Weekly Digest – 5 January 2022

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. We hope you and your family have all had a great time during the festivities! Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help you have a great start into the new year.

Mandatory COVID-19 Tests for Short Trips Across Border

From 21 December, all Canadians returning from short trips to the US must take a molecular pre-entry test. The rule applies even to fully vaccinated travelers, and is intended to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant.

This comes less than a month after the government announced that it would no longer require a negative PCR COVID-19 test for shorter cross-border trips.

Funding for COVID-19 Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites in Manitoba

Over $8 million has been announced for the Government of Manitoba to support the expansion and creation of safe voluntary isolation sites across the province. These sites help people who have been infected or exposed to COVID-19 access safe isolation accommodations to keep the community safe.

Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit Now 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.

The Canada Revenue Agency said British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nunavut are designated as lockdown regions.

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 Considering Cash Grants for Businesses

Ontario is considering new financial support programmes, including cash grants, for businesses hit by the latest wave of COVID-10 closures. Premier Doug Ford announced another round of public health measures in response to the surge in Omicron cases, including a 21-day ban on indoor dining, the temporary closure of gyms, theatres, and other attractions, as well as capacity reduction for personal-care services and shops.

Along with these restrictions, the government said it would expand eligibility for a property tax and energy cost rebate program announced last month, and is actively exploring options for further financial support for businesses.

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. 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.

5 Ways to Beat Inflation

Business owners will encounter a lot of opportunities and face hurdles in 2022. One of the greatest challenges is likely to be inflation due to the increase in national debt, among other factors. This Forbes article shares some tips on how entrepreneurs can fight back.

  1. Do more with less. Many have improved their financial discipline due to the pandemic. Continue to cut waste and find more ways to do more with less. After cutting waste, focus on building high-margin products and services.
  2. Seek more low-cost financing and cut financing costs. Government financing can be a great source of cheap financing for business.
  3. Raise more internal financing. Improve your cash flow.
  4. Use smart driver-focused sales. One of the biggest problems in business is getting sales and spending too much to get it. Learn how to sell more with less.
  5. Make your strategy finance-smart. Evaluate the financial impact of your business strategy and adjust if necessary.

Need more personalised business advice? Get in touch with us today so we can discuss your specific concerns.

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