Weekly Digest – 9 February 2022

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

Protesters Block Busiest International Crossing in North America

Protesters have blocked access to the Ambassador Bridge that links Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit. Canadian-bound traffic was still shut down Tuesday morning, while US-bound traffic was flowing with limited bridge access.

Demonstrations started 29 January as an objection to a vaccine mandate requiring truckers entering Canada to be fully vaccinated or face testing and quarantine requirements.

Unemployment Rate Rises to 6.5%

The economy lost 200,000 jobs last month, as businesses temporarily closed up shop due to the Omicron variant. Statistics Canada reported that this increased the unemployment rate to 6.5%, marking the first increase in the jobless rate since April 2021. Most of the job losses were concentrated in Ontario and Quebec, and public-facing industries such as retail, accommodation, and food services were hit the hardest.

$228 Million Flood Recovery Program for B.C. Farms

Farmers in British Columbia who were severely affected during the floods in November will have access to up to $228 million in federal-provincial government support to help them return to production and support B.C.’s food security and agricultural communities.

The Canada-BC Flood Recovery for Food Security Program will help farmers who have incurred expenses from uninsurable damages. Those who have already undertaken any work are advised to keep their receipts, track the hours of work involved, and document the damage and repairs by taking pictures to support their application.

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.

Of the 38,000 spaces available in the regulated child-care system, 6,000 children or 16% currently receive a partial or full child-care subsidy. With this increase in eligibility, an estimated 12,000 additional children will receive support to access regulated child-care.

Canada Seeks Energy and Mining Opportunities in Malawi

Global Affairs Canada and the Ministry of Trade of Malawi, in partnership with the Canada-Africa Chamber of Business, are facilitating a virtual trade mission to Malawi to showcase the opportunities on offer in the energy and mining sectors.

This online event will provide Canadian companies with information on commercial opportunities in Malawi, highlight current and future projects in the energy and mining sectors, and connect Malawian companies with Canadian companies and investors. You can learn more about the program here and register through this link.

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.

Businesses that qualified for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant and that have been forced to close will be pre-screened for the new grant, and need not apply.

COVID-Business Aid Loan Repayment Extended to 2023

The federal government is extending the deadline for small businesses to pay back their Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loans to the end of 2023.

Originally, if claimants repaid the balance of their 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.

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 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.

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