The Ontario government announced on June 1, that it will continue to support provincial electricity consumers by providing stability and greater customer choice, while helping those struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Initiatives include:

  • $9 million for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program to support consumers struggling to pay their energy bills during the pandemic.
  • $8 million for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) to provide support to businesses struggling with bill payments as a result of the outbreak.
  • An extension of the Ontario Energy Board’s winter disconnection ban until July 31, 2020 to ensure no one is disconnected from their natural gas or electricity service during these uncertain times.

While we make progress to contain this deadly virus, we know people will need to stay home when possible and businesses will need ongoing support as we gradually and safely reopen the economy” said Premier Ford, “Providing additional rate relief, flexibility, and customer choice will help ensure everyone can recover from this extraordinary crisis and get back to a life that is as normal as possible”.

For the full statement, click here.

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As part of its Canadian Business Resilience Network campaign, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, through the generosity of Salesforce will provide 62 small Canadian businesses from coast to coast to coast with $10,000 grants to help their recovery efforts during these unprecedented times.

Businesses can use the $10,000 grants to support their recovery efforts, including paying salaries, acquiring safety and personal protective equipment for staff, replenishing materials, or paying for the measures required to adapt business models to the economic impacts of COVID-19.

To be eligible, businesses must:

  • Be a for-profit company,
  • Belong to a chamber of commerce, board of trade, or association that is a member of the Canadian Business Resilience Network,
  • Have between 2 and 50 employees,
  • Have been in business for 2 years as of March 1, 2020,
  • Have an annual revenue between $150,000 CAD and $5,000,000 CAD,
  • Been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and
  • Meet additional criteria set out in the programs terms and conditions.

Applications are open until June 12, 2020 at 8:00 pm. Click here for more details.

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In this webinar by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, CWB Financial Group and Axiom Group discuss tips and tricks on how to take care of your employees as well as how to provide insight into how CWB Financial is able to offer their support to businesses and clients as they navigate the crisis and beyond.

Moderator:
Susanna Cluff-Clybune, Senior Director, Parliamentary Affairs

Speakers:
Stephen Murphy – CWB Financial Group’s Executive Vice President of Banking
Kelly Blackett – CWB Financial Group’s Executive Vice President of HR
Doug Engdahl, Axiom Group’s Chief Executive Officer

Watch the full video:

 

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The Drive By Bottle Drive was an event organized by the Inn of the Good Shepherd that took place from May 14 to 16. For three days, volunteers collected empty beer cans, liquor containers, and wine bottles. After that, over 100 community volunteers spent two weeks sorting, counting, and packaging the collection. Many local businesses helped out by providing items such as cardboard dumpsters, food & beverages, and warehouse space.

Event organizer Melanie Rogers received a call from the Beer Store with the grand total of collections which was $27,255. She is very grateful and proud of Sarnia Lambton for all the support for the Inn of the Good Shepherd.

Director of the Inn of the Good Shepherd Myles Vanni made the following statement: “Like the virus itself, the drive-by bottle drive has been unprecedented and overwhelming – this time in a very positive way! The community response of individuals and businesses has made this a tremendous success. Particularly the drive and energy of an amazing band of Social Work students from Lambton College who saw this all through!” 

The Inn of the Good Shepherd continues to provide food, meals, and shelter to those in need during the pandemic. They depend on community donations, and are therefore incredibly grateful for the event’s success.

“Drive By Bottle Drive” organizer Melanie Rogers, outside The Inn of the Good Shepherd.
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Express Employment Professionals is striving to place additional job seekers in the Sarnia-Lambton community during the month of June, while paying it forward by helping the Inn of the Good Shepherd in lieu of this year’s Brand It Blue initiative. Brand It Blue has collected more than 10,000 pounds for the Inn over the last three years.

For each assignment created in June, $1 for every hour worked by an Express associate between June 1 to 30, 2020 will go to the Inn of the Good Shepherd.

How can you help?

  • Hire an Express employee during the month of June. Not only will you gain a qualified worker to help meet your needs, but that worker will earn a pay cheque and we will make a donation to the Inn of the Good Shepherd for each hour they work in June.
  • Share their campaign with other area businesses to assist with their vision of employing and providing a pay cheque for those unemployed in the community.
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Main street businesses urgently need the federal and provincial government’s help with addressing commercial rent obligations. We join the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and provincial and territorial Chambers in calling for immediate action.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is calling on the government to work together across federal and provincial/territorial levels of government to address the key issue with the CECRA program, which is landlord reluctance to participate in said program, and to put in place a temporary moratorium on commercial evictions at the provincial and territorial level for tenants who were in good standing with their landlords prior to March 1, 2020. 

To read the full letter, click here.

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The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) provides relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. It offers unsecured, forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners to reduce the rent owed by their impacted small business tenants, and meet operating expenses on commercial properties.

To manage volume, Ontario property owners are being asked to register on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Fridays.

Applications are open now until August 31. Click here to access the applications.

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The Ontario government will be implementing the next phase of its COVID-19 testing strategy to detect and quickly stop the spread of the virus.

Working alongside Ontario Health and Public Health Ontario, the province has developed this comprehensive post-peak plan to enhance surveillance and testing across the province. The plan will include the following three pillars:

Assessment Centre Testing: Ontarians are being tested in a variety of settings, including assessment centres, with a desire to focus on making testing more accessible. Ontario now has the most expensive guidelines in the country, including testing asymptomatic individuals.

Outbreak Management: Public health units remain focused on case and contact management in containing and managing outbreaks. Ontario will support these efforts with its agile and rapid response capacity.

Targeting Testing Campaigns: Plans are already in place to support enhanced testing for hospital workers, first responders, retirement homes, and long-term care homes. The province is also looking to expand testing to additional essential workplaces.

To read the full plan, click here

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The Government of Canada announced new funding to provide critical support to Indigenous families and communities during this crisis, based on needs that have been identified. The funding includes:

  • $285.1 million to support ongoing public health response to COVID-19 in Indigenous communities.
  • $270 million to supplement the On-Reserve Income Assistance Program to address increased demand on the program, which will help individuals and families meet their essential living expenses.
  • $44.8 million over five years to build 12 new shelters, which will help protect and support Indigenous women and girls experiencing fleeing violence.

To read the full statement, click here.

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The Business Resilience Service (BRS) allows you to connect with experienced business advisors from across Canada for guidance on which government relief programs will be most appropriate to support small- to medium-sized business, not-for-profit, or charity on how to respond and reshape amid uncertainty.

To access the BRS, call 1-866-989-1080 to connect with a business advisor from the accounting profession. The free program provides: guidance on COVID-19 financial support program options and eligibility, direction on accessing the most appropriate support organizations, help to make decisions to support recovery plans, and real time insights and feedback to policymakers.

To access their website, click here

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