Weekly Update – 14 July 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Update. Read on for the latest news from the government.

Trudeau: Borders to Remain Closed to Non-Essential, Unvaccinated Visitors for Quite a While

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the idea that non-essential unvaccinated visitors will be allowed to enter the country. The Canada-US border remains closed to non-essential travel until at least 21 July and only Canadian citizens and residents are currently allowed to enter the country.

What You Need to Know About Canada’s New Border Rules

As of 12:01 am EDT on 5 July, Canadians and permanent residents who are fully vaccinated can now enter the country without having to quarantine or take the day eight COVID-19 test. They only need proof of vaccination and must submit a negative COVID-19 test result.

How does it work?

To be eligible, here are the requirements:

  • Fully vaccinated by one of the approved vaccines– Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca. The last dose should also have been received at least 14 days before coming to the border.
  • Negative test result within 72 hours before coming to the border
  • Vaccine certificate and test information must be uploaded on ArriveCAN app
  • Take and pass a COVID-19 test upon arrival.

This marks the first phase of the gradual easing of the Canada-US border restrictions that have been in place since March 2020.

Over 50% of Eligible Canadians Now Fully Vaccinated

More than half of all eligible Canadians have been fully vaccinated as of Monday. Over 57% of people aged 12 and over in Manitoba have been fully vaccinated, while Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick and the three territories have cracked 50%.

Support for Indigenous-owned Businesses in the Atlantic Region

The government announced the renewal of the Indigenous Community Business Fund (ICBF), which was launched in June 2021 to provide $117 million to support indigenous microbusinesses and community- or collectively-owned businesses.

On Monday, it was announced that over $13 million in non-repayable financial contributions will be provided to indigenous businesses in the Atlantic Region to strengthen their operations and position them for recovery.

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.

Government Extends Access to COVID-19 Benefits

Legislation enacted in March 2021 extends and expands the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) and Employment Insurance (EI) regular benefits.

The amendments include:

  • Extension of the maximum duration of CRB and the CRCB to 38 weeks (from 26 weeks)
  • Extension of the CRSB to four weeks (from two weeks)
  • Extension of the EI regular benefits so they’re available to a maximum of 50 weeks (from 26 weeks) for claims that are made between 27 September 2020 and 25 September 2021.

Self-employed individuals who have opted into the EI program will now be able to use a 2020 earnings threshold of $5,000 (previously $7,555). This change is retroactive for claims as of 3 January 2021 and applies until 25 September 2021.

More information can be found here.

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.

Eight Tips to Calmly Handle Company Crises

Running a business has its own ups and downs. Sometimes, ideas fail and things go out of hand, leading to a crisis within the business. In this Forbes article, members of the Young Entrepreneur Council share eight tips to manage company crises calmly and competently.

  • Take a moment to sit and think, without distractions. It’s through clarity that you can make the best decisions and take the right actions.
  • Ask senior leaders to help address the crisis. Catch up with leaders, explain the current situation, and ask them to help you address the crisis.
  • Respond in a calculated manner instead of reacting. Responding requires you to take a moment, gather all relevant information, and make a plan to move forward.
  • Encourage employees to stick to their daily routines. This keeps a sense of normalcy and prevents placing unnecessary stress on employees.
  • Take ownership of successes and failures. Resist the urge to shift blame as this will only cause more problems and worsen the crisis.
  • Remember your company’s purpose and vision. Re-centre everything to your true north in order to stay calm and manage the crisis.
  • Quantify the issue to put it into perspective. Being able to quantify the issue as a one-dollar problem or a thousand-dollar problem, for instance, can help you approach the crisis from a composed viewpoint.
  • Create a plan of action with detailed steps. Proactively define priorities and then communicate the three or five most important steps. Having a plan will not only help address financial concerns and preserve operational continuity, but will also make your team feel secure.

Need more focused business advice? Get in touch with us today and let us talk about your specific situation and how we can help you.

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