[March 19, 2020]
To our valued stakeholders,
First and foremost, the safety, health, and well-being of our staff, families, tenants, customers, suppliers, and investors is top priority for us at Skyline Group of Companies (Skyline).1 It remains at the forefront for myself and the other members of our Executive Leadership Team amid the constant change, and the significant impact on well-being and financial stability, that is resulting from the COVID-19 global outbreak.
Skyline is vigilantly monitoring and evaluating the evolving impact of COVID-19 through daily meetings with our Business Continuity Plan teams.
In addition, we have created an Economic Impact Assessment Committee (the “Committee”) that currently meets daily to discuss the virus’ impact specifically from an investment fund perspective. The Committee is comprised of key leaders within Skyline that bring their respective industry insights to ensure that we are well-positioned to handle the adversity and volatility of the marketplace, and that we maintain stable business operations amid government-imposed restrictions and rapidly changing public sentiment. In essence, the Committee’s objectives are to understand and assess the impact that the changing market conditions pose on Skyline Apartment REIT, Skyline Commercial REIT, Skyline Retail REIT, and Skyline Clean Energy Fund (the “Funds”), and to effectively communicate these assessments and outlooks to our investors through these volatile times.
Despite COVID-19’s significant impact on the economy, and what you may have experienced financially as a result, I encourage you to be resilient and patient through these times while the health industry, governments, and businesses determine their next steps. I believe that the Funds are very well-positioned to endure through this changing economic market and come out at the end even stronger. This being said, temporary down cycles remain a possibility. This risk factor is not unique to Skyline—it is a common risk factor across the Canadian marketplace—but our advantage lies in the strategic continuity plans that Skyline’s property managers, asset managers, and investment managers are taking. These strategies define how the Funds will endure these times.
While many of us experienced the economic crisis of 2008, and are comparing it to the crisis we face today, it is important to recognize that the 2008 economic crisis was caused by the financial/debt markets, whereas today’s economic crisis was caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic. In the case of the current crisis, all businesses are globally united in terms of the risks they face, and the economic pressure they are under. Because of the health-related nature of this crisis, Canada’s federal and provincial governments have stepped forward, committing financial relief to individuals and businesses to preserve the Canadian economy for the future.
We are diligently watching and listening for pre-emptive measurements to control the pandemic, and for further political announcements on financial relief action plans. On March 18, 2020, the federal government announced an $82 billion financial support initiative that represents more than three percent of Canada’s GDP. The purposes of this initiative are to support Canadian businesses and employees to endure the financial impact of the pandemic, and to ensure that Canada’s economy will rebound.
Within this initiative, there are a number of specific areas to which support is being directed; noteworthy areas include:
- Elimination of wait periods for Employment Insurance
- Extension of unemployment benefits beyond Employment Insurance
- Income Support boost through Canada Child Benefit
- Six-month, interest-free moratorium on Student Loan payments
- Extended tax deadlines for personal returns (June 1) and business returns (July 31)
In summary, the announcement of this financial aid is a significant commitment from the government to support the population and to support our economy through these times.
In these turbulent times that are causing uncertainty, I am confident that the stability of the Funds has provided safety and comfort for many. We are still moving forward to close on key acquisitions in respective Funds and raising further investor equity. The Funds continue to build on their solid foundations of geographic and demographic/industry diversification. We believe it is a better time than ever to be invested in the Funds, with their historical stability, and their existence in sectors that are focused on real assets and infrastructure that is not easily affected by the emotional factors affecting the public markets.
We are committed to providing you regular communications on how Skyline and the Funds are navigating through these times. We appreciate your ongoing support of our investment objectives. If you have any questions, please contact the Skyline Wealth team.
Chief Financial Officer
Skyline Group of Companies
1. Skyline Group of Companies is the umbrella term used to generally refer to all associated entities including Skyline Wealth Management Inc. (Skyline Wealth)
Commentary is disseminated by Skyline Wealth Management Inc. (“Skyline Wealth”) on behalf of Skyline Group of Companies as at the date of publication for information purposes only. The opinions and statements expressed by Skyline Group of Companies are their representations and do not necessarily reflect those of Skyline Wealth. Skyline Wealth has not taken any steps to verify the accuracy or completeness of the information provided herein. The opinions and statements expressed within are those of the author.