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.
Government and Official Updates
- Program Extension Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy — This program will provide eligible employers a 75% wage subsidy and will cover up to $847/week per employee. Eligible employers may also be entitled to receive a 100% refund for EI and CPP contributions. Full eligibility requirements can be found here. The program has been extended to December 2020. Businesses can apply here
- Program Extension Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) - - Program that will lower rent by 75% for small businesses impacted by COVID-19, while also guaranteeing 75% of rent for impacted property owners. The assistance will apply for rent payments through the month of August. Commercial property owners are encouraged to work with eligible tenants and apply for this program.
- Business Credit Availability Program — Support financing in the private sector with direct lending and other types of financial support.
- Updated Eligibility Criteria Canada Emergency Business Account — Up to $40,000 loan, interest free for one year through financial institutions but fully backed by the federal government. For eligible businesses, up to $10,000 will be forgiven. Eligibility for this program is now extended to include sole-proprietors, businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll. Contact your financial institutions for details.
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) - Provides $500 a week for up to 24 weeks to workers who have lost income for reasons related to COVID-19. The last scheduled CERB pay period is set to end on September 26.
- Tax Flexibility — Businesses can defer paying income tax until September 1, 2020. GST payments, duties, and other remittances can be deferred until June
- Opportunities for Canadian Manufacturers — Call to action: Businesses that can assist in combating COVID-19. Additional details for needed products and services found 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.
- Changes to Canada Summer Jobs program — Announced temporary changes that will provide employers a wage subsidy of up to 100 % to hire summer staff and provide employment for young Canadians (between 15-30 years of age)
- Applications Open 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
- Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) — Interest-free repayable contributions that will help businesses and organizations that are ineligible for other federal support programs. This fund will provide up to $40,000 in repayable contributions, $10,000 of which is forgivable. The RRRF can also provide repayable contributions for businesses experiencing liquidity issues. Details regarding eligibility can be found here and businesses can apply here
- Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) — A program that will provide $1,250 a month from May to August to eligible students/recent graduates. Those with a disability or taking care of dependants are eligible for $2,000 a month. Students are encouraged to sign up for an account through the CRA to apply and access funds.
- B.C.'s Restart Plan — A four phased strategy that outlines the gradual re-starting of the B.C. economy, with a focus on personal care, social interaction and economic activity.
- BC COVID-19 Action Plan — $5 billion plan that includes $2.2 billion for businesses and recovery. Plan includes tax changes and additional benefits. Highlights include:
- Enhanced tax flexibility — The Province is extending tax filing and payment deadlines for the PST, the Employer Health Tax, the municipal and regional district tax, the carbon tax, the motor fuel tax, among others to September 30, 2020
- Deferral of carbon tax increase — The provincial carbon tax increase scheduled for April 1 will be delayed and reviewed by September 30
- 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. Date that late payment penalties apply for commercial properties has been postponed to October 1, 2020. More details to follow.
- 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
- 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 eligible, workers over the age of 15 must have been a resident of BC on March 15, meet the eligibility requirements and approved for the CERB, and filed/will file a 2019 BC income tax return, and not be receiving provincial income or disability assistance.
- 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
- NEW Temporary layoff provisions related to COVID-19 are temporarily extended to 24 weeks, up from 13 weeks, expiring on Aug 30, 2020. Employers can also request for an extension of the temporary layoff period under Section 72 of the Employment Standards 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 January 27, 2020.
- BC Essential Services — List of essential services in B.C. during COVID-19 pandemic
- Opportunity for Suppliers — Call to action: the province is looking for both medical and non-medical products and services to help with the response to COVID1-9
- Relief for BC Hydro customers — Targeted relief for small businesses that have been forced to close due to COVID-19. Eligible businesses will have their power bills waived from April to June 2020. Applications are expected to open the week of April 13. Major industries will have the opportunity to defer 50% of their payments for 3 months. Additionally, starting April 1, 2020, BC Hydro rates will be reduced by 1%.
- NEW B.C. COVID-19 Temporary Pandemic Pay — Joint support from federal and provincial government to temporarily increase the wages of low income workers delivering in-person, front-line care in health, social services and corrections. Eligible workers can expect a lump-sum payment equivalent to roughly $4 per hour starting on March 15. Learn more here
- City of Vancouver Business Communications and Support Office — List of changes to city services, facilities, and policies
- Property Tax Deferral — The City of Vancouver has announced it intends to defer property tax payments for 60 days
- Vancouver Coastal Health — Assessment of the local situation
- World Health Organization — Assessment of the global situation
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.
- 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.
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.
Whether it is a public health issue, natural disaster, or other emergencies, it is important to be prepared and ensure you have an up-to-date business continuity and disaster recovery plan. Here are some other resources to assist you in your planning.
Out of an abundance of caution and following the guidance of health officials during the COVID-19 situation, we have enacted a work from home policy and our office at Canada Place is closed. While our physical office is closed, we want to continue to serve you. Please call 604-681-2111 to access our staff directory or visit boardoftrade.com/contact for department emails.
We want to continue to connect with you. We are pursuing technological options that will allow us to bring our Members together virtually and provide valuable and relevant information. More will be shared in the coming days - stay tuned.
In-person events currently planned to take place on or before May 31, 2020, are either on hold or will be rescheduled to a future date. Once approval is received from health officials and authorities we look forward to gathering our Members in person as we have been doing for over a century.
Tickets purchased for events during these dates will be honoured for the rescheduled date. If you would prefer, we are able to offer a full refund. For more information, please contact or 604-640-5474.
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