March 24, 2020

Episode #04: A Local Look a COVID-19 Part One: A Conversation with Mayor Naheed Nenshi about Calgary’s Response to COVID-19

We’re going to get through this. There is a happy ending, but there is a lot of hell between now and then.

Bill Clinton

As of this recording, there have been nearly 500 cases of COVID-19 in Alberta. Over 60% of those are in the Calgary Zone.

On March 15, 2020, the city of Calgary declared a local state of emergency due to the COVID-19 health crisis. Since then, its focus has been on protecting the health, safety and well-being of Calgary citizens and maintaining essential services.

Over the next two episodes, we are taking a closer look at how the city of Calgary is responding to both the health and economic crisis including the specific measures the city has taken to date to protect the health and safety of its citizens, what plans are in place to maintain essential services and ensure business continuity and what role local businesses have in effectively responding to the needs of the people, health care system and the economy overall.

In Part 1 of this series, we are speaking with His Worship Mayor Naheed Nenshi about the measures the city is taking to flatten the curve, his message that clean hands, clear heads and open hearts are vital to get through this, and what businesses can do to support people.

In This Episode:

  • What it means to have clean hands, clear heads, and open hearts
  • How can businesses use their own operations, processes and innovations to support the community and provide the goods and services needed to respond to this situation
  • Specific measures the City is taking to protect Calgarians and maintain essential services

What can those businesses that are able to help do to support people?

  • If you can afford to do, keep paying your employees or top up EI benefits to avoid the ripple effects such as defaulting on rent or other bills
  • Consider corporate philanthropy. Donate to United Way’s COVID-19 Community Relief Fund, a city-wide fundraising effort to support community social service agencies
  • Think about how you can use your own business operations and processes to help develop solutions to our challenges. (E.g. Calgary breweries pivoting to manufacture hand sanitizer)

What specific measures is the City taking to protect people, business and the economy?

  • Making changes to city utility bills so that citizens can pay all, a portion or none of their bills without penalty of interest for April, May and June 2020.
  • For those on a monthly property tax schedule, the provincial portion is deducted, lowering the overall bill.
  • Developing thoughtful and effective solutions to improve cash flow and liquidity to maintain essential services and working with provincial and federal governments to provide a financial backstop

Key Takeaways:

  • This situation is bigger than any one of us; we, across the globe, are in this together. When we get through things, we get through them together.
  • Business have an opportunity to step into a leadership role to use the innovations, process and operations already in place to provide effective and scalable solutions

Useful information

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