COVID-19 | Guidance & Resources

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Government Announcements as of February 5, 2021


The PHO order on province-wide restrictions has been extended until further notice.

By order of the PHO, all gatherings and events are suspended to significantly reduce COVID-19 transmission related to social interactions. The order came into effect November 19, 2020 at midnight and will be kept in place until further notice based on direction from the PHO.

View the full order update here.

Masks Mandate

  • Masks are required in many indoor public settings and all retail stores
  • There are exemptions for:
    • People with health conditions or with physical, cognitive, or mental impairments who cannot wear one
    • People who cannot remove a mask on their own
    • Children under the age of 12
    • People who need to remove their masks to communicate due to a hearing impairment
  • You are subject to a $230 fine if you:
    • Do not wear a mask in an indoor public setting, unless you are exempt
    • Refuse to comply with the direction of an enforcement officer, including the direction to leave the space
    • Engage in abusive or belligerent behaviour

The full mask mandate order can be found here.

Event Gatherings by Sector:

  • Drive-in and drop-off events: Drive-in events may proceed with a limited number of people and a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. You can have a maximum of 50 cars in attendance. Drop-off events may proceed with a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. View examples here.
  • Formal meetings: The order restricts most formal in-person meetings outside the workplace, with some exceptions. View exceptions here.
  • Workplaces: Employers must review and redouble their efforts on their COVID-19 Safety Plan, remind employees to monitor themselves daily and to always stay home if they have symptoms. Employers must make every effort to provide work from home options. Review the WorkSafeBC COVID-19 Safety Plan documentation here.

Social Gatherings:

  • No social gatherings of any size at your residence with anyone other than your household or core bubble.
  • This includes both indoor and outdoor social gatherings. For example:
    • Do not invite friends or extended family to your household
    • Do not host gathering outdoors
    • Do not gather in your backyard
    • Do not have playdates for children

Core Bubble:

  • For most people, their core bubble is their immediate household
    • An immediate household is a group of people who live in the same dwelling. For example:
      • If you have a rental suite in your home, the suite is a separate household
      • If you live in an apartment or house with roommates, you are all members of the same household
  • For others, including people who live alone, their core bubble may also contain a partner, relative, friend, or co-parent who lives in a different household
    • This should be a maximum of two people outside of those living in your immediate household

Retail and Vending Markets:

  • Retail businesses are required to:
    • Establish capacity limits based on 5 square meters of unencumbered space per person
    • Post occupancy limits
    • Where practical, post directional signs to keep people moving in the same direction and not congregating

Restaurants, Pubs, and Bars:

  • In order to limit the spread of COVID-19, people should only be visiting restaurants with their household
    • For people who live alone, this should be with a maximum of two people they regularly interact with (core bubble)
  • You must wear a mask when not at a table

Full details regarding the PHO on gathering and events can be found here.

Full details regarding the PHO on food and liquor serving premises can be found here.


Launch Online Grant Program

The Launch Online Grant program provides funding to B.C.-based business to create an online shop and/or improve their e-commerce experience to attract new local customers and expand to new markets. The grant will pay for up to 75% of eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $7,500 per business.

Funding will be awarded on a first-come-first-served basis to small- and medium-sized B.C. businesses, until the funds have been fully subscribed.

Learn more about the Launch Online Grant here.


Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program

The Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) allows businesses, that have been heavily impacted by the pandemic, guaranteed access to low-interest loans of $25,000 to $1 million to cover operational cash flow needs. These loans are available for small and medium-sized businesses that have seen their revenues decrease by 50% or more as a result of COVID-19.

With flexible and competitive terms, eligible businesses can benefit from a 4% interest rate and a repayment term of up to 10 years, with up to a 12-month postponement of principal payments at the start of the loan. This HASCAP Guarantee is available until June 30, 2021

Contact your primary financial institution, or visit the BDC website, to find out more.


The BC COVID-19 Recovery Benefit online applications are open

The BC Recovery Benefit is a one-time direct deposit payment for eligible families, single parents or individuals. Benefit eligibility is based on net income from your 2019 tax return. This benefit is a tax-free payment of up to $1,000 for eligible families and single parents and up to $500 for eligible individuals.

You must apply to receive the benefit, and you have until June 30, 2021 to apply:


Grant program now accessible to more B.C. businesses

The B.C. government has enhanced the Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant program to include a streamlined application process and simplified criteria. It also has increased support for those in the hard-hit tourism sector. The program is part of StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan.

The criteria has been expanded in the following ways:

  • from a minimum revenue drop of 50% to a drop of 30%.
  • the previous three-year operation requirement has been reduced to 18 months.
  • businesses impacted by the pandemic will be eligible to receive a grant up to $30,000.
  • the grant for the tourism sector has been increased, meaning those hardest-hit businesses in the tourism sector will be eligible for a grant up to $45,000.

The revised application process and eligibility criteria are now in place. Small- and medium-sized businesses are encouraged to apply online:


Throne Speech highlights: actions to protect health, livelihoods

Today’s speech focused on the immediate actions government is taking to protect British Columbians’ health and livelihoods from the threat of COVID-19. In the months ahead, government will build on the measures already in place. Some initiatives will be extended or expanded, and new ones launched. View the full news release here.

  • New Recovery Benefit: this will be rolled out by the end of the year. Families with a combined household income of less than $125,000 per year will be eligible to receive $1,000; families earning above that, up to $170,000, will receive payments on a sliding scale. Individuals earning less than $62,000 a year will be eligible for $500, with those earning up to $87,000 eligible for a payment on a sliding scale.
  • Vaccinations: Preparations are underway to ensure that when a vaccine is available, it will be distributed to all British Columbians as quickly and safely as possible, beginning with those most at risk.
  • Key investments in health care: this will allow more patients to receive treatment at home, reduce wait times, and train and hire more doctors and nurses.
  • New tax measures: these steps will reward businesses for hiring, and help them grow and become more productive by making it easier for them to invest in equipment and machinery.

The focus is now on beating the virus, which will allow British Columbia to move as quickly as possible to address the economic recovery and its broader priorities: investing in people, strengthening communities, and supporting jobs and growth in a clean-energy future. The Government’s plans along these themes will be set out in more detail in a speech from the throne in the spring.


Releasing of the Financial Report of the Government of Canada for 2019-2020 & the Supporting Canadians and Fighting COVID-19: Fall Economic Statement 2020

On November 30, the Department of Finance Canada released the Annual Financial Report of the Government of Canada for 2019–2020. This annual publication provides an overview of the government’s spending and revenue for the previous fiscal year and highlights the factors affecting these results.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance also released Supporting Canadians and Fighting COVID-19: Fall Economic Statement 2020. This plan will continue to protect Canadians’ health, jobs and the economy by doing the following:

  • COVID-19 Safety: Investments in testing & tracing, procurement of PPE, measures to protect people in long-term care, and $150 million to improve ventilation in public buildings.
  • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy: increasing the maximum rate of CEWS to 75 per cent for the period beginning December 20, 2020 and extending this rate until March 13, 2021. This program will be there for businesses until June 2021.
  • Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support: extending the current rates of CERS and Lockdown Support until March 13, 2021. This program will be there for businesses until June 2021.
  • Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program: New programs to support Canada’s hardest-hit industries, like tourism, hotels, arts and culture, and the air sector.
  • Families with Young Children: Temporary support of up to $1,200 in 2021 for each child under the age of six for families entitled to the Canada Child Benefit.
  • Sustainability Goals: Support for Canadians to make their homes greener and more energy efficient, a plan to plant 2 billion trees and laying the groundwork for a Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care System.


Passing of Bill C-9
Previously announced supports for business have now become law. These measures will provide critical support to hard-hit businesses. Measures passed in Bill C-9 are:

  • Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)
    • Rent and mortgage interest support directly to eligible tenants and property owners until June 2021.
    • Provides a maximum of 65% of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020.
    • Retroactive to September 27, 2020.
    • More Info
  • Lockdown Support
    • Additional 25% support through CERS for qualifying organizations subject to a lockdown or significant restrictions.
    • Hard-hit businesses could receive up to 90% rent support.
  • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Extended until June 2021
    • CEWS will remain at the current rate of up to 65% of eligible wages until December 19, 2020


Application Process for Provincial Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant Program Now Open – Apply Now!
The Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant Program will invest up to $300 million in targeted financial support for some of the hardest hit businesses that employ between two and 149 BC residents and have experienced declines in revenue since March 10, 2020.

Grants of $10,000 to $30,000 are available. An additional $5,000 to $10,000 grant is available to eligible tourism-related businesses that have been hit especially hard by COVID-19.

The program runs until March 31st, 2021 or until the funds are fully allocated, whichever comes first. Read more details here.


New Rent Relief Program, and CEWS and CEBA Extension
Earlier today, the Government of Canada made several significant announcements on changes to federal support programs related to COVID-19 that we have been advocating for. While full details are not yet available, below is a summary of changes to come:

  • New Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) will provide simple and easy-to access rent and mortgage support – provided directly to tenants, while also providing support to property owners – until June 2021.
  • A top-up Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) of 25 per cent for organizations temporarily shut down by a mandatory public health order issued by a qualifying public health authority, in addition to the 65 per cent subsidy.
  • Extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) at the current rate until June 2021, which would continue to protect jobs by helping businesses keep employees on the payroll and encouraging employers to re-hire their workers.
  • An expanded Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to enable businesses, and not-for-profits eligible for CEBA loans to access an interest-free loan of up to $20,000, in addition to the original CEBA loan of $40,000. As early as October 26, 2020, the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will be available to businesses that have been operating out of a non-business banking account. The application deadline is being extended to December 31, 2020.

The government plans to introduce legislation to provide support that would help these businesses safely get through the second wave of the virus and the winter, cover costs so they can continue to serve their communities, and be positioned for a strong recovery. Read more here.


BC’s Economic Recovery Plan

  • Creating jobs and opportunities by investing in targeted training for people to get work in high-demand fields.
  • Helping businesses grow and rehire with a 15% refundable tax credit based on eligible new payroll.
  • Hiring 7,000 new front-line health-care workers.
  • Supporting strong communities by investing
    • over $400 million to revitalize community infrastructure and support local governments to provide services
    • $100 million in infrastructure grants for shovel-ready projects that will create jobs right away
    • over $1 billion in provincial and federal investments to help keep people moving, whether by transit, TransLink or BC Ferries
    • an additional $540 million in combined federal/provincial funding to help B.C. communities address other local challenges impacted by COVID-19.

More details can be found here.


Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) Extended
Yesterday, the Federal Government announced that the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) will be extended by one month to help eligible small businesses pay rent for September 2020. Learn more here.


CERB Transition to Simplified Employment Insurance

CERB Is Ending. If you’re on it, the money you will receive stops when you’ve received 28 weeks of benefits or on October 3, 2020, whichever comes first.

What benefits are available now that CERB is done?

  1. A modified version of the existing Employment Insurance (EI) program. If you apply and receive EI, you’ll get a taxable benefit of at least $500 a week, or $300 a week for extended parental benefits. EI claimants are eligible for at least 26 weeks.

Legislation to enact three new benefits passed September 30. Expect more information on how to apply in the coming days. Read more in the updated Federal Support Information package here.

The government has created three new benefits for Canadians who don’t qualify for EI, providing a payment of $500 a week:
a) The Canada Recovery Benefit, for the self-employed or gig workers up to 26 weeks.
b) The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, for workers who are sick or must self-isolate due to COVID-19 up to two weeks.
c) The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, for people who can’t work because they need to care for a child or dependent for reasons related to COVID-19 up to 26 weeks.

All three of these benefits will be in effect for one year.

How to apply for EI and these new benefits
You can check out which EI benefits you qualify for:

More Information

  1. You’ll have to keep track of your earnings.
  2. Recipients must make “reasonable and ongoing job search efforts” while receiving EI
  3. According to the government, if you’ve been receiving CERB through Service Canada and still need income support, you most likely do not have to reapply for the new EI benefit.
    After you receive your last CERB payment, continue completing your reports as you have been. The government will review your file and start you on EI if you qualify. If not, expect notification over the mail. You will still need to apply for EI after your CERB ends, however, if you have a SIN that starts with a 9, you’re self-employed, or you have declared that you have returned to work full-time on your CERB report. If you received your CERB through the Canada Revenue Agency, you’ll need to apply for EI through the Service Canada. You can apply after the end of your last CERB eligibility period. You must receive all of your CERB payments before applying for EI payments.

Recommendations on lifting restrictions

Recommendations from the Federal/Provincial/Territorial (F/P/T) Special Advisory Committee on COVID-19: Lifting of Restrictive Public Health Measures

Access to Capital

Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) –  bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers.

  • Objective:
    • help protect Canadian jobs;
    • help Canadian businesses weather the current economic downturn;
    • and avoid bankruptcies of otherwise viable firms where possible.
  • Restrictions:This support will not be used to resolve insolvencies or restructure firms, nor will it provide financing to companies that otherwise have the capacity to manage through the crisis.
  • Key guiding principles:
    • Protection of taxpayers and workers:
      • Companies seeking support must demonstrate how they intend to preserve employment and maintain investment activities.
      • Recipients will need to commit to respect collective bargaining agreements and protect workers’ pensions.
      • The LEEFF program will require strict limits to dividends, share buy-backs, and executive pay.
      • In considering a company’s eligibility to assistance under the LEEFF program, an assessment may be made of its employment, tax, and economic activity in Canada, as well as its international organizational structure and financing arrangements.
      • The program will not be available to companies that have been convicted of tax evasion. In addition, recipient companies would be required to commit to publish annual climate-related disclosure reports consistent with the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, including how their future operations will support environmental sustainability and national climate goals.
    • Fairness: To ensure support across the Canadian economy, the financing is intended to be applicable to all eligible sectors in a consistent manner.
    • Timeliness: To ensure timely support, the LEEFF program will apply a standard set of economic terms and conditions.


Expansion of the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)

  • Eligibility: Expand to mid-sized companies with larger financing needs. Support for mid-market businesses will include loans of up to $60 million per company, and guarantees of up to $80 million.
  • Access: Through the BCAP, Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will work with private sector lenders to support access to capital for Canadian businesses in all sectors and regions.


Additional Financing

  • Continue to provide financing to businesses through Farm Credit Canada, the BDC, and EDC, including through the Canada Account. This will ensure the government is able to respond to a wide range of financing needs, including for some large employers facing higher risks, with stricter terms in order to adequately protect taxpayers.


Canada Emergency Business AccountEligibility Expanded
The program will now be available to a greater number of businesses that are sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll.

To qualify under the expanded eligibility criteria, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 would need:

  • a business operating account at a participating financial institution
  • a Canada Revenue Agency business number, and to have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return.
  • eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance.

Expenses will be subject to verification and audit by the Government of Canada. Funding will be delivered in partnership with financial institutions. More details, including the launch date for applications under the new criteria, will follow in the days to come.

It’s a $40,000 government‑guaranteed loan to help eligible businesses pay for operating expenses, payroll and other non‑deferrable expenses which are critical to sustain business continuity.

The government is expanding CEBA by increasing and decreasing the eligibility thresholds:

  • Companies who spent between $20,000 and $1.5 million dollars in total payroll in 2019 will be eligible to receive a loan. This money can be used to cover operational costs and other operational needs.

Please contact your financial institution to find our more about their application process.


Futurpreneur to cover loan payments for 6 months and provide top up loans.

Futurpreneur announced details of a new support package that will cover loan payments for six months for each of its more than 3,200 Start-up Program clients whose Futurpreneur loan was disbursed prior to April 1, 2020. This loan payment coverage is effective March 25 through to September 24, 2020, and comes at a crucial time for thousands of young entrepreneurs across Canada whose small businesses have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis.

In addition to the six-month loan payment coverage, for existing eligible Futurpreneur clients who require extra working capital to help cover operating costs during this challenging period and do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Business Account, Futurpreneur will offer a top-up loan of up to $10,000, interest-free, with one year of deferred repayment.

For more info click here.


The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) allows the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to provide more than $10 billion of additional support.


Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has resources available including: 

  1. Small Business Loan: Up to $100,000 can be obtained online in as little 48 hours from time of approval.
  2. Working capital loan: Get extra funds to bridge cash flow gaps and support everyday operations.
  3. Purchase Order Financing: Increase your cash flow to fulfill domestic or international orders with very flexible terms.
  4. BDC’s Advisory Services experts are offering tools and support to review your financial management and operations.


Capital for Exporters through Export Development Canada
EDC stands ready to support Canadian exporters impacted by COVID-19. The best first step is to call EDC to start the process today 1-800-229-0575.


Farm Credit Canada
FCC lending capacity has been increased by $5B to alleviate industry financial pressure. FCC provides loans and services for primary producers, food operations and agribusinesses. Speak to your local FCC contact through their Customer Service Centre at 1-888-332-3301 or visit their online service portal to work with FCC.


Agriculture, farmers and food businesses
Important measures within agriculture programs and an investment of more than $252 million to support farmers, food businesses, and food processors who provide essential services to Canadians. For more info click here.


Regional Development Agencies – Western Economic Diversification Canada
If you are a tourism operator or small- or medium- sized business or organization impacted by the sudden shifts in the economy and need pressing assistance, the RDAs could assist you with:

  • Access to federal funding to help you stay in business.
  • Advice and pathfinding services to other federal programs and services available.

If you are a tourism operator or small- or medium- sized business or organization and have received RDA funding and COVID-19 is affecting your operations:

  • You may be eligible to receive additional funding and/or flexible arrangements.
  • Further support will be determined on a case-by-case basis as the situation evolves.

The best way to contact the Western Economic Diversification Canada for support is to call them at: 1-888-338-WEST (9378)


Postmedia Supports – Local Marketing Grant Program
This program is designed to help our economy’s rebound by giving local businesses a leg up as they start to reopen. Grants ranging from $500-$15,000 per month per client are available for the months of June, July and August 2020 to approved businesses, not-for-profit and charity organizations that operate within 100 km of the communities they serve.

The program has two components:

  • A full marketing grant program to select businesses in the hardest hit sectors of our economy, including, but not limited to the Restaurant, Tourism and Hospitality sectors.
  • A match program whereby local businesses can apply for matching media investments from $500 to $15,000 to complement their new programs.

Click here to fill out an application


New $5000 ‘Canada United’ Grants To Help Cover COVID-19 Costs  
Powered by Canada’s chambers of commerce, the #CanadaUnited campaign is a nationwide effort encouraging Canadians to buy local and support our small business community. As part of this campaign, $5000 grants are being made to help reimburse businesses for costs incurred because of COVID-19. Applications open now! Read more here


The TECHNATION Career Ready Program

As part of the Government of Canada’s Student Work Placement Program (SWPP), their wage subsidy program supports businesses by financing their decision to hire a student for a work-term placement. This in turn creates a rewarding opportunity for the student to apply their learning in real-world settings, and puts them on a path to a bright career. Learn more here.


  • Placements between September and December (Fall 2020 Program): Applications are open and are currently accepted on a rolling basis
  • Placements between January and August (Winter 2021 Program): Accepting applications October 23rd, 2020


Mitacs Business Strategy Internship program

UBC Sauder, in partnership with Mitacs are excited to re-launch the “Mitacs Business Strategy Internship” program for internships starting in January and May 2021. The program will award eligible UBC Sauder students $10,000 ($5,000 of which is contributed by the participating organisation) of funding to undertake a 4-month internship with businesses and non for profit organizations. Internships will be structured to provide support to organizations that need additional assistance in modifying their business operations to adapt to the new economic reality in an environment disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more here.


  • Winter 2021 internships: Rolling applications accepted until November 22nd 2020. Employers will have until December 10th 2020 to confirm selected student.
  • Summer 2021 internships: Rolling applications accepted until February 14th 2021. Employers will have until March 5th 2021 to confirm selected student.


Innovate BC Tech Co-op Grants Program

Need talent? Get up to $20,000 per year in funding to hire co-op students through the Tech Co-op Grants Program. Whether you’re a technology-based company looking to grow or a non-tech organization looking to grow your innovation footprint, our program could be right for you.

Each employer is eligible to receive a maximum of four grants each per program year (May 1 to April 30) valued at up to $5,000 (a total value of $20,000), to recruit and train between one to four distinct co-op students. The employer is accountable for the remainder of the student’s salary during the co-op term. Read more here.


Magnet Student Work Placement Program

The Student Work Placement program brings together employers, students, and post-secondary school stakeholders to create quality work-integrated learning (WIL) opportunities. The program provides employers with wage subsidies to hire post-secondary students for paid work experiences. Students in turn benefit with quality work experience so they can secure employment in their chosen fields of study. The program is delivered by Magnet at Ryerson University along with a range of recognized associations and organizations who represent key industries and sectors in Canada. Together, they partner with colleges, universities, polytechnics and CEGEPs to provide wage subsidies to employers that offer quality student work placements, and create recruitment opportunities to match students to the right placements.

Winter 2021 – Student Work Placement Program: Accepting applications from Sep 1 2020 12:33pm PST to Mar 31 2021 8:59pm PST. Learn more here.


Digital Skills for Youth Program

Digital Skills for Youth is an initiative of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. It is part of the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy and aligns with the government’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year plan to make Canada a world leader in innovation and create employment opportunities for youth to build the digital skills needed for the evolving digital economy. The program connects underemployed post-secondary graduates with small businesses and not-for-profit organizations to support organizational technology goals and foster the career development of the intern.

Funding is a maximum of $30,000 for each internship. This is 100% reimbursement of wages, mandatory employment related costs (vacation pay, EI, CPP and WCB) as well as an upskilling bursary. The bursary amount is up to $4,000 within the maximum funding provided. Read more here.


Scientific research and experimental development tax incentive – Overview
The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Program uses tax incentives to encourage Canadian businesses of all sizes and in all sectors to conduct research and development (R&D) in Canada. These tax incentives come in three forms: an income tax deduction, an investment tax credit (ITC), and, in certain circumstances, a refund.

The SR&ED Program provides more than $3 billion in tax incentives to over 20,000 claimants annually, making it the single largest federal program that supports business R&D in Canada. The program is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Corporations, individuals, trusts and members of a partnership can use these Government of Canada incentives. Read more here.

Rental Support

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance

Today the government announced commercial rent support for small business. We are still expecting additional details, we will keep you informed as updates become available.

The government is offering qualifying commercial property owners forgivable loans that will cover 50% of impacted tenant’s rent in exchange for them providing rent reduction of at least 75% and agreeing to a moratorium on evictions.

Eligible landlords who have already stepped up and offered 75% reduction or more for April or May or would like to retroactively do so can apply.


  • Payment & Assistance Details
  • 75% rent reduction for business tenants
  • Federal and provincial governments will will provide forgivable loans to property owners to cover 50% of the monthly rent
  • Property owners will in turn cover 25% of the rent
  • Must agree to a moratorium on evictions
  • Applies to April (retroactively), May, and June


  • Small businesses, non-profits and charity organizations
  • Available for tenants that pay less than $50,000/month
  • Have ceased operations or experienced at least 70% decrease in revenues

Application: Landlords will be able to apply mid-May.


Support for Renters and Homeowners
The provincial government, working with banks and credit unions, will ensure mortgage deferral options are available as well as enhanced support for rentals via Shelter Aid For Elderly Renters (SAFER) and Rental Assistance Program (RAP).


Support for Renters and Landlords
APPLY NOW – To support people and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Province is introducing a new temporary rental supplement, halting evictions and freezing rents, among other actions.
The new rental supplement will help households by offering up to $500 a month towards their rent, building on federal and provincial financial supports already announced for British Columbians facing financial hardship. For more click here


Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)
Canadian businesses, non-profit organizations, or charities who have seen a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses, starting on September 27, 2020, until June 2021. This subsidy will provide payments directly to qualifying renters and property owners, without requiring the participation of landlords. If you are eligible for the base subsidy, you may also be eligible for lockdown support if your business location is significantly affected by a public health order for a week or more. Read more here.

Taxation Relief for Businesses

The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020:
The payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today (March 18, 2020) and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as installments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. This measure will result in businesses having more money available during this period.


Interest-Free Loans
The new “Canada Emergency Business Account” will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to organizations with total a payroll of $50,000 to $1 million in 2019.

Up to $10,000 of that amount will be eligible for complete forgiveness if $30,000 is fully repaid on or before December 31, 2022.


GST Remittance and Customs Duties/Tax
Remittance of GST to the federal government is being deferred for businesses until June 30, with specific details available for monthly, quarterly or annual filers. Customs duties and sales tax for importers has also been deferred until June 30.


Wage and Income Support


Wage top up essential workers: The Government of Canada will provide up to $3 billion in support to increase the wages of low-income essential workers. Each province or territory will determine which workers would be eligible for support, and how much support they will receive.


Extension temporary layoff period

To ease financial hardship on businesses and to keep employees connected with their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, government has extended the temporary layoff period to 16 weeks for COVID-19 related reasons. Previously under the Employment Standards Act, a temporary layoff longer than 13 weeks in any 20-week period (or about three months in a five-month period) was considered a permanent layoff.

Click here for more info.


Wage Boost for Essential Workers
Increasing pay for essential workers who make less than $2,500 a month, including those working in long-term care facilities.


Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) — Provides $2,000 per month for four months to any workers who have lost their income for reasons related to COVID-19 including reasons of sickness, quarantine, taking care of those with COVID-19 as well as working parents needing to stay at home with children. This applies to wage earners, contract workers, and self employed individuals.  Apply today

Eligibility expansion – you can now also apply when you:

    • earn $1000 per month or less. e.g. volunteer fire fighters, part-time workers, contract workers, etc.
    • are a seasonal worker who is running out of employment insurance and can’t find a job due to COVID-19.
    • are a worker who ran out of EI benefits since January 1st.


Work Sharing Program
The Work Sharing Program is to help eligible employers to retain skilled employees and workers to remain employed. Measures taken during COVID-19 will:

  • Extend the Work-Sharing agreements by an additional 38 weeks
  • Wave the mandatory waiting period between agreements
  • Ease the recovery plan requirements

Access the Work-Sharing page to learn more about the program and its requirements.

Access the Work-Sharing temporary special measures page to find out if you are eligible for temporary special measures.


Canada Summer Jobs Program temporary changes:

  • Subsidy: an increase to the wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee
  • Date: an extension to the end date for employment to February 28, 2021
  • Scope of work: allowing employers to adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services
  • Hours: allowing employers to hire staff on a part-time basis


Wage Subsidy

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

As a Canadian employer whose business has been affected by COVID-19, you may be eligible for a subsidy of 75% of employee wages for up to 24 weeks, retroactive from March 15, 2020. This wage subsidy will enable you to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, help prevent further job losses, and better position you to resume normal operations following the crisis.

  • Extension of the CEWS until December 19, 2020, including redesigned program details until November 21, 2020.
    • Make the subsidy accessible to a broader range of employers by including employers with a revenue decline of less than 30 per cent and providing a gradually decreasing base subsidy to all qualifying employers. This would help many struggling employers with less than a 30-per-cent revenue loss get support to keep and bring back workers, while also ensuring those who have previously benefited could still qualify, even if their revenues recover and no longer meet the 30 per cent revenue decline threshold.
    • Introduce a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25 per cent for employers that have been most adversely affected by the pandemic. This would be particularly helpful to employers in industries that are recovering more slowly.
    • Provide certainty to employers that have already made business decisions for July and August by ensuring they would not receive a subsidy rate lower than they would have had under the previous rules.
    • Address certain technical issues identified by stakeholders.
  • Effective July 5, 2020, the CEWS will consist of two parts:
    • A base subsidy available to all eligible employers who are experiencing a decline in revenues, with the subsidy amount varying depending on the scale of revenue decline; and
    • A top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25 percent for those employers who have been most adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Eligible Employers – click here to look at eligibility
  • individuals (including trusts)
  • corporations that are not exempt from income tax (Part I of the Income Tax Act)
  • the following persons that are exempt from income tax (Part I of the Income Tax Act):
    • non-profit organizations
    • agricultural organizations
    • boards of trade
    • chambers of commerce
    • non-profit corporations for scientific research and experimental development
    • labour organizations or societies
    • benevolent or fraternal benefit societies or orders
  • registered charities
  • certain Indigenous government-owned corporations that carry on a business
  • partnerships consisting of eligible employers and certain Indigenous governments
  • registered Canadian amateur athletic associations
  • registered journalism organizations
  • private schools or private colleges, and
  • partnerships consisting of eligible employers (including partnerships where at least 50% of the interests in the partnership are held by eligible employers)
  • Eligible Employees – click here to look at eligibility
    An eligible employee is an individual employed in Canada by you (the eligible employer) during the claim period, except if there was a period of 14 or more consecutive days in that period in respect of which they were not paid eligible remuneration by you. Employee eligibility is based on whether the person is employed in Canada, not where they live.
  • Base Subsidy
    The base CEWS would be a specified rate, applied to the amount of remuneration paid to the employee for the eligibility period, on remuneration of up to $1,129 per week.
  • Top-up Subsidy
    A top-up subsidy of up to 25% will be available to employers who were the most adversely impacted by COVID-19. The top-up will be determined based on the revenue drop experienced by an eligible employer when comparing revenues in the preceding three months to the same months in the prior year. The alternative approach to the calculation of baseline revenues remains.
  • CEWS for Furloughed Employees
    • For Periods 5 and 6, the subsidy calculation for a furloughed employee will remain the same as for Periods 1 to 4.
    • Beginning in Period 7, CEWS support for furloughed employees will be adjusted to align with the benefits provided through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and / or Employment Insurance (EI). This will ensure equitable treatment of employees on furlough between both programs.
    • For Period 5 and subsequent periods, the CEWS for furloughed employees will be available to eligible employers who qualify for either the base rate or the top-up for active employees in the relevant period.
    • The employer portion of contributions in respect of the Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan in respect of furloughed employees will continue to be refunded to the employer.
  • Eligible Remuneration, Eligible Employers and Employees
    • There were no changes announced to the definition of eligible remuneration or eligible employers.
    • Effective July 3, 2020, the definition of eligible employee no longer excludes employees who are without remuneration in respect of 14 or more consecutive days in an eligibility period.
  • Refund for Certain Payroll Contributions
    • The program has been expanded by introducing a new 100 percent refund for certain employer-paid contributions to Employment Insurance (EI) and the Canada Pension Plan.
    • This refund is available on employer-paid contributions for eligible employees for each week throughout which those employees are on leave with pay, and for those employees that the employer is eligible to claim the CEWS.
    • An employee is considered on leave if that employee is paid by the employer but does not perform any work for the employer. The refund has no weekly maximum benefit per employee and no overall limit to the refund amount that an eligible employer may claim.
    • Employers will be required to collect and remit employer and employee contributions to each program as usual; eligible employers will apply for a refund at the same time as they apply for the CEWS.
  • Online Calculator: a calculator launched on the CRA website so businesses can determine the amount they can expect to claim through the CEWS. The CEWS calculator can be found on CRA’s Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Web page.
  • Applications: open April 27. 90% of the applications will be processed by May 4th with direct deposits and cheques to follow shortly after that.
  • To review how the federal government support plan for Canadians and for further details on wage subsidies and emergency support for employeesplease click here


Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers

  • The initial 10% wage subsidy offered is still in place for eligible organizations.
    • Those accessing this subsidy can still apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy when it becomes available.
    • The 10%  subsidy provides eligible small employers a wage subsidy for  three months, equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.
    • Businesses can benefit immediately by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration


Enhanced Canada Child Benefit

Enhanced Canada Child Benefit For those that are eligible for the Child Tax benefit, there will be an additional $300 per child available on top of what is already received.


Employment Insurance

Employment Insurance  changes to the EI program include waiving the one-week waiting period for and priority application processing for COVID-19 related claims.

GST Credit: Credits available will be increased up to $400 for single adults and $600 for couples (more details will be available closer to the rollout date).


WorkBC Wage Subsudy

The WorkBC Wage Subsidy program covers a part of employee wages so employers can hire job seekers and provide work opportunities. Both unemployed individuals and employers in B.C. can benefit from WorkBC Wage Subsidy. Contact your local WorkBC Centre, and find out more in the WorkBC Wage Subsidy Application Guide. If you’re ready to apply, use this simple form that takes about 10 minutes. Read more on their website here.



Provincial support for Businesses 

The provincial government announced a $5 billion (additional funding) support package for businesses and individuals: this is the first step as the government acknowledges they will have to be “nimble and flexible” as they respond to the impacts of COVID-19. The package will see $2.8 B People and Services $2.2B Business and Economic Recovery.

*Provincial Aid was announced March 23rd, 2020. Details for how to access services will be provided once they become available*


List of Essential Services
This list has been provided so that businesses can prepare for a potential provincial shutdown.


Tax Remittance Deferrals
The provincial government is extending tax filing and payment deadlines to September 30th, 2020 to help businesses through this crisis. The deferred taxes will include:

  • Employee Health Tax (EHT)
  • Motor Fuel Taxes
  • Carbon Tax
  • The scheduled increase of carbon tax has been canceled
  • Provincial Sales Tax (PST)
  • Municipal & Regional District Tax
  • Tobacco Tax


Property Tax Relief

  • Business and light and major industrial property classes will see a reduction to the school property tax rate for commercial properties to achieve an average 25% reduction in the total property tax bill for most businesses, providing up to $700 million in relief. This enhances the 50% reduction to the provincial school property tax rate that was originally announced for classes 4, 5, and 6 as part of B.C.’s COVID-19 Action Plan.
  • The expectation is business will benefit directly (if they own their own property) or this relief will flow through commercial landlords immediately passing savings on to tenants in triple-net lease

Additional Provincial Measures
Canceling of the scheduled increase of Carbon Tax

  • Deferral of PST charges to e-commerce and sweetened beverages (to be reviewed by Sept. 30, 2020)
  • $1.5B for economic recovery
  • The longer-term recovery plan will dedicate funding to those businesses that are particularly hard-hit during this pandemic.


Intake for greenhouse carbon tax relief grants open
Greenhouse operators can now apply for carbon tax relief grants for the 2020 production year, until May 1, 2020.

Eligibility: Commercial producers in B.C. who grow vegetables, ornamental flowers and plants, forest seedlings and nursery plants are eligible to apply for the grant if they:

  • had sales exceeding $20,000 in 2019;
  • used natural gas or propane to heat their greenhouses or produce carbon dioxide; and
  • had a production area greater than 455 square metres.

Benefit: The grant covers up to 80% of the carbon tax that commercial greenhouse growers of eligible crops paid on the natural gas and propane they used for greenhouse heating and carbon-dioxide production in 2019. Cannabis is not an eligible crop at any phase of production.

For more information and eligibility criteria click here.


Temporary Emergency Funding Program

  • Funding for licensed providers at a rate of seven times their average monthly child care operating base funding.
  • Child care centres receiving this funding continue to be eligible for the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative and the Early Childhood Educator (ECE) Wage Enhancement. The fee reduction helps parents by providing funding for licensed child care providers to reduce and stabilize their monthly child care fees. The wage enhancement has provided nearly 12,000 ECEs with a $1-per-hour wage enhancement, which increased to $2 per hour on April 1, 2020, to better recognize the work they do.
  • Families accessing care from these providers may be eligible for the Affordable Child Care Benefit.

Resources for Workers

Canada Emergency Response Benefit

Canadians who have lost income due to COVID-19 have access to $2000 a month for the next 4 months.

  • Replaces the Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit to streamline the process.
  • This Benefit covers:
    • Full-time, part-time, contractors, self-employed.
    • Those who are sick, quarantined, taking care of someone sick, or at home taking care of children.
    • Those still employed but not receiving income.
  • The application portal will open soon.
  • Applicants will receive the money within 10 days of applying.

Expanded as of April 15th:

Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work because of COVID-19.

  • Essential workers who make less than $2500 a month.
  • People who make less than $1000 a month due to reduced work hours, (Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB).
  • Extend the CERB to workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job because of COVID-19.

Apply through your MY CRA Account: or by telephone: 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041


Employment Insurance

Important information for workers who have lost their jobs or are unable to work:

  • Workers should continue to apply for Employment Insurance benefits with Service Canada.
  • Individuals who have already applied for Employment Insurance will be automatically enrolled for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
  • Employment Insurance and Pension applications can be made online at:
  • If you became eligible for Employment Insurance prior to March 15th, your claim will be processed under the pre-existing Employment Insurance rules.
  • If you became eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits March 15th onward, your claim will be automatically processed through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

Enhanced Canada Child Benefit

Families that are entitled to receive the CCB for April 2020 and still have an eligible child in their care in May 2020 will get up to $300 extra per child as part of their regular May 2020 payment.

The amount you receive will be calculated based on information from the 2018 tax return(s) of you and your spouse/common-law partner (if applicable). If you are a newcomer to Canada from January 1, 2019 to April 30, 2020, you and your spouse’s/common-law partner’s (if applicable) reported world income will be used in the calculation.

This is a one-time increase to the May CCB payment for the 2019-20 benefit year (July 2019 to June 2020).


GST Credit 

The Government provided a one-time special payment on April 9, 2020. This payment will double the maximum annual GST/HST credit payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year.

You will get the extra payment amount automatically if you normally receive the GST/HST credit and have filed a 2018 tax return.

The average boost to income for those benefiting from this measure will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples. This measure will inject $5.5 billion into the economy.


Tax Filing Relief
In order to provide greater flexibility to Canadians who may be experiencing hardships during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Canada Revenue Agency will defer the filing due date for the 2019 tax returns of individuals, including certain trusts.

  • For individuals, the return filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020.  However, the Agency encourages individuals who expect to receive benefits under the GSTC or the Canada Child Benefit not to delay the filing of their return to ensure their entitlements for the 2020-21 benefit year are properly determined.

Provincial Support for Workers 

*Aid was announced March 23rd, 2020. Details for how to access services will be provided once they become available*  


    • Benefit: The BCEBW is a one-time, tax-free $1,000 payment for British Columbians whose ability to work has been affected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Eligibility: people must:
      • have been a resident of British Columbia on March 15, 2020;
      • meet the eligibility requirements for the CERB;
      • have been approved for the CERB, even if they have not received a benefit yet;
      • be at least 15 years old on the date of application;
      • have filed, or agree to file, a 2019 B.C. income tax return; and
      • not be receiving provincial income assistance or disability assistance.
      • Most people who are eligible for the new federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) are also eligible for the BCEBW, including those who have run out of employment insurance (EI) benefits and subsequently qualify for the CERB.BC Emergency Benefit for Workers

Starting May 1, applications can be made online, at any time, and a link to the application portal will be available at:


Boosting the Climate Action Tax Credit
Eligible families of four will receive up to $564 and eligible individuals will receive up to $218 in an enhanced payment. This will help complement federal income supports for those struggling with job loss reduced income or increased costs.


Support for Renters and Homeowners
The provincial government, working with banks and credit unions, will ensure mortgage deferral options are available as well as enhanced support for rentals via Shelter Aid For Elderly Renters (SAFER) and Rental Assistance Program (RAP).


Support for Renters and Landlords
To support people and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Province is introducing a new temporary rental supplement, halting evictions and freezing rents, among other actions.
The new rental supplement will help households by offering up to $500 a month towards their rent, building on federal and provincial financial supports already announced for British Columbians facing financial hardship. For more click here

BC landlord tenancy measuresSummary of the relief measures 


Additional Provincial Measures 

  • Deferral of student loans for 6 months
  • ICBC & BC Hydro will provide deferral options and crisis assistance funding available for impacted individuals
  • Students: Students attending British Columbia’s 25 public post-secondary institutions, who are experiencing emergency financial pressures, will benefit from a one-time investment of $3.5 million in emergency financial assistance. Contact your school’s financial aid office for more info.
  • Income assistance or disability assistance:
    • the Province will temporarily exempt federal employment insurance benefits, including the new $2,000 Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
    • Payments will be fully exempted for the next three months so people receiving income assistance and disability assistance in B.C. will benefit from these new emergency federal support programs, without any reductions to their monthly assistance payments.
    • On income assistance or disability assistance and not eligible for the emergency federal support programs, including the CERB, the Province will provide an automatic $300-monthly COVID-19 crisis supplement for the next three months.


New virtual mental health supports for COVID-19 on the way

    • providing more access to online programs for mental health by expanding the BounceBack program. BounceBack provides online coaching and the Living Life to the Full program, which helps people deal with life challenges and learn self-management skills (CMHA-BC);
    • expanding access to no- and low-cost community counselling programs, including those that serve immigrant and refugee populations, and enabling them to be delivered virtually;
    • increasing access to online peer support and system navigation (CMHA-BC);
    • providing virtual supports for youth aged 12 to 24 by making Foundry services available around the province through voice, video and chat (FoundryBC);
    • providing more online tools and resources to help people assess and manage their own mental health;
    • supporting front-line health-care workers through a new online hub and providing virtual peer support (CMHA-BC);
    • and a new online psychological support service for health-care workers (BC Psychological Association).

Resources for Individuals

Extra time to file income tax returns

For individuals (other than trusts), the return filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020.
The Canada Revenue Agency will also allow any new income tax balances due, or installments, to be deferred until after August 31, 2020 without incurring interest or penalties.


Increase to the Canada Child Benefit
The government of Canada is providing an extra $300 per child through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-20. This benefit will be delivered as part of the scheduled CCB payment in May.
Those who already receive the Canada Child Benefit do not need to re-apply.


Special Goods and Services Tax credit payment
The government of Canada is providing a one-time special payment by early May through the Goods and Services Tax credit for low- and modest-income families. The average additional benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.
There is no need to apply for this payment. If you are eligible, you will get it automatically.


Reduced minimum withdrawals for Registered Retirement Income Funds
The Government of Canada is reducing the required minimum withdrawals from
Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020.


Canada Emergency Student Benefit
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced $9 billion in financial aid for post-secondary students.

  • Amount: $1,250 per month from May to August. If you take care of someone else or have a disability that amount could go up to $1,750 per month.
  • Eligibility: If you’re a post-secondary student right now, if you’re going to college in September or if you graduated in December 2019, it’s there for you. Even if you have a job, but you’re only making up to $1,000 a month.
  • When: the benefit will start on May 1st, and your payments will be delivered.through the CRA portal.

Prime Minister Trudeau said the benefit will require additional legislation and talks are now underway about how quickly a bill to implement this new program can be brought forward.


Additional measures for students:

  • Creating an additional 76,000 jobs for young people in sectors that need an extra hand right now, or that are on the frontlines of this pandemic;
  • Investing more than $291 million to extend scholarships, fellowships, and grants for three or four months;
  • Launching a new Canada Student Service Grant of between $1,000 and $5,000 for students volunteering in the COVID-19 fight;
  • Providing more than $75 million to specifically increase support for First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Nation students; and
  • Doubling the student grants that the government gives out for the 2020-21 school year.


Canadian Business Resilience Network (CBRN)

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has established the Canadian Business Resilience Network (CBRN) in partnership with the Government of Canada to help the business community prepare, persevere and, ultimately, prosper in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.The CBRN is a coordinated, business-led, inclusive campaign that will focus on providing businesses the tools they need to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on them, our economy and communities across the country. Its goal is also to help businesses emerge from this crisis and drive Canada’s economic recovery.The CBRN will:

    • Give tools and supports to businesses in their continuity efforts – from development to implementation.
    • Provide a consistent and reliable flow of accurate and up-to-date information.
    • Work closely with federal government and within the business community to ensure the right supports are in place, and to be a conduit for information from the government to the private sector (and vice versa).
    • Aim to instill confidence in Canadian business and the economy.

For more information visit


General Information


Current Situation

World Updates: World Health Organization

Fraser Health

BC Centre for Disease control

Government of BC Updates: Facebook Updates




Chamber Efforts

We are taking proactive measures to protect the health of our team, our members, and our community. To help prevent the risk of the Coronavirus, we are suspending all meetings for 30 days, effective March 13. Our office remains open but caution to only visit if necessary. We are still providing certificates of origin. Our staff all have the opportunity to work at home, however, we remain fully operational and are working strenuously to support our business community. Our goal is to ensure that our members maintain business continuity through these uncertain times. Please call or email us at 604.464.2716 or to get in touch.



For additional questions, please call or email us at 604-464-2716.