The Winnipeg Chamber’s Director of Policy, Colin Fast, highlights five things Winnipeg businesses should be aware of this week:
1. Manitoba extends Bridge Grant program
Following vocal advocacy from the Winnipeg Chamber and other business organizations, the provincial government announced last week it is extending the Manitoba Bridge Grant program to offer a fourth $5,000 payment to businesses and non-profit organizations impacted by public health restrictions. Any organization who previously qualified will automatically receive the additional payment. Funds started flowing late last week. Read More.
2. Pandemic Sick Leave Program launched
The Manitoba Pandemic Sick Leave program provides employers with up to $600 per employee for up to five full days of COVID-19 related sick leave, which do not have to be taken consecutively. Eligible sick leave related to COVID-19 includes testing, vaccinations and side effects, self-isolation due to COVID-19 symptoms, or care for a loved one in any of the previously mentioned circumstances. Private-sector, non-profit and charitable employers with eligible employees are able to qualify to receive the assistance. Employers who currently provide paid sick leave to their employees would not be eligible including federal, provincial and local governments. Read More.
3. Province introduces paid sick leave for COVID vaccinations
The province is introducing changes to the Employment Standards Code that would allow Manitoba workers to take a three-hour paid leave to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. The proposed amendments would make it mandatory for employers to allow employees up to three hours of paid leave each time the employee requires a dose of vaccine. The wage rate would be fixed at an employee’s regular wage rate, or the average wage for employees whose wage varies, such as those paid on commission. Read More.
4. June 1st deadline for feedback on regional development plan
June 1st is the deadline for feedback on Plan20-50, the draft regional development plan created by the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region. Plan20-50 will guide land use, servicing and development across the 18 municipalities that make up the metro region. It also addresses future infrastructure such as water and wastewater servicing, next generation internet, transportation corridors and other projects that don’t stop at municipal boundaries. Read More.
5. A closer look at retail sales
Retail sales are poised to soften again as the pandemic’s third wave forces another round of restrictions across Canada, but retailers are positioned to hold up relatively well compared to last Spring, according to economists at RBC. A new report from the ban looks at Canadian retail sales over the last year, and highlights some dramatic changes in consumer spending patterns. Read More.