah Fujarczuk, Member Relations and Engagement, at 780-532-5340 or for more information.

Let us help you spread the word about your business! Send us an ad for our our Digital Sign outside Centre 2000 on 116 Avenue!

For more information on Digital Sign advertising with EXCLUSIVE RATES FOR CHAMBER MEMBERS, please contact Leah in our office by phone at 780-532-5340 or email
Trudeau announces plans for end of CERB, transition to EI

The federal government plans to transition recipients of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to the Employment Insurance (EI) program as the $80-billion coronavirus aid program wraps up this fall, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Ottawa will also create a “transitional, parallel benefit” that is similar to EI for people who don’t qualify for the unemployment benefit, such as contract and gig workers.

“It will include access to training, and being able to work more hours and earn more money while receiving the benefit,” Trudeau said.

“We intend to cover every Canadian who is looking for work with a better, 21st-century EI system.”

The last scheduled CERB pay period is set to end on Sept. 26. The taxable, personal income benefit — launched in early April — provides $2,000 every four weeks to eligible applicants who lost work or their jobs due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic as of mid-March.

The federal government later extended the duration of the CERB program through the summer. Eligible applicants can claim the benefit for a maximum of six, four-week periods.

According to the government’s website, Ottawa has transferred $62.75 billion to 8.46 million unique applicants as of July 26.

Trudeau said more details about “what will come after the CERB” will be released in the following weeks.

He added that the government will also set up a “sickness and caregivers benefit” for individuals who contract the virus — or have a family member who did — and don’t have coverage through their job.

Over $95 million in relief and recovery funds flow to businesses in Western Canada

More than 1,760 businesses across the West receive targeted assistance to address the impact of COVID-19

July 28, 2020 – Vancouver, BC – Western Economic Diversification Canada
COVID-19 has had a severe impact on businesses of all sizes across the country, and those whose livelihoods depend on them. In Western Canada, thousands of local businesses saw their revenues disappear due to the pandemic, and have faced challenges keeping their employees, paying rent and utilities, and managing cash flow.

From the outset, the Government of Canada has taken action to support businesses large and small affected by the pandemic, including the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) that was launched on May 13. Nearly doubling the budget of Canada’s Regional Development Agencies, this $962-million fund, supports businesses across Canada that have been unable to get access to other federal relief measures, and might be in danger of falling through the cracks.

In the West, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is delivering, in collaboration with the Community Futures Pan West Network, over $300 million to help businesses pay their rent, keep their employees, and recover from the impact of the pandemic.

Support for main street businesses and SMEs
The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada, announced that businesses across Western Canada have received over $95 million in support from the RRRF. These interest-free repayable contributions are now flowing to more than 1,760 businesses across the West that were unable to get access to existing Government of Canada relief measures.

Most of the firms supported are small businesses with fewer than 100 employees, including many very small businesses with fewer than five employees.

Government Announces New Extension of Rent Relief for Small Businesses

July 31, 2020 - Ottawa, Ontario - Department of Finance Canada
The Government of Canada is taking strong, immediate and effective action to protect Canadians and businesses from the impacts of the global pandemic through its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

Today, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced that the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) will be extended by one month to help eligible small business pay rent for August. All provinces and territories continue to participate in this initiative, and collaborate with the federal government to provide rent supports to those small businesses most in need.

Despite the gradual lifting of restrictions and re-opening of businesses across the country, many small businesses continue to require assistance with their fixed costs to support them as they adapt to a new reality. This extension will help provide Canadian small businesses most impacted by the shutdown with an extended bridge to recovery.

Essential Services Contingency Reserve

Organizations that provide essential services may request access to the Government of Canada’s Essential Services Contingency Reserve (ESCR). Learn about the contingency reserve, find eligibility requirements and access the application form.

Through the ESCR, eligible essential service business or organizations may apply to receive personal protective equipment (PPE), non-medical masks and disinfection products to address urgent, short-term (45 days) needs. The Contingency Reserve complements existing PPE support being provided to frontline health care workers by the Public Health Agency of Canada. It helps other essential service organizations bridge critical, temporary gaps in their supplies to avoid any significant disruptions in services to Canadians. Supplies are provided on a cost-recovery basis to businesses or organizations that cannot access supplies through other means and when significant service disruptions are imminent. Support provided to provincial or territorial governments will not be cost recovered.

Before requesting support from the ESCR, your business or organization should visit the PPE supply hub for information on buying personal protective equipment, and explore all other sources of support, including existing support from within your sector and/or provincial or territorial governments.

Alberta’s government has provided businesses with more than $25.7 million since the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant was launched one month ago.

Funding has helped thousands of businesses safely open and hire and rehire staff since the program began accepting applications on June 29. In the first month of the program, almost 7,700 applications have been processed with more than 6,700 grants issued.

Businesses, cooperatives and non-profits across sectors have received funding, with the majority of applications so far coming from job creators in the retail, personal services, accommodation and food services, and health-care and social assistance sectors.

The Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses, cooperatives and non-profit organizations with fewer than 500 employees that faced restrictions or closures from public health orders, and experienced a revenue loss of at least 50 per cent due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Job creators that meet the program’s eligibility criteria can apply for up to $5,000 in funding, which can offset the costs they are facing as they reopen their doors. This includes the costs of implementing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as physical barriers, PPE and cleaning supplies, as well as rent, employee wages, replacing inventory and more.

The program launched with a budget of up to $200 million.

Application intake will remain open until Aug. 31, or for four weeks following the start of Stage Three of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy – whichever is later.

Full program details, including eligibility criteria and how to apply, are outlined on the program web page.
Workers’ compensation review

Albertans can share feedback on the workers’ compensation system to ensure it meets the needs of workers and employers by August 10, 2020.

The workers’ compensation system helps workers who become ill or injured on the job recover and return to work. Employers fund the system through premiums.

The Government of Alberta wants to hear feedback from Albertans to make sure the workers’ compensation system is efficient, affordable and sustainable while serving the needs of employers and workers.

Topics under review include:
  • benefits for workers
  • supports for return to work after an injury or illness
  • sustainability of the workers’ compensation system
  • enhancements of workers’ compensation processes
  • governance requirements

To provide your feedback, CLICK HERE

Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act review

Albertans can share feedback on OHS legislation to ensure it meets the needs of workers and employers by August 12, 2020

The OHS Act helps keep Alberta workplaces safe and workers healthy by preventing work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities.

The Government of Alberta wants to hear feedback from Albertans on ways to keep workers protected while reducing administrative burdens for businesses and employers.

Topics under review include how the OHS legislative framework can:
  • strengthen the Internal Responsibility System
  • enable innovation
  • clarify accountabilities

To provide your feedback, CLICK HERE
The City of Grande Prairie is proposing changes to the Business License Bylaw to support business retention, investment attraction, and overall economic growth by providing the City and industry with an understanding of the local business landscape.

Learn about the proposed changes by attending an online information session on August 11 at 3:30 PM or September 9 at 7:00 PM; or take the online survey by August 19.

Details about the Business License Bylaw, information session, and survey are on the City’s Engagement website:
Or, read the full news release here:
New Opportunity for Local Food Service Provider in Muskoseepi Park
A unique and exciting opportunity is currently available for a local entrepreneur to provide food and beverage services in Muskoseepi Park at the Ernie Radbourne Pavilion.

Expressions of interest for the leased kitchen are being accepted until August 10. Hours of operation will be proposed by the business as the City recognizes the seasonality and variable hours and traffic of the facility.
For more information or to submit an Expression of Interest for Leased Space, please visit the City of Grande Prairie website.
The County of Grande Prairie Business Support Network is proud to host the 2nd session in the series “Mastering the Pandemic- Finding Success Amid the Chaos on August 11 at 9:00 am and will host Grande Prairie Regional College – Continuing Education Department, Revolution Group, Maddhatters and Better than Fred’s.
Join us as we listen to how our local groups have pivoted to remain resilient. Learn what their best practices have become, mistakes that were made, or things they would have done differently. There is plenty of time for questions.
Please see the link for more information on this and future events.
Canadian Chamber of Commerce launches independent tax review to spur recovery, names leading Canadian experts for public consultations

(OTTAWA) – July 30, 2020 – The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is pressing for a more competitive, simpler and fairer tax system as a critical driver of Canada’s recovery from the economic crater of COVID-19.

“Canada will have to walk a fiscal tightrope between the need to reduce debt and deficits and supporting economic growth. The fastest and least painful path to recovery is by encouraging business investment and job creation. Reconceiving our tax system to rebuild our economy will be critical to Canada’s ability to recover from COVID-19’s impact,” said Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

The first step in the Canadian Chamber’s review process involves broad and inclusive public consultations on how to harness Canada’s tax system to foster growth. Leading the consultation process will be eight respected business and academic leaders, dubbed special commissioners, who will engage Canadian businesses and economic experts across Canada during the months of August and September 2020.

The Canadian Chamber’s special commissioners will solicit ideas on potential tax reforms that will help businesses and individual Canadians recover from the economic impact of COVID-19. In addition to drawing on their own expertise and insight, the special commissioners will consider ideas explored through 50 Years of Cutting and Pasting: Modernizing Canada’s Tax System – an important report produced by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

WEBINAR: August 10, 2:00 p.m. ET | The Key To Employee Well-Being During And After The Pandemic, Hosted By Desjardins

COVID-19 has seriously shaken things up for Canadians, in both their professional and personal lives. With our new normal, which—for many of us—means teleworking and homeschooling, we're seeing an uptick in health problems that organizations and insurers need to address and adapt to. In this webinar, we'll be looking at how overall health culture, which includes physical, mental and financial health, is especially important during a crisis. And how going forward, this culture will be an integral part of group plans.
WEBINAR: August 12, 1:00 p.m. ET | Getting Back To Business: Adapting Your Marketing Message For The New "Business As Usual", With Canada Post 

As the retail landscape has dramatically changed over the last few months, small businesses have had to navigate challenges they may not have anticipated. Regardless of the scenario, companies had to adapt their business models at the onset of the pandemic and are now faced with the next phase, transitioning into “business as usual.” 

In this webinar, Mamta Dogra, Senior Manager, Small Business Marketing at Canada Post, will share tips and resources on how to get your message in-market as you adapt your business, generate renewed brand awareness and find the right customers.