Off-site Levies Explained

There is a lot of confusion around off-site levies and rightly so. Stakeholders, including the Chamber of Commerce, met from April 2012 to June 2013 to review the scope, plans, infrastructure projects, allocations and costs and have gone through continual research and advocacy on the issue since that time. I can appreciate that without extensive involvement in consultations and research, it is a very difficult issue to fully comprehend, however I will attempt to explain it in brief. Read More

AGLC Announces New Liquor and Raffle Ticket Rules

Effective immediately, bars and restaurants area allowed to mix liquor products with ingredients such as spices, herbs and fruit, as well as create house-aged liquor products. Additional changes will allow Albertans to take liquor served at a hotel bar to their rooms or other areas within the hotel.  Other key changes include the ability for Albertans to make their own beer or wine at licensed facilities and then take the product home, residents in seniors lodges can consume their own supply of liquor within rooms and common areas, and guests and performers can enjoy liquor products past the final curtain within the licensed areas of the venue at theatre performances. 

In addition, effective December 1, 2018, changes are coming to the total ticket value for small raffles in Alberta. Charities will see the limit for small raffles increase from $10,000 to $20,000. There will also be a reduction in licensing fees for bingo and pull tickets.

For more information see the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act.

Upcoming Plebiscite Needs Beef Producers Input

 Beef producers in Alberta will have the opportunity to vote on the service charge model used by the Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) until November 13, 2018. All cattle farmers pay the commission a $2.00 provincial service charge on each animal sold. The service charges fund research and marketing on behalf of the industry. Currently, producers can request a full or partial refund of their service charge from the ABP. The Alberta Agricultural Products Marketing Council, the Alberta government agency that oversees the ABP, has announced a plebiscite to gauge producers’ opinion on staying with the current refundable model, or adopting a non-refundable model, where ABP would retain the $2.00 provincial service charge. Those who have paid a service charge within two years of the start of the vote may be eligible to cast their ballot. Read More

Agriculture Financial Services Corporation Increases Lending Limits

Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) is expanding its lending program to offer more assistance to spur on Alberta's growing agriculture industry. Under the new program, agricultural producers can now access up to $15 million to invest in their farms and operations. This is an increase of up to $5 million in the lending limit. AFSC’s new lending programs are designed to help young or new agricultural producers access capital. Current producers will also benefit from AFSC’s revised lending programs to expand or increase their own operations. Entrepreneurs in the agri-food and agribusiness sectors will also have access to new lending programs. More information on AFSC’s new lending programs can be found by visiting, contacting a lending specialist at an AFSC branch office, calling 1.877.899.2372 or emailing [email protected]

Deadline Approaching for Green Power Proposals

The Government of Alberta is seeking proposals for large-scale solar energy providers to meet more than half of its green power needs. A Request for Proposals (RFP) is now open to procure solar power equivalent to about 55 per cent of the government’s annual electricity needs. This will allow the province to replace existing green energy contracts with solar power. Through this RFP, the government is committed to purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) equivalent to 135,000 MWh of solar-generated electricity each year for the next 20 years. That is enough electricity to power 18,750 Alberta homes for a year. The Alberta government anticipates having the solar project contracts in place before spring 2019. The closing date on the RFP is November 8, 2018 and can be viewed on Alberta Purchasing Connections.

Value Added Benefit: Chambers Plan Business Assistance Service

Most small businesses can't afford to have a team of specialists on hand to help deal with unexpected problems that require and expert opinion. The Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan Business Assistance Service (BAS) is designed to fill this gap. This confidential service provides access to professional accounting, counselling, legal and human resource experts who understand the challenges small business owners face. 

Safe Food Regulations Starting Next Year

Food businesses may need a licence to import, export or send food across provincial and territorial borders. They may also need a preventive control plan and traceability records. Find out what requirements will apply to your business when the Safe Food for Canadian Regulations come into force on January 15, 2019. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has interactive tools and timelines to help you. Sign up for My CFIA now so you can apply for the licence when it becomes available here. To learn more about the Safe Food for Canadian Regulations here.

New 2019 Requirements for Bidding on City Projects

A reminder to contractors and service providers! Do you regularly bid on City projects? Make sure you are ready for new health and safety requirements coming in 2019. Beginning January 1, 2019 all contractors will be required to pre-qualify for health and safety through a third party software system called ComplyWorks. The City is offering free training sessions to assist contractors and service providers. There are three sessions to choose from:

  • October 25
  • November 13
  • December 13

All session run from 8 am - 4:30 pm and are being held at the Medicine Hat Police Service Community Boardroom on 2nd Street SE. Click here to register. For more information contact City HSE Coordinator, Jason Wheeler at (403) 529-8340.

Business Beat: Plant Protein is a Strategic Opportunity for Medicine Hat and Region

Beyond Meat, a vegan food company, is preparing for an initial public offering. The company is one of many that is selling a new breed of vegetable-based products designed to mimic the taste and texture of real meat. The company has tapped into strong demand. Since launching the Beyond Burger in 2016, they’ve managed to sell 25 million of the plant-based concoction. The product is so popular, A&W ran out of supply within a month of launching Beyond Burger in Canada. While flexitarian millennial consumers underpin demand for the Beyond Burger, more significant market drivers for plant protein include increased population and affluence in the developing world. The continued rise of China, India and Africa is resulting in increased demand for both plant and animal protein. Read More

Member News: Under The Stars is Under New Ownership

Under The Stars is pleased to transform your day into a magical world with giant games and magical story characters. Let your child experience the wonders of their imagination and help you make lasting memories. Contact them today for events, parties, ideas, props and more!