As the pandemic started to unfold information was changing almost hourly and for months getting accurate information was difficult at times to find and at others, it felt like you were drinking from a fire hydrant. Together with our sponsors, Rio Tinto and GNWT - ITI, the NWT Chamber has complied a one-stop-shop for information for businesses that provided information on how to reopen safely; prepare for the rollback of Phases as the second wave progresses; listing of upcoming and recording of past webinars; etc.
Reopening Safely Grant
During this unprecedented pandemic, businesses had to adapt extremely quickly without any notice. Many businesses did not know if they had to shut down; if they stayed open, what to do, and more importantly, would customers even come in. Though businesses in the NWT have been more resilient than most in southern Canada, businesses here are hurting. Many will not see “business as usual” for at least another two years.
One of the reasons why business in the NWT has not been as impacted as the south is their creativity and ingenuity to stay open and keep their employees and customers safe and healthy.
These changes required businesses to spend unavailable funds for PPE equipment to reopen, which became an unanticipated expense after months of little to no revenue.
For that reason, together with our sponsors Rio Tinto and GNWT - ITI, the NWT Chamber created the Reopening Safely Grant.
- limited to a minimum of $500 and maximum of $1,000 per application
- one application per business
- based on receipts backdated to April/01/20
- reimbursement of 100% for members and 85% for non-members, less GST *membership with a community chamber is not membership with the NWT Chamber
- First come first serve, for a total of $58,000 in grants to be awarded
As we move forward and roll back phases the amount of information that businesses need to take in can be very overwhelming. The NWT Chamber has put together a checklist of what you need to do to open and what will need to happen when we start to roll back phases. Please download the checklist at any time to make sure you are in compliance as well as prepared for the next phase.
Who can be Open based on Phases
We are currently in Phase 2
Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Some Businesses and organizations ordered closed may open with strict physical distancing, protective equipment, client limits, and strong disinfection and control measurers Additional businesses may open with altered business patterns, strict physical distancing measures, and infection control procedures in-place; restrictions relaxed further on certain businesses Additional businesses may open with altered business patterns, strict physical distancing measures, and infection control procedures in-place; restrictions relaxed further on certain businesses
The following can open if requirements are met:
- personal services establishments defined in the territoryès order on gatherings and businesses
- Tourism operators using their experiences for "staycations" (local, territorial residents only) strict client traffic limits; personal protective equipment; and social distancing measures in-place as necessary
- museums and art galleries
- bottle depots
- gyms and fitness centers (only for personal training and outdoors classes)
- shuttle buses
- Outdoor tourism operators: may now accommodate 50 or less people, and 25 or less inside of a vehicle as long as protective equipment is available
- Movie theaters may open with reduced seating: a WSCC risk assessment will determine what measures must be in place to safely operate
- Dine-in restaurants and bars can now operate at limited capacity: a WSCC risk assessment will determine what measures must be in place to safely operate. Dance floors can not open
- Gyms may open with restrictions: a WSCC risk assessment will determine class size limits and mitigation measures based on the space and equipment
- Client restrictions on personal service establishments are relaxed: additional clients will be allowed based on capacity and availability of personal protective equipment for staff and clients
- Outdoor tourism operators: all capacity limits removed, but physical distancing and infection control measures must be in place
- Performance theaters may open with limited capacity: a WSCC risk assessment will determine what measures must be in place to safely operate. No self-serve or communal food can be served
- Music and community festivals that take place primarily outdoors may run: a WSSC risk assessment will determine what measures must be in place to safely operate. Capacity limits based on location will be required
- Colleges; adult classes and trade schools: a WSSC risk assessment will determine what measures must be in place to safely operate
Some type of establishments cannot open:
- bars and night clubs
- Theaters and movie theaters
- Dine-in portions of restaurants
For more detailed information based on industry/sector please see GNWT spreadsheet - link
Do you need an exemption? The CPHO office will consider exemptions for businesses and organizations based on their unique situations. Click here to find out how to apply
Emerging Wisely - link for the specifics of Phase 2
link for the infographics of all Phases
link for the Emerging Wisely Sortable Business Sector Risk Assessment
link - Guide/Steps for Reopening
WSCC - Here is a listing of WSCC webpages to assist in your questions regarding reopening; worker safety, etc.
- COVID-19 WSCC Services Updates - https://www.wscc.nt.ca/health-safety/covid-19
- COVID-19 Resources - https://www.wscc.nt.ca/health-safety/covid-19/forms
- SafetyNet - https://www.wscc.nt.ca/about-wscc/newsletters
- SafetyNet sign up - link
- COVID-19 Prevention email - Covidfirstname.lastname@example.org
Audio from WSCC Webinar - link
The WSCC has been developing resources to support employers in re-opening and maintaining safe operations during COVID-19. We would like to highlight several new and updated resources that have been requested by employers:
- Updated versions of the workplace assessment forms – The Workplace Risk Assessment for employers and the Worker Hazard Assessment for workers.
- The COVID-19 Workplace Safety Planning Checklist – A to-do list for employers.
- A guide and info sheet that helps with your safety planning – The Exposure Control Planning Guide and Working Safely During COVID-19
- Screening tools for customers, clients, and workers.
- A line of printer-friendly COVID-19 posters.
It is important to note that if employers have already completed past versions of mandatory forms, they DO NOT need to complete new ones. However, it is important that every employer continues to regularly review and update workplace safety information. We are available if any employer has any questions, or if they would like more support working through their Exposure Control Plan: Email Covidemail@example.com in the Northwest Territories, Covidfirstname.lastname@example.org in Nunavut, or call 1 (800) 661-0792.
Canadian Business Resilience Network - Reopening Toolkit
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has compiled a Reopening Toolkit that has templates for everything from an Operations Plan; Communication Plan; Health & Safety Plan to Reopening best practices based on sectors to child care and social services by province and territory and everything in between - link
Feeling Safe in your Work Place
Whether you are an employee or an employer, keeping your workplace safe is everyone's job.
The 5 essentials to a safe workplace:
- Social Distancing
Rule of thumb to remember when using public areas is: for each action = sanitation
When washing hands and/or sanitizing be sure to rub in between your fingers and don't forget about your thumb
Cleaning vs sanitizing vs disinfecting know the difference:
Cleaning removes dust, debris and dirt from a surface by scrubbing, washing and rinsing.
Sanitizing reduces the bacteria identified on the product’s label on surfaces and in laundry.
- Disinfecting destroys or inactivates both the bacteria and viruses identified on the product’s label (like influenza and rhinovirus) on hard, nonporous surfaces.
Open for Business
Are you open for business? Here are a few tips to increase customership:
- Make sure hours are current and updated on your website; social media; Google search; etc.
- If non-medical masks are required, be sure that it is clearly indicated on your doors prior to entry as well as on your website and/or social media
- Have appropriate signage throughout the business as required
- Have sanitizer as required
Signage is helpful in providing your customers information in regards to social distancing; makes usage; hand sanitizer; etc.
There are several local businesses in the NWT that do printing as well as design and templates:
Through the Federal Government of Canda; GNWT and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce you can download templates to have printed at any one of the above businesses as well:
Health and Safety Signage from the Government of Canada (PDF):
- Poster: About Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) - link
- Poster: Help reduce the spread of COVID-19 - link
- Poster: Cleaning and disinfecting public spaces during COVID-19 - link
- Infographic: Wash your hands - link
- Infographic: Preventing COIVD-19 in the workplace - link
- additional health and safety awarness graphics and information from the Government of Canada available here
GNWT Inforgraphics and Posters:
- Handwashing - link
- How to use Bleach as a Disinfectant - link
- Disinfection for homes and camps with no running water - link
- Correct sequence of putting on/taking off PPE equipment - link
- WSCC Health and Safety COVID-19 posters (maximum occupancy; busiensses; direction; open for business; reception area; coffe/water station) All posters are in English; French and Inuit - link
Operations Signage from CBRN: link
Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce Exposure Control Plan
The Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce has put together an exposure control plan. Having an Exposure Control Plan in place is a requirement for businesses in the Northwest Territories prior to re-opening to the public at the appropriate stage of the Emerging Wisely plan. The purpose of an Exposure Control Plan is to:
- Determine the risk to workers of exposure to the virus;
- Inform workers of their risk to exposure to the virus at the worksite; and
- Outline how the employer and employees will manage to eliminate or mitigate those risks.
Employers do not need approval from the WSCC to reopen once the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer has lifted business restrictions. However, Employers must have Exposure Control Plans in place before there open to make sure that they are able to operate their business safely. The ECP will need to be available during inspections or if a complaint is made and an investigation is pursued by one of the regulatory bodies. A Workplace Risk Assessment must be completed by employers as part of the Exposure Control Plan. The Workplace Risk Assessment Form is appended to this document. Each employee must complete a Worker Hazard Assessment (also appended). - link
Crowe Mackay, presented by partner Gillian Lee - Tax Implications of Relief Funding and updates on CERB; CEWS; and CEBA:
The topics of discussion will be the tax implications of different streams of relief funding that has been offered to businesses both federally and territorially. As well as an update on some of the changes through CERB; CEWS; and CEBA
Questions will be accepted in advance. If you can please email all questions by end of day Thursday, October 01 to email@example.com
Monday, October 5, 2020 2:00 - 3:00pm
CFIB Youtube session held by CRA on CEWS 2.0 - link
Box 32 and your Staycation: Presented by Andy Wong from Crowe Mackay
WSCC Webinar - getting ready to reopen - audio
Q&A with Hon Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs - audio
On April 15th we hosted a call with Service Canada and CRA here is Service Canada's Presentation - link
BDIC - Several webinars monthly - link
NACCA Webinars - link
CRA NWT Contact Information
Did you know that the NWT has its own number for CRA when calling from an (867) number? Or that we have local reps for both personal and business questions?
Here is the contact info for CRA direct NWT Line:
Call from your (867) phone number ONLY
Contact: Lionel Holm (867)444-0564 Lionel.Holm@cra-arc.gc.ca
Contact: Natasha MacLeod (867)444-0841 Natasha.MacLeod@cra-arc.gc.ca
All other information in regards to CRA; COVID-19 relief measures and your taxes can be found on our COVID-19 webpage
Federal Economic Response Plan
Avoiding layoffs, rehiring employees, and creating new jobs:
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS): the federal government will cover a portion of an employee's wages for eligible employers. The CEWS will allow you to re-hire your employee(s) and avoid layoffs as the economy continues to safely reopen - link
- Temporary 10% wage subsidy - the temporary 10% wage subsidy is a three-month measure that allows eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency - link
- Extending the work-sharing program - the federal government has extended the max duration of the work-sharing program from 38 weeks to 76 weeks for employers affected by COVID-19. This measure will provide income support to employees eligible for EI who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond their control of their employees - link
- Creating new jobs and opportunities for youth - the federal gov't is creating up to 116,000 jobs, placements, and other training opportunities to help students find employment and develop valuable skills this summer and over the coming months. Student Work Placement Program - link; Mitacs - link; Business + High Education Roundtable - link
- Extension of lay-off periods - the federal gov't has extended time periods for temporary layoffs by up to six months in the Canada Labour Standards Regulations to allow employers more time to recall laid-off employees. The temporary changes will help protect the jobs of federally regulated private-sector employees and support employers facing economic hardship as a result of the pandemic - link
Taxes and Tariffs:
- More time to pay income taxes - the federal gov't is allowing all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18 and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as installments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period - link
- Waiving tariffs on certain medical goods - the federal gov't is waving tariffs on certain medical goods, including PPE such as masks and gloves. This will reduce the cost of important PPE for Canadians, help protect workers, and ensure our supply chain can keep functioning well - link
Financial support, loans, and access to credit:
- Northern Business Relief Fund (NBRF) - the federal gov't is making available $15 million in non-repayable support for businesses in the territories to help address the impacts of COVID-19 through the NBRF. this support will assist businesses with operating costs not already covered by other Government of Canada measures. this has been extended to MArch 31, 2021 - link
- Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) interest-free loans extended an additional month - CEBA provides interest-free loans up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced. This program has been implemented by banks and credit unions in collaboration with Export Development Canada. Business owners can apply for support from CEBA through their banks and credit unions - link The federal government has offered greater flexibility and extended the deadline from August 31 to October 31 - link
- Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises - through the Business Credit Availability Program, Export Development Canada (EDC) is working with financial institutions to guarantee 80% of new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) This financing support is to be used for operational expenses and is available to both exporting and non-exporting companies. Program is now available at various banks and credit unions - link
- Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises - through the Business Credit Availability Program, Business Development Canda (BDC) is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. This program offers differing max finance amounts based on business revenues. This support is available until or before Sep/30/20 through various banks and credit unions - link
- Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) - the federal gov't is proving nearly $962 million through RRRF to help more businesses and organizations in sectors such as manufacturing, technology, tourism, and others that are key to the regions and to local economies. this fund is specifically targeted to those that may require additional help to recover from eh COVID-19 pandemic, but have been unable to access other support measures. Currently, there is no program through CanNor, a link will be provided once established
- Canada Emergency Commerical Rent Assistance (CECRA) - CECRA provides relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. Over the course of the program, property owners will reduce rent by at least 75% for the months of April, May, June, July, and August for their small business tenants. CERCA will cover 50% of the rent, with the tenant paying up to 25% and the property owner forgiving at least 25% - link
- Mid-Market Financing Program - through the Business Credit Availability Program, the BDC Mid-Market Financing Program will provide commercial loans ranging between $12.5 million and $60 million to medium-sized businesses whose credit needs exceed what is already available through the Business Credit Availability Program and other measures. BDC anticipates that qualifying companies will have annual revenues in excess of approx $100 million - link
- Mid-Market Guarantee and Financing Program - through Business Credit Availability Program, EDC's Mid-Market Guarantee and Financing Program will bring liquidity to companies who tend to have revenues of between $50 million to $300 million, to sustain operations during this uncertain period. EDC will continue to work with Canadian financial institutions to guarantee 75% of new operating credit and cash-flow loans - ranging in size from $16.75 million to a max of $80 million. These expanded guarantees are available to exporters, international investors, and businesses that sell their products or services within Canada. More details to come
- Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) - the LEEFF provides bridge financing to Canada's largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing, in order to keep their operations going. The additional liquidity provided through LEEFF allows Canada's largest businesses, their workers, and their suppliers to remain active during this difficult time, and position them for a rapid economic recovery. This program is delivered by the Canada Development Investment Corporation, in cooperation with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and the Department of Finance. - link
- Fish Harvester Benefit and Fish Harvester Grant Now Open - on August 24th, the Fish Harvester Benefit and Grant Program opened to self-employed fish harvesters wishing to apply. The application period is open from August 24 - September 21, 2020. The Fish Harvester Benefit offers income supports to self-employed fish harvesters and shareholders. The benefit covers up to 75% of income losses beyond a 25% threshold for the 2020 tax tear when compared to 2018 and 2019. - link
- Government of Canada's "COVID-19 Resilience" Infrastructure Funding Stream - the federal government announced the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program is being adjusted so that provinces and territories can use federal funding to act quickly on a wider range of more pandemic-resilient infrastructure projects. Under a new COVID-19 Resilience funding stream worth up to $3.3 billion, projects will be eligible for a significantly larger federal cost-share – up to 80% for provinces/territories, municipalities and not-for-profit organizations in provinces and raising it to 100% for remote, northern and territorial projects designated under the new stream - link
- Supporting Jobs and Safe Operations of Junior Mining Companies - the federal gov't is proposing to protect jobs and safe operation of junior mining exploration and other flow-through share issuers, by extending the timelines for spending the capital they raise via flow-through shares by 12 months - link
- Safe Restart Agreement - the federal gov't announced $19 billion to help provinces and territories safely restart their economies and make our country more resilient to possible waves of the virus - link
- Supporting Black-led Businesses through the National Ecosystem Fund - the federal government is investing up to $53 million to develop and implement the National Ecosystem Fund to support Black-led business organizations across the country. This will help Black business owners and entrepreneurs access funding and capital, mentorship, financial planning services, and business training. This initiative is part of the Black Entrepreneurship Program, in which we are investing up to nearly $93 million. More details on eligibility requirements and how to apply will be available soon.
- Supporting Black Business Owners and Entrepreneurs through the Black Entrepreneurship Laon Fund - the federal government is supporting Black business owners and entrepreneurs through the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund that will provide loans of between $25,000 and $250,000. This initiative is part of the Black Entrepreneurship Program, in which we are investing up to nearly $93 million. More details on eligibility requirements and how to apply will be available soon.
- Federal Funding for Skilled Trades: the federal government announced $40m over 3 years for the skilled trades - link
- Additional support by sector: Agriculture and agri-food; Aquaculture and fisheries; Culture, heritage, and sport; Air transportation, Tourism; Energy; Academic and Research; Infrastructure and Mining
- Young Entrepreneurs - the federal gov`t is providing $20.1 million in support to Futurpreneur Canada to continue supporting young entrepreneurs across Canada who are facing challenges due to COVID-19. The funding will allow Futurpreneur Canada to provide payment relief for its clients for up to 12 months - link
Support for self-employed individuals:
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB): The federal gov`t is preparing to transition as many Canadians as possible from CERB back into the Employment Insurance program in the coming weeks. The federal gov`t is providing a taxable benefit of $2,000 every 4 weeks for up to 28 weeks for eligible workers who have stopped working or whose work hours have bee reduced due to COVID-19. - link You can look for employment opportunities through the Job Bank
- Relief measures for Indigenous businesses: the federal gov`t is providing $306.8 million in funding to help small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses, and to support Aboriginal Financial Institutions that offers financing to these businesses. The funding will allow for short-term, interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions through Aboriginal Financial Institutions, which offer financing and business support services to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis businesses. Financial support for Indigenous businesses will be provided through Aboriginal Financial Institutions and administered by the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Associations and the Métis capital corporations in partnership with Indigenous Canada - link NWT Aboriginal Financial Institutions - link
- NWT Aboriginal Financial Institutions are: Akaitcho Business Development Corporation; Thebacha Business Development Services; NWT Métis Dene Development Fund; Deh Cho Business Development Centre; Dogrib Area Community Futures; and Sahtu Business Development Centre
- Akaitcho Business Development Corporation Application
- Thebacha Business Development Service Application
- Supporting business through the pandemic and into recovery: the federal gov't is providing non-repayable financial contributions to help support operating costs for First Nations, Inuit and Métis community-or -collectively-owned businesses and micro businesses whose revenues have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund seeks to provide support for businesses that do not qualify for other Government of Canada COVID-19 relief measures - link
- Supporting the Indigenous Tourism Industry - the federal gov`t announced a new stimulus development fund that will provide $16 million to support the Indigenous tourism industry. The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada will administer the fund to businesses across the country that have lost revenue due to COVID-19 - link
Find the support you need for your business webpage - link
GNWT Response to COVID-19
- NWT Wage Top-Up Program: The GNWT is asking NWT businesses to administer the program for their eligible workers on their behalf. An eligible worker is any of their employees who earn less than $18/hr and are at least 15 yrs old at the time of application - link
- Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development (SEED) Program: the Department of Industry, Tourism, and Investment (ITI)'s SEED program has been adjusted to encourage and support new, innovative proposals that reflect the realities of the new post COVID-19 economy - link
Tourism Recovery Fund Set to Launch: The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI), in partnership with the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor), has launched a funding program that will help the Northwest Territories tourism industry recover from the impacts of COVID-19. ITI regional offices will start accepting applications for the Growth and Recovery by Investing in Tourism (GRIT) Fund, a $1.5 million, one-time program cost-shared equally by ITI and CanNor. ITI will deliver the program on behalf of both governments. The objective of the GRIT Fund is to address COVID-19 impacts on tourism businesses by encouraging product development and marketing as well as contributing to select operational costs. This will enable tourism businesses to be ready to provide even greater services when travel restrictions ease and visitors return. Tourism businesses will be required to contribute 10 percent cash equity and use NWT suppliers to stimulate the local economy. Projects must be complete by March 31, 2021. - link
- Land Lease Rent Relief - rent relief is available to all holders of existing commercial and mining surface disposition on public land. The rent relief applies to all dispositions in effect between April 01/20 - March 31/21 - link
- Recycling Depot Funding - funding is available to support recycling depots and processing centers to help offset costs directly associated with lost income to operators due to the closure of recycling deposits on March 19/20 - link
- BDIC Loans/Deferments - The GNWT is offering low-interest loans to NWT businesses through the BDIC during the COVID-19 pandemic. Working Capital Loans - Loans up to $25,000 (or more if the need is clearly addressed) are being made available to qualified businesses at a rate of 1.75% BDIC Deferred Loan Payments - from April 1/20 to Sept. 30/20 clients of the BDIC are able to reduce or defer up to three months of loan payments without penalty or additional charges - link
- GNWT announced that it will be extending certain economic relief measures for COVID-19, previously set to expire on June 30, 2020. Extending these measures will result in $5.751 million in support for NWT residents and businesses. Two funding initiatives to support licensed child care programs have been extended until September 30, 2020:
- funding to pay up to 75% of eligible fixed costs for child care operators; and
- funding supports for enhanced cleaning of child care spaces.
- The GNWT will also continue to waive certain fees for residents and businesses, including:
- Deh Cho Bridge tolls (extended to Sept 30, 2020);
- truck permits (Sept 30, 2020);
- NWT airport landing fees (Dec 31, 2020); and
- Leases, licenses, and concession fees at all NWT airports (Dec 31, 2020).
The GNWT has allocated $557,000 to extend the two funding initiatives for licensed child care programs and expects that extending fee waivers will save NWT residents and businesses approximately $5.2 million.
- New Funding for Early Learning and Child Care Infrastructure - the GNWT has established a new funding program to provide non-profit organizations and Indigenous governments with funding for infrastructure repairs and retrofits to support the creation of new center-based child care spaces in communities. Interested organizations can submit proposals for funding through Early Childhood Consultants by August 31, 2020, to be eligible for up to $500,000 in funding for the 2020-2021 fiscal year - link
- Commercial Fisheries Industry Safety Support Program - up to $10,000 (based on 2019 production) will be made available to individual fishers under the Commercial FIsheries Industry Safety SUpport Program to equip their fishing vessels with safety equipment needed to meet both COVID-19 protection measures and Transport Canada's Fishing Vessel Safety Regulations - link
Locally Sourced PPE Equipment
Looking to purchase PPE Equipment locally? Below is a list (that will be updated regularly) of local businesses that are either manufacturing and/or selling PPE Equipment
Tlicho Online Store - link
CanArctic Graphics - link
Signed - link
PPE Equipment Supplier:
Arctic Trading Canada - link
Are you a business that is manufacturing/selling PPE Equipment but not on the list? Pls email us