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January 13, 2022

Your CFA Update on COVID-19

CFA Win: CEBA Repayment Deadline Extended to December 2023

On Tuesday, the federal government announced that the repayment deadline for CEBA loans to qualify for partial loan forgiveness is being extended from December 31, 2022, to December 31, 2023, for all eligible borrowers in good standing.

Repayment on or before the new deadline of December 31, 2023, will result in loan forgiveness of up to a third of the value of the loans (meaning up to $20,000).

Outstanding loans will subsequently convert to two-year term loans with interest of 5 per cent per annum commencing on January 1, 2024, with the loans fully due by December 31, 2025.

The government also announced that the repayment deadline to qualify for partial forgiveness for CEBA-equivalent lending through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund is extended to December 31, 2023.

Click here for more information.

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Applications open for BC COVID-19 Closure Relief Grants

Businesses can now apply for the COVID-19 Closure Relief Grant, a new program the Province has fast-tracked to support B.C. businesses ordered to temporarily close their doors due to recent public-health measures.

Businesses that were ordered to fully close on Dec. 22, 2021, including bars, nightclubs and lounges that do not serve full meals, gyms, fitness and adult dance centres and event venues that can no longer hold events, can apply for relief grants of between $1,000 and $10,000. Funds from the program, which is expected to support more than 3,000 businesses, can help with expenses such as rent, employee wages, insurance, maintenance and utilities.

The total grant amount per business will be based on the number of employees and follows a formula similar to the previous Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant that supported businesses in the spring of 2021. To apply for a grant, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/business-relief

This $10-million provincial program complements existing federal government programs, including the recently expanded Local Lockdown Program and the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit.

The Local Lockdown Program provides wage and commercial rent support for businesses and other organizations, regardless of their sector, that have been affected by regional provincial health officer orders. This program is a way businesses, charities and non-profit organizations can be eligible for up to 75% of wage and rent support. The Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit provides $300 a week in income support to eligible workers who are directly affected by a COVID-19-related public health order and who have lost 50% or more of their income.

On Jan. 7, 2022, B.C.’s public health officer ordered all businesses to reactivate their COVID-19 safety plans to help keep employees and communities safe during the rapid spread of cases related to the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

For more information on the COVID-19 Closure Relief Grant, including the application process and eligibility, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/business-relief

Quebec premier announces end to curfew Monday, back-to-school plan

Quebec's second curfew of the pandemic will come to an end Monday, said Premier François Legault as he joined key cabinet ministers to announce a relaxing of some COVID-19 measures Thursday afternoon.

Premier Legault also announced schools will be reopening to in-person learning Monday, with all students wearing masks indoors. Students and educators who test positive or are in close contact with a COVID-19 case are being asked to isolate themselves for five days.

Stores in the province, ordered to close on Sundays for the past two weeks, will be allowed to reopen on Sundays as of next week. 

NB moves to Level 3 lockdown Friday at 11:59 p.m.

New Brunswick is moving to Level 3 of the COVID-19 winter plan, the most restrictive level, effective Friday at 11:59 p.m., for 16 days.

Premier Blaine Higgs made the announcement at a COVID briefing Thursday afternoon, citing a record-high 104 COVID hospitalizations, which include nine people in intensive care, three of whom are on ventilators, 386 health-care workers off isolating after testing positive, and rising cases.

The lockdown will last until Jan. 30 at 11:59 p.m.

Under Level 3:

  • Social gatherings are limited to single household bubbles, which include people who live together. "Where required, this can be extended to include: caregivers; a family member who needs support from someone within the household; or one other person who needs support (for example, someone who lives alone, or another family member)," Public Health said. 
  • A single-household bubble may extend care to children from another household for the purposes of informal daycare or online education support, provided the same household bubble is maintained as long as Level 3 is in effect
  • No public gatherings are permitted
  • Restaurants are limited to drive-thru, takeout and deliveries only  
  • Non-essential retail will remain at Level 2 restrictions, which include operating at 50 per cent capacity and with physical distancing measures in place
  • Gyms, salons, spas and entertainment centres are closed
  • Faith services are allowed only outdoors, virtually, or in-car
  • Organized team sports are prohibited from games, competition and practice with people outside of a household bubble.
  • Individual sports, such as skiing, skating and snowmobiling, are permitted as long as distancing is maintained from those outside of a household bubble. Buildings that support outdoor sports, such as ski lodges and warm-up shelters, must maintain 50 per cent capacity, distancing and masking. Food and drinks cannot be served.

All truckers crossing border must be fully vaccinated

All truck drivers crossing the border must be fully vaccinated as of Saturday, regardless of whether they are Canadian citizens or foreign nationals, the federal government said Thursday.

There was confusion over the policy earlier this week. The federal government reiterated today that the policy announced in mid November will go into effect on January 15.

All foreign nationals working as truckers would have to be fully vaccinated to enter Canada.

Trade associations on both sides of the border had been pushing for a delay to the restriction, which they say would put additional strain on supply chains amid the latest COVID-19 surge and severe worker shortages.

About 10 per cent of the 120,000 Canadian truckers who cross the border may not be able to work those routes because they haven't been vaccinated, according to the trucking alliance.

PEI: Online learning to continue and extension of public health measures until January 24

Premier Dennis King announced an extension to existing public health measures in the province, including continuation of online learning for K-12 students, until at least January 24, 2022. 

Public health measures in place until at least Monday, January 24 include:

  • School re-opening for in-class learning will be delayed for all public and private schools, based on a further assessment next week;
  • Personal gatherings are limited to a consistent group of 10 people plus household, a smaller circle is best;
  • Wedding and funeral receptions and wakes/visitation are not permitted;
  • All organized gatherings (including worship services, theatres, wedding and funeral ceremonies and concerts) must operate with a maximum of 50 people with physical distancing between households, multiple cohorts are not permitted;
  • Gyms, fitness facilities and retail can continue to operate up to 50 per cent capacity with physical distancing and masks;
  • Visitation to long term and community care is limited to three partners in care with physical distancing (when facilities have outbreaks, visiting is further restricted);
  • Physical distancing is required in all venues up to a maximum of 50 per cent capacity (retail businesses, vax pass events, theatres, gyms, community gatherings, casinos, etc.);
  • Restaurants and eating establishments must maintain six feet between tables (maximum table size of 10 people), with proof of vaccine for all patron and masking at all times except when eating or drinking. Food premises and eating establishments must stop food and beverage service at approximately 11:00 pm and close by midnight;
  • No dancing at events and no karaoke;
  • Indoor sport and recreational activities continue to be paused for Island children under the age of 12 years, including organized sports, tournaments, competitions, games, team training and practices; league play and practices for individuals over the age of 12 years are paused; and
  • Whenever possible, employers should support employees to work from home. 

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