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think: forward in times of crisis

To our clients who have been innovating to protect our communities, from all of us here at Stewart McKelvey, we thank you and are proud of your efforts.

As we grapple with the profound impact that this virus has had on the world around us, it has brought tremendous opportunity for innovation, and for many, change that has come at lightning speed. The silver lining of crisis is that it forces us to create rapid yet meaningful change as it turns the way that we work (and conduct business) on its head.

We have seen many businesses step up to the plate with innovative ideas to support our communities. Sobeys, installing plexiglass screens to protect workers and staff, Michelin, stitching hospital scrubs for Nova Scotia hospitals, and The Orb Factory, producing a line of anti-bacterial and hand sanitizing products, to name a few. These are only some examples of the many innovations that are saving lives.

In our own business, one of our main focuses in servicing clients over the past few years has been through practice innovation and innovating the way that we deliver legal services. In times like these, we have been able to service our clients “business as usual” while working remotely by leveraging these investments.

We understand the rapid pace that these innovations must be implemented, and are here to support your business as you pivot into unchartered territory. Some of you may even be looking to reposition your business for success once the economy reopens.

Government programs: We are monitoring the developments in government support programs at all levels and can advise on how you may access these programs to support your business and your workforce. While some provinces begin to open up, the Government of Canada and some Atlantic Provinces continue to seek applications from businesses to produce emergency supplies and services as global demand continues. Details on the requested items and services by the various governments (with applications still open) and innovation-related funding opportunities are noted below.

Government restrictions: We are also monitoring the various COVID-19 restrictions and can advise on how you can open back up efficiently and safely to protect your staff and customers.

Intellectual property and tax issues: With new ideas brings intellectual property issues and tax considerations that you may wish to consider in order to benefit your business and investments in the long-run. Be vigilant in protecting your ideas, even in times of crisis.

Labour and employment considerations: Some innovations may require re-hiring staff that have previously been laid-off or diversifying your workforce as you embrace new innovations and skillsets in your business. You may also be considering a business re-entry plan. We can assist you in navigating these issues.

Innovation-Related Opportunities and Funding

Federal

  • Public Service and Procurement Canada: Applications still open to provide supplies of emergency products and/or innovative ideas to support the COVID-19 response. Click here for more information. Click here to apply. (Deadline: N/A)
  • Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada: Applications still open to provide supplies of emergency products and/or innovative ideas to support the COVID-19 response. Click here for more information. Click here to apply. (Deadline: N/A)
  • CanExport: Canadian small or medium size enterprises, academic institutions, and non-government research centres can access up to $75,000 in funding to establish new R&D collaborations with foreign partners. Eligible expenses (once travel restrictions are lifted) include: travel to meet with a foreign partner abroad or in Canada to formalize an R&D collaboration or contract, travel to meet with foreign investors for investment funds, and legal expenses to formalize R&D contracts. Click here for more information. Request the application package by emailing CanExportInnovation@international.gc.ca. (Deadline: N/A)

Prince Edward Island

  • COVID-19 Business Adaption Advice Program: Providing non-repayable funding for up to $2,500 to entrepreneurs, non-profits, and non-government organizations to access professional advice to adapt or recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Click here to apply. (Deadline: July 31, 2020)
  • Note: The Province of Prince Edward Island is no longer accepting applications to provide emergency supplies.

Nova Scotia

  • Province of Nova Scotia: Application still open to provide supplies of emergency products and/or innovative ideas to support the COVID-19 response. Click here for more information. Click here to apply. (Deadline: N/A)

New Brunswick

  • Province of New Brunswick: Application still open to provide supplies of emergency products to support the COVID-19 response. Click here for more information. Click here to apply. (Deadline: N/A)

Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Various funding programs for research and development. Click here to access the application forms. (Deadline: N/A)
    • The Province of Newfoundland announced on May 5, 2020 that hiring eligibility for commercial Research and Development (R&D) projects will be temporarily increased. Salary support for up to six positions may be considered for eligible commercial R&D projects. The positions may include existing employees, new employees, or a combination of both. This temporary policy pertains to applications approved between April 1 and September 30, 2020.
    • The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador also announced on May 5, 2020 that contribution levels have been temporarily increased for eligible project applications under R&D commercial and Business Development Support. Eligible costs will now be covered up to 75 per cent, up from 50 per cent, for applications approved between April 1 and September 30, 2020. Click here for more information.

This article is provided for general information only. If you have any questions about the above, please contact a member of our Labour and Employment and/or Corporate groups.

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