FREE Island Good Licenses – 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!
Cowichan businesses that generate products on Vancouver Island or sell their products from the island may qualify for this free licensing opportunity – available on a first-come-first-served basis until the funding is spent. To fill out an application form, please visit the Island Good website.
Cowichan Welcomes You Back video campaign – Tourism Cowichan is offering businesses in retail, food and beverage, accommodations and attractions the opportunity to participate. This video series captures the emotion and heart business owners have invested to safely give us back the places and people that make Cowichan special. For $175, your business will be part of a 75-second video that prominently features the safety measures you have taken to open your business to the community. There will be approximately 3 businesses featured in each video. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org. To take a look at the first video click here.
Below you will find recent announcements, updates and resources to support business June 12-18, 2020. Please note links and information are changing frequently. Check your resources often and revisit links to view updated information.
- Province reduces annual license fee for taxi industry – Jun 29
- GST/HST deferral period to end June 30 as planned – Jun 29
- Temporary layoff provisions for workers, employers extended – Jun 25
- BC beings next phase of safe restart plan – Jun 24
- Province extends deferral of electricity costs for industries impacted by COVID-19 – Jun 20
- More than 1,100 tourism businesses accessing COVID-19 supports – Jun 20
Transition to Recovery Phase
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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.