Weekly Digest – 23 February 2022

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

Relief Funds for Small Businesses Affected by Trucker Protests

The government is allocating up to $20 million in relief funds to Ottawa small businesses affected by the ongoing trucker protests. Small businesses will be eligible to apply for up to $10,000 in funds for non-deferrable payments not covered by other federal programs.

Changes to Border Rules

As of Feb. 28, vaccinated travelers will be able to use a negative result of a rapid test taken a day before travel to get into Canada as long as the test is administered by a health care entity, laboratory, or telehealth service. You can still use a molecular test result provided it is taken within 72 hours of arrival.

Canada-US Trading Relationship Unaffected by Border Blockades

The US ambassador to Canada says the trading relationship between the two countries remains strong and was not damaged by the recent run of blockades that hampered the movement of goods along the Canada-U.S. border. The bridge carries $300 million in goods every day, accounting for one-quarter of Canada-U.S. daily trade.

Business Data Lab Established

A $2.8 million investment was made to establish the Business Data Lab through a partnership between Statistics Canada and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. This will provide future-focused, timely business indicators crucial to helping governments, business associations, and entrepreneurs from all regions identify future growth opportunities for businesses.

$1.3 Million to Support Black Women and Girls

The government announced more than $1.3 million for three projects that will promote the empowerment of Black women and girls across Canada. These projects will facilitate the inclusion of Black women and girls to participate in all aspects of society.

Expanded Eligibility for Child Care Subsidy Program in Manitoba

Manitoba expanded eligibility to its Child Care Subsidy Program, resulting in nearly half of regulated spaces being subsidized. Out-of-pocket parent fees for families with children in regulated child care will be reduced by 30% on average.

Pandemic Support for Commercial Tenants

Businesses, non-profit organisations, and charities who have seen a drop in revenue during the pandemic may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses through one of the following:

Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP) – Rent (Effective: Until 7 May 2022)
Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program (HHBRP) – Rent (Effective: Until 7 May 2022)

You can learn more about these subsidies here.

Additional Government Support for Cultural Workers

The Canada Performing Arts Workers Resilience Fund was launched to provide $60 million to help workers in the live performance sector. It will fund initiatives that provide short-term financial assistance to those experiencing economic hardship and requiring emergency support, and provide workers with guidance, information, and professional development opportunities in areas such as financial management, mental health and well-being, and career transition.

The deadline to apply is 4 March 2022.

Grant for Small Businesses in Ontario

Ontario is rolling out a new $10,000 grant for small businesses forced to close due to the pandemic. Eligible businesses include gyms, museums and galleries, tour services and before- and after-school programs.

COVID-Business Aid Loan Repayment Extended to 2023

Originally, if claimants repaid the balance of their Canada Emergency Business Account loan on or before the end of 2022, the government planned to forgive up to one-third of their loan. Now, eligible businesses “in good standing,” will have until 31 December 2023 to repay and be eligible for up to $20,000 of debt forgiveness.

Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit Open for Applications

The federal government announced that the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit is open for applications. It gives temporary income support of $300 a week to employed and self-employed people who can’t work due to a COVID-19 lockdown. Payments will be retroactive to 19 December.

COVID-19 Recovery Programs

The government is taking immediate action to support Canadians and businesses facing hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You will find support for individuals, businesses, sectors, communities, and other measures here.

Ontario Extends Paid Sick Leave Program Into 2022

Labour Minister Monte McNaughton is extending the pandemic paid sick leave to 31 July. Originally, the provincial program was supposed to wrap up on 31 December. However, with the more contagious Omicron variant, the Labour Minister announced that it would continue.

HASCAP Loan Applications

Loan applications from the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) is available until 31 March 2022. 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. Further details can be found here.

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