Fast Five For Business: February 9 Update

February 9, 2021

The Winnipeg Chamber’s Director of Policy, Colin Fast, highlights five things Winnipeg businesses should be aware of this week:

More businesses allowed to reopen on Friday

A new public health order takes effect on February 12th that allows additional businesses to open under specific capacity limits. Notably, restaurants and licensed premises can open for indoor dining at 25% capacity with patron groups limited to members of the same household; gyms, fitness centres and yoga studios can open at 25% capacity, with activities limited to individual or one-on-one training; and personal services business (e.g. tattoo studios, tanning studios, nail salons) can open at 25%. Full details are available here.

Province launches Skills, Talent and Knowledge Strategy

The provincial government has launched a new Skills, Talent and Knowledge Strategy that seeks to strengthen connections between labour market needs and post-secondary training opportunities. “The goal of the strategy is to ensure we have the people with the right skills, talent and knowledge at the right time, to rebound from the effects of the pandemic and support economic resilience and growth,” said Advanced Education, Skills and Immigration Minister Wayne Ewasko. The strategy was developed with participation from industry groups and post-secondary institutions. https://www.gov.mb.ca/mbskills/

Pre-budget consultation with Finance Minister

On February 9th representatives from the Winnipeg Chamber staff and board met with Manitoba Finance minister Scott Fielding to discuss the upcoming 2021 provincial budget. Topics included ongoing financial support for businesses impacted by public health orders, a review of Manitoba’s tax system, innovations in government procurement, an access to capital strategy, and the role of child care as an economic development tool. The Chamber has continued to have regular online meetings with government representatives throughout the pandemic to advocate for our member’s interests.

The urgent need for widespread rapid testing

The Winnipeg Chamber was one of more than two dozen leading business organizations and public health experts who signed an open letter to the federal government calling for the immediate development of a rapid testing program for COVID-19. With full vaccination of the general population still many months away, using rapid tests and contact tracing could allow our country to virtually eliminate active infections this winter and and carefully open up more segments of the economy. The letter was published in the National Post. Read More.

Canada lags US, OECD in business investment

After improving against international competitors during the 2000s and early in the 2010s, business investment in Canada has slipped badly, lagging investment in the United States and other advanced economies, says a new report published by the C.D. Howe Institute. The authors call on all levels of the Canadian government to help improve investment performance by:

  • Dealing effectively with the pandemic with more testing, targeted restrictions and rapid vaccine rollout, rather than broader-based shutdowns of the economy;
  • Investing in infrastructure, particularly energy transportation infrastructure;
  • Addressing growth-inhibiting taxes, including high business property taxes;
  • Reviewing regulations that blunt competitive pressure and tax/subsidy programs that discourage business growth; and
  • Resolving international trade uncertainties and loosening internal trade restrictions.

Read more.