Weekly Digest – 18 August 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

New Travel Vaccination Policy to Require Travellers, Federal Workers to be Vaccinated

The new travel vaccination policy applicable to all passengers and workers in the federally regulated air, rail, and cruise ship sectors will require proof of vaccination against COVID-19. While the details of the new mandate are still being worked out, exceptions would require safety measures such as testing and screening to regain public confidence in travel.

The new policy will be enacted as soon as possible and no later than the end of October, according to the Canadian Treasury Board on Friday.

Trudeau Triggers Snap Election

Canadians will be heading to the polls on 20 September, two years earlier than scheduled, after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau triggered a snap election on Sunday.

Trudeau, whose Liberal Party won a majority in 2015, but was relegated to a 157-seat minority government in the 2019 election, is hoping to get back a majority.

On-Farm Climate Action Fund Launched

Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau, launched a call for proposals from potential delivery partners for the On-Farm Climate Action Fund.

Starting this year until 2024, the $200-million fund will provide direct support to farmers to adopt beneficial management practices that store carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The fund will also be used to adopt sustainable practices that will improve the farmers’ climate resiliency.

Potential delivery partners could include producer groups and associations, commodity organisations, indigenous groups, NGOs, among others.

What You Need to Know About Canada’s Border Reopening

Canada has opened its border to vaccinated US citizens for non-essential travel on Monday, 9 August. For US citizens planning to cross the border, the following are required:

Proof of vaccination (Pfizer, Moderna, Astra-Zeneca, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines)
A recent negative molecular COVID-19 test submitted through the ArriveCAN app

Fully vaccinated travelers will not need to take a post-arrival test unless they have been randomly selected to complete a day 1 COVID-19 molecular test at no cost.

Meanwhile, the US will not allow Canadians to drive into the US for another two weeks, until 21 August. However, those in Canada can still fly to the US with proof of a negative test result.

Government Extends Pandemic Recovery Programs and Business Support

The government extends a number of pandemic economic support including the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).

The eligibility period for CRB, CEWS, Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), and Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) will be extended to 23 October.

The amount of support available to employers under both the CEWS and CERS programs will also be increased for the period of 29 August to 25 September. CRB can pay out between $300 to $500 per week to recipients, depending on when they applied. The number of weeks claimants can receive the CRB will be increased to 54 weeks from the previous 50.

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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.

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.

4 Ways Your Business Can Increase Its ROI in 2022

Finding ways to boost your business’ profit margins can be challenging, especially if you’ve already tried many of the traditional ways of improving the stability of your cash flow during the pandemic. This Forbes article shared some unusual methods to grow your ROI.

  1. Invest in high-performing marketing platforms. Look into platforms that are not as saturated as Facebook, including Youtube and Instagram. You could also switch gears by starting a company podcast.
  2. Automate more tasks. Automate more tasks with the assistance of AI-driven tech and integrations to free up your team’s time and allow them to focus on getting higher level work done.
  3. Unclog your sales pipeline. Sit down with your sales team and outline your customer journeys. Remove stumbling blocks and friction points to improve your sales pipeline and speed up your sales cycle.
  4. Reorganise your team. Switching responsibilities between team members could improve your efficiency and may allow you to keep the same amount of core staff while scaling your business.

Do you need expert advice on your specific situation? Get in touch with us today and let’s work out a plan!

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