COVID-19: Be safe. Stay Connected.

COVID-19 Resources and Updates

The Strathcona BIA is working to support our members across the district of Strathcona facing unprecedented impacts from COVID-19. Please do not hesitate to be in touch with us directly. We are closely monitoring all calls that come through at 604-258-2727 as well as emails at info@strathconabia.com.

On this page you’ll find relevant COVID-19 updates and  resources we’ve gathered to help our members get through this challenging time. This page will continue to be updated as more resources come online.

To learn about businesses still open in Strathcona offering take-out, delivery, or other services, visit this page.

Update on SBIA Programs and Advocacy

Strathcona Safety Patrol Program: To support our membership and the needs of the community, this program now operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The program has transitioned to a single patroller operating the marked SBIA patrol vehicle to allow team members to keep safe social distance. They can be reached at 604-789-4143. We are monitoring business closures as best we can and alerting the Safety Patrol Team to keep an extra eye on vacant properties at this time. To inform the SBIA of your business closure or adjusted hours, please email info@strathconabia.com.

Learn more about the transition to 24/7 safety patrol and ways to keep your business location safe. 

Graffiti Removal Program: Goodbye Graffiti is implementing rigourous social distancing and sanitation measures. All employees work individually with their own vehicles. Graffiti removals through this program will continue as usual at this time. Graffiti on private property can be reported by calling 1-877-684-4747 or emailing vancouver@goodbyegraffiti.com

Street Cleaning Program: Litter and debris continue to be collected through the Street Cleaning Program so long as employees are able to keep a safe social distance from others.

Staff and Board: Office staff are currently working from home but are still monitoring all calls that come through at 604-258-2727. The SBIA Board of Directors and Executive Committee continue to convene for regular meetings via teleconference. 

Advocacy: The SBIA is joining with BIAs across Vancouver to work together to support our members and mitigate impacts where possible by seeking relief from all levels of Government.

Government COVID-19 Relief Measures

We are closely tracking Government Relief measure announcements for both individuals and businesses. Note that the eligibility requirements for some of the newly announced programs as well as the exact timing of when they will become available are still unknown. We will be monitoring this closely. 

Federal Government COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

As of April 15th, here are the details for the key federal relief programs:

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB):

This is a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is the online portal to apply.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • You have not quit your job voluntarily
  • You earned a minimum of $5,000 income in the last 12 months or in 2019 from one or more of the following sources: employment income, self-employment income, or benefits related to maternity or paternity leave

Expanded access as of April 15th:

  • Seasonal workers and those who have recently run out of EI, along with people who make less than $1000 a month will now also qualify for the CERB
Canada Emergency Wage Subsity (CEWS):

Program designed to encourage employers who already laid off workers to put them back on payroll. CEWS offers a 75% wage subsidy up to a maximum benefit of $847 per week per employee to qualifying businesses. Employers will be able to apply through the CRA My Business Account or through a web-based application shortly.  Note that if you receive a subsidized salary for the CEWS, you cannot apply for the CERB.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Businesses that demonstrate a 15% drop in revenue in March 2020 and 30% for following months as a result of COVID-19
  • Employers are allowed to calculate revenues under the accrual method or the cash method and will compare to the same month in 2019 or an average of January and February 2020 to demonstrate drop in revenue
  • Program is open to all sectors and business sizes
  • The program also applies to non-profits and charities
  • All employers would be expected to make best efforts to top up salaries to 100% of the maximum wages covered
Canada Emergency Business Account:

The new Canada Emergency Business Account will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs. Business owners can apply for this relief measure through their banks or credit unions.

Eligibility Requirements – expanded as of April 16th

  • Organizations need to demonstrate they paid between $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)

This new program was announced April 16th and will seek to provide loans, including forgiveable loans to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. Learn more details about how it will work here

Additional Measures:

The Canada Summer Jobs Program will now provide private and public sector employers with up to %100 of the minimum hourly wage for each employee. Employers are also now allowed to hire staff on a part-time basis.

The Work-Sharing program will be extended from 38 weeks to 76 weeks.

All businesses can defer, until after August 31, 2020, payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18 and before September 2020. More information here.

All businesses, including self-employed individuals, can defer until June 20, 2020 payments of GST/HST, as well as customs owing on their imports.

Canada’s full COVID-19 Economic Response Plan can be found here.

Provincial Government COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

Announced April 16th 2020: 

  • Reducing most commercial property tax bills by an average of 25% by further reducing the school property tax rate for commercial properties
  • Postponing the date that late payment penalties apply for commercial properties in classes 4,5,6,7 and 8 to Oct.1st, 2020 to give businesses and landlords more time to pay their reduced property tax, without penalty.

Announced April 9th, 2020:

Renters who are experiencing a loss of income during the COVID-19 pandemic can now apply for the Province’s new temporary rental supplement. The program will provide $300 per month for elibible households and $500 per month for eligbile households with dependents. Learn more and apply here.

Announced April 1st, 2020:

BC Hydro will offer new, targeted bill relief to provide immediate help to those most in need. Small businesses that have been forced to close due to COVID-19 will have their power bills forgiven for three months, April to June 2020. Residential customers who have lost their jobs or are unable to work due to COVID-19 will receive a credit to help cover the cost of their electricity bills that does not have to be repaid. Learn more and apply here.

Announced March 23rd, 2020. Highlights

  • A new BC Emergency Benefit for Workers will provide a tax-free $1000 payment to British Columbians whose ability to work has been affected by COVID-19. Applications will open on May 1st, 2020.
  • Many Provincial tax filing and payment deadlines are deferred to Sept. 30, 2020
  • Businesses and light and major property classes will see their school property tax cut in half for the 2020 tax year, providing 500 million in relief for businesses that own their property and for tenants on triple-net leases. 
  • Canada’s six largest banks have worked together to freeze mortgage payments for six months for those in need.

Read the full Provincial Economic Response Plan here.

City of Vancouver Relief Measures

The City of Vancouver has launched a webpage for businesses where you can learn about available business support programs, what City services for businesses are up-and-running, and make suggestions to the City about business and the economy.

Visit the Business Communications and Support Office page here.

Additional Measures

  • Brining forward a plan to delay the July property tax payments for up to 60 days. 
  • Parking enforcement is temporarily suspended for metered parking, rush-hour zones, residential permit-parking zones, and parking time limits.
  • Building on-site inspections and development permits, applications, and inspections are continuing with enhanced safety precautions.
  • The Vancouver Police Department has established a VPD liaison officer for the BIA Partnership to assist businesses with saftey and security issues that may arise. 

Other Relief Measures and Opportunities

Business Development Bank of Canada is offering a range of low interest loans.

For more on financing options for businesses impacted by COVID-19, Small Business BC has written a helpful article.

The Vancouver Foundation in partnership with Vancity Credit Union and others has announced a Community Response fund targeting community organizations and low-income populations. They are currently exploring how grants will be awarded and chanels to accept requests for funding. They aniticipate it going live by March 25th. Learn more about the Community Response fund here.

Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses. Detail on how to apply will be released soon. Learn more about the Facebook Small Business Grants Program here.

Daily Hive in partnership with West Coast Technology Innovation Foundation have launched a free platform to help bring small Canadian restuarants online called Adopt My Shop. The service will enable digital features like the ability to sell gift cards, accept orders, and create an oline sotre via Shopify or Square. Anyone who would like help moving all or part of their business operations online can contact the team directly thorugh Adopt My Shop.

Small Business BC has launched a COVID-19 Support Service, connecting businesses with the resources, and guidance necessary to navigate challenges from COVID-19. They also have a Small Business Market Place helping to promote local small businesses still able to provide products and services during COVID-19. Learn more here.

 

How to Apply for the Work-Sharing program

The work-sharing program is an adjustment program designed to help avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond an employer’s control. The Federal Government is doubling the length of time that employers and workers are elgible to use the Work Sharing program from 38 to 78 weeks. The employer and the employees must agree to participate in a Work-sharing agreement and must apply together. Learn about how to develop your application here.

Relevant News Updates: Week of April 27th

April 27th: The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) opens for applications today, April 27th. This program will provide a 75% wage subsidy for employers impacted by COVID-19. The first payments are expected to be processed on May 7th.

Employers can apply for the CEWS through My Business Account or through the CRA’s online application portal, and their representatives can apply through Represent a Client

Learn more about how to apply here.

Relevant News Updates: Week of April 20th

April 25th: The provincial government announced new measures to support people living in Oppenheimer Park to help curtail the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak in the DTES. The Province will be working with stakeholders to transition people living in Oppenheimer Park into safe, temporary accomodations with wrap-around supports. Learn more here.

April 24th: Further details were announced about the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) Program. The program will lower rent by 75% for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19. Details include:

  • Small and medium sized businesses, as well as charities and non-profits, paying less than $50,000 in monthly rent will be eligible. Businesses need to have experienced at least a 70% drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues or temporarily ceased operations.

  • The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50% of rent during April, May, and June. Loans will be forgiven if the property owner agrees to reduce rent for tenants by 75%. The tenant would be responsible for covering 25%, the property owner 25%, and the federal government and provinces would share the remaining 50%. The forgivable loans would be disbursed directly to the mortgage lender.

  • The rent forgiveness agreement will need to include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place.

  • It is expected that CECRA will be operational by mid-May, with commercial property owners lowering the rents of their small business tenant’s payable for the months of April and May, retroactively, and for June.

    Read the federal annoucement about CECRA here.

April 23rd: Applications for the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers will open May 1st. This one-time, $1000 payment is designed to support B.C. residents whose ability to work has been impacted by COVID-19. Learn more about the provincial benefit here.

April 22nd: The Prime Minister announced several additional supports for post-secondary students and recent graduates, including the Canada Emergency Student Benefit and the Canada Student Service Grant. Learn more about the federal announcement here. 

Relevant News Updates: Week of April 13th

April 17th: The Prime Minister announced several additional measures, including help for the energy sector, the cultural sector, and rural employers. Relevant highlights for small businesses include:

  •  $962 million announced for regional development agencies to help smaller employers in rural areas
  • $270 million announced for Futurpreneur Canada and programs to support entrepreneurial and industrial research
  • $500 million announced for Heritage Canada to support Canadians who work in the arts, culture, and sports sectors.

Learn more about the annoucement in this CBC article.

April 16th: The B.C. Provincial government announced new relief measures for businesses including:

  • Reducing most commercial property tax bills by an average of 25% by further reducing the school property tax rate for commercial properties
  • Postponing the date that late paymenet penalties apply for commercial properties in classes 4,5,6,7 and 8 to Oct.1st, 2020 to give businesses and landlords more time to pay their reduced property tax, without penalty.

Learn more about the provincial announcement here. 

April 16th: The Prime Minister announced two important measures that will further support businesses:

  • Introduction of a Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistnace program. The program will seek to provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. More details to come soon.
  • The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) free-interest $40,000 loan program is expanding to include businesses that paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019.

Learn more about the federal announcement here.

April 15th: The Prime Minister announced expanded access to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit program. Seasonal workers and those who have recently run out of EI, along with people who make less than $1000 a month will now also qualify for the CERB. This will benefit the cultural sector, seasonal and tourism employees, and those working in the gig economy.

Read the government annoucement here.

Relevant News Updates: Week of April 6th

April 9th: Canada Emergency Business Account applications opened. Interested parties are invited to apply through their own financial institution.

Learn more in this article from Small Business BC.

April 9th: Applications for BC Temporary Rental Supplement opened. Renters who are experiencing a loss of income during the COVID-19 pandemic can now apply for the Province’s new temporary rental supplement. The program will provide $300 per month for elibible households and $500 per month for eligbile households with dependents. Learn more and apply here.

April 8th: The federal government annouced changes to the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsity to allow more businesses to qualify for the support.

Read the government announcement here.

April 6th: Applications opened for the Canada Emergency Repsponse Benefit (CERB). This is a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Apply for the CERB here.

Relevant News Updates: Week of March 30th

April 1st: Province of BC and BC Hydro announced relief on power bills during COVID-19. Small businesses that have been forced to close due to COVID-19 will have their power bills forgiven for three months, April to June 2020. Residential customers who have lost their jobs or are unable to work due to COVID-19 will receive a credit to help cover the cost of their electricity bills that does not have to be repaid.

Read the announcement from the Provincial Government here. Apply for the relief here.

March 30th: Prime Minister’s office provided further details on the 75% Wage Subsidy for businesses. Details of the announcement are as follows:

  • Businesses qualify for the subsidy if revenues have dropped 30% or more as a result of COVID-19
  • Number of employees is not a factor
  • Benefit also applies to non-profits and charities
  • Benefit cover up to 75% on the first $58,000 earned per year
  • A maximum of $847 per week
  • Benefit will be backdated to March 15th.

Tommorrow, the Minister of Finance and Minister of Small Business are expected to provide more details on how businesses can apply.

Read more about the annoucement in this CBC article.

Relevant News Updates: Week of March 23rd

March 27th: Prime Minister’s office annouced several huge measures to keep employees on the payroll. Here are the four key points:

  • Increasing wage subsidy for qualifying small and medium-sized businesses from 10% to 75% and will be backdated to March 15th.

  • A Canada Emergency Business Account has been created that will provide small businesses loans up to $40,000 interest free for a year. The first $10,000 could be forgiven if certain conditions are met (unspecified as of now).

  • GST and HTS and custom duty payments are deferred until June.

  • Additional $12.5 billion to flow through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank of Canada to assist businesses with operational cash flow requirements.

As more information comes available over the coming days, we’ll be sure to keep you informed.

You can learn more about some of the additional measures here.

March 26th: The Province posted the list of essential services in BC. Essential services should and are encouraged to remain open so long as they are following the orders and guidance of the Provincial Health Orders (PHO) to ensure safe operations and reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Any business or service that has not been ordered to close and is also not identified on the essential service list may stay open if they can adapt their services and workplace to the orders and recommendations of the PHO.

March 25th: The Province announced support for renters and landlords, with the key highlights being:

  •  temporary rent supplement of up to $500 per month, paid directly to landlords for up to four months for those in need.
  • Eviction moratorium until the crisis has passed
  • Freezing new annual rent increases during the state of emergency.

Read the Provincial annoucement here.

March 23rd: The Province of BC announced two significant changes to the Employment Standards Act:

  • The first change will allow workers immediately to take unpaid, job-protected leave if they are unable to work for reasons relating to COVID-19. This means workers who are ill, need to self-isolate, need to care for their child or other dependents, or whose employer is concerned that the employee may expose others to risk, will be able to take leave without putting their job at risk.
  • To better support workers on an ongoing basis, the changes also provide up to three days of unpaid, job-protected leave each year for people who cannot work due to illness or injury.

Read the announcement here.

March 23rd: City of Vancouver Council added further social distancing enforcement bylaw measures that:

  • Allow the City to fine businesses up to $50,000 if customers aren’t kept at least two metres apart. 
  • Enable bylaw officers to issue tickets to individuals for non-compliance (up to $1,000)

Read the announcement here.

 

Additional COVID-19 Resources

Here are some additional business resources that you might find helpful:

Business Continuity Checklist: Key Considerations for Small Business. Available in multiple languages.

Calling All Suppliers: Help Canada Fight Covid-19. The Canadian Government is seeking businesses that can supply products and services in support of Canada’s response to COVID-19.

Managing and Pivoting during a time of crisis. Small Business BC provides practical ideas and inspiration to help manage your business in this uniquely challenging time.

For up to date information on the current state of the COVID-19 virus, see the following resources:

BC Centre for Disease Control Update

Government of Canada Virus Update

World Health Organization Update

Checking for Symptoms

If you’re worried about COVID-19 symptoms, you can help save healthcare capacity by using this self-assessment tool first: https://covid19.thrive.health/

The BC Government also launched the BC COVID-19 SUPPORT app that you can download at the App Store or Google Play.

Experiencing symptoms

If you think you have symptoms of COVID-19 (for example, dry cough or fever), please stay home, and self-isolate for 14 days. COVID-19 presents as a mild illness in the majority of patients; testing is not recommended for those who have mild respiratory symptoms. If respiratory symptoms worsen, please call 8-1-1 or your health care provider.