Ontario is pleased to announce that long-term care residents can once again leave their residences for short-stay and temporary absences. 

Effective immediately, residents can spend time away from their long-term care homes for day trips or overnight absences. For short-stay absences (those that do not include an overnight stay) homes must provide residents with a medical mask to be worn at all times when outside the home, if tolerated, and remind them of the importance of public health measures such as physical distancing. When they return, residents must be actively screened but are not required to be tested or to self-isolate. 

Residents may also leave for “temporary absences of one or more nights. Temporary absences will be at the discretion of the home and decided on a case-by-case basis based on safety factors like the risk associated with the absence (i.e: for a family weekend vs. a large gathering) and the ability of the home to help residents self-isolate upon return. For protection of their neighbours, residents who leave on a temporary absence will be required to self-isolate for 14 days when they return to the home. 

Read the full statement by the Government of Ontario by clicking here.

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The Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC) found that 29% of accommodation and food service businesses cannot operate at all with social distancing measures in effect. A further 31% will only be able to remain operational for up to 90 days with distancing measures in effect. In other words, up to 60% of the industry risk having to close their doors permanently by November. 

While the economy is slowly beginning to recover, to date the federal government has not offered help tailored to the needs of the hardest hit industries like food services, which will take a long time to recover. That’s why the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and 15 food service businesses/organizations are launching the “Our Restaurants” campaign. 

The campaign puts a spotlight on the current situation faced by Canada’s restaurants amidst COVID-19: high costs, fewer customers, and government programs ill-equipped for the unique, long-term challenges faced by the industry.

To learn more about who is leading this campaign & the details, click here.

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The federal government has announced additional funding to support safe and full-time return to school policies. 

The Canadian Chamber’s Council for Women’s Advocacy (CWA) issued a statement on the five things the federal government can do right now to support women and foster economic growth. The first of these is contained in this announcement: 

A call to work with provinces and territories in their respective efforts to ensure there is safe full-time return to school policies for September 2020 that take into account international experiences, learnings, and best practices to date.

The Canadian Chamber and the CWA call on all stakeholders to act collaboratively and swiftly to make safe, full-time return to school a reality for all Canadian students. To do so ensures women can focus on work and fully participate in the recovery process that is essential for widespread job creation and sustained economic growth. 

To read more about the announcement details, click here.

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The fallout from the global pandemic has had a huge impact on Canadian SMEs and we are seeing them rise to the challenge in so many ways. Many business owners adapted quickly, where they could, to find creative and necessary ways to survive. As the economy reopens, the good news is, week after week, business owners say they are less worried about their own business and the Canadian economy. 

Across the country, there are many shining examples of resilience, but in difficult times the way ahead isn’t always clear. 

Planning now for the future is essential. To be able to continue to easily reach and service your customers requires a website and online sales strategy but getting your business online isn’t always as simple as it sounds. There are many things to consider and BDC is here to support Canadian entrepreneurs on the road to recovery. 

BDC has partnered with the Retail Council of Canada and Shopify to help retail business owners learn how to move their business online. Join the first webinar on September 3 to learn more about how to launch online sales, plus hear first-hand advice from women entrepreneurs in retail who have successful e-commerce stores. 

To read more about how the BDC initiative works, click here.

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Recently, Shell employees and summer students coordinated with Lambton Elderly Outreach to visit three local Sarnia-Lambton nursing homes to offer positive encouragement and spread some cheer as part of their “Fuelling Kindness” initiative.

Fuelling Kindness is a Shell program that encourages small acts of kindness knowing these can have a positive impact on health, relationships, and our communities as a whole. 

To read more about this Shell Initiative, click here.

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As businesses and organizations across the country adjust to new realities during the COVID-19 pandemic, many Canadians are facing additional stress. It’s important during these times to take small breaks during the day to support mental health and well-being. 

The Canadian Business Resilience network has partnered with Canada Life to send 270 “Break Boxes” to businesses and their employees across Canada. Break Boxes are practical resource kits that were designed to help support positive mental health at work and at home through a variety of individual and team – based activities. 

What goes in a Break Box?

  • A checklist on how to support teammates and employees as they transition back to work. 
  • Team activities that help teams talk openly about stress and identity 
  • A virtual scavenger hunt for a light- hearted break. 
  • A plan for resilience that teaches readers how to build resilience and bounce back from stressful situations 
  • Colouring pages 
  • Kudos cards, to recognize a job well done 
  • Fill in the blank sticky notes to help spread positive messages and ideas for managing stress 
  • A stress ball that can also act as a smartphone holder 
  • A workplace strategies for mental health poster to display at home or at work 
  • Workplace strategies for mental health inspirational postcards to collect, display, and share with colleagues and friends. 

If you’d like to receive a Break Box, please fill out this form to be considered.

To learn more about the Break Box initiative, click here.

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The Government of Ontario is making $8 million available to support small business and registered charities who are struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of COVID-19. The COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) provides a one time, on-bill credit to eligible small businesses and registered charity customers to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments.  

CEAP-SB, a Government of Ontario program with rules designed by the OEB, is designed to help small businesses and registered charities that are struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. CEAP-SB provides a one time, on-bill credit to eligible small business and registered charity customers to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments.

As of August 31, 2020, small businesses and registered charities can apply for funding through their electricity and natural gas utilities or unit sub-meter providers (USMPs).  Please note that CEAP-SB funding is limited, and utilities and USMPs will process applications in the order in which they are received. Submitting an application for CEAP-SB does not guarantee funding.

Full program details including eligibility criteria, on-bill credit amounts, and application processes are available at oeb.ca/CEAP. 

To apply for CEAP funding, customers should contact their energy provider. Electricity and natural gas utilities and unit sub-meter providers (USMPs) will begin accepting applications for CEAP-SB on August 31, 2020, delivering the program in accordance with rules laid out by the OEB. CEAP-SB funding is limited, with utilities and USMPs expected to process applications in the order in which they are received. Please note, submitting an application does not guarantee funding.  

For more information, including eligibility requirements and on-bill credit amounts, visit oeb.ca/ceap.

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Since January, the COVID-19 pandemic has spread worldwide at an unprecedented rate. This has led to countries taking drastic measures to slow the circulation of the virus. These measures have continued to impact the global economy. 

The second quarter can be summed up by the following trends:

  • Net income before taxes in the non-financial sector falls
  • Retail trade sectors hit hard by COVID-19
  • Manufacturing net income drops, as plants limit capacity or cease operations entirely
  • Banking sector’s net income before taxes impacted by COVID-19 

Click here to read more details about the second quarter, as well as to look closer at the impact of COVID-19 on the arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food service industries.

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On Friday, September 4 at 7:30 pm the Imperial Theatre is back with their socially distanced “Show in a Tiny Bubble”. 

Since performances cannot yet occur safely in the auditorium, the staff at the Imperial Theatre have devised a clever system to showcase some of Sarnia’s favourite performers. The performers will sing solo from behind plexiglass in a safe “show bubble”.

Please do your part to keep yourself and each other safe and comfortable while enjoying some long-awaited live entertainment featuring Broadway Hits, Disney Sing-Alongs, and more! There will be limited spaced out chairs made available, though you are welcome to bring your own seating as well. The Imperial Theatre will have popcorn, slushies, and pop for sale out front, served by masked staff and volunteers.

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The Federal Government has announced its intention to make changes to simplify EI applications, extend the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) an additional four weeks, and introduce three new benefit programs to take the place of CERB once it expires: the Canada Recovery Benefit, The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit.  

Access to EI benefits is normally based on the number of insurable hours an individual has worked in the year prior to their application, or since their last claim. This is known as their qualifying period. However, the Government of Canada recognizes that the pandemic has prevented many Canadians from accumulating the number of insurable hours that is normally required, and is taking action to address this. To help individuals qualify with a minimum of 120 hours of work, EI claimants will receive a one-time insurable hours credit of:

  • 300 insurable hours for claims for regular benefits (job loss) 
  • 480 insurable hours for claims for special benefits (sickness, maternity/parental, compassionate care, or family caregiver) 

Those who do not qualify for EI at this time, can look into one of the following three benefit programs:

Canada Recovery Benefit

If passed, this program will be effective from September 27, 2020 for one year and will provide $400 per week for up to 26 weeks to workers not eligible for EI, mainly self-employed and those working in the gig-economy. 

Workers will apply after every two-week period for which they are seeking income support and attest that they continue to meet the requirements. In order to continue to be eligible for the benefit the claimant will need to look for and accept work when it is reasonable to do so. The benefit is taxable. 

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit

If passed, this program will provide $500 per week, for up to two weeks, effective September 27, 2020 for one year, for workers unable to work because they are sick or must self-isolate due to COVID-19. 

Workers will not be required to have a medical certificate to qualify for the benefit. Workers will not be able to claim the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and receive other paid sick leave for the same benefit period. Workers will need to have missed a minimum of 60% of their scheduled work in the week for which they claim the benefit. 

Workers will apply after the one week period in which they are seeking income support and attest that they meet the requirements. The benefit will be taxable. 

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit

If passed, the benefit will be effective from September 27, 2020 for one year and provide $500/week for up to 26 weeks per household to eligible Canadians. 

The closure of schools and other daycare and day program facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has meant that many Canadians have been unable to work because they need to provide care to children or support to other dependents who have had to stay home. While it is anticipated that facilities will gradually re-open as the economy restarts, the Government of Canada recognizes that access may vary over time and across communities. 

Workers will apply after the period in which they are seeking income support and attest that they meet the requirements. Two members residing in the same household cannot be in receipt of the benefit for the same period. The benefit is taxable. 

To read all the details about the changes to CERB and EI, click here.

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