Regional Response

Last updated February 23, 2021

BC Chamber Offers Business Development Program for Resilience & Recovery

Does your business need assistance mitigating the negative impacts of COVID-19 pandemic? We're launched a new program in partnership with the BC Chamber aimed at giving you access to a world class professional business development program. The Building Resilience Program will have weekly seminars for 6 weeks through the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business, and will be offered in four cohorts until April 2021. This program will provide you insights into how to adapt your business model, re-engage customers, and adjust workplace cultures to help position you for long-term success. Space is limited. 50% off for Chamber Members! REGISTER NOW

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:

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:

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:

Provincial Response

Last updated November 9, 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 Indoor Mask Mandate
British Columbia’s provincial health officer has extended the mask mandate that requires masks be worn in all indoor public spaces throughout BC. The previous order, which was set to expire on Oct. 31, 2021, has been extended indefinitely to continue to slow the transmission of COVID-19. Masks are required in all public indoor settings for all people five and older, regardless of vaccination status. READ MORE

Single-Serve Liquor A Go with Takeout, Delivery

Grabbing a packaged single glass of wine or draft beer with takeout, or having it delivered with a meal when ordering in, is now possible as BC opens another revenue-generating option for licensed restaurants and pubs. Effective Friday, Oct. 29 BC’s liquor-and food-primary liquor licensees are permitted to package and sell unmixed drinks for takeout or delivery with the purchase of a meal, such as a glass of wine, cider or draft beer, or an unmixed ounce of a spirit. READ MORE

Province Extends Order Capping Fees Charged by Food Delivery Services

The food delivery service fee cap is being extended under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act. The order will continue to cap fees charged to restaurants from food delivery companies at 15%. An additional cap of 5% will also be extended for other related fees associated with use of the service, such as online ordering and processing fees. The revised order is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2021, at which point it will be reviewed, taking into account the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  READ MORE

Vaccine Card with QR code now Only Way to Enter Some Businesses

The BC Vaccine Card is now the only acceptable proof of vaccination for British Columbians to enjoy certain businesses and recreational events. The transition period, which allowed people to present their paper record of immunization received at the time of their vaccination appointment, ended on Sept. 26. The Vaccine Card requirement is applied in certain discretionary settings, including most restaurants and indoor events, through provincial health officer orders. The Province says this requirement helps ensure that businesses can stay open and people can feel safe in these settings, while continuing to increase vaccinations throughout the province. People can get their BC Vaccine Card online at 
Proof of Vaccination: Information for Businesses where PoV will be required
The Province provided more details on their plans on Tuesday and unveiled the provincial link where digital Vaccine Cards can now be downloaded and where the Vaccine Verifier App can be downloaded. 

Province Lifts Some Regional Restrictions

Interior Health has moved to roll back some of the regional restrictions that were put in place following the COVID outbreak in the central Okanagan. The Province noted this change on Monday saying the regional restrictions can be lifted with the vaccine card verification system coming into play. This includes eliminating the early cut off (10pm) of liquor sales at restaurants. Click on the link below to see what the new restrictions look like. VIEW THE UPDATE FROM INTERIOR HEALTH


Updated Health Orders for Food & Liquor Serving Premises & Gatherings & Events

Proof of Vaccination: Information for Businesses where PoV will be required The Province provided more details on their plans on September 13 and unveiled the provincial link where digital Vaccine Cards can now be downloaded and where the Vaccine Verifier App can be downloaded (though not until next week as it appears more time is needed).

Reminder: Mask Mandate to Reduce Transmission, Protect People in Public Spaces
As of Wednesday, August 25, masks must be worn in all indoor public spaces throughout B.C. to help slow the transmission of COVID-19 as B.C. prepares for the fall and respiratory illness season.
A new order from the provincial health officer requires people 12 and older to wear masks in indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status.
BC Launches New Fund for Community Events
The Province is accepting applications to support B.C.-based events through the new Fairs, Festivals and Events Recovery Fund.The Government of BC is providing up to $12.9 million in one-time grants to eligible event organizers to support their efforts to resume safely. Grant amounts for each event will be up to 20% of the total event budget, to a maximum of $250,000 per application.
Eligible events include sport, arts and culture events, community celebrations, agricultural fairs, rodeos and exhibitions. Applications submitted by organizations will be required to demonstrate local or regional support and show the economic and social benefits for the community. READ MORE
BC Government Liquor Changes
On July 13, the provincial government announced a major liquor policy change. Private liquor retailers can now sell to Special Event Permit holders, something the Chamber network has been supportive of. This change changes the previous policy of forcing consumers to purchase only from government’s BC Liquor Stores while also introducing a new revenue stream for private liquor retailers. READ MORE

COVID-19 Paid Sick-Leave Reimbursement Program

If your workplace does not have an existing sick leave program, you can apply to be reimbursed by the Province for up to three days of wages paid to workers for COVID-19 related sick leave. The reimbursement program is available for sick leave taken from May 20 until the program ends on Dec. 31, 2021. The application for employers to apply for the BC government’s COVID-19 Sick-Leave Reimbursement Program will be available on WorkSafeBC’s online services portal mid-June. READ MORE


Province Announces New Grant for Tourism

The province launched a $50 million grant program last week that is aimed at helping B.C.'s major anchor tourist attractions and tour bus companies weather COVID-19 though some in the industry say its not enough while others raise concern about those attractions that don’t qualify.  The Premier and Tourism Minister Melanie Mark made the announcement as tourism operators try to anticipate what their normally busy summer season might look like this year. 

Restrictions on travel and gatherings brought in under the province's emergency COVID-19 "circuit breaker" plan last month expired at midnight last night (May 24). The Premier is expected to announce more details today on reopening the province. READ THE RELEASE


Province Introduces Sick Leave Benefit Legislation

The BC Government has introduced legislation aimed at providing workers access to paid sick leave. In a release earlier today the province noted that in the short term businesses will be required to pay three days of sick leave to employees impacted by COVID though those businesses will be reimbursed by the province. The legislation also calls for the establishment of a permanent program to be in place by Jan 1, 2022. READ MORE.


$500-Million Investment Fund Paves Way for a StrongerBC

A first-of-its-kind $500-million strategic investment fund will provide BC-based businesses with capital to position the province as a front-runner in the post-pandemic economy. The BC government has introduced legislation to support the operations of InBC Investment Corp. (InBC), a new $500-million strategic investment fund. Developed in consultation with the business and investment sectors. READ MORE.

Accelerating Manufacturing, Scale-Up Grant Program

The goal of the Scale-Up Grant program is to support small and medium-sized businesses in British Columbia to accelerate innovative capacity in the manufacturing sector, strengthen critical provincial supply chains, and create new, sustainable economic opportunities for businesses. Applications will be accepted until May 31, 2021. READ MORE.


The deadlines for Launch Online and the Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant are September 30 and August 31, respectively. So buckle up and get granting!

1. Launch Online. This one was created to help BC entrepreneurs move their businesses online. You were likely on your way there anyway (right?!).

2. Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant. You guessed it: this one’s for businesses with less than 149 employees. It’s designed to help you stay afloat while you navigate this wild storm.


Province Increases Funding & Expands Eligibility for Circuit Breaker Relief Grant

The province is adding an additional $75 million to the Business Relief Grant it created in early April after the most recent restrictions took effect. This brings the amount available for those hard-hit businesses to more than $125 million. Eligible businesses will receive up to $20,000 to help with expenses like wages, rent, maintenance, and utilities. Applications will be accepted until June 4th or when the funds are disbursed. The Circuit Breaker Business Relief Fund adjustments will also help accommodation providers who are being asked to limit reservations as a means to support the emergency order to restrict travel. READ MORE 


Province Hikes Fines to Further Enforce COVID-19 Public Safety

Fines for promoting and attending gatherings that contravene the provincial health officer’s (PHO) order just got more expensive. Effective immediately, an amendment to the Violation Ticket Administration and Fine Regulation raises the fine for promoting and for attending a non-compliant gathering or event from $230 to $575. The current fine for those who organize or host a prohibited event remains the same at $2,300. READ MORE


Sale and Delivery of Packaged Liquor now Permanent in BC

Before the pandemic, food and liquor primary licensees (e.g., restaurants and pubs) were authorized to sell liquor only for consumption in their establishments unless they had a special endorsement on their license. The temporary authorization allowing liquor-primary and food-primary licensees to sell and deliver sealed, packaged liquor products alongside the purchase of a meal for off-site consumption is now permanent. READ 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


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 Introduces New Recovery Programs and Grants, Applications are Open

The Province of BC has announced new recovery programs and grants that are now open, and ready to receive applications.These programs include The Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program (CERIP), Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grants, and the Community Workforce Response Grant Program. Learn More.


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. 


Applications are Open: New Infrastructure Program for Arts & Culture Sector

To help improve spaces for artists and cultural activities, arts and culture organizations can now get support through the new $2 Million Arts Infrastructure Program. The BC Arts Council will administer the program. Arts and cultural organizations, including Indigenous groups, will be eligible for up to $75,000 to improve arts and culture spaces or $40,000 to buy special equipment to support art programming. Applications will be open from Monday, August 17 to October 19. Learn More & Apply Here. 


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:


BC Government Newsroom Updates

For more information on BC Government updates from the newsroom, visit:


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:

Federal Response

Last updated November 30, 2021

Last month, the government announced it is pivoting from broad-based economic support to targeted measures that provide support where it is needed, in order to create jobs and growth and prudently manage government spending.Last week, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, introduced Bill C-2 in Parliament to implement the recently announced measures. This bill would:
  • Extend the Canada Recovery Hiring Program until May 7, 2022, for eligible employers with current revenue losses above 10% and increase the subsidy rate to 50%.
  • Deliver targeted support to businesses still facing significant pandemic-related challenges.

Government of Canada Announces Adjustments to Canada’s Border Measures

Effective November 30, fully vaccinated individuals with right of entry to Canada who depart and re-enter the country within 72 hours of leaving Canada will not have to present a pre-entry molecular test. This exemption is only for trips originating in Canada taken by fully vaccinated Canadian citizens, permanent residents or individuals registered under the Indian Act, who depart and re-enter by land or by air. Also effective November 30 Canada will expand the list of COVID-19 vaccines that travelers can receive to be considered fully vaccinated for the purpose of travel to Canada.

Federal Government Announces Targeted COVID-19 Support Measures

Recently, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, announced that the government is taking targeted action to create jobs and spur economic growth. This includes moving from the very broad-based support that was appropriate at the height of lockdowns to more targeted measures that will provide help where it is needed, while prudently managing government spending.
The government is proposing the following changes:
  • Extend the Canada Recovery Hiring Program until May 7, 2022, for eligible employers with current revenue losses above 10 per cent and increase the subsidy rate to 50 per cent.
  • Deliver targeted support to businesses that are still facing significant pandemic-related challenges. Support would be available through two streams:
  • Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program, which would provide support through the wage and rent subsidy programs, to hotels, tour operators, travel agencies, and restaurants, with a subsidy rate of up to 75 per cent.
  • Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program, which would provide support through the wage and rent subsidy

Federal Government extends COVID-19 Benefits and Business Supports

Late last week, the government announced the extension of crucial COVID-19 support measures for Canadians and Canadian businesses in recognition that uneven economic reopening across regions and sectors means workers and businesses continue to need support. These extensions include:
  • Extending the eligibility period for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support until October 23, 2021, and increasing the rate of support employers and organizations can receive during the period between August 29 and September 25, 2021.
  • Extending the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) until October 23, 2021.

In addition to the recently announced Tourism Relief Fund program, here is a list of federal funding programs currently available.

Canadian Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS): Subsidy to cover a portion of eligible expenses until September 25, 2021. Also includes an additional Lockdown Support of 25% if your business was significantly affected by a public health order. Hotline: 1-800-959-5525 

Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP): Aimed at sectors like tourism and hospitality, hotels, arts and entertainment, and will offer 100% government-guaranteed financing and provide low-interest loans up to $1 million for up to ten years. 

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS): Covers part of your employee wages retroactively back to December 20, 2020 until September 25, 2021. The maximum subsidy is 75%. Hotline: 1-800-959-5525 

Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP): The new Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP) is designed to encourage businesses to grow as the economy recovers, whether it’s due to hiring and re-hiring staff, increasing shifts, or increasing overall pay. 

Note: Your business can only claim the CEWS OR CRHP - here is a comparison between the two programs 

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB): $400 per week for 13 two-week periods between September 27, 2020, and September 25, 2021 for self-employed workers and those in the gig economy. Applications are handled through the Canada Revenue Agency. Hotline: 1-833-966-2099 

Indigenous Programs: First Peoples' Cultural Council Arts Program. Grants ranging from $3,000 to $20,000 for Indigenous B.C. residents open for the Spring 2021 intake.


Tourism and Hospitality Student Work Placement Program Now Open
Aimed squarely at the tourism and hospitality sector, Propel is a new initiative to help the hardest-hit sector recover from the devastating impacts of the pandemic. The latest addition to the Government of Canada’s Student Work Placement Program, Propel offers post-secondary students opportunities to develop the work-ready skills required to secure meaningful employment upon graduation. Qualifying employers are provided with a wage subsidy of up to $7,500 for each student hired through the program. The application process is now open. READ MORE

Applications Open: Canada Recovery Hiring Program

Applications are now open for the Canada Recovery Hiring Program. As a Canadian employer who continues to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible to apply for one of the two subsidies to cover part of your employee wages. The Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP) and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) support wages you pay through different phases of your economic recovery. Each claim period, eligible employers can claim either CRHP or CEWS, whichever is higher. READ MORE


Federal Government Announces new Tourism Relief Fund

Last week, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and the Minister responsible for tourism, Mélanie Joly announced details of the $500 million Tourism Relief Fund, first tabled in the 2021 Federal Budget, which will be rolled out over two years. Canada’s regional development agencies (RDAs) will deliver $485 million directly to businesses and organizations to help them adapt their operations to meet public health requirements while investing in products and services to facilitate future growth. Applicants must fall under one of the following parameters to be eligible for funding:
  • A key supplier or operator in the visitor experience
  • Part of a defined tourism cluster or tourism-dependent community
  • An anchor product or service in a destination



Feds Extend Canada Emergency Business Account Applications

On March 22, the federal government announced that the deadline for new Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) applications is being extended from March 31 to June 30, 2021.This deadline extension applies to any new applications for CEBA loans of $60,000 or to new applications from businesses that have already received the $40,000 loan and intend to apply for the additional $20,000.

Federal Gov't Announces Wage & Rent Subsidy Amounts to Remain Same til June 

March 3, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, announced that the government intends to extend the current rate structures for these subsidies from March 14 to June 5, 2021. READ MORE


$500M in Additional RRRF for Small Businesses

The Government of Canada recently announced an additional $500 million in support through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) for small businesses that continue to suffer from COVID-related losses and earmarked at least 25% of the funds for the struggling tourism sector. Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is delivering the RRRF in BC. Financial support may be available to tourism businesses that have sustained COVID-related losses since April 1, 2020 or if further losses are anticipated going forward. LEARN MORE


Canada United Reopens with Grants of Up To $5,000 Available

Grants of up to $5,000 are still available for small businesses to cover expenses related to personal protective equipment (PPE), renovations to accommodate re-opening guidelines and developing or improving website and e-commerce capabilities. Applications are now being accepted. APPLY NOW


New Pre-Departure COVID-19 Testing Requirements Come into Effect

While it has received mixed reviews, the federal government is now requiring all travelers entering Canada to provide proof of a negative laboratory test result for COVID-19 prior to boarding their flight. The federal government says they are taking this step in an attempt to keep Canadians safe and help limit the global spread of COVID-19. LEARN MORE

Upcoming Measures to Create Healthier, Safer & Fairer Work Environments

As we entered 2021, the federal government announced the coming into force of important measures aimed at creating work environments that are healthier, safer, and fairer. These measures include anti-harassment and violence legislation, amendments to increase pay transparency, and penalties for employers who do not comply with health, safety, and labour standards. LEARN MORE

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.

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 Introduces Legislation for New, Targeted Support to Help Businesses Through Pandemic
The government is taking targeted action to support Canadians and Canadian businesses, non-profits and charities that continue to face uncertainty and economic challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland has introduced Bill C-9, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy), which would implement new, targeted support to help hard-hit businesses. 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.

CEBA Now Open to Businesses using Personal Banking Accounts

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.

Canada United: Updated Funding News for Small Businesses Announced, Grants Now Available

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:

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

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

Volunteer BC
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

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

Okanagan We Got This is a coalition of seven Chambers of Commerce/Board of Trade, and this specific initiative is primarily to assist local small businesses in the Okanagan that need our support to get through the pandemic.

Funding by: