Business Update – 1 December 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

Canada-U.S. Border Open for Short Trips with No Testing Requirement

The requirement for travellers to have a negative PCR test to re-enter Canada has been relaxed, as long as the trip to the US is under 72 hours.

Those who come back into Canada need to be Canadian citizens, submit their arrival information to the CBSA or through the ArriveCAN app, be fully vaccinated, and have the appropriate ID like a passport.

Vaccination Authorized for Children Aged 5 and Older

COVID-19 vaccination is now authorized by Health Canada for children five years old and above. The vaccines are free and your children do not need BC Care Cards to receive them.

Vaccination Requirement for Travel Now in Effect

Everyone aged 12 years old and above will need to provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination to travel from Canadian airports and trains, including VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains.

Until the end of November, proof of a negative PCR test was accepted for people wjo were not fully vaccinated. This alternative will no longer be accepted for everyone. However, those with exemptions will have to submit a temporary exemption form, signed by a doctor or nurse practitioner, and provide a valid negative PCR COVID-19 test result.

Economy Grew 1.5% in Q3

The economy grew by 1.5% in Q3, supported by more household spending, signalling the country is in a post-pandemic recovery.

Purchases of clothing, food, and other semi-durable goods rose 14% in the quarter, along with a 6.3% increase in the use of services like transit, according to Statistics Canada.

The increase in spending spurred a boost to exports, which rose 1.9%. Canadians are also saving more, with the household savings rate at 11%. This marks the sixth consecutive quarter of double-digit savings rate.

What to Watch Out for in Canada This Week

Here are the things to watch out for in the Canadian business world this week:

November Home Sales– Home sales figures for Calgary, Vancouver, and Toronto will be released on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, respectively.

November Jobs Numbers– Statistics Canada will release its labour force survey for November on Friday. Previously, the addition of 31,000 jobs in October lowered the unemployment rate to 6.7%.

Shift in COVID-19 Support Programs

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough says the shift in the government’s COVID-19 support programs from passive ones to those that incentivize work reflects Canada’s success in fighting the pandemic.

The new measures are aimed at replacing the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS). which expired on Saturday.

It was announced last week that the federal government is spending $7.4 billion to extend and create new COVID-19 support schemes for hard-hit businesses and workers that will carry into the spring.

Financial Literacy Resources to Help Canadians Bounce Back

November marks Financial Literacy Month— an initiative launched by community groups, non-profits, and government bodies to help improve financial literacy among Canadians.

Through Financial Literacy Month, Canadians can leverage information and support from various nonprofits and government agencies to better understand their finances. This will in turn help them become more confident, make better money decisions, and ultimately bounce back from the pandemic.

ABC Life Literacy Canada offers a number of free financial literacy resources from its Money Matters financial literacy program. You can learn more about Money Matters here.

Skilled Trades Training

The government has announced funding of nearly $890,000 for the College of Carpenters and Allied Trades in order to support the implementation of online learning. This investment is intended to help develop a highly qualified skilled trades workforce, and prepare Canadians to fill available jobs as our economy restarts.

Alberta Expands Financial Support Program to SMEs

Alberta is expanding its Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant to include another payment of up to $10,000 for eligible businesses. This marks the third time the $10,000 payment has been made available to Alberta organizations. It will also be available to businesses that started operating between 1 March 2020 and 31 March 2021.

The Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses that experienced at least a 30% decline in revenue because they were ordered to shut down or limit operations due to COVID-19.

HASCAP Loan Applications

Loan applications from the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) opened February 1.

Loans start at between $25,000 and $1 million for a single business depending on the size of the operation, and run up to $6.25 million for companies with multiple locations like a chain of hotels or restaurants. Interest rates are set at 4% across the board, terms will be up to 10 years, with up to a 12-month postponement of principal payments at the start of the loan.

To be eligible, companies will have to show a year-over-year revenue drop of at least 50% over three months, not necessarily consecutive, in the eight months before the application.

Further details can be found here.

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