FREE Tool and Programs to Support Cowichan Businesses

Island Good License – Cowichan businesses making local products can get a free marketing boost from the Island Good Program. Economic Development Cowichan and Community Futures Cowichan have partnered with the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance (VIEA) to offer local producers a free Island Good license. VIEA developed the Island Good brand program as a way for shoppers to easily identify local food products on grocery shelves.

According to BC Buy Local, for every $100 spent at a local business, $63 is re-circulated back into the BC economy.  VIEA notes that every 1% increase in sales of local products equals 50 jobs!

If you grow or produce products in Cowichan, or are a restaurant/retailer that sells Cowichan made products, this program may be for you!

To fill out an application form, please visit the Island Good website.

Vancouver Island Coastal Resiliency Program – a free program that provides Vancouver Island and Gulf Island 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.

Many Cowichan businesses are eligible to join this program, covering traditional tourism businesses such as accommodation (hotels, motels, B&Bs, hostels, etc), as well as business sectors that may not know they are eligible such as food and beverage, retail, festivals & events, transportation, suppliers and more.

To register for this free tourism business resiliency program click here.

Digital Economy Rapid Response Recovery Program (DER3) – a free Innovation Island program that will help any business that is considering expanding into the digital economy. If you have no digital presence, or already have many systems in place but need to change gears, this program has something to offer.

Upon signing up for the free program an expert will provide an analysis of your situation and provide you with immediate advice, or connect you with the appropriate service provider(s) that can best support your digital journey.

Increasing your digital presence is a key tool in resiliency, and more necessary than ever to thrive as a business post COVID-19. As the economy reopens there is significant market uncertainty, highlighting the need for Cowichan businesses to prepare for whatever comes their way.  For many, this means going digital.

To sign up for this free program or add your name to the list of local service providers/experts please visit here.


Below you will find recent announcements, updates and resources to support business July 1 – 9, 2020. Please note links and information are changing frequently.  Check your resources often and revisit links to view updated information.

Transition to Recovery

  • Travelling Within BC During Phase 3: Like most aspects of our lives, travel has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This may not be the year for international vacations, but our collective successes in flattening the curve has meant residents of British Columbia are free to enjoy a “staycation” within our province – if it’s carried out in a smart, safe and respectful manner. In this article, we run through some tips and best practices for keeping yourself, and our communities, safe this summer.
  • 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.
  • BCRFA – Physical Distancing and Patios: BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association guidelines for achieving Provincial Health Officer (PHO) and WorkSafe directives.
  • Business Reopen Toolkit: Cowichan Strong has designed a Reopen Toolkit for Cowichan businesses using the Buy Local Cowichan brand and colors. The toolkit includes print ready signage templates for occupancy, front entry checklist and social distancing stickers.  These templates are free to use and can be found on the Cowichan Strong website or at local print shops throughout the region.
  • 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.
  • Best Practices for Re-Opening your Business–WorkSafeBC: Advice for re-opening your business and keeping staff safe.
  • Industry Resources for Re-Opening: Links to resources and guidance to specific industries.
  • How to Create a Safety Plan for Re-Opening: Assess business readiness for re-opening and minimize risk.
  • BC’s 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.

Federal Government Support

  • Economic and Fiscal Snapshot detailing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic: Finance Minister Bill Morneau has released the Government of Canada’s economic and fiscal snapshot, detailing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This 168-page document offers a short-term economic analysis and a detailed account of government spending on the various COVID-19 support programs. View the Economic and Fiscal Snapshot here.
  • Government of Canada extends temporary lay off period: The Government of Canada has announced changes to extend time periods for temporary layoffs to allow employers more time to recall laid-off employees. The amendments, which came into effect on June 22, extend these time periods by up to six months, or to December 30, 2020, whichever occurs first.
  • 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.

Provincial Government Support

  • Support announced for Taxi/Limousine Industries: The Government of BC has announced a reduction in the annual licence renewal fee for commercial operators who hold a Passenger Directed Vehicle Authorization. This includes taxi and limousine operators. In the past, these licensees paid an annual fee of $100 per vehicle with no overall fee cap. It has been reduced to $50 per vehicle with a licence fee cap of $5,000.
  • Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) expanded through end of July: The Government of Canada has extended the CECRA program through the end of July. Alongside this update, Carole James, B.C. Minister of Finance, has confirmed the provincial emergency order protecting eligible businesses from eviction will remain in place for the duration of CECRA.
  • 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.


To keep businesses informed and up-to-date Economic Development Cowichan has compiled a COVID-19 Business Resource guide.   Visit here to view essential links.


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135 Third Street
Duncan, BC
Canada V9L 1R9
T 250.746.7880
TF 1.866.746.2508



135 Third Street
Duncan, BC
Canada V9L 1R9
T 250.746.7880
TF 1.866.746.2508