The Winnipeg Chamber’s Director of Policy, Colin Fast, highlights five things Winnipeg businesses should be aware of this month:
Reopening retail helps boost the economy, but more support needed
New public health orders came into effect on January 23rd, and The Winnipeg Chamber was happy to see the provincial government follow our recommendation to open retail sales and some personal services at limited capacity (25%) in conjunction with lower case counts of COVID-19 in the Winnipeg region. However, we recognize that many businesses are still under mandatory closure orders, some going on for more than three months. We continue to encourage the provincial government to review each industry’s reopening plans and to use the unspent budget within the Manitoba Bridge Grant program to issue an additional support payment to all businesses and non-profits that have qualified to date.
New low-interest loan program supports hardest-hit businesses
The federal government has launched the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) to provide financial support to businesses that have been hardest hit by the pandemic. This includes restaurants, businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors, and those that rely on in-person service. Through HASCAP, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will work with participating Canadian financial institutions to offer government-guaranteed, low-interest loans of up to $1 million. Eligible businesses can start applying as early as February 1st. More information is available at www.bdc.ca/hascap.
Launching Manitoba’s retail crime reduction strategy
Six major business organizations, including The Winnipeg Chamber, came together last year to highlight growing concerns around the issue of retail theft in Manitoba. As a result, the province established the Manitoba Retail Security Task Force, which will hold an online information session on February 9th from 1:00 to 2:15 pm to share its strategic plan to help reduce retail theft in our province. The session will also feature an update from the Winnipeg Police Service on Project Stop Lifting, and the launch of the Manitoba’s Retail Crime Business Working Group, a way for businesses to participate in ongoing conversations. Please RSVP to [email protected] for full details.
Have your say on city governance
The City of Winnipeg is undertaking a review of its governance structure and processes. This includes the way the city makes decisions, determines appointments, and distributes powers and responsibilities among different offices and committees. As part of the review process, the city is looking for feedback from the public via an online survey, submissions and a series of virtual events being held over the next two weeks. For more information, click here.
Pandemic has wildly divergent impact on Canadian charities
Overall charitable giving fell 4% in Canada last year, according to a new report from RBC. The decline masked some sharp divergences within the sector, with some organizations seeing increased contributions and others seeing nothing at all. The loss of live events was a significant factor for many non-profits, who were forced to scramble to replace them with online events and digital fundraising tools, which yielded mixed results. Read More.