We know the immediate impacts of COVID-19 are being felt and each of you is trying to figure out your own unique path forward. Here are some updates and links to more resources. We also encourage all our members to sign and share the petition below.
Save Small Business Petition:
You have put your businesses on pause, government should be putting their efforts into putting expenses on pause without you incurring debt. While both the provincial and federal government are taking action the petition outlines further steps the government can take. We encourage all of your to sign and share the Save Small Business Petition.
Connected the Federal Government
On Monday the Pemberton Chamber spoke to our federal member of parliament, Patrick Weiler about the challenges facing our members based on what we are hearing from you. Here are some key points from our call:
BC's Provincial Government
- Every businesses in our community has been affected, most have laid off workers and this is a dire situation for local businesses.
- Government measures announced, while a start, are not going to be enough and more support will be needed. He reassured us that more help is on the way.
- Our members don't want to go into debt while their businesses are paused and that mortgage payments and rent are a huge concern. Later in the day we followed up sharing the "save small business petition" with him.
- We asked how sole proprietors and contract workers that don't normally don't qualify for EI can access support announced last week by the federal government. We were told once the legislation is passed by government today there will be a simple form available for these workers to fill out and apply. The Emergency Support program will be administered through the CRA. Watch for more details but it will take a couple of weeks before payments will be made.
- More information on the announcement the government made Monday to support the agriculture industry. We were told this is primarily through increase lending through Farm Credit Canada for cash flow issues and the government is working to make exemptions for foreign worker program for farm workers. More info for the agriculture sector can be found here.
- He shared with us an FAQ sheet and that he is in weekly caucus meetings focused on the pandemic where he can raise issues and concerns.
- For more info on Federal Government initiatives go to:
Yesterday the BC Government announced a comprehensive COVID-19 Action Plan which is government’s first step to provide relief to people and businesses in British Columbia. The plan dedicates $2.8 billion to help people and fund the services they need to weather the crisis; $2.2 billion will provide relief to businesses and help them recover after the outbreak. Specifically for Business:
- Effective immediately, businesses with a payroll over $500,000 can defer their employer health tax payments until Sept. 30, 2020. Businesses with a payroll under this threshold are already exempt from the tax.
- The Province is extending tax filing and payment deadlines for the provincial sales tax (PST), municipal and regional district tax on short-term accommodation, tobacco tax, motor fuel tax and carbon tax until Sept. 30, 2020.
- Business and light- and major-industry property classes will see their school tax cut in half. This will provide $500 million in immediate relief for business that own their property and allow commercial landlords to immediately pass savings on to their tenants in triple-net leases.
- In the longer term, the recovery plan will dedicate funding to particularly hard-hit parts of the economy, such as the tourism, hospitality and culture sectors. The B.C. government is partnering with business and labour leaders to build an economic stimulus plan. The Province has allocated $1.5 billion for economic recovery.
- For more info https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support
Small Business BC BC’s resource for small business support. https://smallbusinessbc.ca/article/resources-for-small-businesses-affected-by-coronavirus-covid-19/
SBBC advisors are ready to answer entrepreneurs’ questions about implementing or updating business continuity plans, accessing the Talk to an Expert program, or finding online training to help them take the next step. They can be reached at 1-800-667-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has resources available including:
BC Hydro: The COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program provides the option to defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty. Call BC Hydro's customer team at 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376) to discuss options.
Destination BC: Updates for Tourism businesses: https://www.destinationbc.ca/news/coronavirus-update/
Please reach out directly to me at email@example.com or by phone at 604.905.9167 if you have questions or need support. Your chamber is here to help YOU.
Meredith, Graham and the rest of the Board of Directors