The gravity of the past weekend continues to weigh on Nova Scotians. This is a devastating week for the province, and we encourage you to reach out to the 24/7 Mental Health Crisis Line (1-888-429-8167) if you are struggling. All of us at the Chamber are thinking about the victims and their families and friends.
Member Survey
We are planning on releasing a survey to members in the near future. The idea of this is to get an idea of your situations as they stand, what you see for the future, what supports you need, how we can help and more. We continue to advocate to government and tell them the programs and challenges you are facing. Don't hesitate to get in touch with us, we are here to help.

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance
Yesterday, Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau,  today announced  that the federal government has reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This program will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.

The government is also providing further details on the program:
  • The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June.
  • The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25 per cent of the rent.
  • Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.

Chambers fear that this initiative may be to late for some businesses, evidenced by some who have already had to close across the country. We encourage all landlords to work with your tenants to make this program work. Tenants, talk with you landlords now and get arrangements in place, be honest and up front about your situation.

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety
This organization has created a number of tip sheets for various higher-risk and essential industries. From what we know, we expect that the guidelines contained within these documents will be used as guidance when the province starts to reopen the economy.

Each document offers health and safety tips and good practices, for both employers and workers, specific to each industry or sector. Organizations and businesses can adopt this guidance to protect their workers and prevent the spread of infections. The tip sheets cover a range of occupations and industries from construction and trucking to healthcare and daycares.

NB and SK Governments Easing Restrictions
In light of encouraging infection rates in several provinces, provincial governments including Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador are in a position to begin assessing opportunities to restart their economies in phases. Yesterday, the Government of Saskatchewan publicly released  a plan for re-opening their economy  beginning as soon as May 4. 
Yesterday, Premier Higgs announced a four-phase approach with some restrictions lifted immediately, Most measures are connected to levels increased recreational and defined social interaction. A guidance document for public health measures is in development however a summary of the first steps is include in the  daily press release .

Your Chamber of Commerce with working with the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce and the Nova Scotia Business & Labour Economic Coalition to provide feedback and input to the province regarding the reopening of our economy. We know that this will need to include appropriate supports and are communicating those needs on a regular basis.
We have created a new page for all information we have related to COVID-19.

As things continue to change we will update this website in addition to sending out updated via email that have updated and new information.

Be sure to save this page and refer back to it as this situation progresses.
Upcoming Yarmouth Chamber Events
APEC continues to  monitor and analyze the economic impacts of COVID-19  on Atlantic Canada. In this webinar APEC will share its insights and assessment of what we know so far. This session will build upon APEC's  March 18 webinar on the potential economic impacts  of COVID-19.

Topics will include:
  • Tracking new cases and the implications for the duration of The Great Shutdown
  • Overall economic impacts
  • Industry impacts
  • Fiscal impacts
  • Policy considerations
Financial Institution Webinar
Wednesday, April 29 - 9:30am

Join us for a discussion with local financial institutions with regards to what they are doing to help businesses through this crisis. This will be a wide ranging conversation that will certainly help you plan as we start to look to the end of this crisis. We expect this webinar to last one hour, panelists will open with remarks followed by Q&A’s.

Open Members Call
Thursday, April 30 - 9:30am

Join us for an open call where we will hope to hear from our elected officials and will take your questions and listen to your concerns so we can continue to advocate on your behalf.

The Yarmouth & Area Chamber of Commerce is a member of the Nova Scotia Business and Labour Economic Council. This group was formed immediately after the first case was identified in Nova Scotia, to help make sure governments had direct and immediate feedback with regards to different programming. We meet virtually three times a week. We will provide further updates on the activities of this group as we go along.

Nova Scotia Department of Business Minister, Geoff MacLellan, spoke yesterday with the Nova Scotia Business & Labour Economic Coalition, to review the current provincial supports for the business community and the gaps that remain. Mr. MacLellan acknowledged that the partnerships created and willingness to work together has been outstanding and has provided invaluable resources and information for their policy decision making. The Coalition will continue to advocate for support and provide up-to-date and relevant information to the business community.
The province announced today, April 24, the COVID-19 Small Business Credit and Support Program as a temporary stream for access to credit, cash grants and support delivered from Chamber affinity partner CUA and participating credit unions. The program will be available starting Wednesday, April 29. The program will provide eligible applicants a maximum loan amount of $25,000 and upon approval businesses will receive a grant of up to $1,500. There will also be a business continuity voucher of up to $1,500 to help hire a private consultant for advice. Loans may be granted for a term of up to 10 years and lines of credit for up to seven years with an interest rate of prime + 3.35%. 

To be eligible, small businesses must have a payroll less than $20,000 in the previous fiscal year and have experienced a decline in revenue from sales of at least 15 per cent in March or at least 30 per cent in April, May or June. The Halifax Chamber believes this should assist sole-proprietors or small business owners that receive dividends as income. The program will be available until June 30.
Quick Facts:
  • Maximum loan amount is $25,000
  • Upon approval, businesses will receive a grant up to $1,500, as well as a COVID-19 Business Continuity Voucher of up to $1,500, to help hire a private consultant for advice and support in adapting or recovering from the impacts of COVID-19. The Voucher Program will be open until May 29, 2020 and all projects funded under the Voucher Program must be completed by July 3, 2020.
  • Have not applied or received a loan through CEBA 
  • Be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, co-operative, society, social enterprise, not for profit, charity in business, and other similar organizations.

As part of the package of supports for small businesses, the province is working with post-secondary education partners to deliver education, training and guidance to small businesses. A centralized hub hosted by the Nova Scotia Community College will connect businesses to programs available from post-secondary institutions and other regional organizations. It will be available in early May, but you can get start getting answers now by emailing  or visiting

NSBI’s Business Development Program, formally known as the Small Business Development Program, supports Nova Scotia businesses looking to increase their export capacity. The program provides financial incentives to engage with an external expert to address challenges or barriers within the business.

The program is made up of two streams. The first stream supports the acquisition of private-sector consultants to provide professional expertise to overcome a certain pain point to keep your business growing. The minimum project cost for this stream is $5,000 and funding is provided at 50%, up to a maximum of $15,000 per fiscal. The second stream is focused on senior executives and helps companies identify and develop the leadership skills needed to grow. Executives will work with business experts to understand and address how to overcome barriers to successfully scale your company and increase sales.

The program is open for applications until January 15, 2021. More information is available at

JA Canada is the largest youth business education organization in Canada with offices in every province. The organization works in partnership with educators, volunteers and businesses to educate students about financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness skills. The programming is free and can be led by a parent or self-directed. The programming is appropriate for Grades 3 – 12 and are co-curricular.

More information is available at
New Resource Web Page From Finance Canada 
Finance Canada has produced a refined search tool to help businesses find the financial supports they may be eligible for, including direct financial support programs, access to credit and more.

KPMG Webinar: Navigating Federal & Provincial Programs
There is an impressive array of federal, provincial and territorial government programs that offer subsidies, loans and other measures to meet the urgent needs of businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Join professionals from KPMG for a live interactive discussion on April 28 at 2:00 p.m. ET to help you better understand these programs and how they can help your operations.

Canada Life Webinar: Mental Health & Your Workforce
We all juggle work, financial, family and social demands, but unexpected circumstances, like the ones we are experiencing right now, can cause multiple stressors to coincide. Join Mary Ann Baynton, Director of Collaboration and Strategy from Workplace Strategies for Mental Health (compliments of Canada Life), on April 29 at 2:00 p.m. ET, who will discuss building resilience when stressors are high.
The  CBDC Yarmouth  is making available a new Working Capital Loan Program. The program is for businesses in Yarmouth County who are in need of working capital to keep their business afloat or to change the way they do business, RIGHT NOW.

The Working Capital Loan offers:
- Up to $25,000
- Up to 1 year of interest only payments
- Affordable interest rates
- Flexible/seasonal repayment schedules
- No penalty payout
- Streamlined application process

Contact CBDC to get started.
Provide your perspective on government policy/programs, enrol in the  Atlantic IMPRESSIONS Atlantique   survey participant list.