GPRC Members COVID-19 Survey
We understand the considerable stress you are going through, not only as business people, but with your families and friends; these are very challenging times and as your Chamber of Commerce, we want to provide as much support and potential opportunities for sustaining your business.
The Chamber is asking businesses to complete a survey so that we can better understand how we can help you in the short term and formulate a plan for the long term.
Update from GPRC CEO
The well-being of our staff, members and community partners is of the utmost importance and for this reason we will be implementing a number of new temporary policies and procedures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The situation with COVID-19 is evolving rapidly with new developments each day. Although the risk remains relatively low in Alberta, our primary operational focus is to reduce unnecessary risk of exposure to the illness for vulnerable individuals in our community.
Novel coronaviruses, like COVID-19, are new strains of the virus that have not been previously identified in humans. This means people have no immunity against it and there is no specific vaccine or treatment. In some ways, COVID-19 is similar to influenza (also known as the flu). They both cause respiratory disease in people who get sick and are spread by small droplets from the nose and mouth but are NOT spread through the air over long distances. However, there are some key differences between COVID-19 and the flu: COVID-19 does not appear to transmit as efficiently as influenza as only those with symptoms seem to spread the disease, controlling spread is possible when people with symptoms are isolated. COVID-19 causes severe disease and mortality in more cases than the flu. On average there is about 1-2 deaths per 100 people infected with COVID-19, compared to 1 death in every 1,000 people with the flu. Because COVID-19 can cause such a serious illness, it is critical to keep it from spreading by having people with a cough or fever stay home and away from others in order to protect vulnerable community members like seniors or those with compromised immune systems. With no vaccine or other treatment – we are each other’s best defense.
My team will be working from home and our event calendar has been postponed for the foreseeable future. Please be assured that whilst we may not be available face to face; myself and my team are available via email and telephone. Please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com or 780 963 4545 – 587 921 8558. Our office hours remain Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm.
We will ensure that we are posting up to date information from AHS and the Provincial & Federal Governments
Thank you and please do not hesitate to contact us.
CEO, Greater Parkland Regional Chamber of Commerce
Wage Subsidy & Access to Credit Simulus UpdatesFor people who have lost their job permanently or temporarily due to COVID-19 (sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures)
The Work-Sharing program is offered to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers.
- Employees who have been laid off due to COVID-19 work shortages are eligible to get $500 per week
- Maximum is $2,000 per month, up to 4 months
- Must be out of work, with no income for 14 consecutive days
- The employee has to have made $5,000 in wages with the company/association prior to being laid off
- The need to have a required medical note has been waived
- Available starting April 6
75% wage subsidyDetails of this subsidy are sparse, as government officials are still creating the details of this program. More details will be shared in the coming days on the Federal Government's website. The Chamber will share that information with our members once we have it. The main information gathered from our network is:
- In place until March 14, 2021
- 76 weeks maximum
- Businesses can apply now
- Removed mandatory cooling off period
- Have to been in business for a minimum of 1 year, not 2 under the original guidelines.
BDC and EDC are working with private sector lenders to coordinate on credit solutions for individual businesses, including in sectors such as oil and gas, air transportation, exportation and tourism.This program includes:
- Businesses who have seen a 30% drop in revenue due to COVID-19 are eligible (size of business does not matter, only that revenues have fallen 30%)
- The Federal Government will cover up to 75% of employee salaries on the first $58,700 of each employee, which is equal to $847 per week
- The threshold is $58,700 because that is the pensionable income amount.
- Retroactive to March 15, up to 3 months
- Businesses can receive this benefit whether you are open or not.
- Assessed afterwards, so big problems if you lie, be honest now.
These programs will roll out in the three weeks after March 27, and interested businesses should work with their current financial institutions.Hotels and other lodging providers can delay paying the tourism levy until Aug. 31 for amounts that become due to government on or after March 27, 2020.Corporate Provincial Income TaxThe collection of corporate income tax balances and instalment payments is deferred until Aug. 31. This gives Alberta businesses access to about $1.5 billion in funds to help them cope with the COVID-19 crisis.
- Canada Emergency Business Account
- The new Canada Emergency Business Account will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced.
- To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019
- Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
- EDC is working with financial institutions to issue new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs.
- Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
- BDC is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements.
- Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts of up to $6.25 million through the program.
HELPFUL RESOURCE LINKS
Below are some links that the GPRC has compiled that may be of use to our members.
- Chamber on Tap events will be cancelled up to and including April 30
- We have moved this online and bottled it up to Chamber in a Bottle. Keep an eye out for future event invites
- Shameless Plug events will be cancelled up to an including April 28
- General Membership Meetings will be cancelled up to an including April 16
The May 21 General Meeting Plaque presentation meeting with the Town of Stony Plain and May Shameless Plug and Chamber on Tap events will proceed as planned unless a re-assessment is needed at a later date.**
- Chamber on Tap events will be cancelled up to and including April 30
State of the Region Address
State of the Region is a highlight in the Chamber's calendar and a great opportunity for the Mayors' to showcase their communities. This is an event that we are focused on rescheduling.
- When it is safe to do so, we will schedule a new date for this event
- We will reach out to all existing ticket holders to let them know the new date.
- If the new date conflicts with an existing ticket holder we will offer refunds at that time.
- We will likely be able to open up ticket sales to new attendees, although this will be limited by the venues capacity.
Our Golf Tournament will proceed on June 11 as scheduled unless a re-assessment is needed at a later date. **
Stony Plain & District Chamber AGM
The Stony Plain & District Chamber of Commerce AGM will be postponed until safe to hold. a date and location for this is TBD.**
All committee meetings are cancelled unless specific invitations are sent to participants for a special teleconference meeting
Tri-Expo & MARKETPLACE
- The Expo has not been cancelled, we are working with our vendors to find alternative dates to host this event.
- If alternative dates are secured we will reach out to our current exhibitors by phone and email to let them know.
- Current exhibitors will have the option of getting a refund for their April Expo booking of keeping your booth payment with the Chamber for the new dates.
At the Greater Parkland Regional Chamber of Commerce we feel that the Expo brings great value to the business community, as well as the community as a whole. For this reason we believe that an Expo later in the year will have a positive impact on our community.
The Chamber office is closed to the general public and therefore, the boardroom is also closed to all bookings and rentals.
- The Chamber staff are working from home as we have closed the physical office space.
- Staff are still available via email, and will be working normal business hours (Monday - Friday: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM).
- We will be enhancing our "Shop Local" program to assist local businesses.
The Chamber Board and staff would like to assure you that we value your membership and all the goods and services that you provide to our community. We also understand the considerable stress you are going through, not only as business people, but with your families and friends. If we can help in any way, or if you have any thoughts on how we can help you get through these troubling times, please do not hesitate to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone CEO, Sarah Parry at: 587-921-8558.
We have also asked our members to complete a five minute survey so that we can compile information on how to help our members best at this time. You can access it by clicking here.
** All future dates listed are speculative and may change as we will follow Alberta Health Services direction and our Chamber's Board of Director's instruction.
Essential vs Non-Essential BusinessesMany businesses think they have to close because they are non-essential.This is a misunderstanding as the announcement on Friday, March 27 was only about non-essential retail.Retail businessesAlbertans are prohibited from attending all non-essential retail businesses, including:- gift, hobby, antique and specialty stores- non-essential health and beauty care providers- clothing stores that sell mens’, ladies’ and children’s wear as well as unisex, lingerie and maternity wear, shoes, bridal wear, jewellery and accessories- retail stores that sell, luggage, art and framing supplies, computers and gaming equipment, toys, photos, music, books, and sporting goodsThese businesses may choose to offer online shopping and curb-side pick-up.Exempt retail businessesRetailers that can remain operational with appropriate public health measures in place are identified on the essential workplaces list as “retailers.”
Update from the Government
Update provide by MLA Dane Lloyd's OfficeOn March 13, 2020 the federal government announced that the government is establishing a Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to support financing in the private sector through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC).Here are the current options available:
If you have specific questions about applying for funding, BDC can be reached at the toll-free number: 1-877-232-2269 Monday to Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Time). They also have an online assessment tool.
- Purchase Order Financing: Loans to fulfill domestic or international orders.
- Small Business Loan: Up to $100,000 can be obtained online.
- Working Capital Loan: For loans over $100,000 and can support everyday operations.
TODAY’S ANNOUNCEMENT TO HELP FAMILIES AND BUSINESSES:Main link: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/canadas-covid-19-economic-response-plan-support-for-canadians-and-businesses.html#Supporting_Canadian_Business.Specifics are:
- Support for families:
Flexibility for individual taxpayers—the filing date for individuals will be deferred until June 1, 2020. However, individuals who expect to receive benefits from Canada Child Benefits or the GST Credit are encouraged not to delay filing their return to ensure that entitlements for 2020-2021 year are properly determined Furthermore, taxpayers can defer payment of income tax amounts owing on or after today and before September 2020 until August 31, 2020.
Mortgage Default Management Tools. CMHC offers default management tools to lenders that can assist homeowners experiencing financial difficulty, including payment deferrals and other measures. CMHC is providing increased flexibility to defer mortgage payments on homeowner CMHC insured mortgage loans. CMHC will permit lenders to allow payment deferral to begin immediately. You should contact your mortgage professional for details
Temporary Income Support. Through the Emergency Care Benefit, Canadians who are eligible, can apply for this Benefit which will provide up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks. This benefit is available for workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick, and to workers who are taking care of family members who are sick with COVID-19—regardless of whether they qualify for EI sickness benefits. It is also available to parents who are required to care for children due to school closures and are therefore unable to earn employment income—regardless of whether they qualify of EI or not. Applications will be available in April 2020, and can be accessed through your CRA MyAccount secure portal, from your secure My Service Canada Account, or by calling Service Canada. Please note, you cannot apply at this time for this benefit.
Support for businesses:
Helping Businesses keep their workers. The Government is proposing to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.
Flexibility with Tax Filing. CRA will allow all businesses to defer the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020 until after August 31, 2020. The relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as installments, under Part 1 of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. You can contact the Liaison Officer services over the phone to understand tax obligations ensure that small businesses are aware of any changes such as filing and payment deadlines, proactive relief measures, etc. See the following link to the Liaison Officer Service: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/programs/about-canada-revenue-agency-cra/compliance/liaison-officer-initiative-loi.html
There are also measures to ensure that you have access to credit. Please see the following link to the Business Development Bank of Canada and support available through it to entrepreneurs and business owners: https://www.bdc.ca/en/pages/special-support.aspx?special-initiative=covid19
STRANDED TRAVELLERS:For the Government of Canada’s advice to travellers at this time, please see the following: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html#cruise.Canadians abroad are encouraged to sign up with Canada’s Registration of Canadians Abroad service to be kept abreast of important updates from the Government of Canada.Canadians abroad and in need of assistance must contact Global Affairs Canada via email at email@example.com or via collect call 1-613-996-8885 for information and instructions. Please be advised, the phone number is receiving very high call volumes at this time.For Canadians outside Canada who are experiencing complications with returning to Canada and who have no available source of funds to return home, Canada has announced the creation of an Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad. https://travel.gc.ca/assistance/emergency-info/financial-assistance/covid-19-financial-help