June 25, 2020
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June 25, 2020

Your CFA Daily Update on COVID-19

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Federal student service grant unveiled today

Eligible students can receive grants of between $1,000 to $5,000, depending on hours completed. The program was originally announced more than two months ago.

Post-secondary students will be eligible to earn up to $5,000 this summer through a new volunteer service grant. The grant is available for a range of volunteer work, including mask making, tutoring, researching animal behaviour and designing exercise programs for seniors.

The grant will be worth between $1,000 and $5,000, depending on the number of hours completed. For every 100 hours worked, a student is eligible for $1,000, which means someone must volunteer 500 hours to receive the full grant.

The program opens today and runs until Oct. 31, 2020. Only students and recent graduates 30 years old and younger can enrol.

To qualify, an individual must be enrolled part-time or full-time in a recognized post-secondary education program in the spring, summer or fall of 2020, or must have completed post-secondary studies in December 2019 or later.

Back in April, Trudeau announced the creation of the Canada student service grant — a way of giving students who can't find summer jobs a chance to earn some money while volunteering in "national service" activities related to fighting the pandemic.

B.C. tables economic stabilization act, confirms COVID-19 supports

The legislation, introduced yesterday, confirms supports for people and businesses announced by the BC government over the past few weeks.

The amendments introduced authorize deficit budgets for the next three years, while the Province supports economic recovery from COVID-19. Additionally, the amendments allow government to continue to table supplementary estimates before the legislative assembly. The amendments also clarify the existing limits and uses of special warrants while the legislative assembly is not in session to maintain essential services and respond to provincial emergencies and disasters like a pandemic. 

While the amendments allow deficit budgets, the legislation makes no changes to salary holdback requirements for executive council for years where deficits occur.

The Economic Stabilization Act brings the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers into law and updates the eligibility date to March 1, 2020. The change will allow people whose income is affected by COVID-19 and who filed federal employment insurance claims between March 1 and March 15 to benefit from the support. The application for these individuals will be available as of June 26, 2020. Almost 600,000 people have been approved to receive the benefit to date.

The legislation also confirms many of the previously announced supports for people and business from the COVID-19 Action Plan, including:

  • authorizing filing and payment deferrals for employer health tax, provincial sales tax, hotel tax, carbon tax, motor fuel tax and tobacco tax to Sept. 30, 2020;
  • postponing the date that late payment penalties apply for commercial properties in classes 4,5,6,7 and 8 to Oct. 1, 2020, to give businesses and landlords more time to pay their reduced property tax, without penalty;
  • allowing municipalities to keep school taxes and the police tax collected for the Province until January 2021; and
  • requiring municipalities to remit taxes they collect for TransLink in July 2020 so it can continue operating, as well as allowing other municipalities to continue to make their service payments to BC Transit.

Other measures from the B.C. COVID-19 Action Plan are being done through regulation, such as reducing the school property tax rate for commercial properties, enhancing the B.C. climate action tax credit and pausing B.C. student loan payments.

B.C. has entered Phase 3 of its COVID-19 restart plan

B.C. Premier John Horgan announced the province has entered Phase 3 of its restart plan, further easing restrictions ahead of Canada Day. The latest guidelines allow B.C. residents to travel responsibly within the province and for many tourism-related businesses to reopen under the guidance of the provincial health officer and WorkSafeBC, including hotels, resorts, spas and RV parks. The film industry and select entertainment venues, such as movie theatres, are also getting the go-ahead.


Franchise premises leases have been impacted by Gov't Lockdowns

NFI is helping CFA members save on Franchise sales overhead. Many leases will need to be restructured for franchisees to survive, and Operations Manuals need updating to meet COVID-19 Protocols.


Quebec: Casinos, amusement parks, water parks, spas, hotels and bars can all reopen

As of today, June 25, all sectors of activity, with three exceptions, are authorized to resume their activities while applying public health guidelines, including wearing masks and social distancing. Bars, water parks, tourist accommodation sites, casinos and gaming houses as well as spas are all affected by this announcement.

  • Sector guides will be made available to help businesses adapt to public health guidelines.
  • The 2-metre distance remains applicable at all times and in all sectors.
  • Bars, in particular, will have to limit their clientele. Dance floors are prohibited, and customers must consume their drinks while seated at a table, with a distance between people who are not from the same household.
  • The applicable guidelines for the sectors reopened earlier still apply.

However, these measures do not apply to festivals and major events, overnight summer camps and fights in a sporting context, as these activities are still considered to be at high risk of spreading the virus.

Alberta pharmacists to begin offering tests for COVID-19

Alberta will soon begin testing for COVID-19 at community pharmacies, says Health Minister Tyler Shandro. Twenty pharmacies, located primarily in Edmonton and Calgary, will begin to offer swab tests to Albertans without symptoms and no known exposure to COVID-19, Shandro said at a news conference Thursday. The number of pharmacies conducting COVID-19 testing will expand further once processes, flow of test materials and data is working well, he said. Each participating pharmacy will adhere to strict protocols and has the specialized skills needed to protect patient safety. 

CRA tip line flooded with 3,300 leads on suspected emergency aid cheats

Canada's tax agency has received more than 3,300 tips on suspected abuse of emergency aid programs designed to help the people and businesses taking a financial hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number of tips about possible fraud involving the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB), the wage subsidy program and student COVID-19 aid is growing fast. As of May 31, the Canada Revenue Agency had received 600 tips; just over a week later, that number had swelled to 1,300.

Canadians already have made 361,000 repayments for CERB aid they weren't eligible for. That's up from 190,000 as of June 3. CRA said repayments were made in cases where applicants received a double payment for the same period, were not actually eligible for the benefit or returned to work earlier than expected.

CRA would not say how many claims have been found to be fraudulent.

Fitch Downgrades Canada's Ratings to 'AA+'; Outlook Stable

Fitch Ratings has downgraded Canada's credit rating to AA+ from AAA, citing the federal government's move to borrow about a quarter of a trillion dollars to prop the economy up during the pandemic lockdown. Fitch Ratings, Moody's and S&P Global Ratings are considered to be the three big credit rating agencies in the U.S.

Fitch last confirmed Canada's rating in July of last year. S&P Global Ratings and Moody's both still have Canada listed as top tier borrowers. S&P Global Ratings last confirmed Canada's rating in November of last year, while Moody's last confirmation came in May of this year.

Fitch said that while it is downgrading Canada's rating, it expects Canada's debt-to-GDP ratio to stabilize over the medium term before the economy gradually starts recovering with the help of monetary and fiscal stimulus. Fitch predicts Canada's pandemic response will increase its consolidated gross general government debt to 115.1 per cent of GDP in 2020, up from 88.3 per cent of GDP in 2019.

A Fitch spokesperson said that to come up with that figure, the company added together Canada's "federal, provincial and territorial, local and other governmental debt liabilities" and subtracted from that amount the value of the Canada Pension Plan and Quebec's Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, which manages several public pension plans. The number does not include unfunded pension liabilities. 

Fitch said it expects Canada's debt-to-GDP ratio to stabilize at about 120 to 121 per cent sometime between 2022 and 2024. The report said Fitch has confidence in Canada's economic recovery in 2021 because of the advanced, well-diversified and high-income nature of its national economy. It also cites Canada's political stability, strong governance and policies that have "delivered steady growth and low inflation."


Communications Guide And Template Signage For Businesses Reopening

This communications guide was originally published as part of our in-depth CBRN Reopening Toolkit for Business. By popular request, the communications guide and template signage (including ready-to-print signs) are now available in a stand-alone format. Please feel free to share this resource with your networks.

Webinar Series On Demand


Leadership Panel Discussion

MODERATOR: John Dehart, Hartify Franchise Brands

SPEAKERS: Lenka Whitehead, Oxford Learning Centres; Murray Oxford, Jani-King; Ryan Smolkin, Smoke’s Poutinerie

In this webinar, experienced franchisors share their personal experience with steering their brands through change and challenges.



JUNE 30, 2020
AT 2:00 PM ET

Navigating the digital world and digitizing your business

SPEAKERS: Ayham Aldajane, Nown POS; Marta Rzezkowska, Moneris; additional speakers TBC

Join this panel discussion for an in-depth conversation about business in the digital world including digital payments and cyber security, managing the customer experience in a digital world, choosing the right solution(s) for your business and where to find them, moving business processes online (e.g. accounting, payroll, etc.), and managing your data.


JULY 13, 2020
AT 2:00 PM ET

Business Resilience Planning: Preparing your business for long term success

SPEAKER: Phil Racco, Senior Manager, Enterprise Risk Services, MNP

COVID-19 caused a wave of disruption to business and life in Canada. The impact was universal across many industries. In this interactive discussion, gain practical insights on how to prepare your business to respond to disruption now and in the future. We encourage you to submit your questions ahead of time.






Feedback from our Members

“I would like to take this moment to express how amazing the CFA webinar series has been for myself and my stores. I am regularly sharing the information and enjoy the daily "break" around lunch time, basically having a nearly daily lunch and learn.”

 - Suzanne Howie, Franchise Support, Print Three Franchising Corp.

COVID-19's impact on the world is creating waves across all sectors and industries.

Every member of the CFA community is dealing with an issue that is affecting the world, our industries, our communities, our businesses, and our people.

We would like to hear from you if you have any topics, issues or questions to navigate turbulent times in order to support you further: 


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