We are closely monitoring the ongoing conditions of the COVID-19 virus and associated economic impact and we take the health and safety of our members seriously. Please visit Public Health Agency of Canada for the most up to date information regarding the public health risk associated with COVID-19 for Canadians.

Regardless of external events that arise, it is best to be proactive and have a plan. We have compiled the following resources and links to support your business planning.

Vaccination Status Policy Updates

Government

  • Provincial Proof of Vaccination Program. On August 23, the B.C. government announced a that it will require proof of vaccination at most gatherings and non-essential activities beginning on September 13 with a one dose requirement. On October 24, the entry requirement will be that an individual is fully vaccinated.
    • The program will be managed through an app provided by the province through a secure weblink prior to September 13.
    • The full list of activities where a vaccine will be required is below. The detailed provincial health order has not yet been released.
      • Indoor ticketed sporting events
      • Indoor concerts and theatre/dance/symphony evens
      • Restaurants (indoor and patio dining), nightclubs, movie theatres, casinos
      • Fitness centres/gyms (excluding youth recreational sport)
      • Businesses offering indoor high-intensity group exercise activities
      • Organized indoor events (eg. Weddings, parties, conferences, meetings, workshops)
      • Discretionary organized indoor group recreational classes and activities

Employers

Government and Official Updates

Federal

  • Canada Recovery Hiring Program will provide eligible employers with a subsidy of up to 50 per cent of incremental remuneration paid to eligible active employees between June 6, 2021, and November 20, 2021. Business will be able to access the program through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
  • The Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund: Business loans for a variety of activities, including capital investments, working capital and short-term receivable financing. Businesses eligible for loans must be majority owned (greater than 51%) by a Black Canadian. The applicant must self-identify as Black, be a legal resident of Canada (Canadian citizen or permanent resident) and be 18 years of age or older. Eligible businesses include start-ups, existing for-profit small businesses in Canada, sole proprietorships, partnerships and for-profit co-operatives. Fund includes a microlending pilot program offering loans ranging from $10,000 to $25,000. read more here.
  • Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) - government-guaranteed, low-interest loans of up to $1 million available to businesses across the country, in all sectors, with a year-over-year revenue decline of at least 50%. Businesses with multiple locations under one related entity (e.g. hotel or restaurant chain), could be eligible for up to $6.25 million. The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will work with participating Canadian financial institutions to facilitate the loans. Applications open Feb 1 and the HASCAP Guarantee is available until December 31, 2021. Find out if you are eligible and apply here.
  • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) — This program provides a wage subsidy to eligible employers who have experienced a drop in revenue due to COVID-19. All eligible employers who’ve experienced a revenue drop can now qualify for a base subsidy. The base subsidy can now be calculated using the revenue drop in either the current period or the previous period – whichever is greater. Eligible employers may also be entitled to receive a 100% refund for EI and CPP contributions. Full eligibility requirements can be found here and a wage subsidy calculator is available here. Businesses can apply here
  • Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy — new rent support program for eligible businesses, charities and non-profits whose revenues have been impacted by COVID-19. The program reimburses rent expenses (or commercial mortgage interest expenses), on a sliding scale, up to a maximum of 65% of eligible fixed property expenses starting on September 27, 2020, until June 2021. A 25% top-up of the subsidy is available to businesses and other organizations that have been closed by mandatory public health orders. This program replaced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program on September 30, 2020 and does not require tenants to negotiate and enter into rent-reduction agreements with landlords. Read more here.
  • Business Credit Availability Program — Support financing in the private sector with direct lending and other types of financial support.
    • >The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) — provides interest-free loans of up to $60,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced. Business owners can apply for support from CEBA through their banks and credit unions. Notable program updates:
      • Business owners can apply for support until December 31, 2021 through their banks and credit unions.
      • As of October 26, 2020, eligible Canadian businesses that currently operating through a personal bank account will be able to apply for CEBA.
      • CEBA has recently been expanded from $40,000 to $60,000: The expanded program will enable businesses, and not-for-profits eligible for CEBA loans—and that continue to be seriously impacted by the pandemic—to access an interest-free loan of up to $20,000, in addition to the original CEBA loan of $40,000. Half of this additional financing would be forgivable if repaid by December 31, 2022.
      Check your eligibility here. Business should contact their financial institutions participating in the CEBA program to apply.
  • The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) — The CRB provides $500 per week (minus a 10% tax withheld) for up to 26 weeks until October 23, 2021 for workers who have stopped working or had their income reduced by at least 50% due to COVID-19, and who are not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI). Check your eligibility or apply to the CRB here.
  • Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) — The CRSB provides $450 per 1-week period for up to a maximum of 4 weeks between September 27, 2020 and October 23, 2021, for workers who:
    • Are unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they contracted COVID-19
    • Are self-isolated for reasons related to COVID-19
    • 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.
    Check your eligibility or apply to the CRSB here.
  • Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) — The CRCB provides $500 per week for up to 38 weeks per household between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021, 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
    • 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.
    Check your eligibility or apply to the CRCB here.
  • Employment and Social Development Canada — Details for employers on EI applications for their employees and Work-Share Program
  • Canada's Essential Service Guidance — Public Safety Canada's information on Essential Services and Functions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) — a bridge financing facility for large companies that do not have access to conventional financing. The program is open to large for-profit businesses with annual revenues of $300 million or higher and are seeking financing of $60 million or more, have significant operations or workforce in Canada, and not involved in active insolvency proceedings. Applicants should register their interest at . Additional details can be found here

Provincial

  • New Program Fairs, Festivals and Events Recovery Fund. - Applications are being accepted until October 1, 2021 for a new relief grant program for community events to cover up to 20% or $250,000 of the event cost. Read more here.
  • B.C. is in Phase 3 of its restart plan. - A four phased strategy that outlines the gradual re-starting of the B.C. economy. Each phase is tied to vaccination rates and COVID case numbers/hospitalizations. Read more here.
  • Paid Sick Leave - The Province has begun to implement its paid sick leave program. Employers will be reimbursed up to $200 per day for up to three days of mandatory COVID-related paid sick leave. The program will be in place until December 31, 2021. Read more here.
  • Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant - Grants of $1,000 to $10,000 are available to hospitality and fitness businesses impacted by the March 30, 2021 PHO orders on gatherings and events and liquor and food serving premises. Grants are available until June 4, 2021 or until funds are fully expended, whichever comes first. Read more here.
  • Launch online grant program - $42 million in funding to B.C.-based SMEs (less than 149 employees) to help move their business models online. The grant will pay for up to 75% of eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $7,500 per business. Funding will be awarded on a first-come first-served. Find more information, eligibility criteria and apply online here.
  • PST rebate on select machinery and equipment - Temporary provincial sales tax (PST) program. Corporations can apply to receive an amount equal to the PST they paid between Sept. 17, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2021 on qualifying machinery and equipment. Online applications start April 1, 2021. Check eligibility and apply here.
  • Increased Employment Incentive - A refundable tax credit for all private sector employers —including most charities and non-profits - that create new jobs for B.C. workers or increases in payroll for existing low- or medium-income employees. The tax credit is calculated at 15% of the amount by which the employer’s qualifying B.C. remuneration exceeds the employer’s base remuneration. Online applications start in March 2021. Applications are due by December 31, 2021. Check eligibility, details and apply here.
  • BC COVID-19 Action Plan — $5 billion plan that includes $2.2 billion for businesses and recovery. Plan includes tax changes and additional benefits. 
    • Tax relief for commercial properties — School tax on the business property class as well as the light- and major-industry classes (Classes 4,5 and 6) will be cut by 50% for 2020. Additional school property tax rates also announced for commercial properties (including Managed Forest Land and recreational properties/non-profits) that will result in an averaged 25% reduction in the overall commercial property tax bill for most businesses. 
    • Delay of new PST registration requirements — The new PST registration requirements on e-commerce and the implementation of PST on sweetened carbonated drinks will be delayed and their timing will be reviewed by September 30
  • “Stronger B.C.” Recovery Plan — $1.5 billion allocated to support long-term economic recovery, to be allocated once the pandemic has passed
  • COVID-19 Leave: Changes to Employment Standard Act
    • Employees who are unable to work due to COVID-19 related reasons are permitted to take unpaid, job-protected leave. This is retroactive to April 21, 2021.

Municipal

Health Organizations

Business Resiliency Webinar Series

In this time of unprecedented uncertainty, we want to make sure our Members and the broader business community can find answers to the most pressing questions facing their businesses. Through a series of free webinars, experts provide guidance and answer questions to help companies navigate their next step.

NEW Strategies for Rebuilding Business
Strategies for rebuilding your business, and the priorities and risks to consider on the path to recovery.

 

The Honourable Michelle Mungall
Learn about the latest support available for businesses from the Government of British Columbia.

 

Cloud Computing During Crisis
The benefits of cloud computing and important considerations for companies planning to leverage it.

 

Navigating Labour and Employment Law
Labour & employment law and the impact of recent announcements from the Federal Government.

 

Financial Reporting and Audit Implications
Key financial reporting implications – and helpful strategies to manage your response to them.

 

Supporting Health Care Workers
How businesses' can play a part in supporting health care workers during this pandemic crisis.

 

Additional Webinars

  • Commercial Leasing

    Navigating COVID-19 issues impacting parties to a commercial lease.

  • E-Commerce Essentials

    Providing a comprehensive look at the many e-commerce opportunities, risks and solutions available.

  • Hon. Mary Ng

    The Honourable Mary Ng shares information on the latest support available from the Federal Government for Canadian businesses.

  • Tax Considerations for SMEs

    MNP's tax and private enterprise experts will walk you through important personal and business tax and subsidy considerations.

  • Contract Performance

    Many companies are or will be dealing with difficult questions around the performance of contracts during and following the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Adaptive Leadership

    Adaptive leadership tools that can help individuals and organizations learn during this crisis period.

  • Hon. Mélanie Joly

    The Honourable Mélanie Joly shares government initiatives to help Greater Vancouver businesses and the pivot to COVID-19 recovery.

 
  • Accessing Government Funding

    This webinar with experts from PwC Canada focuses on accessing Federal and Provincial Government incentives and funding programs.

  • From Crisis to Recovery

    This webinar with Deloitte explores how a holistic crisis management response strategy can help your business move confidently from crisis to recovery.

  • Mental Wellness

    Uncertainties inherent a crisis like the current COVID-19 pandemic are having a tremendous impact on employers and employees. Hear about some practical ideas you can put in place to help.

  • Human Resources

    Sara Parchello, Partner at Bennett Jones will discuss key human resources issues facing businesses and individuals during this crisis period.

  • Finance and Cash Flow Management

    KPMG, Partner, Huey Lee's practice involves corporate restructuring and advisory services.

 

 

Leadership Series

Trusted Advice to Manage the Impact of COVID-19

Everyone is seeking trusted sources of information to help navigate the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic. The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBOT) is bringing together experts to offer practical business advice. Bridgitte Anderson, CEO of the GVBOT sits down with four influential experts in Leadership, Finance, Crisis Communications, and Law to discuss how your organization can prepare, react and lead in uncertain times.

 

Stephen Smart, General Manager Western Canada, Hill + Knowlton Strategies talks transparency, the importance of honest and open communication, maintaining business continuity and more as we explore crisis communications.

 

One of B.C.'s top CEOs, Tamara Vrooman of Vancity, encourages leaders to take steps now as an act of public service. She shares her thoughts on how we can leverage our networks, share plans with each other, point to credible sources, and work together to help stabilize our businesses.

 

Huey Lee, Partner at KPMG Canada walks through how businesses of all sizes can build a financial plan. Organizations should determine their base case, bad case, and worst case to stress test their business. Huey discusses the importance of evaluating cash flow and working capital during this volatile period to help businesses stabilize and re-emerge after the crisis.

 

Duncan McPherson, Partner at Bennett Jones helps unpack legal and contractual obligations. He recommends that companies review their contracts as we anticipate increases in force majeure events. He covers Annual General Meeting regulations, company bylaw revisions, and the impact of COVID-19 on valuations and M&A activity.

 

 

RESOURCES

Government of Canada COVID-19 Information Services

  • Phone: 1-833-784-4397
  • Email: 

GVBOT Office

Out of an abundance of caution and following the guidance of health officials during the COVID-19 situation, we have enacted a partial work from home policy. Please call 604-681-2111 to access our staff directory or visit boardoftrade.com/contact for department emails.

Events

Please visit boardoftrade.com/events to find a list of our events being held virtually.

Document Certification

We want to support you and facilitate the certification of products. If you require document certification, we will be processing online submissions through eCertify at boardoftrade.com/certification. Our staff is ready and available to walk you through this process. For assistance, please contact: Kelly England, Office Services Email: Phone: 604-640-5489