Every Friday, we publish a weekly update on COVID-19 and its effect on business.
Shopify and The Federal Govermnent Partner Launch a Partnership
Shopify and the federal government have joined to launch a new initiative aimed to help small businesses grow online amid COVID-19. Classified by Shopify as a “central resource hub”, Go Digital Canada has been described as a place where “entrepreneurs can receive support on growing their business online through tools offered by Shopify, as well as partners and experts”.
Per BetaKit – Canada’s only independent publication dedicated to reporting on Canadian startups and tech innovation – further details about Go Digital Canada include:
Go Digital Canada will have educational resources will include coursework, resources, and support from experts, all of which businesses can opt in to use. These resources will be provided by Shopify as well as organizations in Shopify’s partner network.
In addition to free courses, Go Digital Canada will offer a 90-day free trial of the Shopify platform for merchants that register before October 1, 24/7 support, a tap and chip reader (while supplies last), and free access to Shopify’s POS pro plan for brick and mortar merchants, until October 31. Other resources include step-by-step guidance from Shopify Compass and live webinars.
For more information about the federal government and Shopify’s partnership, click here.
Canada’s First Ministers Issued a Joint Statement on the Safe Restart Agreement
On July 16th, 2020, Canada’s First Ministers issued the following joint statement on the Safe Restart Agreement. Per the Government of Canada’s website:
“Governments in Canada, backed by efforts by individual Canadians, have taken measures to successfully slow and contain the spread of COVID-19, including through strong and continued federal/provincial/territorial (FPT) collaboration. First Ministers agreed in our joint statement of April 28, 2020, on principles to safely restore economic activity, while protecting the health of Canadians.
“Today, First Ministers agreed to an FPT Safe Restart Agreement, supported by over $19 billion in federal investments, to help provinces and territories restart the economy over the next six to eight months while making Canada more resilient to possible future waves of the virus.
“Funding under the Safe Restart Agreement will help provinces and territories, who have had to respond to COVID-19 in unique ways and have already made major investments and will continue to do so, in critical areas, such as healthcare, childcare and municipal services. First Ministers recognize that the territories and smaller jurisdictions face distinct challenges and circumstances, which will need to be addressed separately.
“Funding includes support for expanding testing and contact tracing capabilities so that provincial and territorial health authorities are able to mitigate outbreaks of COVID-19. This funding will also support capacity in health care services; procurement of personal protective equipment; and support for Canadians facing mental health challenges, including problematic substance abuse. First Ministers also agree to jointly provide support to municipalities to maintain the delivery of critical services. There is also a dedicated stream of funding for public transit for jurisdictions with additional investment needs in this area. Funding will also support measures to protect vulnerable populations, including seniors in long-term care facilities, and child care services, so parents can return to work. Under the agreement, the Government of Canada will establish a temporary income support program to provide workers with up to ten days of paid sick leave related to COVID-19. Provinces and territories will establish job protected sick leave legislation or regulation in their respective jurisdictions.
“Strong FPT collaboration to date has served Canadians well. First Ministers agree that continued collaboration is key to ongoing success and will build on the Team Canada approach that has taken place throughout the pandemic.”
For more information about the Safe Restart Agreement, click here.
Bank of Canada Announces Rate Decision
On July 15th, 2020, the Bank of Canada’s first rate decision under the stewardship of Tiff Macklem, who took over as governor of the Bank of Canada last month, was announced.
Canada’s central bank opted to keep its benchmark interest rate right where it was on Wednesday, at 0.25 percent. The decision was in line with the expectations of economists who monitor the central bank polled by Bloomberg. The bank’s next decision is scheduled for Sept. 9 and no change is expected at that meeting either.
In addition to the interest rate decision, the bank also released its quarterly Monetary Policy Report, which outlines the bank’s outlook for the economy. The bank calculates that lockdowns and other physical distancing efforts across Canada in the April-to-June period shaved off about 15 percent of Canada’s GDP. That makes for the worst quarter for Canada’s economy since the Great Depression, but it’s actually better than the worst-case scenario the bank was tracking when the pandemic began.
For further insights from CBC on the Bank of Canada’s latest announcement, click here.
While the coronavirus continues to spread quickly, it is important to remember that only a small percentage of patients need special treatment to recover. Trusted health experts continue to emphasize that the general population shouldn’t panic and should instead focus on practicing proper hygiene, such as hand-washing and refraining from touching the facial area.