COVID-19 Government Update
Albertans can now enjoy reduced public health restrictions while strong measures remain in place to protect hospitals and limit the spread of COVID-19. Completing Step 2 of Alberta’s Path Forward, updated health measures are now in place for retail, hotels and community halls, performance groups, and youth sports, performance and recreation. These changes are effective immediately. They are in addition to the Step 2 measures announced on March 1, as pressure eases on the health system and hospitalizations remain well below 450.

Since the beginning of January, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has been issuing T4A slips to individuals who received COVID-19 emergency and recovery benefits from the CRA in 2020. These benefits are taxable, and the information on T4As is needed when individuals are filing their taxes this year. As these slips continue to be issued, individuals are reminded to read all communications from the CRA. Some of this correspondence requires action and ignoring it could result in the recipient not receiving benefit or credit payments they are entitled to.

Pay your premiums, get a clearance and more with the myWCB mobile app for employers. The new app allows users to request real-time clearance letters on an account and view your account’s status, check the balance on your account, make payments, update payroll, and change to a monthly payment installment plan by signing up for pre-authorized debit. The app also allows users to connect directly with WCB, by sending a message or requesting a callback.

The experience and expertise of Alberta’s energy sector will guide a new federal-provincial working group exploring ways to reduce emissions. The working group will consist of officials from the governments of Alberta and Canada and will be advised by representatives from key Alberta industries and other experts. The group will specifically explore opportunities with carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) technology, and how Alberta can lead the way in setting up Canada to be a global leader in emissions-reducing technology.

The Alberta Activity Index (AAX), an indicator of provincial economic activity, dropped to a nine-year low in May. Since then, the recovery has been led by households, as indicators like retail spending and housing construction have rebounded more strongly than anticipated. This Spotlight highlights some of the key trends that shaped the Alberta economy in 2020.
Businesses need government and community support
It has been a year since Alberta shut down to battled COVID-19. Though it started as an extended March break away from the kids and a few weeks of working from home, it quickly became apparent that we would be in for the long haul.

It feels like we are finally on the home stretch. A fourth, single dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson is now available in Canada and our governments are promising to have vaccines available to all in the coming months.

But we are not there yet. Increased cases in Lethbridge highlights the need for all of us to be careful and vigilant.

Local businesses have faced a year of frustration, stress and for many – severe financial loss. The rainy-day reserves have long since been used up and debt levels are making it difficult to be able to continue borrowing.

Wage and Rent Subsidy Expansion
The Government of Canada announced recently that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy programs will continue at the current support rates until June, providing some much-needed certainty and financial support for business.

Canada Emergency Business Account Repayment
The Canada Emergency Business Account has been an important lifeline for many small businesses across the country by providing vital access to capital. Businesses in our hardest hit sectors will likely take several years to have their cashflow return to pre-2020 levels as they service their debts, rebuild their consumer base, and continue to modernize. These sectors include accommodation, food service, arts, entertainment, recreation, and retail.

The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce is asking the Government of Canada to:
  • Extend by two years the repayment deadline for eligibility for loan forgiveness for the Canada Emergency Business Account to December 31, 2024
  • Implement an income-based payment plan – similar to the CEWS eligibility criteria – for businesses that require longer to recover from the challenges of COVID-19

These modifications will help businesses though recovery and ease the current stress and anxiety many small business owners are dealing with.

Freeze the alcohol tax
In 2017, the government brought in automatic tax increases for alcohol. The next increase is slated for April 1, 2021. We are calling on the Government of Canada to freeze the alcohol tax rate.

The food service industry – restaurants, pubs, and bars and their suppliers, including breweries, farmers, and their logistics companies – are among the hardest hit right now. Successful restaurants had profit margins of four to six percent when times were good, and this tax is an added burden especially with indoor dining closed or significantly reduced.

Businesses need local support
The most important resource for local businesses is the support of their customers and the community as a whole. We all need to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19 and work our way back to a few local cases and fewer social and business restrictions. We also need to continue patronizing our favorite local businesses. 

Beginning March 31, 2021 we will be hosting our monthly information session on various government programs with Byron Anderson, Workforce Consultant, Government of Alberta. 
Welcome New Members
Thank You Renewing Members
Member Spotlight: Inspire Marketing & Media
Vibrant Community Connections
Albertans Helping Albertans Virtual 5K
The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce has created a team in support of the Albertans Helping Albertans Virtual 5K 2021, cancer walk.

Our member Bayshore Home Health is sponsoring this event and will be matching donations at 50% up to a maximum of $20,000. Our Champion Committee member Deborah Gordon from Bayshore Home Health is asking us to support this initiative. She said “I am committed to showing Alberta how strong our Lethbridge community is!”.
 
Join our Team!
 
Make a Donation
Showcased Local Services
Tecconnect
Tecconnect helps clients with their new business ideas and guide established companies towards preparing for growth and scaling. 
We can provide your business with 1:1 coaching assistance and connection to resources while you sharpen entrepreneurial fundamentals, create forward plans and innovations, and consider new or emerging technologies for your operation. 
 
Reach us about our FREE Tecconnect Entrepreneur Program. 
We are here to help you: Start! Navigate! & Innovate! 
Southern Alberta Ethnic Association – Taste of Thailand
Taste of Thailand To Go, Friday March 26 

Authentic Thailand Cuisine, includes a flat sheet with cultural information and a suggested movie & or documentary.

Choose between regular or vegetarian options when you purchase your tickets! 

Get your tickets here for only $20 before the end of the day Wednesday March 24th

Pick up at the Multicultural Centre & see the cultural display
(421 6 Ave South) on Friday March 26th between 5:00-6:30pm.

Call 403-320-1577 or email info@saea.ca for more information!
Be in the stands with the Lethbridge Hurricanes!
Fill our stands! Be in the stands at the ENMAX Centre all season long with a cut-out of yourself. Keep your cut-out after the season! We'll arrange a pick-up with you after the season, if you are not in Lethbridge we can ship the cut-out to you after the season. Shipping fees additional.
What skills does your business need?
Labour market and skills survey
How can the Alberta Chambers of Commerce help you recruit people will the skills you need? How do you find these workers and, more importantly, how do you keep them? Is there a better way to do it?
 
If you haven't already, please take 5 minutes to share your insights on skills, training, and Alberta’s current labour market through our annual survey. Your answers will help inform advocacy of the Alberta chambers network.

ACC really appreciates you taking the time to share your insights. To show our appreciation, you will be entered to win one of 20 $50 shop local credits. 
Upcoming Events from the Lethbridge Chamber

Join us to learn more about the Cannabis Industry! 

Nathan Mison, Co-Chair for the National Cannabis Working Group with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, will share important information on the economy driver within the Cannabis Industry. On the meeting, we will also have local cannabis retailers to provide you with information on cannabis, and how it can affect our community.

Guest Presenter: Shelagh Graham, City of Lethbridge
Wrestling an Octopus - Land Use Bylaw Review

Join us in collecting knowledge, building relationships, and leave empowered to tackle the everyday business grind.

How can we as a City better manage and achieve a better balance between social needs and business needs?

Government information session for regional partners/stakeholders/businesses to speak to new programs and/or program changes.

Join us for a presentation from Ammolite Analytix about Cybersecurity in the workplace.
Thank you to our media partners for their continued support
Thank you to our Community Investors for their
continued support