Last Updated July 6 at 5 p.m. PDT
City of Kelowna:
Council has approved using public space as patio space to help businesses enhance capacity, including a proposal to limit the majority of Bernard Avenue to pedestrians beginning June 30 until Sept 8. Click here for more information.
Deferrals and temporary suspension of charges for several City services were also approved in response to COVID-19, including:
- 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.
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
- Deferment, delay or reduction of some provincial taxes, including municipal and regional district tax.
- Allocation of funding to support the economy during the recovery phase.
- Issued a new order under the Emergency Program Act (EPA):
- Eligible businesses whose landlords choose not to apply for the federal CECRA program will be protected from evictions due to unpaid rent payments through to the end of June 2020, as determined by the federal program timelines.
- Support for the tourism sector:
- Temporary wholesale pricing model that will allow liquor licensees (like restaurants, bars, and tourism operators) to purchase beer, wine, and spirits at reduced cost.
- Fifty-nine B.C. community destination marketing organizations (DMOs) severely impacted by COVID-19 travel restrictions will be supported with a $10-million grant from the Province.
- BC Visitor Centres will benefit 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.
- Support for the arts and culture sector
- 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.
Provincial Support for Workers
- The BC Emergency Benefit for Workers, which provides a one-time $1,000 payment for those who are eligible. Applications for the benefit open May 1, 2020; click here to apply.
- 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.
- Workers are not required to provide a doctor’s note to their employer when ill.
Click here for more information on additional support available through BC's COVID-19 Action Plan.
Federal Support for Businesses
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS): As a Canadian employer whose business has been affected by COVID-19, you may be eligible for a subsidy of 75% of employee wages for up to 24 weeks, retroactive from March 15, 2020, to August 29, 2020. Click here for more information on the application process.
- Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF): Nearly $1B in funds to support affected businesses and communities, implemented by the six regional development agencies. Click here for more information on Western Economic Diversification Canada's RRRF, which will support businesses in Western Canada.
- Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy: A three-month measure that will allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deduction required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
- 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. Expanded eligibility criteria to include qualifying applicants with payroll lower than $20,000. Click here for more information on the expanded eligibility.
- 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. More details to come.
- Work-Sharing Program: Extending the maximum duration from 38 weeks to 76 weeks for employers affected by COVID-19.
- Canada Summer Jobs Program: Temporary changes to the program (Note: program applications were due February 28, 2020).
- Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA): The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50% of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June. Applications can be submitted through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation website.
- Business Credit Availability Program:
- To provide $40 billion of additional support through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC). Click here for more details.
- Expanded to include mid-sized companies with larger financing needs. More details will be made available soon.
- 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.
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 Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
- Will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 every 4 weeks for up to 24 weeks to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19.
- Click here for more information on eligibility and to access the application form.
- Announced May 7: Will provide up to $3 billion in support to increase the wages of low-income essential workers.
- Support for Indigenous communities.
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.