2020-04-16 - COVID-19 Update

Good afternoon, 

First a shout-out to chamber members LuminUltra, Taylor Printing, Irving Oil, and Cooke Aquaculture for joining the fight against COVID-19. 

Earlier this week Prime Minister Trudeau announced that LuminUltra will provide 500,000 COVID-19 tests per week to the Canadian federal government for use across Canada. Taylor Printing has converted their operations and are now producing face shields and have orders for 65,000 – including 40,000 from the Government of New Brunswick. Irving is producing hand sanitizer as previously announced by the PM. BioOriginal, part of the Cooke Inc. family of companies has gained the CRA and Health Canada approval to produce three different sanitizing products including a sanitizing gel for hands, a surface sanitizer that replaces rubbing alcohol for medical uses, and a workplace sanitizer for equipment. If your business has similarly transitioned some of your operations and landed federal or provincial contracts – we would love to hear about it and celebrate with you! 

Yesterday we hosted the Hon. Mélanie Joly, federal Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister Responsible for ACOA for a video conference Q & A with questions submitted by the local business community. The recording of the meeting can be found here. Thank you to Minister Joly and her team for the time and arranging the call with our members.  

We plan to be back with our next update on Tuesday April 21st unless announcements are made that you need to know about more quickly!  If there is information you think would be helpful to share – be sure to send it along to us!  


Today, Prime Minister Trudeau made two significant announcements for business:  

  1. An expansion of the Canada Emergency Business Account (“CEBA”). The $40,000 loans are now available to businesses with payrolls between $20,000 and $1.5M in 2019 – the thresholds were originally set at $50,000 and $1M.  
  2. A new program, the Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance, to assist businesses pay rent for April, May, June. The federal government will need to work with provinces to deliver the program.  
    • Premier Higgs stated that he was waiting to learn more about the program as it was announced hours earlier. 

The news release can be found here

Yesterday, the prime minister announced an expansion of Canada Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”) eligibility to include people who: 

  • earn up to $1,000 per month 
    • There is no sliding scale claw back (i.e. if someone earns $1001 per month, they would not qualify for CERB). 
  • are seasonal workers 
  • have recently had their EI run out. 

More details will be posted on the portalIt will take 24-48 hours for the CERB application system to be updated with the new criteria and the revised application portal will be open after that. More information can be found in the government’s backgrounder.  


Today Premier Higgs announced that New Brunswick’s State of Emergency (“SOE”) declaration is being extended an additional two weeks, including the following changes: 

  • Restaurants will be permitted sell alcohol with takeout and delivery food orders – a move we have been pushing government to make (clause 2) 
  • Agricultural and gardening businesses are permitted to open as an essential (clause 3), providing they can comply with the orders contained in the declaration such as physical distancing (clauses 10 and 11). 
  • The updated SOE declaration can be found here

Today’s GNB news release can be found here and yesterday, 15 April 2020 can be found here. The legislature is being recalled tomorrow for a sitting to implement legislative changes including increasing fines for violating social distancing orders and implementing protection for workers who have contract COVID-19 or are caring for someone who has. 

As previously communicated, though business property taxes must be paid by May 31, late penalties will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to see if the penalty can be waived for June 1 and July 1 due to undue financial challenges, such as having to close a business due to COVID-19. 

We received some clarification from the Department of Finance and Treasury Board – they will be launching an application process for businesses that were unable to pay all or part of their 2020 Property Taxes by May 31st and who may be eligible for penalty relief.  Businesses will provide individual details on how teir situation has been affected by Covid-19 to determine if they are eligible for a waiver of penalties accrued on June 1st and July 1st.  The rate of penalty is 0.7591% monthly calculated on the outstanding balance on the first of every month, or 7.59$ / 1000$ of property tax owed. 


Fredericton City Council has decided to postpone two major infrastructure renewal projects scheduled for this spring and summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Planned projects on Regent Street (between Queen Street and King Street) and Union Street have been deferred and will be replaced by two other reconstruction projects that will have less impact on businesses and residents. The full news release can be found here


  • Ignite Fredericton is a hosting a virtual Town Hall discussion on our local economy during the current crisis and beyond on 23 April 2020 at 10:00 am. This hour-long session offers participants a valuable opportunity to engage with experts for answers to these questions and more. Panelists will be examining the following questions: 
    • What should businesses be doing right now to survive? 
    • What opportunities should entrepreneurs look to take advantage of? 
    • What will the new ‘normal’ look like as we move forward?
  • Featured Guest Panelists include:
    • His Worship Mayor Mike O’Brien 
    • Larry Shaw, CEO of Ignite Fredericton/Knowledge Park/Planet Hatch 
    • David Campbell, President of Jupia Consultants Inc. 
    • Dr. Herb Emery, Vaughn Chair in Regional Economics at the University of New Brunswick
  • The BDC has provided an updated link to their COVID-19 Relief Measures Guide and apologize for any inconvenience. Please find a link to a new version of the guide here.  
  • Thank you to Fredericton Chamber board member David Shipley of Beauceron Security for providing this informative webinar about how individuals working remotely can protect themselves, their organizations and their clients from cyber criminals, data breaches and privacy incidents. 
  • UNB’s Technology Management and Entrepreneurship program is inviting participants for the first ever online Startup Canada Weekend, which will be focused on developing solutions that directly tackle COVID-19-related challenges. They are 54-hour online events designed to provide superior experiential education for technical and non-technical entrepreneurs – you’ll connect with amazing mentors, industry experts, founders, and partners who are ready to help you get started. For more information, or to register, click here


If you haven’t yet checked out the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce’s Open, Operational and/or Offering help business directory, now would be a great time to do so. We have made it more user friendly and continue to ask all local businesses that are open, operational and/or offering help to fill out this brief form to help us populate the page.  And please continue to share, share, share so our community knows the services that are available!  More than 275 businesses and organizations have listed their services, products and how you can access them including nearly 20 offering free services to assist you during this time!! 


You are receiving this message because you are on our email list. If you know other individuals or organizations that could benefit from our information, ask them to join our mailing list here. Of course, all daily emails are also available on our website by clicking here we are continuing to share them on our social media vehicles (FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram). 

We also still want to hear how the COVID-19 Crisis is affecting your business and any specific ways that the government can support you at this time.  Contact either myself or our Policy & Research Manager, Morgan Peters to share information or ask questions. 

kristar@frederictonchamber.ca / (506) 461-5165 

advocacy@frederictonchamber.ca / (506) 470-5593 


Krista Ross, CEO, Fredericton Chamber of Commerce