2020-03-18 - COVID-19 Update

Good afternoon members, 

In an effort to keep you up to date on the latest developments regarding the COVID-19 crisis, I will be providing regular (at least daily) updates on our website and via direct email.   

Earlier today, Prime Minister Trudeau made two significant announcements: 

First, that the Canada-USA border would be closed to ‘non-essential’ travel, but that trade would not be impacted. I think it’s safe to say that trade will in fact be impacted, but supply chains will be allowed to continue to operate for the time being.  

Second, he announced an $82B aid package for individuals and businesses ($27B in direct support, $55B in tax deferrals). Details provided by government can be found here. An implementation plan is not yet fully articulated at this time. As we better understand details, we will share it via our various communication vehicles. 

Some of the highlights include: 


  • Wage subsidy: eligible small employers provided a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.  
    • Businesses can immediately access this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. 
    • We are seeking clarity on ‘eligibility’ – we will share that information as available 
  • Deferral of income tax payments: The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020.  This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. 
  • Access to credit: previously announced $10B additional funds through BDC (in addition to the $82B announced today) 
  • For exporters: additional loans, guarantees or insurance policies through EDC 
  • Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not quality for EI sickness benefits. 


Employees that are sick or caring for a sick family member or in quarantine or isolation: 

  • Waiving the one-week waiting period for those individuals in imposed quarantine that claim Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits. This temporary measure is in effect as of March 15, 2020.  Waiving the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits. 
  • Introducing the Emergency Care Benefit providing up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks. This flat-payment Benefit would be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and provide income support to: 
  • Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits. 
  • Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not quality for EI sickness benefits. 
  • Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.

Employees affected by economic consequences of COVID-19: 

  • Introducing an Emergency Support Benefit delivered through the CRA to provide up to $5.0 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment. 
  • Implementing the EI Work Sharing Program, which provides EI benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hour as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers, by extending the eligibility of such agreements to 76 weeks, easing eligibility requirements, and streamlining the application process. This was announced by the Prime Minister on March 11, 2020. 

The Prime Minister indicated that these were initial measures and we can expect more to follow. Many of these measures are being put in place for 12-14 weeks as a starting point, which gives us some frame of reference for how long they expect the crisis to last. 

Further details about these measures are forthcoming. We will share information on how to access assistance as it becomes available. 

Today, we have a commentary running in the Daily Gleaner, the Telegraph Journal and the Times & Transcript – an updated version can be found on our website

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

COVID-19 Resources for Business 

New today: 


  • The Atlantic Chamber of Commerce is soliciting your participation in a short survey to gather information on the specific scope of impacts on Atlantic Canadian businesses and the economy. The main objective is to guide our governments to implement effective programs to minimize the personal and commercial impacts. Please access the survey at this link: https://conta.cc/3aZH7Gf 
  • Government of Canada Business Support Page 

Business Planning Tools 




Other organizations  

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