Bluesky Brief - Helping Canadians, the Arts & Industry

Today, the Government of Canada made three important announcements regarding measures it is taking to combat the impact of COVID-19. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the government is extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program beyond June to “help kick-start our economic re-opening and boost jobs.” More details regarding this extension will be announced next week.

Trudeau also announced that Innovation, Science, and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains has formed an Industry Strategy Council, which will be tasked with taking a more in-depth look into how the pandemic is affecting specific sectors and how the government can best support them. The Council, chaired by the former president of Desjardins Coop, Monique Leroux, will meet regularly over the next 90 days to directly share their perspective on the scope of the challenges being faced by industries across Canada. Other members of the council will be announced in the coming days.

Finally, three weeks ago, the prime minister announced that $500 million would be distributed by Canadian Heritage to aid works in the arts, culture and sports sectors. Canadian Heritage Minister Stephen Guilbeault, today shared further details of the recently announced $500 million aid package for arts, culture and sports. the. His department, together with select departmental programs and portfolio agencies as well as key delivery organizations, will distribute the following funds from the Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations:

  • $198.3 million to the beneficiaries of arts and culture funding via existing programs as well as other organizations with demonstrated needs;

  • $72 million to the sports sector;

  • $53 million to the heritage sector via the emergency component of the Museums Assistance Program;

  • $55 million to the Canada Council for the Arts;

  • $3.5 million for COVID-19-related projects under the Digital Citizen Initiative.

  • $115.8for Canadian audiovisual sector, to be distributed by the Canada Media Fund ($88.8 million) and Telefilm Canada ($27 million).

From the desk of Cameron Holmstrom, Consultant

The extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program is a positive signal to many employers across sectors who are concerned about the continued uncertainty regarding the ability of the economy to re-open and to what degree. Extending this program will help those businesses keep going while keeping people employed in these difficult times. The announcement of the new Industry Strategy Council is also a signal from the Federal Government that they are starting to shift their focus from the immediate health crisis towards the next steps and approaches that will be needed to help Canadians adjust to the new normal that we face as the economy starts to re-open.

The details announced by Minister Guilbeault for the Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations have been highly anticipated. With their release, these organizations will now be able to start submitting applications for funds to help them weather the storm that has already hit for some and is yet to come for others. By opting to use mostly existing funds and programs, this should help make it easier for organizations not only to apply for funding but receive it promptly. This announcement, along with the extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program, will help bring more stability to organizations operating in this space and help them get through these difficult times.

Principal Susan Smith hosted a very interesting discussion for The Recovery Project on the long-tail of small business recovery featuring Michael Denham, President and CEO of BDC, Sandip Lalli, President and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, Rodney MacDonald, VP, Corporate Affairs and Global Public Policy at Intuit Inc. and JP Gladu formerly with the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. Watch here.

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) shortage in Canada. Vice President Neil Brodie was a former point-person on procurement and spoke to The Hill Times about getting the supplies here and now.

Senior Associate, the Hon. Joe Jordan gives his insights to The Hill Times on how the COVID-19 Pandemic is changing lobbying on Parliament Hill

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