Cowichan Strong Partnership Launches COVID-19 Business Recovery Needs Assessment
In response to the unparalleled economic impacts of COVID-19, the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) and its Cowichan Strong partners are reaching out to the business community to assess the effects of the pandemic at a local level.
Cowichan Strong, a partnership initiated by Economic Development Cowichan, the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce and Community Futures Cowichan, is spearheading a Post- Disaster Needs Assessment Survey designed to measure the impact of the COVID-19 event on business operations in the Cowichan – now and in the weeks to come.
“Over the last few weeks, many of us have seen business reduce hours, modify how they operate or close completely,” said Barry O’Riordan, Manager of Economic Development Cowichan. “While there are many anecdotal stories, we need more solid local-level data to help our businesses through the recovery phase.”
The Post Disaster Needs Assessment is being distributed to local business owners as a survey, and serves as a first step in building a COVID-19 recovery plan for the Cowichan business community. This will be the first of a series of surveys that will be shared every four weeks for the next three months to assess the economic recovery progress.
Economic Development Cowichan is also working closely with Social Planning Cowichan to support a series of COVID-19 Community Surveys that assess impacts on a personal/household level. Those surveys are available at the Social Planning Cowichan website and all residents of the Cowichan region are encouraged to participate.
Below you will find recent announcements, updates and resources to support business May 15 – 21, 2020.
Please note links and information are changing frequently. Check your resources often and revisit links to view updated information.
- Prime Minister announces opening of program to protect jobs and help business – May 20
- Prime Minister announces expansion of support for workers and small businesses – May 19
- WorkSafeBC guidelines support safe reopening of businesses – May 15
- Helping BC agriculture, food businesses plan for COVID-19 recovery – May 15
- Prime Minister announces support for research staff in Canada– May 15
- PM says wage subsidy being extended to the end of August – May 15
Transition to Recovery Phase
- 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.
- 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.
- Provincial Health Officer Lifts Ban on In-Person Dining/Drinks Services: Phase 2 of BC’s Restart Plan begins May 19, 2020. BC’s Provincial Health Officer has lifted the temporary ban on in-person dining and drinks service providing businesses can follow guidelines on social distancing and reduced capacity. Click the link above to find details on conditions for operating.
- 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.
- Applications for the BC Agri-Business Planning Program is Now Open: Agriculture, seafood, and food processing businesses in BC 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.
- 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
- 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 and 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 be asked about steps they have taken to protect their workers or to see the plan if it has been developed.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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 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
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.