Last updated February 23, 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 September 17, 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:
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).
COVID-19 Paid Sick-Leave Reimbursement Program
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
$500-Million Investment Fund Paves Way for a StrongerBC
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!
Province Increases Funding & Expands Eligibility for Circuit Breaker Relief Grant
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
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
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
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 August 8, 2021
- 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.
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
- 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
Federal Gov't Announces Wage & Rent Subsidy Amounts to Remain Same til June
$500M in Additional RRRF for Small Businesses
Canada United Reopens with Grants of Up To $5,000 Available
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.
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/