Every Friday, we publish a weekly update on COVID-19 and its effect on business.
The Prime Minister Organizes a Virtual Cabinet Retreat
On July 3rd, 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced plans for a virtual cabinet retreat with Canadian ministers. The retreat will be focused on the Prime Minister and ministers discussing solutions required to combat institutional racism in Canada, prepare for a potential second wave of COVID-19, and continue to safely restart the economy.
Per the Government of Canada’s website:
As the Government of Canada continues to address the health, safety, and economic impacts of COVID-19, the retreat is an opportunity to continue our work to gradually and safely restart our economy in a way that benefits all Canadians, and look at how we can make our country more resilient to future waves of the virus. The government will also look at ways to better address discrimination and systemic racism in our institutions, because we know that there is still a lot of work to do to make this country fairer and more equal for everyone.
The Government of Canada will continue to work closely with provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous peoples, racialized Canadians, stakeholders, and Canadian businesses on these and other important issues.
During this time of uncertainty, the Government of Canada is focused on building a better, more unified, and more resilient Canada for everyone, where every Canadian has an equal opportunity to succeed.
With the U.S. Turning Away Talent, Canada is Poised to Lead on Innovation during COVID-19
During the recent months of COVID-19, stocks of Shopify – an Ottawa-based eCommerce platform – have soared increasing its valuation by more than 2X to $90 billion US. Soaring past eBay or Etsy, Shopify is now the second-most valuable Canadian business behind RBC Royal Bank. Shopify’s success is only the tip of the iceberg for Canada’s potential to take the lead of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. BetaKit – a digital publication that covers Canadian startups and tech innovation – describes Canada’s newfound edge and opportunity:
Canada’s tech advantages are well known by now, but they’re even more salient in the post-pandemic race for innovation, especially when juxtaposed against conditions south of the border.
Take recruiting. US News & World Report recently ranked Canada second overall in its 2020 list of best countries. On three key measures that help attract and retain top talent — quality of life, citizenship, and openness for business — Canada ranked 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively. It’s hard for innovative companies to attract and retain talent when workers fear they might be turned away or targeted.
The US, on the other hand, has seen the pandemic spur nativist and anti-immigrant goals. President Donald Trump’s new executive order blocks the entry of any new foreign workers on H-1B visas, cutting off a critical pipeline of talent for the tech sector there. He also tweeted he would “suspend immigration,” before blocking his government from issuing green cards. It’s hard for innovative companies to attract and retain talent when workers fear they might be turned away or targeted.
Meanwhile, Canada’s stodgy national motto, “peace, order and good government,” suddenly looks like a recipe for success. Robust oversight and regulation, sometimes seen as antithetical to innovation, has been proven otherwise by recent events.
Canada’s fiscal responsibility during the Great Recession averted a catastrophic mortgage crisis. Today, our country’s steady response to the coronavirus pandemic stands in stark contrast to conditions south of the border. Canadian leaders and the public have leaned on scientific expertise, with government and an empowered public health system coming together to limit the impact.
Launch of COVID-19 Tracing App Delayed
Canada’s COVID-19 contact tracing tool was expected to launch in Ontario as a test before being rolled out nationally, but its launch has been delayed. On July 2nd, 2020, a spokesperson for the minister of health confirmed the new app is not yet available to Canadians. Although no reason for the delay was given, the provincial government is working with federal partners and they “expect it to launch shortly.”
The COVID Alert app will help Ontario prepare for a “potential second wave” of the virus in the fall by notifying users if they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. The federal government is teaming up with Shopify and BlackBerry to deploy it.
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.
- World Health Organization: Q&A on coronavirus (article)
- World Health Organization: How to protect yourself against COVID-19 (video)
- World Health Organization: Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19 (pdf document)
- McKinsey & Company: COVID-19: Implications for Business (article)
- Government of Canada: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) (updates, resources on travel, updates, Canada’s response, etc.)
- World Health Organization: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public (in-depth resources)
- Government of Canada Economic Response Plan
- BDC’s Relief for Canadian Business Owners
- Coronavirus: Leading Through the Crisis
- Government of Canada Announces new Domestic Transportation Measures
- BDC Capital Bridge Financing Program