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 February 23, 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:

Updated PHO Public Order: Gatherings and Events

An updated version of the public order for Gatherings and Events was released on February 10, 2021 by the Public Health Officer. READ MORE

Funding Supports Businesses to Launch Online

The new Launch Online Grant program is designed to help over 1,500 eligible small- and medium-sized BC businesses adapt to changes in consumer behaviour and pivot to market their products online. The B.C. government is investing $12 million to help businesses launch or upgrade an online store that will provide the platform they need to increase their sales revenues, become more competitive and grow. APPLY ONLINE. 

BC Takes Next Steps in COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Plan

British Columbians are a step closer to receiving their COVID-19 immunizations, with additional details and timelines released for the largest and most complex immunization plan to ever roll out in BC. The plan will see approximately 7.4 million doses of vaccine overall administered to every British Columbian who is eligible to receive it between April and the end of September. READ MORE. 

BC Extends Province Wide Restrictions

The provincial government has announced that province-wide restrictions that came into effect on November 19, 2020 will now be extended until February 5, 2021 at midnight. These restrictions include, but are not limited to: a suspension on all events and social gatherings, no social gatherings of any size at your residence with anyone other than your household or core bubble, and a requirement to wear masks in indoor public settings. LEARN MORE. View the province-wide restrictions HERE.

Expanded Eligibility Criteria for BC's Small Business Recovery Grant

Eligibility criteria for the Small Business Recovery Grant changed as of December 18, 2020. The revised application process and eligibility criteria are now in place, and available online. In addition to changing the required minimum revenue drop of 50% to a drop of 30%, the new criteria also reduces the previous three-year operation requirement to 18 months. If you applied to the program prior to December 18, 2020, you do not need to resubmit an application as applications received prior to changes will be reviewed under updated program criteria and grant amounts. APPLY ONLINE

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

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. 

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

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 February 23, 2021

Canada United Reopens February 16th 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 will be accepted again starting today, February 16, 2021 at 10:00am. 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.

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

On November 20, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will be extended through to June 2021. The federal government is also providing a new emergency rent subsidy for businesses that will go directly to tenants, not landlords. As of November 23, businesses can apply for the new subsidies and the subsidies are retroactive to the beginning of October 2020. LEARN MORE

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