PANDEMIC RAPID RESPONSE BUSINESS CENTRE
Federal Government COVID-19 Economic Response Plan – updated regularly.
BC Vaccine Card
BC’s Response to COVID-19
Step 3 Transition from COVID Safety Plans to Communicable Disease Prevention
Communicable Disease Plans and Workplace Safety in Step 3 and 4 – WorkSafeBC Presentation
WorkSafeBC Communicable Disease Plan Slides
Due to rapidly increasing COVID-19 cases in Fraser Health, we are asking the business community to revisit their COVID-19 safety plans and step up measures where needed for the protection of our workers, our loved ones and our communities.
Fraud and Scams
With the ongoing pandemic, small and medium sized businesses increasingly rely on social media to drive consumer engagement and stay connected. This presents opportunities for fraudsters who are actively spoofing social media accounts, to steal personal and financial information from Canadian citizens and businesses. More Information
PPE SUPPLIERS AND MANUFACTURERS
Communicable Disease Prevention Plans
The provincial health officer has issued a statement advising that beginning in Step 3 of the Restart plan, employers may begin to transition away from posting a copy of a COVID-19 Safety Plan at their workplace towards communicable disease prevention.
- Watch the WorkSafeBC presentation on communicable disease plans and workplace safety in step 3 and 4.
- Review the slide deck from WorkSafeBC.
Retail Council of Canada: Retail Recovery Playbooks and Checklists
Surrey Parking to Patios
The Parking to Patios initiative allows eating establishments to easily add or expand outdoor seating areas. This initiative will create a simple and flexible process that will allow eating establishments to provide increased physical distancing opportunities in outdoor spaces adjacent to their businesses, while maintaining a level of safety and regulatory approval through a streamlined municipal process.
Surrey Sidewalk Queuing Space
This initiative allows all other retail businesses to accommodate regular customer line-ups in outdoor spaces adjacent to businesses while meeting physical distancing and reduced occupancy requirements. As with, the Parking to Patios initiative, the Sidewalk Queuing Space initiative will maintain a minimum level of safety and regulatory approval while providing a streamlined application, approval and monitoring process.
Restaurants Canada: COVID-19 Reopening Best Practices
Safe Screen BC – helps BC businesses access rapid antigen tests and setup on-site rapid COVID-19 workplace screening programs for employees.
For any businesses needing CRA assistance, you will receive a personalized response from a CRA Liaison Officer.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has a useful page of resource including travel advice, updates and printable reference information. Also included is a reference sheet from the World Health Organization for workplaces. For BC related updates, see this reference page.
Latest Medical Updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and testing.
For non-health related information, including financial, child care and education supports, travel, transportation and essential service information, visit: gov.bc.ca/covid19
Or call 1 888 COVID19 (1 888 268-4319) between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. (Pacific time), seven days a week.
- BC Business COVID-19 Support Service
To help BC businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the BC government, through the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness and the Government of Canada, through Western Economic Diversification Canada, have partnered with Small Business BC (SBBC) to launch a new BC Business COVID-19 Support Service.
The service will serve as a one-stop resource to answer pressing questions about support available to businesses from the provincial and federal governments, industry, and community partners during this time.
As part of the support service, a dedicated website – covid.smallbusinessbc.ca – will feature announcements from industry and community partners, as well as a variety of important resources, including webinars and practical tools. Advisors can be reached by phone toll-free at 1-833-254-4357, by email firstname.lastname@example.org and live chat.
- Mental Health and Counselling
New Work Mental Health Hub
Employers and employees throughout BC who work in the tourism, hospitality and community social services sectors now have access to vital mental health resources with the creation of a digital resource hub. The online hub offers a range of tools to help address common workplace concerns, such as bullying, harassment, COVID-19 exposure, coping with stress and more.
The new hub provides workshops, webinars and information to help employees manage stress and build resiliency. It also provides tangible steps for workers at all levels to improve their overall mental health, as well as navigation support to connect to other mental health services, including counselling and peer support.
With the challenges brought on by the continued challenges of the cold weather and the holidays, winter can often be a difficult time. But with COVID-19, this year’s winter may be even more demanding on our mental health and well-being. The Mental Health Commission of Canada mini-guide is designed to help employers provide workers with specific tools and resources during the winter months. We hope this helps you.
310—Mental Health Support Line
Provides emotional support, information and resources specific to mental health. Can call 24 hours a day. Simply dial 310-6789 w/o putting 604 or 778 in front of the number. Also have resources on web
British Columbia Bereavement Helpline
Tel: 1-877-779-2223 email@example.com
Free and confidential grief support via phone or email. Provides compassionate listening and local referrals. Available Monday to Friday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, excluding holidays.
Moving Forward Family Services
Offering online and telephone counselling options. Free telephone support provided by supervised interns for anyone who may be struggling emotionally while in self-isolation. Services for all ages and any concerns including addictions, mental health, trauma, violence, parenting, relationships and more. Sliding scale fees and no one is turned away due to financial circumstances. Staff speak a variety of languages.
Suicide Help Line
Tel: 1-800-Suicide or 1-800-784-2433
Trained volunteers provide emotional crisis support, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in over 140 languages. Also chat services available online as well as other crisis lines.
- Resource Works Report – Team Canada for the Rebuild: Priorities for Advancing a Constructive Canada in Founding the “Next Normal”
- The basic principles of remote working which highlights best practices in virtual collaboration with both employees and customers in a remote work context.
- Fasken Coronavirus COVID-19 Knowledge Centre
- Use PwC’s online interactive COVID-19 Navigator Tool to help you understand where you are on your path. Results will be sent to you directly.
- COVID-19 LAYOFFS – What are the Rules?
- EI AND COVID-19 LAYOFFS – 5 Tips for Workers and Businesses
- Online self-assessment tool: bc.thrive.health
- BC self-monitoring and self-isolation guidance
- BC Government Preparedness and Planning Materials
- For help understanding the definition of essential services across borders and to understand what documentation will be required at the Canada – US border:
Canada Border Services Agency has established a toll free line, staffed 24/7, to answer specific questions about Border Crossing: 1-800-461-9999 from within Canada, and 1-204-983-3500 or 1-506-636-5064 from outside Canada.
- Canada Revenue Agency – Helping Canadians with the economic impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic
- List of public exposures for the Fraser Health Authority.
- Sign up for the COVID-19 subscription for Public Health Updates from the Government of Canada: English | French
General Government Updates and Resources
- A special email has been formed to respond to questions or comments on federal government programs. They respond in a timely way and take note of any gaps for those businesses/organizations that can’t take advantage of any of the programs. Please feel free to email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Provincial Government Support
- Federal Resources: Managing your business during COVID-19
- Economic Development: Canada’s Regional Development Agencies are doing to help business during the COVID-19 pandemic: HTML – PDF version
- Federal Government App: Dedicated COVID-19 tile has been added to the Canada Business App, providing links to government announcements and information for businesses. More information about the App can be found HERE
Support for Business
Access to Credit, Financing or Funding
COVID-19 Closure Relief Grant
For-profit businesses can apply for grants of $1,000 to $20,000 if they fully closed as a result of the December 22, 2021 PHO orders, or remain closed due to January 18, 2022 PHO orders.
The grant can be used to cover expenses like rent, insurance, employee wages, maintenance and utilities. Applications will open in January and stay open until the end of February 2022.
Tourism Accommodation and Commercial Recreation Relief Grant
BC is providing funding to help offset certain fixed costs for large accommodation providers and tourism-based commercial recreation businesses operating on Crown land or in BC Parks. Applications are accepted until end of day on February 14, 2022.
Funding will be awarded in 3 streams:
- Property tax relief for large accommodation providers: up to 25% of 2021 property taxes, up to $500,000
- BC Hydro cost relief for Indigenous-owned large accommodation providers operating on reserve: up to 100% of BC Hydro costs for 2021, up to a maximum of $200,000
- Relief of fees for rent under Land Act Tenures or Park Use Permits for tourism-based commercial recreation operators: receive a grant to cover 100% of fees paid for rent on invoices with payment due dates between May 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022.
Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program
As a business, charity, or non-profit in Canada who has faced deep losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for a wage subsidy, a rent subsidy, or both through the HHBRP. Eligible organizations regardless of their sector, may qualify for the HHBRP if they don’t qualify for the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP).
To qualify for the HHBRP, you must meet the following two conditions:
- You have a 12-month average revenue drop from March 2020 to February 2021 of at least 50%
- You have a claim period revenue drop of at least 50%
Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP)
Through HASCAP, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will work with participating Canadian financial institutions to offer government-guaranteed, low-interest loans of up to $1 million. Hard-hit businesses, like a chain of hotels or restaurants with multiple locations under one related entity, could be eligible for up to $6.25 million. HASCAP will help businesses with their day-to-day operating costs during the COVID-19 crisis and enable them to invest in their longer-term prosperity.
To be eligible for HASCAP, businesses need to show a year-over-year revenue decline of at least 50% in three months, within the eight months prior to their application. They must also be able to show their financial institutions that they have previously applied for either the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy or the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy.
Interested businesses should contact their primary lender to get more information and to apply. The HASCAP Guarantee is available until December 31, 2021 (extended).
Tourism Relief Fund
The Tourism Relief Fund, administered by Canada’s regional development agencies and Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), supports tourism businesses and organizations adapt their operations to meet public health requirements while investing in products and services to facilitate their future growth. Eligible applicants include tourism entities that cater mainly to visitors, such as:
- not-for-profit organizations, such as tourism associations
- band councils or other Indigenous organizations and cooperatives
To be considered eligible for this fund, applicants must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- be a key supplier or operator in the visitor experience
- be part of a defined tourism cluster or a tourism dependent community, including supporting downtown cores
- provide an anchor product or service in a tourism destination
- non-repayable contributions up to $100,000 for up to 50% of eligible costs or
- fully repayable contributions up to $500,000 for up to 75% of eligible costs
Not-for-profit organizations and Indigenous entities (not generating profits) will be eligible for non-repayable contributions.
BC PST Rebate on Select Machinery and Equipment
The BC PST Rebate on Select Machinery and Equipment is a temporary provincial sales tax (PST) program to help corporations recover from the financial impacts of COVID-19. The rebate acts like a refund but is separate from the existing PST Refund process. Under this temporary program, corporations can apply to receive an amount equal to the PST they paid between September 17, 2020 and March 31, 2022 on qualifying machinery and equipment.
Unincorporated entities, such as sole proprietors, cannot apply. However, they can choose to incorporate to take advantage of this program. Only machinery and equipment obtained after incorporation are eligible. The Surrey Board of Trade can help you start this transition process. Contact our Business Centre at email@example.com for details.
Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) – Community Futures Stream
Social enterprises located in rural communities may be eligible for interest-free loans of up to $40,000, with up to $10,000 forgivable if repaid before December 31, 2022 through Community Futures.
Loans and Support from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)
A Co-Lending Program will bring BDC together with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to small and medium enterprises for their operational cash flow requirements. Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts up to $6.25 million under this new program. Available until December 31, 2021.
Please contact your primary financial institution to find out more.
Enhanced Financing through Export Development Canada (EDC)
Through the $10 billion Federal government Business Credit Availability Program, EDC has enhanced financing and insurance programs to ensure that impacted exporters have access to the credit and support they need. EDC will guarantee new operating credit and cash flow term loans that financial institutions extend to small and medium enterprises, up to $6.25 million.
Financing Products through Farm Credit Canada (FCC)
Through an additional $5 billion received from the Federal government, FCC is offering loan payment deferrals and other financing products to the agriculture and food industry.
Speak to your Lender
Canada’s largest financial institutions (BMO, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC, Scotiabank, and TD Bank), as well as some credit unions are committed to working with business banking customers on a case-by-case basis to provide flexible financing solutions.
Help Paying Rent
Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) and Lockdown Support
Extended through May 2022
On February 24, 2021, the Government announced a proposed change to make lockdown support available to an eligible property owner whose tenant is not at arm’s length but uses the qualifying property that is subject to a lockdown. The property owner must meet all other applicable conditions to qualify for the lockdown support. Beginning July 4, 2021, employers would need to have a decline in revenues of more than 10 per cent to be eligible for the Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support. The current subsidy rate of 25 per cent for the Lockdown Support would remain available until October 23, 2021.
- The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy provides direct and easy-to-access rent and mortgage interest support to tenants and property owners for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19. The rent subsidy supports businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop by providing support up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible expenses. The government is allowing claims retroactively for the period that began September 27, 2020. See the new rate structure effective June 6, 2021.
- The Lockdown Support provides an additional 25 per cent through the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy for qualifying organizations that are subject to a lockdown and must shut their doors or significantly limit their activities under a public health order issued under the laws of Canada, a province or territory (including orders made by a municipality or regional health authority under one of those laws). Combined, this would mean that hard-hit businesses subject to a lockdown could receive rent support of up to 90 per cent.
Help Paying Employees
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
Applications can be submitted online.
Support extended through to May 2022
The federal government is extending the program until May 0222, in order to bridge businesses and workers through to a strong recovery. Beginning July 4, 2021, employers would need to have a decline in revenues of more than 10 per cent to be eligible for the Wage Subsidy.
Canada Recovery Hiring Program
The Canada Recovery Hiring Program would help hard hit businesses hire the workers they need to recover and grow as local economies reopen. The program would provide a subsidy of up to 50 per cent of eligible salary or wages. It would be available to eligible employers who have experienced qualifying revenue declines so they can hire more workers, increase workers’ hours, or increase wages. This support would afford businesses with certainty that they can take on the extra costs needed to rehire and be ready to return to growth. Like with the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, businesses would be able to access the program through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Support would be available retroactively to Sunday, June 6, 2021, and businesses would be able to hire workers as their local economy reopens, or as they are ready.
Ways to Pivot Your Business Operations
Help Canada Combat COVID-19
Businesses are asked to contact the Government of Canada if they can supply products and services, or rapidly scale up production or re-tool their manufacturing lines to develop products made in Canada, that that will help in the fight against COVID-19.
BC Restaurant Alcohol Delivery
Licensed restaurants are now allowed to use servers with a Serving it Right certificate to deliver liquor products alongside the purchase of a meal.
Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Manufacturing
Distillers in British Columbia are temporarily authorized to manufacture alcohol-based hand sanitizer to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Resource: ‘Managing and Pivoting During a Time of Crisis’
Small Business BC provides practical ideas and inspiration to help you manage your business through this uniquely challenging time.
Other Supports and Resources Available
Understanding Changes to the Employment Standards Act
In response to COVID-19, the Employment Standards Act has been updated to provide new unpaid, job protected leave for British Columbians unable to work due to personal illness, injury or specified reasons relating to COVID-19. New changes have also been made to provide unpaid, job protected leave for employees to receive their COVID-19 vaccination or to assist a dependent in receiving their vaccination.
Canadian COVID‑19 Capabilities Directory
Is your company ready to export solutions that can help support the fight against COVID‑19? If so, you can request to be considered for addition to the Canadian COVID‑19 Capabilities Directory by Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service (TCS). The directory is used by our network of trade commissioners to showcase the capabilities of export‑ready Canadian firms with COVID‑19‑related capabilities to potential buyers across the globe, and to match these Canadian companies with international business opportunities.
Whether you are manufacturing medical supplies, providing digital health services, building temporary medical facilities or offering solutions for healthy workplaces, if your company is ready to export and has the capacity to meet the demands of international markets, submit your request to be included in the Canadian COVID‑19 Capabilities Directory today.
- ARTISTS AND FREELANCERS:
- NON-PROFITS: Free one-page website/domain from Webnames.ca
- SMALL BUSINESS
- FRANCHISES: Canadian Franchise Association
- CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY: Resources and a virtual hotline from the BC Construction Association
- Urban Development Institute – Pacific Region
The UDI has three handy hub pages. One is dedicated to COVID-19-related updates for the development industry, one to non-industry resources such as government help, and one for municipal updates for the industry across the Lower Mainland.
- Homebuilders Association Vancouver (HAVAN)
HAVAN has a one-stop hub page that is constantly updated, where you can find all the relevant advice regarding development and construction in British Columbia.
- Canadian Home Builders’ Association
Also for the building industry, the CHBA has a dedicated COVID-19 resource hub, but you can only access the good stuff if you’re a CHBA member.
- Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver
Although not a dedicated COVID-19 page, much of the REBGV’s news page is currently taken up with important news and information about the real estate market as it relates to the pandemic.
- Altus Group
Real estate services and software firm Altus Group has one of the best COVID-19 hub pages we’ve seen, with a host of links to useful resources, as well as FAQs and province-specific information.
- JLL Canada
Real estate consultancy JLL Canada has an awesome COVID-19 resource hub page with a wealth of useful articles and advice.
CBRE’s National Apartment Group & Investment Properties Team has a COVID-19 resource hub page geared towards multi-family landlords, investors and property managers.
- Colliers International
The global commercial real estate brokerage has an impressive COVID-19 resource page with excellent articles and webinars.
- Cushman & Wakefield
Another commercial brokerage with an excellent hub of online articles specifically about operating during the pandemic.
- Goodman Commercial
Commercial brokerage Goodman Commercial’s Market Insights page has a lot of COVID-19 related content right now, including free webinars and video recordings of those webinars.
- B.C. Real Estate Association and Real Estate Council of B.C.
If you’re a realtor, the BCREA and the RECBC both have a great COVID-19-specific resource hub page for you.
- MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY:
- MINING AND SMELTING INDUSTRY: Province provides guidance to mining and smelting operations during COVID-19 pandemic
- RESTAURANT INDUSTRY: Restaurants allowed to use unemployed severs to deliver liquor products
- SUPPLY CHAIN: For assistance in identifying alternative sources of supply, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- CROSS-BORDER BUSINESS TRAVEL: Call CBSA at 1.800.469.9999
- COMMERCIAL LEASES: Options for Landlords and Tenants
- SHAW COMMUNICATIONS: The Surrey Board of Trade has launched an exclusive partnership with Shaw Communications to help members during COVID-19 to save you money and help keep your employees and business connected and secure. Contact email@example.com for more details.
Support for Employees, Individuals and Families
The Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit gives temporary income support to employed and self-employed people who cannot work due to a COVID-19 lockdown. The CWLB is only available when a COVID-19 lockdown order is designated for your region.
If you are eligible for the CWLB, you can receive $300 ($270 after taxes withheld) for each 1-week period. You may apply for any weeks your region is eligible between October 24, 2021 and May 7, 2022.
EI Work Sharing Program
Extended to September 24, 2022!
For Canadians who lose their jobs or face reduced hours as a result of COVID’s impact, this program provides EI benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hour as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers. The eligibility of such agreements has been extended to 76 weeks, eligibility requirements have been eased, and the application process has been streamlined.
Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)
The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) will provide $500 per week (taxable, tax deducted at source) for up to 44 weeks per household for workers unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they must care for a child under the age of 12 or family member because schools, day-cares or care facilities are closed due to COVID-19, or because the child or family member is sick and/or required to quarantine or is at high risk of serious health implications because of COVID-19. This benefit will be paid in one-week periods.
Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)
The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) will provide $500 per week (taxable, tax deducted at source) for up to a maximum of six weeks, for workers who are unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they contracted COVID-19, self-isolated for reasons related to COVID-19, or have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sicknesses that, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority, would make them more susceptible to COVID-19. This benefit will be paid in one-week periods.
Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) & Registered Pension Plans (RPPs)
Required minimum withdrawals from RRIFs will be reduced by 25% for 2020, in recognition of volatile market conditions and their impact on many seniors’ retirement savings. This will provide flexibility to seniors that are concerned that they may be required to liquidate their RRIF assets to meet minimum withdrawal requirements. Similar rules would apply to individuals receiving variable benefit payments under a defined contribution RPP.
Mortgage and Credit Product Assistance
The federal government, through the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), is providing increased flexibility for homeowners facing financial difficulties to defer mortgage payments on homeowner CMHC-insured mortgage loans. CMHC will permit lenders to allow payment deferral beginning immediately.
Speak to your Lender
Canada’s largest financial institutions (BMO, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC, Scotiabank, and TD Bank), as well as some credit unions are committed to working with personal and small business banking customers on a case-by-case basis to provide flexible solutions. Support will include up to a six-month payment deferral for mortgages, and the opportunity for relief on other credit products.
Rent Bank Programs
For renters in some parts of the province it is possible to receive emergency help for rent payments and one–time interest–free loans.
Support for Indigenous Communities
Indigenous Services Canada is working closely with First Nation partners to protect the health and safety of First Nations and support First Nations communities in responding to the public health crisis resulting from COVID–19.
Emergency Travel Assistance
Global Affairs Canada is establishing an emergency loan program of $5,000 to help Canadians who need immediate financial assistance to return to Canada. Canadians abroad who need urgent assistance can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support for Parents with Children in Child Care
The BC government has taken steps to support the child care sector while ensuring parents who must work during the COVID–19 pandemic continue to have access to child care.