Follow this post for up-to-date information on government support offered to support people, businesses, and services through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last Updated November 27, 2020, at 9:30 a.m.
- 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 December 8, 2020.
- Canada-US Border remains closed until December 21, 2020.
- More information regarding travel to Canada can be found on the Government of Canada website.
- Masks must be worn in indoor public places.
City of Kelowna:
Deferrals and temporary suspension of charges for several City services were approved in response to COVID-19:
- The 10 percent penalty for late payment of property taxes is moved to September 1.
- Property tax customers on monthly payment plans can request auto-withdrawals be put on hold starting April 7 until August 31.
- Waive interest rate charges on utility bills starting April 7 until August 31, and customers on monthly payment plans can request a hold on auto-withdrawals during this same period.
- Interest charges on Accounts Receivable accounts (i.e. permits, licenses, rents) are waived as of April 7 until August 31.
- Cut the provisional tax rate increase in half, reducing it to 2.05 percent from 4.15 percent.
Council also approved using public space as patio space to help businesses enhance capacity, which included limiting the majority of Bernard Avenue to pedestrians from June 30 until September 7.
Click here for further information on the City of Kelowna's COVID-19 response.
City of West Kelowna:
- 2020 tax increase has been reduced by two percent, from 4.8 to 2.8.
- Property tax due date remains July 2, 2020; however, the 10 percent late penalty date has been extended from July 3 to October 1.
- Interest on overdue utility bills is waived for the remainder of 2020.
Click here for further information on the City of West Kelowna's COVID-19 response.
Provincial Support for Businesses and Services
- A new Tourism Task Force has been assembled; $50 million has been allocated to facilitate their initial recommendations.
- $19 million to support small municipalities who 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
- Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program (CERIP)
- Fully-funded provincial grants to support economic resilience, tourism, heritage, and urban and rural economic development projects in communities impacted by COVID-19.
- Application are now closed.
- Supporting BC Businesses
- Small- and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant: Supporting 200,000 jobs in hard hit small- and medium-sized businesses with grants of up to $30,000. An additional $5,000 to $10,000 grant is available for eligible tourism-related businesses.
- 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.
- Deferment, delay or reduction of some provincial taxes, including municipal and regional district tax.
- Support for the tourism sector:
- Temporary wholesale pricing allowing liquor licensees (like restaurants, bars, and tourism operators) to purchase beer, wine, and spirits at reduced cost; in place until March 31, 2021.
- Fifty-nine B.C. community destination marketing organizations (DMOs) severely impacted by COVID-19 travel restrictions were supported with a $10-million grant from the Province.
- BC Visitor Centres benefited from $130,000 (up to $1,000 per Visitor Centre), provided through Destination BC, to ensure physical distancing and heightened sanitation measures within their facilities.
- Initiated a review of the recall rights in BC's hotel sector.
- Support for the arts and culture sector
- Arts Infrastructure Program: $2 million in grants, administered by BC Arts Council. Applications are now closed.
- Through the BC Arts Council, which includes advances on operating grants, an Expanded Arts and Culture Resilience Supplement, and other program amendments and extensions.
- Through the BC Museums Association (BCMA) Resilience Fund, which provided one-time micro-grants to those eligible; applications are now closed.
- Support for sports organizations:
- Providing $1.5 million to help local sport organizations with fixed costs during the pandemic. Canadian Heritage is also investing $3.4 million in sports organizations in BC as part of the COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations.
Provincial Support for Workers
- The BC Emergency Benefit for Workers provides a one-time $1,000 payment for those who are eligible.
- Extended the temporary layoff period to 24 weeks (expiring August 30, 2020) for COVID-19 related reasons.
- Eligible workers who are impacted by COVID-19 can take unpaid, job-protected leave.
Click here for more information on additional support available through BC's COVID-19 Action Plan.
Federal Support for Businesses
On November 19, Bill C-9 received Royal Ascent, meaning the following measures have been implemented:
- New 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.
- Extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) through until June 2021. CEWS is a subsidy to cover part of employee wages for eligible employers. Visit the website for more information on subsidy rates and new changes to the program.
- Safe Restart Agreement: Providing federal investment to the provinces and territories for the safe restart of Canada’s economy over the next six (January 2021) to eight (March 2021) months.
- Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA): Will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced. Application deadline has been extended to December 31, 2020.
- Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA): The program provided forgivable loans to provide rent relief to qualifying commercial property owners. Applications are now closed.
- Canada United Small Business Relief Fund: The federal government has invested an additional $12 million to the fund, which provides eligible businesses with grants of up to $5,000 to reimburse them for costs incurred due to COVID-19. Applications are no longer being accepted for most provinces, including British Columbia.
- Business Credit Availability Program:
- Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF): On October 2, an additional $600 million in funding was added to the RRRF, bringing the fund total to more than $1.5 billion in support of affected businesses and communities, implemented by the six regional development agencies. The additional funds include $263.7 million for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) to help businesses across the West through the RRRF. Click here for more information on Western Economic Diversification Canada's RRRF, which will support businesses in Western Canada.
- In alignment with this fund, the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Resiliency Network has launched a micro loan program for tourism businesses in the Thompson Okanagan.
- 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.
- Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations: $500 million fund provides additional temporary relief to support cultural, heritage and sport organizations and help them plan for the future.
- Support for Small- and Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs): Financing support through Canada's Regional Development Agencies for SMBs that are unable to access other support measures.
- Support for Rural Businesses and Communities: Providing much-needed access to capital through the Community Futures Network.
- Support for Innovative and Early-Stage Businesses: Assisting those unable to access other COVID-19 business supports through the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP).
- Support for Young Entrepreneurs: Providing funds for Futurpreneur Canada to continue supporting young entrepreneurs across Canada who are facing challenges due to COVID-19.
- Support for Indigenous Businesses:
- $16 million in funding from the Federal Government allocated in support of Indigenous businesses in the tourism sector.
- Funding to help small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses, and to support Aboriginal Financial Institutions that offer financing to these businesses.
- Will allow for short-term, interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions through Aboriginal Financial Institutions.
- Indigenous Community Support Fund.
- Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy: A three-month measure (March 18 to June 19, 2020) that allowed eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deduction required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
- 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.
- Canada Summer Jobs Program: Temporary changes to the program (Note: program applications were due February 28, 2020).
Federal Support for Industries
- On May 31, announced $70 million in support for the tourism industry including:
- $30 million through Destination Canada to encourage Canadians to support local businesses.
- $3.45 million through Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) to bolster recovery efforts for Western Canada’s tourism areas.
- Will work with tourism operators in national parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas to defer payments on commercial leases and licences of occupation without interest until September 1, 2020.
Agriculture and agri-food sector:
- Have enabled Farm Credit Canada to provide an additional $5 billion in lending to producers, agribusinesses, and food processors.
- Providing funds to help farmers, fish harvesters, and all food production and processing employers, put in place the measures necessary to follow the mandatory 14-day isolation period required of all workers arriving from abroad.
- Will provide support of $1,500 for each temporary foreign worker, to employers or those working with them to ensure requirements are fully met.
Cultural, heritage, and sports sectors:
- Establishing a COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund that will help address the financial needs of affected organizations so they can continue to support artists and athletes.
Federal Support for Individuals:
- 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.
- Support to increase the wages of low-income essential workers.
- Support for Indigenous communities.
- Released COVID Alert app, which can be downloaded for free by Canadians. The app will help notify users if they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
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.
Small Business BC is also operating the B.C. Business COVID-19 Support Service, which will “act as a one-stop resource to answer questions about supports available to businesses from the provincial and federal governments, industry and community partners.” Service is available Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (PDT) and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (PDT) by phone at 1 (833) 254-4357. You can also email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or use the live chat function at https://covid.smallbusinessbc.ca.