COVID-19 | Guidance & Resources

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Provincial Announcement March 25

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

 

 

 


Access to Capital

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.

  • FCCis prepared to assist – 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.

 

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)


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 instalments, 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.

 

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.

 

Wage Subsidy
To support businesses and help prevent layoffs, the government is proposing to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be 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 will be able to benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. Employers benefiting from this measure will include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities.
  • To review how the federal government support plan for Canadians and for further details on wage subsidies and emergency support for employeesplease click here.
  • For more information on eligibility and how to take advantage of the wage subsidy check these Frequently Asked Questions.

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*

 

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 50% cut to provincial school tax, which should result in $500 million in immediate relief for business.

  • 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 leases

 

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.

Resources for Workers

NEW – 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.

More information to be announced.

 

NEW – Employment Insurance
Several measures are being taken by Employment and Social Development Canada:(ESDC) to assist employees who have been laid off or are unable to work due to quarantine.

  • Canadians who are already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits as of today would continue to receive their benefits and should not apply to the CERB.
    • If their EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, they could apply for the CERB once their EI benefits cease,
    • if they are unable to return to work due to COVID-19. Canadians who have already applied for EI and whose application has not yet been processed would not need to reapply.
  • Canadians who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits would still be able to access their standard EI benefits, if still unemployed, after the 16 weeks covered by the CERB.
  • The portal for accessing the CERB is targeted to be available in early April.
  • EI eligible Canadians who have lost their job can continue to apply for EI here, as can Canadians applying for other EI benefits.
  • Canadians will begin to receive their CERB payments within ten days of application.
  • The CERB will be paid every four weeks and be available from March 15, 2020, until October 3, 2020.

 

Enhanced Canada Child Benefit (Available early May, requires Royal Assent)
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.

 

GST Credit (Available early May, requires Royal Assent)
For individuals that are eligible for GST Credits The 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).

 

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*  

Emergency Benefit
This is a one-time $1000 tax-free payment for any British Columbian whose income is impacted by COVID-19. Eligible individuals include those that receive federal EI or the new federal Emergency Care Benefit — linked to the federal government’s new EI rules in response to the pandemic. Applications will open soon and the one-time payment will be paid in May 2020.

 

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).

 

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

General Information

 


Current Situation

World Updates: World Health Organization

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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.