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Covid-19 Resources & Information

COVID-19
Webpage Updated: March 27th, 2020 at 5:02pm

 

What's The Current Risk?

As of March 27 at 9:00 am:

1 confirmed case in the NWT

607 tests have been performed. 307 tests are pending results.

For more information and to stay up-to-date, please visit: https://www.hss.gov.nt.ca/en/services/coronavirus-disease-covid-19

 

How Is This Impacting The Yellowknife Chamber?

Our office is closed to the public until further notice. Staff are working from home. Please visit our contact page if you'd like to get in touch.

The Yellowknife Chamber Spring Trade Show, scheduled for May 9th & 10th, is cancelled for 2020. We are reaching out to all of our vendors to issue refunds, please be patient as we work through this process.

During this time of uncertainty, we are committed to researching and compiling business resources. This page will be updated daily as new information and resources become available.

If you are looking for particular information, please let us know and we'll do our best to find you answers.

If you have resources that other businesses may find helpful, please email: Programs@YKChamber.com and we'll add them to this page.

Information And Resources From the Government of Canada:

 

For more information on Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan and the supports available to individuals and businesses please visit the Government of Canada's website here.

Wage Subsidy:
This morning the Government of Canada announced that the previously offered 10% wage subsidy will be increasing to a 75% wage subsidy, for up to 3 months.

Wage subsidies will be backdated to March 15th, 2020.

More information on eligibility criteria will be available by the end of March 2020.

For more information, please click here.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB):
Provides $2,000/month for up to four months for workers, small business owners and entrepreneurs who are not receiving a paycheque as a result of COVID-19.

Canadians will begin receiving payments within 10 days of applying. The CERB will be paid every four weeks and will be available from March 15th, 2020 until October 3rd, 2020.

The portal for accessing this program will be available in early April. We will update this page once we have more information.

For more information, please click here.

Business Credit Availability Program Measures:
The Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada are working with private sector lenders to coordinate credit solutions for businesses, including oil and gas, air transportation and tourism.

Businesses interested in seeking support through this program should contact their financial institution.

For more information on this program, please click here.

Canada Emergency Business Account
This program will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced, due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 virus.

Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25% (up to $10,000).

To qualify, organizations will need to demonstrate that they paid between $50,000 and $1 million in total payroll in 2019.

We will update this page when more information becomes available.

For general information about this program, please click here.

SME Loan Guarantee
Export Development Canada will guarantee new operating credit and cash flow term loans that financial institutions extend to SMEs, up to $6.25 million.

Businesses interested in seeking support through this program should contact their financial institution.

For general information about this program, please click here.

Co-Lending For SMEs
Together with financial institutions, the BDC will co-lend  to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements.

Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts up to $6.25 million. BDC's portion of this program is up to a maximum of $5 million per loan.

Businesses interested in seeking support through this program should contact their financial institution.

For general information on this program, please click here.

Loan Guarantees:
Export Development Canada is supporting businesses by offering their bank a guarantee on loans of up to $5 million to ensure that companies can access more cash immediately.

Businesses interested in seeking support through this program should contact their financial institution.

For more information on this program, please click here.

Income Tax Deferrals:
The deadline for businesses to pay any income tax amounts that become owing or due after March 18th, 2020 and before September 1, 2020 has been extended to September 1, 2020.

This means that you will not be assessed any penalties or interest in your balance due is paid by September 1, 2020.

For more information on this program, please click here.

GST/HST Remittance Deferrals:
The Canadian Government is deferring Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax remittances and customs duty payments to June 30th, 2020.

For more information, please click here.

Work-Sharing Program:
These measures extend the duration of Work-Sharing agreements by an additional 38 weeks, for a total of 76 weeks. The mandatory waiting period has also been waived so that employers with a recently expired agreement may immediately apply for a new agreement, without waiting between applications and ease Recovery Plan requirements for the duration of the WS agreement.

For more information and application instructions, please click here.

Support For Tourism Operators / Small And Medium Sized Businesses From CanNor:
If you have received CanNor funding, you may be eligible for:

  • Additional funding and/or flexible arrangements
  • Further support that will be determined on a case-by-case basis

If you have not received CanNor funding and are impacted by the sudden shifts in the economy and need pressing assistance, you may be eligible for:

  • Access to federal funding to help you stay in business
  • Advice and pathfinding services to other federal programs and services available

For more information on this support, please visit CanNor's website here.

 

Information And Resources From The Government Of The Northwest Territories:

Fee Reduction:
Provide relief to northern supply chain businesses through a removal of fees until the end of June for:

  • Deh Cho Bridge tolls
  • Truck permits
  • Airport landing fees

BDIC: Working Capital Loans:
Loans of up to $25,000 (or more if need is clearly addressed) are being made available to qualified NWT businesses at a rate of 1.75%. Loans will be amortized for up to five years with options for payment deferment.

To be eligible, business owners will need to reside in the NWT and will need to demonstrate financial need due to cash flows issues resulting from the COVID-19 crises. Priority will be given to businesses with fewer than 20 employees but the GNWT will consider applications from businesses with up to 50 employees.

The deadline for the first round of applications is March 31, 2020 at midnight.

For application instructions, please visit: https://www.bdic.ca/

BDIC: Deferred Loan Payments:
Allow for the deferral of any BDIC loan payments for a period of up to three cumulative months, between April 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020 with no penalty or additional interest charges.

Businesses are automatically approved and not required to demonstrate financial hardship or impacts resulting from the COVID-19 crises.

Requests for payment reductions or deferments must be received by the appropriate Department of Industry Tourism and Investment regional office no later than the 24th day of the month prior to the payment date.

For April 2020 payments only, the BDIC will extend the deadline to March 26th to allow sufficient time for applicants to make their requests.

Following the payment deferment or reduction period, existing loan payment schedules will resume along with existing terms and conditions.

For application instructions, please visit: https://www.bdic.ca/

Questions related to this program can be directed to: ITIbusinessinquiries@gov.nt.ca

Establish Economic Relief and Growth Advisory Group:
Begin work to establish an Advisory Council to help identify the economic impacts of the pandemic; represent the business community; and ensure that the items most critical to local economies and jobs are targeted for medium and long term government support.

Advance Portion of Net Fiscal Benefit Transfer to Indigenous Governments:
Provide advance payments for the 2020 GNWT net fiscal benefit from resource revenues to Indigenous Governments that are signatories to the Devolution Agreement.

Contribution Carryovers:
Allow non-government organizations, Indigenous Governments, and Community Governments with unused contribution amounts in 2019-20 to use these funds in 2020-21.

Payment Terms for Vendors:
Allow small businesses and individuals to access cash flow more quickly by shortening the payment terms on GNWT invoices so that they are paid out as soon as possible.

WSCC employer fees:
Extension of the due date for Employer Assessment Payments from April 1 to May 1, 2020.

GNWT Collections Policy:
Provide small businesses and individuals with access to greater cash flow during this crisis, by pausing most collections efforts, including:

  • Outside collection agency activity
  • GNWT set-offs on GNWT payments
  • GNWT set-offs on Canada Revenue Agency tax refunds

Income Assistance:
Increase funding available for the Income Assistance program.

Student Financial Assistance:
Defer the payment of student loans to September 30, 2020, including not charging interest for this period.

NTPC Load Limiters/Collections Policy:
Support NWT residents by removing load limiters, ceasing disconnections, and pausing collection efforts.

For more information on the Northwest Territories COVID-19 Economic Relief plan, visit the website here.

For the GNWT's Resources for Businesses page, please click here.

COVID-19 and the Workplace: Guidance and Risk Assessment Tool for Employers in the Northwest Territories

The Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) has developed a risk assessment tool to guide employers in determining if a worker can safely be on the worksite.

The tool includes recommendations from the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer in NT and practical tools for conducting a risk assessment and establishing a protocol to prevent the risk of transmission by an essential service worker.

For more information about keeping your employee's safe, please visit WSCC's website here.

To access the WSCC's Risk Assessment Document, please click here.

If you would like remote assistance from an OHS Inspector to perform a risk assessment related to COVID-19 for your worksite, please contact 1-800-661-0792.

 

Crowe MacKay's Resource Hub

Crowe MacKay LLP has developed a COVID-19 webpage with a number of resources that you might find helpful, including a Resource Library.

View their resource hub here.

 

Updates, Documentation, Publications, and Information Concerning COVID-19 From McLennan Ross LLP

McLennan Ross LLP has developed a COVID-19 webpage with a number of resources that you may find helpful, including a section dedicated to Northern Publications and Updates.

Visit their resource webpage here.

If you have any questions for their COVID-19 team, please email: covid19@mross.com

 

Local Services That May Be Helpful For Your Business:

Arctic Response Canada is reaching out to the Yellowknife and NWT Business Communities to offer our services in support of efforts to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.

As leaders in OHS, emergency preparedness, and emergency response, Arctic Response has the capacity to perform numerous critical services that will be of great value as part of a coordinated effort to minimize the harm to our employees, businesses, and communities.

Services Include:

  • COVID-19 Screening For Employees
  • Operational Health & Safety Consulting
  • Security Services
  • Education, including PPE, decontamination protocols, risk assessments, oxygen therapy administration, and more
  • Counselling for anxiety management and grief
  • Transportation, and more!

For more information on these services, you can view an informational PDF here.

If you're looking to speak to someone, please contact: Adam Woogh, NT/NU Regional Manager, at 867.873.3205 or info@arcticresponse.ca

Resources For Businesses From The Canadian Chamber of Commerce:

Canadian Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Perrin Beatty, shares the top five things SMEs should know right now. Watch the video here.

To help businesses prepare for and manage through a potential COVID-19 escalation in Canada, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has developed a guide designed to help you with business planning and continuity efforts.

View the Canadian Chamber of Commerce's Pandemic Preparedness Guide here.

According to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, should COVID-19 escalate in Canada, businesses may need to plan for things like:

  • Staff absence
  • Disruption to essential services like financial services, energy supply, and logistics
  • Disruption to supply of necessary materials or contractors
  • The potential for a major increase or decrease in demand for products and services
  • Cancellation or disruption of travel and cross-border movement of people and goods
  • Cancellation of public meetings or gatherings
  • Impact on the trade status of Canada, or of our trading partners and
  • Increased public fear that causes citizens to avoid public places, including front line retail and tourist-related attractions, restaurants and leisure businesses.

To help with planning, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has developed word document templates:

Access the Crisis Communications Plan template here.

Access the Business Continuity And Recovery Plan template here.

For more information and resources from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, please visit their website here.

 

Resources For Businesses From The Business Development Bank of Canada:

"How To Cope With The Impacts Of Covid-19 On Your Business". This webinar will discuss economic perspectives and advice on how to manage your business through the COVID-19 crisis.

Missed the webinar? You can watch the webinar as a YouTube video here.

Creating and maintaining a business continuity plan helps ensure that your business has the resources and information needed to deal with an emergency. A well designed plan will help you minimize the risk that an emergency poses to your employees, clients and suppliers, the continuity of your business operations and your bottom line.

Access the BDC's continuity plan and templates for entrepreneurs here.

Access the BDC's Business Continuity Planning Guide For Influenza Pandemic here.

Access the BDC's 8 stops for planning your emergency and disaster plan, including templates here.

 

What Employers in the NWT And Nunavut Need To Know - A Resource From Lawson Lundell LLP

An Employer’s Responsibility to Ensure a Safe Work Environment - A Resource From Lawson Lundell LLP:

Employers have a responsibility under occupational health and safety legislation in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut to maintain a safe and healthy work environment for their workers:

  • Any worker who has been advised by a health official to self-isolate or be quarantined must be advised by their employer to do so.
  • If the worker is not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and they are considered essential workers the employer should have a plan in place that includes risk assessments and mitigation measures that allow for essential services to continue while minimizing the risk to the public.
  • Anyone exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 should be sent home immediately.
  • An employee has the right to refuse to work in an unsafe work environment. Whether it is reasonable for an employee to refuse to work due to concerns about COVID-19 will depend on the nature of the workplace, the suspected safety risk, the individual needs of that employee and individual the circumstances.
  • Public Health officials in the NWT have recommended that non-essential businesses such as tour operators, hair salons, bars should be closed but businesses considered essential services such as grocery stores, gas stations and convenience stores can stay open if they can maintain a two meter separation between individuals within the facility. So far, this is a recommendation not an order.

Due to the seriousness of the threat of COVID-19, employers will need to be flexible when accommodating the safety concerns of their employees. If the employee can work from home, it will likely be in the employer’s best interest to provide this option.

Employee Leave and Compensation:

If an employee has symptoms or is diagnosed with COVID-19 or they cannot work because they are required by health officials to self-isolate or be quarantined the employer is not required to pay the employee. However, the employee may be eligible for:

  • sick leave benefits provided by the employer,
  • banked overtime, paid vacation time or unpaid sick leave for this period.

If an employee cannot access the above benefits, they may be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. Canada has announced enhanced eligibility for EI and new emergency benefits for employees even for workers who are otherwise not entitled to EI. More information on EI COVID-19 emergency benefits are available on the government’s website here.

Other Considerations:

Can an employer force someone to self-isolate? Can employees be temporarily laid off? What are the relevant privacy and Human Rights considerations?

For answers to these questions and more, please click here.

For information on an upcoming webinar on March 31st, 2020 with Sandra on this subject, click here.

For more information or legal advice, please contact:

Sandra MacKenzie, Partner, Lawson Lundell at 867.669.5503 or smackenzie@lawsonlundell.com

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