Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.
Canada to Unveil Measures to Reopen US Border
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who is under mounting pressure to lift US border restrictions will soon disclose how some measures could be relaxed for fully vaccinated individuals. The two countries banned non-essential travel across the border in March 2020.
Canadian officials have previously said the border should stay partially closed until 75% of the entire population has received their first jab of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Irish Trade with Canada Growing at Faster Pace Than The Rest of EU
Irish export to Canada is 60% higher in 2020, compared with 15% growth from the EU. The EU and Canada signed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) in 2016, which cut tariffs on goods.
Since the CETA agreement was implemented, Irish exports have risen by up to 400% in the case of meat and 39% for drinks and spirits. Sales of clothing and other goods also increased.
New Agricultural Clean Technology Program Launched
The government has launched the new Agricultural Clean Technology Program to support farmers and agri-businesses in adopting clean technologies to reduce emissions and promote sustainable growth. The program will focus on three priority areas: green energy and energy efficiency, precision agriculture, and bioeconomy.
Under this program, $50 million will be allocated for the purchase and installation of more efficient grain dryers and $10 million will be invested over the next two years to power farms with clean energy. Eligibility rules can be found here.
Government of Canada and Mitacs Announce $2.5 Million for Student Internships
The government of Canada through the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and Mitacs announced an investment of $2.5 million over five years to support 250 graduate and post-graduate student internships. This funding will boost research and innovation and help students accelerate their research careers.
Five New Projects to Encourage Vaccine Uptake
Five new projects will be funded through the Immunization Partnership Fund to support vaccination efforts across the country. Four provincial and one national Community Health Centre Associations will receive funding to increase COVID-19 vaccine knowledge and access for individuals disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus through targeted outreach.
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.
Government Encourages Businesses to Apply for Free Rapid Testing
The government is encouraging businesses and organisations to apply for free rapid tests for workplace screening projects. Rapid tests will be available to employers through:
- Shoppers Drug Mart locations in COVID-19 hot spots in Ontario for small- and medium-sized enterprises;
- The Canadian Chamber of Commerce will enable local chambers to distribute rapid tests to smaller organizations, based on the successful StaySafe Rapid Testing Program in Waterloo Region;
- Non-profit, charitable and Indigenous community organizations can pre-register now to access rapid tests through the Canadian Red Cross;
- Since April, larger organizations with close-contact employees have been able to request rapid tests directly through a new federal portal; and
- More federal workplaces where workers are at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 can launch workplace screening programs using rapid tests.
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.
Canada Emergency Business Account Deadline Extended
Eligible businesses facing financial difficulties due to COVID-19 can access a second CEBA loan of up to $60,000 with up to $20,000 of that being forgivable.
CEBA has two streams of eligibility: the Payroll stream and the Non-Deferrable Expense stream. If you previously received a loan of up to $40,000, you can apply for the CEBA expansion to increase your loan by an additional $20,000 ($10,000 of which is forgivable if repaid before Dec 31, 2022).
Applications for CEBA have been extended to June 30, 2021. More information can be found here. Alternatively, if you have any questions or require assistance, simply drop us a message.
Government Support for Businesses
The federal government continues to enact measures to mitigate the financial impact of the pandemic. Here is an overview of the assistance you may be able to take advantage of:
- The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is intended to help businesses cover a portion of wages and keep employees on payroll. It continues until June 2021.
- The work-sharing program allows employees whose hours got reduced by an average of 10% to 60% to claim employment insurance for lost wages. This has been extended to 76 weeks from 38.
- The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy provides rent and mortgage assistance until June 2021. Businesses can make claims retroactively for the period of Sept. 27 to Oct. 24, 2020.
- The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) offers government-guaranteed bank loans of up to $40,000 for small businesses. The deadline for the application has been extended to March 31, 2021.
- For mid-sized companies, the Business Development Bank of Canada’s mid-market financing program provides commercial loans between $12.5 million and $60 million.
4 Ways to Avoid Burnout and Stay Productive
With people working from home now more than ever because of the pandemic, the stresses from mixing work and home life seem to contribute to burnout. This Forbes article teaches how to find the healthy balance so you won’t get overwhelmed and still keep up with your responsibilities.
Below is an overview of the ways to avoid burnout and deal with your tasks effectively:
- Take regular breaks– Your mind and body need sufficient rest and refueling throughout the day to perform at their best. So take the time to rejuvenate until you feel ready to get back to your tasks.
- Organise your time– Have some sort of routine to follow. Some people also work when they feel motivated and step away when they find it difficult to focus.
- Set up a dedicated workspace– Create an optimised workspace that encourages efficiency and free from distractions.
- Analyse your priorities– Spend your time wisely. The reason some people experience burnout is that they don’t prioritise and focus on doing the wrong things.
Do you have too much on your plate? Let us ease your burden– get in touch with us today and let us help you manage the finance-side of your business!
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