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 a business resource directory.

EDC and #CowichanStrong are conducting a series of surveys that will be launched over the coming three months to assess the progress of economic recovery within the regional district. Please see results from the first survey below. 

 

To monitor developments regular updates are provided from:

Business Resources

Cowichan COVID-19 Business Survey Results

Results From Survey #1 Are In!

This Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) was undertaken to assess the impact of the COVID-19 event on Cowichan business operations. The research was collectively undertaken by the CVRD and the #cowichanstrong partnership. 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
This is the first in a series of surveys that will be launched over the coming three months to assess the progress of economic recovery within the regional district.

Survey #1 Dates: May 19 to 27, 2020
Results Published: June 16, 2020

Key Findings:

Impacts on Cowichan Businesses

Cowichan Businesses have been sharply impacted by COVID-19.
• 56% have temporarily/indefinitely shut down
• 3% (2) of the 70 businesses surveyed have closed their doors permanently
• 62% seeing revenue reductions of at least 75%, compared with April of 2019
• 54% have reduced staff from pre COVID-19 levels
• 37% experienced disruptions to the supply chain they depend on to operate their business

Business Response

Every business surveyed has changed their business model in some way as a result of COVID-19.
• 30% have incorporated online ordering options
• 24% now offering delivery options
• 19% of businesses were allowing their workers to work remotely

Long-term Changes to Business Model

*Following COVID-19 changes to the business model that businesses intend to keep:
• 33% plan for increased participation in the digital economy/other remote ordering options
• 36% will keep increased sanitation procedures and other health precautions
• 11% expect ongoing challenges related to reduced occupancy

Greatest Challenges for Businesses/Resiliency

The greatest challenges for businesses in returning to regular business operations are:
• Consumer Confidence (32%), Financial (35%), Operational/Health & Safety (57%) *
• 41% identified that they do not have the tools be resilient to future economic shocks

Mental and Physical Wellbeing of Business Owners and Staff

*Business owners identified the ways the event has affected the wellbeing, both mentally and physically, of business owners (and staff). The responses have been summarized.
• 26% either feel exhausted/have no energy/overwhelmed, experience anxiety, or depression
• 31% are either stressed or very stressed, with 3% experiencing stress related illness
• 13% have been severely negatively impacted by the event
• 11% expressed that they or their staff were fearful/worried to resume work
• 29% identify no impact/minimal impact, that they are feeling resilient, or that they “now see the light at the end of the tunnel”

Vision for the Future

* “What is your vision for the community we build together as we emerge from this event?”
• 30% identified the desire to build community coming out of this crisis
• 24% want support for buying locally
• 16% is hoping that public at large will be understanding, compassionate and show kindness to the business community in light of all the struggles all are facing

Please find more detailed results here.

* The themes identified here have been drawn from responses to open ended questions. Every effort has been made to accurately reflect the spirit of the business owners’ responses.

 

General Business Resources
  • Small Business BC launches PPE Marketplace for businesses:
    As we move through the four phases of BC’s Restart Plan and businesses start to reopen and operate, non-medical personal protective equipment – PPE – will play a key role in helping keep us all safe. Small Business BC has created the Non-Medical PPE Marketplace to connect businesses with suppliers of non-medical safety equipment.
  • BC Government extends temporary layoff period during COVID-19: Following conversations with business and worker representatives, the Province of BC has extended the temporary layoffs provisions to a maximum of 24 weeks expiring on August 30, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The extension will give employers and workers additional flexibility to support economic recovery in the province with the expectation that businesses honour their obligations to workers and reach agreement with their employees in the event a further extension is required.
  • BC announces move to Phase 3 of our Restart Plan:
    BC Premier, John Horgan, has announced the move to Phase 3 of BC’s Restart Plan. This will allow businesses and industries such as hotels and resorts, parks, the film industry and select entertainment, like movie theatres to reopen under the guidance of WorkSafe BC. The move to Phase 3 also allows for the safe and respectful return of travel and tourism within the province.
  • Province expands measures to support restaurant, tourism industries:
    The Province has approved a temporary wholesale pricing model that will allow liquor licensees to purchase beer, wine and spirits at reduced cost. This measure will provide much-needed financial support for businesses like restaurants, bars and tourism operators with liquor licences.  It will be in place from the end of July 2020 until March 31, 2021, when the program will be reviewed.
  • Provincial Health Officer Replaces Order Relating to Restaurants and Bars:
    BC’s Provincial Health Officer, announced she has revoked and replaced the most recent health order concerning restaurants and bars. Instead of all establishments operating at 50 per cent capacity, owners and operators will now be required to identify a number for their capacity that allows social distancing to be maintained, while also accounting for patios. Other notable points include:
  • Establishments must state total amount of patrons that can be seated (two metres apart) except for the same party
  • Max party sizes are maintained at six individuals
  • Applies to all license holders – food primary, bar etc.
  • Does not apply to hospitals, care facilities and other settings with cafeteria
  • Government of Canada announces Increased Access to CEBA for Small Businesses:
    Effective Friday, June 19, 2020, applications will be accepted so that more small businesses can access the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). This means that owner-operated small businesses that had been ineligible for the program due their lack of payroll, sole proprietors receiving business income directly, as well as family-owned corporations remunerating in the form of dividends rather than payroll will become eligible this week. To qualify under the expanded eligibility rules, CEBA applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 will need:
  • A business operating account at a participating financial institution;
  • A Canada Revenue Agency business number;
  • A 2018 or 2019 tax return; and
  • Eligible non-deferrable expenses of between $40,000 and $1.5 million.
  • Government of Canada extends CERB:
    The Government of Canada announced it is extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for another eight weeks. CERB now provides taxable payments of $2,000 to Canadians who lost income because of COVID-19 for up to six months.
  • BCRFA – Physical Distancing and Patios:
    BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association guidelines for achieving Provincial Health Officer (PHO) and WorkSafe directives.
  • go2HR COVID-19 Workplace Assessment Tool for Tourism and Hospitality Employers:
    This tool provides tourism and hospitality employers with information to assist in developing a robust COVID-19 Safety Plan. The toolkit includes five key steps, which will help evaluate your current set up in relation to managing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in your workplace, with suggestions on how to improve.
  • Supply Hub – Organizations buying and selling PPE:
    The Government of Canada launched a new web hub to bring together available resources for organizations buying and selling personal protective equipment (PPE). Explore the supply hub for consumer guidance and PPE supplier lists.

  • People Outside Safely Together (POST) Promise Program:
    The Government of Canada has partnered with the People Outside Safely Together Promise program, an initiative launched by Canadian private sector organizations, to help businesses across the country re-open safely. The “Post Promise” is a voluntary commitment that business owners and managers can make by following 5 key public health actions that will help prevent the spread of COVID-19.  By displaying the “Post Promise” logo, participating businesses can reassure customers that they are doing their part to help protect Canadians’ health and safety.

  • Business Re-Open Toolkit:
    Cowichan Strong has designed a Re-Open Toolkit for businesses using the Buy Local Cowichan brand and colors.  The toolkit includes print ready signage templates for occupancy, front entry checklist and social distancing floor stickers.  These templates are free for all local Cowichan businesses to use and can be found on the
    Cowichan Strong website or at local print shops throughout the region. 

  • BC Farm, Fish & Food Job Connector:
    The industry is ramping up for this year’s harvest and employers are facing challenges to fill labour needs. Join us and become a BC Food Hero.  Contribute to BC’s economy and help feed communities across our province and beyond. Learn more about job types and where to apply here.
  • Small Business Relief Fund – Applications Now Open:
    The Canadian Business Resilience Network – Small Business Relief Fund will help 62 small Canadian businesses recover from coast to coast with $10,000 grants to help their recovery efforts during these unprecedented times. Businesses can use the grant funds to support their recovery efforts, including paying salaries, acquiring safety and personal protective equipment for staff, replenishing materials or paying for the measures required to adapt business models to the economic impacts of COVID-19.
  • BC Strengthens Federal Commercial Rent Program:
    BC businesses eligible for rent support from the federal government will be protected from evictions as the BC government issues a new order under the Emergency Program Act (EPA). Eligible businesses whose landlords choose not to apply for the federal CECRA program will be protected from evictions due to unpaid rent payments through to the end of June 2020, as determined by the federal program timelines.
  • Youth Employment and Skills Program: Aimed at creating up to 700 new positions in the agricultural sector for youth ages 15-30. This program provides agriculture employers up to 50% of the cost of hiring a Canadian youth (maximum $14,000).  Indigenous applicants and those hiring a youth facing barriers are eligible for up to 80% funding. Employers can apply on or after May 26, 2020 for their project to be considered.
  • City of Duncan COVID-19 Grant Program:
    Registered businesses with an office in the Cowichan Region can apply for grants of up to $10,000. The grant is to encourage creative thinking by local organizations to design programs and concepts that will support businesses and residents by the pandemic. This opportunity is for programs that would not qualify for provincial or federal funding, or to leverage existing funding. Please see the COVID-19 Grant-In-Aid Application Form for more details.
  • WorkSafeBC announces additional support for employers impacted by COVID-19:
    WorkSafeBC is waiving premiums for employers who are approved to receive the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) for furloughed workers (employees on leave with full or partial pay). This change will be retroactive to the March 15, 2020 start date and continue for the duration of the CEWS program. Eligible employers will need to maintain documentation to identify workers that were furloughed as a result of this provincial health emergency.
  • Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance is Open for Applications:
    Commercial property owners with small business tenants can now apply for CECRA. Under this program, small businesses that have experienced a 70% decline in pre-COVID revenues may be eligible for rent reductions. CECRA offers unsecured, forgivable loans to commercial property owners to reduce rent by 75% for impacted small business owners.  The loans will cover 50% of the monthly gross rent and the remaining 50% would be paid by the property owner and tenant. Property owners must offer a minimum of a 75% rent reduction for the months of April, May, and June 2020. Apply online.
  • Business Resilience Service (BRS) Launches:
    The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has announced the launch of the new Business Resilience Service (BRS). This program allows business owners to connect with experienced business advisors from across Canada for guidance on which government relief programs are most appropriate to apply for, and how to respond and reshape amid uncertain times. For more information check their website.
  • Canada Post Solutions for Small Business Program:
    For a limited time, Canada Post is offering deeper discounts to new and existing Solutions for Small Business customers. This program helps businesses save time on shipping, marketing and e-commerce. Join for free and get instant access to tools and savings that grow your business.
  • Applications for Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Open May 25:
    The Government of Canada has announced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program will open for applications on May 25. Due to expected demand, applications will be staggered.  Click on above link for schedule.
  • Rapid Response Platform – Connecting PPE requests and offerings, as Canada’s #IndustryResponds to COVID-19:
    As Canada’s industries return to work, there is an increased demand for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The Rapid Response Platform automatically matches supply with demand, simplifying supplier discovery during the procurement process. This platform is free-to-use and improves visibility to the real-time supply and demand of COVID-related PPE in Canada, while simplifying the procurement process through automated matching.
  • Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund:
    The fund will support a wide range of agribusiness and agri-food sector enterprises, including companies involved in primary production, agri-tech, manufacturing, packaging, and distribution. To qualify, companies need to demonstrate an impact from an unexpected business disruption, such as the loss of a key supplier, temporary loss of a facility, or permanent loss of critical staff or leadership.
  • Canada Summer Job Bank:
    Jobs are now open to young Canadians aged 15 to 30 who are available for full or part-time work in Canada, for a minimum of six weeks between May 2020 and February 2021.
  • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) extends eligibility:
    The Government of Canada will extend the CEWS by an additional 12 weeks to August 29, 2020. The Government also made regulatory changes to prescribe certain types of organizations in order to extend eligibility for the CEWS to additional groups:
  • Partnerships with One or More Non-Eligible Members
  • Indigenous Government-Owned Businesses
  • Registered Canadian Amateur Athletic Associations
  • Registered Journalism organizations
  • Non-public Educational and Training Institutions.
    In each case, this change is retroactive to April 11, 2020. This means it applies to the first qualifying period starting March 15, 2020 and subsequent qualifying periods.
  • Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB):
    The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) is open to post-secondary students, and recent post-secondary and high school graduates who are unable to find work due to COVID-19. The CESB is for students who do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance (EI). From May to August 2020, the CESB provides a payment to eligible students of $1,250 for each 4-week period, or $2,000 for each 4-week period, if a student has dependents or a disability.
  • Canada Emergency Business Account Expanded:
    The Government of Canada has announced an expansion to the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to include many owner-operated small businesses. This change will mean increased eligibility for sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payrolls.
  • Resources for Women Entrepreneurs During COVID-19:
    The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted women entrepreneurs. It has severely affected sectors such as retail, hospitality and food services—sectors where women entrepreneurs are most present. On top of typically operating smaller businesses and having less access to capital, many women business owners also still bear a disproportionate share of domestic work, caregiving and childcare. That’s why the Government of Canada has created several dedicated resources for women entrepreneurs during COVID-19. Click the link above to view the currently available resources.
  • BC Restaurant and Food Service Association COVID-19 Update May 19, 2020:
    The BCRFSA has designed and developed the following documents to help you with your re-opening and COVID-19 protocols and procedures; Front of House Best Practices, Beverage Service Best Practices, Back of House Best Practices. Click the link above to view/download. BCRFSA will be hosting a zoom call on Thursday, May 21 at 10am to go through the Provincial Health Order, WorkSafeBC protocols and reference/information and tips you’ll find in the above mentioned documents, this will also give you an opportunity for us to answer your questions, if you would like to join in on the zoom meeting here are details; https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89643576445
  • Applications for the BC Agri-Business Planning Program is Now Open:
    Agriculture, seafood, and food processing businesses in British Columbia can begin to access consulting and planning services to help with COVID-19 response and recovery, through a program offered by the federal and provincial governments. BC agriculture, seafood and food processing business owners are encouraged to apply if their revenues have decreased by at least 30% as a result of COVID-19. The funding available includes up to $5,000 in business planning services and coaching for individuals, and up to $20,000 for groups, from a qualified business consultant, to develop an immediate and long-term recovery plan. Eligible applicants may also apply to the specialized business planning stream of the program to further strengthen their business.
  • WorkSafeBC Releases New Industry Guidelines for Re-opening During Phase 2:
    WorkSafeBC published comprehensive resources for businesses thinking about re-opening after May 19. These include:
  • General and industry-specific guidelines for businesses included in Phase 2 of the BC Restart Plan.
  • A COVID-19 Safety Plan development tool to help you create a plan and post it at your worksite.
    WorkSafeBC will not review or approve Safety Plans.  However, they must be posted at the worksite.  During a WorkSafeBC inspection, employers will also be asked about the steps they have taken to protect their workers or to see the plan if it has been developed.
  • Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF):
    Businesses across Western Canada unable to access existing relief measures can shortly apply for funding under Western Economic Diversification Canada’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF). To ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need to see them through the current challenges resulting from COVID-19, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) will provide eligible businesses with interest free repayable funding of up to $1,000,000 under the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF).
  • Buy BC e-commerce funding:
    The Government of BC has committed $300,000 to support agri-businesses. This new stream of funding is now available under the Buy BC Partnership Program to help farmers and food processors adopt e-commerce tools that enhance direct to consumer sales. The program can provide up to $5,000 per applicant on a first-come, first-serve basis until the funding has been fully allocated. The application window will be open on May 15 until May 29.  The project implementation period is June 8 to September 30, 2020.
  • Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF):
    The Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) will provide support to employers with annual revenues of more than $300 million whose credit needs are not being met through conventional financing. The objective of this support is to help protect Canadian jobs, help Canadian businesses weather the current economic downturn, and avoid bankruptcies of otherwise viable firms where possible. This support will not be used to resolve insolvencies or restructure firms, nor will it provide financing to companies that otherwise have the capacity to manage through the crisis. The additional liquidity provided through LEEFF will allow Canada’s largest businesses and their suppliers to remain active during this difficult time, and position them for a rapid economic recovery.
  • Supports for Businesses and Individuals in BC:
    BC Business COVID-19 Support Service is operated by Small Business BC (SSBC) and is a one-stop resource for businesses that have questions about the supports available from the provincial and federal governments, industry and community partners. SBBC advisors are available Monday to Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 1-833-254-4357, [email protected] and live chat. Support is available in several languages.
  • Prime Minister announces agreements to boost wages for essential workers:
    The Government of Canada will provide up to $3 billion in support to increase the wages of low-income essential workers. Each province or territory will determine which workers would be eligible for support, and how much support they will receive.
    BC moves forward with safely restarting province beginning in mid-May:
    BC is currently in Phase 1 of the restart plan. Phase 2, which will begin in mid-May and includes:
  • small social gatherings;
  • a resumption of elective surgeries and regulated health services like physiotherapy, dentistry, chiropractors and in-person counselling;
  • provincial parks open for day use;
  • opening more non-essential businesses in keeping with safe operations plans;
  • recalling the provincial legislature for regular sittings.
  • Government of Canada Announces Supports for Agricultural Businesses:
    The Prime Minister announced important measures within agriculture programs and an investment of more than $252 million to support farmers, food businesses, and food processors who provide essential services to Canadians every day by ensuring a safe and reliable food supply. He also announced that the government intends to propose an additional $200 million in borrowing capacity for the sector.
  • Canadian Hospitality Worker Relief Fund:
    CHWRF will be providing $500 one-time grants to eligible hospitality workers on a first-come, first served basis. Applications open May 6, 2020 for workers in the restaurant and hospitality industry, including delivery people, who have been adversely impacted by the pandemic financially through a decrease in wages or loss of employment. This one-time grant is intended to help with your day-to-day expenses like groceries, utility bills, rent or mortgage, and/or medical assistance. Grants will be awarded to individuals who meet the eligibility criteria, until all funds have been distributed. Read more about the Fund here.
  • Temporary layoffs relating to the COVID-19 pandemic can be extended to 16 weeks:
    Now, temporary layoffs relating to the COVID-19 pandemic can be extended to 16 weeks. This change to the Employment Standards Act aligns B.C.’s temporary layoff provisions with the federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit period. The federal period provides 16 weeks of financial support, allowing employees to take full advantage of those benefits.
  • Futurpreneur to cover loan payments for six-months and provide top up loans:
    Futurpreneur, with funding from the Government of Canada, will cover payments for six months on loans disbursed prior to April 1, 2020 and will also offer eligible existing clients top-up loans of up to $10,000
  • BC Emergency Benefit for Workers application now open:
    As of May 1, workers in BC who are receiving Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) can apply for additional financial support from the BC government. This benefit comes as a one-time $1,000 payment that is tax free.  It will only be issued by direct deposit, so make sure you have your direct deposit information before you apply.
  • Province supports local governments to hold public hearings electronically: The Province is continuing to support local governments by allowing them to hold public hearings electronically during the current provincial state of emergency. Public input is an essential part of land-use decision-making and construction and development activities are expected to be a key part of B.C.’s recovery efforts.
  • License renewal fees deferred for liquor licensees:
    The Province has temporarily deferred renewal fees for those liquor licensees experiencing financial hardship due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
  • CFIB – Request Letter Template for Qualified Tenants: Canadian Federation of Independent Business has prepared a template letter for qualified tenants to ask their landlords to offer the 75% rent reduction. They also have a template for landlords to offer this much needed relief to their tenants.
  • CMHC has released more details on CECRA for small businesses: Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses provides much needed relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. It offers forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners so that they can reduce the rent owed by their impacted small business tenants by at least 75% for the months of April, May and June, 2020. More information is now available on “how the program works” and “who is eligible to apply”. Program details including how funds will be disbursed and how to apply are being finalized and will be available soon. Complete the form to be notified when more details are available.
  • BC government is deferring one of the fees it charges to help people, communities and forest companies navigate through COVID-19 crisis:
    Stumpage, the fee operators pay the Province to harvest, buy or sell trees from Crown land, is being deferred for three months. The deferral with interest is available to Tree Farm Licence, Replaceable Forest Licence and First Nations’ Woodlands Licence holders who are in good financial standing with the Province. They also must be following through on their reforesting obligations.
  • New Community Futures COVID Resources Page
    In order to assist rural small businesses with the challenges and uncertainties associated with COVID-19, Community Futures BC has curated a roster of business-related resources and supports available.
  • BC Museums Association to Launch BCMA Resilience Grants for Museums, Art Galleries, and Cultural Heritage Organizations
    The BC Museums Association (BCMA), with support of the BC government is launching a new micro-grant program to help museums, art galleries, heritage organizations, and Indigenous cultural centres across the province during the COVID-19 shutdowns.  This program will provide one-time micro-grants of either $2,000 or $4,000 to cultural organizations in financial need.  Applications to the BCMA Resilience Grants will open April 27, 2020 and organizations will be able to assess their eligibility and submit a short application through the BCMA’s website here.
  • London Drugs wants to help local small business owners sell their products
    London Drugs is offering up shelf space in select stores to local small businesses who have had to close their doors due to COVID-19. Beginning April 28, 2000 small businesses in Western Canada are welcome to submit products for consideration.
  • The Digital Economy Response Program (DER3)
    DER3 is a free service supported by Island Coastal Economic Trust and powered by Innovation Island Technology Association. The program is open to individuals or businesses living or working on Vancouver Island, north of the Malahat, on the Sunshine Coast, or Gulf Islands. DER3 offers one-to-one business and technical consultations for businesses that are considering entering or expanding their online presence or putting technology-based tools in place to better serve their needs. When required, the program will also match businesses with regional service providers who can deliver contracted solutions.
  • BC Emergency Benefit for Workers opens for applications May 1
    The BC government has announced applications for the BC Emergency Benefit for Workers will open May 1.  This one-time, $1,000 payment is designed to support BC residents whose ability to work has been impacted by COVID-19.
  • Canada Employment Wage Subsidy opens for applications April 27
    The Government of Canada has opened applications for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program, a 75% temporary wage subsidy for business impacted by COVID-19.  The first payments are expected to be processed on May 7. Employers can apply for the CEWS through My Business Account or through the CRA’s online application portal, and their representatives can apply through Represent a Client.
  • Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses
    The federal government has reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This program will lower rent by 75% for small businesses, not-for profits and charities that have experienced hardship during April, May and June.  The program will be administered through landlords who enter into an agreement with their tenants to lower rents by 75%. The federal and provincial government will cost share 50% of the cost through a forgivable loan to landlords, while landlords cover the remaining 25%.
    Eligibility: Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations OR have experienced at least a 70% drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues.  This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.
    It is expected CECRA will be operational by mid-May.
  • BC Companies, Societies and Cooperatives now able to meet electronically
    Announced April 22, a temporary change under the Emergency Program Act will allow electronic meetings during the Province’s state of emergency.  The order helps corporations hold annual or special general meetings, in accordance with the provincial health officer’s order against gatherings of more than 50 people.
  • Canada Emergency Student Benefit Proposed April 22 this benefit would support post-secondary students and recent graduates who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. The benefit would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students or $1,750 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities.  The benefit would be available from May to August 2020.
  • Canada Student Service Grant
    Will help students gain valuable work experience and skills while they help their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. For students who choose to do national service and serve their communities, the grant will provide up to $5,000 for their education in the fall.
  • BC Hydro online application for Small Businesses now open
    If you own a small business that needed to close due to COVID-19 measures, you may be eligible to have your business’ electricity use charges waived for up to three months.  To have your charges waived, you need to apply for the program and be approved.  If you’re approved, the charges will be automatically waived from your account.
  • Canada Employment Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Calculator announced for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program. Businesses can begin applying for CEWS effective Monday, April 27, 2020. When a business applies it will be asked to enter amounts such as the number of eligible employees and gross payroll. To get ready for the Monday launch, businesses can use the new calculator to determine these amounts and preview its subsidy claim now, based on information that is entered. The calculator is a tool for businesses to estimate the amount of their wage subsidy.
  • Community Futures network will receive $287 million in funding to support rural businesses and those that may not have existing relationships with financial institutions.
  • Regional Development Agencies will receive $675 million in funding to support tech start ups that have not qualified for the federal emergency programs such as the 75 percent wage subsidy and emergency business loans.
  • Aboriginal Financial Institutions will receive up to $306.8 million in funding to support and help small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses. The funding will allow short-term, interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions through Aboriginal Financial Institutions, which offer financing and business support services to First Nations, Inuit, and Metis businesses.
  • Futurepreneur Canada, which offers funding and mentorship to aspiring business owners aged 18 to 39, will receive $20.1 million so it can provide payment relief to its clients for up to 12 months.
  • Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), a long-running National Research Council effort that helps small and medium-sized businesses build their innovation capacity and bring ideas to market. The federal government is funding $250 million to assist innovative early-stage companies that can’t access existing business support. To register your interest in the IRAP Innovation Assitance Program, click here.
  • Farm Credit Canada will receive an additional $5 billion in lending capacity to producers, agribusineses and food processors. The goal is to help keep farmers and processors deal with cashflow problems and lost sales, respectively.
  • New Ventures BC Grants: Innovative initiatives support BC businesses + students. Get up to $10,000 a year to hire a student. The program has been extended and is now open to all BC companies (not just tech companies).  Grants available for May 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. The ISI Grant program provides flexibility regarding start times, end dates, and payout (so log as they meet the $1000 minimum).  Lower payouts will be considered as well, depending on circumstances.  With this grant, you may hire a student who is working from home/remotely.  If your company is facing hardship due to COVID-19 and can’t meet certain eligibility requirements, please email us.  We are here to support you and will provide exceptions on a case-by-case basis. For more information visit newventuresbc.com/accelerate/isi/
  • BC Government Reduces Commercial Property Tax for Businesses
    The BC government has announced it is reducing most commercial property tax bills by an average of 25 per cent.  This significant step will further reduce the school property tax rate for commercial properties to achieve an average 25% reduction in the total property tax bill for most businesses, providing up to $700 million in relief. This enhances the 50% reduction to the provincial school property tax rate that was originally announced for classes 4, 5, and 6 as part of B.C.’s COVID-19 Action Plan.
  • COMING: Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses.
    The program will seek to provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. Implementation of the program will require a partnership between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships. We are working with the provinces and territories to increase rent support for businesses that are most impacted by the pandemic and we will have more details to share soon.
Business Funding and Assistance Programs
  • Government of Canada announces Increased Access to CEBA for Small Businesses:
    Effective Friday, June 19, 2020, applications will be accepted so that more small businesses can access the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). This means that owner-operated small businesses that had been ineligible for the program due their lack of payroll, sole proprietors receiving business income directly, as well as family-owned corporations remunerating in the form of dividends rather than payroll will become eligible this week. To qualify under the expanded eligibility rules, CEBA applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 will need:
  • A business operating account at a participating financial institution;
  • A Canada Revenue Agency business number;
  • A 2018 or 2019 tax return; and
  • Eligible non-deferrable expenses of between $40,000 and $1.5 million.
  • Small Business Relief Fund – Applications Now Open:
    The Canadian Business Resilience Network – Small Business Relief Fund will help 62 small Canadian businesses recover from coast to coast with $10,000 grants to help their recovery efforts during these unprecedented times. Businesses can use the grant funds to support their recovery efforts, including paying salaries, acquiring safety and personal protective equipment for staff, replenishing materials or paying for the measures required to adapt business models to the economic impacts of COVID-19.
  • WorkSafeBC announces additional support for employers impacted by COVID-19:
    WorkSafeBC is waiving premiums for employers who are approved to receive the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) for furloughed workers (employees on leave with full or partial pay). This change will be retroactive to the March 15, 2020 start date and continue for the duration of the CEWS program. Eligible employers will need to maintain documentation to identify workers that were furloughed as a result of this provincial health emergency.
  • Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance is Open for Applications:
    Commercial property owners with small business tenants can now apply for CECRA. Under this program, small businesses that have experienced a 70% decline in pre-COVID revenues may be eligible for rent reductions. CECRA offers unsecured, forgivable loans to commercial property owners to reduce rent by 75% for impacted small business owners.  The loans will cover 50% of the monthly gross rent and the remaining 50% would be paid by the property owner and tenant. Property owners must offer a minimum of a 75% rent reduction for the months of April, May, and June 2020. Apply online.
  • Business Resilience Service (BRS) Launches:
    The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has announced the launch of the new Business Resilience Service (BRS). This program allows business owners to connect with experienced business advisors from across Canada for guidance on which government relief programs are most appropriate to apply for, and how to respond and reshape amid uncertain times. For more information check their website.
  • Canada Emergency Business Account Expanded:
    The Government of Canada has announced an expansion to the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to include many owner-operated small businesses. This change will mean increased eligibility for sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payrolls.
  • Resources for Women Entrepreneurs During COVID-19:
    The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted women entrepreneurs. It has severely affected sectors such as retail, hospitality and food services—sectors where women entrepreneurs are most present. On top of typically operating smaller businesses and having less access to capital, many women business owners also still bear a disproportionate share of domestic work, caregiving and childcare. That’s why the Government of Canada has created several dedicated resources for women entrepreneurs during COVID-19. Click the link above to view the currently available resources.
  • Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF):
    Businesses across Western Canada unable to access existing relief measures can shortly apply for funding under Western Economic Diversification Canada’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF). To ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need to see them through the current challenges resulting from COVID-19, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) will provide eligible businesses with interest free repayable funding of up to $1,000,000 under the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF).
  • Buy BC e-commerce funding:
    The Government of BC has committed $300,000 to support agri-businesses. This new stream of funding is now available under the Buy BC Partnership Program to help farmers and food processors adopt e-commerce tools that enhance direct to consumer sales. The program can provide up to $5,000 per applicant on a first-come, first-serve basis until the funding has been fully allocated. The application window will be open on May 15 until May 29.  The project implementation period is June 8 to September 30, 2020.
  • Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF):
    The Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) will provide support to employers with annual revenues of more than $300 million whose credit needs are not being met through conventional financing. The objective of this support is to help protect Canadian jobs, help Canadian businesses weather the current economic downturn, and avoid bankruptcies of otherwise viable firms where possible. This support will not be used to resolve insolvencies or restructure firms, nor will it provide financing to companies that otherwise have the capacity to manage through the crisis. The additional liquidity provided through LEEFF will allow Canada’s largest businesses and their suppliers to remain active during this difficult time, and position them for a rapid economic recovery.
  • New Community Futures COVID Resources Page
    In order to assist rural small businesses with the challenges and uncertainties associated with COVID-19, Community Futures BC has curated a roster of business-related resources and supports available.
  • Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
    The new CEBA will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced. To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019. Business owners can apply for support from the CEBA through their banks and credit unions.
  • Business Funding Assessment Tool
    Tailored survey to help determine finance eligibility
  • Facebook Small Business Grants
    Facebook has launched this grant opportunity to assist small businesses in over 30 countries where they operate.
  • Business Development Bank of Canada:
  • Purchase order financing
  • Exporter Financing
    Export Development Canada (EDC) utilized the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to support export companies in Canada.EDC Update 27 March: New domestic mandate enhances EDC’s role in supporting all Canadian businesses through COVID-19 crisis
  • Farm Credit Canada (FCC)
    Information and support specifically for Agricultural and Food Industries businesses
  • Tourism Operators
    Support from Regional Development Agencies tailored to tourism operators and businesses (Government of Canada, Innovation Canada)
Business Planning Resources
Employer Resources
  • BC Government extends temporary layoff period during COVID-19: Following conversations with business and worker representatives, the Province of BC has extended the temporary layoffs provisions to a maximum of 24 weeks expiring on August 30, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The extension will give employers and workers additional flexibility to support economic recovery in the province with the expectation that businesses honour their obligations to workers and reach agreement with their employees in the event a further extension is required.
  • Youth Employment and Skills Program:
    Aimed at creating up to 700 new positions in the agricultural sector for youth ages 15-30. This program provides agriculture employers up to 50% of the cost of hiring a Canadian youth (maximum $14,000).  Indigenous applicants and those hiring a youth facing barriers are eligible for up to 80% funding. Employers can apply on or after May 26, 2020 for their project to be considered.
  • Changes to Employment Insurance (EI)
    Employment and Social Development Canada
Relief for Businesses
  • BC Strengthens Federal Commercial Rent Program:
    BC businesses eligible for rent support from the federal government will be protected from evictions as the BC government issues a new order under the Emergency Program Act (EPA). Eligible businesses whose landlords choose not to apply for the federal CECRA program will be protected from evictions due to unpaid rent payments through to the end of June 2020, as determined by the federal program timelines.
  • Canada Post Solutions for Small Business Program:
    For a limited time, Canada Post is offering deeper discounts to new and existing Solutions for Small Business customers. This program helps businesses save time on shipping, marketing and e-commerce. Join for free and get instant access to tools and savings that grow your business.
  • Applications for Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Open May 25:
    The Government of Canada has announced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program will open for applications on May 25. Due to expected demand, applications will be staggered.  Click on above link for schedule.
  • CMHC has released more details on CECRA for small businesses: Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses provides much needed relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. It offers forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners so that they can reduce the rent owed by their impacted small business tenants by at least 75% for the months of April, May and June, 2020. More information is now available on “how the program works” and “who is eligible to apply”. Program details including how funds will be disbursed and how to apply are being finalized and will be available soon. Complete the form to be notified when more details are available.
  • CFIB – Request Letter Template for Qualified Tenants: Canadian Federation of Independent Business has prepared a template letter for qualified tenants to ask their landlords to offer the 75% rent reduction. They also have a template for landlords to offer this much needed relief to their tenants.
  • Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses
    The federal government has reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This program will lower rent by 75% for small businesses, not-for profits and charities that have experienced hardship during April, May and June.  The program will be administered through landlords who enter into an agreement with their tenants to lower rents by 75%. The federal and provincial government will cost share 50% of the cost through a forgivable loan to landlords, while landlords cover the remaining 25%.
    Eligibility: Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations OR have experienced at least a 70% drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues.  This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.
    It is expected CECRA will be operational by mid-May.
  • COMING: Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses.
    The program will seek to provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. Implementation of the program will require a partnership between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships. We are working with the provinces and territories to increase rent support for businesses that are most impacted by the pandemic and we will have more details to share soon.
  • BC Hydro online application for Small Businesses now open
    If you own a small business that needed to close due to COVID-19 measures, you may be eligible to have your business’ electricity use charges waived for up to three months.  To have your charges waived, you need to apply for the program and be approved.  If you’re approved, the charges will be automatically waived from your account.
  • BC Government Reduces Commercial Property Tax for Businesses
    The BC government has announced it is reducing most commercial property tax bills by an average of 25 per cent.  This significant step will further reduce the school property tax rate for commercial properties to achieve an average 25% reduction in the total property tax bill for most businesses, providing up to $700 million in relief. This enhances the 50% reduction to the provincial school property tax rate that was originally announced for classes 4, 5, and 6 as part of B.C.’s COVID-19 Action Plan.
    FortisBC COVID-19 Customer Recovery Fund
    Small businesses that have experienced income loss or been forced to close as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, can receive assistance.
  • BC Hydro relief on Power Bills
    Small busineses that have been forced to close due to COVID-19 will have their power bills forgiven for three months from April to June 2020. Major industries, like pulp and paper mills and mines, will have the opportunity to defer 50% of their bill payments for three months.
  • Tax deferrals and property tax relief
    The provincial government is extending tax filing and payment deadlines to September 30, 2020. (BC Chamber of Commerce)
  • Canadian banks cutting credit card interest for some clients due to COVID-19
    CTV News, published Friday, April 3, 2020
  • Mortgage Payment Deferral – Mortgage Lenders’ COVID-19 Announcements
    Links for more information from some of the largest mortgage lenders in the country.
Industry Specific Resources
  • BC Farm, Fish & Food Job Connector:
    The industry is ramping up for this year’s harvest and employers are facing challenges to fill labour needs. Join us and become a BC Food Hero.  Contribute to BC’s economy and help feed communities across our province and beyond. Learn more about job types and where to apply here.
  • Youth Employment and Skills Program: Aimed at creating up to 700 new positions in the agricultural sector for youth ages 15-30. This program provides agriculture employers up to 50% of the cost of hiring a Canadian youth (maximum $14,000).  Indigenous applicants and those hiring a youth facing barriers are eligible for up to 80% funding. Employers can apply on or after May 26, 2020 for their project to be considered.
  • Hazelnut Renewal Program Open for Applications:
    This program provides funding to remove infected trees to mitigate the spread of Eastern Filbert Blight and to incentivize the planting of new disease-resistant hazelnut trees in BC. They are accepting applications from May 27, to September 15, 2020 for fall planting/removal. For complete eligibility criteria, including a list of resistant EFB Hazelnut varieties, please consult the 2020/21 BC Hazelnut Renewal Program Requirements.
  • Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund:
    The fund will support a wide range of agribusiness and agri-food sector enterprises, including companies involved in primary production, agri-tech, manufacturing, packaging, and distribution. To qualify, companies need to demonstrate an impact from an unexpected business disruption, such as the loss of a key supplier, temporary loss of a facility, or permanent loss of critical staff or leadership.
  • Applications for the BC Agri-Business Planning Program is Now Open:
    Agriculture, seafood, and food processing businesses in British Columbia can begin to access consulting and planning services to help with COVID-19 response and recovery, through a program offered by the federal and provincial governments. The latest intake of the BC Agri-Business Planning Program is open to applications and has been expanded to include aquaculture and seafood companies in developing COVID-19 business recovery plans. BC agriculture, seafood and food processing business owners are encouraged to apply if their revenues have decreased by at least 30% as a result of COVID-19. The funding available includes up to $5,000 in business planning services and coaching for individuals, and up to $20,000 for groups, from a qualified business consultant, to develop an immediate and long-term recovery plan. Eligible applicants may also apply to the specialized business planning stream of the program to further strengthen their business.
  • WorkSafeBC Guidelines Support Safe Reopening of Businesses:
    WorkSafeBC has released industry specific guidelines and resources for the following sectors:
  • restaurants, cafes and pubs
  • salons and personal service
  • museums, art galleries and libraries, real estate
  • education
  • health services
  • retail
  • in-person counselling
  • parks and outdoor spaces
  • office space
    Businesses in all sectors are required to use these guidelines and resources to develop their COVID-19 safety plans and post those plans for employees and customers as they resume operations. Additionally, businesses in sectors under health orders limiting service (such as restaurants, pubs, salons and personal services) will not be able to open until those orders are lifted or modified.
  • Government of Canada Announces Supports for Agricultural Businesses:
    The Prime Minister announced important measures within agriculture programs and an investment of more than $252 million to support farmers, food businesses, and food processors who provide essential services to Canadians every day by ensuring a safe and reliable food supply. He also announced that the government intends to propose an additional $200 million in borrowing capacity for the sector.
  • Canadian Hospitality Worker Relief Fund:
    CHWRF will be providing $500 one-time grants to eligible hospitality workers on a first-come, first served basis. Applications open May 6, 2020 for workers in the restaurant and hospitality industry, including delivery people, who have been adversely impacted by the pandemic financially through a decrease in wages or loss of employment. This one-time grant is intended to help with your day-to-day expenses like groceries, utility bills, rent or mortgage, and/or medical assistance. Grants will be awarded to individuals who meet the eligibility criteria, until all funds have been distributed. Read more about the Fund here.
  • Indigenous Business Survey:
    Help us understand the needs of Indigenous Business. This survey is conducted by the Indigenous Business COVID-19 Response Task Force.
  • BC government is deferring one of the fees it charges to help people, communities and forest companies navigate through COVID-19 crisis:
    Stumpage, the fee operators pay the Province to harvest, buy or sell trees from Crown land, is being deferred for three months. The deferral with interest is available to Tree Farm Licence, Replaceable Forest Licence and First Nations’ Woodlands Licence holders who are in good financial standing with the Province. They also must be following through on their reforesting obligations.
  • London Drugs wants to help local small business owners sell their products
    London Drugs is offering up shelf space in select stores to local small businesses who have had to close their doors due to COVID-19. Beginning April 28, 2000 small businesses in Western Canada are welcome to submit products for consideration.
  • Tech Co-op Grants Program
    Need talent?  Get up to $20,000 per year in funding to hire co-op students.  Innovate BC’s grant program is open to tech based companies and non-tech organizations looking to grow their innovation footprint.  Visit here for program eligibility.
  • Tourism Sector Survey
    The Tourism Industry Association Canada and Destination Canada are working with the federal government to understand impacts on the tourism sector in the face of COVID-19. To help understand the sectors needs once public health restrictions start to relax and market activity resumes, businesses in the tourism sector are encouraged to complete a brief survey.
  • The Digital Economy Response Program (DER3)
    DER3 is a free service supported by Island Coastal Economic Trust and powered by Innovation Island Technology Association. The program is open to individuals or businesses living or working on Vancouver Island, north of the Malahat, on the Sunshine Coast, or Gulf Islands. DER3 offers one-to-one business and technical consultations for businesses that are considering entering or expanding their online presence or putting technology-based tools in place to better serve their needs. When required, the program will also match businesses with regional service providers who can deliver contracted solutions.
  • Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada Opens Applications for Development Stimulus Fund
    This program will assist in providing relief for Canadian Indigenous tourism businesses impacted by travel restrictions and loss of revenue due to COVID-19. Eligibility is restricted to Canadian Indigenous tourism businesses who are at least 51% owned by Indigenous entrepreneurs, communities or economic development organizations. Deadline for applications is 5:00pm PDT, April 30, 2020.
  • Farm Credit Canada will receive an additional $5 billion in lending capacity to producers, agribusineses and food processors. The goal is to help keep farmers and processors deal with cashflow problems and lost sales, respectively.
  • $50M fund looks to help defray costs of quarantine for temporary foreign workers
    Farmers, fish processors eligible for $1,500 per employee to cover costs of mandatory 14-day self-isolation
  • BC Tech Association Weekly, Virtual Town Halls
    Weekly 30 minute COVID-19 Q&A with BC Tech Association CEO, Jill Tipping.
  • Vancouver Island Coastal Resiliency Tourism Program
    The program will provide Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast tourism businesses with hands-on help and support as they navigate the current COVID-19 crisis, through to their eventual recovery post pandemic.
  • COMING: Digital Economy Response Program (DER3)
    This program will provide personalized technical and industry expertise to enterprises ready to adapt their business models to the digital economy. More info to come when the program is launched in early April.
  • BC Forestry Safety Council COVID-19 Resources
  • Vancouver Island Construction Association COVID-19 Resources
  • CVRD accepting Building permit and Development applications April 6, 2020
  • BC Food Restaurant & Food Services Association – Navigating COVID-19
  • Retail Council of Canada COVID-19 Resources
Manufacturers: Call to Action
Business Recovery
  • BC announces move to Phase 3 of our Restart Plan:
    BC Premier, John Horgan, has announced the move to Phase 3 of BC’s Restart Plan. This will allow businesses and industries such as hotels and resorts, parks, the film industry and select entertainment, like movie theatres to reopen under the guidance of WorkSafe BC. The move to Phase 3 also allows for the safe and respectful return of travel and tourism within the province.
  • Small Business BC launches PPE Marketplace for businesses:
    As we move through the four phases of BC’s Restart Plan and businesses start to reopen and operate, non-medical personal protective equipment – PPE – will play a key role in helping keep us all safe. Small Business BC has created the Non-Medical PPE Marketplace to connect businesses with suppliers of non-medical safety equipment.
  • Province expands measures to support restaurant, tourism industries:
    The Province has approved a temporary wholesale pricing model that will allow liquor licensees to purchase beer, wine and spirits at reduced cost. This measure will provide much-needed financial support for businesses like restaurants, bars and tourism operators with liquor licences.  It will be in place from the end of July 2020 until March 31, 2021, when the program will be reviewed.
  • BCRFA – Physical Distancing and Patios:
    BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association guidelines for achieving Provincial Health Officer (PHO) and WorkSafe directives.
  • Provincial Health Officer Replaces Order Relating to Restaurants and Bars:
    BC’s Provincial Health Officer, announced she has revoked and replaced the most recent health order concerning restaurants and bars. Instead of all establishments operating at 50 per cent capacity, owners and operators will now be required to identify a number for their capacity that allows social distancing to be maintained, while also accounting for patios. Other notable points include:
  • Establishments must state total amount of patrons that can be seated (two metres apart) except for the same party
  • Max party sizes are maintained at six individuals
  • Applies to all license holders – food primary, bar etc.
  • Does not apply to hospitals, care facilities and other settings with cafeteria
  • go2HR COVID-19 Workplace Assessment Tool for Tourism and Hospitality Employers:
    This tool provides tourism and hospitality employers with information to assist in developing a robust COVID-19 Safety Plan. The toolkit includes five key steps, which will help evaluate your current set up in relation to managing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in your workplace, with suggestions on how to improve.
  • Health and safety guidance for employers and workers:
    Free tip sheets for employers and workers, to help workplaces operate safely.  They cover a range of sectors, including construction, health care, retail and restaurants.

  • Supply Hub – Organizations buying and selling PPE:
    The Government of Canada launched a new web hub to bring together available resources for organizations buying and selling personal protective equipment (PPE). Explore the supply hub for consumer guidance and PPE supplier lists.

  • People Outside Safely Together (POST) Promise Program:
    The Government of Canada has partnered with the People Outside Safely Together Promise program, an initiative launched by Canadian private sector organizations, to help businesses across the country re-open safely. The “Post Promise” is a voluntary commitment that business owners and managers can make by following 5 key public health actions that will help prevent the spread of COVID-19.  By displaying the “Post Promise” logo, participating businesses can reassure customers that they are doing their part to help protect Canadians’ health and safety.

  • Business Re-Open Toolkit:
    Cowichan Strong has designed a Re-Open Toolkit for businesses using the Buy Local Cowichan brand and colors.  The toolkit includes print ready signage templates for occupancy, front entry checklist and social distancing floor stickers.  These templates are free for all local Cowichan businesses to use and can be found on the
    Cowichan Strong website or at local print shops throughout the region.

  • WorkSafeBC – Inspections during the COVID-19 pandemic: Frequently asked questions for employers: These frequently asked questions (FAQs) outline what you can expect from a WorkSafeBC inspection during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • BCFRA Restaurant Re-Opening Operator Checklist:
    Building a new normal for hospitality in BC by taking visible steps to ensure the health and safety of staff and guests.
  • BC Ale Trail – The New Normal at Brewery Tasting Rooms:
    A look at what the rules are and what the experience will be like as BC relaxes some of the restrictions around public interaction.
  • CFIB Back to Business Kit:
    The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is offering a free Back to Business kit to guide you through the process of re-opening your business.
  • How to Create a Safety Plan for Re-Opening:
    Assess business readiness for re-opening and minimize risk.
  • Industry Resources for Re-Opening:
    Links to resources and guidance to specific industries.
  • Best Practices for Re-Opening your Business–WorkSafeBC:
    Advice for re-opening your business and keeping staff safe.
  • Temporary Expanded Service Area Authorization:
    Policy Directive 20-13 Permits food primary, liquor primary and manufacturer licensees to temporarily expand their service areas until October 31, 2020 at no charge.
  • Rapid Response Platform – Connecting PPE requests and offerings, as Canada’s #IndustryResponds to COVID-19:
    As Canada’s industries return to work, there is an increased demand for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The Rapid Response Platform automatically matches supply with demand, simplifying supplier discovery during the procurement process. This platform is free-to-use and improves visibility to the real-time supply and demand of COVID-related PPE in Canada, while simplifying the procurement process through automated matching.
  • BCEDA Releases Business Operational Plan Template:
    The BC Economic Development Association has provided a tool that will help you to get started developing an operational plan for your BC business/service. The purpose of Operational Plan template is for your business/service to develop a plan to address public health measures during the COVID-19 recovery in BC. The template is for general guidance only to assist you in the development of a more comprehensive plan. Details and additional resources for your specific industry should be referred to prior to completing this template. Information can be found on the WorkSafeBC
  • BC Restaurant and Food Service Association COVID-19 Update May 19, 2020:
    The BCRFSA has designed and developed the following documents to help you with your re-opening and COVID-19 protocols and procedures; Front of House Best Practices, Beverage Service Best Practices, Back of House Best Practices. Click the link above to view/download. BCRFSA will be hosting a zoom call on Thursday, May 21 at 10am to go through the Provincial Health Order, WorkSafeBC protocols and reference/information and tips you’ll find in the above mentioned documents, this will also give you an opportunity for us to answer your questions, if you would like to join in on the zoom meeting here are details; https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89643576445
  • Applications for the BC Agri-Business Planning Program is Now Open:
    Agriculture, seafood, and food processing businesses in British Columbia can begin to access consulting and planning services to help with COVID-19 response and recovery, through a program offered by the federal and provincial governments. BC agriculture, seafood and food processing business owners are encouraged to apply if their revenues have decreased by at least 30% as a result of COVID-19. The funding available includes up to $5,000 in business planning services and coaching for individuals, and up to $20,000 for groups, from a qualified business consultant, to develop an immediate and long-term recovery plan. Eligible applicants may also apply to the specialized business planning stream of the program to further strengthen their business.
  • WorkSafeBC Guidelines Support Safe Reopening of Businesses:
    WorkSafeBC has released industry specific guidelines and resources for the following sectors:
  • restaurants, cafes and pubs
  • salons and personal service
  • museums, art galleries and libraries, real estate
  • education
  • health services
  • retail
  • in-person counselling
  • parks and outdoor spaces
  • office space
    Businesses in all sectors are required to use these guidelines and resources to develop their COVID-19 safety plans and post those plans for employees and customers as they resume operations. Additionally, businesses in sectors under health orders limiting service (such as restaurants, pubs, salons and personal services) will not be able to open until those orders are lifted or modified.
  • Tourism Webinar Series:
    Destination BC has launched the Road to Recovery webinar series for tourism businesses and organizations that have been impacted by COVID-19. Each webinar will cover a subject related to the travel market, the visitor experience, business operations, digital marketing and more.
  • Retail Council of Canada – COVID-19 Response Planning:
    The Retail Council of Canada has prepared a comprehensive document detailing global best practices from retailers around the world on operating their business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association – Blueprint for Reopening In-Restaurant Dining:
    With guidance from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, the British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association has created a set of best practices for the re-opening of in-restaurant dining. The document focuses on several key areas restaurants will need to familiarize themselves with before planning to reopen.
  • Earning the trust of customers as BC re-opens:
    As businesses begin to consider their plan for safe operation, a key question must be answered: How can you demonstrate to customers it is safe to do business with you? Our latest article contains best practices and practical tips for making your business safe for customers
  • Work Safe BC:
    Work Safe BC has developed information on how to return to safe operations.
  • BC’s Restart Plan:
    The BC Restart Plan lays out a series of steps that we will take together to protect people and ensure that our province can come back from COVID-19 stronger than before.

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Economic
Development
Cowichan

Economic
Development
Cowichan

135 Third Street
Duncan, BC
Canada V9L 1R9
[email protected]
T 250.746.7880
TF 1.866.746.2508