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May 4, 2021

Your CFA Update on COVID-19

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney will announce new COVID-19 restrictions in televised address Tuesday evening

Premier Jason Kenney is expected to announce new COVID-19 restrictions in a live address to Albertans on Tuesday night. Kenney will speak at 6 p.m. from the McDougall Centre in Calgary. 

The speech, which is expected to last about 10 minutes, will provide details about the new COVID restrictions that will be implemented.

Alberta reported 1,743 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday for a total of 23,623 active cases, the highest total since the pandemic began 14 months ago. Alberta has the highest case rate in Canada. According to's tracker, there have been an average of 440.5 daily cases per million people in the last seven days, more than any other province or territory in Canada as well as every U.S. state. Cases had been trending upward since March and continue to climb.

Canada’s GDP growth continued in February as third wave loomed

Statistics Canada reported Friday that Canada's gross domestic product expanded by 0.4 per cent in February alone. Coupled with preliminary data for March, that puts Canada on track for healthy growth for the quarter as a whole.

“As national vaccinations started to pick-up in February, real GDP grew by 0.4 per cent month-over-month. With Statistics Canada’s preliminary estimate for growth in March sitting at 0.9 per cent, first quarter output will likely be higher than expected in our most recent national forecast. Yet recent surges in new cases of COVID-19 reversed the loosening of restrictions in many provinces in April. We therefore expect that growth may have cooled off in recent weeks.”

“A hot residential construction sector and a strong performance in the retail sector are standout drivers of February's GDP growth. The performance profile across industries continues to be shaped by the pandemic. With restrictions limiting pursuits such as travel and recreation, Canadians are increasingly turning towards activities such as shopping and home renovations. However, with total output down 2.2 per cent compared to February of last year, the remaining ground will only be recovered once a further easing of restrictions occurs.”

Highlights of February’s GDP report include the following:

  • February’s data shows a small overall decline of 0.2 per cent among the goods-producing industries of the economy. Most service industries made gains, posting overall growth of 0.6 per cent. Taken together, the economy grew by 0.4 per cent.
  • Notable output growth was recorded in the construction industry (2.0 per cent) fuelled by record high levels of residential construction.
  • Overall manufacturing output declined by 0.9 per cent with textile, plastic and rubber, and non-metallic products segments recording the largest contractions.
  • A shortage of semiconductor chips, an important input into modern vehicles, slowed vehicle production at many North American plants. The slowdown was felt by manufacturers along the vehicle supply chain. Reflecting the disruption to vehicle production, transportation equipment manufacturing fell by 4.2 per cent.
  • Contractions in certain corners of the manufacturing industry were offset by growth in elsewhere notably printing and electrical equipment manufacturing.
  • Frosty conditions in much of the southern United States caused disruptions to natural gas production facilities and created elevated demand among residents. These conditions precipitated a significant spike in natural gas prices, which was beneficial for the natural gas distribution segment of the utilities industry where output grew by 2.9 per cent.
  • The retail trade sector led the pack with the strongest monthly percentage growth (+4.5 per cent) driven largely by output in clothing and clothing accessories.
  • However, output in the transportation and warehousing industry dropped by 2 per cent. This was rooted in a significant decline in the air transportation subsector (-35.3 per cent).
  • Output in the wholesale trade sector also slipped by 1.0 per cent in February. Declines in the building material and supplies wholesaler-distributors subsector contributed the most to this monthly drop.
  • In February, the Bank of Canada noted early signs of excess exuberance in the housing market. Today’s release reported monthly growth of 0.5 per cent in the real estate and rental and leasing sector. Output in the sector sat 3.4 per cent higher year-over-year in February.
  • Amid more stringent quarantine requirements for travellers entering Canada in February, the accommodation and food services sector grew by 3.5 per cent month-over-month. This follows consecutive monthly declines since last September. Gains were especially strong for the food services and drinking places subsector.
  • The professional, scientific and technical services sector continued to grow in February after posting growth in every month except one since last April. With many roles in the industry able to work easily from home, output in February was 0.8 per cent higher year-over-year.

Saskatchewan: 3-step plan to relax COVID-19 rules

The Saskatchewan government has released a three-step plan to gradually relax provincial COVID-19 public health measures, with some current restrictions potentially being eased as soon as late May if the government's desired vaccination targets are met.

In a news release issued Tuesday, the province openly stated that the plan is meant in part as "an incentive" for Saskatchewan residents to follow health measures and get vaccinated.

The potential timeline for the reopening plan — with the rules being increasingly relaxed or removed in the last week of May, the third week of June and finally in the second week of July — is "subject to change if vaccination targets are not met".

The CFA's 2021 Annual Accomplishments Report is available now

Focusing on each of the four pillars of the CFA’s strategic plan, this report outlines our Association accomplishments over the past year, including many exciting “firsts,” in the key areas of community, education, advocacy, and lead generation. Read it here! 

Sask. government extends small business emergency payment program

The Saskatchewan government is extending its small business emergency payment program for another month. The subsidy is available to businesses across Saskatchewan that were ordered to temporarily close or majorly curtail their operations due to public health orders.

The small business emergency payment program has had two phases and six eligibility periods so far, and has provided more than $66 million in financial support to more than 6,400 small businesses as of April 26, according to the province.

As with the other eligibility periods, the maximum payment for this eligibility period is $5,000. Payments are based on 15 per cent of the business' November 2019, December 2019 or February 2020 monthly sales revenue.

The province says that seasonal business payments are based on 15 per cent of the business' average monthly sales revenue for the months it operated in 2019.

The new eligibility period is April 1 to 30 and the program will accept applications until May 31.

The province says that small businesses that have previously applied and received payments through the December to March offering of the program will not need to reapply.

US Update: President Biden Reiterates Support for PRO Act in Address to Nation

Last week, President Biden recounted the first 100 days of his administration and unveiled his American Families Plan in a televised joint address to Congress.

Among other things, the President's speech contained policies that would severely impact franchising. Alongside passing a $15 federal minimum wage, and increases to the corporate tax rate, the President encouraged Congress to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which would significantly harm the franchise business model. Speaking on the address, IFA released the following statement:

“IFA looks forward to working with the Biden Administration and all corners of the political spectrum to safely recover and reopen from the coronavirus pandemic. Franchise brands and local owners stand at the ready to help build back better and move the country forward.

“Unfortunately, the Protecting the Right to Organize or PRO Act would upend franchising as we know it. In a speech highlighting the need for a leveling of the economic playing field, the President proposed passing a bill that would corporatize one of the most empowering and equalizing business models of the last half-century — franchising.

“Over 30% of all franchises are minority-owned, compared to roughly 18% of non-franchised businesses. Franchising proves that regardless of where you were born and irrespective of a college diploma, you can make it in America, improving your life, providing much-needed jobs, and giving back to local communities. Rather than casting aside the franchise model, the Administration should embrace it as a solution to the challenges our country is facing.”

IFA continues to encourage its members to stay engaged. IFA's grassroots alert remains active.

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

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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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