Latest News from the ACC
As a valued member of the Cochrane & District Chamber of Commerce, you are also a part of the Alberta Chambers of Commerce. Since 1937, the Alberta Chambers of Commerce provides a powerful voice on behalf of the business community by speaking out on issues such as taxes, transportation, and education.
Your financial support of a local Chamber of Commerce ensures a resource of information and services for the business region that it serves. By supporting the Alberta Chambers of Commerce, you are supporting all the business communities in Alberta.
Latest News from ACC
ACC COVID-19 daily update
May 19, 2020
Prime Minister announces expansion of support for workers and small businesses
Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an expansion to the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to include many owner-operated small businesses.
The program will now be available to a greater number of businesses that are sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll.
As not-for-profit organizations, chambers are encouraged to apply for CEBA by contacting their financial institution.
Canadian Chamber of Commerce issues statement regarding criteria expansion for CEBA
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce issued a statement in response to today's CEBA announcement.
Canada-U.S. border to remain closed until June 21
This morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that the Canada-U.S. border will remain closed to non-essential travel until June 21. Watch here
Alberta government providing additional relief for the tourism industry
The Alberta government is providing new supports for hotels and other lodging providers that allow them to keep tourism levy amounts collected between March 1 and December 31, 2020. This measure will free up between $16 million and $27 million in additional cash flow for the hospitality sector, which employs 30,000 Albertans.
Regional Relief and Recovery Fund for SMEs
The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund is now available to Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) located in non-metropolitan regions in Western Canada.
For more information, chambers and their members should contact their local Community Futures office.
Deloitte Economic Recovery Dashboard
Deloitte has put together an Economic Recovery Dashboard to provide a real-time, full picture view of the country’s situation as businesses, governments, and others continue to respond to the COVID-19 global health crisis.
ACC pulse check survey
The Alberta Chambers of Commerce, Economic Developers Alberta, and Community Futures Alberta have launched a short pulse check survey as Alberta begins the process of relaunching its economy. The survey will help our network gather insights on the barriers businesses face reopening in phase one of Alberta's relaunch as well as ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and low oil prices.
Please take the survey and share your insights. The survey will be open through Friday, May 22.
ACC COVID-19 and low oil prices business impact survey
Thanks to your help, we received over 700 responses to the ACC COVID-19 and low oil prices business impact survey. The final report and analysis can be viewed here.
A follow-up pulse survey will be launched next week on Thursday, May 14, and remain open until Friday, May 22. The focus will be to gain further insights on the accessibility of government programs and issues businesses that are able to open during Phase 1 may face, including operating while using Personal Protective Equipment. The ACC will share the live survey link with the network on Wednesday, May 13, so that chambers can circulate it to their members the following day when the survey launches.
Over the next week, chambers can also expect to receive an invitation to join the ACC's Alberta Perspectives research community hub. All the research reports of the Alberta Perspectives program and related media will be posted in the community hub.
In early June, the ACC will launch a survey focused on economic recovery and priorities for the province. Insights gathered through the Alberta Perspectives program are being shared with the government to inform economic responses to COVID-19 and low oil prices, and economic recovery in the medium to long term.
Community chambers participation is what makes this program successful, and we appreciate your support. Thank you for all that you continue to do on behalf of your members, communities, and business in Alberta.
ACC media release — May 11, 2020
For Immediate Release
Recent survey data show obstacles to Alberta's relaunch
ACC's comment on the Alberta Relaunch Strategy
Reopening Canada's Economy
CCC Webinar: The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Explained
Join the Canadian Chamber on Thursday, May 7, 9 a.m. MT, to tackle common questions that have surfaced and discuss CEWS with tax partner John Di Liso at Grant Thornton LLP.
Government of Canada creates COVID-19 supply council
Increased access to fibre helps protect jobs
April 6, 2020
Canadian Business Resilience Network (CCC microsite)
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce recently launched the Canadian Business Resilience Network microsite in response to COVID-19.
Eligible Canadians born in January, February, or March were able to begin applying for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) today.
Source: Government of Canada
Letter from Ministers to employers – Temporary Foreign Workers – COVID-19
The federal Minister of Health and Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion issued a letter emphasizing an emergency order under the Quarantine Act regarding temporary foreign workers and the associated obligations of employers.
Temporary Alberta employment standards changes
Today, the Alberta Government announced temporary rules to provide job protection for workers and flexibility for employers during this pandemic.
Relief for forest companies affected by COVID-19
In response to COVID-19 and the economic effects to our forestry industry, the Alberta government will defer timber dues for six months.
Federal supports for individuals and families
Past ACC Chair Brad Severin has released the third and final newsletter in his three-part series on COVID supports, this one focused on federal supports and programs for individuals and families (see past newsletters on federal business supports and provincial programs).
ACC response to COVID-19
March 18, 2020
On March 18, the federal government announced new supports for Canadians and businesses. See the full list of measures here.
The ACC is closely following the provincial and national governments' responses to COVID-19. In efforts to reduce overlap of sources and information, the ACC is using the Canadian Chamber of Commerce data on COVID-19 and business preparedness.
We encourage community chambers to use these resources as their primary source of information when communicating to your members as well.
- CCC Pandemic Preparedness for Business resources
- Government of Canada COVID-19 information
- Facebook: Business Resource Hub
- Trade Commissioner Service
- Export Development Canada
- Business Development Bank of Canada
- COVID continuity
On March 17, Alberta Health declared a state of emergency under the Public Health Act.
- All events of more than 50 people are to be cancelled
- No attendance at rec centres, casinos, bingo halls, bars, theatres and other facilities
- Sit-down restaurants can remain open at lower capacity
- Alberta Health information for Albertans
- Respiratory viruses and the workplace
The ACC won't venture to guess how long the current situation will last, but understands the impact the COVID-19 virus will have on you, our members and the business community in Alberta. In response, we have put together a short, three-question survey to track the revenue losses of Alberta chambers.
Given this is trade show season, we are aware that many of you are looking at substantial losses that may undermine the stability of your chamber. The ACC will track the commitments of all levels of government to assist business and the not-for-profit sector as things progress.
Please continue to keep us updated by way of the survey (above) regarding cancellation of chamber gatherings. The survey will remain open and you can respond multiple times from the same e-mail address.
- Government of Alberta pandemic checklists
- Alberta employment standards rules
- Alberta Health Services COVID-19 online screening
- Help prevent the spread posters
- Alberta Prepares pandemic influenza checklist
- Calgary Chamber emergency preparedness
Video conferencing services
With Canadians encouraged to limit in-person contact, many organizations are shifting to working and/or meeting remotely. The below article provides six free video conferencing apps to help you stay connected during this time.
The ACC has been in contact with the Chambers Group Plan and asked that they reach out to Arive, which administers the HR component available to clients of Chamber Plan. They have agreed to do so and rather than inundating Arive with calls from chambers, will determine if they are able to assist with HR-related concerns.
We hope to be able to provide polices to assist chambers if quarantine becomes more frequent or desired by staff, advice for discussions with boards of directors for issues like working from home and continuance of payroll.
Anyone with Chambers Plan health benefits can access Teladoc Telemedicine to speak with a doctor within an hour at no cost. Download the app or call 1-888-983-5236.
Alberta Employer updates
Sick Leave - Alberta
On Friday, March 13, 2020 the Alberta government announced changes to the Employment Standards Code Regulation prohibiting employers from requiring sick notes from employees, expanding job-protected leave from 5 to 14 days, and waiving the requirement that employees be employed for 90 days before being entitled to this job-protected leave. At the time, the government indicated that this leave would be paid, though did not provide specifics.
Unfortunately, the government has not yet been able to provide further information about how this leave would be "paid". The amended regulation has not been published. We understand there may be discussions underway between various levels of government with respect to compensation for employees who need to access this leave. When the regulation is published, we expect it may be retroactive to March 13, 2020. The Prime Minister today indicated that there would be a further announcement tomorrow involving financial measures, and we anticipate this will include expanded measures to provide employees/employers with financial assistance as a result of COVID-19.
Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits
In the interim, a separate phone line has been set up through Service Canada for queries related to EI sickness benefits relating to COVID-19. The phone number is 1-833-381-2725 . The federal government has waived the one (1) week waiting period for Canadians requiring EI sickness benefits for COVID-19, including those who are in a 14-day isolation period. Canadians can apply right away. For employers who do not offer sick leave, or for employees who have exhausted sick leave entitlements, this is an option to provide some compensation.
We have reached out to Alberta Labour with the goal of setting up a webinar to discuss the legal realities and minimum requirements for employers when a pandemic occurs. We will keep you posted as we have information to share.