Last updated January 12,, 2021
BC Chamber Offers Business Development Program for Resilience & Recovery
Accelerate Okanagan Launches Local Rapid Response & Resiliency Program
Accelerate Okanagan (AO) is launching the Digital Economy: Rapid Response + Resiliency (DER3) program in the Okanagan. This program is designed to support small and medium-sized businesses which are looking to enter or expand into the digital economy. DER3 offers guided one-to-one business and technical consultations for businesses which are considering entering or expanding their online presence, or putting technology-based tools in place to better serve their needs. This program is currently open to all individuals or small businesses located in the Okanagan from Salmon Arm to Osoyoos. LEARN MORE
More than $150,000 in Art & Culture Grants Available for Local Groups
More than $150,000 is available to support local, incorporated, non-profit arts, culture and heritage organizations. Applications for 2021 General Operating and Project Cultural Grants are now open until Monday November 30 at 3pm. Funding is from the City of Kelowna. Learn More & Apply.
Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission – Business Resources for COVID-19
In an effort to keep the public and business community informed on the economy of the region, The Regional District of Central Okanagan’s Economic Development Commission has compiled resource links to support your business as you navigate industry and governmental supports at this time. Learn More: https://www.investkelowna.com/covid19/
Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen - Updates on COVID-19
The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen provides informational releases for their community and businesses within their region for restrictions, policies, and business practicies. Learn More: https://www.rdos.bc.ca/
Regional District of North Okanagan - Updates on COVID-19
The Regional District of North Okanagan has created an informational page to inform those within the community on updates to facilities, policies, and further regional announcements. Learn More: https://www.rdno.ca/
Last updated January 12, 2021
WorkSafeBC Industry Guidelines:
WorkSafeBC provides detailed information on guidelines for specific sectors in Phase 2 & 3 of BC's Restart Plan. View the guidelines here.
Government of BC:
BC Extends Province Wide Restrictions
Expanded Eligibility Criteria for BC's Small Business Recovery Grant
Reminder to Renew for Those with Temporary Layoff Variances
Through the summer, many employers requested temporary four month variances to the COVID-19 Emergency Layoff period. Many of these variances will expire at the end of December. If your business wishes to seek a further renewal to a later date or explore your options, you must follow the online process before your variance expires. Renewals are considered on a case-by-case basis. LEARN MORE
Provincial Government Announces Support for Tourism Sector Recovery
On December 8, the provincial government announced further details on how $53 million in supports, outlined in StrongerBC: B.C.’s Economic Recovery Plan, will create jobs and spur economic development for tourism businesses. READ MORE
Open for Applications: Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant Program
Small and medium-sized businesses are vital to British Columbia’s economy. The Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant program provides fully-funded grants to businesses to ensure they have the support they need during and beyond COVID-19. Grants of $10,000 to $30,000 are now available to BC businesses. APPLY NOW.
BC Government Launches COVID-19 Local Business Posters
Re-engage customers, increase confidence, and encourage repeat business by displaying a COVID-19 Local Business Poster and promote your business's compliance with health and workplace guidelines. These posters serve as a uniform symbol for customers that a business has committed to creating and sharing their COVID-19 Safety Plan. The poster will highlight each business’ core commitments to ensuring the safety of their guests and employees and to following the Public Health Orders (PHO) LEARN MORE
BC's Public Health Officer Announces Amended Protocols for Gatherings & Events
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has released a new public order for Gatherings and Events. Some of the changes in the new Gatherings and Events order include, but are not limited to: a confirmation of the oral order limiting social gatherings in private residences to 6 plus occupants of the residence; clarification that preceding or following the event, all attendees must disperse, and changes the requirement for one-hour cleaning between events to become outcome oriented. The full orders have now been posted on the BC PHO Website.
Household Gatherings Limited; Masks Now Expected in Indoor Public Spaces
A new public health order from Dr. Bonnie Henry now limits gatherings in private households to members of a household plus their 'safe six'. This is a province-wide order that applies to all homes for all occasions. The Provincial Health Officer also indicated that non-medical masks are now an expectation in all indoor public spaces, as cases continue to rise in the province. As part of this, businesses are asked to review their COVID-19 safety plans with this in mind. For more information on how to build or update your Workplace Safety Plan visit WorkSafeBC HERE.
BC Introduces New Recovery Programs and Grants, Applications are Open
BC's Restart Funding Supports Reliable Public Transit Services
People throughout BC will continue to have safe, reliable and affordable public transportation options, with federal and provincial confirmation that TransLink, BC Transit and BC Ferries will share more than $1 billion under the federal/provincial Safe Restart Agreement announced earlier this summer, cost-shared 50-50 by both governments. This will protect service levels across the province and ensure services remain affordable as part of BC’s Restart Plan. Learn More.
Province of BC Introduces New Measures to Enforce COVID-19 Safety
Police and other provincial enforcement officers are being given the ability to issue $2,000 violation tickets for owners or organizers contravening the provincial health officer’s (PHO) orders on gatherings and events.They will also be able to issue $200 violation tickets to individuals not following the direction of police or enforcement staff at events or who refuse to comply with requests to follow PHO orders or safe operating procedures, or who respond with abusive behaviour. Learn More here.
Applications are Open: New Infrastructure Program for Arts & Culture Sector
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. Read the full release here.
BC Strengthens Federal Commercial Rent Program (CECRA)
B.C. businesses eligible for rent support from the federal government will be protected from evictions as the B.C. government issues a new order under the Emergency Program Act (EPA), when eligible landlords do not apply for the CECRA. Read the full release here.
BC Announces Restart Plan to Phase Toward a New Normal
BC’s Restart Plan lays out a series of steps to protect people and ensure that the province can come back from COVID-19 stronger than before. To learn more about the new phased approach to re-opening, and what this means for your business, download the full plan here.
BC Emergency Benefit for Workers
Employees may now apply for the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers, a tax-free, one time $1,000 payment for B.C. residents whose ability to work has been affected due to COVID-19. To apply, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/covid-19-financial-supports/emergency-benefit-workers
BC Government Newsroom Updates
For more information on BC Government updates from the newsroom, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/
BC Government Supports & Resources for Businesses
If you are looking for more information regarding changes to taxes, wage support, and other business relates support and resources, please visit:
Last updated January 19, 2021
New Pre-Departure COVID-19 Testing Requirements Come into Effect
Upcoming Measures to Create Healthier, Safer & Fairer Work Environments
UPDATE: Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Sees Changes
Recently, details of the next CEWS claim periods were finalized with the following changes a) the maximum top-up subsidy rate is 35%, and b) the maximum subsidy amount for employees on leave with pay is $595. LEARN MORE
Federal Economic Response Plan
Visit the federal government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan website for information about supporting your employees and your business.
PPE Supply Hub
Check out the new PPE Supply Hub – Canadian businesses in need of personal protective equipment, and businesses looking to sell these supplies can go to this hub to connect.
Free Online Course from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety – for a free online course to provide businesses with all the information they need to reopen safely.
Federal Government Announces wage Subsidy Rate Increase to 75%
December 18, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, announced that the government has concluded the necessary regulatory changes to raise the maximum wage subsidy rate to 75 per cent for the period beginning Sunday, December 20, 2020, until March 13, 2021. This support will be there for workers and businesses through the tough months ahead as we face the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE
UPDATE: Canadian Emergency Business Account Recently Expanded
The Federal Government announced the expansion of the Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA). As of last Friday, eligible businesses facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are able to access a second CEBA loan of up to $20,000 – on top of the initial $40,000 that was available to small businesses. Half of this additional financing, up to $10,000, will be forgivable if the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022. LEARN MORE
UPDATE: Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Extended to June 2021
UPDATE: Canada Updates Emergency Rent Subsidy Program
The federal government has revamped and update the commercial rent subsidy program and the CERS is now open to receive applications from qualifying organizations. Organizations can now apply directly for the subsidy for the period from September 27 to October 24, 2020 through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) either through your My Business Account or through a Represent a Client portal. Applications for the second CERS period (October 25 to November 21, 2020) will open on November 30. LEARN MORE
Government Brings Forward Bill C-9; New Rent Program & Wage Subsidy Improvements
The federal government has tabled Bill C-9, which includes the new and improved commercial rent program and updates to the wage subsidy program. These measures are designed to help businesses get through the second wave of the virus so they can protect jobs, continue to serve their communities, and be positioned for a strong recovery. LEARN MORE
New Measures Available to Help Canadian Small Businesses Access Global Markets
The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade has announced new actions to help Canadian businesses grow while navigating the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in the global marketplace through the CanExport SME program. Originally launched in 2016, the program is pivoting to help small businesses build a sustainable and resilient recovery. LEARN MORE.
POST Promise to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
Make the POST Promise to show employees and customers that you take COVID-19 prevention seriously by practicing key health and safety steps and maintain a safe workplace.
October 26, the Federal Government announced that the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will be available to businesses that have been operating out of a non-business banking account. To be eligible, businesses must have been operating as a business as of March 1, 2020, must successfully open a business account at a Canadian financial institution that is participating in CEBA, and meet the other existing CEBA eligibility criteria. The deadline to apply for CEBA is December 31, 2020. LEARN MORE.
October 26, applications became available again for grants under the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund. Created and launched by RBC, Canada United is a national movement to support local businesses in communities across the country. The $5,000 grant can be used towards purchases that are eligible for reimbursement under the program, such as: Purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Renovation of space to adhere to re-opening guidelines, Enhancement of website / developing e-commerce capabilities. LEARN MORE.
Government of Canada Launches Recovery Benefit Applications
The Government of Canada introduced three new benefits, delivered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA): the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB). The application process is now open for the CRSB and the CRCB and CRB.
Government Of Canada Expands Regional Relief & Recovery Fund
October 2, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, announced an additional $263.7 million for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) to help businesses across the West through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF). This flows from $600 million in new national RRRF funding announced by the Prime Minister last week. Of these additional funds, $67 million will be used by Community Futures (CF) organizations to support businesses in rural communities across the West. Learn More.
Safe Restart Agreement Announced
The Safe Restart Agreement (SRA) is a federal investment of more than $19 billion to help provinces and territories safely restart their economies and make our country more resilient to possible future surges in cases of COVID-19. Learn More.
Canadian Mortgage & Housing Corporation: Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses provides much needed relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. Effective September 8, the CECRA will be extended by one month to help eligible small businesses pay rent for September. This will be the final extension of this program as the government explores options to support small businesses as they face the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn More HERE.
CERB Extended, Simplified Employment Insurance Program Announced
The Government of Canada has announced that the transition to a simplified Employment Insurance (EI) program, which will become effective September 27, 2020. This program aims to provide income support to those who remain unable to work and are eligible. While the Government prepares for this transition the CERB will be extended by an additional four weeks, providing a new maximum of up to 28 weeks of benefits. Learn More HERE.
Federal Government Expands Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) Eligibility Criteria
On Friday June 26, new applications will be accepted so that more small businesses can access the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). Owner-operated small businesses that had been ineligible for the program due to 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. The expanded CEBA is being made available gradually by more than 230 financial institutions across the country, starting with the larger banks. Other participating financial institutions will start offering the program over the coming weeks. Learn More & Apply Here.
Government Announces Targeted Support for Black Entrepreneurs & Business Owners
Mid September, the government announced up to nearly $221 million in support for Black entrepreneurs and business owners, in partnership with Canadian financial institutions. One of the goals is to launch Canada’s first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program. We, along with the Canadian Chamber and our fellow Chambers, applaud the announcement as it aligns with our core values, as well as our views on the importance of an inclusive recovery that leaves no opportunity for growth left un-pursued. Learn More HERE.
Regional Relief & Recovery Fund Announced by Western Economic Diversification Canada
The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, announced that businesses in western Canada that are unable to access other existing measures can now apply for the new Regional Relief and Recovery Fund through Western Economic Diversification Canada. A total of $304 million will be available for western Canadian businesses with Community Futures charged with managing the process. For more information visit their website HERE.
Federal Government Announces Support for Female Entrepreneurs
The Government of Canada will provide $15 million in additional funding to support female entrepreneurs through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES). These funds will go directly to select organizations that are currently WES Ecosystem Fund recipients, and will help women entrepreneurs through the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on the eligibility criteria, and to learn more visit their website HERE.
Federal Government Announces $500 Million for Cultural, Heritage & Sport Organizations
May 8th, 2020, the Government of Canada announced $500 million in temporary relief measures to support the culture, heritage and sport sectors as they manage the challenges and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and plan for the future. A total of up to $500 million has been set aside to help alleviate the financial pressures of affected organizations. Learn More HERE.
Federal Government Announces Support for Agriculture Sector
May 5th, 2020, the Government of Canada announced $252 million to support farmers, food business and food processors that provide essential services to Canadians every day by ensuring a safe and reliable food supply. It was announced that the government intends to propose an additional $200 million in borrowing capacity for the sector. Learn More HERE.
Government of Canada – COVID-19 Resources for Business:
The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to support Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of the global COVID-19 outbreak. For more information regarding accessing federal financial support, as well as resources regarding the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program, visit their website HERE.
Canadian Business Resiliency Network - Federal Support for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises
Learn more about the programs available to you from the federal government as a small or medium sized business. Mary Jo Fedy, National Enterprise Leader, KPMG in Canada, has shared with us her insights on COVID-19 in order to help Canadian businesses persevere and remain resilient throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Learn More HERE.
Additional Information & Programs
Resources for your Business:
BC Chamber of Commerce Resource Page
Provincial support programs are here to support you through this unprecedented time. The BC Chamber of Commerce has compiled information as it relates to business support programs, credit and financing, wage and income support, tax relief for business and more. To learn more, visit: http://www.bcchamber.org/advocacy-news/resources-businesses-affected-covid-19
Canadian Business Resilience Network
In partnership with the Government of Canada, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce established the Canadian Business Resilience Network to help Canadian businesses navigate the COVID-19 reality and prepare for recovery. To learn more, about containment measures, business continuity, support for business or recovery, visit https://www.canadianbusinessresiliencenetwork.ca/
EDC Export Guarantee Program
EDC has adjusted its focus and solutions to reflect the challenges facing Canadian exporters during the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more, visit https://www.edc.ca/en/campaign/coronavirus-covid-19.html
Many organizations and volunteers are wondering how to help and volunteer during this time, as well as what to do and whether or not you should be closing your programs.Volunteer BC has compiled a list of resources from their partners and friends to help you during this time. To learn more, visit https://volunteerbc.bc.ca/resources-to-help-you-during-the-covid-19-crisis/
Canada United Campaign & Grant Program: Join the Movement!
Canada United is a movement that brings fellow Canadians together to show their support for local businesses, while offering relief grants of up to $5,000 to help Canadian small businesses with their recovery efforts as a result of COVID-19. To learn more, visit https://www.gocanadaunited.ca/