March 24, 2020 

Good afternoon members, 

The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce is launching and populating 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.  And then let’s all share, share, share! 

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To highlight the depth of the early economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis is having on small business, the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce and CFIB have released the results of their latest surveys. Some of the alarming results include: 

Atlantic Chamber of Commerce: 

  • 83.3% of businesses have been impacted by COVID-19 
  • 93.5% of businesses expect to be impacted in the future 
  • More than 95% of businesses have taken steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 

CFIB 

  • 60 per cent of small firms have seen a significant drop in sales, with more than one in three reporting a reduction greater than 75 per cent 
  • More than half of small firms have begun laying off staff, with a quarter reporting they have already been forced to lay off their entire workforce 
  • Nearly one in three businesses say they can survive less than a month under the current conditions, up from a quarter last week 

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The Department of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade has set up a point of contact for companies who have questions about business continuity, sick employees, etc. – if you have questions, let us know and we will connect you. 

Federal representatives are in the House of Commons today to pass COVID-19 relief legislation, including the $82B package announced last week. We will provide updates (hopefully tomorrow) about what is passed. 

We know that some of you had trouble registering for the Service Canada webinar earlier today that we shared in yesterday’s update (we did too). We are trying to determine if this webinar was recorded and if so, we will share as soon as possible. 

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Today, the provincial government announced that Opportunities New Brunswick will make operating loans available of up to $200,000 with no payments or interest for 12 months for eligible businesses (and beyond $200,000 for mid- to large-sized employers). They are also providing payment relief for current loan holders on a case-by-case basis. We have asked for further details and will share the information when it is available. 

The Province also announced a one-time income benefit to either workers or self-employed people in New Brunswick who have lost their job due to the state of emergency. This one-time $900 benefit will be administered through the Red Cross and is meant to bridge the time between when people lose their employment or close their business and to when they receive their federal benefit.  Details on applications will be available in the coming days. 

NB Power announced that they will defer electricity bill payments for residential and small business customers for up to 90 days for impacted customers. They also indicate they will work with all other customers on a case by case basis to deal with their individual circumstances. New Brunswick Energy and Utilities Board has approved NB Power’s request to delay its decision of a rate increase and the implementation of smart meters.  

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Looking to contact a government department or service? A collection of federal and provincial contacts can be found on our website here

The Canadian Payroll Association is offering a free webinar titled Payroll Continuity Planning: How Prepared is Your Organization? On Wednesday, 25 March 2020 at 1:00 pm. For more information or to register, click here

We have been provided the following guidance from the government regarding the Emergency Care Benefit, Emergency Support Benefit and the Canada Small Business Financing Program:  

  • The Emergency Care Benefit (done through EI for individuals that have fallen ill with COVID-19 or are caring for someone that is ill) requires legislation, which will pass tomorrow/Wednesday when the House of Commons is recalled. Once passed (as soon as Thursday), employees can apply through the link here:  
  • The Emergency Support Benefit will be rolled out in early April. 
    • This is for workers that are unemployed and EI-ineligible 
  • Businesses that have been active for less than 24 months, can go to their local bank (which has increased lending capacity due to a significant injection of capital to increase liquidity) and ask for the Canada Small Business Financing Program. 62% of those financed under the Canada Small Business Financing Program are less than a year old. 

A flow chart which outlines options for accessing capital during the crisis can be found on our website here

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Special information for our not-for-profit members: Thank you to Ability NB Executive Director Haley Flaro for drawing our attention to two recorded webinars with help information for boards of directors and governing not-for-profit organizations through the crisis: 

What Canadian Board Directors need to know.  

Governing a non-profit through the COVID-19 crisis.  

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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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