“Businesses all across Canada have been hard hit hard by COVID-19. That’s why, through Regional Development Agencies like Western Economic Diversification Canada, the federal government is providing businesses vital support, and saving thousands of jobs,” said The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada. “Our government committed to create one million jobs, and I want to assure Manitoba business owners and workers that while we manage this health crisis, we will be there to support you for as long as it takes, with whatever it takes, and we will get through this together.”

Coming soon! In April 2021, if you’re a registered business in Manitoba, watch your mailbox for your copy of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce “Business Is Unusual: A Coronavirus Survival Guide for Manitoba Business,” funded by one of 23 generous contributions awarded to Manitoba-based not-for-profit business support agencies from Western Economic Diversification Canada through the Regional Relief & Recovery Fund (RRRF).

This magazine-style publication and companion online platform, www.manitobabusinessmatters.ca, features detailed information about COVID-19 emergency relief funds for businesses, as well as eligibility requirements, application processes and timelines, and other valuable employer-focused content and recommendations.

Most of us likely feel as though we’ve collected enough news and information to sufficiently overwhelm us, however, there is still so much to learn about the impact of COVID-19 on business, available support, and the safest approach to strong, effective recovery. There are concerns about how to best help independent businesses like local restaurants and retail, and how to address the decimation of certain sectors like hospitality, travel and tourism. There are questions about workplace health and safety, employer responsibilities, and other significant legal, financial, and ethical issues, such as:

  • Is the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy considered income or revenue? What is an “eligible employee” and how do I calculate my subsidy?
  • I’m really nervous to take on debt at this point but my cash flow is tight. Should I apply for the CEBA loan or is there another program I could be looking at?
  • What’s the difference between CECRA and the new CERS?
  • As an employer, can I mandate my employees to be vaccinated?
  • Can an employee who is currently working from home refuse to come back to the workplace because they are immune-compromised?
  • I’m a small business owner. How much longer can I be expected to handle and interpret changing public health protocols? How much longer am I going to need to hold on as I wait for the economy to open up so I can expand my customer occupancy? How long can I expect government support to continue?
  • I’ve been told I need to expand my digital presence and e-commerce capabilities. What kind of technology and training investments do I need to make to enable those enhancements?
  • How do I ensure my workers have the skills we need to move forward?

At the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, we’ve been working hard throughout the pandemic to collect and share accurate information and resources to support the business community, and to deliver answers to tough questions. We are concerned about the future of the workplace: What is it going to look like? Will our small business landscape be forever changed? Will we ever return to a so-called “normal”?

We’ve compiled helpful links on our COVID-19 Tools & Resources for Employers page. We’re shining a light on pandemic pivots and business success stories, we’re supporting the provincial government in the design and administration of emergency relief funds, and we’re advocating on behalf of our regional chambers and alongside our national chamber, for enhanced  government communication, clear protocols, and good program design, particularly for the most severely-affected industries.

Over the course of the following year, through ongoing contributions from MCC’s expert partners, we will continue to provide credible information to help our members manage through to the other side. Thank you to the following organizations for their valuable support of the Manitoba Business Matters initiative: Chambers Plan, CPA Manitoba, Thompson Dorfman Sweatman (TDS Law), 1Life Workplace Safety Solutions, CPHR Manitoba, Vantage, Bell MTS, and Red River College.

Stay tuned for your mailed copy of the “Business is Unusual: A Coronavirus Business Survival Guide.” Be sure to subscribe to the Manitoba Business Matters e-newsletter featured within, and visit the Manitoba Business Matters website regularly for detailed COVID-19 emergency relief information and workplace guidance.

 

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