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.

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

Announced March 27th:

  • 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.

Announced March 25th, 2020:

To support workers and help businesses keep their employees, the government has proposed legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB would be a simpler and more accessible combination of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit. The online portal to apply for CERB will be available in early April, and people can expect payments within 10 days. Read the news release here.

Anounced March 18th, 2020. Highlights:

  • Emergency Care Benefit for those not eligible for EI sickness benefits facing sickness, quarantine, or looking after others in quarantine. Coming April 2020.
  • Emergency Support Benefit for those not eligbible for EI facing unemployment as a result of COVID-19’s impact. Coming April 2020.
  • Temporary Wage Subsidy Program for small businesses. Read an FAQ for this program here

Read the full Economic Response Plan here.

Provincial Government COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

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. The benefit will be a one-time payment for B.C. residents who receive federal Employment Insurance (EI), or the new federal Emergency Care Benefit, or the new federal Emergency Support Benefit, coming in April 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

Pending Council approval, the City will delay due date of Property Tax for residential, business, and non-profits from July 2 to September 1, 2020. Additional releif measures are yet to be announced.

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.

How to Apply for Employment Insurance

If you’ve lost your job:

  • Apply for Regular Employment Insurance (EI): approximately $450 per week or $900 for those who qualify. To qualify you’ve paid into EI and worked 700+ hours in the last 52 weeks. Learn about what you need before you start and how to apply here.

If you’re sick or in self-isolation and need to take sick leave and can’t work:

  • Apply for EI Sickness Benefits – approximately $450 per week or $900 for those who qualify. Note that you do not need a doctor’s note for COVID-19 and the one week waiting period for new claimants will be waived. You will need to ask your employer for a Record of Employement (ROE). You can apply online here.
  • Ask employer for Record of Employment (ROE)
  • Apply online

For those who do not qualify for regular EI or EI sickness benefits, new programs are coming available in April 2020. Check back here for the latest updates on federal benefits and services.

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 March 30th

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.