August 27, 2020
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August 27, 2020

Your CFA Update on COVID-19



CFA asks federal government to extend and amend CECRA to help small businesses survive

The CFA has written to the new Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland to ask that the commercial rent relief program be extended and changed. In our letter we ask the federal government to

  • Extend the program past August
  • Reduce the 70% threshold so more businesses will qualify
  • Improve the transparency in the application and approval process
  • Include of Pre-Opening/Dark Sites in the program

The complete letter is available at

Alberta on track to record-setting $24.2B budget deficit

Alberta is on track to end the current fiscal year with a $24.2-billion deficit, the largest in the province's history, and the finance minister is suggesting more cuts are on the way. The figure was contained in the first-quarter fiscal update released Thursday by Finance Minister Travis Toews. The deficit is forecast to be $16.8 billion higher than was estimated in the provincial budget in February.

Revenue is projected to drop $11.5 billion over the course of the current fiscal year. The report reflects Alberta's financial situation in April, May and June, a period when the province was mostly shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and oil prices sunk into negative territory.

Debt is now projected to hit $99.6 billion by the end of March 2021 — up $25.4 billion from 2020 — for a debt-to-GDP ratio of 22 per cent. The cost to service that debt is forecast at $2.2 billion.

The province is now forecasting total revenue will be $38.4 billion, down $11.5 billion from the budget. Total forecasted expense is now pegged at $62.6 billion, up $5.3 billion.

According to economic analysis contained in the report, Alberta will see a decline in real GDP this year of 8.8 per cent. 

New government-commissioned report recommends cultural shift at WCB to better support workers

Labour Minister Harry Bains released a report Wednesday by retired labour lawyer Janet Patterson, who was commissioned by the government to review the workers' compensation system and make recommendations for improvements.

Patterson's 517-page review calls for an organizational shift to a worker-centric delivery system that treats all injured workers with dignity.

Her report, New Directions: Report of the Workers' Compensation Board Review, 2019, calls on the government to amend the Workers Compensation Act to make a cultural shift back to supporting all injured workers as an organizational goal.

Patterson heard from more than 2,000 people and organizations.

The CFA did work with other stakeholders to provide a comprehensive response to the consultation. We also joined over 50 other business groups when we pulled out of the consultation because the process became overly biased. The CFA will work with our partners in BC to determine next steps.

Amateur sports in B.C. move to Phase 3 of COVID-19 guidelines

B.C.'s amateur sports leagues are on the path back to the playing field following an announcement that athletes can now engage in more organized sports. In a statement Monday, B.C.'s Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture said the province is moving to Phase 3 of its sports guidelines.

Under Phase 3, amateur sport activities can now include additional training, "modified" games and matches, and most importantly, league play and competitions — but within cohorts of between 10 and 100 people, depending on the sport.

The guidelines show each sport will advance at a different pace depending on what Krepaikevich called "community capacity and readiness", with sports involving more physical contact being of greatest concern.

The viaSport guidelines say that close physical proximity should still be minimized as much as possible, which mean game rules should be modified to keep participants at a safe distance, and organizers should limit the number and duration of contacts between participants when physical distancing isn't possible.

Organizers should continue to enforce physical distancing during Phase 3 in areas off the playing field, such as dressing rooms, benches and hallways, and, most importantly, any physical contact should only occur within a sport cohort, the guidelines say.

The guidelines rank each sport activity in terms of risk of COVID-19 transmission from lowest to highest based on amount of contact:

• Skill-building drills or training at home, alone or with family members. 

• Group or team-based skill-building or drills that maintain physical distancing. 

• Group or team-based drills that require close contact. 

• Non-contact competitive activities between teams. 

• Group or team-based activities that include physical contact.

• Competitive activities that include physical contact between teams. 

The ministry and viaSport have provided a Sport Activity Chart that outlines allowable activities in each of the four Return to Sport phases. 

Manitoba expands wage subsidy program for 3rd time

The back-to-work wage subsidy program first launched by the Manitoba government in April, and expanded in both June and July, is being broadened yet again. The program will now allow businesses, not-for-profit organizations or charities to receive a subsidy for another 10 full- or part-time employees, in addition to the current total of 10, Premier Brian Pallister announced on Wednesday.

The program reimburses 50 per cent of wage costs (up to $5,000) per employee hired or rehired between July 16 and Oct. 31, 2020. Doubling the number of subsidized employees to 20 means the maximum level of financial support available to employers increases from $50,000 to $100,000.

The back-to-work program has received applications from 445 employers for 2,429 employees and more than $12 million in financial supports since it began, he said. Nearly 40 per cent of employers accessing wage subsidies have applied for the maximum 10 employees.

Employers can apply for the wage subsidy until Oct. 1. They are required to provide proof of payment of wages by Jan. 4, 2021. Businesses must not have funding from another government program, including the Canada Summer Jobs program, Green Team, the Canada emergency wage subsidy, and the Manitoba Summer Student Recovery Jobs Program.

Most Canadians pleased with gov't handling of pandemic: poll

Unlike most Americans, the majority of Canadians believe their government has done a good job in responding to the coronavirus pandemic and they’re more united now than they were before the outbreak. That’s according to a new Pew Research Center public opinion survey, which asked 14,276 adults in 14 countries to rate their nation’s response to the health emergency and the unity of its citizens. 

Among the 1,037 Canadians surveyed from June 10 to Aug. 3, 88 per cent said their country had done a “good” job of handling the pandemic while only 11 per cent viewed the government as having done a “bad” job. That’s in line with the majority of individuals in other nations who also approved of their country’s ability to handle the outbreak. Overall, a median of 73 per cent of respondents agreed that their respective governments had been successful in managing the crisis while only 27 per cent disagreed.

The other countries included in the survey were the United States, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, and South Korea.

The United States and the United Kingdom were the only two countries on the list where the majority of citizens said their governments had done badly in their response, with 52 per cent expressing dissatisfaction in the U.S. and 54 per cent in the U.K.

Denmark scored highest in the ranking with 95 per cent of its citizens pleased with their government’s response, followed by Australia (94 per cent), and Canada (88 per cent).

Webinar Series On Demand


September 1, 2020
AT 2:00 PM ET

Why Direct Mail Hits Home Now

SPEAKER: Steve Falk, President, Prime Data

With majority of the population social distancing and working from home for the better part of the year, consumers are becoming increasingly overwhelmed by emails and digital advertisements. Direct mail, research shows, has a 20% higher motivation response than digital media. Integrated with a digital strategy, these campaigns result in a 39% increase in attracting consumer attention.

So why is direct mail so impactful and how does it fit into a multi-channel strategy? Join Steve Falk, president of Prime Data, to gain insight on solving your marketing challenges with direct mail.

More Info & Register


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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: 


Articles of Interest from CFA Members

Sotos LLP:

• Alternatives to Bankruptcy

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