COVID-19 Vulnerability Report

Released today, the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council’s (APEC) latest report, commissioned by the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce (ACC), reveals how differences in industry and demographic factors may shape the recovery for the 47 counties and divisions in Atlantic Canada.

Travel-related, customer-facing and commodity-based industries are among the most negatively affected by COVID-19. Rural areas are typically more vulnerable to these economic impacts because of their greater dependence on these industries.

The Atlantic Industry Vulnerability Index used in this report measures the share of the labour force in industries that have been most adversely impacted by COVID-19. There are large differences between counties ranging from 18% to 53%. Yarmouth came in at 41.3% which is high and due to a larger share of the labour force in at-risk industries. The greatest relative risk is its dependence upon the primary (fishing), manufacturing (seafood) and retail industries.


The report also contains dashboards and comparative tables for all counties and divisions in Atlantic Canada, identifying key variables that measure their vulnerability to COVID-19 including health, labour force and long-term structural indicators. When it comes to Yarmouth County the report identifies a number of concerns. 

Labour force vulnerability of the county is rated ‘yellow’, there is a large Indigenous population and median income is low. Both Indigenous and low-income workers are at greater risk from the employment impacts of COVID-19. Health vulnerability is rated ‘yellow’ because the county has a high share of seniors that have a greater health risk from COVID-19. Overall physical and mental health was relatively good pre-pandemic. Long-term economic vulnerability has been rated ‘red’ as a result that  income and education levels are relatively low, and population growth is slow which might impede future growth prospects.

This report is intended to help communities and governments as they develop informed strategies to support their recovery. Further, governments should consider the distinctive aspects of urban and rural areas in their plans to support the recovery of all regions.

Medical Learner Housing Project Getting Underway

New Building to be Constructed to House Medical Residents and Students

(Yarmouth, NS: January 7, 2021) The Board of Directors of Coastal Financial Credit Union with the support of the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce are moving forward with the housing project they have been planning at 30 Vancouver Street, Yarmouth Nova Scotia. After much effort to make the current structure work to address the housing needs of medical learners, the organizations determined that the current building will be replaced by a new facility. 

“The new building will fit very nicely in the neighborhood while complementing the lot and maintaining the current landscaping as much as possible,” says Kerry Muise, Vice-President of the Yarmouth & Area Chamber of Commerce.  She went on to say, “the existing structure is old, and while stately from the outside, the cost of renovating far outweighs the costs of new construction.” They say that another consideration was the ongoing maintenance and operating costs of the building in the long term. 

“I am very pleased with this decision; after months of work, doing our due diligence, we have determined that this is the best decision for the purpose and for our community,” says Rick Doucette, CEO of Coastal Financial Credit Union. The Credit Union, as owner of the property, will largely fund this project. The Chamber will operate the facility helping attract medical residents and students to the area. Doucette says, “I am super excited to now see this project move quickly ahead.”

The Chamber and Credit Union say that addressing housing issues for medical learners is key to assisting recruitment efforts. While several businesses, such as Garian Construction, Co-operators Insurance, and Bramac Plumbing have already donated considerable time and efforts to this project, Muise says, “help from the community will still be needed.”

Demolition is scheduled to take place this month and the drawings for the new building will go to tender soon. The Credit Union has hired Lloyd MacDougall, Certified Project Manager, to oversee this project. Lloyd can be contacted via the Chamber office if companies or individuals wish to contribute to this worthwhile project. 

“Having housing for incoming Resident Doctors and Medical Students is a huge advantage in the recruitment world,” says Rebecca Rose, Community Navigator. Rose says, “this will be a key recruitment tool in the near future.” She said that currently approximately 25% of her time is dedicated to finding housing and a large part of the Community Navigator budget as well. Doucette says, “in addition, this will also free up other rental spaces for local residents and ultimately this is a win-win for everyone and I can’t wait to cut the ribbon at 30 Vancouver Street next fall!”

CCC – 30 Simple Tax Policy Changes

Canadian Chamber reveals 30 simple changes in tax policy to help Canadians and businesses through COVID


(OTTAWA) – December 8, 2020 –After years of calling on the federal government to conduct a full review of the tax system, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce took matters into its own hands to explore tax reform options. Today it revealed the early results.

“Reforming Canada’s tax system can help the economy recover, and our tax panel experts have provided some initial steps that can be taken right now. Canadians and the businesses employing them need our government to build a competitive and growth-focused tax system, because any true recovery must, and inevitably will, be led by business,” said Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

After consultations with a broad mix of Canadians, businesses and tax practitioners on how to harness Canada’s tax system to foster job retention and growth, the Canadian Chamber is sharing what its panel heard  is needed now.

While a more comprehensive report to be published early next year will set out ideas for long-term structural reform, the Canadian Chamber is releasing 30 specific recommendations for the government to enact now to help Canada recover from the pandemic’s impact.

“There are many small, simple actions the federal government can take right now that together will go a long way to helping Canadians and businesses cope with the pandemic’s economic fallout,” said Patrick Gill, Senior Director of Tax and Financial Policy for the Canadian Chamber. “There’s no reason the government can’t use tax policy as a lever to create better business conditions today to spur a faster recovery tomorrow. While it may be still too early to move forward with more far-reaching structural tax reform, Canada  can’t afford to let its tax system keep falling behind its G7 competitors.”

The Chamber’s simple tax reform suggestions to help Canadians and businesses include:

Support Canadians by:

  • Automating filing for simple returns
  • Enhancing the deduction for childcare
  • Simplifying the work-space-in-the-home deduction
  • Improving the use of electronic communications, includingthe broader use of email and permitting documents to be electronically attached to filings.

Support small employers by:

  • Introducing a temporary GST/HST holiday to spur local purchases
  • Demonstrating continued leniency with small business audits during the pandemic
  • Simplifying rules around income-splitting with children
  • Removing tax disincentives that arise on the sale of a small business to family members.

Support large employers by:

  • Processing work-space-in-the-home deductions without a T2200 form
  • Deferring the CRA’s right to collect disputed tax amounts
  • Increasing deductibility on capital expenditures in the year incurred
  • Accelerating the ability to turn tax losses into cash.

“As political leaders consider their next steps to foster recovery and prosperity post COVID-19, they would be well advised to consider the aggregate voices of everyday Canadians, tax experts and business leaders captured in the Canadian Chamber’s independent review,” said Dr. Trevin Stratton, Chief Economist and VP of Policy for the Canadian Chamber.

To review all 30 recommendations, click here.

The roundtables were conducted between August and November 2020, with over 450 participants. A panel of leading tax and business experts helped inform The Canadian Chamber’s tax review process. For more information about the Canadian Chamber’s independent tax review, visit

About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. We do this by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses, decision-makers and peers from across the country, in every sector of the economy and at all levels of government, as well as internationally. We are unapologetic in our support for business and the vital role it plays in building and sustaining our great nation.


For more information, please contact:

Phil Taylor (preferred and fastest response time)

Change in Member Dues

Dear Chamber Members,

This past year has certainly been a roller coaster and we know that 2021 is full of unknowns, but through it all we continue to stand beside you ready to provide assistance and advice. With our partners we have strongly lobbied governments on your behalf to provide programs and assistance that would actually help and we have seen them make meaningful changes based on our advice. We will continue to do this moving forward and I encourage you to reach out to us with suggestions and input as this pandemic continues to play out. 

As we move into 2021 and a new membership year, we saw the opportunity to bring about a change in our membership structure in order to provide more value to you. We are officially moving away from charging based on the number of employees you have as this is an out-dated method. Instead our membership fees will be based on the benefits that you receive. Along with this change we have put in place a small increase in fees, the first time in many years. 

Going forward the Yarmouth & Area Chamber of Commerce will now have six different membership levels for businesses which will be called; basic, essentials, connect, growth, influence and champion. Each of these levels offers a different set of benefits and I encourage you to read the membership brochure to see all of the details. During this transition our current members will be moved into the equivalent new membership level based on what you are paying now. This transition is laid out below.

New Membership Level

Old Membership Level

Basic Fewer than 5 employees
Essentials Between 5 and 20
Connect Between 21 and 50
Growth 51 or more

Our new influence and champion level have no equivalent in our past structure. 

Individual and student memberships will transition to the basic level.

You will see renewal invoices emails come to your email Monday morning. Please keep an eye out. You can pay online and also make changes to your membership levels. If you have any issues with this please reach out.

I know this change will bring about many questions and I invite you to first check out our website and then call or email us with your questions. We have also created a membership FAQ page on our website which we will continue to update with answers to questions we receive.



Rick Allwright

Executive Director

Steaming Forward

A Platform for Growth of Yarmouth County
2020 Municipal Election

The upcoming municipal election provides a key opportunity for the voters of Yarmouth County to set the direction of our community. As a local business organization, the Yarmouth & Area Chamber of Commerce is non-political and non-partisan in nature and does not support any specific candidate(s) in the upcoming election. Our role is to educate our membership and citizens of the region on key issues so that they can make informed decisions.

In order to assist voters, the Chamber seeks to highlight key issues by providing a platform called “Steaming Forward: A Platform for the Growth of Yarmouth County”. This platform is part of the Chamber’s ongoing effort to better our community. It is our hope that candidates will adopt this platform and add their own ideas.

The following issues have been identified by our membership as key in this election:

1. Consider Consolidation of Municipal Units

The most significant issue is the prospect of consolidation of the three municipal units. Maintaining three units has resulted in financial and procedural inefficiencies, poor working relationships between the units and the general inability to reach consensus to move decisions forward. This has also resulted in provincial and federal government frustrations and community confusion.

The Yarmouth & Area Chamber of Commerce implores each member of council to prioritize this task in an open and transparent way and to communicate the implications of consolidation with all citizens. As an organization that represents businesses, we also offer our support in relaying communications. It is also our responsibility to challenge council when businesses and citizens are not receiving information or clarification on the impacts of large organizational change.

2. Asset Development

Of obvious note are the numerous community discussions on the importance in the development of new facilities within the region. Both businesses and citizens understand and desire the significant lifestyle enhancements that come with increases in services and facilities within the area. Businesses recognize the potential to attract more talent.

The membership base of the Yarmouth & Area Chamber of Commerce believes that the three municipal units of Yarmouth County need to work together to come up with a complete asset development plan that will prioritize this work and ensure it is executed in a strategic and timely manner. Councils need to communicate, consult and listen to their citizens.

3. Asset Re-investment

Throughout the region we have a number of infrastructure assets that are approaching their “end of life” and will require significant investment in order to breathe new life into this older infrastructure, most important being the wharves, but also the airport, power grid, water/sewer systems and more. Higher levels of government have a role to play but leadership and planning can and should come from the municipal level. In addition to an asset development plan as noted in point two, a complete plan for the entire county to reinvest in our infrastructure is needed.

4. Attracting Residents

One of the key issues that we continue to face in our business communities is a worker shortage. We constantly hear of businesses that are unable to fill job vacancies. Vacancies range from manual, front-line labourers to executive positions in all industries. Yarmouth is a great place to live and do business in. We need to get that message out there.

The Yarmouth & Area Chamber of Commerce believes that this is not just a role for the municipalities but a team of community organizations, including the Chamber. The Chamber also recognizes that housing availability is a major issue that plays a role in this and many parties need to be engaged on. We also believe that addressing some of our social issues will be possible by focusing on this issue.

5. Economic Diversity

Our region is heavily reliant on fishing and one other key sector. When either one of these experiences any sort of disruption, the ripple effect throughout the region is significant. Continuing with the status quo does not position our region well for the future. We do recognize that this will be a team effort that should include several organizations and higher levels of government.


The Chamber has identified these five key issues from the voice of our membership and the community. “Steaming Forward” as named to capture the essence of the present momentum and push it forcefully ahead to encourage plan, action, and change. We must keep Steaming Forward.