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This Week's Updates

Subsidy Extensions Announced Today
Today, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, announced that the government intends to extend the current rate structures for these subsidies from March 14 to June 5, 2021. Specifically:

  • the maximum wage subsidy rate for active employees would remain at 75 per cent;
  • the maximum rent subsidy rate would remain at 65 per cent; and
  • Lockdown Support would remain at 25 per cent and continue to be provided in addition to the rent subsidy, providing eligible hard hit businesses with rent support of up to 90 per cent.

These extensions would provide certainty and continued support for workers, businesses and other affected organizations in the face of ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic. With regard to furloughed employees, the government intends to continue to align the wage subsidy rate structure with the benefits provided through the Employment Insurance program from March 14 to June 5, 2021. This means employers who qualify for the wage subsidy would be able to continue to claim up to a maximum benefit of $595 per week per employee to support remuneration of their furloughed workers.

Through the pandemic, applicants have demonstrated revenue declines by comparing revenue to the previous year. Given that we are approaching a full year since the COVID-19 pandemic, the government is today announcing that applicants would be able to continue to use a pre-pandemic 2019 reference month, effective for the upcoming periods from March 14 to June 5, 2021. Read the press release.


Tax Season is Here!
If you are looking for some professional assistance make sure to check out our membership directory, we have a number of local businesses that can assist you under our Professional and Business Service categories.  


Increased Financial Support and Easier Access to COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program 
Small business and registered charities struggling to keep up with their electricity or natural gas bills will now have an easier time accessing the financial support offered by the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB). The program’s eligibility criteria was recently simplified and credit amounts have been increased to enable customers to catch up on their past due energy bills and resume regular payments. Under CEAP-SB, a small business or registered charity can now receive up to $1500 towards their electricity and natural gas bills through a one-time, on-bill credit. 

CEAP-SB is funded by Ontario and delivered by electricity and natural gas utilities and unit sub-meter providers (USMPs). To apply, contact your utility or USMP directly as each may have a unique approach for application in-take. CEAP-SB funding is limited with applications processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit www.oeb.ca/ceap for more information.

 
Provincial 2021 Budget
We discussed last week that The Chamber Network had submitted a pre-budget submission for the 2021 federal budget, well The Chamber Network has now also done the same for the 2021 provincial budget. 

The Chamber Network’s pre-budget submission focused on recovery, growth, and modernization. The submission calls for policies that minimize the impacts of business closures, uplift the sectors and demographics hit hardest by the pandemic, invest in the infrastructure and workforce of the future, and modernize government services to improve outcomes for businesses and residents.

At the launch of the submission, Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce said “With Ontario’s economy expected to enter a period of recovery this year as vaccines are distributed and businesses begin to reopen, resources need to be focused on where they will have the greatest impact. In the upcoming budget, we would like to see a focus on reskilling, broadband, and access to capital, which will be necessary for the revival of small business and entrepreneurship as well as an inclusive economic recovery.” I believe that each of these points resonate with business throughout the Haliburton Highlands. Read The Chamber Networks Pre-Budget Submission

 
Just a reminder to register for our FREE 
Supporting Mental Health in the Workplace Program

1 in 5 Canadians struggle with mental health and The Chamber wants to ensure local businesses the tools they need to properly support all of their employees and customers.
 
The first virtual training session is just around the corner on March 9th at 8:30am. For more information, visit our website.

This FREE program has two parts:
  1. Virtual Training: Mental Health Response and Recognition. This is a two session training course. REGISTER NOW
  2. Advisory Services: Psychological Health and Safety Advisors will perform one-on-one assessments of your policies and procedures to ensure you have a plan for optimal compliance to CSA Standards. APPLY NOW

SPACES FOR BOTH THE TRAINING AND ADVISORY SERVICES ARE LIMITED SO REGISTER TODAY.
Registration and applications have been extended so register now!
Other Upcoming Events

Stirke Up 2021
March 4 | 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET | Virtual
Let’s StrikeUP together to advance women’s economic empowerment and grow the number of women-owned Canadian businesses.

Let’s StrikeUP together to build capacity within the entrepreneurship ecosystem and close gaps in service of women entrepreneurs.

Register now for free for the StrikeUP 2021 virtual conference to invest in yourself and to grow your business in 2021, gaining access to growth partners, mentorship and finance. Register Now

Government Support Programs and Tax Planning Strategies, with Grant Thornton
March 9 | 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET | Virtual
Join us for this event as Grant Thornton LLP (Canada) provides an update on CEWS, CERS and home office deductions.  

Tara Benham, National Tax Leader, and Dennis Tmej, Partner, Tax Services with Grant Thornton, will discuss recent changes and updates to tax rules affecting businesses that may present both challenges and opportunities with respect to tax planning, compliance and strategy, including estate freeze strategies, estate planning alternatives and loss consolidation strategies. Register Now

Anyone Can Be A Victim: How to Protect Your Business, with TD
March 30 | 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET | Virtual
TD Business Advisors are supporting businesses as they navigate through this unprecedented time. Join Dennis Parker, VP, Business Banking, Aaron McAllister, AVP Financial Crimes and Fraud Management Group, and Julie Lavoie, VP Business Banking, for this exclusive webinar on March 30. 

This is an opportunity to learn from TD Business Bankers and have your questions answered on going digital, managing fraud risk and protecting your business. Register Now
 If you have any questions about these or other resources, don't hesitate to reach out,

Amanda Conn
Executive Director
Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce