Weekly Update – 1 September 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Update. For most of us, summer has flown by (as usual) and we are getting ready to dive back into our fall schedules. Read on for the latest news!

Moderna Vaccine Approved for 12- to 17-year-olds

Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada announced that Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is now approved for use in 12- to 17-year-olds. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved for Canadians in early May for those aged 12 to 15.

GDP Shrank by 0.3% in Q2

The economy shrank by 0.3% in the June quarter, as the third wave of COVID-19 prompted consumers and businesses to keep spending to a minimum.

According to Statistics Canada, at the end of June 2021 the economy was still about 1.5% smaller than it was in February 2020. Slowing housing market and slumping exports are found to be the major factors for the slowdown.

Business Optimism Improves

Canadian business owners are optimistic about the economy and its prospects over the coming year as the country recovers from the pandemic and companies start to hire once again. According to Statistics Canada, 75.7% of business owners report having a somewhat or very optimistic outlook on the year ahead. The positive outlook is due to a strong rebound in consumer retail sales, which comprise about 55% of the GDP so far this year.

US-Canada Border to Remain Closed Until 21 September

Canada’s land border with the United States will remain closed until at least 21 September. The US is currently dealing with a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant. This comes two weeks after Canada opened its land border to Americans who are fully vaccinated and have a negative PCR test taken within the previous 72 hours.

The extension of the border closure doesn’t affect the ability of US citizens currently in Canada to cross the land border into the US or of Canadians to fly to the US.

What You Need to Know About Canada’s Border Reopening

Canada has opened its border to vaccinated US citizens for non-essential travel on Monday, 9 August. For US citizens planning to cross the border, the following are required:

  • Proof of vaccination (Pfizer, Moderna, Astra-Zeneca, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines)
  • A recent negative molecular COVID-19 test submitted through the ArriveCAN app

Fully vaccinated travelers will not need to take a post-arrival test unless they have been randomly selected to complete a day 1 COVID-19 molecular test at no cost.

Government Extends Pandemic Recovery Programs and Business Support

The government extends a number of pandemic economic support including the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).

The eligibility period for CRB, CEWS, Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), and Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) will be extended to 23 October.

The amount of support available to employers under both the CEWS and CERS programs will also be increased for the period of 29 August to 25 September. CRB can pay out between $300 to $500 per week to recipients, depending on when they applied. The number of weeks claimants can receive the CRB will be increased to 54 weeks from the previous 50.

Get in touch with us if you have any questions.

Skilled Trades Training

The government of Canada 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 Now Open

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.

4 Strategies to Help Boost Sales

Small business owners know how challenging it is to close a sale. If you find yourself in a limbo– unwilling to give up on poor strategies or commit to potentially effective ones– try the following tactics shared in a Forbes article to improve your closing percentage.

  1. Provide leads with educational materials. It’s easy to close sales when customers truly understand a product or service.
  2. Use a multichannel approach. Don’t restrict yourself to a single sales channel– use social media, video and phone meetings, emails, and other ways to connect.
  3. Tailor your pitch better. Carefully target client needs and deliver a pitch that would appeal to them.
  4. Sell your solution—not the product. Clients want solutions to their problems. So focus on each client’s pain points and deliver a tailored pitch on how you could address those.

If your business is still struggling because of the pandemic, get in touch with our advisors today so we can work out a plan!

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