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 firstname.lastname@example.org.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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com. Please be well and let’s stay connected. |
Executive Director, Strathcona BIA