COVID-19: Be safe. Stay Connected.

COVID-19: First signs of financial relief announced

We are continuing to monitor COVID-19 announcements and disseminate what we feel is directly relevant to our members. 

COVID-19 Federal Emergency Response Package

Earlier today the Prime Minister announced an $82-billion aid package to help Canadians and businesses cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, including income supports, wage subsidies, and tax deferrals.

The first signs of financial relief to businesses are optimistic.

There are reassurances that people without paid sick leave as well as people who don’t typically qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) will be eligible for benefits. Two different programs are being created:

  • An Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks to provide income support to workers who must stay home and do not have access to paid sick leave. This includes those who are self-employed, sick or quarantined, and those who are staying home to look after others and children who are not in school. The measure could disburse up to $10 billion.
  • An Emergency Support Benefit from the Canada Revenue Agency to provide up to $5 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment as a result of COVID’s impact. 

The Government is introducing more flexibility for taxpayers and businesses experiencing hardships during COVID-19:

  • The tax filing deadline for individuals will be extended to June 1, 2020. 
  • They are allowing taxpayers and businesses to defer until after Aug. 31, 2020 the payment of any income tax amounts that are due after today and before September without penalty. 

The Government is proposing a temporary wage subsidy program for small businesses:

  • Eligible small businesses would qualify for a 10 per cent wage subsidy for the next 90 days, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer to encourage employers to keep their workers on the payroll

Additional relief measures were also announced around Child Benefit payments, the Reaching Home homeless care program, homeowner mortgage payments, student loan payments, and Indigenous community support. 

Read the full Economic Response Plan here.

Key Considerations

Approvals: Some of these new measures will still require legislative adoption by Parliament. 

Timing: Two-three weeks (early April) is the optimistic timing for some of the new programs, like the Emergency Care Benefit or the Emergency Support Benefit, to actually get up and running. 

Only Step One: This is only the first phase of economic support and the approach is meant to be elastic and designed to expand depending on need.

Here’s what the Strathcona BIA will be watching for in the coming days:

  • Eligibility requirements for the different measures
  • How to actually access these supports
  • Timing of when they become available
  • Other assistance measures being made available by other levels of government

The SBIA is joining efforts with all 22 BIAs across Vancouver to use all tools available to advocate for promised relief to reach small businesses impacted across our communities. 

March 18th update from Mayor Stewart

In Vancouver this afternoon, the Mayor announced new measures the City is taking to help limit the spread of COVID-19.  He has decided to declare a state of emergency in Vancouver in order to give the City the tools it needs to move faster and keep businesses and residents safe. All public-serving businesses are to close to assembly service and can only remain open to provide take-out or delivery. Read the full letter from the Mayor here. 

We’ve already seen Strathcona BIA members demonstrate incredible bravery, resourcefulness, resilience, and sacrifice while nagivating through this vulnerable and uncertain time. Learn more about what’s going in the district as of this March 17th blog post.

As we continue to work to support our business members across the district of Strathcona during this unprecedented time, please do not hesitate to be in touch with us. We are closely monitoring all calls that come through at 604-258-2727 as well as emails at

Please be well, stay safe, and let’s stay connected.