March 23, 2020 

Good afternoon, 

As we enter our second week of mass disruption to our businesses and lives as a result of COVID-19, I want to remind you to take care of your mental health and access available resources if you are struggling. These are challenging times and it’s important to maintain your mental resiliency. If your organization offers a health plan, it may have an EAP component to provide help or the Chimo Crisis line is available at 1-800-667-5005. We also continue to update our COVID-19 Resource Page as information and helpful resources become available. 

We are also launching a new resource on our website – a directory of businesses in the Fredericton are that are Open, Operational and/or Offering help to other businesses through the crisis. We are asking all local businesses that are open, operational and/or offering help to fill out this brief form to help us populate this page.  

Earlier today we wrote to Minister Mary Wilson to outline some of the ways that the provincial government can support business through the crisis. These include: 

  • Defer all taxes and fees owed to the Government of New Brunswick until revenue streams improve – specifically this would include property taxes. 
  • Freeze all payments to government entities including regulated utilities without penalties or interest. 
  • Apply a minimum three-month deferral on all business loan payments and related interest charges due to the government, as of April 1, 2020. ACOA has already implemented this as have other provincial governments. 
  • Modify the Small Business Investor Tax Credit to allow business owners to invest their personal savings into their existing businesses in the coming and receive the 50% personal credit during next year’s tax period. 
  • Advocacy support to the federal government for a much higher wage subsidy – in the range of 75-80% as other nations have begun to implement. We are also seeking a deferral of payroll taxes such as CPP and EI. 

Read the full letter here

Here is the latest information we have to share: 

  • The federal government has released an FAQ resource regarding the temporary wage subsidy announced on 18 March 2020. They are also recalling parliament tomorrow in order to pass essential legislation, such as authorizing the $82B package announced last week. Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin is part of the contingent of MPs attending. We are also advocating to the federal government for a much higher wage subsidy and relief from payroll taxes.  
  • The government is also extending its Work Sharing program from a maximum of 38 to a maximum of 76 weeks. Work sharing provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week while their employer recovers. Work-Sharing is a three-party agreement involving employers, employees and Service Canada. 
  • Service Canada will hold a webinar on Tuesday, 24 March 2020 at noon to help assist people to navigate through various programs and services offered by the Government of Canada. To register Service Canada, send an email to: on-eastern-sc-events-evenements-gd@servicecanada.gc.ca. You will receive a confirmation via email with joining instructions from this address. 
  • If you are confused about whether you or an employee is eligible for employment insurance or are looking for contact information, an infographic is posted on our website here

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  • WorkSafeNB has released the following statement regarding the three-month premium deferral announced on 20 March 2020. They state that “Details on the deferral continue to be worked out and we will continue to keep you informed when processes are confirmed.” 
  • Today, Premier Higgs announced that people and businesses that are unable to find answers to non-health related questions, including questions about compliance with the state of emergency on the government’s website can call 1 (800) 462-8387 (8:30 am to 4:30 pm, seven days per week) or email helpaide@gnb.ca.  

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  • The City of Fredericton provided an update on Saturday morning, including information such as facility closures, operation of essential services and grocery store operation hours. They also announced that the City would not disconnect water or sewer services for non-payment of bills during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have also provided updated contact information regarding community planning, heritage, and building inspection services during the crisis, including contact information. 
  • The Fredericton International Airport has provided the following update on their operations, including restrictions to entering the airport and route cancellations. Construction on the airport expansion continues. 

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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 

Sincerely,  

Krista Ross, CEO, Fredericton Chamber of Commerce 

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