September 1, 2020
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September 1, 2020

Your CFA Update on COVID-19



CFA fighting for CECRA extension

As many CFA members know, the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program (CECRA) was not extended beyond August 31. When asked by reporters whether the CECRA program is coming to an end, Freeland said she has been discussing the program – and rent relief in general – with her provincial and territorial counterparts, but did not confirm if it will continue.

“I have been talking over the past few days with many of the finance ministers of provinces and territories about ways we can support Canadian small business, including when it comes to covering their fixed costs, of which rent is a very, very big share,” Freeland said. “We’re working on it, and we’re going to have more to say about it very soon.”

The CFA continues to push for the CECRA program to be extended well into the fall. Last week we wrote to Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland to

  • Extended 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 HERE

Today we spoke to a number of reporters from the Globe and Mail, National Post, Postmedia and CBC News about our op-ed

Eliminating the commercial rent program is going to kill thousands of small businesses

We will continue to push for the program to be extended to help thousands of franchised businesses across Canada pay their commercial rent.

We urge CFA members to call your federal MP and demand the program changes the CFA is asking for.

Federal government extends $40,000 business loan program to Oct. 31

The federal government has extended the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program that provides $40,000 loans for companies struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic. The extension and changes were announced on Monday. CEBA will be extended, allowing qualifying businesses to apply for the loan until Oct. 31.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland also announced Monday that the government will be working with financial institutions to make the program available to businesses that have been unable to qualify for this program, such as those operating with personal bank accounts instead of business ones.

EDC Opens Call Centre To Answer CEBA Questions

Export Development Canada, who is responsible for overseeing the execution of the CEBA program, has opened a call centre to help answer business owners’ questions about their application or eligibility for the program. The call centre can provide callers with information about the status of their application, the CEBA program and the document upload website. The purpose of the call centre is not to field complaints about the program. The call centre is open Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET (5:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. PT) at 1-888-324-4201.

Canada extends COVID-19 international travel restrictions until Sept. 30

The federal government is extending travel restrictions by one month to limit the spread of COVID-19. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said Friday on Twitter that existing restrictions on international travel to Canada would be extended to Sept. 30. Blair says Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are returning home to Canada will continue to be subjected to strict quarantine measures.

New arrivals are required to quarantine for 14 days if they don't have symptoms, or isolate for 14 days if they do. Canada has taken steps to stem the flow of foreign nationals into the country by restricting discretionary travel, including for tourism, recreation and entertainment.

BC's projected surplus turns to deficit

The unexpected cost of the early COVID-19 response contributed to turning B.C.'s finances from a small surplus to a deficit of $321 million, according to the province's 2019-20 audited financial statements. Fourth quarter declines in tax revenue and losses at Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) — both related to the pandemic — were also factors, said Finance Minister Carole James. The deficit represents a drop of $595 million from the $274 million surplus projected in the 2019 budget. Revenue generated from personal income taxes, consumption taxes and property taxes were all lower than expected, especially in the final quarter of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020. ICBC also lost $298 million due to market conditions from COVID-19, according to the report.

WestJet to remove unmasked passengers from flights and ban them for a year

WestJet is taking tough new measures beginning next week against passengers who refuse to comply with federal masking rules on flights. The airline says it will go as far as booting passengers off flights who consistently refuse to wear a mask or face covering while on board. 

Transport Canada requires everyone over the age of two wear a mask on board all flights. A recent order added that only those with an official doctor's note are exempt from mandatory masking.

On Friday morning, WestJet announced that effective Sept. 1, it will implement an escalating response to those resisting mask use: 

  • Guests will first be asked to put the mask on by cabin crew.
  • An official warning will be issued that mask compliance is necessary.

If those two measures don't get passengers to don a mask, there will be long-term sanctions. Sims said those guests will be put on a year-long no-fly list. 

Air Canada says, as a rule, it doesn't publicly discuss safety and enforcement measures, but it did confirm it has "a graded approach, up to and including travel bans, to promote compliance with facial covering requirements."

Ontario COVID-19 Energy Assistance Programs

The Government of Ontario is making funding available to support residential, small business and charitable organization customers that are struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 emergency.

·         Residential Customers: learn how to apply for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP)
Electricity and natural gas utilities and unit sub-meter providers began accepting applications for CEAP on July 13, 2020.

·         Small Business and Registered Charity Customers: learn how to apply for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program – Small Business (CEAP-SB)
Electricity and natural gas utilities and unit sub-meter providers will begin accepting applications for CEAP-SB on August 31, 2020.



·         CEAP-SB will be available to small businesses and charitable organizations who have fallen behind by at least two billing cycles, but whose accounts were in good standing when the provincial state of emergency was declared in March.

·         Small businesses and charitable organizations will be eligible for CEAP-SB if they were required to either fully close operations, limit access to their premises or limit the services provided or available to the public for at least 15 days as a result of a government order or inability to adapt their business to comply with public health recommendations.

Conference Board: Record-setting second quarter decline

The Conference Board of Canada’s Chief Economist Pedro Antunes offers the following insights on the latest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data:

  • The shutdown of Canada’s economy over the first half of 2020 has been similar to the experience of many other economies in what has been a very deep and synchronized global recession.
  • All broad categories of spending dropped sharply in the second quarter. Real household spending fell 13.1 per cent, private investment dropped 16.2 per cent, exports were down 18.4 per cent while imports dropped even more (–22.6 per cent). The public sector’s contribution to economic activity also fell by 2.7 per cent in the quarter, owing to a reduction in hours worked.
  • In current dollars, nominal income (GDP) was down by $346 billion (at annual rates) in comparison to the fourth quarter of last year.
  • Spending by households fell across all major categories but the decline in spending on food, beverage and accommodation services, transportation services, and new vehicles was especially harsh.
  • Income support measures to households more than offset losses to labour income, boosting disposable income by 10.8 per cent in the quarter. Combined with the decline in spending, the aggregate household savings rate shot up to 28.2 per cent. The savings rate averaged just 3 per cent in 2019.
  • While this will be Canada’s deepest modern-day recession, it has also been the shortest. On a monthly basis, economic activity plummeted in March and April but the recovery followed in May and continued into June.
  • The recovery was widespread across most industries as the economy reopens. The manufacturing sector posted a solid 14.6 per cent gain with many firms reporting higher capacity use. Still, the sector operated 12 per cent below February levels in June.
  • A surge in household spending that brought spending on retail goods and services to above pre-COVID-19 levels contributed strongly to the pickup in economic activity in June. The surge is due to the strong income support programs put in place at the federal and provincial levels coupled with pent-up demand. Non-essential spending on clothing, sporting goods, hobbies, furniture, and new vehicles was up sharply.
  • However, the Conference Board of Canada’s measure of consumer confidence slipped in August as households are concerned about future income and employment prospects, especially as CERB benefits are expiring.
  • Statistics Canada also provided a preliminary estimate for July that suggests economic activity was up another 3 per cent in that month. That leaves the economy still operating 6 per cent below February levels.

California AB 2257 Advances Without Franchise Exemption Language

In an effort to find a legislative solution to AB 5 in California, IFA led an advocacy campaign to clarify AB 5’s application to the franchise model. Unfortunately, the legislative vehicle for the language, AB 2257, sponsored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, was ultimately passed through the appropriations process without the inclusion of franchise clarification language.

IFA will continue to explore other potential advocacy options and reassess any potential paths forward with the California Senate leadership.

Webinar Series On Demand


Why Direct Mail Hits Home Now

Moderator: Andrew Hrywnak, President of Print Three

Speaker: Steve Falk, President of Prime Data

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? In this weibnar, Andrew Hrywnak, president of Print Three, and Steve Falk, president of Prime Data, provide insight on solving your marketing challenges with direct mail.



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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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