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January 26, 2021

Your CFA Update on COVID-19

Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) program details released – all businesses who have seen a 50% revenue decline are eligible

Today, the federal government announced the launch of the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) which offers a government-guaranteed, low-interest loans of up to $1 million to hard-hit businesses.

HASCAP is available to ALL businesses across the country, in ALL sectors.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Your business must have been financially stable and viable prior to the current economic situation.
  • You must have received payments either from the Canada Emergency Subsidy (CEWS) or the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) by having demonstrated a minimum 50% revenue decline for at least three months (not necessarily consecutive) within the eight-month period prior to the date of the HASCAP Guarantee application.

How do you apply?

  • Eligible businesses can start applying as early as February 1 at principal financial institutions and more widely by February 15. Interested businesses should contact their primary lender to get more information and to apply.

More information is available at

Nova Scotia to bump up minimum wage to $12.95 an hour

Minimum wage in Nova Scotia will rise 40 cents to $12.95 an hour starting April 1, 2021, the province announced Tuesday.

New travel restrictions coming soon: Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that new pandemic measures for travel are coming and Canadians should cancel any travel plans. Trudeau said that even though existing travel control measures have been effective in keeping the number of infections low, more effort will be needed going forward. 

The prime minister said his government is working "carefully and diligently" on new measures and will have more to say in the next few days.

14-day quarantine will be mandatory for all entering Manitoba

Anyone entering Manitoba, including people coming from Western Canada, will have to self-isolate for 14 days starting Friday. Manitoba's public health orders will be amended to include the travel restriction, Premier Brian Pallister announced Tuesday.

The travel restriction is designed to stop non-essential travel, by land or by air, and applies to people visiting the province and returning Manitobans.

Manitobans who are currently out of the province have until 11:59 p.m. Thursday to return without having to self-isolate. If they arrive after that, they'll have to quarantine for two weeks. That includes people entering from northern and Western Canada and from west of Terrace Bay in Ontario, who did not have to self-isolate under previous health orders.

Current exemptions to self-isolation measures are still in effect, including those travelling for essential interprovincial work and people travelling for medical reasons. People living in border communities travelling to another province for essential reasons, such as to get groceries, are also exempt, Pallister said. There is no proposed end date for the travel restrictions.

Federal Parliament Returned Yesterday

The Federal House of Commons resumes sitting today, likely continuing in the primarily virtual format that has made the 43rd Parliament unique in the history of Canada. The COVID-19 pandemic has dictated both the format and the politics of this Parliament, and that will continue to be the case in the coming weeks or (maybe) months.

High-stakes politics will begin this week. The government is facing a confidence measure vote on Bill C-14, the legislation to implement new measures, promised in the Fall Economic Statement, to address the impacts of COVID-19. While that Bill is expected to pass, the government must also begin gearing up for Budget 2021. The Finance Committee will meet tomorrow to debate the report on the pre-budget consultations prior to its publication, which is a major checkpoint in the budget process.

The increasing potential for a Spring election, which is closely linked to the tabling of the first Federal Budget in almost two years, and the ongoing rollout of COVID-19 vaccines will dominate the political discussion over the coming weeks. However, major legislation, such as amendments to the Broadcast Act and the Digital Charter Implementation Act, will progress through the legislative process in that time.

All of the parties are preparing for an election in 2021, whether it comes from a confidence measure vote on the Budget or a decision by the Liberals to seek a new mandate. Because vaccination will be crucial for public health and for allowing the government to move from crisis management to a more traditional fiscal and legislative agenda – or to an election – the pace of vaccination will be closely tied to the timing of a potential campaign.

With much of the vaccine supply secured by Federal contracts awaiting regulatory approval or, in the case of the Pfizer vaccine, delayed due to manufacturing chokepoints, getting to herd immunity against COVID-19 is a key public policy and political challenge for the Liberal government. The Conservative Party in particular has indicated that it will focus on vaccine policy as its main criticism of the government.

The decision to focus Budget 2021 on policies for the post-pandemic recovery or on pandemic response is also a major policy and political consideration for the government. If COVID-19 infection rates are low and trending downwards in March and vaccine distribution has ramped up by that time – both huge IFs – stakeholders should expect to see a budget that focuses on ‘building back’ from the pandemic and functions as a de facto Liberal campaign platform.

Federal Government Launches Pre-Budget Consultations 

The federal government has launched its public consultations ahead of the 2021 budget. Canadians, including businesses and organizations, can participate directly by completing an online questionnaire or uploading a submission.

The CFA has been working with the federal government since the tabling of the Fall Economic Statement on a number of asks for the upcoming federal budget.

President Biden Proposes Minimum Wage Increase as Part of New COVID Relief Package

President Biden recently proposed an increase to the federal minimum wage to $15/hour as part of his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package. Specifics about how fast it would be increased have not yet been released. House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY) told CNN today that Congressional Democrats will attempt to pass a wage increase through the budget reconciliation process, which only requires a simple 51 vote majority in the Senate rather than the filibuster-proof 60 votes.

IFA has told policymakers and the media that an increase in the federal minimum wage, which would amount to a doubling of labor costs for many small businesses, is counterproductive at a perilous time in the recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In an article in CNBC, IFA SVP for Government Relations and Public Affairs Matt Haller noted such an increase would likely hinder recovery efforts and harm businesses that are already struggling from the economic fallout of COVID-19. Additionally, IFA is committed to ensuring any minimum wage increase at the local, state, or federal level at least adheres to the principle of fairness in treating franchised and non-franchised businesses of the same size and scope equally. "Franchise Fairness" provides similar phase-in times for all local small businesses, rather than punishing franchise business owners with cost increases years ahead of their non-franchised competitors simply for the name over their door.

Business Recovery Summits On-Demand Videos Now Available for Purchase!

Session recordings from the Business Recovery Summit Series are now available for purchase! Choose from the Franchisee Recovery Summit, Franchise Recruitment Summit, Operations & Franchisee Support Summit, and Franchise Marketing Summit! View On-Demand Library

Purchase Access to On-Demand Videos Now!


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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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