Weekly Digest – 29 July 2020

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. We hope you and your family are safe and doing well. Read on for this week’s update.

Remdesivir Approved to Help Treat Canadians With Severe COVID-19 Symptoms

Things are looking brighter for our nation as the antiviral medication remdesivir, which was originally used for Ebola, has been approved by Health Canada for the treatment of COVID-19.

The drug can inhibit the virus itself and it has been authorized for treatment among patients with severe symptoms such as pneumonia, or those who need help breathing.

Western Canada to Get Financial Boost

Businesses across Western Canada which have been affected by the pandemic will be provided with $95 million in relief funding by the federal government.

More than 1,760 companies with fewer than 100 employees are expected to benefit in the form of interest-free loans of up to $40,000, and up to $1 million in funding to cope with the financial impacts of the coronavirus. The funds, provided by Western Economic Diversification Canada, is part of the $962-million Regional Relief and Recovery Fund launched in May.

#SmallBusinessEveryDay Campaign

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has initiated the #SmallBusinessEveryDay Campaign to encourage consumers to support independent businesses in any way they can. Since its launch, thousands of Canadians have already participated. One way is by sharing their experience with the business on social media using the hashtag #SmallBusinessEveryDay.

As a business owner, you can go to the official website to download posters to welcome customers back and thank them for shopping local, as well as posting badges and banners on your website and social media.

If you need personalized business advice to get your business back up to speed in these challenging times, you may also drop us a message so we can work out a plan.

Business Optimism

McKinsey & Company’s ongoing research shows that business optimism is increasing. While the business world is plagued with uncertainty at the moment, most sectors are confident consumer demand will return, and have made changes and improvements to adapt in the meantime. This data shows what we all probably know – entrepreneurs tend to be optimists by nature, willing to take risks and are open to change.

Small businesses don’t often have resources or profit margins of large companies to stay afloat and weather economic crises. What they do have is the agility to pivot and adapt when these problems come up. A positive mindset and willingness to adapt well get you far – well done to all for weathering the storm so far.

If you need help in navigating through these uncertain times or mapping out a post-pandemic strategy, reach out to us so we can work out a plan.

Technology tools when working from home

While telecommuting has become more common in recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly shifted the landscape into one that demands flexibility and employee autonomy. As companies transition their workforce from on-site to remote or a hybrid of the two, the office of the future might be in your home.

This Forbes article shares valuable tools to help smooth over some common challenges when remote working, as well as boost your efficiency and productivity.

You might want to check out some of the following tools they recommend:

Chat Apps

  • WhatsApp
  • Slack
  • Signal

Video Conferencing

  • Zoom
  • GoToMeeting
  • Skype
  • Google Hangouts

Productivity Apps

  • Trello
  • Asana
  • Basecamp Business
  • Box, Dropbox Business, and Google Drive
  • DocuSign and HelloSign
  • Notarize.com

Additionally, it is important to establish work-from-home protocols and communication best practices for your staff. You’ll want to set clear expectations and boundaries in terms of workday schedules, rethinking urgency and giving prompt replies, as well as doubling down on the grace in the event of unexpected work disruptions. If you need some guidance to keep your business moving through the crisis and beyond, get in touch with us so we can provide personalised advice.

Canada and Ontario Invests in Sustainable Public Transit for Brampton Residents

As the health and safety of Canadians top the list of priorities of the governments of Canada and Ontario, strategic investments in sustainable public transportation infrastructure will be pushed forward.

The projects include the purchase of 32 conventional buses to maintain service levels and replace the retiring fleet, as well as a new transit hub that will expand the number of bus bays in the terminal and allow for a possible switch to electric buses in the future.

Over the next four years, 300 hybrid and conventional buses will be refurbished to serve commuters better.

Ontario Launches Online Training to Promote Safe Workplaces

The Ontario government announced last week that it is investing $3 million to provide free online health and safety training, as the province gradually reopens its economy. These real-time virtual courses will make it easier for workers and jobseekers to acquire essential qualifications, while practising social distancing to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

Up to 100,000 job seekers can now take free online workplace health and safety training through Employment Ontario. There are 10 courses on offer, which include topics such as infection control, conducting health and safety incident investigations, ladder safety, slips, trips and falls prevention, and preventing workplace violence and harassment. To enroll, contact an Employment Ontario service provider in your area.

Canada Launches Digitally-Connected Business Registration Access

On June 30, Canada launched the Multi-jurisdictional Registry Access Service (MRAS), which connects 14 business registries across Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. By consolidating the business registries, the government hopes to reduce the registration complexity and cost for businesses.

Recently, the Ontario government has also partnered with the federal government to help businesses reach more customers with a $57 million investment in Digital Main Street, which will help up to 22,900 businesses in Ontario improve their online presence.

A part of this program is the Digital Main Street Grant, where a $2500 grant will be administered by the Ontario BIA Association for small businesses to adopt new technologies and embrace digital marketing. This is a definitely a good opportunity for you to improve your profitability in these challenging times! You can read more here or drop us an email if you need assistance in taking advantage of this new grant.

Assistance for Businesses in Canada

If you’re wondering what assistance is available to your business, please get in touch with us. There is a range of programs and grants including the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), the Co-lending Program, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) and more.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will help you assess based on your current financial situation and business needs.

Beware of COVID-19 Scams

Scammers are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to con people into giving their money or confidential personal information. Here are some of the Covid-19 scams to look out for:

  • Scams offering COVID-19 testing, vaccine, or cure
  • Fake charities
  • “Person in need” scams
  • Scams targeting Social Security benefits

While the reason behind the fraud is new, the tactics are familiar. The best defense is to say No if anyone contacts you asking for your personal deatils, bank account information, credit card details, or driver’s license number; someone you don’t know requests money through a Peer to Peer (P2P) payment app or pre-paid gift cards; someone you don’t know sends you a cheque for some reason and asks you to send a portion back; or simply your gut tells you that it is too good to be true or it doesn’t feel right.

Get in touch

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