Follow this post for up-to-date information on support offered through the Government of British Columbia's COVID-19 Action Plan and the Government of Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

Last Updated September  18 at 2 p.m. PDT

Municipal Support

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 more 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 more information. 

Provincial Support for Businesses and Services

Newly Announced Support:

StrongerBC for Everyone: BC's Economic Recovery Plan

  • Investing in Tourism
    • 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
      Program. 
  • 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. Tourism businesses are eligible for a special top-up of $10,000 on the maximum amount. 
    • 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.­­­
    • PST rebate on select machinery and equipment.

Download the full plan or backgrounders for additional information about support offered through BC's Economic Recovery Plan.  

Existing Support:

  • Deferment, delay or reduction of some provincial taxes, including municipal and regional district tax.
  • Issued an order under the Emergency Program Act (EPA):
  • Earmarked up to $1 billion of additional spending targeted to address COVID-19 impacts and restart plans of local governments and public transit services, conditional on matching federal contributions under a 50/50 cost-sharing criteria.
  • Support for the tourism sector:
  • Support for the arts and culture sector
    • Arts Infrastructure Program: $2 million in grants, administered by BC Arts Council. Arts and cultural organizations, including Indigenous groups, will be eligible for up to $75,000 to improve arts and culture spaces or $40,000 to buy special equipment to support art programming. Applications close October 19, 2020.
    • Through the BC Arts Council, which includes advances on operating grants, the introduction of an Arts and Culture Resilience Supplement, and other program amendments and extensions.
    • Through the BC Museums Association (BCMA) Resilience Fund, which will provide one-time micro-grants to those who are eligible; funding is limited and 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.
    • Applications that are received and complete on or before August 30, 2020 will still be processed. If your variance is approved, the variance will be effective on the date the application was received.
  • 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

Federal Support for Industries

Tourism sector
  • On May 31, announced $70 million in support for the tourism industry including:
  • 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 Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
    • Will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 every 4 weeks for up to 28 weeks to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19. 
      • Available from March 15, 2020, to October 3, 2020. Apply no later than December 2, 2020, for payments retroactive to within that period. 
      • Will transition to a simplified Employment Insurance (EI) program, effective  September 27, 2020. Click here for more information. 
  • Canada Recovery Benefit: Effective from September 27, 2020 for one year and would provide a benefit amount of $400 per week for up to 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: Would provide $500 per week, for up to 2 weeks, effective September 27, 2020 for 1 year, for workers who are unable to work because they are sick or must self-isolate due to COVID-19.
  • Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit: Would be effective from September 27, 2020 for 1 year, and provide $500 per week, for up to 26 weeks per household to eligible Canadians.
  • 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 covid@smallbusinessbc.ca or use the live chat function at https://covid.smallbusinessbc.ca.