Weekly Digest – 7 July 2021

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

Canada to Receive 3.7 Million More Vaccine Doses This Week

The government is expecting to receive 3.7 million more doses of COVID-19 vaccines this week, pushing the total vaccine deliveries above 53.7 million doses.

The new deliveries will include about 900,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 2.8 million doses of the Moderna vaccine. WIth 18 million doses to arrive in the country in July, it will ensure enough doses to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over 12 years old.

Nearly 30% of eligible Canadians have already received their first shot, and more than 25% have received both doses.

What You Need to Know About Canada’s New Border Rules

As of 12:01 am EDT on 5 July, Canadians and permanent residents who are fully vaccinated can now enter the country without having to quarantine or take the day eight COVID-19 test. They only need proof of vaccination and must submit a negative COVID-19 test result.

How does it work?

To be eligible, here are the requirements:

  • Fully vaccinated by one of the approved vaccines– Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca. The last dose should also have been received at least 14 days before coming to the border.
  • Negative test result within 72 hours before coming to the border
  • Vaccine certificate and test information must be uploaded on ArriveCAN app
  • Take and pass a COVID-19 test upon arrival.

This marks the first phase of the gradual easing of the Canada-US border restrictions that have been in place since March 2020.

Government Announces Investments for Innovation in Manitoba

The government is making investments in western Canadian non-profit organizations through Western Economic Diversification Canada in order to support businesses innovate, grow, and compete.

A non-repayable funding of $3.7 million has been announced to support two projects at the University of Manitoba through the Regional Innovation Ecosystems program. Digital Agriculture will receive $2.4 million to advance agricultural research and training capacity for students, while Lab2Market will receive $1.2 million to enhance research commercialization performance.

Bank of Canada Survey: Q2 Business Sentiment Improves

In a recent survey by the Bank of Canada, it was shown that business sentiment is improving with businesses becoming more confident that sales will pick up as vaccines roll out, suggesting broadening economic recovery. Its Business Outlook Survey Indicator reached its highest level on record in the summer survey, as positive sentiment became more widespread.

OBCA Changes to Come Into Effect on 5 July

Amendments to the Business Corporations Act (Ontario) (OBCA) will take effect on 5 July. These changes include:

Removal of the Canadian residency requirement for directors
Shareholder resolution approval process for private corporations will be simplified

This means corporations can make expertise and representation as priorities over Canadian residency when deciding on board composition. Meanwhile, the second change involves lowering the approval threshold for private corporation shareholder resolutions in writing to a simple majority, instead of unanimous approval.

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.

Conduct a Mid-Year Business Review

Time flies! The year is halfway over and although the battle against COVID-19 is not completely over, a lot of things have changed since last year as countries ramp up their vaccination efforts.

Instead of waiting until the end of the year to do some business clean-up, why not conduct a mid-year review to evaluate your performance, boost your awareness of your business, and start corrective actions early?

This Forbes article provides an actionable checklist to help you look into your business more closely and knock off some tasks so you won’t get overwhelmed by the end of the year. These include:

  • Get to a quiet place and check how you’re feeling. Block off a day or a few to reflect on how you’re feeling about your business. Are you living up to your purpose and vision? Do you feel you’re accomplishing your goals? Are you overwhelmed or anxious about the future of your business?
  • Assess your cash flow. Regardless of your industry or size, cash flow is the life-blood of your business. Monitor how close you are to your targets for revenue and profits, and identify problems or potential issues. Some of the things you should look into include income, profit, owner’s compensation, tax, and operating expenses.
  • Review your tax payments. Check in with your accountant to see if you’re on track with mid-year tax projections. Your accountant can look at your revenue, make a projection, and estimate how much you should owe during tax season.
  • Conduct an expenses analysis. If you’re having cash flow troubles or you simply want to have more cash, you can review your expenses and either increase sales or cut costs. Cutting costs is usually quicker.
  • Write down what’s next. Develop steps to accomplish new goals and write them down. What can you do about the obstacles you’re facing? How and when are you going to do it? How do you feel about it?

Remember, the purpose of this review is improvement or progress, and not perfection. If you need some guidance to push your business forward, get in touch with us today and let’s discuss how we can help!

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