We started sending COVID-19 email updates on 13 March 2020 and have sent out more than 50 since that time. Thank you for all of your positive feedback – we were so pleased to provide this resource for our members and the business community as a whole. I want to say a special thank you to Morgan Peters our Policy and Research Manager for his exceptional work in curating this document with me! As well, our Operations and Communications Manager Wendy Morrell for working closely with Taylor Printing each day to get the message out in a timely manner, to our Membership Development and Marketing Manager Christine Little for making sure our messaging was shared widely and featured in our social media feeds – Twitter, FaceBook, and LinkedIn as well as continuing to bring on new members during a pandemic – bravo… Of course, it goes without saying that the rest of #TeamChamber were working hard behind the scenes as well – with Tanya Senechal our Event Manager coordinating our many workshops, webinars and virtual networking events and our bookkeeper Brianne Phillips helping us to navigate and better understand the financial issues that our organization is facing along with yours.
Our update next week (June 22) will be the final COVID-19-specific message. Our annual general meeting is scheduled for June 25 at which point we are turning a new page on our communications. The following week, July 2nd we will launch a revamped, weekly Chamber Connections that will include all of the COVID-19 information you need along with information about our advocacy efforts, events, other important messages, member benefits as well as “Members Around Town” event and promotional submissions that previously had their own bi-weekly dedicated Eblast. We are also retaining our Sunday Event message as members have told us they like to use the information to help plan their week.
With most businesses open or planning to re-open soon, we will discontinue our COVID-19-specific “Who’s Open” directory on 26 June 2020. You will still have access to all of our chamber members’ information through our Membership Directory, found on our website. Now is the right time for you to update your regular listing if it is not current – connect with Operations Manager Wendy Morrell at firstname.lastname@example.org to make changes.
We know that non-members of the chamber benefitted from the “Open, Operational and/or Offering Help” during the pandemic shutdown. Of course, we would be pleased to speak to you about continuing this relationship through a chamber membership. Please reach out to Membership Development & Marketing Manager, Christine Little for details at email@example.com or (506) 451-9740.
We will maintain the Personal Protective Equipment and Business Protective Products directory sections of our website for the foreseeable future as we continue to deal with the pandemic.
Today, Minister of Finance Bill Morneau announced that eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit Account (CEBA) would take effect on Friday, June 19, 2020. The changes include allowing owner-operated small businesses that had been ineligible for the program due to their lack of payroll, sole proprietors receiving business income directly, as well as family-owned corporations remunerating in the form of dividends rather than payroll to become eligible.
To qualify under the expanded eligibility rules, CEBA applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 will need:
- A business operating account at a participating financial institution;
- A Canada Revenue Agency business number;
- A 2018 or 2019 tax return; and
- Eligible non-deferrable expenses of between $40,000 and $1.5 million.
Eligible businesses will qualify for financing of up to $40,000, with 25 per cent of this being forgivable based on the current terms of CEBA loans. Businesses can contact their primary financial institution for more information or to apply directly for CEBA. More information on the expanded CEBA can be found on the program’s website.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has urged the provinces to prohibit commercial rent evictions while businesses come back from the COVID-19 pandemic.
British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec have all announced measures to prevent commercial evictions. New Brunswick had that protection in place until May 31 but the government has not extended that measure.
We have lobbied the provincial government to continue commercial rent protection until businesses can get stabilized as they reopen. Our letter can be found here.
Also today, the prime minister announced that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will be extended, but details will likely not be announced until next week.
Last week, the prime minister announced that temperature screening for air passengers will be mandatory starting at the end of this month. A passenger who has a fever will not be permitted to board their flight. More information here.
Business Resilience Service – New Weekend Hours
The Business Resilience Service (BRS) allows you to connect for free with experienced business advisors for guidance on which government relief programs will be most appropriate to support your small- to medium-sized business, not-for-profit or charity amid the pandemic. The service is available seven days/week: Monday-Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. AT, Saturdays: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. AT and Sundays: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. AT. More information is available here.
The federal government has partnered with the People Outside Safely Together (POST) Promise program, which is a voluntary commitment that business owners and managers can make by following five key public health actions that will help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Maintaining physical distance
- Washing and sanitizing hands
- Cleaning and disinfecting regularly
- Staying home if unwell and self-monitoring for symptoms
- Practicing respiratory etiquette (including wearing a mask when physical distancing is difficult)
By displaying the “POST Promise” logo, participating businesses can reassure customers that they are doing their part to help protect Canadians’ health and safety.
Turning Point Series
I hope you were able to take in the Turning Point webinars last week, if not you can find the recordings here:
Be sure to register for next week’s sessions as well:
There have also been complementary podcasts recorded for each session where our hosts and panelists dive deeper into the topics. You can listen to those here.
Take Control of Your Business: 3 Simple & Essential Tools to Help your Business Survive and Thrive in a Period of Extreme Uncertainty with Sysential. To learn more or register, click here.
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Krista Ross, CEO, Fredericton Chamber of Commerce