2020-03-26 - COVID-19 Update

March 26, 2020 

Good afternoon members, 

A week ago today, Premier Higgs declared a State of Emergency in New Brunswick and it’s been a big challenge for all of us adjusting to new ways to work and live. Since then, the situation has continued to evolve rapidly which makes things even more difficult for small business owners and their teams dealing with so much right now. Despite the crisis and fallout, it is important to try to maintain some positivity and keep our heads up. A lot of work and cooperation will be required to deal with the crisis and rebuild the economy, but we can do it together.  

The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce’s Open, Operational and/or Offering help business directory is now live. We are asking all local businesses that are open, operational and/or offering help to fill out this brief form to help us populate the page (we will work towards ensuring it is posted by the next business day).  And please continue to share, share, share so our community knows the services available! 


Today Premier Higgs announced that the three-month deferral of WorkSafeNB premiums would be interest free for employers. WorkSafeNB also has resources on its website to help businesses navigate operations through COVID-19 and implement Canada Public Health’s 12 recommended and safety practices to prevent the virus’ spread. FAQs here

The premier also provided more details on the previously announced assistance through Opportunities NB. $25 million is available as loans of up to $200,000 to small business. The premier specifically stated at the press conference that restaurants, seasonal tourism operators and service sectors are included.   

An additional $25 million in working capital to medium- and large-sized businesses is also available and the premier specifically mentioned manufacturing / processing industries, ICT, full-time tourism operators, business-to-business service sectors, companies engaged in import/export replacement and cultural enterprises.   

He also stated that further details will be available in the coming days.  

Deferrals on existing government loans are also available on a case-by-case basis. The government says to contact the issuing department to request a deferral.  

Premier Higgs reiterated that the provincial government is taking the approach that they are filling gaps in support provided by the federal government. 

The full government news release can be found here

A summary of provincial government action related to business to date can be found here


Thank you to Terry Seguin and the team at CBC for having me on Information Morning earlier today to talk about the impact the crisis is having on the local business community. I also want to clarify my comments regarding the federal government’s 10% wage subsidy.  I should have said that the wage subsidy is a reduction in a company’s payroll remittance equal to 10% of wages, but can only be applied to income tax deductions, not CPP or EI amounts.  Businesses usually file these remittances in the subsequent month of a payroll run, which does not give them any relief in the short-term. The full interview can be found here


NB Business leaders have collaborated with Opportunities New Brunswick to launch a new NB Business Webinar series covering COVID-19-related topics. A link to the first episode (Employer Responsibilities and Resources) will be available tomorrow on ONB’s social media feeds and we’ll be sure to share as well.   

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is leading a call from more than 60 organizations for more federal government support for businesses through the COVID-19 crisis. The relief requested includes an 80% wage subsidy and postponing any increases in taxes, non-essential new regulations, and unnecessary consultations. 

The Canada Border Service Agency’s Border Information Service (BIS) is now accessible 24/7. For the most up-to-date information related to cross border travel and business, you can call 1-800-461-9999. 


We have been sending our daily updates via our member database ‘Chamber Master’ as well as via our Eblast system to our larger list of contacts – in fact, many are receiving both. If you know someone who had been receiving it through our database and may have missed a couple – please encourage them to sign up for our e-blast list here as we are experiencing a few technical difficulties with our member database and are concerned not everyone is receiving the updates.  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). 

You are receiving this message because you are in our member database or via our email list. If you know other individuals or organizations that could benefit from our information, ask them to join our mailing list here

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