We understand updates have been arriving regularly, and it can be tough to keep track of the latest news. Here are the latest key updates regarding government supports and other important resources.
The Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan and the Government of British Columbia’s COVID-19 Action Plan provide a set of financial supports designed to help individuals and businesses navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. As the situation continues to develop, these resources will be updated to ensure every Canadian is receiving the assistance they need.
The B.C. Business COVID-19 Support Service provides guidance and answers questions relating to COVID-19 resources and support programs. Whether you’re an individual or business owner, our team is available to answer any questions you have about COVID-19 supports and your unique circumstances.
B.C. Strengthens Federal Commercial Rent Program - June 1st, 12:30pm
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).
Eligible businesses whose landlords choose not to apply for the federal CECRA program will be protected from evictions due to unpaid rent payments through to the end of June 2020, as determined by the federal program timelines.
Province of British Columbia Extends State of Emergency for Further Two Weeks - May 28th, 11:25am
Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, has extended British Columbia's provincial State of Emergency until June 9th. This decision is based on the recommendations from health and emergency management officials and has been in place since March 18th.
WorkSafeBC Announces Additional Supports for Employers Impacted by COVID-19 - May 26th, 1:00pm
WorkSafeBC is waiving premiums for employers who are approved to receive the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) for furloughed workers (employees on leave with full or partial pay).
WorkSafeBC recognizes the challenges employers are facing during this extraordinary time, and in light of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will waive premiums on wages paid to furloughed workers of employers receiving CEWS subsidies. This change will be retroactive to the March 15, 2020 start date and continue for the duration of the CEWS program. Eligible employers will need to maintain documentation to identify workers that were furloughed as a result of this provincial health emergency.
Facebook Canada Launches Grant Program for Small Business – May 26th, 11:00am
Applications are now open for Facebook Canada’s small business grant program. Nearly $3.5 million is being made available to approximately 650 small businesses in cities where Facebook has offices: Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver.
To be considered eligible for Facebook’s grant program, businesses must satisfy the following criteria:
- Be a for-profit business
- Have between 2 and 50 employees
- Have been in business for over a year
- Have experienced challenges from COVID-19
- Be located in one of the following eligible communities in BC:
How to Apply:
- Have your CRA Payroll Program Account Number to hand
- Visit Facebook’s Application Portal
Business Resilience Service (BRS) Launches – May 26th, 10:30am
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has announced the launch of the new Business Resilience Service (BRS). This program allows business owners to connect with experienced business advisors from across Canada for guidance on which government relief programs are most appropriate to apply for, and how to respond and reshape amid uncertain times.
Key Program Points:
- Provide guidance to businesses on COVID-19 program options and eligibility
- Rapidly direct businesses – including enterprises involving Indigenous peoples, women and diverse groups – to the most appropriate support organizations for their needs
- Help organizations make decisions to support recovery plans
- Provide real time insights and feedback to policymakers
Commercial property owners with small business tenants can now apply for Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA). CECRA offers unsecured, forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners to reduce the rent owed by their impacted small business tenants and meet operating expenses on commercial properties. Property owners must offer a minimum of a 75% rent reduction for the months of April, May, and June 2020.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced $75 million in new funding for Indigenous organizations providing services to Indigenous peoples in urban centres and off reserve.
This additional funding will support more community-based projects that address the critical needs of Indigenous populations during this crisis, including food security, mental health support services, and sanitation and protective equipment. It could also help with other needs, such as support for Elders, transportation, and educational materials for Indigenous children and youth. Funding for projects will start rolling out in the coming weeks.
Applications for Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Open May 25th - May 20th, 10:35am
The Government of Canada has announced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program will open for applications on May 25th. Due to expected demand, applications will be staggered on the following days:
Resources for Women Entrepreneurs During COVID-19 - May 19th, 12:05pm
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted women entrepreneurs. It has severely affected sectors such as retail, hospitality and food services—sectors where women entrepreneurs are most present. On top of typically operating smaller businesses and having less access to capital, many women business owners also still bear a disproportionate share of domestic work, caregiving and childcare.
That’s why the Government of Canada have created several dedicated resources for women entrepreneurs during COVID-19. Click the link above to view the currently available resources.
Phase 2 of British Columbia’s Restart Plan begins today, May 19th. BC’s Provincial Health Officer has lifted the temporary order restricting in-person dining and drinks service providing businesses can follow guidelines on social distancing and reduced capacity. Click the link above to find details on conditions for operating.
Eligibility Criteria for Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) Expanded - May 19th, 10:05am
The Government of Canada has announced an expansion to the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to include many owner-operated small businesses. This change will mean increased eligibility for sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payrolls.
Expanded Eligibility Criteria
To qualify under the expanded eligibility criteria, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 would need:
- a business operating account at a participating financial institution
- a Canada Revenue Agency business number, and to have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return.
- eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance.
WorkSafeBC Releases New Industry Guidelines for Reopening During Phase 2 - May 15th, 2:50pm
WorkSafeBC published comprehensive resources for businesses thinking about reopening after May 19. These include:
- General and industry-specific guidelines for businesses included in Phase 2 of the BC Restart Plan.
- A COVID-19 Safety Plan development tool to help businesses develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan. The fillable PDF takes you through a six-step process to help you create a plan and post it at your worksite.
WorkSafeBC will not review or approve Safety Plans. However, they must be posted at the worksite. During a WorkSafeBC inspection, employers will also be asked about the steps they have taken to protect their workers or to see the plan if it has been developed.