Our Safety Program now operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
To support our membership and the needs of the community, we have stepped up where we can when it comes to safety and security, and we’re doing it in partnership with other BIAs. The Patrol team can be reached at: 604-789-4143.
The program has transitioned to a single patroller operating the marked SBIA patrol vehicle. This is to ensure we are meeting provincial health guidelines to allow them to maintain a safe physical distance from others while working. Rigorous sanitation practices as directed by government health authorities are also in place.
A reminder of Patrol duties and how the team can help:
- Provide a safe presence in the area and vital eyes on the street.
- Conduct daily hot-spot checks and check on businesses that have temporarily closed.
- Report all activity witnessed during their shift, including debris, graffiti, illegal activity, and help report vehicle and property crime.
- Identify areas in need of additional SBIA, Police, or City resources.
- Respond to member calls for service, offering advice and support where needed and directing emergencies to the relevant services.
To inform the SBIA of your business closure or adjusted hours, please email email@example.com.
Things you can do to enhance safety at your business location:
Move items away from windows and put everything out of sight, or alternatively, remove any valuables from the space all together.
- Have working alarms and strong locks.
- If possible, install a security camera.
- Do not leave your front-door or alcove messy and remember to pick-up your mail.
- Leave no money behind on the premises.
- Leave your lights on. Greater visibility will deter crime and help our night patrol team do their job.
- Put shutters on windows to minimize damage.
- Some businesses have moved to board up their businesses as an additional precaution.
The Vancouver Police Department has shared a Security Audit Checklist to help prevent theft and after hours break-ins. Download and print the Security Audit Checklist here.
Finally, you are welcome to send us your emergency contact information (a cellphone number) so we may reach you if something happens at your business or property. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online Crime Reporting
In the case you need to report a non-emergency crime, the VDP is encouraging online crime reporting. You can report the following non-emergency situations online if there is no element of violence:
- Something valued under $10,000 was stolen from you
- Your property and/or your vehicle is vandalized with the repair cost expected to be under $10,000
- Your car is broken into
- Your bank card/cheques are used without your permission and the total loss is less than $10,000
- For all other non-emergency crime reports, you can call the non-emergency line at 604-717-3321.
How does online crime reporting work?
The process works by submitting a report through an online questionnaire. Your report will be reviewed within 24 hours by VPD staff. The information will either be entered into their records management system or you will be contacted by an officer for follow-up. A Vancouver Police Incident number will be generated and sent within 48 hours of your submission that can be used for an insurance claim.
The types of questions you will be asked include the date and location of the incident, your contact information, any details required such as your vehicle’s license plate or value of items lost or stolen, and a summary of what happened.
If you are looking for more resources, visit the dedicated COVID-19 resources page on our blog that we update as information comes online.Read More
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.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 email@example.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:
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.
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
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-19Employers 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 revenueProgram is open to all sectors and business sizesThe program also applies to non-profits and charitiesAll employers would be expected to make best efforts to top up salaries to 100% of the maximum wages covered
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 16thOrganizations need to demonstrate they paid between $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019
This new program was announced April 16th and 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. Learn more details about how it will work here.
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 propertiesPostponing 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.
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.
Announced March 23rd, 2020. HighlightsA 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, 2020Businesses 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.
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.
Additional MeasuresBrining 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 safety 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.
.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.
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 propertiesPostponing 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 Assistance 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 announcement 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 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. 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-19Number 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 yearA 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.
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 passedFreezing 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 UpdateGovernment of Canada Virus UpdateWorld Health Organization Update
Checking for SymptomsIf 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 theBC COVID-19 SUPPORT app that you can download at the App Store or Google Play.
Experiencing symptomsIf 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.Read More
We are continuing to monitor COVID-19 announcements and disseminate what we feel is directly relevant to our members.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please be well, stay safe, and let’s stay connected.Read More
We want to take a moment among all the other COVID-19 related communications you are inundated with right now to say: we see you. In the last few days we’ve seen Strathcona BIA members demonstrate incredible bravery, resourcefulness, resilience, and sacrifice while navigating through this vulnerable and uncertain time. Several Strathcona businesses and organizations have heavily altered or temporarily ceased operations in a valiant effort to slow the advancement of the COVID-19 virus. These are extremely difficult decisions to be making, all while weighing the impacts to your businesses, your personal lives, the lives of your staff, and our community members. Know we are holding this close as we try to aid in resources and advocacy as the situation unfolds.
Here are just a few examples of Strathcona members we know about that have altered operations that we want to acknowledge:
- Belgard Kitchen is closing their doors until further notice.
- Fazakas Gallery will be closed to the public this week.
- Luppolo Brewing and Container Brewing have decided to close their tasting rooms for the time-being, but are still open for beer to-go purchases.
- Mackenzie Room has temporarily shut it’s doors, but they are putting together a new menu of 500ml meals ranging from $5-$10 that you can purchase for pick-up fresh to eat or freeze starting Wednesday. Find out more here.
- Dosanko Restaurant will be open for take-out only with an abbreviated menu from 11:30am-7pm.
- Agro Roasters is now open for takeout only.
- The Garden Strathcona is implementing a number of measures including encouraging phone-in orders for take out.
- les amis du Fromage is also implementing several measures with safety of customers and staff in mind.
- UGM is implementing a Pandemic Plan and helping to ensure information sharing, care, and proper measures are taken to support their guests and community.
- Enterprising Women Making Art have cancelled all workshops until further notice, but are still operating regular business hours.
- Railtown PR firm, We Are Reformation, has created a crisis communications planning guide and are offering 100% free public relations, social media, and communications consultations to small businesses right now.
|How are you pivoting? Has your restaurant moved to online orders and deliveries? Are you hosting online tutorials and want help to get the word out? If you have specific changes in operations that we can help promote, get in touch with us. Email email@example.com. Or message us on instagram @MadeInStrathcona.|
|Update on SBIA Programs Our Safety Patrol team continues to operate in the neighbourhood, while taking measures to keep safe social distance. They are keeping vital extra eyes on the street and continue their regular duties of reporting activity and debris and offering support where needed. They can be reached at 604-789-4143. If you decide to close your business temporarily, please inform the SBIA, and we will alert the Safety Patrol team to keep an extra eye on the property during their regular district patrols. At this time, our Graffiti Removal program and majority of our Street Cleaning programs will continue so long as employees are able to keep safe social distance from others.|
|Additional Resources and Information There are lot of COVID-19 Business Resource lists in circulation. If you are looking for a comprehensive jumping off point, Vancouver Economic Commission has developed a helpful webpage. The Government of Canada has also launched a webpage for Canadian businesses that addresses key considerations for businesses at this time. Note that the one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived for new claimants who are quarantined so they can be paid for the first week of their claim. Employment and Social Development Canada is doubling the length of time that employers and workers are eligible to use the Work Sharing program from 38 to 76 weeks. This 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. We know that not everyone affected by this crisis will necessarily be eligible for current government programs. The Federal Minister of Finance has also announced a $10 billion stimulus package through the Business Development Bank of Canada, which will support businesses impacted by this crisis. More details are to be shared in the coming days and we are following this closely. The SBIA is joining efforts with all 22 BIAs across Vancouver to pull together all levers and tools available to advocate to all levels of government for policy supports and for promised relief to reach small businesses impacted across our communities. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be well and let’s stay connected. |
Executive Director, Strathcona BIA
Note from Theodora Lamb, SBIA Executive Director
Dear SBIA Members,
The notice of your latest property assessment arrived on January 2nd, 2020. For tenants who have not seen a copy you can reach out to your property owner or manager or look up your assessment at bcassessment.ca. The SBIA has created a toolkit for members to help guide you through your property assessment decision and navigate the appeal process if that’s a step you choose to take.
We know that rising property tax has been one of the greatest challenges facing local businesses in Strathcona. Last year, the SBIA introduced the Strathcona Tax Empowerment Program (STEP). As part of STEP, every member of the SBIA benefited from a commercial tax agent’s opinion on their 2019 commercial property assessment. Approximately 14% of members chose to engage the agent, and nine of those properties were successful in their appeals. They achieved a combined tax savings of $195,000 and an overall reduction in property assessment value of $15,237,395.
For 2020 we want to equip you with the tools to investigate the appeal process. Working with a tax agent is also an option for those wanting professional support. Tax agents give you the option to pay a pre-determined rate or work on a contingency basis. Please reach out to the SBIA office at 604-258-2727 or email email@example.com if you would like an agent recommendation.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to the SBIA with any questions you have regarding the property assessment appeal process.
Executive Director, Strathcona BIARead More
The following letter was sent by the Strathcona BIA to Mayor Stewart, Vancouver City Councillors, Parks Board Commissioners and the office of the Vancouver City Manager on January 6th, 2020.
Businesses operating in and around Oppenheimer Park are no longer in a position to safely support staff and customers coming into the community. The Strathcona Business Improvement Association (SBIA) is calling upon City and Parks Board Officials for the immediate housing of park residents and a detailed timeline on when the housing will occur.
In August 2019, the SBIA surveyed its members regarding activity in Oppenheimer Park. 83% of SBIA members surveyed agreed efforts should be made to return the park to its original purpose as a green, recreation and social space. The Strathcona BIA committed, on behalf of its members, to closely watch how the city and parks board proceed in addressing the concerns raised by local businesses in the survey results.
Unfortunately, over the last six months, the Strathcona BIA has only seen conditions worsen for both park residents and business members operating next to or near the park. The recent death that occurred in the park on January 1, 2020, is a tragic tipping point and the Strathcona BIA feels a responsibility to raise its concerns on behalf of its members with city and parks board officials, calling for support to prioritize housing immediately.
The Strathcona Safety team works to support over 800 SBIA members. This includes operating a two-person safety team 7 days a week, 8 hours a day who monitor 44 city square blocks across seven sub-districts and respond to business member needs and safety concerns.
From July 2019 to January 2020, the Strathcona BIA safety team reported that 46.9% of their time was spent in the Downtown Eastside Oppenheimer District (DEOD) which includes Oppenheimer Park, resulting in 2,704 unique reports. That is 2.8 times more than any other sub-district the Strathcona BIA monitors and a 5% jump from the first half of 2019 when the initial survey results were reported out.
Our safety team members take every precaution to ensure their own safety is prioritized so they can address the needs and concerns of Strathcona BIA members. Given the recent activity in Oppenheimer, the Strathcona BIA can no longer direct its safety team to walk through or even along the perimeter of the park, leaving businesses surrounding the park more vulnerable.
The SBIA has also noted a significant increase in trash and debris along the perimeter of the park. Micro-cleaners from Strathcona-based Mission Possible, a social enterprise that employs individuals who face barriers to traditional employment, spend up to 16 hours each week cleaning the Oppenheimer area. From in and around the park, on average, Mission Possible picks up 7.7 needles per hour and fills 12 large garbage bags of debris each week. . After the release of our report last summer, the Strathcona BIA increased street cleaning around the park in response to members citing “Health & Cleanliness” as one of their primary park concerns. From late September to early December, the SBIA implemented an additional eight street cleaning hours in the DEOD per week.
Frustration is growing among business members who continue to feel the impact of park activity on their staff, sales, and connection with the community. Given the role businesses serve in and around Oppenheimer Park in contributing to the local economy and further supporting community connections, we request the City of Vancouver and Vancouver Parks Board provide Strathcona BIA members with an immediate response regarding next steps.
Executive Director, Strathcona BIARead More
There are plenty of delightful and uniquely Strathcona events happening in our neck of the woods this time of year. We’re excited to share some our must-do Strathcona holiday activities with you.
First up, fulfill all your plant dreams at The Garden, Strathcona Plant Sale and Holiday Pop-Up shop this weekend. Plus discover amazing local vendors making ceramics, jewelry, cards and more. Happening Dec.14th and 15th, 11am til 4pm at 868 E Hastings.
@peacepeopleproject on Instagram
Experience the Zero-Waste Vegan Holiday market happening Sunday, Dec.15th at The Pace, 520 Alexander from 11am-5pm. Brought to you by Peace People Project, this event has your #zerowaste holiday shopping covered with gift ideas like fabric bulk shopping bags, bath and beauty products, and zwv meal prep memberships.
Ever wanted to learn how to DIY your own oat milk or your own toothpaste? There will be free workshops all day to learn how to DIY zero waste products. Bring your own containers, cups, cutlery (BYOCs) and enjoy amazing vegan hot foods and bevvies. Find all the details at the event facebook page.
@luppolo_brewing on Instagram
Still on the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree? Aunt Leah’s Tree Lot is back at Luppolo Brewing Company this year. Open today from 1-8pm and this Sat-Sun 10am-8pm at 1123 Venables Street. Proceeds help fund programs that prevent homelessness for youth in foster care and moms in need. Come for a beer, leave with a tree, and support important community work.
@cheese_ladf on Instagram
A visit to les amis du FROMAGE at 843 E Hastings is a Strathcona Holiday must-do. Their shelves are stocked with Christmas specialities like Port-soaked Stilton and Scottish shortbread, plus the best selection of local and imported cheeses and charcuterie. Find everything you need to make the perfect holiday spread. If you hurry you may still get your hands on their famous house made Tourtiere (Quebec meat pie), made only at this time of year.
An extra special selection of sweet treats will be available Dec.20th when Scrape Baking is popping up at the shop from 1pm-6pm (or until sold out). Tis the season to eat cookies. And cheese.
An important must-do for the holiday season is to connect and gather with friends and family. We have some fabulous new food and beverage establishments in Strathcona that might just be the perfect new gathering places for you and your loved ones – places to delight beer lovers, wine lovers and coffee lovers alike!
Container Brewing, Yeast Van’s latest brewery lounge, is officially open at 1216 Franklin St. Co-founders Terry Brown and Dan Webster have literally been building this space with their own barehands over the last few months and their efforts have paid off. Come for the tasty beer and stay for the warm and inviting space. Plus with dishes like the mushroom barley bowl and palenta bowl, their food menu can seriously fill you up. Open Mon-Wed 3pm-10pm, Th-Sat 11am-12am and Sun 11am-10pm.
@vv.tapaslounge on Instagram
VV Tapas Lounge is a brand new gathering space at 957 E Hastings where you’ll find artfully prepared small plates, locally and internationally sourced wines, craft beers and ciders. Prepare to be enamoured with the beautiful design of their space, open Tues-Sat 4pm-11pm. Their happy hour menu have us eyeing their extensive $4 Apertivo selection. Happy hour runs each day they are open 4pm-6pm, and 9pm-close.
@prototype.coffee on Instagram
Prototype Coffee is a new microroastery in Strathcona, tucked away at 883 East Hastings. They source unique, beautiful, and traceable coffees. All of their roasting for brewing, retail, and wholesale happens in three small Aillio Bullet R1 roasters located right behind the counter in their tasting room. Plus they offer over 14 different coffees at any given time. The experience here is not to be missed by coffee enthusiasts out there. Open Mon-Fri 8am-5pm and Sat 9am-5pm.
Our final must-do activity on our list is to give back to one of the many fabulous community-serving organizations in our neighbourhood. There are so many opportunities to make a difference in this community, especially at this time of year.
This is by no means an exahustive list, but here are some organizations doing great work to serve those in need in our community:
Wishing a wonderful holiday season to all!Read More
First, some context on the Arterial Route decision.
Decision makers have long debated the best route for a new East-West arterial route through the False Creek Flats/South Strathcona when the viaducts come down.
In 2019 a Flats Arterial Community Panel was established to make a recommendation on the route. After four months of in-depth engagement and deliberation on the topic, the panel recommended a National Avenue-Charles Street arterial alignment.
Then this Fall, when the Panel’s recommendation to Council was reconsidered, we saw the residential community of Strathcona rally over the future of Prior Street.
The route decision was made more complicated by the intention of CN Rail to twin the Burrard Spur Rail Line. There are to be no at-grade-crossings with the rail tracks.
Council has now made a decision.
On October 2nd Vancouver City Council voted to support the construction of an underpass at no cost to the City along Prior Street at the Burrard Inlet Rail Line (just after Raymur Ave). Our understanding of the “no cost” piece is that the underpass component of the project will have to be funded in full by CN Rail and other stakeholders. In the same motion decision, Council also voted in a number of recommendations that will downgrade Prior to a “collector” road.
Collector roads serve to collect traffic from local streets to access arterial streets or distribute traffic from arterial streets to local streets.
The intention is to permanently reduce Prior Street to one lane in each direction. To do this, a pilot phase of various restrictions will be introduced, including 24/7 parking in the outer lanes. During the pilot phase, impacts to traffic on other local streets will be closely monitored.
Captured in the decision is the intention for Prior Street to benefit from better public realm treatment, including better sidewalks with improved walkability measures. Also included in the decision is a speed limit of 30km along Strathcona Park. City right-of-ways are to be retained on Malkin Ave so that truck traffic can be prioritized off Prior.
Pilot phase measures to calm Prior could be implemented as early as January 2020. The goal is to use Pilot phase learnings to inform the final design of Prior Street as a “great street”. In the infrastructure building phase (timeline unknown), we can expect to see wider sidewalks, more green infrastructure, street trees, curb bulges, and beautification measures such as banners, crosswalk murals, and possibly public art initiatives.
For those that want to read all 12 recommendations in the Council decision in detail, you can view the meeting minutes here. The final motion as approved starts on page 19.
There’s still a lot that we don’t know.
- It’s unclear how long the pilot phase will run for.
- Will the pilot phase measures solve current traffic safety concerns along Prior? Will they create problems on other local roads?
- It’s unclear on when funding and timelines will be determined for the build of the underpass.
- How will commercial properties and local businesses impacted by the underpass location and construction be supported?
- What are the plans for the other at-grade rail crossings in the neighbourhood?
- Unrelated to this specific Council decision, what are the expected traffic impacts along this corridor when the St.Paul’s Hospital construction begins? (Plans were officially approved on November 5th, 2019).
Let us know if you have other questions or thoughts to add to this list. We’re keen to learn about how SBIA members are impacted (both positively or negatively) by the coming changes to Prior Street. Please be in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions, concerns, or observations.Read More
Strathcona BIA Special Report
August 13 2019, xwməθkwəy̓ əm (Musqueam), sḵwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) unceded territories/Vancouver, BC — When it comes to Oppenheimer Park and the recent surge in camping activity, a majority of businesses in the neighbourhood agree that the park should be allowed to be a park once again. A new survey by the Strathcona Business Improvement Association found that 83% of business respondents operating in and around Oppenheimer Park agree efforts should be made to return the park to its original purpose as a green and social space. 83% of business respondents agreed efforts should be made to return the park to its original purpose The survey comes roughly a year after campers occupied the park. Today it’s estimated that there are close to 130 campers living in Oppenheimer. The Strathcona BIA serves over 850 business members in Vancouver’s Eastside community, including many directly surrounding the park. It was time to hear from them directly on how park activity has impacted their ability to participate in the community and the local economy.
Survey Themes and Business Impacts
Strathcona BIA members surveyed revealed responses from the role park space plays in the community to what the city could do to address and support campers living in the park. According to Strathcona BIA Executive Director, Theo Lamb, the results were mixed with a few specific themes and messages emerging. One thing that is clear is that businesses in and around Oppenheimer Park feel strongly that action needs to occur.
What that action looks like and how to arrive at it varied from respondent to respondent. In the survey, 88% of all respondents agreed that the Strathcona BIA has a role to play in advocacy regarding park activity.
Most concerning were reports directly from the businesses who cited loss of customers, an inability to retain staff due to feelings around lack of safety and, in one case, the closure of a business’s community serving retail location. One business in the immediate vicinity noted “the number of violent incidents has spiked in the time since it has become a tent city” and that “the number of times we have had to call 911 has risen beyond a point of reasonable expectation.” Themes of empathy and care for the campers emerged with several respondents recognizing the challenging task ahead of housing folks facing multiple barriers. One business responded that “we can’t just kick those campers out, they need somewhere to go” and another noting “I have empathy for the campers/homeless people in the park.” Several respondents indicated a preference to work to find appropriate housing alternatives first. Not surprising is the call for more support from the city in the form of:
- clean water
- more access to social services
- additional garbage bins
More bathroom access would go a long way to provide basic, humane services for campers, and in helping businesses in the area who are often left with clean up and sanitation issues in the front streets and back alleys. We only recently were able to arrange city lane flushing down the alleyways in and around Oppenheimer Park, but it’s not enough. Campers and community members need access to washrooms that stretch from day into night. While the SBIA did ask businesses if they supported a city-sanctioned tent city, an idea raised in the media recently, only 17% of business respondents reported being open to the concept. Of those respondents, several people indicated emergency housing should be dispersed throughout the City, while others felt it shouldn’t be in a city park at all. 17% of businesses open to the concept of a city-sanctioned tent city As the City of Vancouver considers its next steps, Lamb says the Strathcona BIA will continue to do its part through micro-cleaning services and the Strathcona BIA Community Safety Patrol team that responds to business member calls.
Micro-cleaners from Strathcona-based Mission Possible, a social enterprise that employs individuals who face barriers to traditional employment, spend up to 16 hours each week cleaning the area. On average, Mission Possible picks up 7.7 needles per hour and fills 12 large garbage bags of debris in and around the park each week over two 8 hour shifts. Over the last seven months (January to July 2019), the Strathcona BIA safety team has reported that 42 percent of their time has been spent in the DEOD (Downtown Eastside Oppenheimer District) in and around Oppenheimer Park. That is 2.63 times more than any other sub-district the Strathcona BIA monitors and almost a quarter increase from the year before.
Lamb reflects that the Strathcona BIA intends to watch closely how the city proceeds with addressing park activity and, in the meantime, will continue to respond to the more immediate safety and sanitation needs of businesses working to keep open doors and open minds to issues that, ultimately, are the responsibility of an entire city.
Results from the survey represent Strathcona Business Improvement Association members surveyed online July 31st, 2019 through to August 8th, 2019. 59 unique members responded. Respondents were invited to answer 3 questions that included the opportunity to provide an open-ended response of which 45 respondents completed. The Strathcona BIA respects the privacy of its over 850 business members and hence quotations, while pulled directly from the survey, remain anonymous. Members in good standing with the Strathcona BIA are businesses and community-serving organizations within the SBIA catchment with valid business licenses.
About the Strathcona BIA
The Strathcona Business Improvement Association (SBIA) operates on the unceded territories of the xwməθkwəy̓ əm (Musqueam), sḵwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. It extends from Clark Drive in the east, Gore Avenue in the west, Venables Street in the south and Railway Street in the north. The SBIA employs staff and is governed by an elected Board of Directors made up of business members from across the community. Our vision is for Strathcona members to thrive in a mixed-use, inclusive, resilient and prosperous local economy. Our mission is to promote a strong local economy through advocacy, cultivating relationships, supporting business participation in the community, delivering innovative programs and fostering community leaders.
For More Information/Media Contact:
Theo Lamb, Executive Director, Strathcona BIA
T: 778-773-3811Read More