Last updated July 20, 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 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

Phase 3 & Updates to Public Order for Food & Liquor Servicing Establishments as well as Gatherings & Events

Last week, the provincial government moved ahead with reducing restrictions now that nearly 80% of adults in BC have had at least one dose of vaccine and COVID-19 case counts continue to decline. We do, however, encourage everyone to respect others’ comfort levels as we take another step toward putting this pandemic behind us. As of July 1, COVID Safety Plans are no longer a requirement, and the vast majority of public health orders replaced by new guidelines around health and safety provided by WorkSafeBC. Below you will also find copies of the updated health orders for gatherings and events as well as food and liquor serving premises for your reference.
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

URGENT NEWS: 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.

Food & Liquor Serving Premises Get Updated Public Order
A updated public order for Food and Liquor Serving Premises was released on April 21, 2021. DOWNLOAD THE ORDER.


Province Extends Provincial Health Orders into May

On Monday, the provincial government announced that it will be extending its provincial health restrictions that came into effect on March 29th for another five weeks until midnight on May 25 and that includes: Restaurants, pubs and bars are closed for indoor dining. Outdoor patio seating and take-out or delivery is allowed, Indoor low intensity group exercise classes are cancelled, Workplaces with a COVID-19 exposure may be ordered to close for a minimum of 10 days. In addition, to curb transmission across the province over the coming weeks, non-essential travel will be limited to within health authorities. Just how that might work (and cost) will be explained later this week as Solicitor General Mike Farnworth is expected to release details of a supporting order on Friday. READ MORE

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

Updated PHO Public Order: Gatherings and Events

An updated version of the public order for Gatherings and Events was released on March 18, 2021 by the Public Health Officer. 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

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. 

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

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: