2020-06-22 - COVID-19 Update

Good afternoon,  

As a reminder, this will be our final COVID-19-specific update. Our annual general meeting is scheduled for June 25 at which point we are turning a new page on our communications. Next week, beginning July 2 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 fchamber@frederictonchamber.ca 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 membership@frederictonchamber.ca or (506) 451-9740.  

We will maintain the Personal Protective Equipment and Business Protective Products directory sections of our website including both member and non-member listings for the foreseeable future as we continue to deal with the pandemic. 


My latest thoughts on the pandemic were published in this commentary last week: COVID-19 – Response, Recovery, Resiliency


Minister of Finance Bill Morneau announced late last week that the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit Account (CEBA) that was set take effect on Friday, June 19, 2020 has been delayed – no new launch date has been provided.  

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. 

Last week, the Prime Minister announced an 8-week extension of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This extension will make the benefit available to eligible workers for up to a total of 24 weeks. 

The federal government has also announced that it will provide an “economic snapshot” in the House of Commons on July 8, 2020. The update will not, however, be a full fiscal update.  The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s 51 recommendations on our Road to Recovery here


On Friday, the Premier Higgs announced that New Brunswick was moving into the next phase of the Province’s recovery plan. Specifically: 

Effective Friday, June 19

  • Overnight camps will be allowed to open. 
  • Indoor visits with one visitor at a time for residents of long-term care facilities will be permitted, if the facilities are able to do so. (Unless the visitor requires support, in which case, two visitors at a time will be allowed.) 
  • New Brunswick residents no longer need to self-isolate when returning from work in another Canadian province or territory but they should self-monitor. 
  • Canadian residents owning property in New Brunswick will be permitted to enter the province provided they self-isolate for 14 days, or the duration of their visit if it is shorter than 14 days. 
  • Canadian residents can visit family members in New Brunswick provided they self-isolate for 14 days, or the duration of their visit if it is shorter than 14 days. 
  • All organized sports are permitted with appropriate distancing and sanitizing. 
  • A cap on the number of people gathering in controlled venues is lifted. Occupancy is based on the ability to maintain physical distancing between participants that are not close friends and family. This includes churches, swimming pools, saunas, waterparks, rinks, indoor recreational facilities and organized sports which previously had a gathering limit of 50 people. 
  • Venues with indoor events with controlled entry or controlled seating are required to maintain records of users’ contact information to allow Public Health to conduct targeted follow-up should there be a COVID-19 exposure at the facility. 

If the virus infection numbers remain manageable, the following restrictions are anticipated to be lifted, effective Friday, June 26

  • All remaining businesses can open with appropriate distancing and sanitizing, and operational plans respecting Public Health guidelines. 
  • Zone 5 will move fully into the Yellow level with the rest of the province provided the outbreak continues to be managed. 


UNB – Catalyst Program – Business Support 

The University of New Brunswick is launching Catalyst, a program that provides (free of charge) New Brunswick businesses access to some of UNB’s brightest and most talented students for assistance in immediate COVID-19 recovery and long-term strategy development. 
Catalyst can offer businesses expertise in: 

  • Cybersecurity 
  • Impact measurement 
  • Sales 
  • Accounting/finance 
  • Engineering 
  • Information technology 
  • Business development 
  • Marketing 
  • Supply chain management 
  • Healthcare management 
  • And more … tell them what you need 

Some specific examples of projects that Catalyst could help a business are: 

  • Completing operational plans for re-opening following COVID-19 mandated closures. 
  • Reviewing and revising human resource policies, developing back-to-work plans and employee engagement strategies 
  • Navigating and researching financial aid programs, funding opportunities and grants available in response to the COVID-19 crisis. 
  • Providing guidance surrounding some of the tax-related implications of new COVID-19 programs and policies. 
  • Designing marketing and communication strategies at a local or international level. 
  • Revising and overcoming export-related challenges created by the crisis. 
  • Creating online marketplaces or unique online solutions for your business. 

To learn more about Catalyst or to register, click here


The Museums Assistance Program (MAP) – COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Heritage Organizations provides financial assistance to organizations. Not-for-profits, Indigenous and museums owned by municipalities or universities may be eligible.  

The Supply Chain Workforce Marketplace is a free and open resource to help ensure visibility to the available supply chain human resources across the country and to help match available talent with opportunities. They welcome our members, partners, businesses, professionals, recruiters, those recently out of work, students and volunteers to connect and help fulfil the national demand for supply chain talent. 


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 this 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


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, please ask them to join our mailing list here. Of course, be sure to follow us on our social media vehicles (FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram). 


Krista Ross, CEO, Fredericton Chamber of Commerce