Business Update – 28 July 2021
Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.
Canada is Reopening Its Border
After more than 15 months locked out of Canada, US travelers can start planning their return. From 9 August, fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents can enter the country for leisure via land crossings and nine airports.
Meanwhile other international travelers will have to wait until 7 September.
Americans who have been fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine in Canada will not be required to carry out a 14-day quarantine. However, they will be required to use the recently unveiled ArriveCAN app or web portal to submit information related to proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test, 72 hours prior to arrival.
A new border testing surveillance program will also randomly select travelers who will have to take a Day 1 PCR test. All visitors will be expected to follow the same rules to which Canadians currently adhere, including the wearing of masks in certain places.
Canada to Mark Major Vaccination Milestone This Week
Five million doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be arriving in Canada this week, bringing the total to 68 million doses received by the end of July. This means the country will have enough vaccines for the entire population by August.
As of Friday last week, more than 60% of the country had been fully vaccinated, while an estimated 80% of Canadians have received their first shot.
Government Invests $230,000 to Support Women and Families in New Brunswick
A $200,000 funding will be invested to support the New Brunswick Aboriginal Peoples Council and $30,000 to support the NB Champions for Child Rights Inc. which are both dedicated to end gender-based violence in Canada. This funding will help both organizations increase access to support for underserved populations in the region.
This includes establishing a crisis helpline across Eastern provinces for indigenous people and developing an implementation plan to increase access to culturally sensitive and gender inclusive programs.
Additional Funding For Essential Air Services for Remote Communities in Saskatchewan
The government is providing an additional $1.167 million to the Government of Saskatchewan to continue the support of essential air services for remote communities in Saskatchewan. This funding will help maintain minimum levels of air transportation services and ensure continued access to essential goods and services, including community resupply of food and medical supplies.
Canada Invests Over $3.1 Million to Expand Virtual Health Care Services in Nunavut
In a bilateral agreement with Nunavut, the federal government will award over $3.1 million to invest based on agreed-upon pan-Canadian priorities for accelerating virtual health care services. Such virtual services have been instrumental for delivering care during the pandemic and are helping to improve access to much needed services.
Skilled Trades Training
The government of Canada announced funding of nearly $890,000 for the College of Carpenters and Allied Trades in order to support the implementation of online learning. This investment is intended to help develop a highly qualified skilled trades workforce, and prepare Canadians to fill available jobs as our economy restarts.
Alberta Expands Financial Support Program to SMEs
Alberta is expanding its Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant to include another payment of up to $10,000 for eligible businesses. This marks the third time the $10,000 payment has been made available to Alberta organizations. It will also be available to businesses that started operating between 1 March 2020 and 31 March 2021.
The Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses that experienced at least a 30% decline in revenue because they were ordered to shut down or limit operations due to COVID-19.
Government Extends Access to COVID-19 Benefits
Legislation enacted in March 2021 extends and expands the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) and Employment Insurance (EI) regular benefits.
The amendments include:
- Extension of the maximum duration of CRB and the CRCB to 38 weeks (from 26 weeks)
- Extension of the CRSB to four weeks (from two weeks)
- Extension of the EI regular benefits so they’re available to a maximum of 50 weeks (from 26 weeks) for claims that are made between 27 September 2020 and 25 September 2021.
Self-employed individuals who have opted into the EI program will now be able to use a 2020 earnings threshold of $5,000 (previously $7,555). This change is retroactive for claims as of 3 January 2021 and applies until 25 September 2021.
More information can be found here.
HASCAP Loan Applications Now Open
Loan applications from the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) opened February 1.
Loans start at between $25,000 and $1 million for a single business depending on the size of the operation, and run up to $6.25 million for companies with multiple locations like a chain of hotels or restaurants. Interest rates are set at 4% across the board, terms will be up to 10 years, with up to a 12-month postponement of principal payments at the start of the loan.
To be eligible, companies will have to show a year-over-year revenue drop of at least 50% over three months, not necessarily consecutive, in the eight months before the application.
Further details can be found here.
How Startups Can Overcome the Challenge of Scaling Up
When a startup tries to make the leap and scale up its operations, it may be faced with issues such as lack of funding, loss of focus, changing market needs, and being overtaken by competitors. So if you’re ready to take your business to the next level, read this Forbes article that shares some steps to improve your chances of success.
- Build a strong ecosystem. Build a solid foundation by establishing a strong ecosystem of strategic partners and investors.
- Prove you mean business. Take time to find ways on how to prove the validity of your products or services in order to build a good network of partners and increase your customers.
- Find your manufacturing match. If you sell physical products, finding a manufacturing partner who shares your vision is crucial.
- Lower the cost of entry. Find ways to manufacture your products as cost-efficiently as possible not only to make your business more attractive to potential partners, but also to improve your profitability in the future.
- Build your supply chain. Establish robust supply chains from day one instead of pouring all your resources into R&D or other areas of your business.
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