COVID-19 Business Update – 19 August 2020
Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. We hope you and your family are safe and doing well. Read on for this week’s update.
Canadian Travel Ban Extended
As the US continues to wrestle with the pandemic, border closures were extended for at least another month to contain the spread of COVID-19. Non-essential travel will be prohibited until September 21.
Finance Minister Resigns Amid the Pandemic
Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced his resignation amid reports of differences with PM Justin Trudeau regarding spending to backstop the pandemic-hammered economy.
Canada’s government is predicting a historic $343 billion deficit for 2020-2021 including economic and stimulus plans to battle the impact of the pandemic.
Canadian Economy Supported by Tech, Housing
While COVID-19 has brought several industries to a standstill, there are still some bright spots in Canada’s diverse service-oriented economy.
The housing sector, which was seen as vulnerable, particularly Toronto and Vancouver, has performed far better than expected. Similarly, the technology sector is also performing well.
Since March, the government has been supporting businesses and Canadians who lost their job because of the pandemic. The Bank of Canada has also taken measures to bolster the economy, including cutting the interest rate to 0.25% in March and launching a government bond-buying program to provide liquidity to the financial markets. Economists expect the country’s economy to rebound in 2021 with 6% to 7% growth.
If you are struggling amid these troubled times, feel free to get in touch with us so we can work out a plan.
Assistance for Businesses in Canada
If you’re wondering what assistance is available to your business, please get in touch with us. There is a range of programs and grants including the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), the Co-lending Program, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) and more.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will help you assess based on your current financial situation and business needs.
Rent Relief Program Extended
The government announced that the CECRA program has been extended once again to cover a portion of August’s rent for businesses that qualify. To be eligible for the rent relief program, businesses will have to prove a 70% decline in sales for July or August.
Click here to learn more about this program. For assistance on your application for CECRA or other financial support schemes that you may be eligible for, please get in touch with us.
Transitioning People Off COVID-19 Emergency Benefits
People will start to be transitioned off the emergency income support schemes onto traditional unemployment benefits starting September, as it winds down the costly aid plan. The Prime Minister also announced that they will create a parallel benefit for people who are not eligible for traditional employment insurance, such as gig or contract workers.
Shop Local to Kickstart Economic Recovery
Local small businesses are a vital part of our economy and the communities they represent. According to the World Bank Group, small- and medium-sized businesses account for about 90% of businesses and more than 50% of employment worldwide.
While the government is trying its best to protect the economy, there are many ways people can do their part and support local small businesses. Here are ways you can help small businesses stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Purchase gift cards from your local stores.
- Shop online, but keep it local.
- Order takeaway food and drinks from your local restaurants.
- Be a little more generous than usual when giving tips.
- Leave positive reviews online and promote them on social media.
- Postpone instead of cancelling.
- Join online classes if local businesses offer this option to follow social restrictions.
Take Online Payments Safely
The pandemic has significantly changed our lives including the way we shop and make payments. As e-commerce and online payments increasingly gain popularity, it is important for small businesses to adapt.
As a responsible business owner, you must ensure that your customers’ data are protected to gain their trust. This article from Entrepreneur shares some security tips when accepting online payments.
- Choose a secure eCommerce platform and processor.
- Educate yourself and your employees.
- Verify the transaction and more.
When customers trust you, they will continue supporting your business. Ultimately, this will benefit your bottom line.
Digital Main Street Grant
The Digital Main Street Grant is a $2500 grant for small businesses to adopt new technologies and embrace digital marketing. This is definitely a good opportunity for you to improve your business in these challenging times! You can read more here or drop us a message if you need assistance in taking advantage of this new grant.
Useful Remote Work Tools to Boost Productivity
You’ve probably realised that working remotely is not without its challenges. Many people have adopted new strategies and habits to stay productive and avoid distractions. This article covers some AI-powered tools that can improve your productivity and make your life easier.
- Timely- It tracks what you do throughout the day and automatically groups tasks into projects with labels and classifications.
- Otter.ai- It uses machine learning to help you generate rich notes from your meetings, interviews, and other voice conversations– saving you time writing the summary and meeting notes.
- Krisp- This app reduces background noise in your conference calls while making human voices crisp and clear.
Adjusting to remote work arrangements can be challenging for both employees and employers. Contact us if you need help in getting the right systems and tech in place for your business.
Avoiding COVID-19 Online Scams
Recently, there has been a significant increase in COVID-19-related online scams that steal your personal data, impersonate authorities, offer fraudulent medical goods and services, and make fake requests for charitable donations. Below are some tips from Google Safety Center to keep you from falling victim to these scams.
- Know how scammers may reach you- Aside from emails, they may also use text messages, automated calls, and malicious websites.
- Check trusted sources directly- Scammers may pose as trusted and authoritative sources. So directly visit reliable sources instead to get the latest factual information.
- Be cautious of requests for personal or financial information, pause and evaluate before sharing- Do not provide confidential information such as logins, bank details, and addresses to suspicious or unverified sources. Donate directly through non-profits.
- Double-check links and email addresses before clicking- Fake links imitate established websites by adding extra random letters and numbers or words, so be extra careful and check before you click.
- Search to see if it’s been reported- Copy and paste the email address, phone number, or suspicious portion of the message on your search engine to check if it has already been reported.
- Add an extra layer of security to your account- Add two-factor authentications to your accounts for extra protection online.
Get in touch
Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.