September 10, 2020
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September 10, 2020

Your CFA Update on COVID-19

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BC closures due to COVID-19 increases

BC is ordering nightclubs and stand-alone banquet halls closed, ending the sale of liquor at restaurants past 10 p.m. and telling venues to reduce the volume from music or other sources to conversational levels, as cases of COVID-19 continue to spike in the province.

Bars and restaurants must close by 11 p.m., unless they are serving food.

The amendments to public health orders come as the province reported 429 new cases of COVID-19 over a four-day period, bringing the total to 6,591. Two more people, both in long-term care, have died of the virus.

Federal financial support for Black entrepreneurs and business owners

On Wednesday, the PM announced up to $221 million in partnership with Canadian financial institutions – including up to nearly $93 million from the Government of Canada over the next four years – to launch Canada’s first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program. This program will help thousands of Black business owners and entrepreneurs across the country recover from this crisis and grow their businesses.

The program will include:

• up to $53 million to develop and implement a new National Ecosystem Fund to support Black-led business organizations across the country. It will help Black business owners and entrepreneurs access funding and capital, mentorship, financial planning services, and business training.

• up to $33.3 million in support through the new Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund that will provide loans of between $25,000 and $250,000 for Black business owners and entrepreneurs. The Government of Canada is also partnering with financial institutions, including RBC, BMO Financial Group, Scotiabank, CIBC, National Bank, TD, Vancity, and Alterna Savings, to make up to $128 million available in additional lending support.

• up to $6.5 million to create and sustain a new Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub that will collect data on the state of Black entrepreneurship in Canada and help identify Black entrepreneurs’ barriers to success as well as opportunities for growth. The Hub will be run by Black-led community and business organizations, in partnership with educational institutions.

The government is committed to working closely with Black business owners and Black-led organizations across Canada so that the new Black Entrepreneurship Program reflects the realities and needs of Black Canadians. The new program builds on the Government of Canada’s work to address systemic racism against Black Canadians. This includes taking steps to advance Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy, justice reforms, modern policing structures and standards, and enhanced local community supports for young Black Canadians.

B.C. forecasts $12.8B deficit in 2020-21

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed B.C.'s projected budget deficit to $12.8 billion, according to the first-quarter report issued for 2020-21. Finance Minister Carole James said spending on the pandemic response and declines in tax revenue and natural resource income were factors.

According to James, stronger than expected consumer spending, housing activity and employment gains have been offset by increased prudence built into the budget "to help B.C. weather the long road ahead." A $1 billion forecast allowance is included in the updated budget to respond to heightened uncertainty brought by the pandemic.

The province has spent $7.6 million on COVID-19 response measures since the beginning of the fiscal year.

B.C.'s annual real GDP declined 6.7 per cent in 2020, with lower revenue of $4.6 billion in 2020/21 compared to what was in the budget and $7.7 billion more in spending.

 A bounce-back of three per cent growth in real GDP is predicted for 2021.

Last month, B.C. added 15,300 jobs and the unemployment rate dropped for a third straight month to 10.7 per cent. In February, before the pandemic hit, the provincial unemployment rate was just five per cent. Young people and women continued to be hardest hit by the loss of employment.

Snap election speculation mounts after B.C. premier comments on 2017 deal with Greens

B.C. Premier John Horgan's recent comments about a 2017 agreement with former B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver — who left the party to sit as an independent — are fostering more speculation that he will call a fall election in the coming weeks.

The "confidence and supply agreement" was originally signed after the last provincial election to give the NDP the support of 44 MLAs — their 41 members plus the three Green MLAs — which is the minimum number required to have a majority of support in the 87-seat legislature. The Liberals had 43 seats at the time. The B.C. Green caucus pledged to vote with the NDP minority government on confidence motions, including budgets and throne speeches based on the principle of "good faith and no surprises" to maintain the agreement, according to the party's website. However, the NDP's relationship with the Greens has cooled in the past three years.

Horgan explained circumstances for the government have changed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. "And you will also know that nowhere in that document will you see the word pandemic. So the world we live in today is not the world of 2017," he said. "And I know that British Columbians want me to focus on 2020 and beyond rather than looking backward to a relationship I had with the then leader of the Green Party and his colleagues." His comments are leading to more talk about a possible snap election this fall.

Green Party interim leader Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, said in a statement that an election in the midst of the global pandemic would be putting political interests ahead of British Columbians. He called a fall election "unnecessary" and "irresponsible" as the province fights to hold back a second wave.

Uneven rebound poses risk for entire economy, Bank of Canada governor says

The governor of the Bank of Canada warns the slower rebound facing women, youth and low-wage workers could pose a threat to a broader economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. In a speech to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Tiff Macklem said uneven recessions that affect some workers and sectors more than others tend to be longer and leave a larger mark on the labour market. 

People permanently laid off take on average twice as long to return to work as people on temporary layoff, Macklem says, risking long-term damage to their jobs prospects and a lasting drag on earnings specifically for youth. 

Macklem says the central bank is doing everything it can to support growth and get people back to work. He adds that getting people back to work is the best way to improve economic outcomes over time, noting that uneven outcomes for some can lead to poorer outcomes for all. 

"Striving for equality of opportunity is simply the right thing to do. It's also good for growth. The loss of jobs for women, youth and low-wage workers is a problem for us all," reads the text of his speech, provided in advance to journalists. 

"If these workers become discouraged and leave the labour force or lose valuable skills over time, their reduced economic participation will lower our potential growth, limiting living standards for everyone." 

Monetary stimulus

The noon-hour speech put more details in the thought process that went into the statement from the bank's governing council on Wednesday that kept its policy interest rate at 0.25 per cent. The rate won't move from near-zero until a recovery is well underway, and inflation sustainably back at the bank's two-per-cent target. Although Macklem didn't put a timeline on that in his speech, experts suggest the rate could stay where it is until late 2022 or even into 2023. He also says that the bank's bond-buying spree, known as quantitative easing, will be adjusted as required to deliver some monetary stimulus as the economy requires. Macklem says the bank is watching how the unconventional policy tool affects wealth inequality. 

Low-wage earners and women were among the hardest hit when lockdowns in March and April led to three million job losses, and cut hours for 2.5 million more. The unemployment rate rocketed to a historic high from a four-decade low. The country has gained back nearly two million of the jobs lost, but the pace of gains for women, youth, Indigenous people as well as workers from diverse communities have not seen as sharp a rebound.

Watch the Governor’s Speech (44:39)

Quebec to ban karaoke after more than 80 COVID-19 cases traced back to single night

Quebec will soon ban karaoke across the province after one karaoke event in a Quebec City bar was linked to more than 80 cases of COVID-19.

Radio-Canada has confirmed that the Quebec government is preparing to announce the banning of karaoke in the province's bars. This came after Renaud Poulin, president of an association representing Quebec's bar owners, said he was informed of the decision in a meeting with public health officials earlier Thursday. Jean-Jacques Beauchamp, CEO of the Corporation des propriétaires de bars, brasseries et tavernes du Québec, told CBC News in an interview the association is extremely disappointed.

Karaoke is extremely popular in Quebec bars, and Beauchamp said between 500 and 600 bars across the province would be affected. But the practice came under close scrutiny after an outbreak stemming from a karaoke night at Bar Kirouac in Quebec City last month resulted in dozens of cases. The region now has the second-highest number of daily cases in Quebec, after Montreal.

New Brunswick Election – September 14

A provincial election will be held in New Brunswick on Monday September 14.

The Progressive Conservatives are leading in the polls and are in a strong position to win a majority government. While their margin over the Liberals isn't enormous, the PCs would likely win more seats even if they trailed the Liberals in province-wide support, as they did in 2018. The Greens have more support than they did in the last election while the People's Alliance has taken a big hit.

The PCs have made gains at the expense of the People's Alliance, while the Liberals have not recovered from their post-election slump. Instead, the Greens have picked up some of that departed Liberal vote.

There has not been any recent polls published, but mid-campaign polling put the Progressive Conservatives in a strong position to win a majority government. While their margin over the Liberals hasn't been enormous, the PCs would likely win more seats even if they trailed the Liberals in province-wide support, as was the case in 2018.


Polling Average (Trend)

Seat Projection (25 seats needed for a Majority government

NB Progressive Conservative

39.6% (-2.4)


NB Liberal

32.3% (-0.2)


NB Green

15.8% (+2.3)


People’s Alliance

6.3% (+1.8)



5.2% (-1.3)



0.8% (-0.2)



Webinar Series On Demand


Impact of COVID-19 on Banks & Lenders: Now how do you approach the bank

SPEAKERS: Paul daSilva, RBC; Joseph Pisani, BMO Bank of Montreal; Tom de Larzac, HSBC Bank Canada; and, Mohammed Jehangir, CIBC

In this webinar, learn how COVID-19 has impacted how Canadian banks are looking at business loans and what additional information they need. What programs and services have banks introduced to serve SMEs and how can they be accessed? What is the impact of the pandemic on  a bank's risk tolerances? Have banks changed how they will lend and for what they will lend? Are loan losses as government support programs taper off expected to tighten loan approval requirements? How do I take advantage of changes in the marketplace? How do i grow my franchise?


CFA’s Business Recovery Summit Series

Stay up-to-date with the latest news and developments with Canada’s financial institutions at CFA’s Business Recovery Summit Series throughout the month of October, where today’s speakers will present updates on financing and lending. Stay tuned for more information!


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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: 


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