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April 13, 2021

Your CFA Update on COVID-19

In Memory…

The Canadian Franchise Association (CFA) was saddened to learn that J. Perry Maisonneuve, Founder and Principal of Northern Lights Consultants Corp, passed away suddenly on Thursday, April 8, 2021.

Educated at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Perry articled with Deloitte Chartered Accountants (then Touche Ross) before joining a multi-national franchisor as its Director of Franchise Operations. Mr. Maisonneuve subsequently worked with a diverse range of Franchisors in the marketing and expansion of their systems before establishing Northern Lights Consultants Corp. in 1998.

A long-standing CFA member, Perry was an active volunteer and shared his knowledge, best practices, and expertise as a member of CFA committees, speaking at CFA events, and contributing articles for the Association’s publications. In 2003, he received the CFA’s Franchise Support Services Recognition Award for outstanding support and contribution to the CFA and franchising community.

“Perry will be greatly missed by the Canadian franchise community,” says Sherry McNeil, CFA President & CEO. “During his career, Perry has helped a wide range of different franchises from education and healthcare to food service and business-to-business services.  His involvement in the Association and the positive impacts he made on our community is truly a great loss to all of us.”

The Maisonneuve family held a small, private service on Friday, April 9, 2021 and will hold a public Celebration of Life when the COVID-19 pandemic is over. More details available in the CFA Members Only Area.

Alberta businesses can apply for additional $10K under expanded grant program

Alberta is reopening its small and medium enterprise relaunch grant (SMERG) to companies that have suffered financial losses due to health restrictions during the pandemic, and this time more businesses will be eligible for support. The grant program was introduced last year and offered funding for small- and medium-sized businesses, co-ops and non-profits impacted by COVID-19.

Originally slated to have ended on March 31, Premier Jason Kenney announced SMERG applications would reopen next week. The grants will offer up to $10,000 for businesses that have experienced a 30 per cent reduction in revenue or more.

The grant will now be available to new businesses that began operating between March 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021. Kenney said "hotels, taxis and ride-shares" will be included as well.

Click here for more information on the SMERG

B.C. NDP lays out priorities in critical throne speech

The NDP government laid out its plan to guide B.C. through the rest of the COVID-19 pandemic and manage the economy in its throne speech Monday. Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin delivered the speech (which was written by Premier Horgan’s government) from Victoria's legislature outlining the government's commitments to businesses and communities over the next year, while the pandemic remains the province's overwhelming priority.

Here are the highlights of the Throne Speech.

  • Vaccine plan: More than one million people have been vaccinated in B.C., and the province hopes to finish its "largest-ever immunization program" ahead of schedule.
  • Health care: The province promises to address issues with long-term care, surgery wait times and access to urgent care and hospitals.
  • Economic recovery: The NDP pledges to create conditions for a strong recovery with help for businesses to grow. This plan includes grants for those looking to expand online services, and legislation in support of an investment fund.
  • Infrastructure: The province promised "record investments" in infrastructure projects which it says will create jobs.
  • Affordability: The NDP government says it has "more to do" to make life in B.C. more affordable, with actions including cuts to car insurance, expansion of $10-a-day child care and investments in rental housing.
  • Inequality and discrimination: In its throne speech, the Horgan Government pledged to "tackle" the issues by building on work that was started before the pandemic. The plan includes B.C.'s first anti-racism law, and reforms to the Police Act.
  • Mental health: The province promised to expand support for mental health care in B.C.
  • Reconciliation: The throne speech included a vow to continue the work that began with the passing of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, suggesting a "future of true partnership and shared decision-making."
  • Climate: The NDP says it will "continue implementing North America's most progressive climate action plan," with pushes towards clean technology, electric vehicles, protection of old-growth forests and more.
  • Technology: The throne speech outlined plans for "bridging the digital divide" through investments in technology in rural, remote and Indigenous communities.
  • ICBC: Changes to ICBC that will see car insurance rates cut by up to 20%.
  • Accessibility: Introducing legislation to remove barriers to accessibility for people with disabilities. 

Finance Minister Selina Robinson is set to table the government's first budget on April 20. Last December, in a fiscal update, she forecast a budget deficit nearing $14 billion.

Canada is outpacing U.S. for new COVID-19 cases per capita

Daily new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada have skyrocketed amid the third wave of the pandemic and have now outpaced the United States per capita.

As of Saturday, the rolling seven-day average number of new cases in Canada was 207.27 cases per million people, according to data from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Oxford's Our World in Data explorer. In the U.S., it's 206.66 cases per million people.

The U.S. has also significantly outpaced Canada in terms of vaccinations. As of Sunday, around 18.8 per cent of Canada's population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Sunday that 35.3 per cent of the U.S population has received at least one dose.

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Alberta wants to expand use of apprenticeships into a wider variety of jobs

Alberta wants to use the apprenticeship model for training more occupations than the traditional skilled trades. Bill 67, the Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Education Act, replaces outdated legislation that made this shift impossible.

The government said apprenticeships — a type of on-the-job mentoring — only applied to trades like plumbing and hairstyling under the current Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act, which was implemented in 1991.

Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides said the use of apprenticeships could be expanded to train people in other types of occupations, especially those experiencing labour shortages.

The bill follows recommendations of the government-appointed Skills for Jobs Task Force. The legislation defines the roles played by industry and post-secondary institutions in training. 

Industry will set out criteria that trainees must meet to earn a journeyman certificate, but post-secondary programs will take care of determining what students will learn and how they will be taught.

Alberta's apprenticeship program is made up of 20 per cent in-class earning and 80 per cent on-the-job training. The bill proposes streamlining the process trades students need to follow to get their journeyman certification.

Quebec extends emergency measures in 3 regions

Premier François Legault announced Tuesday the province is extending emergency measures for another week in three regions, until April 25, as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise.

That means the continued closure of schools and non-essential businesses, as well as a curfew remaining in place, in the Outaouais, Chaudière-Appalaches and Quebec City areas. The curfew in Montreal and Laval remains unchanged.

Health officials in the province on Tuesday reported 1,490 new cases and 12 additional deaths. Hospitalizations stood at 643, the province said, with 150 people in intensive care.

Atlantic bubble delayed until May 3

The planned restart of the Atlantic bubble has been delayed until May 3. That date is contingent on low case counts and guidance from the chief medical officers of health in all four provinces.

Atlantic premiers will meet again during the last week of April to review the status of outbreaks in the region and determine if a further delay to May 10 is required.

Earlier, Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin said at a briefing. Rankin also said border restrictions between his province and New Brunswick were being restored in the face of rising caseloads and variants of concern cases in that province.

B.C. minimum wage increases coming June 1

Liquor servers earning minimum wage will make $15.20 an hour, up from $13.95, effective June 1. The general minimum wage is also increasing by 60 cents to $15.20 (up from $14.60 an hour). 

The province says future increases to the minimum wage, starting next year, will be based on the rate of inflation to provide predictability.

Federal government, Air Canada reach deal on relief package that includes customer refunds

The federal government has reached an agreement with Air Canada that will provide the pandemic-battered airline with financial support — while committing the airline to refunding customers who saw their flights cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a news conference in Toronto on Monday, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said the government will provide Air Canada with up to $5.9 billion through the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility, a program aimed at supporting large Canadian employers who have lost revenue due to COVID-19.

Under the deal, the government will extend to the country's largest airline a variety of low-interest loans worth up to $5.4 billion and take an equity stake in the company by purchasing $500 million in stocks. 

In exchange for federal government support, Air Canada has agreed to refund customers who had their flights cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The airline also has agreed to restore flights on nearly all suspended regional routes, to cap compensation for company executives at $1 million per year and to suspend share buybacks and the payment of dividends to shareholders during the loan period.

In addition, Air Canada said it would maintain its workforce at current levels, respect collective bargaining agreements and protect workers' pensions. The company currently has 14,859 active Canadian employees, although it employed over 38,000 employees before lost revenue caused it to lay off tens of thousands of workers. 

New Brunswick suspends municipal elections in lockdown areas

New Brunswick's municipal elections are being put on hold in some northwest regions that are under lockdown. The elections were scheduled for May 10 after being postponed last year due to the pandemic. 

Elections New Brunswick announced the delay on Sunday, shortly after the Edmundston and Haut-Madawaska area entered the province's tightest level of restrictions.

The provincial government recently passed legislation to allow the suspension of nominations and voting in a particular zone in the event of a lockdown.

David Owens, the assistant chief electoral officer, said voting in the rest of the province will continue as scheduled.

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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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