We want to support you during this difficult time.

We have compiled:

If there is any way that UDI Capital Region can support you, please don’t hesitate to contact Kathy Whitcher at kathyw@udi.org or 250-888-1671

PROVINCIAL COVID-19 UPDATES

June 14th, 2021 - BC Provincial COVID Restart Plan Update

B.C. prepares to safely move to Step 2 of its restart plan
Beginning on Tuesday, June 15, 2021, British Columbia will take the next step in safely bringing people back together, transitioning into Step 2 of BC’s Restart plan, including lifting restrictions on travel within B.C.

Read more here

 

April 12th, 2021 - New COVID-19 Public Health Announcement for Workplaces

In light of the COVID-19 public health announcement last week, UDI requests that members continue to diligently follow all COVID-19 protocols in your workplaces to ensure the utmost protection of our workers, their families and our communities.

On April 8, 2021, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) delegated specific powers under the Public Health Act to WorkSafeBC prevention officers. This allows WorkSafeBC to issue a workplace closure order for 10 days or more if a public health investigation determines a COVID-19 transmission has occurred at a workplace. The Provincial Health Officer clarified that three or more employees testing positive for COVID-19 in a workplace would be considered to be transmission, and could prompt a closure order. The new powers come into effect on April 12th.

It is important to understand that this announcement applies to all workplaces – not just construction sites. All employers are required to develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan that outlines the policies, guidelines, and procedures they have put in place to reduce the risk of a COVID-19 transmission.

In cases where WorkSafeBC serves a closure notice, they will then support the workplace to review and enhance safety plans, as needed. A list of workplaces that have been closed and the date of their reopening will be posted on health authority websites.

WorkSafeBC has developed a guide for employers to assist them in reviewing and updating their COVID-19 safety plans. For up-to-date information on WorkSafeBC requirements, please visit their COVID-19 webpage. The BC Centre for Disease Control also has a COVID-19 webpage for employers and businesses.

As a reminder, the PHO issued Guidance to construction sites operating during COVID-19 last year. All members in the construction industry must follow these requirements.

Please stay safe

While UDI Capital Region (UDI) makes every effort to provide accurate and up to date information to our members, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness and/or currency of the above information, particularly given the rapidly evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. UDI will not be liable for any loss or damage arising out of the use of or reliance on the above information, including without limitation any indirect or consequential damages.

March 16th, 2021 - BC’s Business Recovery Grant Program - New improvements & New Deadline

From the Honourable Ravi Kahlon – Minister of Jobs, Economic Recover & Innovation –

As the pandemic continues to evolve, creating new challenges for businesses, we have continued listening to community leaders, businesses, and organizations throughout BC.  This feedback has contributed to further improvements to the Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant Program.

I am excited to let you know that updates have now been made to the Program.  As of March 4, 2021, we have extended the application deadline to August 31, 2021 or until funds are fully committed, whichever comes first.

Additionally, businesses now need to show a 30 percent revenue loss from March 2020 to now, when compared to the same one-month period in 2019.  These changes will ensure more businesses are eligible, while providing business owners the extra time they have asked for to submit their applications.

We have also allowed for extra help with things like gathering the right documents during the application stage, or supporting applications with translation or interpretation services.  Eligible businesses – bookkeepers, accountants, and lawyers – can now support small businesses applying for the grant from the start of the application process and will continue to be eligible for the $2,000 in additional Government funding paid to the service provider once they register with Small Business BC.

Here’s a summary of the changes:

  • The Program has been extended to August 31, 2021 or until funds are fully expended, whichever comes first.
  • Applicants no longer need to show a revenue loss of 70 percent in March or April 2020 when compared to the same one-month period in 2019.  Now a 30 percent loss is all that is required.
  • Businesses that have applied to the Program already will have their applications re-evaluated automatically if they didn’t qualify because of the previous 70 percent revenue requirement.
  • Service providers – accountants, bookkeepers, and lawyers – can support their clients from the start of the application process.
  • Businesses that have been approved for funding are not affected by these changes.

Please visit the Program website at:  http://www.gov.bc.ca/businessrecoverygrant for full eligibility criteria and to find grant information translations in easily, shareable PDFs for Simplified Chinese, Punjabi, French, Farsi, Korean, Vietnamese, and more.

How you can help
Help us get this information to businesses in your community by amplifying and sharing (please copy and paste the URL into your browser if the direct link does not work):

Need more information?
If you or a business in your community has any questions or needs help, including language translation and interpretation support, call 1 833 254‑4357 or email:  BusinessRecoveryGrantProgram@gov.bc.ca.

While UDI Capital Region (UDI) makes every effort to provide accurate and up to date information to our members, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness and/or currency of the above information, particularly given the rapidly evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. UDI will not be liable for any loss or damage arising out of the use of or reliance on the above information, including without limitation any indirect or consequential damages.

March 4th, 2021 - SMALL BUSINESS RECOVERY GRANT

On March 4, 2021, the BC Provincial Government eased the eligibility requirements for small and medium sized businesses applying for funds under the pandemic recovery program. The province also extended the deadline for businesses to apply for the grant to August 31, 2021 or until the money is completely spent.

 

For more information click here to view the grant link

Aug 18th, 2020 - REPAYMENT PLAN FRAMEWORK RELEASED

The provincial government announced on August 14, details on the new repayment framework for renters with outstanding rent from April to August 2020. The updated regulations have changed the end date of the moratorium on ending tenancy for unpaid rent to a fixed date; August 18. The updated regulations also provide guidance regarding late fees and rent increases. UDI appreciates the recognition that landlords and tenants have worked proactively together during this pandemic to achieve high levels of rent payment over the past several months. UDI continues to advocate for measures that will support members that both own and manage rental properties.

As stated in the announcement, “Renters in arrears from rent due during the specified period of March 18 to Aug. 17 will have until at least July 2021 to pay back any rent they owe, with the first repayments not starting until October at the earliest.

The terms of the repayment plan must include:

  • amount of outstanding rent;
  • start date of the repayment plan;
  • amount of each instalment; and
  • dates for each instalment.

The repayment instalments must begin at least 30 days after the date the plan is given by the landlord to the renter. It also must give renters until July 2021 for the final repayments to be made, unless the landlord and renter agree to a longer period.”

For more information, please see the news release.

June 25th, 2020 - Provincial Government Update

The provincial government announced yesterday that the moratorium on rent increases and evictions for non-payment of rent will be maintained. However, other notices to end tenancy may resume effectively immediately. UDI continues to advocate for measures that will support members that both own and manage rental properties.

As stated in yesterday’s announcement, “the ban on evictions for reasons other than late payment or non-payment of rent has now been lifted. The following tenancy laws are resuming:
•    A landlord can now issue a Notice to End Tenancy for any reason (other than unpaid or late payment rent).
•    Landlords with existing orders for eviction can take them to the courts beginning July 2, 2020, for enforcement and can enforce a writ order effective immediately.
•    Landlords can enter a rental suite with 24-hour notice and do not need the tenant’s consent. They are expected to follow health guidelines like physical distancing, cleaning and wearing masks when appropriate.
•    The change also allows for personal service of documents to resume.
Landlords’ ability to restrict access to common spaces for COVID-19 related health reasons remains.”

June 2, 2020 - BC Bans Evictions

Provincial Finance Minister, Carole James, announced yesterday protection for small businesses who cannot pay their rent.  The emergency order restricts lease terminations, rent-repayment lawsuits, and repossession of goods and properties, and will stay in place until the end of June, when the federal relief program is currently set to end.  The province will consider extending the protection if the federal government pushes commercial rent relief past June.

The order is to encourage landlords to apply for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program that will provide commercial property owners with a non-repayable loan to cover 50% of their monthly rent.

May 19th, 2020 - BC Provincial Government Update

BC provincial government announced their restart program on May 1st that will slowly take place starting today – May 19, 2020.  The plan has a series of steps to re-open BC safely.

May 4, 2020 - Province Supports Local Governments to Hold Public Hearings Electronically

BC Provincial government announced on Friday, May 1, 2020 that they would support local municipal governments by allowing electronic public hearings during the current state of emergency.

“Local governments will be a key partner in our recovery effort,” said Selina Robinson, Minister Municipal Affairs and Housing.  “Amending this order will allow local governments to continue their work on land-use decision-making and keep building their communities for the people they serve.”

The new order will allow local governments to hold public hearings electronically.  The province recognizes that a delay in processing development applications could result in increased costs and canceled projects, that would in turn negatively impact the province’s economic recovery.

Each local government will be required to determine what electronic method works best for them.  At the time of the public notice, the local government will be expected to provide information on how the people can participate in the hearing.  Options local governments may consider include calling in and video conferencing as well as written submissions.

May 1, 2020 - BC Provincial Government Update

The provincial government announced today those people whose ability to work has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can now apply for the BC Emergency Benefit for workers.  It is a tax free, one time $1000 payment for BC residents.  Click here to find out if you are eligible and how to apply.

FEDERAL COVID-19 UPDATES

June 2, 2021 - Federal Government COVID Recovery Update

On June 2, the Canadian Federal Government announced that the new Canada Recovery Hiring Program, will be available retroactively to June 6, 2021.

The proposed Canada Recovery Hiring Program will help hard hit businesses hire the workers they need to recover and grow as local economies reopen. The program will provide a subsidy of up to 50 per cent of eligible salary or wages. It will be available to eligible employers who have experienced qualifying revenue declines so they can hire more workers, increase workers’ hours, or increase wages. This support will afford businesses with certainty that they can take on the extra costs needed to rehire and be ready to return to growth. Like with the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, businesses will be able to access the program through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Support will be available retroactively to this Sunday, June 6, 2021, and businesses will be able to hire workers as their local economy reopens, or as they are ready.

The Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Small Business also detailed the proposed extension of business support programs that have served as a lifeline to Canadian businesses through the pandemic. This includes the proposed extension of the Wage Subsidy, Rent Subsidy, and Lockdown Support until September 25, 2021. These programs were currently set to expire this month. Both the Hiring Program and proposed extensions are part of Bill C-30, the Budget Implementation Act, which are currently before Parliament.

The Hiring Program is designed to interact with the Wage Subsidy. The programs overlap so that, as Wage Subsidy rates gradually decline, eligible employers will still be able to receive the maximum support from the Hiring Program this summer if they hire more workers or increase workers’ hours or wages. This will make it easy for businesses to quickly hire new workers and do so at a pace that works best for them, as different jurisdictions reopen their economies at different paces.

The Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Small Business also announced that the Business Credit Availability Program and Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program are being extended to December 31, 2021. Both programs were set to expire on June 30, 2021. This will ensure, with economies reopening and a path to recovery ahead, businesses will have the liquidity support they need to invest in their recovery.

For more information visit our government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan website

Nov. 23, 2020 – CANADA EMERGENCY RENT SUBSIDY

OTTAWA, ON, Nov. 23, 2020 /CNW/ – Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan has helped to support millions of Canadian workers and businesses throughout the pandemic. Through the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), the Government is providing targeted, direct relief to businesses, non-profits, and charities that continue to face the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, opened the CERS to receive applications from qualifying organizations. These organizations can now apply directly for the subsidy for the period from September 27 to October 24, 2020 through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) My Business Account, or Represent a Client portals. Applications for the second CERS period (October 25 to November 21, 2020) will open on November 30.

In response to concerns raised by stakeholders about the program, the Government is proposing to amend the CERS in order to allow applicants to include eligible expenses in their CERS application before the expense has been paid. The CRA has launched a CERS online calculator and application form that are designed almost identically to those of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).

The CRA will collect applications over the coming days and, on November 30, process applications received to date. Qualifying organizations whose claims successfully clear the CRA’s automated verification system and that are registered for direct deposit should expect to begin receiving payments starting on December 4

To read the entire news release click here.

November 9, 2020 - RENT FREEZE EXTENDED, PENDING INCREASES CANCELLED PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES RESIDENTIAL

Today, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing announced that effective immediately, the Province is extending the freeze on rent increases until July 10, 2021, under the powers of the Emergency Program Act and COVID-19 Related Measures Act.

As stated in the news release: “The Province originally froze rent increases on March 18, 2020, with the ban set to expire Dec. 1. All renters who have received notice their rent was set to increase after the March 30, 2020, ban, including increases set for Dec. 1, should disregard those notices and continue to pay their current rent amount until July 10, 2021.”

This new change will cancel any previously issued rent increases with an effective date of April 1, 2020 to the end of 2020 – in addition to any new rent increases through July 2021.

UDI has been working closely with LandlordBC on this issue and they have provided clarity on the new announcement: “The rent increase freeze will be extended through December 2020 thereby negating the previously announced increase effective December 1, 2020. This rent increase freeze is in fact an extension of the current rent increase freeze under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act. The Act is only in effect for one year (assented July 8th).”

UDI continues to advocate for and support our members who own and operate rental properties. UDI is developing a survey for rental providers to better ascertain the impact of government regulation on purpose-built rental. The survey will be released in the coming weeks and we ask all rental providers to respond as it will inform our advocacy efforts with all levels of government. The survey will include questions and ask for solutions that the government should consider in order to mitigate the impact of the freeze on rent increases.

Please note that the NDP Platform called for a freeze on rental increases until the end of 2021. UDI will be seeking clarity from the Government on this.

For more information, please see LandlordBC’s member update and the Provincial Government’s news release. 

November 3, 2020 - FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATE

Yesterday, November 2, 2020, the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, introduced Bill C-9, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy), which would implement new, targeted support to help hard-hit businesses. These measures are designed to help businesses get through the second wave of the virus so they can protect jobs, continue to serve their communities, and be positioned for a strong recovery. As previously announced, the business supports include:

  • The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, which would provide direct and easy-to-access rent and mortgage interest support to tenants and property owners until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19.

 

  • The new Lockdown Support, which would provide an additional 25 per cent through the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy for qualifying organizations that are subject to a lockdown and must shut their doors or significantly limit their activities under a public health order issued under the laws of Canada, a province or territory (including orders made by a municipality or regional health authority under one of those laws).

 

  • The extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy until June 2021, which would continue to protect jobs by helping employers keep employees on the payroll and re-hire their workers. The wage subsidy would remain at the current rate of up to 65 per cent of eligible wages until December 19, 2020.

This announcement of new legislation is just another step in the governments work to ensure businesses of all sizes have the support they need to make it through this pandemic. Read more about the legislation here.

October 26, 2020 - FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATE

On Tuesday, October 20th, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, announced an investment of $12 million in the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund.  Canada United is a national fundraising campaign created by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) in collaboration with private sector partners and provincial and territorial chambers of commerce, including the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC). The campaign has been rallying support from Canadians for local small businesses in every corner of the country.  The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund is supporting Canadian businesses across different sectors and industries with grants of up to $5,000.

  • Starting on October 26, small businesses can apply online through the Ontario Chamber of Commerce for the next wave of Canada United Small Business Relief Fund grants.
  • Applications are open to small businesses across sectors and industries in every part of the country that have between $150,000 and $3 million in annual sales; have up to 75 employees; are registered in Canada; and would use the grant to cover the costs of personal protective equipment, make physical modifications to their businesses to meet local health and safety requirements, and enhance their digital or e-commerce capabilities.

To support Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic, below are the other government programs for business owners and their employees that the government has created over the past 7 months:

  • The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is helping businesses by covering up to 75% of payroll, retroactive to March 15 and with the intention of continuing support into summer 2021.
  • The expanded Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will provide businesses with an additional $20,000 interest-free loan on top of the original $40,000 CEBA loan.
  • The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, building on the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA), would provide simple and easy-to-access rent and mortgage support until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by the pandemic.

The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) is delivered through Canada’s regional development agencies and supports small businesses across Canada that have been unable to access existing relief measures. Originally vested with $962 million, the RRRF has been topped up with an additional $600 million.

October 9, 2020 - FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATE

Today the Fed’s announced the government’s intention to introduce new, targeted supports to help hard-hit businesses and other organizations experiencing a drop in revenue. 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, including:

  • The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, which would provide simple and easy-to-access rent and mortgage support until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19. The rent subsidy would be provided directly to tenants, while also providing support to property owners. The new rent subsidy would support businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop, by subsidizing a percentage of their expenses, on a sliding scale, up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020. Organizations would be able to make claims retroactively for the period that began September 27 and ends October 24, 2020.
  • A top-up Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy 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. This follows a commitment in the Speech from the Throne to provide direct financial support to businesses temporarily shut down as a result of a local public health decision.
  • The extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy 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. The subsidy would remain at the current subsidy rate of up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible wages until December 19, 2020. This measure is part of the government’s commitment to create over 1 million jobs and restore employment to the level it was before the pandemic.
  • An expanded Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), which would enable businesses, and not-for-profits eligible for CEBA loans—and that continue to be seriously impacted by the pandemic—to access an interest-free loan of up to $20,000, in addition to the original CEBA loan of $40,000. Half of this additional financing would be forgivable if repaid by December 31, 2022. Additionally, the application deadline for CEBA is being extended to December 31, 2020. Further details, including the launch date and application process will be announced in the coming days. An attestation of the impact of COVID-19 on the business will be required to access the additional financing.
September 9, 2020 - CANADA EMERGENCY COMMERCIAL RENT ASSISTANCE (CECRA) FOR SMALL BUSINESSES EXTENDED FOR SEPTEMBER

Yesterday (Tuesday, September 8, 2020) the Federal Government announced the extension of the commercial rent relief program (CECRA) for one additional month to assist businesses in paying rent for September. This will be the “final extension,” while the government explores other options to support businesses recovering from the economic impacts of COVID-19.  The news release also notes that application deadlines will also be extended to accommodate this extension.

In response to this announcement British Columbia Finance Minister, Carole James, announced that the B.C. Government welcomed the extension of the federal program and confirmed that, “As the CECRA program will be extended through the month of September, the Province’s emergency order protecting eligible businesses from being evicted continues. The restriction will remain in place for the duration of the federal rent assistance program.”

To read the full statement from the Province, please click here.

August 24, 2020 - CANADA EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT (CERB) EXTENSION

Government of Canada has developed a plan to help support Canadians through the next phase of the recovery.  On Thursday, August 20, 2020 the government announced changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program, as they transition away from the CERB. To help workers, businesses, and all Canadians recover, the government will be extending the CERB by four weeks, making changes to the EI program, and creating three benefits to support people who might not qualify for EI.

  • The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) will provide $400 per week for up to 26 weeks, to workers who are self-employed or are not eligible for EI and who still require income support and who are available and looking for work. This benefit will support Canadians whose income has dropped or not returned due to COVID-19. The benefit will allow Canadians to earn more income while on claim as well as include links to Job Bank, Canada’s national employment service, with career planning tools for those seeking employment. In addition, the government will be working with provinces and territories to share information to ensure that Canadians have access to tools and training opportunities to successfully return to the workforce.
  • The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) will provide $500 per week for up to two weeks, for workers who are sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19.
  • The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) will provide $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household, for eligible Canadians unable to work because they must care for:
    • a child under age 12 due to the closures of schools or daycares because of COVID-19.
    • a family member with a disability or a dependent because their day program or care facility is closed due to COVID-19.
    • a child, a family member with a disability, or a dependent who is not attending school, daycare, or other care facilities under the advice of a medical professional due to being at high-risk if they contract COVID-19.
July 17th, 2020 - FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATE

Today, Finance Minister Bill Morneau, announced proposed changes to the CEWS that would broaden the reach of the program, providing better-targeted support and enabling more workers to their jobs quickly as the economy restarts. With these changes, the CEWS would continue to protect jobs and help Canadian businesses that have been hardest-hit by COVID-19.

The proposal would:

–   Extend 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 percent and providing a gradually decreasing base subsidy to all qualifying employers. This would help many struggling employers with revenue losses below 30 percent 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 percent revenue decline threshold.

–  Introduce a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25 percent 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.

These proposed changes follow consultations with business and labour representatives on potential adjustments to the CEWS program aimed at ensuring that it continues to protect jobs and promote growth.

By helping workers transition back to their jobs and supporting businesses as their revenues increase, these changes would ensure that employers have the certainty they need to hire back quickly as the economy improves – positioning them and their employees to succeed into the future.

June 16th, 2020 - FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATE

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the government is extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) by eight weeks, to ensure Canadians have the help they need as they transition back to work. This extension will make the benefit available to eligible workers for up to a total of 24 weeks.

June 15th, 2020 - FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATE

Today, the Federal Government of Canada announced that as of Friday, June 19, 2020, applications will be accepted so that more small businesses can access the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). This means that owner-operated small businesses that had been ineligible for the program due to their lack of payroll, sole proprietors receiving business income directly, as well as family-owned corporations remunerating in the form of dividends rather than payroll will become eligible this week.

To qualify under the expanded eligibility rules, CEBA applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 will need:

  • A business operating account at a participating financial institution;
  • A Canada Revenue Agency business number;
  • A 2018 or 2019 tax return; and
  • Eligible non-deferrable expenses of between $40,000 and $1.5 million.

Eligible businesses will qualify for financing of up to $40,000, with 25 per cent of this being forgivable based on the current terms of CEBA loans. Businesses can contact their primary financial institution for more information or to apply directly for CEBA. More information on the expanded CEBA can be found on the program’s website.

WHERE TO START:

To get the help you need:

  1. Visit our government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan website for information about supporting your employees and your business. It is continuously updated as the COVID-19 crisis evolves.
  2. Contact your local financial institution. Since we know most small businesses have a relationship with their local financial institution already, we’ve worked with the financial sector to increase their lending capacity to support you in this challenging time. They are an excellent first resource.
  3. Consult the Canadian Business Resilience Network a partnership between our government and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to help your business prepare, persevere and prosper through this crisis.
  4. Talk to a financial expert – Call the Business Resilience Service for customized financial guidance tailored to your needs. Small business owners with pressing financial needs can call 1-866-989-1080 (toll-free) seven days a week in either official language to speak with a business advisor.

 

May 19, 2020 - FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATE

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced an expansion to the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to include many owner-operated small businesses.

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.

To help the Canadian people through recovery, on Friday, May 15, 2020 the federal government announced that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will be extended by an additional 12 weeks to August 29, 2020. While recovery slowly and carefully takes place this extension is to encourage employers to rehire those who were laid off due to the COVID-19 crisis.

May 13, 2020 - FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATE

Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced yesterday (May 12, 2020) further support for our most vulnerable population amidst this COVID-19 pandemic, our senior citizens.  At the start of the pandemic the Government of Canada invested $1.3 million – as well as investments in community organizations that provide practical services to Canadian seniors.

The additional measures that came out yesterday will provide Canadian seniors with greater financial security in this crisis.  The measures include:

  • Providing additional financial support of $2.5 billion for a one-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension, with an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). This measure would give a total of $500 to individuals who are eligible to receive both the OAS and the GIS, and will help them cover increased costs caused by COVID-19.
  • Expanding the New Horizons for Seniors Program with an additional investment of $20 million to support organizations that offer community-based projects that reduce isolation, improve the quality of life of seniors, and help them maintain a social support network.
  • Temporarily extending GIS and Allowance payments if seniors’ 2019 income information has not been assessed. This will ensure that the most vulnerable seniors continue to receive their benefits when they need them the most. To avoid an interruption in benefits, seniors are encouraged to submit their 2019 income information as soon as possible and no later than by October 1, 2020.

On May 11, 2020, Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced new measures to support businesses so they can keep their workers on the payroll and weather this pandemic.
Millions of Canadians pay their bills and feed their families by working for large and medium-sized businesses. The government will offer support to those businesses affected by COVID-19 based on a number of conditions. To help protect Canadian middle class jobs, and safeguard our economy, the Government of Canada will:

  • Establish a Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) to provide bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing, in order to keep their operations going. The objective of this support is to help protect Canadian jobs, help Canadian businesses weather the current economic downturn, and avoid bankruptcies of otherwise viable firms where possible.
  • Use key guiding principles in providing support through the LEEFF, including:
    • 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.
  • Expand the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) 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.
  • 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.

For further updates please visit the UDI Capital Region website’s COVID-19 Updates and Resources page.

April 24th, 2020 - CANADA EMERGENCY COMMERCIAL RENT ASSISTANCE

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the federal government has reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This program will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.

Below are further details on the program:

  • The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June.
  • The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25 per cent of the rent.
  • Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.

To get the help you need:

  1. Visit the government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan website for information about supporting your employees and your business. It is constantly updated as the COVID-19 crisis evolves.
  2. Contact your local financial institution. Since most small businesses have a relationship with their local financial institution already, the government has worked with the financial sector to increase their lending capability to support businesses in this challenging time. They are a good first place to start for help.

Consult the Canadian Business Resilience Network and Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s pandemic preparedness guide to help prepare you business in the days and weeks to come.

April 23rd, 2020 - FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATE

Support for students and new grads affected by COVID-19
Yesterday (April 22, 2020), Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced comprehensive support of nearly $9 billion for post-secondary and recent graduates.  This plan will help provide the financial support they need this summer, help them continue their studies in the fall, and help many get the experience they need to start their careers. These measures include launching:

  • the proposed Canada Emergency Student Benefit, which would provide support to students and new graduates who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. This benefit would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students or $1,750 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities. The benefit would be available from May to August 2020.
  • the new Canada Student Service Grant, which will help students gain valuable work experience and skills while they help their communities during the COVID‑19 pandemic. For students who choose to do national service and serve their communities, the new Canada Student Service Grant will provide up to $5,000 for their education in the fall.

The Government of Canada will expand existing federal employment, skills development, and youth programming to create up to 116,000 jobs, placements, and other training opportunities to help students find employment and develop valuable skills this summer and over the coming months. In addition, to help students continue their studies in the fall, the government will:

  • double the Canada Student Grants for all eligible full-time students to up to $6,000 and up to $3,600 for part-time students in 2020-21. The Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependents would also be doubled.
  • broaden eligibility for student financial assistance by removing the expected student’s and spouse’s contributions in 2020-21, in recognition that many students and families will struggle to save for school this year.
  • enhance the Canada Student Loans Program by raising the maximum weekly amount that can be provided to a student in 2020-21 from $210 to $350.
  • increase existing distinctions-based support for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation students pursuing post-secondary education by providing an additional $75.2 million in 2020-21.
  • extend expiring federal graduate research scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships, and supplement existing federal research grants, to support students and post-doctoral fellows, by providing $291.6 million to the federal granting councils. In addition, the government intends to enhance work opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows through the National Research Council of Canada.

Taken together, these programs will not only help ensure more students get the financial support they need, but the opportunities and experience many students were counting on.

Government of Canada launches Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Calculator for Employers
On April 21, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, launched the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy calculator to support employers as they prepare to apply for the CEWS.

This important economic measure provides a 75% wage subsidy of up to $847 per employee per week, to eligible employers, for up to 12 weeks, preventing further job losses and encouraging employers to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, retroactive to March 15, 2020.

The CEWS calculator can be found on CRA’s Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Web page.  A series of information sessions will be held in the coming days to provide a forum for eligible employers. The CRA also encourages employers to sign up for My Business Account or Represent a Client, as employers will be able to apply through these portals. The CRA will open the application process on April 27, 2020.  CEWS claims will be subject to verification by the CRA. Funds for approved applications will begin to be released on May 5.

The government will continue to monitor and respond to the health, social, and economic impacts of COVID-19.

April 17th, 2020 - FEDERAL AND PROVINCIAL UPDATES
Federal Update –
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and are vital for our families and communities across the country. They are facing economic hardship and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yesterday, Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced new measures to support Canadian businesses so they can keep their doors open and their employees on the job.The Government of Canada is:

  • Expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to businesses that paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019. This new range will replace the previous one of between $50,000 and $1 million.
  • The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. 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. These measures are part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which has committed more than $107 billion in support to Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of the pandemic.

More details will follow in the coming days.

Provincial Update –
Yesterday, the Province announced enhanced relief for businesses by reducing most commercial property tax bills by an average of 25%, along with new measures to support local governments facing temporary revenue shortfalls as a result of COVID-19.

The Province is taking significant new steps to support B.C. businesses, non-profits and other organizations through the COVID-19 pandemic by:

  • Further reducing 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.
  • Postponing the date that late payment penalties apply for commercial properties in classes 4,5,6,7 and 8 to Oct. 1, 2020, to give businesses and landlords more time to pay their reduced property tax, without penalty.

To date, there has been no property tax relief provided for residential properties, purpose built rental and lands under development.

The province also launched a support service for B.C. businesses. The B.C. Business COVID-19 Support Service will be operated by Small Business BC (SBBC). Advisors are available Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Pacific time) and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1 833 254-4357. Inquiries can also be emailed to covid@smallbusinessbc.ca, or raised on the live-chat feature available on SBBC’s dedicated website: https://covid.smallbusinessbc.ca. For more information, please visit this link.

For additional business resources, we have created a list of useful tools and resources for businesses and individuals with questions around the impacts of COVID-19.

We have also provided municipal updates as a result of COVID-19.

If you have further questions or comments please contact me at kathyw@udi.org

 

April 9th, 2020

Wage Subsidy and Student Summer Jobs Update

 

Yesterday, the Federal Government announced a number of new wage support measures as a part of a $73 billion dollar package and eased funding restrictions to help businesses keep their workers employed and hire more students. The wage subsidy program is expected to launch in the next few weeks, once enabling legislation has been passed. More details surrounding this program will be provided in the coming weeks and how it affects your organization given the complexities of our industry.

Federal Program Highlights:

  • Businesses can now qualify for the subsidy if their revenues dropped by 15% in March, instead of the previously proposed 30%.
  • Businesses can use January and February of this year as comparison months instead of the previously proposed period of March 2019 compared to March 2020.
  • Employers may use accrual accounting (as revenues are earned) or cash accounting (as they are received) to assist highly variable economic sectors in qualifying. Special rules would also be provided for corporate groups, non-arm’s length entities and joint ventures.
  • Charities and non-profit organizations may include or exclude government funding in their revenues for their subsidy qualification.
  • The subsidy rate is 75 per cent of the first $58,700 normally earned by employees – up to $847 per week, per employee. The program runs for 12 weeks, from March 15 to June 6, 2020.
  • The Canada Summer Jobs program will now subsidize 100% of wages, include part-time jobs and be extended until February 28, 2021.
  • Employers eligible for the wage subsidy would also be entitled to receive a 100-per-cent refund for some employer-paid contributions to Employment Insurance and Canada Pension Plan.
  • The government-backed $40,000 business loan program, which includes 25 per cent of the loan as a non-repayable grant if the loan balance is paid off by Dec. 31, 2022 — will be available Thursday through banks and credit unions.

Provincial News:

Additional Resources:

Please let me know if you have any additional questions or concerns by contacting me at kathyw@udi.org.

 

March 31, 2020 - 75% WAGE SUBSIDY FOR STRUGGLING BUSINESSES

The federal government announced yesterday (March 30th) a 75% subsidy on wages for businesses of any size – this is up from their 10% announced a couple weeks ago. Eligible businesses now include non-profits, charities as well as large and small companies whose revenues have decreased by at least 30% due to COVID-19.  The subsidy will cover up to 75% of wages on the first $58,700 that an employee earns, up to a maximum of $847 a week and will be back dated to March 15, 2020.

This increase was prompted by Prime Minister Trudeau in the hopes that employers will hire back the workers who have been laid off, and encourages employers to “do the right thing”, including paying employees the remaining 25% of wages where possible and ensuring all funds through the program go directly to employees.

UDI Capital Region values our members.  Please contact Kathy Whitcher with any questions on concerns you may have.

March 23 2020 - SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES

UDI Capital Region continues to follow all levels of government on a daily basis to bring the latest announcements being made to keep you, our members, abreast of changing policies and added actions as this crisis unfolds.  We are also working effectively alongside the development/construction sector stakeholders to provide critical information to our governmental officials to ensure our industry is being heard.

UDI is pleased with the announcement that the Federal Government released today applying additional measures to support small businesses dealing with the economic impacts of the pandemic.  These measures will help Canadian businesses maintain their staff and keep our economy strong.

Today’s announcement (see the news release here) is a part of the government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which was developed to help support Canadians during this difficult time.

To further support small businesses, the Government of Canada will:

  • Announce a 75 per cent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. This will help businesses to keep and return workers to the payroll. More details on eligibility criteria will start with the impact of COVID-19 on sales, and will be shared before the end of the month.
  • Allow businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments until June, as well as customs duties owed for imports. This measure is the equivalent of providing up to $30 billion in interest-free loans to Canadian businesses. It will help businesses so they can continue to pay their employees and their bills, and help ease cash-flow challenges across the country.
  • Launch the new Canada Emergency Business Account. This program will provide up to $25 billion to eligible financial institutions so they can provide interest-free loans to small businesses. These loans – guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada – will ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need, at a zero per cent interest rate, so they can pay for rent and other important costs over the next number of months.
  • Launch the new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program that will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank, for guaranteed loans when small businesses go to their financial institutions to help weather the impacts of COVID-19. This is intended for small and medium-sized companies that require greater help to meet their operational cash flow requirements.

The response to the COVID‐19 virus continues to change on a regular basis. UDI Capital Region will endeavour to bring our members the latest updates as they are announced.

Please direct any questions or concerns to Kathy Whitcher 

March 26, 2020 - ESSENTIAL SERVICES

BC Solicitor General just released the below news release defining essential services:
https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PSSG0020-000568
Third drop down menu – under List of Essential Services – Non-health service providers :

  • banks and their branches, credit unions and related financial institutions, as well as workers who support security and technical operations supporting financial institutions;
  • construction work, in accordance with PHO direction, construction firms, skilled trades and professionals, and construction and light industrial machinery and equipment rental;
  • land registration services and real estate agent services;

PANDEMIC PLANNING FOR THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY
The below is a summary of the COVID-19 Planning For The Construction Industry document which was drafted together with a group of Regional Construction Associations (RCAs) across Canada. This document is a collaborative collection of best practices to assist the construction industry in navigating through this uncertain time.  However, we note that improvements can and should be made as this crisis evolves.

The industry is at a critical juncture in this crisis and although construction is being encouraged to continue, contractors, trades and owners need to be adamant that all possible precautions are being adhered to when working on job sites – commercial or residential.  The industry is encouraged to all work together to maintain safe and healthy work environments.

How COVID-19 is Transmitted –
Based on information obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Canada and the World Health Organization the below is how COVID-19 is thought to be transmitted.

  • The virus is thought to spread through respiratory droplets. Respiratory droplets may be produced through a cough, a sneeze, normal breath or conversation.
  • These respiratory droplets may cause viral transmission from person to person when individuals are near one another. Recent guidelines from the Public Health Authority provide further guidance and recommend that individuals should avoid working less than six feet from others for prolonged periods.
  • The respiratory droplets may also land on clothing or other objects. It may be possible for an individual to contract COVID‐19 by first touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes.

Ways to Avoid Transmittal –
All workers shall observe social distancing. Social distancing measures include:

  • limiting groups of workers coming together in orientation, lunch and meeting rooms, tool cribs, change rooms, smoking areas, etc.
  • preventing workers from congregating at the entrance to the: project, hoist, stair wells, scaffolding, washroom facilities, etc.
  • restricting access to occupied work areas like trailer offices, etc.
  • controlling traffic patterns – where practicable designate only up and only down stairwells or in / out gates, this avoids the potential for workers to pass each other within the social distancing space.

Contractors are required to:

  • communicate and reinforce self-distancing practices with their workers
  • conduct regular inspections of their worker areas to verify that workers are practicing social distancing, to the best of their ability
  • notify us of any concerns they have for social distancing practices or work procedures

Hand Washing and Hand Sanitization –
Hand washing minimizes the risk of infection. Proper hand washing helps prevent the transfer of infectious material from the hands to other parts of the body—particularly the eyes, nose, and mouth—or to other surfaces that are touched. Hands that are visibly soiled or dirty should be washed with soap and water – hand sanitizer is less effective on soiled or dirty hands.

Workers are required to wash or sanitize their hands:

  • at the start of their shift and before they start work
  • before eating, drinking or smoking
  • after using the toilet facilities
  • after handling any tools or materials that may be contaminated
  • at the end of the shift before they leave work

Cough / Sneeze Etiquette –
Workers are expected to follow cough/sneeze etiquette, which is a combination of measures that minimizes the transmission of diseases via droplet or airborne routes. Cough/sneeze etiquette includes the following:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a sleeve or tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Use tissues to contain secretions and dispose of them promptly in a waste container.
  • Turn your head away from others when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands regularly.

Self-Awareness –
If you, or someone in your home, are exhibiting flu‐like symptoms such as fever, coughing or congestion: Do not come to work;

  • Contact your supervisor and your Human Resources department to let them know that you, or someone in your home, are exhibiting the symptoms; and
  • Consult with AHS ‘811’ / a healthcare professional on next steps before returning to work.

The response to the COVID‐19 virus continues to change on a regular basis. All parties are required to meet current requirements and be adaptable to new initiatives when required.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions or concerns by contacting me at kathyw@udi.org.

March 26 2020 - PROVINCIAL RELIEF FOR RENTERS AND RENTAL PROVIDERS
The provincial government announced yesterday a number of measures for renters and rental home providers to address COVID-19 housing concerns. UDI continues to advocate for measures that will support and provide cash flow to members that both own and manage rental properties. Yesterday, the UDI Vancouver office sent a letter to the Premier outlining UDI’s recommendations. The events and situation are fast moving; and, we are working hard on your behalf.

Highlights:

  • RENT REBATE: Up to $500 a month for three months for qualifying renters, paid directly to rental providers and administered through BC Housing, whose application portal will be available shortly. Government is still sorting out whether rebate is tied to the unit or the renter. Renters must demonstrate lost income or layoff based on the federal EI process.
  • RENT FREEZE: Effective April 1, all annual rent increases are frozen for the duration of the public health emergency.
  • EVICTION MORATORIUM: All existing and future evictions are suspended during the COVID-19 emergency order, with some exceptions, such as a clear threat to person or property. Court-ordered evictions are dealt with independently by the courts.
  • SUITE ACCESS: Rental providers can no longer enter a rental unit without the consent of the tenant (for example, for showings or routine maintenance), unless in exceptional cases to protect health and safety or to prevent undue damage to the unit. This is to support personal and social distancing.
  • COMMON AREA RESTRICTION: Rental providers may now restrict access to common areas, such as laundry rooms, games rooms, shared spaces, and social spaces, to prevent virus spread.

Additional Resources:

Please let me know if you have any additional questions or concerns by contacting me at kathyw@udi.org.