Weekly Digest – 16 December 2020

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. We hope you and your family are safe and doing well. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas that will help us all move forward.

Canada Starts Administering COVID-19 Vaccine Shots

Canada began administering doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, with elderly people and front-line workers among the first to receive shots.

Canada joins the UK and the USA as the first Western countries to give citizens the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, as the coronavirus pandemic rages toward winter.

Canada is on track to receive up to 249,000 doses by the end of the year.

Changes in Canada Emergency Business Account

The Government of Canada announced that applications for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) top up increase of $20,000 opened on Friday December 4th, 2020. All applicants have until March 31, 2021, to apply for a $60,000 CEBA loan or the $20,000 expansion.

Further details can be found here. Alternatively, you may contact us for any questions and for assistance on your application.

Canada-U.S. Border Restrictions Extended Into 2021

The federal government has extended Canada-U.S. land border restrictions for another 30 days, until January 21, 2021.

Americans wishing to travel to Canada must prove to the Canada Border Service Agency that their visit is for an essential purpose or they have immediate family in Canada, have no COVID-19 symptoms, and have a 14-day quarantine plan — unless they can prove they are exempted.

Full details of border restrictions, including rules on family reunification, compassionate grounds for entry, and rules for international students, can be found on the CBSA website.

Quebec Schools, Offices, Non-Essential Businesses to Close Until Jan. 11

Faced with an increasing number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the Quebec government has announced a series of measures to slow the spread of the virus over the holiday period, including closing schools and offices Thursday.

Most retailers will be shut down between Dec. 25 and Jan. 11, doing away with in-person Boxing Day shopping. The rest of the restrictions are also expected to be lifted Jan. 11.

Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, hardware stores and pet stores will be allowed to remain open. Big box stores will be allowed to open but will be restricted to selling essential goods. Provincially run liquor stores and cannabis stores will also remain open.

Dentists, optometrists, and other health services will be allowed to stay open, but hair salons, spas and manicurists will have to close starting Dec. 25.

Canadian Manufacturing Sales Up 0.3% in October

Manufacturing sales grew 0.3% to $54.1 billion in October, led by the paper, and petroleum and coal industries, according to Statistics Canada.

The agency said the rise followed a revised increase of 2.2% for September compared with an earlier reading of 1.5%. Paper manufacturing sales climbed 5.4% to $2.4 billion on higher sales in the pulp, paper, and paperboard mills industries.

Petroleum and coal product industry sales increased 3.1% to $3.9 billion. Year over year, overall manufacturing sales were down 5.2%.

COVID-19 Rules for International Travellers

Anyone arriving in Canada by air is required to submit a quarantine plan and a novel coronavirus “self-assessment” before getting on a flight. Those who are entering the country by land are also strongly encouraged to do the same.

Failing to comply with these new rules could be subject to penalties ranging from verbal warning to a $1,000 fine. More information can be found here.

New Rent Subsidy Program Kicks Off

Businesses struggling to pay the bills because of the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to start applying Monday for a long-awaited new commercial rent-relief program offered by the federal government.

The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy will cover up to 65% of rent or commercial mortgage interest on a sliding scale based on revenue declines, with an extra 25% available to the hardest-hit firms.

Further details of this new rent assistance can be found here. You may also contact us so we can help you apply or consider other options you may be eligible for.

Applications Open for Benefits

The Canadian government has opened the application process for the three benefits that are intended to help people who lost their income because of COVID-19.

The Canada Revenue Agency has opened the applications on the My Account section of their website for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB).

If you need help with your application, get in touch with us so we can assist you. You may also book a consultation with us so we can explore other financial assistance options you may be eligible for.

CanExport: Funding for Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses

The CanExport program will be pivoting to provide new support to small and medium-sized businesses on e-commerce, online platforms, and virtual trade events. Additional resources will also be provided to help businesses navigate changing trade rules, as well as women and Indigenous entrepreneurs.

CanExport SMEs

Up to $75,000 in funding will be available to help Canadian SMEs break into international markets.

CanExport Innovation

Up to $75,000 in funding to help Canadian SMEs, academic institutions and non-government research centres develop R&D collaborations through partnerships in foreign markets.

CanExport Associations

Starting December 1, 2020, Canadian national industry associations and trade organizations can apply for annual funding of up to $400,000 to pursue international business development activities.

You can find more information here but contact us if you have any questions.

Canada United Small Business Relief Fund

The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund brings together financial institutions and business associations to support small businesses affected by COVID-19.

Starting August 31, the fund provides up to $5,000 in funding toward recovery efforts such as buying personal protective equipment, renovating physical spaces, or developing e-commerce capabilities.

This new funding is being managed by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the national Chamber network.

Boost Holiday Sales Amid the Pandemic

2020 has been an unprecedented year for businesses. Retailers are among the most hardly hit by the COVID-19 crisis, and many are still struggling to bounce back despite the easing of social restrictions and lockdowns.

So here are some tips on how to boost sales this holiday season amid the pandemic:

  • Offer limited contact shopping options– Many are still hesitant about the idea of shopping in-store due to fears of being infected. With this, it is important to offer limited contact options such as drive-up, where customers can choose items online and park at designated areas outside your store to pick up their purchased items.
  • Increase your digital efforts– Online shopping has increasingly become the preferred platform during the pandemic. So ensure you have strong digital presence by updating or launching your website and creating engaging social media content to attract more customers.
  • Prioritize sanitation– Make sanitation a priority to create a safer shopping experience and encourage people to shop in your store.
  • Offer different shipping options– Be versatile enough to offer different shipping options, including free shipping promos and express shipping for last-minute shoppers.

We hope these tips can help you enjoy a profitable holiday season! Get in touch with us for more personalized business tips.

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