Weekly Digest – 16 February 2022

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

Higher Interest Rates Are Coming

The governor of the Bank of Canada made clear that higher interest rates are coming to temper inflation. Tiff Macklem also urged businesses to do their part in boosting productivity, easing supply constraints, and increasing business investment.

Canada to Welcome 1.3 Million Immigrants

The government has set an ambitious plan to bring in more than 1.3 million immigrants over the next three years to support its post-pandemic growth. Immigration had been one of the main drivers of the economy and accounts for almost all of the nation’s employment growth.

Ontario, Quebec to Drop Vaccine Passport by March

Ontario will remove its proof of vaccination system on March 1 and move up the second phase of its COVID-19 reopening plan, lifting capacity limits in restaurants, bars, cinemas, and gyms.

Meanwhile, Quebec will drop its vaccine passport requirement for all public spaces by March 14, as the COVID-19 situation in the province has improved enough to gradually ease the measure. Proof of vaccination will still be required for domestic rail and air travel, as mandated by the federal government.

Mask requirements will remain in place for both provinces.

Manufacturing Sales Rise 0.7% in December

Factory sales climbed 0.7% in December from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted $64 billion, beating market expectations of a 0.6% increase. Statistics Canada said that 11 of the 21 sectors reported increases in sales in December, led by shipments of plastic and rubber products and shipments from the motor vehicle industry.

Key US-Canada Bridge Reopens

The Ambassador Bridge has reopened after police cleared anti-vaccine mandate protesters who had occupied the bridge for almost a week, forcing car factories on both sides of the border to shut down or reduce production. The standoff came at a time when the industry is already facing supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic.

Expanded Eligibility for Child Care Subsidy Program in Manitoba

Manitoba expanded eligibility to its Child Care Subsidy Program, resulting in nearly half of regulated spaces being subsidized. Out-of-pocket parent fees for families with children in regulated child care will be reduced by 30% on average.

Pandemic Support for Commercial Tenants

Businesses, non-profit organisations, and charities who have seen a drop in revenue during the pandemic may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses through one of the following:

  • Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP) – Rent (Effective: Until 7 May 2022)
  • Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program (HHBRP) – Rent (Effective: Until 7 May 2022)

You can learn more about these subsidies here.

Additional Government Support for Cultural Workers

The Canada Performing Arts Workers Resilience Fund was launched to provide $60 million to help workers in the live performance sector. It will fund initiatives that provide short-term financial assistance to those experiencing economic hardship and requiring emergency support, and provide workers with guidance, information, and professional development opportunities in areas such as financial management, mental health and well-being, and career transition.

The deadline to apply is 4 March 2022.

Grant for Small Businesses in Ontario

Ontario is rolling out a new $10,000 grant for small businesses forced to close due to the pandemic. Eligible businesses include gyms, museums and galleries, tour services and before- and after-school programs.

COVID-Business Aid Loan Repayment Extended to 2023

Originally, if claimants repaid the balance of their Canada Emergency Business Account loan on or before the end of 2022, the government planned to forgive up to one-third of their loan. Now, eligible businesses “in good standing,” will have until 31 December 2023 to repay and be eligible for up to $20,000 of debt forgiveness.

Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit Open for Applications

The federal government announced that the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit is open for applications. It gives temporary income support of $300 a week to employed and self-employed people who can’t work due to a COVID-19 lockdown. Payments will be retroactive to 19 December.

COVID-19 Recovery Programs

The government is taking immediate action to support Canadians and businesses facing hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You will find support for individuals, businesses, sectors, communities, and other measures here.

Ontario Extends Paid Sick Leave Program Into 2022

Labour Minister Monte McNaughton is extending the pandemic paid sick leave to 31 July. Originally, the provincial program was supposed to wrap up on 31 December. However, with the more contagious Omicron variant, the Labour Minister announced that it would continue.

HASCAP Loan Applications

Loan applications from the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) is available until 31 March 2022. Loans start at between $25,000 and $1 million for a single business depending on the size of the operation, and run up to $6.25 million for companies with multiple locations like a chain of hotels or restaurants. Further details can be found here.

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