Good afternoon, 

I’m happy to tell you that we are ending the week with some good news from the federal government. I’m sure we can all use some of that. 

Today Prime Minister Trudeau announced significant help for businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. The federal government is increasing the wage subsidy available for small- and medium-sized businesses from 10 % to 75% – which will be backdated to 15 March 2020. The subsidy is available for up to three months. 

He also announced that HST/GST remittances as well as import duties will be deferred until June. 

The federal government is also implementing the Canada Emergency Business Account. This account will provide funds to banks to give loans of up to $40,000 to businesses. The loans will be fully guaranteed by the government, are interest free for 12 months and up to $10,000 of the loan can be forgivable. Businesses who paid between $50,000 and $1,000,000 in payroll in 2019 are eligible for these loans. 

They are also giving an additional $12.5 billion to BDC and EDC to provide to businesses as loans. 

More details on these initiatives will be forthcoming. The prime minister said at his press conference that he hopes to have more information by Monday. 

The full news release can be found here. A more detailed backgrounder can be found here

These additional measures come after the Parliamentary Budget Office released an economic scenario analysis this morning based on the assumptions that (a) COVID-19 social distancing and self-isolation measures will last for six months; and (b) OPEC countries will not limit oil production to target balanced markets. Based on these assumptions, they project a budgetary deficit of $113 billion, 15% unemployment by Q3 2020 and growth of –5.1% for 2020. 

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At his daily update, Premier Higgs announced that the Red Cross has confirmed that they will have a website operational by noon on Monday to begin accepting applications for the $900 in assistance the provincial government announced earlier in the week. First payments will be made on Thursday, 2 April 2020. 

Today’s provincial news release can be found here

The province’s Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour has published an easy-to-read summary of the provincial/federal supports for workers and student affected by the COVID-19 crisis. 

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We have learned further details on changes to the Work Share program. The federal government has temporarily made four primary changes to the program: 

  1. Maximum length of agreements expanded from 38 to 76 weeks
  2. Mandatory cooling off period in between agreements is waived for the time being  
  3. Recovery plan requirements have been reduced to a single line of text on the application to recognize the current level of uncertainty 
  4. Businesses are eligible after being in business for one year (previously two years) 

Not-for-profits remain ineligible. For more information on the Work Share Program, use this email address.  More information on the program is available here

Here are some other new resources which may help navigate the COVID-19 crisis. 

  • NB Business leaders have collaborated with Opportunities New Brunswick to launch a new NB Business Webinar series covering COVID-19-related topics. The first episode (Employer Responsibilities and Resources) can be found here
  • Cox & Palmer’s Employment and Labour Group in Fredericton has provided a breakdown regarding eligibility for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) announced earlier this week. 
  • Grant Thornton has created an information hub to provide resources and practical advice on managing your business through COVID-19. Some of the valuable resources can be found on our website here
     
  • The government is asking businesses with questions to contact: nav@navnb.ca, call the Business Navigator line at 1-833-799-7966, or consult the COVID-19 page specifically for businesses
  • NGen has established a funding program to support companies in launching the production of critical products to fight COVID-19. To learn more, visit: ngen.ca/covid-19-response
  • In a press release yesterday, Canada’s six largest banks have announced a coordinated relief program to ease financial pressures due to the spread of COVID-19. Bank customers will be offered “flexible solutions” to get them through economic uncertainties due to COVID-19. COVID-19 relief measures offered to personal and small business banking customers may include longer amortization periods, up to a six-month payment deferral for mortgages and credit card payments. 

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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! 

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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 

Sincerely,  

Krista Ross, CEO, Fredericton Chamber of Commerce

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