COVID-19

The Issue

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected international trade and global economies on a massive scale. Rapid and coordinated action by the federal and provincial governments is required to ensure businesses can survive through this global pandemic.

Please refer to COVID-19: Resources for Business for up-to-date information.

Our Position

The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with local chambers and many provincial business groups, conducted a survey on March 16 and 17, 2020. There were over 1000 responses from across the province. The SCC recommended immediate action by government in the following areas could help offset business challenges:

  • Fiscal and Monetary Stimulus
  • Immediate Action to Support Workers & Self-Employed
    • Eliminate standard one-week waiting period; grant self-employed persons access to EI for a certain period of time; extend Work Sharing Program; extend or temporarily eliminate the length of time an individual can remain on EI; and offer some form of support for parents at home providing childcare in light of school closures.
  • Allow layoffs  without termination
    • Amend layoff policy under the Saskatchewan Employment Act to allow for temporary layoffs of up to  eight weeks on a specific period without requiring notice or payment in lieu, similar to Manitoba.
  • Expand Credit and Loan Access to Business
    • Provide quick turnaround, low or no interest loans to businesses to ensure they have enough cash flow to sustain them during dramatic revenue loss. Greater use of the Federal Canada Small Business Loan program facilitated by local credit unions and banks will mean easier transactions.
  • Ensure Access to Products
    • Clearly define international border rules for incoming transport drivers to ensure the sustained flow of goods, while maintaining effective public health and safety protocols.
  • Extend Tax or Bill Payment Deadlines
    • All levels of government should extend all tax payment deadlines to reflect the current situation and to better enable businesses to preserve short-term cash flow.

Recommendations

Actions To Date

1. Fiscal and Monetary Stimulus 

2. Immediate Action to Support Workers & Self-Employed

3. Allow for Layoffs Without Termination

Amend layoff policy under the Saskatchewan Employment Act to allow for temporary layoffs of up to eight weeks on a specific period without requiring notice or payment in lieu, similar to Manitoba.

4. Expand Credit and Loan Access to Businesses

Provide quick turnaround, low or no interest loans to businesses to ensure they have adequate cash flow to sustain them during dramatic revenue losses. Greater use of the Federal Canada Small Business Loan program facilitated by local credit unions and banks will ensure for easier transactions.

Federal Government Actions to Date:

Provincial Government Actions to Date:

 

5. Ensure Access to Products

Clearly define international border rules for incoming transport drivers to ensure the  sustained flow of good, while also maintaining effective public health and safety protocols.

6. Extend Tax or Bill Payment Deadlines

All levels of government should extend all tax payment deadlines to reflect the current situation and to better enable businesses to preserve short-term cash flow.

 

Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce Logo Greyscale

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