Follow this post for up-to-date information on government support offered through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last Updated March 3, 2021, at 8:30 a.m. PST
- Government of BC's response to COVID-19.
- Government of Canada's response to COVID-19.
- Provincial State of Emergency: Extended through the end of the day on March 16, 2021.
- Canada-US Border remains closed to non-essential travel until March 21, 2021.
- Masks must be worn in indoor public places.
City of Kelowna:
- Recovery and Sustainability Grant Program: Will provide funding—between $5,000 to $10,000—to eligible non-profit organizations within the sport, event, and cultural sectors. The application deadline is 3 p.m. on March 15, 2021.
- Click here for more information on the City of Kelowna's COVID-19 response.
City of West Kelowna:
Click here for information on the City of West Kelowna's COVID-19 response.
For Businesses and Services
- The Tourism Task Force was assembled in September, as part of the Economic Recovery Plan, with $50 million allocated to facilitate their initial recommendations.
- In response to the Tourism Task Force's final report, presented in early December 2020, the provincial government announced it will be committing $100 million in dedicated relief funding for the tourism sector, which will be administered through the Small- and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant program (see below).
- They will also be allocating $5 million to Indigenous Tourism BC to administer relief grant funding targeted for Indigenous businesses.
- $19.4 million to support small municipalities that are dependent on tourism to build, adapt and diversify their tourism infrastructure.
- Nearly $14 million to support targeted tourism development initiatives in the six tourism regions across BC to help the tourism industry recover from COVID-19.
- $20 million for tourism infrastructure projects supporting destination development through the new Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure
- Additional funding for Destination BC and BC's regional destination management organizations to invest in regional tourism development.
- Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program (CERIP): Applications are now closed.
- Small- and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant:
- Supporting small- and medium-sized businesses with non-repayable grants of up to $30,000.
- An additional grant of up to $15,000 grant is available for eligible tourism-related businesses (increased from up to $10,000).
- Expanded eligibility includes:
- Revenue loss criteria has been reduced to 30% at the time of application (from 50%).
- Businesses in operation for the last 18 months are eligible (reduced from 3 years in operation).
- Businesses that are seasonal or temporarily closed are now eligible.
- Requirement of having various remittance accounts has been removed and sole proprietors can now apply.
- The program will run until March 31, 2021 or until the $300 million in program funding is fully distributed.
- B.C. Increased Employment Incentive: Refundable tax credit for employers which encourages the creation of new jobs for B.C. workers or increases in payroll for existing low- or medium-income employees. Applications will open in March 2021.
- PST rebate on select machinery and equipment. Applications open April 1, 2021.
- Launch Online Grant Program: Grants of up to $7,500 are available to qualifying businesses to assist in covering eligible expenses (up to 75%) for the creation or improvement of an online shop. Applications are now open and the program runs until March 31 or until the funds are dispersed.
- Go Electric Fleets Program: In support of the province's CleanBC goals, rebates are being offered for eligible businesses on the purchase and installation of Electric Vehicle charging stations. Applications are open until March 1, 2023.
- COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream (CVRIS): In partnership with the Government of Canada, providing $136 million in infrastructure grants for local governments, Indigenous communities, and non-profit organizations. Applications closed January 27, 2021.
- Deferment, delay or reduction of some provincial taxes, including municipal and regional district tax.
- Sector Support:
- Agritech Grant Program: One-time funding opportunity for eligible BC-based companies to incorporate technology with the goal of increasing sustainable and regenerative food production. Applications closed February 12, 2021.
- BC Agri-Business Planning Program: Application intakes are now closed.
- Small Farm Business Acceleration Pilot Program: Support for small and new farmers, with up to $800,000 in funding for business plan coaching along with cost-shared funding for infrastructure and equipment. Application intake is now closed.
- Beneficial Management Practices Program: An additional $800,000 in funding, for 2020 and 2021, to support farmers in protecting the environment in alignment with the CleanBC climate goals.
- Raspberry Replant Program: Investing $90,000 to this new program to assist with the revitalization of BC's raspberry industry. Application intake is now closed.
- Arts and Culture:
- BC Arts Council Pivot for Individuals Program: Funding of up to $12,000 available for eligible individuals working in BC's arts industry through two grant programs. Applications closed February 16, 2021.
- Expanded Arts and Culture Resilience Program: One-time funding program, administered through the BC Arts Council, for arts and culture organizations who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. An additional $16 million has been added to expand the fund. Applications closed January 29, 2021.
- Community Gaming Grants: 700 not-for-profit organizations in arts, culture, and sports will receive $18.1 million in grants to deliver arts and cultural programs throughout BC.
- Restaurants, Breweries, Wineries, and Distilleries
- An Emergency Program Act (EPA) order was put in place on December 22, 2020, placing a temporary cap on delivery and other service fees that can be charged to restaurants. The order will remain in place for three months after the state of emergency is lifted.
- NEW - Temporary wholesale pricing allowing liquor licensees (like restaurants, bars, and tourism operators) to purchase beer, wine, and spirits at reduced cost is now in place permanently.
- Liquor licensing changes
- Direct delivery: Restaurants can temporarily deliver liquor with the purchase of a meal.
- Production of sanitizer: Breweries, distilleries, and wineries can manufacture alcohol-based hand sanitizer to sell or donate.
- Temporary Layoff Variance: Employers who had been approved for a variance prior to the August 30, 2020, deadline can apply for renewal before the variance expires.
- BC Recovery Benefit: $1,000 for eligible families and single parents. Applications are now open.
- Job-protected Leave: Eligible workers who are impacted by COVID-19 can take unpaid, job-protected leave.
- Click here for full details on support for individuals and families.
On November 30, the Government of Canada's Fall Economic Statement was released. Click here to learn more about the proposed supports for hardest-hit sectors, including tourism.
- Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF): Provides interest-free funding for eligible small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD). Twenty-five percent of the total funds are reserved for the tourism industry. Almost $710 million in funding has been allocated for Western Canada. Applications are open until March 31, 2021.
- In alignment with this fund, the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Resiliency Network has launched a micro loan program for tourism businesses in the Thompson Okanagan.
- Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP): Delivered through Business Development Bank of Canada (BCD), eligible businesses can access guaranteed, low-interest loans of $25,000 to $1 million. Businesses with multiple locations, like hotel and restaurant chains, may be able to access up to $6.25 million. Applications opened February 1 and will run through until June 30, 2021. Click here for more information.
- Business Credit Availability Program:
- Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA): As of December 4, will provide interest-free loans of up to $60,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced. Eligible businesses who received the $40,000 CEBA loan are able to access a second CEBA loan of up to $20,000. Deadline to apply for both loan options is March 31, 2020.
- Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy provides support until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19. The program will subsidize a percentage of expenses, on a sliding scale, up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible expenses. Organizations would be able to make claims retroactively for the period that began September 27 and ends October 24, 2020. Applications are now open.
- Lockdown Support provides an extra 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.
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) has been extended through until June 2021. CEWS is a subsidy to cover part of employee wages for eligible employers. UPDATED - the maximum subsidy rate for periods 11 to 13 is 75%—click here for more information on subsidy rates and additional changes to the program.
- CanExport SMEs: Up to $75,000 in funding to assist small- and medium-sized companies grow within the international marketplace.
- Extension of Lay-off Period
- Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF): Will 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.
- Work-Sharing Program: Extending the maximum duration from 38 weeks to 76 weeks for employers affected by COVID-19. Effective March 15, 2020, to March 14, 2021.
For information on additional support for individual sectors, click here.
- Employment Insurance (EI) Program
- Canada Recovery Benefit: Provides a benefit amount of $1000 per two-week period, for up to 13 eligibility periods (total of 26 weeks), to workers who are not eligible for EI, mainly the self-employed and including those working in the gig economy.
- Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit: Provides $500 per week, for up to 2 weeks, for employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they are sick or must self-isolate due to COVID-19.
- Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit: Provides $500 per week per household, for up to 26 weeks, to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care.
Visit the following links for more information on additional supports available through Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan:
Have questions about the support available to businesses as it relates to COVID-19?
The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) is part of the BC Tourism Resiliency Network and will be providing one-on-one support for tourism businesses in the Thompson Okanagan corridor who have questions about available government support related to COVID-19. Click here to learn more and to register for TOTA's resiliency program.
Destination BC has also partnered with Small Business BC (SBBC) to provide tourism stakeholders across the province with free access to SBBC’s services and offerings. Click here for more information.