Weekly Update – 9 September 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Update. Here is the latest information for travel and business!

Canada Reopens Borders to Fully Vaccinated Travellers

Despite a 4th wave, Canada has reopened its borders to fully vaccinated travellers from across the globe starting 7 September. Since the start of the pandemic, non-essential foreign travellers have been barred from entering Canada, but now they can skip the 14-day quarantine requirement if they’re fully vaccinated.

Business Insolvency Filings Drop to 35-Year Low

Only 160 businesses filed for insolvency in July, which marks a 35-year low and a 28.3% decline in filings from the month prior.

Business insolvencies were also down by 21.2% in the 12 months that ended on 31 July compared to the same period last year. This is primarily due to the federal government’s pandemic wage and rent subsidies and other business support programs which have been extended until 23 October.

Bank of Canada Holds Key Interest Rates Steady

The central bank kept its key interest rate target on hold as economic recovery could be affected by the fourth wave of COVID-19 and supply bottlenecks.

The central bank held its target for the overnight rate at 0.25% and said they will maintain its quantitative easing program by buying bonds at a target pace of $2 billion per week. Last week, Statistics Canada reported that GDP declined in Q2.

The Bank of Canada expects that the economy will strengthen in the second half of the year, but the pandemic and supply chain issues may weigh in.

Pandemic Recovery Programs and Business Support

The government has a range 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 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.

Cyberthreats

To avoid phishing attacks by clicking on bad links in emails, a commonly advised strategy is to hover the over the link to check on the destination before clicking on that link. However, a recent spate of phishing attacks has targeted Office 365 customers by leading victims to a fake login page where Office 365 credentials are stolen. Bad actors have been exploiting open redirects to redirect visitors from trustworthy sites to malicious sites. Google warns that the mouse hover trick is not a reliable tool to prevent phishing

4 Easy Ways to Provide More Value for Your Customers

Customers choose you over your competitors because you provide the most value. As competitors find ways to make their offerings more appealing than yours, you should also implement some strategies to provide even greater value than you already do and retain customers. This Forbes article shares some tips on how you can achieve this.

  • Become a niche authority. Establish yourself as an authority in your niche and provide solutions or insights to their pain points through blogs and social media posts.
  • Ask customers for feedback. Obtain honest feedback from customers to discover how you can add even greater value and improve customer experience.
  • Proactively customise your offerings. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t always work. Understand what each client needs and tailor your services accordingly.
  • Reward loyalty. If you want to gain repeat customers, find ways to reward their loyalty. Provide incentives and devise a rewards system.

As you try to make your customers happier, your business becomes more memorable and valuable for them. Therefore, it’s a win-win situation!

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

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