Weekly Newsletter

Newsletter – May 12th, 2020

LATEST COVID-19 UPDATE FROM THE PROVINCE

The information below is an excellent update on action to date an includes some preliminary thinking about the government’s plans to re-open the economy. I hope you find it useful.

Jack Kyte
Executive Director
REACTIVATION OF THE NOVA SCOTIA ECONOMY
On Friday, May 8, Premier McNeil and Dr. Strang provided an update on the province’s approach to reactivating Nova Scotia’s economy. Government is taking a measured approach, guided by public health, to safely restore economic activity that has been curtailed as a result of COVID and related measures.
Nova Scotia’s reopening plan will be based on the following:
  • Advice from the Public Health Agency of Canada’s recommendations and guidelines to lift public health measures
  • Status of COVID-19 in the province
  • Consultation with sectors
  • Ability for people and business to continue to follow public health measures
To ensure our sectors are prepared for when the time is right, we are conducting a robust cross-sector consultation over the next several weeks led by Dr. Strang. Businesses, associations and industry will be asked to develop a framework outlining their approach to reopening and operating in way that will continue to meet the important public health criteria. Reopening will be done in phases, over time.
A recording of the news conference is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4oNpwxuz8E
INTERNET FOR NOVA SCOTIA INITIATIVE – PROJECT UPDATE
High-speed internet is now available in Shelburne County and areas surrounding Canning in Kings County. Other accelerated projects are underway to connect more homes and businesses across the province.
In March, the province announced an additional $15 million to speed up delivery of high-speed internet for Nova Scotians, where possible, to assist Nova Scotians through the COVID-19 pandemic. The accelerated plans under the Internet for Nova Scotia initiative includes $2.2 million to bring service six months sooner to 18,000 connections in the Elmsdale, Shelburne and Caledonia, Queens Co. areas, and Cumberland and Colchester counties. As part of the work, Cumberland and Colchester counties will see 19 towers installed within 100 days.
Develop Nova Scotia has led the work with internet service providers to identify opportunities to accelerate projects. More than 260 kilometres of pole lines have been prepared, including trimming vegetation, replacing poles and dealing with water crossings.
Government is also working with providers to ease congestion on existing services to enhance the quality of internet connections. This will help Nova Scotians working remotely from home during COVID-19, while still staying connected to friends and family.
Government remains committed to cover more than 95 per cent of Nova Scotia homes and businesses – and as close to 100 per cent as possible. With the first round of projects announced, 86 per cent of homes and businesses will have access to the service. A second request for proposals to capture areas that remain underserved or unserved has been issued, with projects expected to be announced this August.
TOURISM NOVA SCOTIA AND DIGITAL NOVA SCOTIA HOST UPCOMING WEBINARS
Building a Connection with Your Customers Through Social Media – Part 1
Thursday, May 14 at 10 am
Delivered by word-craft, the webinar will discuss which social networks are best for your business, content you should post, creating a content plan, how to engage with your followers, making sense of insights, as well as boosting and targeting posts.
SEO: Why Search engine Optimization is More Important Than Ever Before
Wednesday, May 20 at 10 am
Michael MacMillan of MacMillan Search will discuss how to keep clients informed and up-to-date using the search results from your homepages metadata and Google My Business; determining what types of keywords drive and what is currently driving traffic; informing your content calendar schedule based on historical trends using Google Trends.
FEDERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS
WAGE SUBSIDY PROGRAM EXTENDED
On Friday, May 8, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the federal government would extend the Wage Subsidy Program. The new end date hasn’t been confirmed yet, but it is expected to be announced later this week.
About 1.7 million Canadians are currently being paid through the program that covers approximately 75 per cent of an employee’s wage – up to $847 a week – for employers who have suffered a drop in gross revenues of at least 15 per cent in March, and 30 per cent in April and May.
LARGE EMPLOYER EMERGENCY FINANCING FACILITY
Details are still being developed, but the program will provide support to employers with annual revenues of more than $300 million and whose credit needs aren’t being met through conventional financing. The program is intended to be a bridge financing for big Canadian companies in order to help them keep their employees on the payroll through the pandemic.
To qualify, businesses must need financing of $60 million or more and have significant operations and large numbers of employees in Canada. They can’t be involved in any ongoing insolvency proceedings, pay executives excessive salaries and must disclose their climate action plan.
The provincial government has announced several initiatives to address cash flow and access to credit for small and medium sized businesses in Nova Scotia:
  • The COVID-19 Small Business Credit and Support program helps small businesses affected by COVID-19. Eligible business with payrolls of less than $20,000 can get a loan of up to $25,000 through participating provincial credit unions, as well as an up front grant of 10% of the loan (up to $1,500) and a voucher to hire a consultant to help businesses adapt to, or recover from COVID-19. There is up to $20 million available to fund this new, temporary program. To allow credit unions to process the applications received to date, intake has been temporarily paused.
  • The Small Business Impact Grant provides a one-time grant equal to 15% of revenue from sales, either from April 2019 or February 2020, up to a maximum of $5,000 to eligible small businesses, non-profits, charities and social enterprises who have had to close or greatly reduce operations because of the public health order. Application deadline was April 25.
  • The COVID-19 Rent Deferral Guarantee Program indemnified qualified landlords for losses incurred as a result of granting a rent deferral to qualified businesses directly impacted by the Health Protection Act orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Application deadline was April 3.
  • Payment deferrals until June 30 on all government loans, including those under the Farm Loan Board, Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board, Jobs Fund, Nova Scotia Business Fund, Municipal Finance Corp. and Housing Nova Scotia.
  • Fees, including business renewal fees and workers compensation premiums, will be deferred to June 30. A list of applicable fees is posted online.
  • Changes to the Small Business Loan Guarantee Program, administered through 16 provincial Credit Unions, include deferring principal and interest payments until June 30.
USEFUL RESOURCES
Follow the Department of Business on Twitter – @NS_DoB
Follow Nova Scotia government on Instagram – nsgov
To watch today’s (and previous) live webcasts visit: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwLZ9YtgHtLCpATUVFKVf72xyF103eHaE
Government Business Navigators:  More information on this service is available https://novascotia.ca/regulatoryopportunity/business-navigators.asp. Navigators are available by calling or 1-844-628-7347 , 902-424-4475 Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm or by email BusNavigation@novascotia.ca
Government of Canada: https://canada.ca/coronavirus
Government of Canada toll-free information line 1-833-784-4397
SUMMARY OF PROVINCIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS
 
Refer to novascotia.ca/news for full details
May 8, 2020      Announcement includes:
– Schools will remain closed, with online learning to continue until June 5
– The goal to open daycares is June 8, but the timeline will be based on consultations with the sector
– Reopening plan is under development
May 7, 2020       Province has signed agreement with federal government that will provide cash bonus                                         health-care workers, which will provide up to $2,000
May 1, 2020       Announcement includes:
                               State of emergency has been extended until Sunday, May 17
– Province has started to lift some restrictions, including the opening of trails and parks. Golf driving ranges can open, as can garden centres.
– Plans to develop a phased plan to lift additional restrictions is under development
April 28              Announcement includes:
– Schools and licensed day cares will be closed until at least May long weekend.
– $380 million loan program to support municipalities with financial losses due to COVID-19
April 24                Announcement includes:
– Temporary extensions to Driver Licenses, Inspections and Vehicle Permit Renewals
– New supports for business include COVID-19 Small Business Credit and Support stream, virtual business support hub with post-secondary institutions and NS participation with the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for Small Businesses
April 22                Announcements include:
– Government will pay extra dispensing fees for Pharmacare clients for refills on prescriptions usually filled for longer periods
– Red Cross Nova Scotia Stronger Together fund announced
April 17                Announcements include:
– State of Emergency is extended to May 3, 2020
– NSP, EfficiencyOne and the province redirecting $3 million from the HomeWarming program to fund organizations that support vulnerable Nova Scotians
April 9                  Announcements include:
  • Province recorded its second death from COVID-19
  • Applications for Small Business Impact Grant and Workers Emergency Bridge will be available tomorrow, April 10, at 8 a.m.
  • Private campgrounds are closed until May 1, inclusive. Will be reassessed.
  • Only veterinarians working with the SPCA may carry out spay and neuter surgeries
  • 211 will launch a new service to connect people needing COVID-19 assistance with the Canadian Red Cross
  • Workers in the fishing and offshore industries must self-isolate when they enter the province
  • Nova Scotia Securities Commission launches COVID-19 Investing Information website
April 7                  Announcement includes:
·        Province records its first death from COVID-19
April 6                  Announcement includes:
  • Travel is removed from testing requirements
  • Testing Lab has moved to round-the-clock operations
April 2                State of Emergency is extended to April 19, 2020
Announcement includes:
  • COVID-19 Worker Emergency Bridge – $20 million
  • Small Business COVID-19 Impact Grant – $20 million
  • Map and graphs of COVID-19 test results is now online at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/data
March 30            Announcement includes:
  • Schools closed until May 1. Online and paper-based learning strategies are being developed to support student learning
  • Employer Assessment Tool to help businesses and non-profits clarify if they can remain open and how to comply with public health orders and workplace safety requirements added online.
March 27            Announcement includes:
·        Support for landlords who enter into a rent deferral agreement with their commercial tenants
·        Restaurants can now include alcohol in their take-out and delivery sales
·        Government has purchased 800 iPads for use in long term care facilities
March 26            Announcement includes:
·        COVID testing is being expanded to include:
  • Anyone referred by 811 to an assessment centre
  • All close contacts of people who test positive
  • People in hospital that meet the criteria for testing
·        Reservations for 2020 camping season are on hold until further notice
·        Open fires for any purpose in woods or within 305 metres of woods in any part of the province are banned until May 15
  • Measures to strengthen the health system, help Nova Scotians dealing with COVID-19
  • Access Centres and Registry of Motor Vehicle Offices to resume operations in a scaled back, limited contact business model.
  • Regulated health professions can stay open for emergency or urgent care or to provide virtual care as long as they meet social distancing requirements
  • Non-regulated health professions must close (with exception of podiatrists)
March 22            State of Emergency declared
March 21            Dentists can no longer practice dentistry in their offices unless deemed necessary to perform an emergency dental procedure
March 18            Announcement re: Personal Services and fitness establishments
·        Includes: hair salons, barbershops, spas, nail salons, body art establishments, gyms
March 17            No public gatherings of more than 50 people
Announcements re: restaurants
·        Only take-out and delivery permitted
·        Drinking establishments, winery and distillery tasting rooms and craft taprooms closed
·        Private liquor stores permitted to be open, and craft breweries, wineries and distilleries can still sell storefront
Access Nova Scotia closed
March 15            Announcements include
·        Long-term care closed effective immediately
·        Public schools and regulated childcare closed
·        Social distancing – 2 meters/6 feet, gatherings of less than 150 or much smaller if possible

 

Newsletter – May 1st, 2020

WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS AND COVID-19
The Women Entrepreneur Knowledge Hub, sponsored by Canada, provides useful information, data and best practices, addressing the unique needs of women entrepreneurs in Canada. Here is a link to the HUB’s website: Click Here
Recently the Knowledge Hub released an eye opening research study on the impact of COVID-19 on women entrepreneurs in Canada. It is worth reading for anyone in business going through the current crisis. Pages 3 – 5 (see below) in the Women Entrepreneur report are a good summary.
The full study is available at the following link: Click Here
Gendered Impact of COVID-19
There is considerable evidence that COVID-19 has an uneven effect on women and diverse groups. This is partly a function of structural inequality – the wage gap is well documented; women are more likely to be in service sectors in the front line of COVID support (from personal support workers to grocery clerks); women bear the brunt of unpaid work including child care, household duties, and elder care, all of which have become more challenging during the crisis with childcare, schools and other services closed down. Recent Statistics Canada data has confirmed that the impact of COVID 19 has been highest on those employed in SMEs with under 20 employees and those in services sectors compared to technology sectors. It also shows that women have been more adversely affected in terms of unemployment. These issues are exacerbated for low income groups who often lack the options afforded wealthier Canadians in terms of housing that allows social distancing, work that can be done from home, access to financial resources to draw on during a crisis and to cover additional costs (such as catering and food delivery, tutoring for children, purchasing technology and services), access to private vehicles (versus public transportation) and access to technology, digital skills and literacy needed to navigate the new reality. In the case of many indigenous people, these issues are amplified particularly in rural communities. For persons with disabilities and older Canadians the challenges are amplified with disruptions to personal care and support.
Shape of Women Entrepreneurship
In considering the impacts of the COVID-19 through a gender lens, some key findings from the research are particularly important. Here are ten findings from the forthcoming State of Women Entrepreneurship Report (2020) that are pertinent.
1. Women entrepreneurs are more likely to be found in services industries than in manufacturing or technology. These sectors are bearing the brunt of disruption. (Appendix 3)
2. Women entrepreneurs are more likely to be assuming childcare, home schooling and domestic responsibilities than male entrepreneurs and this is having a significant impact on their productivity, stress levels and health. Before COVID access to affordable child care was identified as a critical need particularly for lower income women. During COVID virtually all women entrepreneurs, regardless of their socio-economic status, are disadvantaged by the additional childcare and household burdens as money cannot buy the support that they need.
3. Women are majority owners of 15.6% of SME owners with employees but 38% of self employed Canadians. Most programs are targeting SMEs with employees. (Appendix 2) Support for employment is critical because women are twice the proportion of self employed entrepreneurs compared to majority owners of SMEs with employees
4. Women owned businesses tend to be smaller, with fewer employees and are less likely to be incorporated. The thresholds for many of the programs do not accommodate women.
5. The trajectory of women entrepreneurs is different than men. While women account for a disproportionate number of NEW start-ups, they are more likely to become self employed or launch an SME from non-employment than men who are more likely to launch from employment. Self employment is also a critical pathway to SMEs ownership. To maintain the momentum towards doubling the number of women led businesses by 2025, we must ensure the survival of these very small businesses.
6. Men are more likely to commercialize research or spin off companies from employment and the demand for supports for STEM based innovation have historically dominated the discourse but also received the lion’s share of funding. There are shining examples of women in tech but that is not the only driver of innovation – women entrepreneurs are dominate, for example, the services innovations and the social innovation space. However, because they are less likely technology development companies and so are often excluded from Canadian investments in R&D and Innovation. For example, women received a small fraction of the funding invested in the superclusters and the national research council has not, to date, provided a gender analysis of its programs and services nor have the regional development councils. Even with the first tranche of work integrated learning programs, targeting STEM, woman students received 25% of the funding.
7. Women are more likely to self finance their businesses or to rely on government grants and are less likely to have financing, and those who do have lower levels of financing. Women led businesses represent a very small percentage of companies receiving venture capital or angel investments and men are four times more likely to receive these forms of support. This is a result of many factors – the sectors where women are concentrated, systemic bias, and more caution about accumulating debt, particularly as more are self employed rather than owners of corporations. Many of the supports are in the form of loans and women are reluctant to increase their debt load. Innovative approaches, for example crowdfunding, have helped level the playing field for women entrepreneurs and while they are less likely to obtain financing and typically receive less favorable terms, there is also evidence that they are less likely to default. (Appendix 4).
8. Women are less likely to be in technology oriented sectors and while all SMEs in Canada under utilize technology, there is evidence that women entrepreneurs face barriers in working in the tech sector, in incubators, or in implementing technology. Transition to digital services is one of the critical survival factors in the COVID crisis and many women entrepreneurs need advice as well as the human capital and skills needed to implement technology.
9. Women entrepreneurs are more likely to combine social with economic goals and objectives and supports for social enterprises are more difficult to obtain in this environment.
10. There is some evidence that women entrepreneurs thrive in different environments and with different types of support than men entrepreneurs. Research has shown this to be true for example in their access to incubators, mentors and advisors, training needs and business supports generally. Not only are there often different considerations because of the structures of inequality (eg. childcare) but also the socialization of women, the gendered nature of entrepreneurship and lack of role models, the confidence gap, etc, mean that the form supports take needs to be adapted to their needs.
11. Most of these issues are amplified for racialized, indigenous and immigrant women as well as those with disabilities.
Implications Many of the programs are designed for SME owners with payroll (to support both the companies and employees) but do not address the needs of self employed Canadians who rely on contractors. Lobbying for support for pre revenue start ups in the “innovation sector” is code for support for STEM and therefore primarily men. This document summarizes the programs and feedback received and offers examples of cases that are not addressed by current programs

Newsletter – April 22nd, 2020

BRAVO – MUNICIPALITIES PULLING TOGETHER

Although many of us may not be aware, one of the most active organizations looking out for our interests during the COVID-19 crisis has been the Pictou County Regional Emergency Management Organization (REMO). Led by our town mayors and our warden and supported by a host of volunteers and local organizations, REMO has set in motion plans and protocols to deal to keep us safe and prepared as we navigate the virus situation. Priorities have been to ensure we all follow physical distance directives and to coordinate our municipal services, fire protection, policing other essential services, and to make certain all services are well prepared and coordinated. Our thanks to REMO Coordinator John Davison and his team, particularly our municipal leaders and administrators

 

EXCELLENT BUSINESS WEBINARS AVAILABLE DURING CRISIS

We want to bring to your attention a number of excellent webinars available on  YouTube from the Halifax Chamber of Commerce as part of the work they are doing to coordinate Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 communications across the province. It is part of the newly created Nova Scotia Business Labour Economic Coalition of which your Chamber is a member.

Here is the link to a series of these webinars –Click hereIn particular, have a look at the talks by Kellie Sauriol, Senior Vice-President Atlantic for RBC and by Michael DeVenney from Work Insights on Shaping a Remote Working Environment.
CHAMBER PLAN – MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE
 
BUSINESS ASSISTANCE SERVICE
Providing owners the resources to help manage their business more efficiently.
Most small businesses can’t afford to have a team of specialists on hand to help deal with unexpected problems that require an expert opinion. The Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan Business Assistance Service is designed to fill this gap. Included in every Chambers Plan program at no additional cost, this confidential service provides access to professional accounting, counselling, legal and human resource experts who understand the challenges small business owners face.
MANAGEMENT SERVICES
Provides up to nine hours of Legal, Accounting and Specialized Human Resource services combined, per calendar year.
  • LEGAL ADVICE
When faced with a legal dilemma, this service provides practical and current interpretations of company, partnership, taxation and insolvency law, plus all relevant aspects of common and civil law. Receive answers to questions concerning shareholders, directors, employees, creditors and other stakeholders, including consumers, the community and the environment.
  • ACCOUNTING ADVICE
When the numbers don’t add up, advice from a professional enables owners and managers to strengthen management and control functions through expert counsel. Obtain answers and recommendations to solve business accounting challenges, make informed compliance decisions and better manage company finances.
  • SPECIALIZED HUMAN RESOURCE SERVICES
When facing a technical human resource issue, from termination processes and overtime pay to legislative / labour law concerns, this service provides you answers confidentially, via telephone.
HUMAN RESOURCE COACHING
Confidential telephone coaching helps address a wide range of challenging people issues, including performance management, absenteeism, conflict and difficult behaviour. The coaching service provides up to 30 minutes of service per call, to a maximum of two hours per issue, for unlimited issues per calendar year.
ANY QUESTIONS – JUST DIAL 211

211 is a free, confidential information and referral service for thousands of community and social services available across the province. It is available throughout the province – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – by dialing “2-1-1” to speak to a helpful staff member or by searching the easy-to-use online database at www.ns.211.ca. You can also email help@ns.211 and between the hours of 12 pm – 4 pm Monday to Friday, chat online or text 21167 for help finding resources.

 

SMALL BUSINESS IMPACT GRANT UPDATE

Companies can start applying for the Wage Subsidy on Monday, April 27. To help businesses determine coverage, a subsidy calculator has been added to the CRA website:Click here

 

 

Newsletter – April 15th, 2020

A Word from the Executive Director
To Pictou County Chamber members:
In an attempt to provide our members with the best available, recent resources related to the COVID – 19 situation we are providing links to several excellent business, provincial and national organizations and government that we believe you will find useful. Our Chamber is now a member of the province –wide Business Labour Economic Coalition led by the Halifax Chamber of Commerce involving around 130 business and government stakeholders and meets three time weekly via ZOOM. It is enabling us to have direct contact with provincial and federal officials as a conduit for inquiries and
to express concerns and comments about ever changing government support programs. Let us know if you find this material helpful.
Jack Kyte
Executive Director
Pictou County Chamber of Commerce
CANADIAN BUSINESS RESILIENCE NETWORK – The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has established the Canadian Business Resilience Network (CBRN) in partnership with the Government of Canada to help the business community prepare, persevere and, ultimately, prosper in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic: www.cbrn.ca.
CANADIAN SURVEY ON BUSINESS CONDITIONS (CSBC) – During a crisis, relevant and timely data is mission critical, and that is why the Canadian Chamber has partnered with Statistics Canada to understand what businesses are going through during this unprecedented time, but also going forward as we recover and return to growth. As a member of your local Chamber, your perspective on current issues is invaluable. Governments, chambers and business associations need accurate information to help them devise strategies for the survival and continuity of businesses of all sizes, from all sectors, across all regions of Canada. TAKE THE SURVEY NOW!
NOVA SCOTIA BUSINESS LABOUR ECONOMIC COALITION – Pictou County Chamber representatives are participating in regular calls with leaders in chambers, industry associations, federations, and government from across the province to share resources and lobby for more effective programming and responses to the COVID-19 outbreak. In a call this week with the Honorable Melanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, issues identified included the unreasonable payroll threshold for accessing the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), the impacts of part time work on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the classification of dividends as a “wage” when qualifying for the CEBA, and the ability of primary health care practitioners to bill for emergency service, but still quality for the CERB. Minister Joly did indicate that more work needs to be done on the wage subsidy program to enable better access for seasonal businesses.
DELOITTE – PREDICTING THE POST-PANDEMIC REBOUND – A live look at Canada’s economy to prepare businesses for recovery – click here.
GRANT THORNTONFinding the way forward: Guiding businesses through coronavirus (COVID-19) – this new site is designed to help associations, groups, not-for-profits and charities navigate these difficult times with accurate and dependable information:
GRANT THORNTON – 26-Week Cash Flow Forecast Model – Grant Thornton has developed a 26-Week Cash Flow Forecast Model that can assist clients with determining their cash flow needs and support in discussions with their bank. It quickly captures a company’s current cash position and forecasts the run rate for the next 26-weeks. Of significant importance to business owners and banks, is the model incorporates all the latest federal and provincial COVID-19 programs and can do “what-if” analysis quickly and easily. We have clients using it for bank reporting as well as internal cash flow analysis. Overall, the model will help to show lenders that an owner understands their expected cash flow, the levers available to manage the business and how the business is fiscally responsible under the current circumstances. Contact them to access the model! Highlights include:
·        Projects cash flow for 6 months on a weekly basis;
·        Models business decisions and the related impacts on cash flows (lay-offs, principal payment holidays, government support, etc.);
·        Better understanding of cash flow /operating line availability; and
·        Provides timely information to lenders.
UPDATE FROM THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA – APRIL 14, 2020
Announced this week: the federal government will provide support of $1,500 for each temporary foreign worker, to employers or those working with them to ensure requirements are fully met. The funding is conditional on employers not being found in violation of the mandatory 14-day isolation protocols or any other public health order. This program will be available as long as the Quarantine Act is in force and the isolation protocol is followed. Learn More
Minister Bibeau to highlight an investment to support inspection in the food supply chain. Learn More
UPDATE FROM THE GOVERNMENT OF NOVA SCOTIA – For a summary of provincial supports currently in place, click here. Also a reminder that application are now OPEN for the Small Business Impact Grant – the deadline is April 25, 2020. Apply Now!

 

Newsletter – April 9th, 2020

 
A Word from the Executive Director
To Pictou County Chamber members:
ADMINISTRATIVE CHANGES AT CHAMBER
By now many of you may be aware that Heather MacCulloch has decided to move on from the Chamber after 10 years with our organization. It is quite a loss for us as Heather has been our rock, in good times and in the difficult years and has been a full partner in the success we have had. The Chamber Hub was her idea, as an example. We will miss her energy and dedication to our business community and wish her the very best in future endeavors.
In the short term, we have made arrangements for the staff at the Truro Colchester Chamber of Commerce to carry on Heather’s work. This is a natural fit as the Truro team is familiar with our systems and experienced in Chamber procedures. We owe them sincere thanks for helping us at this time.
CHAMBER MEMBERS HELPING CHAMBER MEMBERS
Long- time Chamber member Active Life Physiotherapy has asked the Chamber to spread the word to our members that they have posed daily exercises and activities on their Facebook page for businesses, employees and their families (including activities for children). Check it out at www.facebook.com/ActiveLife.NewGlasgow . Thanks to Shannon and her team at Active Life.
LISTEN FOR CHAMBER MEMBER MESSAGES ON MIX 94.1
As part of the Chamber’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, we are working with Melissa Neumann and the Mix 94.1 advertising staff to bring a series of messages from our member businesses to Pictou County. Although all of our businesses are struggling is some way, we want everyone to know the business community is doing its very best to stay strong and be ready when the time comes to re-start our economy. So tune in and listen each morning. Enjoy!
GREAT COVID-19 RESOURCES AT THE REN
Our Chamber is a partner and supporter of our Pictou County Regional Enterprise Network (REN) and we want to draw you attention to two new resources designed to connect and help our business community during the COVID-19 crisis. One is an interactive new website, www.pictoucounty.com which includes information on a host of business activities. It is unique in that businesses can include their up-to -date information, such as open hours and the availability of a variety of services, like take- out and delivery of meals.
As a companion to the website, the REN has launched a new Facebook page, www.facebook.co/PictouCountyRENCOVID-19. This is another great resource to help all of us to keep informed and keep in touch. Have a look and join in!
KEEPING UP WITH COVID-19
We are all receiving a great deal of information on the status of the COVID-19 crisis and the growing number of government programs to support employers and employees. Our Chamber is posting daily updates on our website. AS well, if you have specific questions or concerns, please get in touch. On the Federal side, Sean Fraser MP has been very helpful to us and we receive daily bulletins from the Province, so we are connected and will do our best to help you.
Jack Kyte
Executive Director
Pictou County Chamber of Commerce
 
A Word from the Chair
To our members, we will be here for you to the best of our abilities and resources.
We are in what seems like perilous times with no end in sight, but don’t panic. Canada, and the world, have been through many disasters, world wars, stock market crashes and pandemics (along with any number of combinations of these) in the past and we have bounced back.
I, myself am a business owner and am working my way through these times as you are, with two new business lines and hundreds of thousands of dollars just recently invested, I know your pain and the stresses you are feeling.
The board and staff at the Chamber are dedicated to helping business through this recent situation. We know that it would be naive to think all businesses will come out unscathed, so we will have to help one another as best we can.
That being said, here are some ideas that may help you in the days ahead:
1)     Don’t panic, I can’t stress this enough. Once you do you’ve lost total control. Stop and take a breath. Take a break from social media from time to time, as there is so much negativity out there. Protect your mental well being. Only share posts that you know come from credible sources, not opinions as facts.
2)     Evaluate what you can do to mitigate your expenses and maintain revenue. This may come in the form of a different business model that may even work into the future, as things recover. Hey maybe there is a better way to run the business! Be open to new ideas.
3)     Mange your cash flow. This is so important during times like this. You will obviously have to operate lean. Reduce as much as possible your variable expenses and work on covering your fixed costs. If you’re an operator and not an accountant, speak with your accountant as soon as possible. They are still taking calls, emails and may be working from home and are still able to help. At the very least, they can be someone to talk to about your situation.
4)     Speak to your bank. I promise, they want you to remain a viable business. All credit unions and banks are ready to help to mitigate the possibility of a cash crunch on your business. You may have to look at moving to interest only and worst-case payment deferral, but this is still better than the alternative of bankruptcy. Remember, if you defer, your monthly interest will be added to your loan principal balance and will be that much more you will have to pay in the future.
5)     If your business is one being forced to close during this crisis, government is rolling out options for you and your employees daily. Check out www.canada.ca and www.chamber.ca for more information. The chamber will also be providing updates as we have them to inform our business community.
We can survive this, and we will prosper in the future. Please contact the Chamber if you have questions. We will help.
Blair van Veld
Chair
Pictou County Chamber of Commerce