COVID-19 Resources


The impact of COVID-19 around the world has been unprecedented, and with its arrival here at home, our main priority continues to be the health and wellness of our employees, clients and community.  Our hope is that Cape Bretoners are able to take the necessary precautions and focus on staying healthy and safe at this time.

The Cape Breton Partnership focuses on connecting people from any industry or sector to the supports and resources they need to succeed.  We know that right now, this is more important than ever to our business community across the island. Click here for a message from our President & CEO, Carla Arsenault, on the ongoing efforts of the Cape Breton Partnership during this time.

The below resources, guides, links, and tools contain helpful information to help our local business community as we navigate these challenging times together. If you have any questions, please email us at info@capebretonpartnership.com.

Clicking any of the following links will navigate you to the appropriate section further below on this page.


Webinar Series:
Helping Businesses Respond During COVID-19

In an effort to support Cape Breton – Unama’ki businesses during the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Cape Breton Partnership is hosting Helping Businesses Respond During COVID-19, a webinar series on topics identified by our business community.  Past and upcoming webinar sessions are listed below.

*Future webinars of this series will be added in this space.

VIEW THE FULL PLAYLIST OF PAST WEBINARS

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Manufacturers and Service Providers needed

If you are a Canadian manufacturer or business that can assist Canada in meeting the need for medical supplies, your help is needed. If you can say yes to the following, the Government of Canada wants to hear from you:

  • You can manufacture in Canada and/or have ready access to necessary inputs through your supply chain;
  • You have equipment or facilities that can be rapidly re-tooled to meet medical needs, including for personal protective equipment such as gloves, masks and surgical gowns, sanitizers, wipes, ventilators and other medical equipment and supplies; and
  • You have skilled workers who are able to respond and who could be available for work in the current circumstances

Please send a short summary of your office to ic.mid-dim.ic@canada.ca.

The Government of Canada is also looking for businesses that can supply products and services in support of Canada’s response to COVID-19. Can you provide any of the products or services listed below?

Products

  • Disposable N95 masks
  • Disposable surgical masks
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Vinyl gloves
  • Gowns
  • Bottles of hand sanitizer
  • Other prevention products

Services

  • Guard / security services
  • Nursing services
  • Food services
  • Laundry services
  • Accommodation maintenance services
  • Personal services
  • IT support services
  • Other services

If so, please complete the submission form here: https://buyandsell.gc.ca/forms/help-canada-combat-covid-19-submission-form.

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Financial Support

The Government of Canada has established a Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to provide $65 billion of additional support through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC). BDC and EDC are working with private-sector lenders to coordinate on credit solutions for individual businesses, including in sectors such as oil and gas, air transportation, exportation and tourism. This program includes:

  • 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. To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019.
  • Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises:
    EDC is working with financial institutions to issue new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs.
  • Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises:
    BDC is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts of up to $6.25 million through the program.

LEARN MORE

The Small Business Loan Guarantee Program is a joint initiative of the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council, Atlantic Central, local participating credit unions, and the Province of Nova Scotia, designed to deliver financial assistance for the start-up and expansion of small businesses. The Small Business Loan Guarantee Program supports provincial business owners with creating and maintaining rewarding careers for Nova Scotians each year.

  • Loans may be granted for a term of up to of 10 years.
  • The maximum guarantee supplied by the Province of Nova Scotia will be 90 percent of the value of all term loans.
  • The guarantee will remain at 75 percent on lines of credit but a 90 percent guarantee may be available to those that qualify under special financing streams.

LEARN MORE

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Support for Tourism Industry

To keep Nova Scotia’s Tourism Industry up-to-date on how the industry is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia has developed the Tourism Strong platform.

VIEW THE PLATFORM

Canada’s Regional Development Agencies are closely monitoring the COVID-19 global challenge and the impact it is having on businesses and workers, as well as the broader economy. The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is this region’s Regional Development Agency. If you are a tourism operator or small- or medium- sized business or organization and have received ACOA funding and COVID-19 is affecting your operations, you are encouraged to contact your local ACOA office to review your situation and provide guidance.

LEARN MORE

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Support for Businesses

On March 27 the Government of Canada made an announcement with several new supports for Canadian businesses, including the increase of the previously announced 10% wage subsidy to 75%, to be backdated to March 15, 2020. The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy is designed to allow employers to keep employers on the payroll, or to rehire those who have been laid-off already.

  • To qualify, businesses must be able to show a 30% decline in business compared to the same month(s) last year (March, April, and May). The employer must also be able to demonstrate proof of payroll to determine the wage subsidy for each employee.
  • The wage subsidy will be available for Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships, Corporations, Non-Profits, and Charities.
  • Eligibility is not limited by the number of employees or size of businesses. The subsidy will cover up to $58,700 of each employee’s salary, which would provide a weekly subsidy of up to $847 per employee.     
  • Employers will need to confirm that they are doing everything that they can to pay the remaining 25% of the employee’s salary, though paying the remaining 25% is not a requirement for eligibility, however, it is encouraged.      
  • Applications will be facilitated through an online portal with the CRA. Details will be shared once they are available.

VIEW DETAILS ON THE CANADA EMERGENCY WAGE SUBSIDY

Organizations that do not qualify for the above 75% Wage Subsidy may qualify for the previously announced 10% Wage Subsidy. Eligible employers must meet the following criteria:

  • are:
    • an individual (excluding trusts),
    • a partnership (see note below),
    • a non-profit organization,
    • a registered charity, or
    • a Canadian-controlled private corporation (including a cooperative corporation) eligible for the small business deduction;
  • have an existing business number and payroll program account with the CRA on March 18, 2020; and
  • pay salary, wages, bonuses, or other remuneration to an eligible employee.

VIEW FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE 10% WAGE SUBSIDY

The Province of Nova Scotia has released the Order By the Medical Officer of Health Under Section 32 of the Health Protection Act. This Order details the specific requirements for residents and businesses to follow during the current COVID-19 Pandemic.

At this point, government is not declaring any businesses as essential services.  All businesses (except those directed to close by Public Health) can remain open if they can follow the Public Health directives.  Businesses must maintain a social distance of 2 metres (6 feet) between clients and customers.  If that isn’t possible, clients and customers must not exceed five (5).  In addition, businesses must maintain regular cleaning and disinfecting of workplaces and high-touch areas at least twice a day.

Some businesses that can maintain the social distancing requirements can be exempt from the five-person rule.  These include grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, construction and manufacturing, transportation including trucking, rail and transit, financial institutions, agri-food and fish plants. Canadian blood collection clinics are also exempt.

In addition, there are some exemptions for self-isolation and self-quarantine for healthy workers that cross NS border as part of their work.  These include the trade or transportation sectors, offshore workers, workers in agri-food and the fish industry, and those workers who cross the NS border on a regular, ongoing basis to travel for work.  These individuals must still practice social distancing and self-isolate should COVID-19 symptoms appear.

VIEW THE OFFICIAL ORDER

VIEW FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON ORDER

VIEW THE EMPLOYER ASSESSMENT TOOL TO DETERMINE HOW THE ORDER AFFECTS YOUR BUSINESS

The Province of Nova Scotia has announced a program to aid citizens and businesses affected by the ongoing impacts of COVID-19. 20 million will be used to fund a new program, the Small Business Impact Grant. Eligible small businesses and social enterprises will receive a grant of 15 per cent of their revenue from sales — either from April 2019 or February 2020, up to a maximum of $5,000. This flexible, one-time, upfront grant can be used for any purpose necessary. Applications open on April 10.

VIEW DETAILS ON ELIGIBILITY AND HOW TO APPLY

Nova Scotia Business Inc. is taking applications for the Productivity Innovation Voucher Program. The program helps small and medium sized companies access direct assistance to help make their business more productive and innovative. The program helps businesses find expertise within post-secondary institutions to improve productivity, develop a new product, service, or process, and create growth.

VIEW MORE DETAILS

A number of active forums have been created by local organizations to showcase and provide information on businesses that remain open and/or offering delivery, promoting their products and services and letting the public know what their current open-status and details are. Businesses interested in participating in these forums are encouraged to visit each of the following resources:

DESTINATION CAPE BRETON – CAPE BRETON TAKEOUT AND DELIVERY

STRAIT AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE – BUSINESSES THAT DELIVER SOUTHERN CAPE BRETON

STRAIT AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE – BUSINESSES THAT DELIVER NORTHERN CAPE BRETON

CABE BRETON REGIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE – OPEN FOR BUSINESS IN THE CBRM

HUDDLE TODAY – OPEN FOR BUSINESS IN THE QUAD COUNTIES EASTERN MAINLAND AND WESTERN CAPE BRETON

Nova Scotia Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness Business Navigators are available to help businesses with any questions you may have. They can be reached Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm at 1-844-628-7347, or by email at BusNavigation@novascotia.ca.

LEARN MORE ABOUT NS BUSINESS NAVIGATORS

The Province of Nova Scotia has made a number of announcements to help Nova Scotia businesses as they deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

  • Government loan payments deferral — until June 30, 2020
    • Includes loans under the Farm Loan Board, Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board, Jobs Fund, Nova Scotia Business Fund, Municipal Finance Corp. and Housing Nova Scotia.
  • Small business fees deferral — until June 30, 2020
    • Includes business renewal fees and workers compensation premiums (a complete list of fees will be posted in the coming days).
  • Small Business Loan Guarantee Program payments deferral — until June 30, 2020
    • Deferring principal and interest payments and enhancing the program to make it easier for businesses to access credit up to $500,000. For those who might not qualify for a loan, government will guarantee the first $100,000.
  • Faster payments to small business
    • Small businesses which do business with the Province of Nova Scotia to be paid within five days of invoicing.
  • Internet access
    • Additional $15 million as an incentive to providers to speed up projects under the “Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative” to projects as soon as possible.

VIEW SUPPORTS

The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to support Canadian businesses facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the Government has announced and compiled a number of supports for Canadian businesses.

VIEW SUPPORTS

The Public Health Agency of Canada has developed a toolkit to provide guidance on cleaning and disinfecting of public settings, including schools, universities, public libraries, museums, public transit, communal residences and workplaces.

VIEW THE TOOLKIT

Grant Thornton has developed and launched an online hub to help guide businesses through COVID-19’s impacts. The hub includes a number of videos, insights, and links.

VIEW THE HUB

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has created a guide to help businesses prepare for, and manage through, a potential COVID-19 escalation in Canada.

DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE

The Business Development Bank of Canada has created a toolkit of templates to help businesses minimize the risk that an emergency poses to operations and bottom line.

ACCESS THE TOOLKIT

The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses has compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help small business owners prepare for a potential crisis.

READ THE FAQ

The World Health Organization has created a guide to getting your workplace ready for COVID-19 with tips on preventing the spread and managing risks when organizing meetings and events.

DOWNLOAD GUIDE

Nova Scotia Works Centres are very much operational and available to provide services to Cape Breton Employers and Job Seekers through virtual platforms.

VIEW NOVA SCOTIA WORKS CONTACTS

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Support For Employees & Individuals

The Government of Canada has announced details on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. This program will provide $500 per week (up to 16 weeks) for those who have lost income due to COVID-19.

The benefit will be available to workers who:

  • Reside in Canada;
  • Are at least 15 years old;
  • Have stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits:
  • Had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and
  • Are, or expect to be, without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment income.

This program is a revision from previous announcements and combines two previously announced programs; the emergency support benefit and the emergency care benefit. Details on how and when to apply are available through an online portal on the Government of Canada website.

VIEW DETAILS ON HOW TO APPLY

The Province of Nova Scotia has announced a program to aid citizens and businesses affected by the ongoing impacts of COVID-19. The $20 million Worker Emergency Bridge Fund will help the self-employed and those laid-off workers who do not qualify for Employment Insurance. Government will provide a one-time, $1,000 payment, to bridge the gap between layoffs and closures and the federal government’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit. More details will be announced at a later time.

SEE THE FULL RELEASE

The Government of Canada has announced a COVID-19 Response Fund to support employers and workers. The one-week waiting period for Employment Insurance sickness benefits have been waived and new enhancements to the Work-Sharing Program have been introduced.

LEARN MORE ABOUT EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE

The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to help Canadians facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. On March 18, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the economy during this challenging period. These measures, delivered as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses.

LEARN MORE ABOUT AVAILABLE SUPPORT FOR INDIVIDUALS

The NS Labour Standards Code provides job protection for employees who are unable to perform work due to an emergency as defined under the Code. Emergency includes a direction or order of a medical officer − or a public health emergency declared − under the Health Protection Act.  Emergency leave extends to individuals who need to care for a family member affected by an order or direction under that Act. Those who have specific questions about pay, job security and layoffs should contact the department’s Labour Standards Division.

VIEW WEBSITE

The Province of Nova Scotia is encouraging landlords to consider defering rent for their tenants through a drafted template for a Rent Deferral Agreement. The rental agreement is a template of a legal agreement between a tenant and landlord. The hope is that the tenant can engage the landlord in discussion, come to an agreement on rent deferral and use this form to put it on paper. The agreement as presented defers rent for April, May, and June and spreads it over the remaining period of the lease commencing on July 1st, 2020.  

DOWNLOAD RENT DEFERRAL AGREEMENT TEMPLATE PACKAGE

Canadian banks have committed to work with their customers on a case-by-case basis to find solutions to help them manage hardships caused by COVID-19. Canadians who are impacted by COVID-19 and experiencing financial hardship as a result should contact their financial institution regarding flexibility for a mortgage deferral. This allows flexibility to be available − when needed − to those who need it the most.

LEARN MORE

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has compiled a thorough Frequently Asked Questions list around understanding Mortgage Payment Deferral for Canadian homeowners. Homeowners facing financial stress may be eligible for a mortgage payment deferral up to 6 months to help ease the financial burden and application can be made at any time during this outbreak.

VIEW DETAILS

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Immigration Resources

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), along with other government departments and international allies, continues to closely monitor COVID 19 and any impacts on people and operations.

HOW COVID-19 IS AFFECTING IMMIGRATION

IRCC NEWSROOM AND PRESS RELEASE UPDATES

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) have developed detailed guidance pertaining to Temporary Foreign Workers and their employers.

VIEW GUIDANCE DOCUMENT

The offices of the Cape Breton Island Centre for Immigration (CBICI) and YREACH are all currently closed, however, their staff are available remotely for immigrant settlement service support.

UP TO DATE INFORMATION ON CAPE BRETON ISLAND CENTRE FOR IMMIGRATION

UP TO DATE INFORMATION ON YREACH

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Stay Informed

As business leaders, it’s our collective responsibility to continue to monitor developments around COVID-19. We encourage you to scan the following official sources to keep up to date.

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