COVID-19 Coronavirus Chamber Update

04/03/2020

We hope that you, your staff, and families are well. Our Chamber COVID-19 Update for today outlines government updates, as well as an update from Region of Waterloo Public Health. In addition, the Chamber is hosting a free webinar to help businesses – please see below for details and stay tuned for more webinars to come.

Region of Waterloo Public Health Update

  • Region of Waterloo Public Health are now updating their website with COVID-19 case information daily at 10:30am. Today, they posted that there are 148 positive cases of COVID-19 in Waterloo Region. You can find a Waterloo Region COVID-19 Summary on their website.

Provincial Government Update

  • Following advice from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontario is reducing the list of essential businesses classified as essential and ordering more workplaces to close. The government is ordering all businesses not covered by the updated list of essential workplaces to close effective as of Saturday April 4, 2020 at 11:59pm. The updated list will direct additional businesses to close and restricts specified businesses to providing services by alternate methods such as curb side pick up and delivery, except in exceptional circumstances. This includes stores that sell hardware products, vehicle parts and supplies, pet and animal supplies, office supplies and computer products and repairs and safety supplies. Only critical construction projects will continue, including industrial projects such as refineries and petrochemical plants and infrastructure projects such as new hospitals, roads and bridges. New starts in residential projects will stop, while residential construction that is near completion will continue. Business-owners with questions concerning their essential business status are encouraged to call the Stop the Spread hotline at 1-888-444-3659. The hotline is available from 8:30 a.m.― 9:00 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8:30 a.m.— 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
  • The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development is giving workers in the construction sector an extra year to renew their training if they work at heights. The The extension will apply to workers who successfully completed their working-at-heights training between February 28 and August 31, 2017. The validity period, normally three years, would have ended this year. It will now end in 2021. The extension will ensure affected workers can continue to work when possible.

Federal Government Update

  • The government will start accepting applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) on Monday April 6th (for clarification – this is not the temporary wage subsidy). The CERB is intended to provide temporary income support to workers who have stopped working and are without employment or self-employment income for reasons related to COVID-19. The benefit will provide $500 per week for up to 16 weeks. You can find out more information on how to apply here. Applications will accepted online through your CRA My Account or by phone through an automated service.
  • For those who will be applying to Federal government relief programs, it is encouraged that business owners get registered on the CRA My Business Account to provide direct deposit information and speed up the process of receiving relief when it is available.
  • Today, the Prime Minister announced support for food banks and local food organizations.

Upcoming Chamber Webinar

The Greater KW Chamber of Commerce is hosting the following FREE webinar:

The national response to the COVID-19 crisis has seen all aspects of Canadian society pull together. However, many businesses are struggling right now to make decisions on the future and are overwhelmed with the amount of information about programs that are available. Julie Garner, Principal with Earnscliffe will provide an overview of the programs and provide advice for navigating them in this challenging time. Register Today!

We Want to Hear from You!

  • The Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce is concerned about you and your business as we manage the impact of COVID-19. Our goal is to understand and articulate your business needs so the Chamber can be helpful as we speak at the local, provincial and federal levels of government. In addition, we strive to coordinate resources between government and our local business community, share information and provide assistance to help maneuver through these times. Please take a couple of minutes to complete our survey today.
  • The Workforce Planning Board of Waterloo Wellington Dufferin is conducting a survey to learn how COVID-19 has impacted people jobs in our region. They are looking for everyone to response – those who are self-employed, those still working, those laid-off and those who have stepped back from job searching at this time. They will use the results to better inform their efforts to support the community through these challenging times

Chamber Member Promotions & Updates

During this time, if you are a Chamber member and your business has any special offers, updates, or resources you would like shared with our membership, we want to know! Fill out this short form with your update and we will compile submissions onto our website and share on our social media channels.

Resources

  • Tune into the Business to Business radio program on 570 News hosted by Ian McLean, President & CEO of the Greater KW Chamber of Commerce and Greg Durocher, President & CEO of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce this weekend! The program will air Saturday at 1:00pm and Sunday at 12:00pm and will have several guests talking about COVID-19 and business:
    • Associate Minister of Small Business & Red Tape Reduction, Prabmeet Sarkaria joins the show to discuss the Ontario Action Plan and how it aims to help small businesses in easing some of the uncertainty in weathering the pandemic.
    • J.D. Bellavance, Parliamentary Bureau Chief for La Presse shares his perspective from Ottawa on the latest in government measures to help small and medium-sized businesses, including the wage subsidy.
    • Tim Sothern, Partner with BDO Kitchener-Waterloo discusses how BDO is advising businesses owners on navigating the upcoming government relief programs.
    • Carolyn Nephew, National Vice President of Sales, Trade Credit & Political Risk with Cowan Insurance Group discusses how delayed payments in a supply chain can put a supplier in jeopardy, and how accounts receivable insurance can help

04/02/2020

We hope that you, your staff, and families are well. Our Chamber COVID-19 Update for today outlines government updates, as well as an update from Region of Waterloo Public Health. In addition, the Chamber is hosting free webinars to help businesses – please see below for details and stay tuned for more webinars to come.

Region of Waterloo Public Health Update

  • Region of Waterloo Public Health are now updating their website with COVID-19 case information daily at 10:30am. Today, they posted that there are 129 positive cases of COVID-19 in Waterloo Region. You can find a Waterloo Region COVID-19 Summary on their website.

Federal Government Update

  • Information about the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy that the Federal Government announced can be found on their website. We will share more details about the wage subsidy, including how to apply, as soon as they are available.

Provincial Government Update

  • Ontario is increasing mental health support during COVID-19 by providing emergency funding of up to $12 million to immediately expand online and virtual mental health supports for everyone, especially those on the front lines.
  • Ontario’s Government is supporting the trucking sector in order to keep goods moving. They are keeping all 23 ONroute travel plazas open for take-out, grab and go and drive-through services, including washrooms with enhanced cleaning. They are also providing portable washrooms at 32 truck inspection stations so trucks have a place to stop and rest safely. These actions build on measures the government announced last month that allow the 24-hour delivery of goods without the restrictions of municipal noise by-laws, and the extension of the validation of driver’s licences, Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration certificates and other products that expired on or after March 1, 2020.
  • Yesterday, the Provincial Government has launched a new $50 million Ontario Together Fund that will support the development of essential equipment and supplies. This fund will support those businesses who can provide innovative solutions or retool their operations in order to manufacture essential medical supplies and equipment, including gowns, coveralls, masks, face shields, testing equipment and ventilators. Interested businesses can submit their proposals through the Ontario Together web portal.

Upcoming Chamber Webinars

The Greater KW Chamber of Commerce is hosting the following FREE webinars:

The impact of COVID-19 is changing the way we all do business. Experts from Cowan Insurance Group are here to answer your questions on business insurance, benefits, personal insurance, and wealth management. Our presenters are Nick Goodfellow, Sales Consultant, Small Business Solutions; Tracy Spark, Business Development Executive, COWAN INFINITE; Rob Salvucci, Vice President, Wealth Management; and, Julie Brisson, Principal, Group Benefits. Register Today!

The national response to the COVID-19 crisis has seen all aspects of Canadian society pull together. However, many businesses are struggling right now to make decisions on the future and are overwhelmed with the amount of information about programs that are available. Julie Garner, Principal with Earnscliffe will provide an overview of the programs and provide advice for navigating them in this challenging time. Register Today!

We Want to Hear from You!

  • The Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce is concerned about you and your business as we manage the impact of COVID-19. Our goal is to understand and articulate your business needs so the Chamber can be helpful as we speak at the local, provincial and federal levels of government. In addition, we strive to coordinate resources between government and our local business community, share information and provide assistance to help maneuver through these times. Please take a couple of minutes to complete our survey today.
  • The Workforce Planning Board of Waterloo Wellington Dufferin is conducting a survey to learn how COVID-19 has impacted people jobs in our region. They are looking for everyone to response – those who are self-employed, those still working, those laid-off and those who have stepped back from job searching at this time. They will use the results to better inform their efforts to support the community through these challenging times

04/01/2020

We hope that you, your staff, and families are well. Our Chamber COVID-19 Update for today outlines updates from the Federal and Provincial governments, as well as an update from Region of Waterloo Public Health. In addition, the Chamber is hosting two webinars this week to help businesses – please see below for details and stay tuned for more webinars to come.

Region of Waterloo Public Health Update

  • Region of Waterloo Public Health announced this morning that there are 117 positive cases of COVID-19 in Waterloo Region. Waterloo Region’s second death due to COVID-19 was reported today. The Greater KW Chamber of Commerce sends our sincere condolences to all those affected by these losses.
  • You can find a Waterloo Region COVID-19 Summary on their website.

Federal Government Update

  • Today the Federal Finance Minister announced more details about the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program for businesses:
    • The wage subsidy would apply at a rate of 75 per cent of the first $58,700 normally earned by employees – representing a benefit of up to $847 per week. The program would be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020.
    • 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.
    • Minister Morneau reported today that businesses will be able to apply online for this subsidy through a portal on the Canada Revenue Agency site. The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy funds are expected to start flowing in 6 weeks time.
  • We will provide you with more detail about the application process as it becomes available.

Provincial Government Update

Upcoming Chamber Webinars

The Greater KW Chamber of Commerce is hosting the following FREE webinars:

If you have staff working remotely then we encourage you to join us to learn about best practices in cybersecurity when you have a team working remotely. Our guest will be Alex Willis, Vice President, Sales Engineering & ISV Partners from BlackBerry who will talk about the importance of protecting your company from security risks and tools that are available for you to use. Register Today!

The impact of COVID-19 is changing the way we all do business. Experts from Cowan Insurance Group are here to answer your questions on business insurance, benefits, personal insurance, and wealth management. Our presenters are Nick Goodfellow, Sales Consultant, Small Business Solutions; Tracy Spark, Business Development Executive, COWAN INFINITE; Rob Salvucci, Vice President, Wealth Management; and, Julie Brisson, Principal, Group Benefits. Register Today!

Virtual Event – Tonight (Wed. April 1st) at 8:00 pm!
Join Mike Farwell of 570 News for a virtual panel discussion with the leaders of Cambridge Memorial Hospital, Grand River Hospital, and St. Mary’s General Hospital. In addition to providing an update of their respective readiness and active response to the COVID-19 outbreak across Waterloo Region, the hospital leaders will field questions from the listening audience. Guests will be: Patrick Gaskin, President & Chief Executive Officer, Cambridge Memorial Hospital; Ron Gagnon, President & CEO, Grand River Hospital; and, Lee Fairclough, President, St. Mary’s General Hospital. You can watch or listen to this event on Wednesday, April 1st @ 8:00 pm through 570 News AM channel, Rogers tv channel 20, Rogerstv.com, YouTube.com/c/rogerstvofficial, Facebook.com/Rogerstv20

We Want to Hear from You!

  • The Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce is concerned about you and your business as we manage the impact of COVID-19. Our goal is to understand and articulate your business needs so the Chamber can be helpful as we speak at the local, provincial and federal levels of government. In addition, we strive to coordinate resources between government and our local business community, share information and provide assistance to help maneuver through these times. Please take a couple of minutes to complete our survey today.
  • The Workforce Planning Board of Waterloo Wellington Dufferin is conducting a survey to learn how COVID-19 has impacted people jobs in our region. They are looking for everyone to response – those who are self-employed, those still working, those laid-off and those who have stepped back from job searching at this time. They will use the results to better inform their efforts to support the community through these challenging times

Chamber Member Promotions & Updates

During this time, if you are a Chamber member and your business has any special offers, updates, or resources you would like shared with our membership, we want to know! Fill out this short form with your update and we will compile submissions onto our website and share on our social media channels.

We are working hard to support business and will continue to send you updates by email, through social media and on our blog. Please visit our COVID-19 Resources for Your Business site for information and resources that may help you, your staff, and your business.


03/31/2020

We hope that you, your staff, and families are well. Please see our Chamber COVID-19 Update for today below. In addition, we are looking for feedback from the business community – please see below for two ways that you can provide your feedback.

Region of Waterloo Public Health Update

Federal Government Update

  • Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau and the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion & Trade, Mary Ng, have indicated that they will be providing more details about the 75% wage subsidy for businesses tomorrow. We will provide you with these details as soon as they are available.

Provincial Government Update

  • Today, Ontario’s Premier announced that Ontario is extending school and child care closures. Public schools will remain closed to students until Monday May 4th and as that date comes closer, this decision will be re-evaluations based on public health advice. Details on these closures and education continuance can be found using the link provided.

Upcoming FREE Webinar

The Greater KW Chamber of Commerce is hosting a FREE webinar, Cybersecurity Best Practices for Working Remotely, this Thursday April 2nd at 3:00pm EST. If you have staff working remotely then we encourage you to join us to learn about best practices in cybersecurity when you have a team working remotely. Our guest will be Alex Willis, Vice President, Sales Engineering & ISV Partners from BlackBerry who will talk about the importance of protecting your company from security risks and tools that are available for you to use. Register Today!

We Want to Hear from You!

Feedback from the business community is critical to help direct advocacy efforts and share the information/resources that are needed during this COVID-19 pandemic. Please see below for two ways that you can provide your feedback.

  • Canada’s Innovation Corridor Business Council, which is comprised of 14 Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade in southwestern Ontario including our Chamber, is seeking feedback from the business community on the impact of COVID-19. This responses will be summarized and passed along to the municipal leaders, as well as the Premier and the Prime Minister. Please take a few minutes to provide your feedback! This questionnaire will be open until Tues March 31 at 5:00pm EST.
  • The Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce is concerned about you and your business as we manage the impact of COVID-19. Our goal is to understand and articulate your business needs so the Chamber can be helpful as we speak at the local, provincial and federal levels of government. In addition, we strive to coordinate resources between government and our local business community, share information and provide assistance to help maneuver through these times. Please take a couple of minutes to complete our survey today.

Chamber Member Promotions & Updates

During this time, if you are a Chamber member and your business has any special offers, updates, or resources you would like shared with our membership, we want to know! Fill out this short form with your update and we will compile submissions onto our website and share on our social media channels.


03/30/2020

We hope that you, your staff, and families are well. Our Chamber COVID-19 Update for today outlines updates from all levels of government – including details from the Federal Government about the increased wage subsidy announced Friday – as well as an update from Region of Waterloo Public Health. In addition, we are looking for feedback from the business community – please see below for two ways that you can provide your feedback.

Region of Waterloo Public Health Update

  • Region of Waterloo Public Health announced this morning that there are 60 confirmed positive and 43 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Waterloo Region. You can find more information about these cases on their website.

Federal Government Update

  • As a follow up to the Prime Minister’s announcement on Friday outlining increased financial assistance for small and medium-sized businesses, more details were made available today about the wage subsidy to help businesses keep their staff employed. Details about the 75% of wage subsidy include:
  • Businesses with a revenue decrease of 30% or more due to COVID-19 will be eligible
  • Not for profit and charitable organizations will be eligible for the wage subsidy, as will businesses of all sizes
  • Number of employees that an organization has is not an eligibility requirement
  • This program will cover up to 75% of the first $58,700 earned (or up to $847/week)
  • The wage subsidy will be backdated to March 15, 2020
  • For those businesses who can afford to top up their staff’s wages to cover the remaining 25%, the Prime Minister is encouraging them to do so
  • We will share details about how to access these funds as they are made available

Provincial Government Update

Municipal Government Update

We Want to Hear from You!

Feedback from the business community is critical to help direct advocacy efforts and share the information/resources that are needed during this COVID-19 pandemic. Please see below for two ways that you can provide your feedback.

  • Canada’s Innovation Corridor Business Council, which is comprised of 14 Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade in southwestern Ontario including our Chamber, is seeking feedback from the business community on the impact of COVID-19. This responses will be summarized and passed along to the municipal leaders, as well as the Premier and the Prime Minister. Please take a few minutes to provide your feedback! This questionnaire will be open until Tues March 31 at 5:00pm EST.
  • The Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce is concerned about you and your business as we manage the impact of COVID-19. Our goal is to understand and articulate your business needs so the Chamber can be helpful as we speak at the local, provincial and federal levels of government. In addition, we strive to coordinate resources between government and our local business community, share information and provide assistance to help maneuver through these times. Please take a couple of minutes to complete our survey today.

Chamber Member Promotions & Updates

During this time, if you are a Chamber member and your business has any special offers, updates, or resources you would like shared with our membership, we want to know! Fill out this short form with your update and we will compile submissions onto our website and share on our social media channels.


03/27/2020

There were several financial supports for small and medium-sized businesses announced by the Prime Minister today. For information about this important assistance, along with several other updates, please see below.

Region of Waterloo Public Health Update

  • Region of Waterloo Public Health announced that there are 69 confirmed or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Waterloo Region. You can find more information about these cases on their website.

Federal Government Update

  • Today, the Prime Minister announced a major increase to financial supports for small and medium-sized businesses. Those supports include:
  • The wage subsidy available for qualifying businesses has increased from a 10% subsidy to a 75% subsidy for up to three months, and will be retroactive to Sunday March 15, 2020
  • The federal government is launching the Canada Emergency Business Account for small businesses that will see banks offer loans of up to $40,000 government-guaranteed loans that will be interest free for the first year. If certain conditions are met, then the first $10,000 of the loan will be forgiven.
  • The government will be providing an additional $12.5 billion to the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC)
  • Businesses, including self-employed individuals, will have more time to make HST and GST payments, which are being deferred until June 2020
  • Earlier this week, our Chamber along with our partners Communitech, the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, and Waterloo EDC sent a letter to the Prime Minister and Premier on Ontario, outlining recommendations to help better support businesses. We were pleased with the federal government’s response today as they are acting on several of the recommendations in that letter. These measures are important for our local business community, as well as businesses across the province and country. The Prime Minister indicated today that more information about these programs would be available on Monday. As those details become available, we will share it through our updates and on our website.

Advocacy Update

Calls for Industry Support

  • Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen) announced $50 million in Supercluster funding to support companies as they rapidly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by building a Canadian supply of essential equipment, products, and therapeutics. Please visit the NGen website for more information.
  • The Provincial Government’s Ontario Together: Help Fight Coronavirus program is welcoming help from businesses and organization who can supply emergency products and innovative solutions to support their response to COVID-19.
  • The Federal Government is asking Canadian manufacturers or businesses to contact them if they can assist in meeting the need for medical supplies.

We Want to Hear from You!

The Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce is concerned about you and your business as we manage the impact of COVID-19. Our goal is to understand and articulate your business needs so the Chamber can be helpful as we speak at the local, provincial and federal levels of government. In addition, we strive to coordinate resources between government and our local business community, share information and provide assistance to help maneuver through these times. Please take a couple of minutes to complete our survey today.

Chamber Member Promotions & Updates

During this time, if you are a Chamber member and your business has any special offers, updates, or resources you would like shared with our membership, we want to know! Fill out this short form with your update and we will compile submissions onto our website and share on our social media channels.

Webinars

Did you miss our COVID-19 and Your Business webinar yesterday? Don’t worry! The webinar was recorded and you can watch it here!

We are working hard to support business and will continue to send you updates by email, through social media and on our blog. Please visit our COVID-19 Resources for Your Business site for information and resources that may help you, your staff, and your business.


03/26/2020

Our Chamber update for today including announcements from municipal, provincial, and federal governments; an update from Region of Waterloo Public Health; advocacy efforts; upcoming webinars; and, resources for businesses.

Region of Waterloo Public Health Updates

  • Region of Waterloo Public Health is updating the number of confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Waterloo Region on their website on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays at 10:30am. As of yesterday, there were 58 confirmed cases presumptive positive cases in Waterloo Region. Please check the Region of Waterloo Public Health website for up to date COVID-19  information for our region.

Municipal Government Updates

Provincial Government Update

  • Ontario is enabling financial relief for businesses through allowing businesses in the province to defer their premium payments for six months until August 31, 2020. All employers who are covered by the WSIB’s workplace insurance are automatically eligible for the provisions of the relief package and they will not be required to opt in to receive this benefit. Additionally, the WSIB will cease interest accrual on all outstanding premium payments. There will be no negative consequences for businesses who defer premium reporting and payments. The WSIB will continue to fully cover workers at eligible workplaces. Please visit WSIB for more information.
  • Additional information on Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 is now available. Included in the plan :
    • A proposed temporary increase to the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption from $490,000 to $1 million for 2020. With this plan, more than 90% of private-sector employers would not pay EHT in 2020.
    • A five-month interest and penalty-free period for businesses to make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes beginning April 1, 2020.
    • Setting electricity prices for residential, farm, and small business time-of-use customers at the lowest rate (off-peak price), 24 hours a day for the next 45 days (previously announced)
    • Working with the federal government to find ways to support apprentices and enable businesses to continue to retain these skilled trades workers during the COVID-19 outbreak

Advocacy

Yesterday, a joint letter from the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, Waterloo EDC, and Communitech was sent to the Prime Minister and Premier of Ontario. In this letter, the heads of these leading business organizations in Waterloo Region, who together represent over 90,000 workers and 3,500 businesses of every type and size, have summarized their recommendations to help support the business community during COVID-19. An op-ed, Responding to COVID-19 required unprecedented and urgent government support, has been published on The Waterloo Region Record site and will be published in print tomorrow (Friday).

We Want to Hear from You!

The Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce is concerned about you and your business as we manage the impact of COVID-19. Our goal is to understand and articulate your business needs so the Chamber can be helpful as we speak at the local, provincial and federal levels of government. In addition, we strive to coordinate resources between government and our local business community, share information and provide assistance to help maneuver through these times. Please take a couple of minutes to complete our survey today.

Upcoming FREE Webinars

If you missed our COVID-19 and Your Business today, then you will still be able to access it. We will post this webinar on our website within the next day. Please stay tuned!

We are working hard to support business and will continue to send you updates by email, through social media and on our blog. Please visit our COVID-19 Resources for Your Business site for information and resources that may help you, your staff, and your business.


03/25/2020

GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENTS

A joint letter from the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, Waterloo EDC, and Communitech was sent to the Prime Minister and Premier of Ontario on March 25, 2020. In this letter, the heads of these leading business organizations in Waterloo Region, who together represent over 90,000 workers and 3,500 businesses of every type and size, have summarized their recommendations to help support the business community during COVID-19.

View letter: New Government Response to COVID Virus for Business and Communities.v2 (1)


03/25/2020

Businesses who have questions about closures of at-risk workplaces or how emergency measures impact their business or employment can call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659, 8:30am – 5:00pm.

Government Announcements

Mental Health Resources

Stay Safe

03/24/2020

In today’s update, we wanted to provide you with information about important announcements from the Provincial and Federal Governments, as well as information from Region of Waterloo Public Health, and upcoming free webinars and additional resources for businesses.

Provincial Government Updates

  • Due to the evolving COVID-19 situation, the Government of Ontario has ordered at-risk workplaces to close-down by 11:59pm today, while encouraging businesses to explore opportunities to continue their operations through work-from-home and innovative business models. Essential businesses who will be staying open are asked to implement any and all measures to safeguard the wellbeing of their employees. Read the list of Essential Workplaces here. The Ontario government will be launching a website and a 1-800 number where inquires can be directed and we will share this information with our members as soon as it becomes available.
  • This afternoon, the Premier of Ontario announced that the government is providing electricity relief to families, small businesses, and farms due to COVID-19. For a 45-day period, the government is working to suspend time-of-use electricity rates, holding electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 10.1 cents-per-kilowatt-hour. This reduced price will be available 24 hours per day, seven days a week to all time-of-use customers, who make up the majority of electricity consumers in the province. The discount will be applied automatically to electricity bills and customers do not need to complete an application to receive these savings.

Federal Government Updates

  • The House of Commons has been recalled and are Members of Parliament are meeting today regarding the introduction of urgent economic measures, as part of Canada’s $82 billion response to support workers and businesses during the COVID919 pandemic.

Region of Waterloo Public Health Updates

Upcoming FREE Webinars

The Greater KW Chamber of Commerce is hosting a FREE webinar, COVID-19 and Your Business, this Thursday March 26th at 4:00pm. Join us to hear from our Chamber’s President & CEO, Ian McLean, for an update on COVID-19 and the impacts to your business, as well as how the Chamber can continue to support you during this difficult time. Register Today!

Other free webinars that are being hosted include:

Additional Resources

Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings, Public Health Ontario


03/23/2020

Today, Premier Doug Ford announced the closure of all non-essential workplaces to fight the spread of COVID-19 that will come into effect Tuesday March 24th at 11:59pm. This closure will be in effect for 14 days with the possibility of extending as the situation evolves. A full list of businesses that are permitted to stay open will be released tomorrow (Tues) and we will send an update tomorrow to share those details. The province will have a 1-800 number and website available on Wed March 25th for any inquires.

Today, the Prime Minister announced a plan to mobilize science to fight COVID-19 that will support our country’s researchers as they do critical work to protect the health and safety of all Canadians, and people around the world, during the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, the Government of Canada announced new measures to support for farmers and agri-food businesses facing financial hardship due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Region of Waterloo Public Health provided an update this morning that there are 17 confirmed COVID cases in Waterloo Region plus an additional 15 presumptive positive cases. Among the confirmed and presumptive cases include those due to community transmission and close contact. Containing the spread is the most important action that we can all take to protect businesses, staff, and the community. Please continue to follow the instructions from the Region of Waterloo Public Health, the Ministry of Health, and the Public Health Agency of Canada for information on protecting yourself and slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Can your business help?

Provincial Government

  • The Ontario Government has launched Ontario Together: Help Fight Coronavirus and would like to hear from businesses and organizations who can supply emergency products and innovative solutions to support the COVID-19 response.

Federal Government


CCc advocates for canadian businesses

03/20/2020

There were two new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Waterloo Region today. Please keep up to date on COVID-19 developments in our region through Region of Waterloo Public Health. In addition, please find out about the service changes and closures in Waterloo Region due to COVID-19.

As the Prime Minister announced earlier this week, non-essential travel Canada and the United States will be restricted, which will not impact trade. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce continues to advocate on behalf of all Canadian businesses the importance for ensuring trade flows between Canada and the United States.

This afternoon, Premier Ford announced that the government is helping students learn from the safety of their own home while schools are closed. This assistance includes offering educational programming throughout the day for school-aged children on TVO Kids. Other resources will also be available to children to learn during their time at home.

Business Resources:

In addition to the resources that we have previously sent out, please see the following information:


Provincial and Federal Government Announcements

03/19/2020

As new information is continually being released about COVID-19, we are working hard to gather and summarize the information to share with our members. As you know, there have been several government announcements in the last few days about assistance that will be provided to businesses and individuals. Below is a summary of some of those measures. In the coming days we will provide practical information on how to apply for the assistance listed below.

Provincial Government Announcements

Federal Government Announcements

  • Work-Sharing Program (Federal) – temporary measures for the downturn in business due to COVID-19
  • The one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefitswill be waived for new claimants who are quarantined so they can be paid for the first week of their claim. Those who are eligible can apply online.
  • The Emergency Support Benefit has been introduced to support workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment. We will share details on how to apply once they are available.
  • The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) will allow the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to provide more than $10 billion of additional support, largely targeted to small and medium-sized businesses.
  • A Temporary Wage Subsidy will be introduced to support businesses that are facing revenue losses and to help prevent lay-offs. The subsidy would be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during a period of time of up to three months, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.
  • The Bank of Canada also took a series of actions to support the Canadian economy during this period of economic stress, enhance the resilience of the Canadian financial system, and help ensure that financial institutions can continue to extend credit to both households and businesses. This included cutting the interest rate to 0.75% as a proactive measure.
  • The CRA will allow businesses to defer the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and September 2020 until August 31, 2020.
  • The Federal Government would like to hear from businesses who can supply products and services in support of Canada’s response to COVID-19?

Chamber Event Rescheduling

03/17/2020

We know that this is a very challenging time for our members and we are committed to supporting the local community in any way possible. The Chamber continues to work hard to access information and resources to help our members through this very difficult time. We know that this situation is causing concern and uncertainly and we will continue to provide updates to our members by email and through our website. Please visit our COVID-19 Resources for your Business page for resources that may be helpful for your business. Please feel free to reach out to us by phone or email and we will try to help in any way possible. You can find our staff directory on our website.

In accordance with advice from health officials and in an effort to protect the health and safety of our members, staff, and community, the Chamber will be rescheduling all events that were scheduled to occur from now until the end of May. Among the events being rescheduled include Canada’s Innovation Corridor Summit, the Manufacturing Summit, Leadercast, and the Energy & Environment Forum. Registrations for the impacted events will be valid for the new dates and information about refunds can be found on our website.

Our staff at the Chamber has been working hard to meet the needs of our members during this extremely difficult time. As the COVID-19 situation rapidly changes, we continue to monitor new developments and updates as they are released. We will provide updates as more information becomes available about the assistance that the Ontario Government and Federal Government have announced.

Thank you for your continued support of the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce and we are here to support you and your business as best as we can.


CHAMBER OFFICE HOURS UPDATE

03/16/2020

The Greater KW Chamber staff is working hard to meet the needs of our members during this extremely difficult time. As the COVID-19 situation rapidly changes, we continue to monitor the updates and developments as they are released. In an effort to protect the health and safety of our staff, members, and the community, the Chamber staff will be working remotely until further notice and our office will be closed to visitors. Our staff will be available Monday through Friday between 8:30am – 4:30pm and you can refer to our staff directory for the appropriate contact information.

We know that this is a very challenging time for our members and we are committed to supporting you and our community. Please continue to reach out to us by phone or email and we would be happy to help.

We will continue to provide COVID-19 information and resources that can help our members. You will receive these updates, as well as updates related to our events, through email, social media, and our website.

You can find resources on our website to help your business, including:

Additional Resources:


Gkwcc update

03/13/2020

As the situation with COVID-19 Coronavirus continues to rapidly change globally and locally, we are monitoring the developments closely. The health and safety of our members, event attendees, community, and staff is of the utmost importance to us and as such, we have made the decision to reschedule our upcoming events between now and April 23, 2020. Registrations for the impacted events will be valid for the new dates and information about refunds can be found on our website. We are evaluating the Chamber events that are scheduled beyond April 23, 2020 and will provide an update to our members as soon as possible.

While we are rescheduling upcoming events, the Chamber continues to work hard to access information and resources to help our members through this very difficult time. We are in contact with Public Health and will actively work with municipal, Provincial, and Federal government officials to advocate for businesses in our region. We know that this situation is causing concern and uncertainly and we will continue to provide updates and resources to our members by email and through this webpage.

As a reminder, you can find the most up to date information about COVID-19 as well as helpful resources on the following sites:

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce offers a Pandemic Preparedness Resources for Businesses. In addition, the Government of Canada has created a Risk Assessment Tool that can used to make informed decisions about mass gatherings during this time.

We sincerely thank you for your continued support of the Greater KW Chamber of Commerce and we are here to support you and your business as best we can.

Regarding Upcoming Events

We feel rescheduling these events is the wise thing to do as the health and safety of our members, event attendees, community, and staff is of the utmost importance. We are not cancelling any programs, but instead are rescheduling for a later date.

The events currently being rescheduled include:

  • Manulife Chamber Academy – March 24
  • Cyber Security Summit – March 24
  • MNP Networking Breakfast Series – March 26
  • Manulife Chamber Academy – April 7
  • Libro Chamber Young Professionals – April 7
  • Jay Fencing Business After 5 – April 15
  • Energy & Environment Forum – April 23

We are closely monitoring the situation and will reschedule when we feel it is completely safe to do so for everyone concerned. We are evaluating the Chamber events that are scheduled beyond April 23, 2020 and will provide an update to our members as soon as possible.

Current registrations for the events listed above will be valid for the new event dates. If the new event date does not fit in your schedule, refunds will be available at that time. During this time it may take longer than usual to respond and process your request.


Upcoming GKWCC Events

03/12/2020

As you may have heard today, there have been two new confirmed cases of COVID-19 Coronavirus in Waterloo Region. Please continue following the Region of Waterloo Public Health website for up to date information.

Yesterday, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce released a statement about the Federal Government’s COVID-19 response plan. You can read the Canadian Chamber’s statement here.

The Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce (GKWCC) continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 Coronavirus situation and we have been in contact with Region of Waterloo Public Health. We are evaluating our upcoming events and will provide an update as soon as possible. As we announced earlier this week, we have temporarily revised our refund policy to allow registrants to cancel up until the start of the event and receive a full refund. If you would like a refund, please email events@greaterkwchamber.com with the email titled ‘event refund’. Please specify the event, company name, and full name the registration is under.

Resources

  • Several COVID-19 Awareness Resources from the Government of Canada, including:
    • Reduce the spread of COVID-19: Wash your hands
    • How to care for a person with COVID-19 at home: Advice for caregivers
    • Vulnerable populations and COVID-19
    • How to isolate at home when you have COVID-19

We will continue to monitor the developments daily and update you with resources and information as it becomes available. To keep up to date on COVID-19 Coronavirus, please follow:

We encourage everyone to protect their own health and safety as well as the health and safety of others by:

  • Staying home if feeling unwell
  • Washing your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds
  • Avoiding close contact with those who are sick
  • Cleaning and disinfecting high touch surfaces regularly
  • Sneezing and coughing into your sleeve
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

GKWCC Event update

03/09/2020

The Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce (GKWCC) continues to monitor and assess new developments pertaining to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). In terms of the GKWCC’s upcoming events, we are taking our lead from Public Health, who is currently not suggesting the postponement or cancellation any of our scheduled events. As a result, we are proceeding as planned with all upcoming GKWCC events.

The safety and well-being of our members and community are of the utmost importance to us. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will update this policy as required. We will communicate any event changes to registrants, our members, and the public through email, social media posts, and updates on our website. In the meantime, we are exploring alternative options for our events – including holding virtual events or rescheduling – in case the directive from Public Health changes.

Currently, we encourage all event attendees to:

  • Evaluate their own health (and the health of people they’re in close contact with), when deciding to attend an upcoming GKWCC event. A temporary change to our refund policy has been made for those who are no longer able to attend an event (see below).
  • Follow the guidance of the Region of Waterloo Public Health for everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of viruses, including but not limited to:
    • Wash your hands often with warm water and soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
    • Avoid contact with people who are sick
    • Stay home when you are sick
    • Sneeze and cough into your sleeve
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Use sanitization materials offered complimentary at Chamber events
  • Greet other event attendees with a fist bump or wave, instead of a handshake

Temporary Change to the GKWCC Refund Policy

During this time, we have revised our GKWCC Event Refund Policy for registrants. If you are not able to attend an in-person event, please contact our Events team by email prior to the event. For select events being held using virtual technology, the 3-Business Day Cancellation Policy will remain in effect; registrants for these events will be notified of this policy via email communication. If you are no longer able to attend an event that you are registered for, please send an email to events@greaterkwchamber.com as soon as possible.

As published on the Region of Waterloo Public Health site, symptoms of the COVID-19 Coronavirus can range from mild – like the flu and other common respiratory infections – to severe, and can include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. If you are unwell, we encourage you to stay home to recover.


COVID-19 Coronavirus Chamber Update

03/05/2020

As COVID-19 Coronavirus continues to spread globally, including the first confirmed case in Waterloo Region, commerce and communities are being impacted. Your Greater KW Chamber of Commerce is monitoring the situation and wants to provide you with useful tools and resources for your business.

Our team has compiled resources to help prepare your business and ensure that your employees remain safe. Resources below include a Business Pandemic Preparedness Checklist, Business Continuity Guide, and a Crisis Communication Plan.

For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19:

Resources for your Business:

Region of Waterloo Public Health recommends taking the following actions to avoid the continuous spread of germs and viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with warm water and soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Sneeze and cough into your sleeve
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

We will continue to update this page with additional resources and templates as they relate to the business community when they become available. Connect with us on social media to ensure you are aware of the latest updates.