All posts by Susan Powell

COVID-19 Update

September 25, 2020 – Follow up: CFIA Susceptibility studies on domestic turkeys, chickens and pigs

AAFC’s COVID weekly update focuses on the susceptibility studies on domestic turkeys, chickens and pigs. Read the weekly update at this link (English and French combined into one document).


September 24, 2020 – Government Of Canada Introduces Legislation To Extend Recovery Benefits

Today the federal government introduced Bill C-2, which includes the previously announced Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and the Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit. In concert with other previously announced EI changes, these programs are part of the proposed package designed to replace the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which is winding down. Learn more at the following links: English | French


September 24, 2020 – Throne Speech A Start, But Much More Is Needed To Get Canadians Back To Work

Throne Speeches are generally directional in nature, setting out a policy agenda but leaving many of the details to be filled in later. In the middle of a pandemic and with a struggling economy, details matter and time is of the essence. The Canadian Chamber would have liked to see a more specific operational plan. Canadians and businesses are hurting today and need help to stay afloat until tomorrow. They are urging the government to deliver a mini-budget no later than October. Learn more at this link.


September 22, 2020 – Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Resumes Additional Activities This Month

This month, the CRA is resuming additional business activities, which may affect some business tax users. The activities include appeals, audits, collections, compliance measures, and outreach activities. The CRA is also providing information on how to protect yourself from scams, it’s important to know when and how the CRA might contact you. Learn more at the following links: English | French


September 22, 2020 – As Small Businesses Struggle And Economy Wobbles, Government Plans 30% Increase In Fuel Costs

Small businesses everywhere are desperately struggling to remain open, and wherever possible, keep their employees on the payroll. As they teeter on the edge between staying open and failure, the federal government is introducing a new regulation that will push far too many to close their doors. To address the proposed Clean Fuel Standard (CFS), this week the Canadian Chamber launched the Fresh Fuel Standard campaign, which proposes a collaborative approach between government and business to design a standard that will both create jobs and safeguard our natural world. Learn more at the following links: English | French


September 22, 2020 – Business Needs Women; Women Need 10 Things From Throne Speech

Canada’s economic recovery from COVID-19 will only happen if women can fully participate in the workforce. Yesterday, The Canadian Chamber’s Council for Women’s Advocacy issued a news release with 10 action items it wants to see addressed in the government’s Speech from the Throne to support women and facilitate their full participation in the workforce as employers and employees. Learn more at the following links: English | French


September 17, 2020 – Safe Restart Agreement Update

Yesterday the Government of Canada announced the next steps for the Safe Restart Agreement, which is a $19-billion funding agreement between Ottawa and the provinces and territories. The federal government has now shared the details of the funding that will be made available through the agreement. The Safe Restart Agreement focuses on seven key priorities over the next six to eight months to restart the economy while protecting the health of Canadians. Learn more at English | French


September 15, 2020 – Tax Reform: Canadians To Have Their Say Through Canadian Chamber Review

Everybody agrees that Canada’s tax system is outdated and uncompetitive, but few agree on where to start. That’s where the Chamber’s tax review project comes in, and they want to hear from you. As COVID-19 continues to affect the ability of Canadians to come together in person, they have launched a new website, ThinkGrowth.ca, to collect your ideas on potential tax reforms that will help businesses and individuals recover from the economic impact of COVID-19.


September 11, 2020 – Update for labelling of foodservice packaged products and prepackaged meat products during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has extended the temporary enforcement flexibility for non-food safety labelling requirements for foodservice packaged products and prepackaged meat products.
  • Notices to industry for labelling regarding temporary enforcement flexibility for foodservice packaged products and prepackaged meat products were to be in effect until September 5, 2020 and September 14, 2020, respectively.
  • The CFIA has extended the period of flexibility for both foodservice packaged products and prepackaged meat products to December 31, 2020.
  • All requirements that were outlined in the previous notices continue to apply during this extended period.
  • The CFIA’s long-standing compliance and enforcement policy is to respond to non-compliance with fairness, impartiality and transparency. The CFIA continues to do so with the additional considerations raised by COVID-19.

September 11, 2020 – Reprocessing and Reusing N95 Respirators

The food sector has faced challenges since the pandemic began in acquiring N95 respirators that are needed for occupational health and safety requirements. The sector has inquired about re-using N95s since Health Canada originally published guidance on this subject in Spring 2020. Given the sector’s interest in this subject, the following information is being shared:

As of August 31, 2020, Health Canada has updated its guidance on how to reprocess used N95 respirators and has approved various decontamination methods for the safe reprocessing of single use N95 respirators. The goal is to extend the usability of N95 respirators as a contingency measure during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health Canada encourages contacting original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) directly for reprocessing advice or testing conducted specific to their devices. For information on Health Canada’s requirements for reprocessed respirators, please see the notice on Reprocessing of Single Use N95 Respirators during the COVID-19 Response.


September 8, 2020 – Energy Assistance Program for Small Businesses Located in Ontario

The Government of Ontario is providing $8 million to support small business and registered charity customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. Learn more at this link.


September 1, 2020 – EDC Opens Call Centre To Answer CEBA Questions

Export Development Canada, who is responsible for overseeing the execution of the CEBA program, has opened a call centre to help answer business owners’ questions about their application or eligibility for the program. The call centre can provide callers with information about the status of their application, the CEBA program and the document upload website. The purpose of the call centre is not to field complaints about the program. The call centre is open Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET (5:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. PT) at 1-888-324-4201.


August 31, 2020 – Greater flexibility and extension of CEBA

Today the Government of Canada announced greater flexibility and extension of the application deadline for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, announced that the application deadline for the CEBA program is extended from August 31 to October 31, 2020. In addition, the government indicated that they are working closely with financial institutions to make the CEBA program available to those with qualifying payroll or non-deferrable expenses that have so far been unable to apply due to not operating from a business banking account. Further details on these changes will be released in coming days, including a new business account opening process through which qualifying businesses will be able to apply. In addition, Minister Freeland also announced that the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) has been extended to June 2021. The news release regarding this topic is avaialble at the following links: English | French


August 28, 2020 – Emergency On-farm Support Fund (EOFSF)

Following the July 31st Government announcement of additional investments in measures to boost protections for TFW and address COVID-19 Outbreaks on Farms, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) is launching a new $35 million Emergency On-Farm Support Fund (EOFSF).

The program is intended to support immediate needs related to changes required on farms to ensure the health and safety of domestic and temporary foreign workers due to COVID-19, and limit the spread of the disease on agricultural operations. Discussions are taking place with provinces and territories with the aim of using existing programs as much as possible for the delivery of the EOFSF, with cost-sharing details still being finalized.

Recipients will be primary producers. In order to be eligible for funding, applicants must confirm in writing that all applicable measures of the Quarantine Act are being adhered to, including but not limited to the mandatory 14-day isolation period for TFW. The fund is expected to be retroactive, by as much as several months. The EOFSF will have an end date of March 31, 2021, which means all disbursements must be made by the federal government by that date.

AAFC is working hard to finalize the details of the fund’s delivery and the application process will open as soon as possible, with some potential variation in opening dates between provinces and territories. Additional information regarding the program will be shared as soon as it becomes available.


August 28, 2020 – Extending the work duration of SAWP workers for the 2020 season

ESDC indicates that the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program is proceeding with the processing to allow workers to continue working beyond their end-date as identified on their employer’s Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and, for some workers, extend the work duration beyond 8-months for applications under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) for the 2020 Season. You will find more information at this link. Please note that the Consent Form (download at this link) is available in English only but will be available in French and Spanish shortly.


August 25, 2020 – Statistics Canada Releases Second Quarter 2020 Financial Statistics For Enterprises

In the second quarter, Canadian corporations reported a decline of 8.0% in net income before taxes, a decrease of $4.5 billion, to $52.3 billion. Operating revenue declined 11.6% to $940 billion during the quarter, with the decrease amplified by compounding weeks of confinement followed by a gradual reopening. These numbers reflect the very serious challenges that Canadian businesses are facing and underscore the need for a pro-growth agenda. Learn more at the following links: English | French


August 25, 2020 – Fish Harvester Benefit And Fish Harvester Grant Now Open For Applications

On August 24, the Fish Harvester Benefit and Grant Program opened to self-employed fish harvesters wishing to apply. The application period is open from August 24 to September 21, 2020. The Fish Harvester Benefit offers income support to self-employed fish harvesters and shareholders. The benefit covers up to 75% of income losses beyond a 25% threshold for the 2020 tax year when compared to 2018 or 2019. The maximum benefit is $10,164. The Fish Harvester Grant is a non-repayable grant to self-employed fish harvesters with a valid commercial fishing licence in 2020. The grant provides a maximum non-repayable support of up to $10,000, dependent on the level of the fish harvester’s historic fishing revenue in 2018 or 2019. Learn more at the following links: English | French


August 20, 2020 – EI Premium Rate Freeze

To support Canadian businesses and workers through the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government is freezing the EI premium rate for employees at the 2020 level of $1.58 per $100 of insurable earnings for two years. The rate for employers, who pay 1.4 times the employee rate, will also remain unchanged at $2.21 per $100 of insurable earnings. Learn more at the following links: English | French


August 21, 2020 – How-to guides – Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have developed the following guidelines:


August 17, 2020 – Canadian Chamber of Commerce Creates Council for Women’s Advocacy

As part of the diversity and inclusion framework, The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that they have launched the Canadian Chamber’s Council for Women’s Advocacy (CWA). The CWA was created to be a unifying national voice of the business community to drive action. It is focusing its initial efforts on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in three key areas for the short-term: facilitating safe, reliable and affordable childcare; supporting women’s entrepreneurship and supporting job pivots for women. Today’s launch focused on five recommendations that governments can focus on immediately to support women and foster economic growth. With the return to school imminent, and being discussed in every jurisdiction, these five immediate recommendations are very timely. Learn more at this link.


August 14, 2020 – CEWS program redesign for Period 5 applications

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) helps employers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to keep workers on their payroll or bring back previously laid-off employees. To ensure that Canadian workers and businesses are in a better position as our economy safely re-opens, the Government has recently implemented changes to the CEWS that broaden the reach of the program and provide better targeted support, which may include your farm or food-processing business.

The Government of Canada has launched an updated and improved Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy online calculator. It will help small and large employers alike prepare to apply for the next period of the CEWS program, which will open for applications on August 17, 2020. The CEWS calculator can be found on the CRA’s Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy web page, which includes detailed information to help employers understand how the CEWS can support their employees and operations, who is eligible to apply, and how claim periods are structured. The calculator uses a step-by-step approach to get employers to enter information about their business situation to provide an estimate of the subsidy they can expect to receive.


August 13, 2020 – Federal Government Announces Canada Healthy Communities Initiative

The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative will provide up to $31 million in federal funding to support community-led solutions that respond to immediate and ongoing needs arising from COVID-19 over the next two years. The Initiative will fund smaller-scale local projects under three main themes: creating safe and vibrant public spaces, improving mobility options, and digital solutions. Learn more at the following links: English | French


August 7, 2020 – Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA) – New Eligible Non-Deferrable Expense category

Originally launched on April 9, 2020, CEBA is intended to support businesses by providing financing for their expenses that cannot be avoided or deferred as they take steps to safely navigate a period of shutdown, thereby helping to position businesses for successful relaunch when the economy reopens.

A recent change and enhancement to the program was made with the addition of a new Eligible Non-Deferrable Expense category for “payments incurred for materials consumed to produce a product ordinarily offered for sale by the borrower”. These expenses reflect payments for input materials that are consumed or transformed in producing, or in becoming part of, the product that is ordinarily offered for sale, such as raw materials, ingredients, supplies, seed or livestock feed.


August 7, 2020  – Government of Canada Essential Services Contingency Reserve (ESCR) NOW OPEN

The Essential Services Contingency Reserve (ESCR) opened on August 3rd for registration and applications to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) on a cost recovery basis. The ESCR is for all critical infrastructure sectors and is to help address urgent PPE needs when all other sources of supply are unavailable and when a significant disruption in the delivery of essential services to Canadians is imminent. Industry associations are encouraged to apply on behalf of their respective sectors. To begin the registration process of your organization, please register here.


August 6, 2020 – Hand Sanitizer Recall Expanded Further

A recall that was first initiated in June has again been expanded and now includes more than 40 products. The recalled hand sanitizers are made with ethanol or denaturants that are not acceptable ingredients for use in hand sanitizers in Canada. Please check the list to ensure you are not using a recalled product. View the recall list at these links: English | French


August 5, 2020 – Fish Harvester Benefit And Fish Harvester Grant Applications Coming August 24

Today the Government of Canada announced that applications for the Fish Harvester Benefit and Fish Harvester Grant will be open from August 24 through September 21. The $469 million in funding for the programs was originally announced on May 14. Learn more at the following links: English | French


August 4, 2020 – Government of Canada invests in measures to boost protections for Temporary Foreign Workers and Address COVID-19 Outbreaks on Farms

The Government of Canada is going to spend additional money to address COVID-19 outbreaks on farms that are affecting Temporary Foreign Workers. The spending will be directed towards inspections, outreach and education as well as improving living conditions. Learn more at the following links: English | French


July 31, 2020 – Government Announces New Extension of Rent Relief for Small Businesses

Today, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced that the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) will be extended by one month to help eligible small business pay rent for August. All provinces and territories continue to participate in this initiative, and collaborate with the federal government to provide rent supports to those small businesses most in need. Learn  more at the following links: English | French


July 28, 2020 – Bill C-20, Which Includes Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Improvements, Receives Royal Assent

The proposed improvements to the CEWS passed through the Senate and received Royal Assent on July 27. Among other things, Bill C-20 extends the CEWS to December 19, introduces a sliding scale and made some eligibility improvements. These are improvements we advocated and are pleased to see implemented on behalf of our members.

More information about CEWS is available at the following links: English | French

More information about Bill C-20 is available at the following links: English | French


July 27, 2020 – Canada Revenue Agency Extends Payment Deadline And Provides Interest Relief For Outstanding Debts

The CRA is extending the payment due date for current year individual, corporate and trust income tax returns, including instalment payments, from September 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020. The CRA is also waiving interest on existing tax debts related to individual, corporate and trust income tax returns from April 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020 and from April 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020 for goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) returns. Learn more at the following links: English | French


July 24, 2020 – British Columbia (BC) Food Processors Association (BCFPA) – Protecting Our People program

The Protecting Our People program, offered to British Columbia’s agriculture, seafood and processing sectors as well as independent retailers and other workers in the food supply chain to provide affordable access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is being expanded to include stakeholders outside of BC. While details are being finalized, the national launch of the program is aimed for end of July, early August 2020.


July 23, 2020 – National Reopening Government Regulation Tracker

In order to operate, businesses must abide by all national, provincial/territorial and local codes issued by our governments. This includes when and which businesses are allowed to open, an array of health and safety measures, social distancing standards, occupancy limits and more. Refer to the national reopening government regulation tracker to access the rules and regulations that are in place according to federal and provincial/territorial jurisdictions. Access the tracker at this link.


July 21, 2020 – Improved Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Bill Passes The House

This afternoon MPs in the House of Commons passed Bill C-20, including the improved CEWS, which was announced on Friday last week. The Senate must now study the bill before it can be implemented. The Canadian Chamber called for the bill to be swiftly passed and are grateful MPs on all sides worked to achieve that goal. They are hopeful the Senate will now do the same. The improved CEWS will help get Canadians back to work. More information about Bill C-20 is available at the following links: English | French


July 21, 2020 – Government Of Canada Creates The ‘Essential Services Contingency Reserve’ Program

The Essential Services Contingency Reserve will allow organizations that provide essential services to apply for temporary, urgent access to personal protective equipment and other critical supplies. It aims to help bridge gaps in their supplies to avoid any significant disruptions in services to Canadians. Eligible associations and organizations will be able to apply online for a range of equipment, available for purchase at cost. Registration will begin in early August. Learn more at the following links: English | French


July 17, 2020 – Government Of Canada Rolls Out Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Improvement Details

Today, the government released details of the proposed CEWS program extension and improvements. Legislative approval is still required, however the draft would:

  • Allow the extension of the CEWS until December 19, 2020, including redesigned program details until November 21, 2020.
  • Make the subsidy accessible to a broader range of employers by including employers with a revenue decline of less than 30% and providing a gradually decreasing base subsidy to all qualifying employers. This would help many struggling employers with less than a 30% revenue loss get support to keep and bring back workers while also ensuring those who have previously benefited could still qualify, even if their revenues recover and no longer meet the 30% revenue decline threshold.
  • Introduce a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25% for employers that have been most adversely affected by the pandemic. This would be particularly helpful to employers in industries that are recovering more slowly.
  • Provide certainty to employers that have already made business decisions for July and August by ensuring they would not receive a subsidy rate lower than they would have had under the previous rules.
  • Address certain technical issues identified by stakeholders.

Learn more about the changes at the following links: English | French


July 17, 2020 – COVID-19 Financial support for farmers and food processors</span

For easy reference, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has created a Web page of the Federal Funding Programs available to support farmers and food processors.


July 17, 2020 – ArriveCAN Travellers App

The ArriveCAN mobile application and accessible web app, developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), provides a digital way for all travellers entering Canada to easily and securely submit their information and complete a self-assessment of symptoms up to 48 hours before they arrive in Canada. The ArriveCAN app is intended to help travellers, including Temporary Foreign Workers, to reduce their wait time, minimize contact, and stay up to date on the latest government information.

The ArriveCAN app is available for free on Google Play and Apple App stores.


July 15, 2020 – Shopify, Canadian Government Launch Initiative to Help Small Businesses Grow Online Amid COVID-19

Shopify has partnered with the federal government to launch a new initiative called Go Digital Canada, aimed to bring more Canadian small businesses online and support them in the new era of digital transformation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more at this link.


July 15, 2020 – The Bank Of Canada’s July 2020 Monetary Policy Report

The Bank of Canada expects a sharp rebound in economic activity in the reopening phase of the recovery, followed by a more prolonged recuperation phase, which will be uneven across regions and sectors. As a result, Canada’s economic output will likely take some time to return to its pre-COVID-19 level. Many workers and businesses can expect to face an extended period of difficulty. Read the full report at this link.


July 14, 2020 – Second Survey with Statistics Canada Shows Businesses Adapting to Distinct New “Paradoxical” Phase of COVID-19

The second wave of the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC), a joint effort between The Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Statistics Canada, was released today, providing new insights into the longer-term impact of COVID-19 on Canadian businesses. The second survey data shows businesses are adapting to a distinctly new, paradoxical phase of the pandemic, where businesses reopen because they can no longer afford to remain closed, but struggle to break even while paying for pre-COVID level costs with significantly reduced revenues. Learn more at this link.


July 13, 2020 – Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to be Extended Until December

The Government of Canada has announced its intention to extend the CEWS program until December. Details on the extension are expected to be released later this week. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce commented that news of the extension was positive, but a successful CEWS update must also expand revenue eligibility and provide absolute clarity and consistency about the criteria for eligibility. Too many businesses are still uncertain about their ability to qualify for the program. Read their statement at this link.


July 13, 2020 – Infographics: Deeper Insight and Analysis From the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions

As part of the Chamber’s efforts to better understand what Canadian businesses are experiencing during COVID-19, they partnered with Deloitte Canada to develop deeper insight and analysis into the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC). Deloitte Canada’s research is at this link. The second wave of the CSBC will be released tomorrow, July 14, and will feature an update to these findings and new areas of research.


July 10, 2020 – Governments of Ontario and Canada Provide Additional Insurance Coverage For Farmers

Ontario farmers, already enrolled in an eligible production insurance plan, who suffer from crop losses due to labour disruptions during the 2020 growing season will have access to further insurance coverage through Agricorp. The added insurance coverage will include:

  • Inability to attract sufficient on-farm labour due to COVID-19
  • Illness or quarantine of on-farm labour and the producer due to COVID-19

Farmers will be expected to notify Agricorp as soon as possible if they experience COVID-19 related labour disruptions that are having an impact on their crops. Learn more at the following links: English | French


July 10, 2020 – Canada’s response during the COVID-19 pandemic – Information and implications for the Agriculture and Agri-Food Sector

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has put together a table of the Federal Funding Programs available to support the Agriculture and Agri-Food Sector. The updated inventory is available in English and French.


July 9, 2020 – Policy Update Following Fiscal Snapshot

Emergency measures introduced to assist Canadians and businesses because of the COVID-19 pandemic have come at a great cost. The total bill, which still is not known, must be monitored closely and transparently moving forward. With diminishing fiscal capacity, the country must begin retooling its economic fundamentals. Canada needs a clear plan to restore private sector growth, starting with a tailored strategy and timetable for safely reopening. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has prepared a 51-point Roadmap to Recovery to help policymakers with the important and challenging work they have ahead. Learn more at this link.


July 8, 2020 – Federal Government Releases Economic Snapshot, Including $343 Billion Deficit

Today, the Government of Canada released its economic snapshot – a picture of the federal spending to date this year, amid the pandemic. The snapshot includes a projected deficit this year of $343 billion and a debt-to-GDP ratio of 49.1%. Following the release, we made it clear that Canada needs a plan to restore private sector growth, starting with a tailored strategy and a timetable for safely reopening that will allow businesses and families alike to plan. Learn more at the following links: English | French


July 8, 2020 – RRPCanada.org Provides Free Of Charge Service For Local Organizations To Request PPE Donations 

Many Canadian organizations have budget shortfalls to pay for critical PPE to keep workers safe. To help bridge the PPE gap, RRPCanada.org launched a “Support Local Organizations” page on their website that lists PPE needs of specific organizations, enabling Canadians to purchase PPE on their behalf. Learn more at this link.


July 7, 2020 – B20 Special Report To The G20: Jump-Starting The Global Economy In A Post-COVID-19 Phase 

The past few months have established sufficient clarity to ground specific proposals for the post-COVID-19 phase. The special report was developed through multiple efforts, including discussion with global business leaders, recommendations from the leadership of B20 Taskforces and Action Council, and alignment with other Engagement Groups such as S20, W20 and L20, as well as with multilateral organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). Read the report at this link.


July 7, 2020 – OECD Employment Outlook 2020 Released

According to the OECD, there is a real danger that the COVID-19 jobs crisis will increase poverty and widen inequalities, with the impact felt for years to come. Countries now need to do everything they can to stop this jobs crisis from turning into a social crisis. Reconstructing a better and more resilient labour market is an essential investment in the future and in future generations. See the results at this link.


July 6, 2020 – U.S. Customs And Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler Program Enrollment Centres

Starting today, conditionally-approved Global Entry, SENTRI and US-Mexico FAST applicants will be able to complete in-person interviews at most Trusted Traveler Programs enrolment centres in the United States. That said, NEXUS and US-Canada FAST interviews at US and Canadian enrolment centres will remain suspended until at least August 10.


July 6, 2020 – Funding Available For Skilled Trades Training

The Government of Canada has announced that they will spend $40 million over three years in the Union Training and Innovation Program and have launched two calls for proposals. Eligible organizations are encouraged to apply for funding through two streams: Stream 1: Investments in Training Equipment; and Stream 2: Innovation in Apprenticeship.  Learn more at the following links: English | French


July 3, 2020 – Government Introduces Draft Regulations Providing Relief For Registered Pension Plans

On July 2 the government released draft regulations that would help employers who sponsor a Registered Pension Plan (RPP) or salary deferral leave plan for their employees to manage and maintain their benefit obligations through the pandemic. It will also assure employees who participate in salary deferral leave plans that suspending their leave of absence (e.g., via a recall to essential-service work), or deferring their scheduled leave for up to one year, will not put their plan at risk. Learn more at the following links: English | French


July 3, 2020 – CFIA Notice – Extension of Flexibility of the Labelling of Food Service products

Beginning April 6, 2020, CFIA provided flexibility regarding certain labelling requirements for foodservice products that have no impact on food safety during the COVID-19 pandemic for a period of 90 days. This flexibility would have ended July 6, 2020 but an extension of 60 days has been approved based on the feedback received from industry. The flexibility allows for foodservice products to be sold at retail if certain requirements, including food safety, are met. CFIA will be sending a notice to industry on this topic and details on the extension will be found here CFIA’s information for industry webpage.


July 2, 2020 – Canada Extends Mandatory Requirements Under the Quarantine Act for Anyone Entering Canada

The Government of Canada has extended the Emergency Order requirements related to mandatory isolation and quarantine until August 31, 2020, for travellers entering Canada. Border measures prohibiting foreign nationals from entering Canada from any country other than the United States subject to certain limited exceptions—which are generally not applicable for optional or discretionary purposes, such as tourism, recreation and entertainment—have also been extended until July 31, 2020. Learn more at the following links: EnglishFrench


June 30, 2020 – Government Ends GST/HST And Customs Duty Payment Deferrals

The federal government has confirmed it is ending the payment deferrals as planned on June 30, today. Businesses that continue to experience difficulty in remitting GST/HST and customs duty amounts owing can contact the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to make a request for the cancellation of penalties and interest, and/or for a flexible payment arrangement with the CRA. More information is available at the following links: EnglishFrench


June 30, 2020 – CRA Deadline Changes

The CRA has advised that T2 Corporation Income Tax Returns and T3 Trust Income tax Returns that would have been due in June, July, or August are now due on September 1. For T2s and T3s, as previously announced, any income tax balance due on or after March 18 and before September 1 will also be due by September 1. More information is available at the following links: English | French


June 26, 2020 – Expanded Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) – Now open for applications

The expanded CEBA is now open for applications. As of June 26, 2020, businesses eligible for CEBA now include owner-operated small businesses that do not have a payroll, sole proprietors receiving business income directly, as well as family-owned corporations remunerating in the form of dividends rather than payroll. Applicants will have to demonstrate having eligible non-deferrable expenses between CAN$40,000 and CAN$1,500,000 in 2020.

The expanded CEBA is being made available gradually by more than 230 financial institutions across the country, starting with the larger banks. Other participating financial institutions will start offering the program over the coming weeks.

Learn more at the following links: English | French


June 26, 2020 – Food Processing Skills Canada – TFW Online Resources

Food Processing Skills Canada has developed two new resources in support of food and beverage manufacturers that employ temporary foreign workers, and participants in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Temporary Foreign Workers During COVID-19 – e-Learning for Foreign Workers Preparing to Work in Canada

This e-learning course is available for free until July 15th and will assist temporary foreign workers in integrating comfortably into Canada during COVID-19 with best practice to keep their family and workplaces safe.

Employers’ Guide to COVID-19 and the Temporary Foreign Worker

This free downloadable employer resource provides a straightforward review of the impacts COVID-19 has had on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, and offers a quick reference guide on travel, pre-arrival, self-isolation, workplace preparation and employee support.


June 26, 2020 – COVID-19 transmission through food

Scientists and food safety authorities around the world are closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19. There is no evidence to suggest that food is a likely source or route of transmission of the virus. At this time, there have been no reported cases of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19. For more information, please consult CFIA’s webpage.


June 26, 2020 – Foreign technicians deemed essential

If you have questions related to who is exempt from the 14-day mandatory quarantine upon entry to Canada, including about the interpretation of the recent addition of technicians specified by manufacturer or the manufacturer warranty to maintain or repair equipment necessary to support critical infrastructure, we encourage you to contact PHAC at 1-833-784-4397 (interpretation services are available in multiple languages) or at phac.emergencyorder-decretdurgencecovid19.aspc@canada.ca. For more information, you can also consult PHAC’s website.


June 25, 2020 – A Communications Guide And Template Signage For Businesses That Are Reopening

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has created an in-depth reopening toolkit for businesses to aid them in their re-opening. Access the Guide at this link.


June 23, 2020 – Federal Government Extends Time Periods Given To Employers To Recall Employees Laid Off Due To COVID-19 

Prior to these changes, employers could temporarily layoff their employees for up to three months if no notice with a recall date was provided or for a period of up to six months if they provided a notice with an expected recall date before the layoff became a termination. The amendments, which are set out in the Canada Labour Standards Regulations, temporarily extend these time periods by up to six months:

  • For employees laid off prior to March 31, 2020, the time period is extended by six months or to December 30, 2020, whichever occurs first.
  • For employees laid off between March 31, 2020 and September 30, 2020, the time period is extended until December 30, 2020 unless a later recall date was provided in a written notice at the time of the layoff.

These changes, which came into effect on June 22, 2020, do not apply to employees who are covered by a collective agreement that contains recall rights. Learn more at the following links: English | French


June 23, 2020 – Commentary: Reliable And Affordable Childcare Key To An Inclusive Recovery

As we move into reopening and on to recovery phases across the country, health and safety concerns remain at the forefront. As employees continue their return to work, either remotely or onsite (or a variety of hybrid models therein) a key to successful work reintegration and economic recovery for parents is the availability of reliable and affordable childcare.  Read full commentary at this link.


June 23, 2020 – The Canadian Centre For Occupational Health And Safety Creates A Pandemic Information Sharing Portal 

This website, facilitated by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, is provided to enable businesses to share their pandemic-related good practices and resources that other workplaces may find helpful in developing their own business continuity plans. Access the portal at the following links: English | French


June 19, 2020 – Guidance for Re-opening

As you re-open for business and workplace, you can count on up-to-date authoritative advice developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada in collaboration with provinces, territories and stakeholders, on how to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19. See information sheets at the following links: English, French and visit Canada.ca/coronavirus for guidance, tools and updates on how to implement appropriate individual and community-based public health measures.


June 19, 2020 – Expanded Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program

The government previously announced that the expanded Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program would launch today. Unfortunately, there will be a slight delay in the roll out of the application process for the expanded program, in order to ensure that the program’s IT infrastructure is safe and secure for the businesses it serves. There is a pressing need for this kind of support and the government is working hard with Canadian financial institutions to launch the expanded CEBA. This program involves the participation of more than 230 financial institutions, and it is critical to ensure that the systems that receive applications and deliver funding are resilient and secure, to ensure a successful program launch. Details on the new launch date will be provided shortly.


June 19, 2020 – Launch of the Surplus Food Rescue Program

On June 15, 2020, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, launched the $50 million Surplus Food Rescue Program. The program aims to move surplus food commodities such as potatoes and other possible horticulture, fish and seafood, and meat through the food system as efficiently as possible to help vulnerable Canadians. Learn more at the following links: English | French


June 19, 2020 – CFIA’s Notice – Information regarding certain labelling and packaging requirements for pre-packaged meat products during the COVID-19 pandemic 

CFIA posted updated information on temporary flexibility for non-food safety labelling and packaging requirements for pre-packaged meat products during COVID-19. Details can be found at the following links: English | French


June 16, 2020 – June 2020 Statement of the Ottawa Group: Focusing Action on Covid-19

Canada has convened the Ottawa Group to discuss the how governments can use the WTO to respond to COVID-19. Specific measures agreed by the member countries of the Ottawa Group include greater transparency on trade measures enacted by governments, supporting the transition to e-commerce for businesses, and facilitating the trade of medical supplies. Learn more at the following links: English | French


June 16, 2020 – Small Business, Big Pivot

In a new report, Small Business, Big Pivot, RBC Thought Leadership lays out a five-point plan to help Canadian small businesses thrive in a post-pandemic economy. Small businesses represent 42% of Canada’s GDP and accounted for almost double the rate of job losses as mid-sized and large firms during the first two months of the global pandemic. Canada’s rebuild will depend on small businesses’ rebound, but the rebound can’t be back to something that worked in the past. It needs to propel smaller enterprises forward into a different economy. This report outlines what that path forward could look like.  Learn more at the following links: EnglishFrench


June 16, 2020 – Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) Extended To Cover 24 Weeks

The government is extending the CERB from the current 16 weeks of eligibility to up to 24 weeks. The CERB provides financial support to employed and self-employed Canadians who are directly affected by COVID-19. Canadians may apply for the CERB through either Service Canada or the Canada Revenue Agency—but not both. Learn more at the following links: English | French


June 15, 2020 – AAC to Deliver Emergency Processing Fund for Manitoba, Nunavut and Ontario

The Agricultural Adaptation Council will be delivering the funding for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Emergency Processing Funding (EPF) for food processors in Manitoba, Nunavut and Ontario, who are requesting less than $100,000. Learn more at this link.


June 15, 2020 – Applications For Expanded Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) Available Starting Friday
Beginning on Friday, businesses will be able to apply for the CEBA under the expanded criteria that had been previously announced to allow more businesses to qualify. The CEBA is available through your primary financial institution. Learn more at this link.


June 12, 2020Application process announced for $77.5m Emergency Processing Fund 

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, today launched the $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund (EPF) as part of the Government of Canada’s action to support Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of COVID-19.

The program will prioritize projects based on two objectives:

  • Emergency COVID Response to assist companies to implement changes required by COVID-19 to ensure the health and safety of workers. This funding will assist with:
    • plant retrofits or adjustments to existing operations to accommodate changes to processes and production; and
    • increasing capacity for herd management.
  • Strategic Investments to assist companies to improve, automate, and modernize facilities needed to increase Canada’s food supply capacity.

Eligible applicants include for-profit organizations, cooperatives and indigenous groups. Activities can be retroactive to March 15, 2020 and must be completed by September 30, 2020. Information on the application process is available through the Emergency Processing Fund or to learn more, please contact aafc.epf-fut.aac@canada.ca or call: 1-877-246-4682.


June 11, 2020 – FedDev Ontario And Provincial Partners To Assist Nearly 23,000 Businesses In Ontario With Online Commerce 

Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario, and the Honourable Prabmeet Sarkaria, Ontario Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, announced a $57-million investment to help main street businesses across the province adopt digital technologies to compete now and in the future. Building on Toronto’s foundational investments in Digital Main Street and, most recently, ShopHERE, this investment of $50 million from the Government of Canada (through FedDev Ontario) and $7.65 million from the Government of Ontario will extend the support to businesses across the province. Support will be offered through two main platforms. Learn more at the following links: EnglishFrench


June 10, 2020 – Minister Ng announces government partnership with private sector campaign to help businesses reopen safely amid COVID-19

Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, announced that the Government of Canada has partnered with the People Outside Safely Together (POST) Promise program, an initiative launched by Canadian private sector organizations to help businesses across the country reopen safely. Read the full press release at the following links: English | French


June 10, 2020 – Make The Most Of The CBRN Reopening Toolkit For Business

As many provinces and territories continue to make progress on resuming some economic activities, please remember to make use of the comprehensive CBRN reopening toolkit. The toolkit provides information on regulations and reopening, childcare access, communications materials, sourcing PPE, access to guides and materials from other organizations and more. Access the toolkit at this link.


June 9, 2020 – Government Launches PPE Supply Hub Website

The Supply Hub connects Canadian organizations with federal, provincial, territorial and other resources and information about PPE, including consumer guidance. Buyers will find PPE supplier lists, in addition to guidance to help plan their PPE purchases. Access the hub at this link.


June 9, 2020 – Securing Canada’s Food Industry: Chambers Send Joint Letter To Minister Bibeau

Alongside our provincial and territorial chambers of commerce, we issued a letter to Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau urging the federal government to ensure Canada’s food security by continuing to assist the agriculture and agri-food sector as it begins to recover from COVID-19. Read the letter at this link.


June 8, 2020 – $50 Million For Montreal’s Small Businesses

The Government of Canada, through Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, is planning to grant up to $30 million to the PME MTL network through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF). The Quebec Government is also contributing $20 million. This support is aimed at Montreal businesses ineligible for other federal measures related to COVID-19 that are already in place. The funds will be administered by PME MTL, the City of Montreal’s business support network. Click here for more information.


June 5, 2020 – Assistance available to Atlantic Canada businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic

Through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) will provide approximately $110M over the next year to support Atlantic Canadian businesses ($67 million directly and $43 million through Community Business Development Corporations (CBDC)). ACOA is now accepting online applications.

Existing ACOA clients are invited to contact their project officer to discuss their needs. CBDC clients can apply for the RRRF through their local CBDCs. All other businesses or organizations can call 1-888-576-4444 or send an email to ACOA.information.APECA@canada.ca to obtain more information.

ACOA can also help in other ways by:

  • Deferring scheduled payments until October, 2020
  • Confirming eligibility for additional funding and/or flexible arrangements
  • Providing information about federal programs and services
  • Coordinating efforts to connect potential PPE suppliers in the region with appropriate federal and provincial procurement departments, municipalities and businesses seeking PPE materials in order to maintain or resume operations. Please visit the following website: https://igniteatlantic.com/covid19/.

June 4, 2020 – The ICC On Facilitating Access To Trade Credit 

To facilitate the $5 trillion of trade credit needed to enable an economic rebuild from COVID-19, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has called for proactive interventions to prime the trade market in anticipation of a return of demand. Adjusting regulatory requirements for SME financing and purchasing trade assets from commercial banks are just two measures governments can take to ensure small businesses can access the credit needed to trade internationally. We are the lead organization in Canada for the ICC. Learn more at this link.


June 2, 2020 – Ontario Employment Standards Act Amendment

On May 29, 2020, the Ontario Government passed a regulation under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) in regards to temporary reductions and/or changes in hours/wages due to COVID-19, or temporary layoffs due to COVID-19. Click here to review a summary of the amendment.


June 1, 2020 – A New Support Program From Canada Post 

As part of Canada Post’s Think Small support program, from now until August 31, 2020, you can benefit from a quick, easy and cost-effective way to promote your business to your local community.

If you have a promotion you’d like to share, or if you just want to remind your neighbours that you’re open for business and ready to serve them, Canada Post is offering two direct mail promotional offers to help you do just that.

Learn more at this link.


May 29, 2020 – Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) – Apply now

The RRRF, which was announced on April 17, 2020, provides $962 million in additional support to Canadian businesses that cannot access existing federal measures, including:

  • $675 million for small and medium-sized businesses facing financial pressure, and
  • $287 million to support rural businesses and communities with access to capital, delivered by the Community Futures Network.

The RRRF is delivered through Canada’s six Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) and nearly doubles their annual budgets. They began accepting applications on May 13, 2020.

RRRF requests of up to $40,000 are available to those who have applied for, but did not qualify for existing Government of Canada COVID-19-related support such as the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). As with CEBA, repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000). Repayable loans of over $40,000 are also available.

Small business owners with pressing financial needs can also call 1-866-989-1080 (toll-free) seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (ET), to get financial planning advice to deal with the impacts of COVID-19. The hotline is a national, bilingual service operated by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Business advisors—125 members of Chartered Professional Accountants Canada (CPA Canada)—will be available to provide customized financial guidance.


May 29, 2020 – New Guide for Temporary Foreign Workers

On Thursday May 28, ESDC released a “COVID-19: A Guide for Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada”. Customized for Temporary Foreign Workers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the Guide provides information on: how the disease spreads, what TFWs should know before coming to Canada, rights and responsibilities of TFWs during the mandatory 14-day quarantine period (including employer responsibilities) and post-quarantine, how to access health care and related information, income supports for TFWs in Canada, and contact information for government authorities related to health care, TFW Program compliance, Employment Standards, and Occupational Health and Safety. The Guide, available in English, French and Spanish, can be found at: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/campaigns/foreign-worker-rights/covid19-guide.html.


May 29, 2020 – Temporary Ministerial Exemption process to allow inter-provincial trade of meat and poultry products from establishments that are not federally licensed

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has put in place a temporary Ministerial Exemption (ME) process that will permit interprovincial movement of meat and poultry products from establishments that are not federally licensed if such trade becomes necessary to alleviate meat shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To initiate the ME process, food businesses experiencing a shortage are asked to reach out to their Provincial or Territorial Authority to inform them of the food shortage, determine if the situation requires the issuance of an ME by the CFIA, and obtain all information about the application process.


May 28, 2020 – Statistics Canada Releases Data On Potential For Working From Home 

Today Statistics Canada released information on how the pandemic has affected the push for people to work from home amid social distancing. The report also considers how many people may be able to continue to work from home into the future. Overall, about 40% of Canadians are in jobs that could plausibly be done from home. learn more at the following links: English | French


May 27, 2020 – New PPE Matchmaking Portal Connects Producers With Businesses In Need

As our economy begins to reopen, many businesses will need to access personal protective equipment (PPE) to help keep their customers and staff safe from COVID-19. Sourcing masks, hand sanitizers and gowns is often challenging, especially for businesses that are new to purchasing this type of equipment, especially with unprecedented global demand for PPE.  RRP Canada is free to use and provides a matchmaking service to ‘connect the dots’ between manufacturers and businesses in need of PPE. PPE products on the Rapid Response Platform include hand sanitizer, surgical masks, N95 masks, surface sanitizer, face shields and gowns. Learn more at this link.


May 26, 2020Facebook Canada Launches Grant Program And New Supports, Totalling Nearly $3.5 Million For Small Businesses

Small businesses are the pillars of our communities and, right now, they need everyone’s support. Today, Facebook Canada launched a program with nearly $3.5 million in support for small- and medium-sized businesses in the Ottawa-Gatineau, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal regions. From grants and virtual training to enhanced resources and new product features, this is Facebook Canada’s way of giving a hand to those who give our communities so much. The deadline to apply for the grants is Tuesday, June 2.  Learn more at this link.


May 25, 2020 – Introducing The Business Resilience Service Hotline

The Business Resilience Service (BRS) allows small- to medium-sized businesses, not-for-profits and charities to connect with experienced business advisors from across Canada for guidance on which government relief programs will be most appropriate to support them and their recovery.

The program, delivered free of charge, provides:

  • Guidance on COVID-19 financial support program options and eligibility
  • Direction on accessing the most appropriate support organizations
  • Help to make decisions to support recovery plans
  • Real time insights and feedback to policymakers

To access the BRS call 1-866-989-1080 to connect with a business advisor from the accounting profession. The service is available 7 days/week from 8am – 8pm ET (5am – 5pm PT).


May 25, 2020 – The Canadian Chamber of Commerce Partners with Salesforce to Offer $10k Lifeline to Help 62 Small Businesses Recover from Covid-19 Downturn

Today, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, announced a new program, the Canadian Business Resilience Network Small Business Relief Fund, to provide small Canadian businesses from coast to coast to coast with $10,000 grants to help their recovery efforts during these unprecedented times. The applications that best demonstrate how the funds will help the businesses, their employees and their communities will receive the funding. Learn more at this link. 


May 22, 2020 – Provincial and Territorial Wage Top Up

The new wage top-up for essential workers will be delivered by the provinces and territories. Each province and territory will identify the workers that they consider essential (e.g., frontline healthcare workers, long-term care facility employees, etc.) who make less than $2,500 a month and deliver the wage subsidy in a way that makes sense for their jurisdiction.

Where available, AAFC compiled the information regarding the new wage top-up for essential workers put in place in each province and territory and eligibility of workers in the agriculture and agri-food sector which is available at this link.


May 20, 2020 – CBRN Launches National Guide For Business Reopening

As businesses prepare to reopen or revamp their operations amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are numerous issues and challenges to consider. The toolkit prepared by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Canadian Business Resilience Network is designed to provide guidance, or access to guidance, for business owners and senior managers responsible for re-establishing their operations while ensuring the health and safety of their staff, customers, suppliers and the general public is at the forefront. The toolkit provides key information on government regulations, childcare availability, sourcing PPE, government financial supports and communicating to staff, customers and suppliers. The guide also includes links to a wide range of additional toolkits and resources prepared by members of the CBRN. Key sections of the guide will be regularly updated online to provide the most recent information available. Access the toolkit at this link.


May 19, 2020 – Prime Minister announces expansion of support for workers and small businesses


May 19, 2020 – Deloitte Economic Recovery Dashboard

Deloitte’s COVID-19: Economic recovery dashboard monitors the health, social, financial and economic activity that will signal when a recovery is coming. It’s available to anyone seeking a real-time, full picture view of the country’s situation as businesses, governments and others continue to respond to this global health crisis. The dashboard also contains supporting commentary from Deloitte Canada’s chief economist, Craig Alexander, since the dashboard forecasts are updated with quarterly GDP numbers, the timing of the rebound and the timing of full recovery. Access the dashboard at the following links: English | French


May 15, 2020 – Government Announces Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Extension

The government announced more details of the CEWS extension today. The wage subsidy will be extended to August 29, 2020 and additional types of organizations are now eligible to apply. Neither the 30% drop in revenue requirement nor the allowed types of payroll used in calculations have changed. Learn more at the following links: English | French


May 14, 2020 – Update on Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses

CMHC has updated the CECRA for small businesses web page to include new details on the program. They have also added answers to questions that have been received concerning eligibility, role of property owner/landlord, mortgage requirements, and process.

When the application process is open, property owners will need to provide information to prove eligibility, including:

  • proof of an existing rent reduction agreement
  • proof of a moratorium on eviction and
  • proof of small business tenant financial hardship

They anticipate that the application process will open in the second half of May. Visit the updated program page to get the latest details. Links are available at: English | French


May 14, 2020 – Government Announces Fish Harvester Benefit And Fish Harvester Grant Programs

Today the Government of Canada announced its intention to provide up to $469.4 million in new measures to support Canada’s fish harvesters, who are economically affected by the pandemic but cannot access existing federal measures. This investment builds on the $62.5 million for the new Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund announced last month to help Canada’s fish and seafood processing sector. Learn more at the following links: English | French


May 12, 2020 – Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program

The Government of Canada recently announced up to $50 million to assist farmers, fish harvesters, and food production and processing employers with the incremental costs associated with the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for temporary foreign workers arriving from abroad. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is now accepting applications for all provinces/territories with the exception of Prince Edward Island. Learn more at the following links: English | French


May 12, 2020 – Return to Work Guide

Rodney Employment Law has put together a return to work guide. You can access it at this link.


May 11, 2020 – Prime Minister announces additional support for businesses to help save Canadian jobs

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced new measures to support businesses so they can keep their workers on the payroll and weather this pandemic.

  • Establish a Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) to provide bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing, in order to keep their operations going.
  • Use key guiding principles in providing support through the LEEFF, including:
    • Protection of taxpayers and workers
    • Fairness
    • Timeliness
  • Expand the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to mid-sized companies with larger financing needs.
  • Continue to provide financing to businesses through Farm Credit Canada, the BDC, and EDC, including through the Canada Account.

Full details about this announcement is available at the following links: English | French


May 8, 2020KPMG Offers Global Landscape Reports 

KPMG is producing an overview of the measures taken by governments and institutions in response to COVID-19. The reports are available by country and topic (tax, employment, economic support, etc.). KPMG is working to regularly update the content. Access the reports at this link.


May 8, 2020 – Update on Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program (MISTFWP)

You are now able to apply online to receive up to $1,500 per TFW under the MISTWFP.

The MISTFWT is a one-time $50-million program to help with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on food supply in Canada by assisting the farming, fish harvesting, and food production and processing sectors. The program is designed to help employers cover some of the incremental costs associated with the mandatory 14-day isolation period imposed under the Quarantine Act on temporary foreign workers upon entering Canada.

If you have questions related to who is exempt from the 14 days mandatory quarantine upon entry to Canada, including about the interpretation of the recent addition of technicians specified by manufacturer or the manufacturer warranty to maintain or repair equipment necessary to support critical infrastructure, you are encouraged to contact PHAC at 1-833-784-4397 (interpretation services are available in multiple languages) or at phac.emergencyorder-decretdurgencecovid19.aspc@canada.ca.


May 8, 2020 – Wage subsidy extension

Today, Trudeau announced plans to extend the wage subsidy past June 2020. Further information will be posted on this page once announced.


May 7, 2020 – Government of Canada and provinces/territories agree on wage boost for essential workers

The Government of Canada will provide up to $3 billion in support to increase the wages of low-income essential workers. Each province or territory will determine which workers will be eligible for support and how much support they will receive. All provinces and territories have confirmed, or are in the process of confirming, plans to cost-share wage top-ups for their essential workers. Learn more at the following links: English | French


May 7, 2020 – Workplace guidance for sector employers and employees

AAFC has worked with federal partners to develop public health guidance and provide links to key resources for the agriculture and agri-food sector, based on questions received over the last few weeks. The information is now available on-line at “Workplace guidance for sector employers and employees”. AAFC will continually update this webpage as new guidance is available or as the need for more information is noted by industry, so please check back regularly. French version is available at this link.


May 5, 2020 – Supporting Canada’s farmers, food businesses, and food supply


May 4, 2020 – FCC support

Early in the crisis, FCC worked with the federal government to announce increased support for customers and the industry. Recently, they’ve expanded their offering to include:

  • Term loans up to $2.5 million, with no fees and an 18-month interest-only option available over a 10-year amortization. Funds can be used for working capital and for automation and optimization expenses to modify production due to the impacts of COVID-19.

This is in addition to the options previously announced, including:

  • A deferral of principal and interest payments for six months; or a deferral of principal payments up to 12 months.
  • Access to an additional credit line up to $500,000, secured by general security agreements or universal movable hypothec (Quebec only).

For more information on how FCC is supporting customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit them online.


May 1, 2020 – Mental Health Week Begins Monday, May 4!

COVID-19 has placed a significant amount of pressure on employees, employers and families. Isolation, fear for the well-being of loved ones and financial strain are creating disruptions in all our lives. During these difficult times, it is important to know the resources that are available to help you stay mentally healthy. Please check out the mental health resources on the Canadian Business Resilience Network website.


May 1, 2020 – ICC Launches SOS (Save Our SMEs) Website

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has launched a new website for the SOS (Save Our SMEs) campaign. The website features key advocacy materials and is designed to help entrepreneurs find the insights and information they need to navigate through COVID-19. Learn more at this link.


May 1, 2020 – Working capital loans offered through BDC

We were advised today that the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has made available working capital loans of up to $2 million to assist companies that have been affected by COVID-19 that didn’t qualify for a working capital loan through their normal banking channels. Please review details at the following links: English | French


May 1, 2020 – COVID-19 Guidance – Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) and Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC)

For additional guidance on how to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the CCOHS’s free tip sheets and free online courses. You can also visit the CAHRC’s website to obtain templates for pandemic preparedness plans.


May 1, 2020 – COVID-19 Guidance – Food Processing Skills Canada (FPSC)

FPSC has two online courses they have made available to specifically support food and beverage manufacturers during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Both courses – “Managing the Virtual Workforceand “National Sanitation Training Programcan be accessed within the Canadian Food Processors Institute at no cost by using the code FPSChelps at checkout.


April 29, 2020 – Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) Portal

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) will be administering the CECRA program on behalf of the Government of Canada and the provinces and territories. CMHC now has a portal online for the program; however, applications are not available as of yet. Access the portal at the following links: English | French


April 29, 2020 – Canadian Chamber/Statcan Major Survey of Business Conditions Amid Covid-19 Shows Economic Clock Is Ticking

The survey results from the Stats Can survey we sent out to you on April 13th are shared in this article by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. See details at this link.


April 28, 2020 – First Ministers Statement on Restarting the Economy

This afternoon, Canada’s First Ministers released a joint statement. It includes a set of common principles for restarting the economy and acknowledges the need for a gradual approach that prioritizes public health and allowing for differences between provinces. Read the statement at the following links: English | French


April 24, 2020 – Canada’s response during the COVID-19 pandemic – Information and implications for the Agriculture and Agri-Food Sector

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has put together an information piece for the Agrifood industry that includes a synopsis of the funding and grants available. Review the information at this link (English & French document).


April 24, 2020 – Prime Minister announces partnerships with provinces and territories to deliver the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the federal government has reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This program will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.

The government is also providing further details on the program:

  • The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June.
  • The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25 per cent of the rent.
  • Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.

Further details about CECRA will be shared in the near future once final terms and conditions are available. The federal government and provincial and territorial governments urge property owners to provide flexibility to tenants facing hardship in this uncertain time.


April 24, 2020 – COVID-19 Resource Guide for Businesses

BDC has prepared a COVID-19 resource guide for businesses. You can access the guide at this link.


April 23, 2020 – Step-By-Step Guide: Get ready to apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

The Canadian Business Resilience Network has put together a step-by-step guide on applying for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). Review the guide at this link.


April 23, 2020 – Request for Service through Service Canada

Service Canada continues to support individuals through an alternate service delivery platform and clients can submit a request online at the following E-Services Canada link.  A Service Canada employee will call-back within 48 hours and guide clients through the online channel, and depending on their individual circumstances, an appointment at one of our Service Canada Centre locations may be scheduled.

Service Canada has provided us with handouts for both individuals and businesses that can be accessed at the following links (available in English and French):

Critical Services and Programs for Business

Critical Services and Programs for Individuals


April 21, 2020 – Canada Wage Subsidy

The application for 75 percent wage subsidy will open on April 27th. Businesses will be able to apply to the CEWS through their business account on the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). In the interim, the government has launched a wage subsidy calculator which can be accessed at the following links: English | French


April 21, 2020 – Federal and Ontario Resource Document Updated

The Ontario regional office of the Government of Canada has updated the federal and Ontario resource document that was created to assist Canadian companies during COVID-19. You can view the document at this link.


April 21, 2020 – Videos & Webinars

The Canadian Business Resilience Network has produced some videos and webinars to aid companies during COVID-19. You can access these videos at this link.


April 17, 2020 – Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Due to potential critical shortages of PPE during the COVID-19 response, we would like to share with you information that you may find of interest:

  • Guidance on re-using N95 masks: On April 8, 2020, Health Canada released a Notice on important regulatory considerations for the reprocessing of single use N95 respirators during the COVID-19 response. Health Canada is currently monitoring and assessing the acceptability of various decontamination and sterilization methods/strategies for the reprocessing of single use N95 respirators in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Guidance on using N95 beyond their shelf-life: While most masks have a limited shelf life, in times of increased demand and decreased supply, consideration can be made to use these expired N95 respirators. Please consult Health Canada’s website to read this guidance.
  • Considerations on the use of homemade masks: Health Canada provides considerations in the use of homemade masks to protect against COVID-19. Wearing a facial covering/non-medical mask in the community has not been proven to protect the person wearing it and is not a substitute for physical distancing and hand washing. However, it can be an additional measure you can take to protect others around you, even if you have no symptoms. It can be useful for short periods of time, when physical distancing is not possible in public settings such as when grocery shopping or using public transit.

April 17, 2020 – Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) – Notice to industry

The CFIA will be posting a notice to industry on its website today to advise that the Agency and the USDA have agreed to a six-month extension for approved facilities to continue to export certain animal products, by-products and pet foods. This will be effective immediately and will run until September 30, 2020.

This will ensure the CFIA can continue to provide critical inspections and help maintain bilateral trade flows of animal products between Canada and the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic situation.

April 17, 2020 – Stay of Default under the Advance Payments Program (APP)

As you know, on March 23, 2020, the Government of Canada announced an extension to an existing Stay of Default and two new Stays of Default. AAFC would like to clarify that, the Stays only apply to a restricted number of commodities who received advances in a specific program year. These commodities will be eligible for a Stay if their repayment deadline is within the dates identified.

  • A six-month extension of the Stay of Default on 2018 grain, oilseed and pulse advances which would have expired on March 31, 2020 and has been extended toSeptember 30, 2020.
  • A six month Stay of Default on 2018 advances on cattle and bison producers which would have come due on March 31, 2020 and have been extended toSeptember 30, 2020; and
  • A six month Stay of Default on 2019 advances on flowers and potted plants, which would have come due on April 30, 2020 and has been extended to October 31, 2020.

A producer is allowed to have advances under multiple program years, including a Stay, but the sum of those advances need to be within the total program limit of $1million.

Producers can continue to receive up to $100,000 in interest-free advances for each program year. For most of the commodities, the 2020 program year started April 1, 2020. With respect to the Stays of Default and the repayment deadlines announced, under certain circumstances, it is possible that a producer has an outstanding interest free advance from a previous program year when requesting a 2020 APP advance. The producer will still be eligible for a 2020 advance of  $100,000 interest-free, potentially giving him for a limited period, interest free advances greater than $100,000.


April 16, 2020 – Prime Minister announces additional support for small businesses


April 16, 2020 – Logistics & Border-Related Labour Questions

As a result of COVID-19, AAFC has received many questions related to labour issues, in particular Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) so they have put together a FAQ document related to labour and TFWs which you can access at this link (scroll down to access the French content).


April 16, 2020 – Temporary reduction of service at Canadian land border crossings

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CBSA is temporarily reducing service hours at a total of 27 Canadian land border locations. The temporary hour adjustments are in effect as of April 15, 2020 at 11:59 pm EDT and will remain in effect until the expiration date of the Order in Council made under the Quarantine Act prohibiting entry into Canada from the United States. Learn more at the following links: English | French


April 15, 2020 – AgCareers.com and Careersinfood.com Resources

AgCareers.com and Careersinfood.com are the leading online providers of HR Solutions to the Agriculture and Food Industries in North America.

Over the past few weeks they have been compiling resources relevant to COVID-19 in the Agri-Food Industry to support both job seekers and employers. These resources are available for FREE until July 2020.

Learn more at this link


April 15, 2020 – CFIA Expectations on the prevention of and response to suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 by operators

New expectations for operators have been posted on the CFIA website about preventing and responding to COVID-19 in establishments regulated by CFIA.

The document outlines steps that the CFIA expects operators to take to address exposure risks for both the establishment and CFIA employees.

This document is not intended for meat slaughter and processing establishments. Separate CFIA guidance about preventing and responding to COVID-19 in meat slaughter and processing establishments exists.

Get the latest information


April 13, 2020 – Government of Canada is announcing $50 million for the Agri-Food Industry

Today, the Government of Canada is announcing $50 million to help farmers, fish harvesters, and all food production and processing employers, put in place the measures necessary to follow the mandatory 14-day isolation period required of all workers arriving from abroad. Learn more at the following links: English | French


April 11, 2020 – COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, No. 2 receives Royal Assent to help businesses keep Canadians in their jobs

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy is a key measure in the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. It will provide a strong incentive for employers to pay employees who have been sent home for health and safety reasons or due to lack of work. It will enable employers to retain employees who are still on the payroll and to rehire workers previously laid off. With the CEWS program, families across Canada will be able to count on a steady income.

Today, Bill C-14, the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, No. 2, received Royal Assent, bringing this measure into law. This legislation includes additional flexibilities announced on April 8, 2020, and refined as part of the legislative process. With these improvements, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will provide effective support to those eligible employers that are hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and will help protect the jobs Canadians depend on during these difficult times.


April 10, 2020 – Businesses Classified as Essential 

Ontario has amended the emergency order to include: 

 29.1 Construction projects that are due to be completed before October 4, 2020 and that would provide additional capacity in the production, processing, manufacturing or distribution of food, beverages or agricultural products. 

The above amendment is effective immediately. The updated order is available at the following link: www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/r20136 


April 9, 2020 – Canada Emergency Business Account

The new Canada Emergency Business Account will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced. Through EDC, the program will provide Canadian financial institutions with additional funding to support micro enterprises. This program will roll out in mid-April, and interested businesses should work with their current financial institutions.

To qualify, interested businesses will need to demonstrate that they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000). The objective of this program is to support covering non-deferrable costs of very small business, such as payroll, rent, insurance and utilities.

This tool will help farmers and food processors access the capital they need, at a zero-per-cent interest rate. This will help them cover extra costs over the next number of months if their revenues are temporarily reduced due to the COVID 19 situation.


April 9, 2020 – Additional Details on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. This subsidy would now be available to eligible employers that see a drop of at least 15 per cent of their revenue in March 2020 and 30 per cent for the following months (see Eligible Periods). In applying for the subsidy, employers would be required to attest to the decline in revenue.

The Government of Canada also announced that all employers would be allowed to calculate their change in revenue using an alternative benchmark to determine their eligibility. For more information, please click here.


April 9, 2020 – Temporary Changes to the Canada Summer Jobs Program

The Prime Minister announced temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program that will help employers hire young Canadians aged between 15 and 30 years during the summer. Employers can receive up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee. For more information, please contact your Member of Parliament.


April 9, 2020 – Letter of Employment Confirmation – Essential Transportation Worker

Following the Government of Canada measures that have been put in place for COVID-19, as well as those of the municipal and provincial legislatures, Transport Canada has worked with industry to identify through a common letter those employed in the commercial motor vehicle and automotive industry in a critical service capacity, as set out in the Government of Canada’s Guidance on Essential Services and Functions in Canada During the COVID-19 Pandemic. To access the letter’s template, please click here.


April 9, 2020 – Air Freight

Air Canada posted on their website that Air Canada Cargo will now accept bookings or live animal shipments, with the exclusion of cats and dogs.


April 8, 2020 – Temporary suspension of certain labelling requirements for foodservice products due to COVID-19

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has temporarily suspended low-risk activities. Low-risk activities are those that do not immediately impact the production of safe food for Canadians. Effective immediately, the CFIA is temporarily suspending certain labelling requirements that have no impact on food safety. This will help to support the economy, alleviate supply disruptions in Canadian grocery stores, and avoid food waste. Learn more at the following links: English | French


April 8, 2020 – Update on SFCR requirements for the manufactured food sector

CFIA has shared an email advising their SFCR enforcement decisions during COVID-19. See details at the following links: EnglishFrench


April 8, 2020 – 20200407 – Updated Guidance to Meat Slaughter and Processing Establishments on Prevention and Response to Suspect and Confirmed COVID-19 Plant Employees

Updated guidance has been posted on the CFIA website about preventing and responding to COVID-19 in meat slaughter and processing establishments.

The guidance document outlines steps that meat slaughter and processing establishments are required to take to address exposure risks for both establishment and CFIA employees. This is an update to the document that was published on March 31, 2020.


April 7, 2020 -Covid-19 Employer Resource Guide

MaxPeople & Rodney Employment Law have put together an Employer Resource Guide and a FAQ document to provide clients with guidance on how to deal with COVID-19 in the workplace. To download these documents please visit the following links:


April 7, 2020 – Canadian Business Resilience Network

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Canadian government has developed the Canadian Business Resilience Network to help Canadian businesses navigate the COVID-19 reality and prepare for recovery. Learn more at this link.


April 6, 2020 – The Government of Canada continues to share information to ensure employers, workers and stakeholders are aware of their obligations to comply with public health requirements in the context of COVID-19.

  1. Click here to access a joint letter from the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, outlining the Government of Canada’s expectations of employers seeking to bring in temporary foreign workers to Canada.
  2. In addition the Temporary Foreign Worker Program has now posted new FAQs online. These FAQs provide new and updated guidance to employers regarding the payment of wages during the 14-day self isolation period, and should be used by employers and stakeholders to complement the Guidance to Employers shared with you last week. Information on new measures under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is available at this link.
  3. In addition, we wanted to draw your attention to a link from Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to request companies to let the Government of Canada know what products or services they have to support Canada’s response to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. The Government of Canada needs information about products and services businesses can supply in support of Canada’s response to COVID-19. This includes medical products for prevention, like disposable N95 masks, vinyl gloves and hand sanitizer. It also includes different services, such as security, nursing, and food services. The full list is posted on the Calling all suppliers – Help Canada Combat COVID-19 on Buyandsell.gc.ca. Information regarding product specifications is also available.

April 4, 2020 – Ontario Job Portal

The Government of Ontario has created an online portal to connect people looking for work with important jobs in the agriculture and food supply chain. This website gathers job listings and resources for grocery retail, food processing, distribution, agriculture and agribusinesses. The website is available at Ontario.ca/AgFoodJobs.


April 3, 2020 – COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions to Assist Employers

Sherrard Kuzz LLP, Employment & Labour Lawyers developed a frequently asked questions report to aid employers during the covid-19 outbreak. You can access the report at this link.


April 3, 2020 – Local Food Infrastructure Fund – Infrastructure and Equipment Improvement Projects

Government of Canada announces local food infrastructure funding program. Learn more at the following links: English | French


April 3, 2020 – Free access to CAHRC’s toolkit

During COVID-19, the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) is providing free access to their HR toolkit. In this toolkit are best practice documents to aid farms and plants. Please visit their site for more information. The code for free access is COVID-19.


April 3, 2020 – FCPC creates best practice document

Food and Consumer Products of Canada in consultation with their members has created a best practice document for the food industry. You can access that document at this link.


April 3, 2020 – FDA To Temporarily Conduct Remote Importer Inspections Under FSVP Due to COVID-19

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today that it will begin requesting that importers send records required under the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs for Importers of Food for Humans and Animals (FSVP) rule electronically (or through other prompt means) to the Agency as it shifts to conducting these inspections remotely during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Learn more at this link.


April 3, 2020 – COVID-19: 7 steps to sustain your business through the disruption

In times of crisis, cash becomes even more important than it usually is for a business. Creating a detailed continuity plan and cash flow forecast will help you sustain ongoing operations and facilitate recovery once the crisis is over. Learn more at the following links: EnglishFrench


April 2, 2020 – Government of Canada provides guidance on services and functions deemed essential to Canada’s critical infrastructure during COVID-19

The government released today the “Guidance on Essential Services and Functions in Canada During the COVID-19 Pandemic” to assist various jurisdictions and businesses in their decision-making around the types of employees considered essential to maintain the health, safety, security and economic well-being of Canadians throughout this health crisis.

The guidance document provides a list of services and functions across Canada’s 10 critical infrastructure sectors: Energy and Utilities, Information and Communication Technologies, Finance, Health, Food, Water, Transportation, Safety, Government and Manufacturing.

The guidance will support critical infrastructure employers in identifying and managing their workforce, while fostering alignment and harmonization across sectors.

The guidance is non-binding and advisory in nature, and should not be considered to be a federal directive or standard.

The guidance documents are available at the following links: English | French


April 1, 2020 – Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

Today, Finance Minister Bill Morneau, the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, Mary Ng, and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Navdeep Bains, announced the details of the proposed Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy:

  • Wage subsidy of 75% for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15. Applies for the first $58,700 normally earned by employees – up to $847 a week. The program will be in place  from March 15 to June 6.
  • Eligible employers who suffer a drop in gross revenues of at least 30 per cent in March, April or May, when compared to the same month in 2019, would be able to access the subsidy.
  • Eligible employers would include employers of all sizes and across all sectors of the economy, with the exception of public sector entities.
  • For non-profit organizations and registered charities similarly affected by a loss of revenue, the government will continue to work with the sector to ensure the definition of revenue is appropriate to their circumstances. The government is also considering additional support for non-profits and charities, particularly those involved in the front line response to COVID-19. Further details will be announced in the near term.
  • An eligible employer’s entitlement to this wage subsidy will be based entirely on the salary or wages actually paid to employees.
  • All employers would be expected to at least make best efforts to top up salaries to 100% of the maximum wages covered.
  • Companies that don’t qualify for this subsidy can still apply to the previously announced wage subsidy of 10% of remuneration paid from March 18 to before June 20, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. The two programs will continue to run, however, if you have used the 10% program and apply to and get the 75% CEWS, benefits already claimed from the 10 per cent program will be deducted from 75% benefits.

More information is available at this link.


April 1, 2020 – Let’s make some noise on April 1

Today is rent default day, when tens of thousands of small businesses across Canada won’t be able to pay rent.

So far, the financial aid packages offered don’t help many businesses, especially brick and mortar “Main Street” businesses that are closed and can’t pivot online or deliver their products. So we want to leverage social media to amplify the fact that despite the labour subsidy and loans, we still can’t pay our rent.

Please visit https://www.facebook.com/savesmallbusiness/, like their page and share the stories you find there. If you’d like them to post your stories on this page, please send a photo along with 2-3 sentences about your circumstances to Sara at admin@savesmallbusiness.ca.

Save Small Business has been working hard to ensure that rent abatement is on the national agenda. Today, the co-founder Jon Shell published an op-ed in the Globe and Mail: Loans won’t save local small business. Jon also submitted a letter to the federal government today. You can read it at this link.


April 1, 2020 – Federal and Ontario Resource Document

The Ontario regional office of the Government of Canada has prepared a federal and Ontario resource document to assist Canadian companies. You can view the document at this link.


March 31, 2020 – Mexico Suspends Non-Essential Services + COEFPRIS Halts Import Permits

Due to the Covid-19 emergency, the Mexican government suspended all non-essential services as of March 26, 2020. Some essential public services such as health, security and customs were exempted from the government shutdown. Mexican Customs are expected to continue operating as usual for most agriculture and agri-food products.

However, as a result of this suspension, Mexico’s public health agency (COFEPRIS) has indicated that between now and April 20, 2020, it will only be providing import permits for medical supplies that help address the Covid-19 emergency. COFEPRIS is responsible for issuing sanitary import permits for the food fish/seafood products, milk/dairy products, prepared fruit products/jams, and nutritional supplements including hemp protein. Shipments that already have import permits are still crossing the border, but it is not clear what will happen with new products.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are monitoring this situation carefully and seeking clarification given that the Mexican government has declared the food supply an essential service. We will keep you apprised of any new information as we receive it.


March 31, 2020 – Preventing and responding to COVID-19 in meat slaughter and processing establishments

Guidance has been posted on the CFIA website about preventing and responding to COVID-19 in meat slaughter and processing establishments.

The guidance document outlines steps that meat slaughter and processing establishments are required to take to address exposure risks for both establishment and CFIA employees.

Get the latest information

The French guidance document is available at this link.


March 30, 2020 – Running your export business remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic

While operating remotely may seem challenging in the short term, any steps you take today to improve your ability to run your business remotely will ultimately help you be more collaborative and productive overall—and better prepared for any future business challenges. Read more at EDC website: English | French


March 26, 2020 – Government Introduces Canada Emergency Response Benefit to Help Workers and Businesses

To support workers and help businesses keep their employees, the government has proposed legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CERB would cover Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. The CERB would apply to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).

Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19, would also qualify for the CERB. This would help businesses keep their employees as they navigate these difficult times, while ensuring they preserve the ability to quickly resume operations as soon as it becomes possible.

Learn more at this initiative at this link.


March 26, 2020 – Accessing Debt Relief and Other Support

You should be able to negotiate directly with your bank to defer payments on your credit card, mortgage payments and other debt. Here’s what you should do:

  • All banks are offering help with personal and business financial needs.
  • Most banks indicate you should contact your personal/business advisor to discuss details (customers with payments in the next 48 hours are given priority).
  • Some banks state deferrals will not impact credit scores, but impact if interest deferral is accepted is not clear,
  • In most cases, interest is not waived during this period, so banks are negotiating ways to pay for the interest incurred after your deferral period.
  • EDC is providing relief for Canadian businesses. Learn more at this link
  • BDC is providing a business continuity plan. Learn more at this link
  • FCC announces financial relief for food processors. Learn more at this link

For a list of available federal government programs please visit their website at this link.


March 26, 2020 – Temporary Foreign Workers

The Government has announced that the travel ban exemption for Temporary Foreign Workers is now in effect, and employers using all streams of the program are able to make arrangements for workers to enter Canada. Temporary foreign workers, like all travelers arriving in Canada, are subject to a 14-day mandatory quarantine period before they are able to begin work on farms. More information can be found at the following links: English | French


March 28, 2020 – Update – Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) Program is jointly administered by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

IRCC recently announced exemptions to travel restrictions to facilitate entry of TFWs into Canada. Employers using all streams of the program are able to make arrangements for workers to enter Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/coronavirus-special-measures.html

Further to the above announcement of the exemptions to the travel restrictions, please find review the guidance for employers of temporary foreign workers regarding COVID-19 at this link (French follows the English guidance document).


March 26, 2020 – Other Sites with Information

A group of small business owners have gotten together to lobby the Canadian government for support. If you haven’t done so already please visit their website and consider completing the petition to get your name added to the list. Their website is https://savesmallbusiness.ca/

Canadian Federation of Independent Business has put together a COVID-19 support page which provides further details about the various support that is available. You can access their site at https://www.cfib-fcei.ca/en/small-business-resources-dealing-covid-19.

The Food Directorate (FD) would like to inform you of some upcoming changes in the pre-market notification process for Food Additive, Infant Formula and Novel Food submissions:

  • The FD is currently not accepting hard copy and electronic pre-market notifications through courier (i.e. CD, DVD or USB).
    • If you wish to submit a Food Additive, Novel Food or Infant Formula pre-market notification, please send it and any subsequent correspondence (e.g. response to deficiency) through email to the SMIU inbox at hc.smiu-ugdi.sc@canada.ca
    • Please ensure the attachment does not exceed 20 MB.
  • In the coming months, an online application form will be launched for the filing of pre-market notifications. This form will allow you to save information and directly submit the application to the Food Directorate’s portal. More information on the form will be released as it becomes available.

Please continue to contact the SMIU inbox for requests or questions related to:

  • Submission eligibility, requirements, and process
  • Temporary Market Authorization (TMA) eligibility, requirements, and process
  • Food additives
  • Food irradiation
  • Packaging and incidental additives
  • Phytosterols or plant sterols
  • Ingredient or product novelty determination or status requests
  • Novel foods
  • Product health claims
  • Product classification
  • Food fortification
  • Document and form requests
  • Interim order (Foods for a Special Dietary Purpose)
  • Pre-submission consultation meeting requests
  • Submission status update requests (please provide case #)

For general information and questions related to foods that do not require pre-market approval, please contact Food Ailments at hc.food-aliment.sc@canada.ca

For any questions related to this notice, please contact SMIU at: hc.smiu-ugdi.sc@canada.ca

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a proposed rule to establish additional traceability recordkeeping requirements for certain foods. The FDA also published a draft “Food Traceability List,” which describes the foods that would be subject to the proposed requirements. The list includes leafy greens, fresh cut fruits and vegetables, some types of fish, shell eggs, nut butters, and more.

The proposed rule, “Requirements for Additional Traceability Records for Certain Foods” (Food Traceability Proposed Rule) is a key component of the FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint and would implement Section 204(d) of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). If finalized, the proposal would standardize the data elements and information firms must establish and maintain, and the information they would need to send to the next entity in the supply chain to facilitate rapid and accurate traceability. While limited to only certain foods, this proposal lays the foundation for a standardized approach to traceability recordkeeping, paving the way for industry to adopt, harmonize, and leverage more digital traceability systems in the future. Where possible, FDA has drawn on existing consensus standards that industry members may already be using.

Existing FDA regulations require much of the food industry to establish and maintain records to identify the immediate previous sources and the immediate subsequent recipients of foods (commonly referred to as “one-up, one-back” recordkeeping). These requirements form a baseline for traceability recordkeeping, but they provide limited information to effectively and rapidly link shipments of food through each point in the supply chain. This — and the fact that recordkeeping systems can be largely paper-based and lack a universal lexicon throughout industry– can make it difficult to trace a product to its original source when necessary.

As a result, many foodborne illness outbreak investigations have been slowed, resulting in more illnesses and economic loss. Improved traceability, as envisioned by the proposed rule, would allow the FDA to more quickly identify the source of a contaminated product, reduce the scope of product recalls, and conduct more timely root-cause investigations to learn more about how contamination occurred in order to prevent future outbreaks.

At the heart of the proposal is a requirement for those who manufacture, process, pack, or hold a food on the Food Traceability List (FTL) to establish and maintain records associated with specific Critical Tracking Events (CTEs): growing, receiving, transforming, creating, and shipping. For each CTE, entities would be required to establish and maintain records containing Key Data Elements (KDEs). Examples of KDEs include the traceability lot code, the date the product was received, the date the product was shipped, and a product description. The traceability lot code is an important KDE throughout the supply chain intended to establish critical linkages that will help to facilitate rapid traceback and traceforward investigations during foodborne illness outbreaks and recall events. In addition, those subject to the rule would also be required to create and maintain records related to their internal traceability program, which would help regulators better understand a firm’s recordkeeping practices and traceability operations.

The proposed rule would require records to be maintained as either electronic, original paper records, or true copies. In addition, the proposal states that in the event of a foodborne illness outbreak, a product recall, or other threat to public health, the FDA could require that firms submit, within 24 hours, an electronic sortable spreadsheet containing relevant traceability information for specific foods and date ranges. More generally, the FDA encourages all food businesses to maintain their traceability records electronically whenever possible, to expedite the identification of traceability information when needed to address threats to public health.

The requirements of the proposed rule would only apply to foods that are on the FTL, which includes foods that have listed foods as ingredients. The proposed rule includes several exemptions, including that the additional traceability records would not be required after a kill-step (a process that significantly minimizes pathogens in a food) is applied to a food, but documentation of the kill-step application would have to be established and maintained.

The proposed rule and draft Food Traceability List are available for public comment for a 120 days from the date of publication. The FDA will also be holding three public meetings during the public comment period. Information about the public meetings will be provided in a forthcoming announcement.

For More Information

The US Food and Drug Administration is announcing additional flexibility for manufacturers who need to comply with updated Nutrition and Supplement Facts label requirements by January 1, 2021. This upcoming compliance date applies to manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales. Although the compliance date will remain in place, the FDA will not focus on enforcement actions during 2021 for these smaller food manufacturers. This additional flexibility includes manufacturers of packages and containers of single-ingredient sugars, regardless of the size of the manufacturer.

The FDA has heard from some manufacturers that more time may be needed to meet all of the requirements, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FDA provided the same flexibility for manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual sales, who were required to comply with the Nutrition and Supplement Facts label requirements by January 1, 2020, by indicating it would not focus on enforcement actions during 2020.

For more information:

Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label
Food Labeling Final Rule: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels

The European Union (EU) has officially notified trading partners under the World Trade Organization (WTO) notification G/TBT/N/EU/732 of the Draft Commission Delegated Regulation amending Annex III to Regulation (EU) 2018/848 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards certain information to be provided on the labelling of organic product.

The draft proposal amends certain provisions laid down under Annex III to Regulation (EU) No 2018/848 regarding collection, packaging, transport and storage of products with regard to information to be provided on compound feed and mixtures of fodder plant seeds, in order to allow the organic operators to get complete information on the composition and presence of organic, in-conversion and authorized non-organic components in the products concerned.

The proposal aims to introduce more transparency with respect to the detailed information to be transmitted among organic operators with respect to the exact qualitative and quantitative composition of compound feed and mixtures of fodder plant seeds in terms of organic, in-conversion and allowed non-organic components to be provided on the label or on documentation accompanying the concerned products.

Below is EU’s WTO notification with the proposed amendments.

Please note that in light of the COVID 19 pandemic, our understanding is that the date of entry into force could potentially be delayed until January 1st, 2022 as opposed to January 2021. We will be sure to communicate any further information pertaining to implementation timelines once they become available.

Please submit any comments or questions related to this notification no later than September 28, 2020 to the Market Access Secretariat at aafc.mas-sam.aac@canada.ca.

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On September 8th, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan (MAFF) notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of their Draft revision of Japanese agricultural standards for organic livestock (Notification No. 1608 of 2005). The purpose of this proposal is to introduce new standards for organic turkey and revise the Japanese Agriculture Standards for Organic Livestock. Below is a copy of the notification for review.

Please submit any comments or questions related to this notification no later than Friday, September 25, 2020 to the Market Access Secretariat at aafc.mas-sam.aac@canada.ca.

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Three MERCOSUR members, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of the following draft resolutions:

  • Draft Common Market Group (GMC) Resolution No.03/20 “MERCOSUR Technical Regulation on the positive list of monomers, other starting substances and polymers authorized for the manufacture of plastic packaging and equipment that comes into contact with food; and,
  • Draft Common Market Group (GMC) Resolution No. 02/20 “MERCOSUR Technical Regulation establishing general provisions for plastic packaging and equipment that comes​ into contact with food.

Below are copies of the notifications (in Spanish only) for review and comment.  Comments should be submitted no later than September 21, 2020.

To submit your comments and for any additional questions, please contact the Market Access Secretariat at: aafc.mas-sam.aac@canada.ca.

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Brazil notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of the following draft resolution:

Draft Resolution number 897 proposes the revision of the Resolution RDC number 105, 19 May 1999, which establishes technical requirements for packages and plastic containers in contact with food; the Resolution RDC number 56, 16 November 2012, which establishes the positive list of monomers, starting substances, and polymers authorized in the manufacturing of packages and plastic containers in contact with food; and the Resolution RDC number 88, 29 June 2016, which establishes the materials, packages, and cellulosic materials designated to enter in contact with food; in order to update the health requirements of material in contact with food.

Below is a copy of the notification (in Portuguese only) for review and comment. Comments should be submitted no later than October 20, 2020.

To submit your comments and for any additional questions, please contact the Market Access Secretariat at: aafc.mas-sam.aac@canada.ca.

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As you know, the United Kingdom (UK) left the European Union (EU) on January 31st, 2020. The ratified Withdrawal Agreement provides for a transition period lasting until December 31, 2020, to permit the UK and the EU to negotiate their future relationship.

Canada has agreed that the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) can continue to apply to the UK until the end of this transition period. Following a call on August 6, 2020 between the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, Mary Ng and her United Kingdom counterpart, Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss, Canada and the UK have agreed to re-engage in discussions on a Transitional Trade Agreement with the UK. These discussions are expected to take place over the fall with a view to finalizing a Transitional agreement before the end of this year.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada will continue to update stakeholders via the TAND-DACN (ATNCG) account to provide information as it becomes available.

This message is to provide an update of Japan’s proposal to amend the Ordinance for Enforcement of the Plant Protection Act (G/SPS/N/JPN/684).

On August 5, 2020, Japan published a revision to the October 2019 notification that listed Canadian plant products requiring a phytosanitary certificate accompanying imports into Japan. In this regard, we can report that a three year transition period for the implementation of this requirement has been introduced as of August 5, 2020. This provides the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) with an opportunity to continue discussions with Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) regarding potential alternatives to this new requirement. During this transition period, a phytosanitary certificate will not be required (unless an agreement between the CFIA and MAFF is reached prior to 2023). Below is a copy of the recent notification.

For questions and comments related to this notification please contact the Market Access Secretariat at aafc.mas-sam.aac@canada.ca.

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