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COVID-19 VIATEC Member Resources

LAST UPDATED: July 13, 2020

We have done our best to sort through the many announcements and newly created programs to provide our members a summary of the Government support options most relevant to their businesses. We expect the landscape to continue to change and have included links at the bottom of this page so that you can stay abreast of new developments and more deeply explore the programs summarized below.

If we missed a program that will likely benefit all or some of our members, please let us know by emailing dgunn@viatec.ca. In addition to the programs below, many members and partner organizations are putting on valuable webinars. Take a look at our Event Calendar to keep an eye on what is coming up.

 

MEMBER SURVEY RESULTS: With 88 member responses, this includes a good cross section of our most promising startups and our more established anchor tech companies.

Included in the June 2020 Survey:
Revenue impacts
Productivity levels
Staff level changes
Future remote work plans
Positive aspects
Concerns
& more

Click to download survey results.

 

RESOURCES:

Online Tool for Government Programs & Services 

Identify the support available to you and your business based on your specific needs by using this online Government tool.

 

Taking care of your mental and physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Back to Work: Returning to Safe Operation

In B.C. returning to the office will happen in phases on BC's Restart Plan.

Employers preparing to resume operations will need to have a "COVID-19 Safety Plan" - a safety plan that assesses the risk of COVID-19 transmission in their workplace, and develops measure to reduce these risks. You are not required to submit your plans for approval by WorkSafeBC but you may be asked to provide them during WorkSafeBC inspection. 

You will also need to develop a health and safety working at home policy.

Read article: How to Create a Back to Work Plan

 

 

DOWNLOAD the VIATEC Back to Office 20 Page Handbook  - An employer's guide to re-entry including:

1. How to create a COVID-19 Safety Plan

2. Re-entry Plan Master Checklist 

3. Deep Clean Checklist and more!

 

 

 

 

QUICK LINKS

Support Programs, Deferrals, Loans and Subsidies:

Other Key Information:

Canada COVID-19 Support App 
The app will let you receive the latest updates, trusted resources, and self-assess your symptoms.


HELP FOR BUSINESSES (General)

Support Description How to access
Business Resilience Service (BRS) The BRS will provide options for any vulnerable small to medium-sized business, not-for-profit or charity to immediately connect with experienced accounting and tax professionals across the country from professional services firms (free of charge) 7 days a week for four weeks from Monday, May 25. Call 1-866-989-1080
BC Hydro Bill deferral and payment plans. Businesses that needed to close due to COVID-19 may be eligible to have their electricity use charges waived for up to three months. Large industrial companies will have the option to defer 50% of their payments for the next three months. Call 1-800-BC-HYDRO
Wage Subsidy

A 75% wage subsidy on the first $58,700 of employees’ wages for three months, retroactive to March 15, 2020, will be available to qualifying businesses, charities and not-for-profit organizations that have experienced at least a 15% decline in revenue due to COVID-19.

Organizations that do not qualify for the 75% Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy may continue to qualify for the previously announced wage subsidy of 10% of remuneration paid from March 18 to before June 20, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.

*Extended until December 2020*

Apply Now.

Use calculator.

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) Financing support for small and medium-sized businesses. Available mid-April. Speak with your financial institution. Learn more.
Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) Loans of up to $40,000 for small businesses and not-for-profits, interest-free for one year. A portion may be forgivable. Available mid-April. As of April 16, these loans are available to companies that have spent as little as $20,000 or as much as $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019. Speak with your financial institution. Learn more.
Loan Guarantee Operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs. Available mid-April. Speak with your financial institution. Learn more.
Co-Lending Program Co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts of up to $6.25 million through the program. Available mid-April. Speak with your financial institution. Learn more.
Federal income tax Payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18, 2020 and before September 2020 can be deferred until after August 31, 2020 to help businesses with cash flow.  Click for more info.
BC business taxes Payments for Employer health tax (EHT), provincial sales tax (PST), municipal and regional district tax, tobacco tax, motor fuel tax, and carbon tax are deferred until after Sept 30. Scheduled April 1 increases to provincial carbon tax and PST are deferred.  
School property tax Cut of 50% for business and industry property classes, to be passed onto tenants on triple-net leases.  
GST/HST Payments owed deferred to June 30.  
Customs duties & taxes Payments owed deferred to June 30.  
Canada Summer Jobs Program Up to 100% of the provincial minimum hourly wage for each employee with a date for employment to February 28, 2021. Allows employers to adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services and to hire staff on a part-time basis. Click for more info.
Financing Products through Farm Credit Canada (FCC) Through an additional $5 billion received from the Federal government, FCC is offering loan payment deferrals and other financing products to the agriculture and food industry. Click for more info.
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRA)

This program will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.

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.

Click for more info.

Expected to be operational by mid-May. More details will be announced soon.

Download PDF Guide

Regional Development Agencies and the Community Futures Network $962 million has been designated to Regional Development Agencies (RDA) and the Community Futures Network. The Western Economic Diversification (WD) is one example of an RDA. Approximately $660 million will go to the RDAs to support “high-impact companies.” Details still to come.
Futurepreneur and the Industrial Research Assistance Program $270 million has been designated to Futurepreneur and the Industrial Research Assistance Program to benefit innovators that don't qualify for wage subsidy. NRC-IRAP is one example of an Industrial Assistance Program. The number of Highly Qualified Personel (HQPs) on the payroll will be a key metric in determining how much support a company will receive. Applications go live April 22.  Apply Now 
Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) The Fund aims to help western Canadian businesses cope with the financial hardship resulting from COVID-19. Apply Now

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HELP FOR BUSINESSES (Other)

Support Description How to access
B.C. Longer-Term Economic Plan $1.5 billion in provincial funding will support economic stimulus once the pandemic has passed. The BC government is working in partnership with the business and labour sectors to develop the long-term plan for economic recovery Click for more info.
Island Coastal Economic Trust

Direct, one-on-one service delivery programs to help the tourism sector and other enterprises affected by COVID-19 with rapid recovery have been developed in collaboration with Island Coastal Economic Trust, Tourism Vancouver Island and Innovation Island Technology Association.

Click for more info.
Support for FortisBC Customers FortisBC’s Customer Recovery Fund is supporting residential customers and small businesses impacted by COVID-19 with bill deferrals, interest free repayment schedules and bill credits. Click for more info.
ICBC Commercial Insurance ICBC customers on a monthly Autoplan payment plan, who are facing financial challenges due to COVID-19, can defer their payment for up to 90 days with no penalty. Deferment is also available for commercial fleets. Apply online or call 1-800-665-6442.
WorkSafeBC Support for Employers WorkSafeBC is postponing the reporting and payment deadlines for Q1 2020 to June 30, 2020 for employers who report and pay on a quarterly basis. Employers who report and pay on an annual basis may defer until March 2021. Click for more info.
Other Goodwill Supports Private sector organizations are offering enhanced services and other supports to help businesses through difficult times: Facebook (Grants), Shopify (90 Day free trial), Hootsuite (Free access to Pro until July 1) and Uber Eats (Free delivery)

 

Online Resources for businesses in a Pandemic

Tools to help you plan, prepare, prevent and protect against infectious disease outbreaks and pandemics. Plus an online space for businesses and organizations to share and browse free pandemic-related resources.

Click for more info.

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PERSONAL INCOME SUPPORT

Support Description How to access
Employment Insurance (EI) No change to regular benefit. Provides up to $573/week. Apply online.
EI Sickness Benefit One-week waiting period has been waived. Call 1-833-381-2725 or apply online.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

$2000/month for up to four months to workers who have stopped working due to the pandemic, including those not eligible for EI, contract employees and freelancers. Please note this program is mutually exclusive from the Wage Subsidy and you can not collect both.

Call 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041 or apply online.
BC Emergency Benefit One-time additional tax-free payment of $1000 to those on EI or CERB. Check back for application instructions.
GST-credit One-time boost of up to $600 per eligible couple, $400 for eligible individuals in May. Benefit is paid out according to your income tax return. More info here.
Climate Action Tax Credit One-time boost of up to $564 for eligible families of 4 and $218 for eligible individuals in an enhanced payment in July. Children under 18 years old must be registered for the CCB to qualify. No other action is needed; benefit is paid out according to your income tax return. More info here.
Canada Child Benefit (CCB) One-time boost of $300 per child in May. No action if you are already registered for CCB. Otherwise, apply online.
Income tax return Filing due date is deferred to June 1. Payments owed are deferred until after August 31. No action needed.
EI Work Sharing Program EI benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours when faced with a job loss or reduced hours as a result of COVID’s impact The eligibility of such agreements has been extended to 76 weeks, eligibility requirements have been eased, and the application process has been streamlined. Check for eligibility.
RRIFs and RPPs Required minimum withdrawals from RRIFs will be reduced by 25% for 2020.  Similar rules would apply to individuals receiving variable benefit payments under a defined contribution RPP. Click for more info.

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HELP FOR INDIVIDUALS, STUDENTS & FAMILIES

Support Description How to access
ICBC Monthly payment deferral for up to 90 days with no penalty. Apply online.
Emergency Child Care Funding Child care providers receiving emergency government funding cannot charge parent fees for any periods of closure or for vacant spaces and must reserve spaces for families, starting April. Check with your provider to see if they are in this program.
BC Student Loans Six-month interest-free moratorium on repayment, starting April. Repayment will be paused automatically.
Canada Student Loans Six-month interest-free moratorium on repayment, starting April.     Repayment will be paused automatically.
BC Transit & TransLink Fare-free boarding on all buses. Enter through the rear of the bus, unless accessible loading is required.  
Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) Minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) has been reduced by 25% for 2020. Learn more.
Emergency Travel Loan Emergency loan of $5000 available to Canadians travelling abroad. Dial +1 613-996-8885 or send an email.
Child Care New Temporary Emergency Child Care for Essential Workers system. Learn more.
Support for the Province’s Most Vulnerable People on income or disability assistance and low-income seniors get exempting federal employment insurance benefits, including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit for people currently receiving income assistance or disability assistance, and an automatic $300-monthly COVID-19 crisis supplement for 3 months. Learn more.
Emergency Student Benefit  $1250/month from May to August ($1750/month if you're taking care of someone ) Details still to come.
Canada Student Service Grant  $1-5k for students volunteering. Details still to come.
Canada Summer Jobs program

Temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program and 76,000 jobs to be created for students.

Learn more.

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HOUSING SUPPORT

Support Description How to access
BC Hydro Bill deferral, payment plans, as well as crisis funding is available. Call 1-800-BC-HYDRO or apply online.
Freeze on rental rates No rent increases are allowed in BC, effective April 1. No action needed. Contact RTB with questions.
Rental supplement Provides up to $500/month towards rent, paid directly to landlords. Apply online.
Mortgages (CMHC-insured) Mortgage payment deferrals available for CMHC-insured loans. Check with your lender.
Mortgages (non-CMHC) Check with your lender about payment deferral options. Check with your lender.

Emergency Housing

Existing shelters still active and additional emergency options may be available. Call 2-1-1 or search online.

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BUSINESS BY SECTOR

Support Description How to access
Child care sector Emergency funding is available for child care providers that stay open and that close. Learn more.
Arts & Culture sector $3-million Arts and Culture Resilience Supplement to give operating and eligible project clients a supplement of up to $15,000. Clients will receive a 50% advance on 2020-21 funding. Via BC Arts Council.
Publishing and news sectors New Independent Advisory Board on Eligibility for Journalism Tax Measures is now in place.  
Tourism businesses in national parks and historic sites Tourism operators in national parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas will have payments on commercial leases and licences of occupation deferred without interest until September 1. Wait to be contacted by Parks Canada.
Seafood sector Seafood growers, shellfish farmers, and processors, will have access to the $5 billion Farm Credit Canada loan program. Via FCC.

Farmers and Agri-Food sector

Access to the $5 billion Farm Credit Canada loan program. Via FCC.
Emergency Community Support Fund  $350 million for charities and not for profits.  Details to come.

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LIST OF COVID-19 ESSENTIAL SERVICES:

PHYSICAL DISTANCING ORDERS:

  • Violations of Public Health Orders can carry fines of over $25,000 or jail time.
  • Gatherings are banned.
  • Maintain 2m distance from others.
  • Stay home as much as possible, do not visit with friends (call them instead).
  • It’s okay to go outside for fresh air and exercise, but stay away from others.
  • Self-isolate if you are sick, even if it is not COVID-19.

LABOUR & INDUSTRY:

  • Employers cannot require a doctors notes or testing for people to stay home from work.
  • All businesses must adjust their operations to meet social distancing orders and should implement enhanced cleaning, or close.
  • All workplaces must ensure a safe working environment.
  • Workers may take unpaid, job-protected leave if they are unable to work for reasons relating to COVID-19, retroactive to Jan 27, 2020.
  • Workers now have three days of unpaid, job-protected leave each year for people who cannot work due to illness or injury. This is a permanent change.

TRAVEL & BORDERS:

  • Canadians currently abroad are strongly advised to return to Canada now while they are still able. Call 1-613-996-8885 or email sos@international.gc.ca for assistance.
  • Entry into Canada will be denied to all non-essential travellers who are not Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents and their immediate family. US citizens will no longer be exempt.
  • Avoid all non-essential travel.
  • Anyone exhibiting symptoms will be actively refused boarding onto all aircraft and trains, including for travel within Canada.
  • Overseas international flights entering Canada will be restricted to YVR, YYZ, YUL, YYC only.
  • Travellers entering the country must self-isolate for fourteen days.!! Violations carry a maximum fine of $750,000 and 6 months in jail. If you do not have private transportation or an adequate place to isolate, the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada will designate a facility where you must isolate for 14 days.

 

PUBLIC SERVICES

Support Description
Auto Insurance

Renew auto insurance by email or phone.

Remote extensions for driver licensing available. All requests for medical information temporarily postponed. Call 1-800-950-1498.

Payment deferrals available, click here for information.
BC Ferries Passengers may stay inside their vehicles the entire trip; on board food service is minimal; avoid non-essential travel.
BC Transit, TransLink Rear door, fare-free boarding on all buses. Those with accessibility needs can still load at front.
BC Liquor Stores BC Liquor Stores will stay open, though on reduced hours.
BC Service Centres BC Service Centres will stay open, but the first hour of service is dedicated to seniors and other vulnerable people. You can also call for service: 1-800-663-7867.
Canada Service Centres In-Person Canada Service Centres are now closed. Apply for benefits online.
Court Proceedings Limitation periods to commence court proceedings have been suspended.
bc211 bc211 is now also available to match volunteers with seniors in need of help with groceries, etc. Call 2-1-1 or visit online.
Other Supports Some municipalities and service providers are announcing adjustments day by day. Look online to see if supports like these are available in your community: Deferred municipal utilities payments, Payment and international roaming options from your telecommunications provider, Freezing or refunding membership fees at facilities such as gyms.

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HEALTH CARE:

  • Scheduled elective surgeries and procedures are being postponed.
  • Workers and volunteers in long-term care may no longer work at multiple facilities.
  • Visitor restrictions are in place for all Vancouver Coastal Health facilities, including hospitals, long-term care, assisted living sites, community health centres and clinics. For those living in other health authority areas, check online before you go.
  • Choose virtual health care services whenever available, physicians will be compensated.
  • Physician notes are NOT required for prescription refills by pharmacists.
  • Dentists should be providing emergency services only at this time. Services available from other regulated health care professionals (RMT, physiotherapy, chiropractic, etc) may also be limited at this time.
  • MSP coverage wait times are waived for those who have been out of province and returned.
  • Safe prescription alternatives to the illegal drug supply available to people who use substances.


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FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

Opportunity Notes Deadline
NSERC Alliance Covid-19 Grants

Up to 1 year and $50,000 for University research

Companies and not-for profits can submit research requests here

before June 1, 2020
Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster Call for COVID-19 Solutions Please contact Chris Flores, Industry Liaison Offer (engr.ilo@uvic.ca) for more details. ongoing intake
Mitacs Accelerate Internships Covid-19 Grants Funding ratio is 3:1 instead of standard 2:1 Company provides $3750 for $15K Accelerate.
This program was not yet listed on Mitacs website at time of email. Please contact Nolan Beise for details contact: nbeise@mitacs.ca
ongoing intake
Michael Smith COVID-19 Research Proposals Focus on evaluation of BC’s response to the first wave of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic ongoing intake
Pandemic Response Challenge program by NRC: Funding available for universities, companies and teams.  Focus is currently on Rapid detection and diagnosis; Therapeutics and vaccine development; and Digital health with more opportunities to be posted ongoing intake

Innovative Solutions Canada

Government of Canada has the following requests with plans for more asks in the following days:

Made in Canada filtration material for the manufacture of N95 respirators and surgical masks

Point of Care and Home Diagnostic Kit for COVID-19

Low-cost sensor system for COVID-19 patient monitoring 

 

N/A

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Facilities at UVic for external users [research exemption required]

The CAMTEC - Facility for Biosample Preparation (FBS)  is a biosafety level 2 (BSL2)-certified lab space at the University of Victoria.  The main infrastructure consists of two BSL2 rooms, a biosafety cabinet/tissue culture hood, a PCR thermocycler, a fume hood, and multiple incubators for cell growth. The facility is designed to host external users.

Please contact Lab Manager Rebecca Hof for details :  rhof@uvic.ca 

 

Funding Agencies

Funding is rapidly changing and the following agencies may have additional opportunities:

Social Science and Humanities Research Council

Canadian Institute of Health Research

National Science and Engineering Research Council

Mitacs

Innovate BC

Genome BC

Genome Canada

 

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