BLUESKY BRIEF - HELPING THE FRONT-LINE
As the COVID-19 pandemic grows across the country, the Canadian government continues to respond with targeted measures to combat the spread. Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government is investing $2B to support diagnostic testing and purchase ventilators and protective personal equipment including bulk purchases with the provinces and territories. An additional $50M has been made available in funding for members of the Next Generation Manufacturing Supercluster to develop and scale-up new, in-demand technologies, equipment, and medical products.
These announcements come a day after we heard that a section of Canada’s Emergency Wage Subsidy Program was being updated to meet the growing demands to help Canadian businesses. While final details have not been provided by the government, the prime minister announced the following:
Targeted at businesses that have experienced a revenue decrease of at least 30% due to COVID-19.
The subsidy will provide up to 75% of an employee’s wages (up from 10%).
The subsidy will be extended to charities, non-profit organizations, and “large and small” businesses. (Previously, the subsidy was only for Canadian-controlled private corporations that qualify for the small business deduction.)
·Applies to the first $58,700 earned per employee equivalent to up to $847 per week. (Earlier, the subsidy was to be capped at $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.)
·It will be backdated to March 15.
From the desk of Neil Brodie, Vice President
These announcements are pieces that many Canadians have been waiting for.
Canadians have heard the news that one million people have applied for Employment Insurance. The prime minister has said Canadians could face months of physical distancing as provincial and federal governments try to slow the spread of COVID-19. The wage support program will ease public concern as to how the population will continue to provide for itself as many companies have seen their day-to-day operations slowed or shuttered. The emphasis on the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) and specific medical equipment will lessen concerns about Canadians ability to be treated if they are admitted to a hospital.
The wage subsidy eases the burden on all enterprises of all sizes that have been asked to close or have seen reduced operations due to the COVID-19 response. Companies will have the ability to retain or rehire staff on payroll which will accelerate the resumption of normal operations once the physical-distancing measures are relaxed. As well, this eases cash flow concerns and allows companies who can take advantage of the program to devote other scarce resources to other priorities. Individual Canadians can now be assured that there is a safety net for them if their employer is reducing operations during the response to CV19. This will also help bolster consumer spending at the places where Canadians can shop both in-person and online. Details on the application process or access to this program are expected to be announced by the government shortly.
Government procurement of PPE and other equipment is being streamlined. It cannot be emphasized enough that if your company, or a company you are affiliated with, can assist, the government will listen to you. Ministers have insisted that the approval process to sign contracts and flow funds has been significantly shortened from months to days. The dollar figure is substantial at $2B and it is available to Canadian companies who can assist in supply any needed capacity. As well, NGen is investing $50M in Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster funding to support companies if they can rapidly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by building a Canadian supply of essential equipment, including ventilators, test kits and face shields. For both of these opportunities, there is an intake process that Bluesky can help you navigate.
Bluesky’s interactions with the government over the past few weeks bear out the public messages. Minister’s offices and departments are all actively engaging with Canadian business to seek their input on how COIVD-19 is impacting their operations, to seek ideas on how to mitigate these impacts, and importantly to identify measures to tackle the COVID-10 health crisis and lay the groundwork for kickstarting the economy when the immediate crisis lifts. We also anticipate a near-future announcement to assist the oil and gas and travel and tourism sectors.
The bottom line: Now is the time to engage with governments - federal and provincial. They need your ideas, and they can help. If your company has a role to play in combatting the pandemic or you wish to engage on another stream, Bluesky Strategy Group can help you, help them, help you.
The need for enacting the Emergencies Act - Senior Associate retired Lt. Gen, the Honourable Andrew Leslie
CBC's Power & Politics https://twitter.com/PnPCBC/status/1244760551777067010
Global TV's The West Block https://globalnews.ca/video/rd/f1abeaea-7102-11ea-ac04-0242ac110003/?jwsource=cl
The Hill Times bit.ly/2WKqxX6
Principal Susan Smith speaks to the National Post on why the prime minister's daily briefings are effective and won't be stopping any time soon https://bit.ly/343ZPKS
Vice President Neil Brodie, Senior Consultant Geoff Turner and Consultant Cameron Holmstrom speak to The Hill Times on political fundraising amid the coronavirus pandemic bit.ly/2vPOGk7
Consultant Sierra Fullerton provides some advice to help PR professionals stay head during these challenging times https://bit.ly/2WXVask
Senior Vice President Stuart McCarthy shares his thoughts on where the government will focus investment for economic recovery https://bit.ly/34198eq