Weekly Update – 2 December 2020
Welcome back to our Weekly Update. We hope you and your family are safe and doing well as we move into this holiday season. Read on for the latest updates.
GDP Rises 0.2% in October
Canada’s economy notched record growth in the third quarter, with real GDP expected to climb 0.2% in October, Statistics Canada said. However, analysts cautioned the rebound would stagnate in coming months amid renewed COVID-19 restrictions.
Canada’s Q3 annualized growth soared 40.5%, rebounding from a historic plunge in the second quarter, while September real GDP rose by 0.8%.
Canada Could Approve Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine ‘Around December’
Canada could approve Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine “around December,” about the same time as the United States and the European Union. Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine is most advanced in Health Canada’s reviews, Supriya Sharma, senior medical adviser at Health Canada said.
Sharma said several things are happening at the same time – regulatory reviews, manufacturing, distribution – which makes it difficult to pinpoint dates. However, she said the general timelines of authorizations could be around December and getting shipments in January.
War-hardened General to Lead Canada’s COVID-19 Vaccination Effort
A general who led NATO’s mission in Iraq as well as Canadian troops in Afghanistan and Bosnia will spearhead efforts to immunize most Canadians against the novel coronavirus by September 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday.
Three million Canadians, or eight percent of the population, should receive vaccinations in the first quarter of the year. Major General Dany Fortin, chief of staff of the Canadian Joint Operations Command, will coordinate the logistics and distribution of vaccines through the Public Health Agency of Canada, with the support of the military.
Ottawa Adding $20,000 Top-up To Small-business Loan Program
The federal government is increasing the size of its interest-free loan program for small businesses by 50% to help them weather the pandemic, with half of the top-up forgivable if the loan is repaid by the end of 2022.
The Canadian Emergency Business Account has provided $40,000 loans to more than 790,000 non-profits and small businesses. The $20,000 top-up of loans, provided through financial institutions and Export Development Canada, will be rolled out in December and can be applied for through March 31.
Canada Extends International Travel Restrictions
Canadian Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair announced that travel restrictions on U.S. citizens to enter Canada will be extended until December 21, and restrictions on travelers arriving from other countries will be extended until January 21.
There are a number of exceptions for immediate family members of citizens, essential workers, seasonal workers, caregivers and international students, to name a few.
New COVID-19 Rules for International Travellers
Anyone arriving in Canada by air is required to submit a quarantine plan and a novel coronavirus “self-assessment” before getting on a flight. Those who are entering the country by land are also strongly encouraged to do the same.
The information must be submitted digitally through the ArriveCAN app. Meanwhile, those who can’t use the app to submit must contact the government using a toll-free telephone number before starting their trip.
Furthermore, travellers are required to use the ArriveCAN app to send updates after they arrive in Canada, including confirmation that they have made it to their place of quarantine or mandatory self-isolation. Those in quarantine will also have to submit a daily update on their COVID-19 health status throughout the duration of their quarantine.
Failing to comply with these new rules could be subject to penalties ranging from verbal warning to a $1,000 fine. More information can be found here.
New Rent Subsidy Program Kicks Off
Businesses struggling to pay the bills because of the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to start applying Monday for a long-awaited new commercial rent-relief program offered by the federal government.
The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy will cover up to 65% of rent or commercial mortgage interest on a sliding scale based on revenue declines, with an extra 25% available to the hardest-hit firms.
Further details of this new rent assistance can be found here. You may also contact us so we can help you apply or consider other options you may be eligible for.
Applications Open for Benefits
The Canadian government has opened the application process for the three benefits that are intended to help people who lost their income because of COVID-19.
The Canada Revenue Agency has opened the applications on the My Account section of their website for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB).
If you need help with your application, get in touch with us so we can assist you. You may also book a consultation with us so we can explore other financial assistance options you may be eligible for.
CanExport: New Funding for Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses
The CanExport program will be pivoting to provide new support to small and medium-sized businesses on e-commerce, online platforms, and virtual trade events. Additional resources will also be provided to help businesses navigate changing trade rules, as well as women and Indigenous entrepreneurs.
Up to $75,000 in funding will be available to help Canadian SMEs break into international markets.
Up to $75,000 in funding to help Canadian SMEs, academic institutions and non-government research centres develop R&D collaborations through partnerships in foreign markets.
Starting December 1, 2020, Canadian national industry associations and trade organizations can apply for annual funding of up to $400,000 to pursue international business development activities.
You can find more information here but contact us if you have any questions.
New Canada United Small Business Relief Fund
The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund brings together financial institutions and business associations to support small businesses affected by COVID-19.
Starting August 31, the fund provides up to $5,000 in funding toward recovery efforts such as buying personal protective equipment, renovating physical spaces, or developing e-commerce capabilities.
This new funding is being managed by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the national Chamber network.
Rebuilding Customer Loyalty Post-Pandemic
Given the exciting progress in the development of COVID-19 vaccines, it seems like we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
However, getting your feet back on track may not be as easy as it seems. Businesses which had to shut down during the pandemic may have lost some momentum in their customer relationships. Below are ways to make customers re-engage:
- Incentivise engaging with your business by offering special offers, discounts, and gift cards.
- If you increased your social media and email marketing efforts at the height of the pandemic, keep that activity going and stay in touch.
- Strong customer relationships are built on trust, and the best way to establish this is to stay true to your brand and put your customers first.
- Know your customers’ evolving needs and adapt accordingly. Those who survived throughout the pandemic are those that have pivoted to meet their customers’ changing priorities.
If you are struggling to keep your business afloat, get in touch with us so we can work out a plan.
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Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss your next steps for your business.