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June 22, 2021

Your CFA Update on COVID-19

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We need your help and your input to help the CFA advocate for the supports that franchise businesses need to grow and prosper as we come out of COVID-19. We need your help by filling out the survey so we can use the results to push government to make the changes in investments to help franchise businesses grow and prosper.

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Manitoba extends bridge grant program to seasonal businesses

Effective immediately, the bridge grant financial relief program has been opened up to seasonal businesses as well as new ones that were not operating when the program's original Nov. 10 deadline was set.

The program makes up to $5,000 available for eligible small and medium-sized businesses, home-based businesses, not-for-profits and charities.

The bridge grant program, which has been criticized for gaps affecting a number of businesses, has provided more than $291 million to over 15,000 private enterprises, not-for-profit organizations and registered charities since November 2020.

The program has now offered four rounds of grants with several businesses qualifying for each one, receiving up to $20,000.

In May, the province provided a $2,000 top-up to nearly 1,800 restaurants to compensate for food wastage, as restaurants had pre-ordered supplies for the Mother's Day weekend when public health orders closed dining rooms.

The province also announced Tuesday that it is extending that food waste top-up to new applicants. They would receive the $5,000 bridge grant plus the $2,000 top-up for a total of $7,000.

New applicants will not, however, receive retroactive payments for previous rounds of the program.

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Ontario Cabinet Shuffle

On Friday, Ontario Premier Ford shuffled his Cabinet, maintaining a strong base, rewarding a number of hard-working younger caucus members and dropping 5 seasoned veterans. The core of the Cabinet remains the same with many of the familiar members maintaining their portfolios.

The most obvious addition is the return of Rod Phillips to Cabinet in the long-term care portfolio. The Ajax MPP returns after serving 6 months outside Cabinet for an ill-timed vacation in December during the height of the pandemic. Phillips, who is well liked by the Premier will now try and bring some stability to the long-term care file, a position that has had a difficult time during the pandemic period. Phillips will need to restore stability in order to help the governing party move forward towards the next election.

The CFA will continue to work with the Ministers below who have policy responsibility for issues affecting CFA members.

  • Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance
  • Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade
  • Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development

New Ministers relevant to CFAs policy and government relations issues

Ross Romano moves to become the Minister of Government and Consumer Services (previously Colleges and Universities). This strengthens the northern Ontario position in Cabinet with another senior role. Romano will also have responsibility of modernizing government systems utilizing the newly formed Supply Ontario. Minister Romano also has responsibility for the Arthur Wishart Act. CFA will be reaching out to him shortly.

Jill Dunlop from Barrie is rewarded with a full Ministry, taking over as Minister of Colleges and Universities. Minister Dunlop recently spoke at the CFA’s Elevate and Empower event.

David Piccini, is the new Minister of the Environment, Conversation and Parks. He will be responsible for implementing extended producer responsibility regulation which which will have a big impact on franchised businesses.

What This Means

Today’s Cabinet Shuffle has brought significant change to the Ford Government, providing a new face as the next election looms in just over 11 months. The shuffle clearly changes the look of the Executive Council with a focus on increased diversity and regional representation. It also strengthens the position of GTHA with additional members in Cabinet.

The government managed the pandemic well in the early stages but has come under fire in recent months for indecision and poor communications. This large change of duties will, by design, bring new faces to the forefront and provide a fresh approach to a government regarded as being out of ideas, especially in the handling of the pandemic.

The new Ministers have been given more responsibility resulting in a younger Cabinet, more diverse and with additional women in senior roles. The shuffle also adds more importance to urban centres, and media centres, and drops some of the old guard, all representing primarily rural ridings. The combination of the new faces and the established base of Ministers in the major portfolios is a clear signal from the government that they believe they are best placed to govern the province.

Dropping the 5 veteran Ministers is a bit of a surprise as none of them was controversial in the public eye. However, some were known to be outspoken on the government’s one-size fits all plan for the province-wide restrictions to counter the pandemic. It’s also not a coincidence that they all come from safe Conservative rural seats. Time will tell if the voters agree or send the government a message in the next election.

With an election a little over 11 months from now, Premier Ford, and his election team, are clearly counting on this to be the team to lead the way to a second majority government. The fallout from dropping the 5 experienced hands and a review of how the newcomers perform will go a long way to achieving that goal.

Canada's bank watchdog signals confidence by raising capital requirement

Canada’s banking regulator raised a key capital requirement for large domestic banks, a signal that it considers the economic risks of the COVID-19 pandemic to have largely subsided.

The country’s bank superintendent said Thursday it will raise the domestic stability buffer to 2.5 per cent from 1 per cent, beginning in October. The regulator lowered the buffer in March 2020, giving banks more room to absorb losses while still lending through the crisis.

The move by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions suggests the regulator believes the banks are no longer at risk of a wave of defaults and have sufficient capacity to lend, and that credit markets are functioning well.

Canada’s largest banks can easily meet the new requirements because they are awash in capital. They have about $80 billion more in common equity tier one capital than is required to meet regulatory minimums, and $40 billion more than the 11 per cent CET1 ratio they typically target, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

July 7, 2021 | 2 - 3 PM ET

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International travel restrictions easing for fully vaccinated people starting July 6

Fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents will be able to enter Canada without undergoing quarantine starting the night of July 5, the federal government announced today.

According to officials, those entering will need to show documents proving they received doses of vaccines approved in Canada at least 14 days prior to entering the country.

Travellers must electronically submit COVID-19-related information to the government's ArriveCAN app before arriving, meet the pre- and on-arrival test requirements, be asymptomatic and have a suitable quarantine plan.

If approved, those accepted travellers will not have to quarantine. Those arriving by air will also not be forced to stay at a government-authorized hotel and non-vaccinated children or dependent adults travelling with them will also be exempt from the hotel stay.

Children who aren't vaccinated will be able to go home with their parents, but must quarantine for two weeks, said an official speaking on background.

The new rules — which kick in July 5 at 11:59 p.m. ET — cover Canadian citizens, permanent residents, those registered under the Indian Act and some foreign nationals already allowed to enter Canada, including international students.

No changes for travellers who are not fully vaccinated

There are no changes to border restrictions for travellers who are not fully vaccinated. Those who land by air will still have to stay in hotel quarantine for up to three days pending a negative arrival test, quarantine at home for the remainder of the 14-day period and take a test on day eight of their self-isolation period.

B.C. officials promising 'near normal' back-to-school in September

B.C. officials say September's return to school will be near normal, with students no longer organized into cohorts and an expected return of sports, drama and other extracurricular activities.

The plans being laid out now hinge on projections that most adults and children will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the new school year, according to Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

The first day of the B.C. 2021-22 school year is Sept. 7, the day after Labour Day — the same day the province is expected to enter Step 4 of its reopening plan. It includes a return to regular social interactions and personal choice in mask wearing. 

Alberta set to lift almost all health restrictions by July 1

Almost all COVID-19 public health restrictions will be lifted in Alberta on Canada Day as the province prepares to enter the final stage of its COVID-19 reopening plan. 

Stage 3 of Alberta's Open for Summer plan will begin on July 1, Premier Jason Kenney announced Friday.

The vaccine threshold required for the final stage of the province's three-step reopening plan was met on Thursday, when more than 70 per cent of eligible Albertans had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

As of Thursday June 17, 70.2 per cent of eligible Albertans had received at least a single dose of vaccine. 

Stage 3 will herald the lightest restrictions seen in the province in months. 

A ban on indoor social gatherings and current restrictions on outdoor gatherings will be lifted. Capacity limits for businesses and places of worship will be gone. Laws mandating masks will also be rescinded.

Isolation requirements for confirmed cases of COVID-19 and some protective measures in continuing care settings will remain. 

Saskatchewan will lift all public health restrictions on July 11

The Saskatchewan government says it will lift all public health measures by July 11 — including the mandatory masking and gathering size limits — even though the province hasn't reached its final COVID-19 vaccination target.

Currently, 70 per cent of residents over the age of 18 have received their first dose, but only 69 per cent of all residents 12 and older got their first shots.

Manitoba passes vaccination goals, stage 1 reopening by July 1

Manitoba has now reached its first vaccination goal under the provincial government's plan to ease some COVID-19 restrictions by July 1.

The Manitoba government's reopening plan is tied to vaccination uptake targets. The province's vaccination dashboard says that more than 25 per cent of Manitobans 12 and older are fully vaccinated as of Monday afternoon. On Wednesday, the province reached its July 1 target of 70 per cent of eligible people getting first doses. 

Under the plan, if at least 70 per cent of all Manitobans aged 12 and older have received their first vaccine dose and 25 per cent have received their second dose by Canada Day, most businesses, services and facilities can open at 25 per cent capacity or greater levels.

Saskatchewan changes eligibility for second 

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) has changed the criteria for getting a second COVID-19 vaccination and is now basing people's eligibility solely on the date of their first shot. Starting June 21, anyone who received their first COVID-19 vaccination on or before May 15 is eligible for their second shot. That includes children 12 years old and older if they meet that date-based criteria. 

Quebec set to move to green on June 28

Starting Friday, those who have received two doses will be permitted under the health guidelines to gather inside without a mask. A maximum of 3,500 will also be allowed at outdoor festivals.

On Monday, June 28, the entire province will move to the green zone, the lowest level of alert under the province's colour-coded system. In green zones, there are more allowances in terms of gatherings and recreational sports.

N.S. to impose modified quarantine rules on N.B. travellers

The Nova Scotia government has announced travellers from New Brunswick will continue to have to self-isolate upon arrival, even after Nova Scotia opens its borders with P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador starting Wednesday morning.

Nova Scotia also said Tuesday that travellers from other parts of Canada will be allowed in the province come June 30, although they too will have to follow quarantine rules when they arrive.

New Brunswick opened its borders to Canadian travellers from outside the Atlantic region last week without the requirement they self-isolate, provided they have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. It is the only Atlantic Canadian province to do so.

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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.

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