By Patrick Flannery
As COVID-19 becomes the “new normal” and our businesses adjust, the rate of news is slowing down. Plus, we’re all getting a bit sick of reading and hearing about this all the time. We’re going to back off the COVID updates to a Friday roundup of the week’s developments.
THIS WEEK’S NEWS
Understanding how the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program has changed can be helpful for businesses looking for emergency relief. CFIB shares six important changes that business owners need to know.
Michael Wood, president of Ottawa Special Events, penned a searing op-ed recently pointing out how COVID program failures have hurt small businesses.
Scroll down for older news
Government resources pages for businesses
Links to the regional agencies delivering federal funds to assist business.
- Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
- Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions
- Regional Relief and Recovery Fund – Northern Ontario
- RRRF – Southern Ontario
- Western Economic Diversification Canada
- Northern Business Relief Fund
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
- Export Development Canada (Canada Emergency Business Account)
- Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance
- Business Development Canada
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
- Ontario Ministry of Health
- Toronto Public Health
- Peel Public Health
- Public Health Ontario
- Public Health Agency of Canada
- World Health Organization
Government has released details of Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. Small businesses will now be able to formulate staffing plans for the rest of the year. Canadian Federation of Independent Business pleased with this development.
Slow return expected post COVID-19 shutdown by Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association. Members concerned about budget cuts in infrastructure funding.
Has the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program not worked as expected for Island businesses? Charlottetown MP Sean Casey thinks so.
Construction industry in general going strong in Prince Edward Island despite the pandemic. However, marked difference seen across the different sectors in construction.
A helping hand from the federal government. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced the extension of the emergency wage subsidy program to December of this year.
Is too much of anything not a good thing? Seems like too many requests for home renovations fuelled by COVID-19 have pushed contractors in Newfoundland and Labrador to their limit.
Is the City of Vancouver a tough landlord? Commercial tenants have had to pay full rent to the city throughout the COVID-19 shutdown period. Another downside? Municipal government landowners are not eligible for CEWS.
New automated tool launched by KPMG is designed to make it easier for commercial landlords applying to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program. Could make it easier to provide rent relief to tenants.
Major decline in residential and non-residential building construction investment seen across Canada. Data collected by Statistics Canada for April 2020.
Nova Scotia’s construction industry is faced with yet another impact of COVID-19. Multiple factors have contributed to lumber shortage in the province, causing issues for construction projects.
Here’s a silver lining. A COVID-19 mental health survey finds construction workers are faring better than those in other sectors.
As businesses everywhere strive hard to stay operational and profitable, have the interest-free emergency loans been able to keep everyone afloat? Kim Rixon, owner of Muskoka Party Rentals, shares her story.
Construction industry leaders in Alberta appreciate the provincial government’s recovery plan.
The importance of taking precautions cannot be stressed enough in these times. In this article, David Wilkes, president and CEO of Building Industry and Land Development Association talks about steps being taken to perform safe home renovations.
An interesting webinar presented by a group of lawyers regarding the new regime under which construction projects are operating in B.C.
Improvement in sanitation facilities is being seen across construction sites in Vancouver Island as a result of the pandemic. Construction workers appreciate the handwashing stations now available.
Construction, as well as sales in Alberta’s housing industry, is reeling from the impact of COVID-19. However, being deemed essential has helped the housing industry in the province breathe better.
How has the pandemic impacted costing in construction? This article discusses 10 such impacts.
Statistics Canada numbers indicate that loss of employment has been worse for women compared to men during the pandemic. Experts suggest it could be a good time for women to consider a career change and move into the relatively thriving construction industry.
Good news for home renovations and new home construction in Newfoundland and Labrador. Provincial government offering a generous $30-million rebate.
BC Construction Roundtable sees opportunities for infrastructure investment in the future as B.C. begins its journey of economic recovery from the effects of the pandemic.
Construction project delays in GTA due to COVID-19 will hurt everyone concerned. David Wilkes, CEO and president of Building Industry and Land Development Association discusses its full implications.
Relief for those out of work due to COVID-19 as CERB is extended. Active job search encouraged by the government.
Has Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) been able to reach all businesses that need the assistance? No, says CFIB; there are problems that need to be fixed. Open letter sent by CFIB to Minister Morneau, requesting immediate action.
Who will lead the Canadian economy on the road to recovery post-COVID-19? It could be the residential and non-residential construction industry, according to some industry associations.
Hosting events online is the trend of the times. Skills Ontario follows suit with a virtual Summer Camp program.
A wonderful display of compassion from Saskatchewan’s construction associations. They have joined forces for a COVID-19 food bank drive to keep the province from going hungry during this crisis.
A breath of relief may soon be possible for commercial tenants in Ontario impacted due to COVID-19 as the province proposes steps to safeguard them.
IPAF is offering a flexible eLearning opportunity for MEWPs. Participants have the option of finishing the theory training at their convenience.
How can small businesses emerge stronger from the current recession? Canada must extend the necessary help, says Neil McLaughlin from RBC.
CERB becomes a pain point for the Canadian government? This article discusses how fraud and error under CERB could possibly be worse than previously feared.
More people allowed at gatherings and weddings in Alberta as Stage 2 of the provincial relaunch is rolled out. Will event planners be able to now recover from the impact of the pandemic? Sheldon Fingler, owner of Infinite Events Services believes they could be the last industry to recover.
The changing times are forcing all businesses to adapt and evolve. Could innovations and digital technologies help the construction industry grow and push forward? This article takes a look at how this is the right time to consider whether technology could be the next step forward.
New construction takes a big hit from COVID-19 in Greater Victoria. Big drop in the value of building permits in the area, with similar trends in 10 Canadian provinces.
Really great work in the hot seat by one of our friends in the Canadian rental industry. Mike Wood of Ottawa Special Events makes a compelling case to the House Finance Committee on where support for small businesses has fallen short.
How might the pandemic affect the construction industry long-term? This article takes a look at how we might work differently on and off job sites, and how building design might be affected.
Ontario is talking about its plan for testing and tracing on jobsites.
The Cement Association of Canada is calling on Ottawa to route post-pandemic stimulus spending through heavy construction projects.
Mike Wood of Ottawa Special Events went on Ottawa radio to talk about his efforts to make sure the feds take care of small businesses hurt by the pandemic. But that’s small potatoes. Wood’s next appearance will be Tuesday in front of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance to make a five minute pitch for small business support.
Nice overview of the BC construction sector’s response to COVID in the Vancouver Sun. Big takeaway: WorkSafeBC has allowed only one claim for COVID contracted on a construction site. Numbers around the country appear to be similar – Ontario has less than six construction-related COVID claims.
The April building permit statistics are out. They are not good. Average 17 per cent decline in April in permits issued – the largest month-to-month decline measured since the 2008 financial crisis.
Here’s some advice on avoiding common pitfalls that sink event planning businesses. A lot of it applies equally to the event rental business, especially if you assist customers with planning and design. These points are good advice at any time, but especially important these days when so many of us are just trying to survive.
If your staff’s lift operating certifications are running out, IPAF has online options for them to renew their training and certificates.
Here’s a chance to hear from some top experts on their predictions for the economic recovery from the lockdown and advice on how to get your business ready. Q&A session to follow the webinar.
Ontario’s suspension of time-of-use electricity pricing is supposed to expire Sunday. Maybe Doug Ford will have something to announce about this today…
The Canadian Propane Association is out with another edition of its Energized Magazine, featuring an extensive collection of resources for propane suppliers and handlers struggling with the lockdown.
Facebook Canada has launched a bunch of supports for small businesses…including direct grants! Don’t know how easy it will be to get the grants, but one thing everyone has access to is the advice and help setting up an online presence and e-commerce site. Now, I know everyone in the rental industry is a digital wizard and doesn’t need any help with internet stuff, but I just thought I’d post it anyway…
Trudeau wants provinces to require employers to offer 10 paid sick days per year as part of the COVID “recovery phase”…
…the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses is not a fan of making this permanent.
Here is Dan Kelly, CFIB president, talking about it:
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has teamed up with Salesforce to offer $10,000 COVID relief grants to 62 lucky small businesses. Applications open Monday.
The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program opened for applications yesterday. Did your landlord apply?
BC Building Trades is calling for a public inquiry into COVID protection protocols on construction sites. It’s executive director pointed to a “culture of non-compliance.”
Alberta jobsites are legally exempt from the 50-person gathering limit but industry leaders are saying measures will be taken to prevent too many workers clustering together.
Some voices in Nova Scotia’s construction industry are calling for a pause as cases in the province start to mount.
Here’s advice from Genie on how to safely use and effectively disinfect lift equipment.
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers has formed a task force to develop new health and safety guidelines for its events. The association was forced to shut down ConExpo early as the severity of the pandemic became evident in mid-March.
Dan Kelly from the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses explains recent changes to the Canada Emergency Business Account. What would we do without him?
Dan also tweets out this message that really needs to make the rounds:
Cvent CMO says flexibility will be the key priority for event rental managers. That’s for sure.
Nearly a third of Canadian businesses are now fully open, according to this report. Alberta has the highest rate of open businesses, while Ontario has the lowest.
Ottawa has entirely lifted payroll requirements for CEBA loan eligibility. It’s initial floor of $50,000 payroll eliminated many businesses that pay through dividends, hire contractors or work alone.
The CECRA rent-relief program opens for applications on May 25. Of the various programs announced in this pandemic, this one is getting the most negative attention. It’s hard to see why landlords would volunteer to fill out a bunch of paperwork in order to receive 75 per cent of the rent they are owed…unless it meant the difference between keeping the tenant or not.
This article in Forbes thinks about the future of the events industry. Spoiler: it’s going to be different, at least for a while.
Ottawa will redirect planned assistance for provincial infrastructure projects to support COVID-preparedness infrastructure.
CFIB is happy with Ottawa’s plan to expand the CEBA to take in more small businesses.
The ARA has released a guide to healthy work practices for construction rental companies that is available to members and non-members.
Here’s a look at how some Australian event rental companies are pivoting to find revenue streams.
Caterpillar is offering Caterpillar University online training for free through May. Over 250 courses available!
IPAF will host a webinar on how to minimize COVID-19 exposure when using MEWPs. 4 pm EST on Thursday.
This is cute, though possibly not as safe as we might like…
Trudeau has announced the federal CEWS wage subsidy will extend through the summer.
Here’s a thorough discussion of legal issues facing Canadian construction companies during the pandemic. Delays, force majeure, essential services and more.
Point of Rental wants to recognize the innovative things rental stores have done during the pandemic, especially all the great things we’ve done to help our communities. Nominate yourself or someone else for the Epic Awards today.
Ontario has lifted curbside delivery requirements for retailers and all restrictions on construction. This means you can now have customers in your stores as long as you keep it to one customer per four square meters and take all the other precautions.
Looking for something to do with all that tent inventory lying around? Here’s Alaska Shelters on how to make a COVID testing drive-through station.
Ontario has lifted its restrictions on construction activities. Get back to work, safely.
Ontario has posted a list of PPE suppliers for businesses opening up. It’s a great resource, but you have to make an agreement with the Queen herself before you log in! (First line on the terms of service.)
Here’s an extensive report on the pandemic’s impact to Q1 Canadian construction from the Canadian Institute of Quality Surveyors. Takeaways: workloads down modestly, expectations down sharply, margins likely to drop.
Ontario to lift “essential” restrictions on construction: report
MasterCard is offering free cybersecurity assessments to small businesses.
Need something to spray down equipment, vehicles and your shop? Check out Larson’s electrostatic sprayer.
When it comes to lockdowns, there are as many opinions as there are people. Here’s a video from Journal of Commerce showing what leading voices around the industry had to say.
The International Powered Access Federation will host a webinar advising how to minimize COVID-19 exposure when using aerial equipment.
The Canadian Construction Association has released a recording of its very detailed webinar on the various financial assistance programs available for construction companies. Believe me, you will know how to apply after this one.
Export Development Canada is making loans available to larger companies ($50 to $300 million revenues) that can’t access finance through their regular channels.
Quebec has opened up commercial construction sites and developers are happy. But there’s little hope of getting back on schedule.
Experts warn that forehead thermometer checks are not enough to ensure workers don’t have COVID-19.
McMillan is hosting a webinar Friday to discuss construction sector recovery. There’s some big hitters on the panel.
Provincial workers compensation boards say they are only allowing claims for COVID infections if the workplace put the workers at increased risk for getting the virus. And you don’t even have to report if the worker’s case doesn’t seem to fit the criteria. But whether workers were put at risk will be adjudicated on a case-by-case basis. If someone comes down with COVID in your company, are you better safe than sorry? One thing is for sure: PPE, distancing and handwashing are absolutely essential to protect your operation against claims.
Terex has some advice on how to clean equipment and vehicles after use.
Concept illustration from 1930 of how a Caterpillar mechanical parts storeroom of the future would look. Note the excellent social distancing.
The construction season is going ahead in Saskatoon.
Trudeau is extending the CEWS through June.
Some people are not happy with Quebec reopening.
The federal government has some help for your agriculture customers in the form of a $252 million aid package.
Do you love numbers? Here’s StatCan’s raw pandemic data since January.
Surrey. B.C., city council has approved an impressive slate of assistance measures for residents, including cuts to municipal development fees. How does it compare to what your jurisdiction is doing?
B.C. is going to allow municipalities to hold public hearings online to make sure no one loses the opportunity to scream about a proposed development in their area.
Quebec has pushed back the date for Montreal retail stores opening amid an increase in hospitalizations, but construction and manufacturing are still set to go on May 11.
Expiry of working-at-heights certificates in Ontario has been pushed back one year. If you got your certificate between February and August 2017, it is good for four years instead of three. In other words, you don’t have to update it this year.
CFIB welcomes the start of reopening but praises a measured approach.
A step-by-step guide to applying for CEWS from the Canadian Business Resilience Network.
B.C. extends temporary layoff period to 16 weeks.
Landscapers and golf courses were allowed to reopen in Ontario today
The Winnipeg Construction Association will host a webinar May 6 on Implications of COVID-19 for the Surety Industry.
Something to keep in mind when trying to keep your staff safe: female workers can struggle with poorly fitting PPE.
Lots of horror stories circulating of landlords refusing to participate in the CECRA commercial rent relief program. The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses has posted a template letter you can use to request CECRA rent relief from your landlord.
New Brunswick may have this thing licked.
Newfoundland goes a second day with no new cases, too.
Ottawa Special Events finds an idea for doing some business in the pandemic
Changes from earlier proposals (per Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses) :
- Employers who qualify in one month qualify for eight weeks of support
- Businesses may compare March 2019 OR average Jan./Feb. 2020 revenues to determine revenue decline
- Accrual or cash accounting may be used to compare revenues
- Only 15 per cent reduction in March required to qualify. Threshold for April/May is still 30 per cent.
- Business owner and family member salaries are covered IF they are paid through usual payroll system and not through dividends
- More details
Changes, per Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses:
1. Small firms will be able to compare gross revenue against either (a) the same month in 2019 or (b) January and February 2020. This will help new and rapidly growing firms gain access to the wage subsidy.
2. Only a 15% gross revenue decline will be needed in March (30% for April and May). Now firms that had a decent first half of March (but were hit in the second half) will be able to use the wage subsidy.
3. Firms will be able to choose between cash and accrual accounting to determine the 30% drop. This will help many firms whose gross revenue may look good on paper during the 3 months, but may not have the $ to pay wages.
The government has also clarified that pre-covid wages will be based on average weekly remuneration from Jan 1 to Mar 15, 2020.
CFIB reporting Canada Post will waive fees for forwarding business mail to home addresses. Nothing on the Canada Post site about this yet.
Ontario Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development warns jobsites will be shut down if they don’t sanitize toilets.
“62. A business that provides rental and leasing services, including renting or leasing automobiles
and commercial and light industrial machinery and equipment.”
Mass gathering limits
BC – 50
Alberta – 10
Saskatchewan – 10
Manitoba – 10
Ontario – 5
Quebec – 2
New Brunswick – 10
Nova Scotia – 5
P.E.I. – 5
Newfoundland and Labrador – not specified “avoid crowds”
Ontario keeping highway service centres open for truckers