Weekly Digest – 20 October 2021

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

US Will Accept Canadians With Mixed Vaccine Doses

The US Centers for Disease Control confirmed that it will consider people with mixed doses fully vaccinated, as long as the vaccines are authorized by either the FDA or the World Health Organization.

This means Canadians who received any combination of the AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines will be allowed to cross the border when it reopens on 8 November.

Restrictions on Indoor Gatherings in British Columbia to be Lifted

Indoor gatherings in British Columbia previously restricted to 50% capacity will return to 100% capacity starting 25 October, as the two-dose vaccine requirement for anyone over 12 years old attending them kicks in.

However, regional health orders and restrictions currently in effect in Northern Health, Interior Health, and the eastern Fraser Valley will remain in place.

COVID-19 Benefits Set to Expire This Week

On 23 October, the last day of Small Business Week, the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) are set to expire. Over 200,000 business owners have benefited from CERS, and over 450,000 have received benefits from CEWS.

As for individual benefits, the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) and the Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit (CRCB) are also set to end on 23 October. Over 2 million Canadians have applied for CRB, nearly 700,000 have applied for CRSB, and over 450,000 for CRCB.

With the passage of the Budget Implementation Act, the government can extend these COVID-19 benefits to 30 November. Beyond that, new legislation is needed to be introduced in Parliament.

Bank of Canada: Firms See Stronger Demand

Canadian firms expect stronger demand as the COVID-19 pandemic eases. However, many believe supply constraints will limit sales and put upward pressure on costs, according to a Bank of Canada survey.

The central bank’s Business Outlook Survey Indicator reached its highest level on record in the third quarter survey, hitting 4.71 from the 3.96 in the second quarter. More firms are experiencing challenges in supply and labor shortages, and many businesses expect that these supply chain disruptions will continue until the second half of 2022.

What to Watch Out For This Week

Here are some things businesses in Canada need to watch out for this week:

  • September Inflation– Statistics Canada will release its consumer price index for September on Wednesday. August figures showed prices for gasoline, food, furniture, cars, among others, increased year-over-year, as the consumer price index hit a near two-decade high.
  • August Retail Sales– Statistics Canada will release retail sales figures for August on Friday. July figures showed retail sales declined 0.6% to $55.8 billion as sales at grocery stores and supermarkets dropped with more people returning to restaurants.

Skilled Trades Training

The government has announced funding of nearly $890,000 for the College of Carpenters and Allied Trades in order to support the implementation of online learning. This investment is intended to help develop a highly qualified skilled trades workforce, and prepare Canadians to fill available jobs as our economy restarts.

Alberta Expands Financial Support Program to SMEs

Alberta is expanding its Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant to include another payment of up to $10,000 for eligible businesses. This marks the third time the $10,000 payment has been made available to Alberta organizations. It will also be available to businesses that started operating between 1 March 2020 and 31 March 2021.

The Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses that experienced at least a 30% decline in revenue because they were ordered to shut down or limit operations due to COVID-19.

HASCAP Loan Applications

Loan applications from the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) opened February 1.

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. Interest rates are set at 4% across the board, terms will be up to 10 years, with up to a 12-month postponement of principal payments at the start of the loan.

To be eligible, companies will have to show a year-over-year revenue drop of at least 50% over three months, not necessarily consecutive, in the eight months before the application.

Further details can be found here.

Modernise your Financial Department

It is not uncommon for startups and small businesses to operate with limited resources. But smart technology tools can enable small teams to operate at a larger level, giving them a competitive edge despite their size.

This Forbes article discusses how you can take a modern approach to finance and adopt a strategy that encourages business growth.

  • Employ more strategic cash flow management. Improving simple practices such as sending invoices as soon as possible, using online invoicing tools, evaluating where you can reduce expenses, and adjusting inventory.
  • Schedule regular financial forecasts to gauge profitability. Financial forecasting is critical for both short- and long-term scenario planning, and an effective tool to estimate profitability.
  • Invest in the right technology. Automation can make manual processes much more efficient, increasing the importance of an organisation’s finance tech stack.

Modernising financial management is not as difficult as it seems. However, it takes dedication to ensure your team is on the right track. If you need some guidance with your business finances, get in touch with us today.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.