By Chamber of Commerce on August 26, 2020.
As your local Chamber, we have assisted in navigating information related to the pandemic and have voiced your concerns to Government to ensure that businesses had what they needed to manage this very challenging time.
However, we still find that some businesses may not have formal pandemic or continuity plans, others are unaware of the support available to get them online and still others have not accessed available funding and supports.
We recognize that much of this is due to the overwhelming amount of information and the need to manage the day to day impacts this has had on so many, while others were left falling through the cracks.
We wanted to make sure that businesses are aware of all the supports and that you take another look at the options available and the changes made to the programs.
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, has made changes including:
A subsidy rate that now varies, depending on how much your revenue dropped,
if your revenue drop was less than 30% you can still qualify, and keep getting the subsidy as employees return to work and your revenue recovers
employees who were unpaid for 14 or more days can now be included in your calculation
use the current period’s revenue drop or the previous period’s, whichever works in your favour
even if your revenue has not dropped for the claim period, you can still qualify if your average revenue over the previous three months dropped more than 50%
the maximum base subsidy rate is 60% in claim periods 5 and 6
The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) also changed its criteria in June to include owner-operated businesses that don’t have payroll, including sole proprietors receiving business income directly, as well as family-owned corporations who receive dividends, making this more accessible by more small businesses.
The Government of Alberta SME Relaunch Grant helps organizations that were ordered to close or curtail operations and experienced a revenue reduction of at least 50% in April or May 2020 in comparison to April 2019, May 2019 or February 2020 as a result of COVID-19. Organizations can apply for 15% of their pre-COVID-19 revenue, up to a maximum of $5,000.
The City of Medicine Hat also made some BIG changes to their Business Innovation Grant with grant amounts now eligible from $500 to $15,000. Funding can be used for goods or services, modifications, or enhancements to business operations identified in the applicant’s hazard assessment (and if you don’t have a hazard assessment, you can use this funding to have one developed for you). This may include PPE or modifications such as equipment, tools, devices, and signage to minimize contact (touchless payment devices, plexiglass shields, room design improvements, structural enhancements, labor costs of local certified contractors, etc.). You can also use this funding to install security systems and video cameras in order to protect your business or even use this for door access controls. You can also use this for hard costs related to business innovations to create or enhance revenue streams for business operations.
In addition, if you don’t have an e-commerce site, you should apply for the ShopHere program to have an e-commerce site built for you and then access the BIG grant for up to $1500 for local, professional photography in order to assist showcase your products on your e-commerce website.
There are a number of resources available, so make sure you take a look at https://www.medicinehatchamber.com/covid19/ and look at our 5 Steps guides, along with the local PPE supplier page, the Pandemic Preparedness Guide and Hazard Assessment template to get you started. We continue to work on further strategies and advocacy to support our local business community. Remember, you don’t have to go it alone, connect with us today through our website or by calling us at 403-527-5214.