October 15 – BC Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant Program – Now Open
The Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant program will invest up to $300 million in targeted financial support for some of the hardest hit businesses in B.C. that employ between two and 149 B.C. residents and have experienced declines in revenue since March 10, 2020.
Grants of $10,000 to $30,000 are available. An additional $5,000 to $10,000 grant is available to eligible tourism-related businesses that have been hit especially hard by COVID-19.
The program runs until March 31, 2021 or until the funds are fully allocated, whichever comes first.
September 17 – BC Government Announces Economic Recovery Plan
Premier Horgan and Minister James announced details on the Province’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Package.
A total of $1.19 billion has been allocated to new expenditures across four broad categories:
The plan includes investments of over $100 million to support tourism-related businesses and communities, including the following:
Read the media release at: news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PREM0052-001780
Learn more online at: strongerbc.gov.bc.ca
View the Backgrounder document here.
July 15 – Sport Fishing Operational Guidelines update regarding accommodations
July version Sport Fishing operational Guidelines – accommodations update
The BCCDC has recently released an update to their Guidelines for BC’s Hotel Sector to Prevent COVID-19 Transmission. This document provides hotel operators with guidance
As plans for reopening continue, several key changes have been made to the accommodation guidelines:
• Accommodation guidelines are significantly less prescriptive than original version.
• Cleaning during a guest’s stay is not prohibited anymore, it is recommended to clean the rooms when guests are not in the room.
• The requirement to allow 3 hours before entering the room after check out has been removed.
As guidance and regulations are updated to respond to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic in BC, operators are strongly advised to regularly review public health recommendations, Provincial Health Officer Orders, and WorkSafeBC protocols within which hotels are expected to operate. We will continue to keep you informed on ever changing protocols.
June 24 – BC’s Restart Plan – Phase 3 now
Phase 3, allowing travel throughout BC and expansion of activities, was announced and implemented today.
June 5 – COVID-19 Workplace Assessment Tool for Tourism and Hospitality Employers
go2HR’s new COVID-19 Workplace Assessment Tool provides tourism and hospitality employers with information and resources to assist in developing a robust COVID-19 Safety Plan. Our tool includes five key steps, which will help you evaluate your current set up in relation to managing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in your workplace, with suggestions on how to improve. START YOUR ASSESSMENT
WorkSafeBC inspections during the Covid-19 Pandemic
WorkSafeBC inspections play a key role in ensuring safe and health workplaces in BC. As many businesses return to operations during Phase 2 of B.C.’s Restart Plan, WorkSafeBC officers may call or visit unannounced to evaluate how you are protecting your workers from the virus that causes COVID-19. These Frequently Asked Questions provide insights into what employers can expect both during and after a WorkSafeBC inspection, as well as key information and documentation that WorkSafe BC Prevention officers will be looking for.
May 29 – BC Tidal Waters Charter, Guide, and Lodge Operations – Covid19 Guidelines – May 2020 Version
WorksafeBC has reviewed the draft BC Tidal Waters Charter, Guide, and Lodge Operations – Covid19 Guidelines. This May 2020 version provides guidelines and recommendations that may be modified due to changing conditions and is suitable for business operation locally now and in preparation for Phase 3 activities.
The plans and protocols are presented as recommendations and are not intended as a legal standard of care. This document is offered to assist participants in the sport fishery, whether that is personal or through fishery related businesses, in complying with health guidance issued by the BC Health Officer, which are subject to change. The document does not carry legal or regulatory authority.
May 27 – Provincial guidance on fishing in BC remains: Stay Safe, Stay Local
As part of BC’s Restart Plan, the guideline review process for all businesses is time consuming, the situation with the virus continues to evolve and the number of business seeking direction is high. While charters and guide businesses were not ordered closed, the requirement for all to adhere to health and safety guidelines made operation impossible. Provincial guidelines for fishing and hunting.
Physical distancing remains the priority and most effective way to limit or eliminate spread of the virus. Using a face mask or covering in situations where physical distancing cannot be maintained will reduce transmission of the virus.
Accommodation and Hotel Sector Guidelines
Lodges and destination fishing charter operation are aligned with the implementation of Phase 3 of BC’s Restart plan. The accommodation sector has developed draft guidelines and recommendations and the Provincial Hotel Guidelines, released in May, can provide some guidance for operations that are preparing for the opportunity that implementation of Phase 3 may present. Linked: Accommodation sector abstract and the provincial hotel guidelines. As restaurants were ordered closed and have recently been approved for re-opening there are recommendations and plans posted on the WorksafeBC site here – Restaurant and Food Service Guidance.
3sixty5 Medical, a SFI member, is available for businesses wishing to consult on medical and safety concerns during these unprecedented times.
From 3sixty5 Medical: Careful planning and medical support should be considered to allow our industry to provide a safe and enjoyable experience on the beautiful BC coast this summer and during the Covid pandemic.
The 2020 summer fishing season will be soon upon us, and whether you are a private charter operator or a remote BC lodge, all businesses need to work with new operational restrictions and guidelines that are being set out by the BC Provincial Health Officer.
With proper planning and preparedness, we at 3sixty5 Medical can assist you in preparing a COVID-19 response plan to allow your business to open and operate this season.
3sixty5 Medical is a well-established medical support company that provides Health Care Practitioners to remote locations in BC with the support of direct Physician oversight. During the Covid-19 Pandemic we are supporting our clients with a COVID-19 Response Planning which outlines current guidelines and procedures for travel, social distancing and personal protection.
In consultation with you, we will create a COVID-19 Response Plan that provides your organization with guidelines and procedures to keep your staff and clients safe and prevent the spread of COVID 19 . Contact 3sixty5 Medical at email@example.com
May 15 – Province of BC – Fishing and Hunting Covid 19 Updates
Stay Safe, Stay Local, and Check before you Go. See updated guidance below
Fish and Hunt Locally. The Provincial Health Officer continues to direct people to stay within their own community and to continue following the direction on physical distancing and other actions to stay safe.
May 13 – Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)
$962 million additional support fund now available to businesses and communities affected by the pandemic
Government of Canada will support more small businesses and communities with targeted assistance delivered by regional development agencies
The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, today announced that the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) is now accepting applications from businesses and communities
Over the past two and a half months, the government has implemented a series of concrete, tangible measures to support small businesses and their employees. This fund, which will flow through Western Diversification and the other Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), will help more businesses and organizations – especially in sectors such as tourism and manufacturing – get additional support.
A national initiative of nearly $1 billion, the RRRF is there to support businesses not eligible for the other measures already in place. It will relieve pressures and help businesses that lack cash flow (and non-profits that support them) with immediate financial support so they can pay employees and cover costs. In the months to come, it will position them to play a meaningful role in our economic recovery. The best way to help our communities is through a source they already trust, which is why we will be working with those who know local economies best: our Regional Development Agencies.
$304.2 million has been allocated for Western Canada through the Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD)
Some key details
In Western Canada, WD will deliver:
Two funding options are available:
Businesses who wish to apply for the RRRF are invited to contact their local economic development officer for assistance. Our team at Economic Development and Official Languages is also happy to help your offices with anything you might need related to the RRRF.
May 6 – BC’s Restart Plan
Province of BC: BC’s Restart Plan lays out a series of steps that we will take together to protect people and ensure that our province can come back from COVID-19 stronger than before.
The Restart Plan includes phases of business and activity resumption with enhanced protocols beginning from mid-May. Specific public fishery guidelines and protocols are being reviewed by Worksafe and the PHO at this time and will be available, distributed and posted on the SFI site as soon as possible.
May 5 – One-on-One Support Program available to BC Tourism Businesses
Together with the other five tourism regions, Destination BC, and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture with support from go2HR, Indigenous Tourism BC, the Tourism Industry Association of BC, and Community DMOs, the BC Tourism Resiliency Network has been activated to provide BC tourism businesses with meaningful, one-on-one support to navigate government resources and expert advice, and work towards eventual recovery.
The Tourism Resiliency Program includes two components:
To learn more and register for the program, please visit choose your region and register today: tourismresiliency.ca/regions
April 30 – Trip cancellation and credit considerations article
Ryan Morasiewicz, MLT Aikins Law, provided a link to an article regarding trip cancellation and credit considerations during Covid-19.
April 27 – Federal funding announced
To help employers keep and re-hire workers amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government has implemented the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. This important measure provides a subsidy of 75% of an eligible employee’s weekly earnings, to a maximum of $847 per employee per week, to eligible employers, for up to 12 weeks. Retroactive to March 15, 2020, the CEWS will prevent further job losses and encourage employers to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is administering the CEWS on behalf of the Government.
The application process for the CEWS is here.
All claims that are approved through the CRA’s automated verification process will be sent for payment on May 5, so that payments being made through direct deposit should begin to appear in employers’ accounts as of May 7. Some applications will require a secondary verification, done manually, and in these cases the CRA may contact employers to verify information. It is expected that these secondary verifications will take no more than 72 hours in the vast majority of cases.
BDC Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium Enterprises
This new program, more information here with procedures and application recently announced, provides term loans for operational and liquidity needs of businesses, which could include interest payments on existing debt. Similar to the EDC program, this program is available to businesses that were financially viable and revenue-generating prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The program is designed in three segments to target support to different business sizes.
Loans would be interest-only for the first 12 months, with a 10-year repayment period.
For all existing federal support programs, see here
April 24 – Fishing in BC during Covid-19 Restrictions
Guidelines and behaviours while fishing in BC have been detailed by the BC Health Officer. Fishing is permissible during Covid restrictions as it was acknowledged to be an essential service and activity on April 3. But, the health and safety guidelines must be followed and adhered to.
As the status of restrictions will change over time, please check in here and at the Provincial website, Fishing and Hunting Covid-19 Updates periodically.
Learn about options and steps to enjoy fishing in BC safely and to eliminate the spread of the virus.
Guidelines are developing and evolving across Canada. See the Keep Canada Fishing website page dedicated to Fishing during Covid-19
Transport Canada – Covid-19 measures, updates, and guidance issued
April 20 – BC Links to Small Business Resources
Details regarding this new support is still coming in but today’s release indicates that these funds will be of interest and applicable to seasonal businesses.
April 16 – Province of BC Covid support news
April 14 – Federal Updates and assistance for tourism sector coming
Prime Minister Trudeau announced that relief for especially hard-hit sectors – including tourism – is coming soon. There is recognition that some sectors have been harder hit than others and that more announcements will come in the coming days.
New Links and Information from BC; Worksafe and go2hr
April 7 – Federal Covid-19 Benefit Calculator tool
April 6 – Vancouver Island Coastal Tourism Resiliency Program
Nanaimo, B.C. – Tourism Vancouver Island is committed to supporting the survival of nearly 3,500 tourism businesses on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through the launch of the Vancouver Island Coastal Tourism Resiliency Program.
The Vancouver Island Coastal Tourism Resiliency Program provides Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands and Sunshine Coast tourism businesses (including Indigenous tourism businesses) with meaningful, hands-on guidance and support to navigate the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and to work towards long-term resiliency.
The Vancouver Island Coastal Tourism Resiliency Program includes two components:
To register for the program, tourism businesses on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast can visit the Vancouver Island Coastal Tourism Resiliency Program website at www.victrp.ca or call the program Help Line at 1-855-722-9036.
April 2 – Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is building a new portal to house various applications. The goal is for the website to be ready next Monday, with the objective of a one-week turnaround to review applications. Applications will be accepted under an honour system for now, but government will be conducting audits and those found cheating will suffer the consequences. A synopsis of the steps and options available are found at the bottom of this page.
March 30 – Transport Canada Personnel certification renewal extensions due to Covid19
The Transport Canada response to the Covid-19 Pandemic regarding personnel is found in the Ship Safety Bulletin here. Mariners are extended a 6 month grace period for certificates that expire in 2020.
Refund, Trip Cancellation and Credit Considerations
During these unprecedented times and as you all to aware, customers are coming forward with various requests and opinions about how there Consideration should be given to cancellation, credit or refund policies. Please see an article posted by Ryan Morasiewicz and Selena Chen, MLT Aitkins Law, on the subject;
Business Resources – Please find a recent link from the Province of BC that details both Provincial and federal resources and links.
Here are some additional links and resources about looking after yourself and considerations for tourism and hospitality.
These are very unusual times and it is important that everyone take informed steps to minimize their contribution to the spread of Covid-19 and misinformation about the pandemic.
Canada Revenue Agency synopsis of options
Federal application processes may get started early next week and you want any funds being provided to arrive as quickly and easily as possible.
See list of tax deferments available at: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/taxes/tax-changes/covid-19-tax-changes
The CRA will allow all businesses to defer, until the end of June 2020, any GST/HST payments or remittances that become owing on or after March 27th and before June 2020. This means that no interest will apply if your payments or remittances are made by the end of June. The deadline for businesses to file their returns is unchanged.
The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer, until August 31st, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act.
BC Hydro is offering customer assistance programs to help customers experiencing financial hardship during the Coronavirus outbreak.
It was announced today that residential customers who have lost their jobs or are unable to work as a result of COVID-19 will receive a credit to help cover the cost of their electricity bills. The credit will be three times their average monthly bill over the past year at their home and does not have to be repaid. Small businesses that have been forced to close due to COVID-19 will have their power bills forgiven for three months. BC Hydro is waiving bills for these customers from April to June 2020.
Note: ICBC needs you to use their online tool so be sure to request the deferral at least one business day before your insurance is due. This also applies to fleet insurance.
Up to $40,000 loan, interest free for one year through financial institutions, but fully backed by the federal government. For some businesses, up to $10,000 may be forgivable. The program will likely become available next week.
This program helps companies of all sizes, non-profits, and charities that have faced revenue decreases of at least 30% by providing employers a 75% pwage subsidy, back-dated to March 15. Today the federal government provided some clarity on eligibility:
For individuals, the deadline to file taxes is now June 1st. But this is only an advantage if you expect to owe taxes. Do not delay if you expect a refund! If you do owe taxes after this later filing date, you will now have until August 31st to make the payment.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)— Provides $2,000 per month for four months to any workers who have lost their income for reasons related to COVID-19 including reasons of sickness, quarantine, taking care of those with COVID-19 as well as working parents needing to stay at home with children. This applies to wage earners, contract workers, and self employed individuals. Applications for this benefit will begin April 6th at the earliest, with payments to Canadians set for April 16th.
BC Emergency Benefit for Workers — Tax-free one-time payment of $1,000 to British Columbians (EI-eligible and non-EI eligible) whose ability to work has been impacted by COVID-19, to be aligned with federal government program
Employees who are unable to work due to COVID-19 related reasons are permitted to take unpaid, job-protected leave. This is retroactive to January 27th.
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