Essential Links for Business
The current COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly. To keep businesses up-to-date and informed, Economic Development Cowichan (EDC) has compiled the following resources:
- Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
Support for businesses.
- Small Business BC COVID-19 Support Service
Connecting businesses with the resources, and guidance necessary to navigate challenges from COVID-19.
- Vancouver Island Coastal Tourism Resiliency Program
The program provides Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands and Sunshine Coast tourism businesses with meaningful, hands-on guidance and support to navigate the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, adapt and work towards long-term resiliency.
- Digital Economy Restart, Recover, Reimagine Program (DER3)
DER3 provides one-to-one business & technical expertise for companies that need to consider changes to their business models, or action plans to better engage with the digital economy.
Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) Surveys
EDC and community partners are conducting a series of surveys that will assess the progress of economic recovery within the regional district. The results have generated a Cowichan-specific snapshot that can be used to:
• Identify local business needs at a point in time
• Feed into regional economic recovery planning processes
• Allow the CVRD to lobby the Provincial Government on behalf of Cowichan businesses
• Provide data to support the work of local economic development organizations
Results From Survey #2 Are In!
Survey #2 Dates: August 5 to 19, 2020
Results Published: September 1, 2020
Number of Responses: 101
This is the second in a series of surveys that will be launched to assess the progress of economic recovery within the regional district. The results show that the Cowichan economy has experienced a modest improvement since the first survey conducted in May, yet suggests we should not expect to recover to pre-COVID-19 employment and business levels in the foreseeable future. The services sector has been hardest hit, particularly businesses heavily reliant on tourism.
Businesses are responding to the crisis with increased sanitation protocols and reduced operations, while struggling with consumer confidence. Yet, many businesses are innovating, particularly in terms of seeking to engage more in the digital economy, but also with the introduction of new products and services.
Impacts on Business:
- 55% of respondents still reported a decrease in sales volumes from pre-COVID-19 levels (compared with 77% in May)
- The service sector has been more sharply hit (with 58% showing a decrease in the volume of sales), than goods-producing sectors (reporting 33% reporting a decrease in the volume of sales), but all sectors have experienced a negative impact
- Revenue has shifted towards the positive compared with Survey #1, with only 11% of respondents reporting reductions of 75% or more (compared with 62% in May)
- 41% have temporarily or indefinitely shut their doors (compared with 59% in survey #1)
- Only 1% of businesses reported closing their doors permanently to date, however, 10% of businesses are planning to sell their business or close down in the next year, and 19% are planning to reduce the size/scope of their business in the next year
- Counter to this, 12% of businesses plan to expand their business in the next year
- Feelings of mental wellbeing have greatly improved since May, with 80% of respondents feeling Good, Very Good, or Excellent (compared with only 29% reporting positive feelings in May)
- In Survey #2, Cowichan businesses, on average, reported a 10% decrease in full-time employees and a 33% decrease in part-time employees compared with typical staffing levels in July
- 27% of businesses have already returned to pre-COVID-19 levels, 84% expect to reach those levels by 2022, and 17% don’t expect to return to pre-COVID-19 employment levels in the foreseeable future, if ever
- Businesses surveyed reported sanitation (70%), reduced occupancy (36%), and reduced hours/level of service (37%) as some of the changes to their business model that they plan to keep.
- The greatest challenges to recovery were limits to occupancy capacity (39%), challenges in meeting WorkSafe BC requirements and provincial orders (30%), and consumer confidence (28%)
- Respondents reported PPE/sanitation/social distancing measures (24%), expansion into the digital economy (22%), and reduced operating hours (10%) as the biggest changes they have made to ensure the viability of their business
- 63% do not have time for or do not feel they need to engage in business resiliency programs, while 20% are interested in Innovation Island’s DER3 program and 15% in Tourism Vancouver Island’s Resiliency program
- 58% of businesses have increased or want to increase their engagement in the digital economy, and those who have were less likely to see decreases in sales volumes, and to have plans to sell/close/downsize their business in the next year
- 33% of respondents are not using any government support programs and 13% would have used support but did not qualify for any of the available programs
- 43% say they do not know what they plan to do once government support ends
- 11% plan to layoff or terminate employees once government support ends, 7% plan to close their business either temporarily or permanently
Regional Response Suggestions:
- 17% of respondents suggested increased access to government support, and 12% suggested reducing fear and increasing consumer confidence as the most important actions to be coordinated on a regional scale to help with recovery
Please find more detailed results here.
Results From Survey #1
Survey #1 Dates: May 19 to 27, 2020
Results Published: June 16, 2020
Number of Responses: 70
Please find more detailed results here.