Attention local small business owners: London Drugs wants to help you sell your 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, small businesses in Western Canada are welcome to submit products for consideration. Small business owners can visit here to learn if their products qualify and apply to be part of London Drugs Local Central.
Hungry for local? Find food & drink produced near you with the 2020 Cowichan Grown Farm Map!
Celebrate 11 years of local food loving with Cowichan Green Community! Pick up a free map at 360 Duncan St or visit here or phone 250-748-8506 for other pick-up locations near you.
IMPORTANT: Some farms have temporarily closed to the public due to Covid-19. Please do not visit farms without pre-authorization, to avoid putting any of our community members at risk. Many roadside farm stands are still open, and some are now accepting e-transfers instead of cash. If a farm does not have a roadside stand, refer to their map listing for other ways to purchase from them (such as Cow-op.ca) Better yet, call ahead to directly arrange contactless pick-up – the farmer will be grateful for your business!
Below you will find recent announcements, updates and resources to support business.
Please note links and information are changing frequently. Check your resources often and revisit links to view updated information.
- Prime Minister announces agreements to boost wages for essential workers – May 7
- Premier outlines plan to restart BC safely – May 6
- WorkSafeBC backgrounder for support on workplaces resuming operations – May 6
- Supporting Canada’s farmers, food businesses, and food supply – May 5
- BC government creates COVID-19 temporary layoff period – May 4
- Indigenous Tourism BC Emergency Relief Fund aids 71 Indigenous Tourism Businesses – May 4
- License renewal fees deferred for liquor licensees – May 1
- Government of Canada introduces new digital initiatives to its suite of virtual tools for COVID-19 – April 30
- BLG Law:Coming out of the COVID-19 lockdown: Issues and challenges facing Canadian employers – April 29
- Top Canadian Chefs Launch $1M Relief Fund for Restaurant and Hospitality Workers – Apr 28
- Futurpreneur to cover loan payments for six-months and provide top up loans – April 28
- Canadian Chamber Identifies Five Keys to Reopening the Economy – April 28
Federal Government Support
- Canadian Hospitality Worker Relief Fund: CHWRF will be providing $500 one-time grants to eligible hospitality workers, living in Canada, 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 launched by Canadian Chefs here.
- 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.
- 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.
- Get updates on COVID-19 is a web-based email service that provides subscribers with critical information related to the pandemic. Developed by Health Canada, the Canadian Digital Service (CDS), and Service Canada, subscribers to the service will get emails directing them to important and authoritative content on the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 website, ca/coronavirus.
Provincial Government Support
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Road to Recovery
- 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.
- WorkSafeBC backgrounder for support on workplaces resuming operations
- Indigenous Business Survey: Help us understand the needs of Indigenous Business. This survey is conducted by the Indigenous Business COVID-19 Response Task Force.
- Tourism Sector Survey: The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) 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 sector’s needs once public health restrictions start to relax and market activity resumes, businesses in the tourism sector are encouraged to complete a brief survey. Complete the survey.
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.