April 23, 2021

Dear ABLE BC Members and Industry Colleagues, 

Here’s what you’ll find inside today’s update:

  • NEW Survey: Impact of extending indoor dining restrictions
  • Join ABLE BC for a Government Relations and Advocacy Update: Thursday, April 29
  • Reminder: Indoor dining restrictions extended through to end of May long weekend
  • BC tourism and hospitality industry responds to provincial budget
  • Reminder: apply for Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant
  • Business Technical Advisory Panel Update: progress on outstanding recommendations
  • Vaccine prioritization of worksites and employers
  • Applications open for PST rebate on select machinery and equipment
  • Applications open for Increased Employment Incentive programs
  • Federal Budget 2021
  • Province shifts vaccine strategy to include high-transmission communities
  • New vaccine schedule invites those 18+ to register this week
  • $10,000 launch challenge for new business owners and entrepreneurs
  • Patio chairs for sale

Find all past updates from ABLE BC here.

As always, if you have any additional questions or need to reach us you can email: jeff@ablebc.ca or danielle@ablebc.ca.

NEW Survey: Impact of extending indoor dining restrictions

Several weeks ago, we surveyed industry on the impacts of the March 31 public orders and received close to 900 responses. Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the survey. Your feedback was directly used in our conversations with government about the devastating impacts of banning indoor dining.

Because of your feedback, ABLE BC and our industry partners successfully advocated for the new Circuit Breaker Relief Grant. In response to your concerns, we also hosted an info session on the BC Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant to help clear up confusion on the application process.

We are asking for your urgent feedback again.

As you know, the public orders prohibiting indoor dining have been extended until after the May long weekend.

Our industry associations understand extending the ban on indoor dining is incredibly frustrating. We also know this order comes with catastrophic financial consequences for our industry.

Please take 3-5 minutes to complete our new survey for BC’s hospitality industry. 

We want to know how extending the orders will impact your business and if you have accessed any provincial grants. ABLE BC and our industry partners will be meeting with government in the coming days to discuss the impacts of these restrictions and request additional urgent financial support for our industry.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact ABLE BC: info@ablebc.ca.

Join ABLE BC for a Government Relations and Advocacy Update: Thursday, April 29

ABLE BC invites you to join us at a Government Relations and Advocacy Update: Thursday, April 29 from 10:00 am to 11:00 am PT on Zoom.

RSVP here. A Zoom link will be provided one day prior to the webinar.

During this free webinar, ABLE BC’s Executive Director Jeff Guignard will provide an update on:

  • Current Provincial Health Officer public order restrictions
  • New provincial budget
  • What ABLE BC is doing in the immediate future to support your businesses during COVID-19
  • Progress update on other policy priorities, including licensee sales and Business Technical Advisory Panel recommendations
  • And more

If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact Danielle Leroux (Director of Membership and Communications): danielle@ablebc.ca.

Reminder: Indoor dining restrictions extended through to end of May long weekend

During Monday’s press conference, Dr. Bonnie Henry publicly confirmed:

“ALL current guidelines and order will remain in place. Over the coming five weeks through to the end of the May long weekend it is critical that we focus our efforts to follow the guidelines:

  • Continue to focus on the basics to reduce transmission
  • Especially focus on in-person social interactions. Be very purposeful about who you are seeing and where you are going, stick with the same few contacts.
  • Stay within your health region and as much as possible your local community. Strictly follow the travel guidelines.”

This means the ban on indoor dining will continue through to the end of the May long weekend. 

We understand extending the ban on indoor dining is incredibly frustrating. The only good news is that we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Dr. Henry has said that by June there will be enough vaccine in BC to vaccinate everyone. She anticipates that by June, we’ll be in a very different place and able to relax many public health protocols by then. We just need to make it through to then.

We also know this order comes with catastrophic financial consequences for our industry. ABLE BC has already opened conversations with government about the need for additional financial support for our industry caused by this extended ban. The recently announced Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grants of up to $10,000 were based on the projected need for the ‘Circuit Breaker’ public orders set to expire on April 19. We know they they are inadequate to support members for the duration of this extended ban.

We will offer more details as soon as they are available. If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact info@ablebc.ca.

BC tourism and hospitality industry responds to provincial budget

On April 20, ABLE BC, in partnership with TIABC, BCHA, and Restaurants Canada, released a joint statement responding to the 2021 provincial budget.

We welcome tourism-related investments announced in the provincial budget, but it may not be enough to save some businesses until such time as travel restrictions are lifted and inter-provincial and international travellers can once again visit British Columbia.

ABLE BC and our industry partners acknowledge and appreciate the Province’s commitment to support tourism recovery, including help for major anchor attractions, as well as funds to continue the Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant Program and the promise to extend the Circuit Breaker program in view of impending travel restrictions.

At the same time, access to further recovery contingencies the Province budgeted will be needed to help countless businesses hanging by a thread. 

Finance Minister Selina Robinson acknowledged the hard-hit tourism and hospitality sector, noting it will be challenged by health measures for some time. She also referenced recovery contingencies that remain an option for the sector as the pandemic lingers. 

The Province’s 2021 budget included the following allocations related to the tourism and hospitality industry: 

  • $195 million to continue the Small & Medium-sized Business Recovery Grant Program
  • $100 million to support tourism recovery including help for major anchor attractions
  • $20 million for community destination development grants to help with new tourism infrastructure like trails and airport improvements
  • $83 million (over 3 years) in operating and capital funding for BC Parks to expand and improve trails and backcountry infrastructure, add new campsites, purchase new land to expand parks, improve the Discover Camping reservation system, and support existing park infrastructure
  • $6 million in capital improvement grants for the Arts Infrastructure Program

Funding for tourism recovery is included as part of the Province’s $3.25 billion for pandemic and recovery contingencies this year including more than $1.1 billion in unallocated funds for unanticipated recovery measures. Government has also set aside $1 billion in 2022/23 and $300 million in 2023/24 for similar purposes.

Read the full statement here.

Reminder: apply for Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant

The Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant provides fully funded grants to hospitality and fitness businesses impacted by the March 30, 2021 Provincial Health Officer orders.

Grants of $1,000 to $10,000 are available to hospitality and fitness businesses impacted by the March 30, 2021 PHO orders on gatherings and events and liquor and food serving premises.

Grants are available until June 4, 2021 or until funds are fully expended, whichever comes first.

We strongly encourage members to apply as soon as possible to increase your chances of receiving a grant.

All hospitality and fitness businesses that partially or fully closed to comply with the March 30, 2021 PHO orders are eligible. A business must have been in operation as of February 1, 2021.

Learn more and apply here

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact ABLE BC: info@ablebc.ca.

Business Technical Advisory Panel Update: progress on outstanding recommendations

As you may know, ABLE BC is a member of the Business Technical Advisory Panel and our Executive Director Jeff Guignard is the panel’s Chair. In 2018, the panel submitted a report to government, outlining 24 recommendations to “improve efficiency and business relations between government and B.C.’s liquor industry.”

Many of the recommendations have since been implemented, including most recently permanent wholesale pricing for hospitality licensees. As well, government has worked actively with BTAP to implement a number of new policy changes during COVID, like permitting the sale of packaged liquor with the sale of a meal, extensions of service areas, delivery of liquor from offsite storage facilities, extending retail liquor store hours and, most recently, again allowing packaging of growlers with meals during these latest health restrictions. 

Earlier this year, the panel met to prioritize the remaining recommendations and presented this list to government. BTAP identified the following 6 priorities:

  1. Make temporary COVID permissions permanent: wholesale hospitality pricing, packaged liquor sales with takeout/delivery meals, extension of licensed service areas
  2. Allow delivery from secondary off-site storage locations
  3. Improve distribution by implementing recommendations #1 and 3# from original report (especially re: non-stocked wholesale product)
  4. Permit licensee-to-licensee sales (for all licensees)
  5. Permit cocktails-to-go from hospitality licensees with a meal
  6. Review minimum alcohol pricing policies

On April 16, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, Minister of Finance Selina Robinson, and Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Lana Popham, sent a letter to members of BTAP sharing some very positive news:

“This letter is intended to confirm government’s agreement with prioritizing the nine BTAP liquor policy items you had proposed and the process moving forward that was discussed at the April 9, 2021 BTAP meeting with staff […]

We have reviewed the priority list (included below) that you recently shared with staff and we can confirm we are in alignment and government has already begun taking action on all nine of these items BTAP has put forward.”

Read a full copy of the letter here. We will keep members updated on the progress of implementing these recommendations.

Vaccine prioritization of worksites and employers

As you may recall, ABLE BC has requested priority access to vaccines for front-line retail and hospitality staff and we continue to raise this issue with government.

Millions of British Columbians visit a hospitality business every day, and nearly 2 million visit a liquor store every week. Although we know members have the right protocols in place to keep workers and customers safe, we share you’re concerns about this higher risk of exposure among your teams.

ABLE BC raised this issue during the COVID-19 Industry Engagement Table with Dr. Bonnie Henry and other industry associations.

We recently received the following response from Dr. Henry about vaccine prioritization: 

Thank you for your continued input to the COVID-19 Industry Engagement Table. I recognize that there have been many questions submitted regarding vaccine prioritization for specific worksites, workers, and sectors and I would like to provide a follow-up written response for further clarity. 

BC’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan is designed to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19. Our strategy continues to be based on expert advice and guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, B.C.’s Immunization Committee and the public health leadership committee.  

All of us recognize that the health and safety of your workplaces and workers are especially important. We are adapting our vaccine delivery in step with our supply and will continue to pivot, pause or shift our delivery to maximize protection to as many people as possible.  

Right now, the worker program is focused on transmission hot spots – high-risk workplaces in our highest-risk communities. We are systematically working through the immunization of our first responders, school staff and childcare workers in these communities. In the coming weeks, we will expand this program into more communities and workplaces as vaccine supplies allow. 

We are not currently collecting individual or sector requests for vaccine priority as we know just how important this is to all employers and all workers. No action is required from employers to ensure they are prioritized appropriately. Employers will be contacted directly by their local health authority when vaccines are designated for their worksites.  

We are committed to sharing any updates or changes to this approach. The latest information on B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan is available online

Thank you again for engaging with me through the COVID-19 Industry Engagement Table. I appreciate the opportunity to share updates and hear what is top of mind for your sectors as we work to get through these challenging times together.

Note from ABLE BC: while government is not prioritizing frontline retail and hospitality workers at this time, Dr. Henry has said that by June there will be enough vaccine in BC to vaccinate everyone.

Applications open for PST rebate on select machinery and equipment

The BC PST Rebate on Select Machinery and Equipment is a temporary provincial sales tax (PST) program to help corporations recover from the financial impacts of COVID-19.

The rebate acts like a refund but is separate from the existing PST Refund process. Under this temporary program, corporations can apply to receive an amount equal to the PST they paid between September 17, 2020 and September 30, 2021 on qualifying machinery and equipment.

Most non-consumable goods used in a business qualify for the rebate.

For more information and to apply, please click here.

Applications open for Increased Employment Incentive programs

The BC increased employment incentive is a one-time refundable tax credit for employers. The deadline to apply is December 31, 2021.

The increased employment incentive allows employers to apply for a one-time tax credit. The credit is 15% of the amount that the employer’s total eligible remuneration for all eligible employees in the qualifying period exceeds the employer’s total eligible remuneration for all eligible employees in the base period.

The base period is from July 1 to September 30, 2020. The qualifying period is from October 1 to December 31, 2020.

For more information, including eligibility criteria and to apply, please click here.

Federal Budget 2021

On April 19, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland stood in the House of Commons to outline details of the long anticipated federal budget.

The 700-page document can be found here. The following is a high-level snapshot of the supports outlined in Minister Freeland’s announcement (previously shared by TIAC).

Budget 2021 proposed supports that total to $1 billion over three years for tourism, starting in 2021-22.

Supporting Business Solvency 

Indigenous Tourism 

  • $2.4 million in 2021-22 to the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada to help the Indigenous tourism industry rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)

  • Extension of the wage and rent subsidies until September 25, 2021, with potential until November 20, 2021.
  • It also proposes to gradually decrease the subsidy rate, beginning July 4, 2021, in order to ensure an orderly phase out in tandem with vaccinations.

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund 

  • $500 million Tourism Relief Fund, administered by the regional development agencies to support investments by local tourism businesses in adapting to the pandemic
  • $200 million through the regional development agencies to support major festivals
  • $200 million through Canadian Heritage to support local festivals, community cultural events, outdoor theatre performances, heritage celebrations, local museums, amateur sport events, and more
  • Proposes extension of the application deadline for similar support under the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund and the Indigenous Business Initiative until June 30, 2021.
  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide up to $80 million in 2021-22 on a cash basis for the regional development agencies, and to shift remaining funds under the Indigenous Business Initiative in 2021-22 to support an extended application deadline for the RRRF and Indigenous Business Initiative until June 30, 2021.

Budget 2021 also outlines support for airlines and championing safe air travel.

Keeping Canada Globally Competitive

Canada Recovery Hiring Program 

  • Introduction of the new Canada Recovery Hiring Program to provide eligible employers with a subsidy of up to 50 per cent on the incremental remuneration paid to eligible employees between June 6, 2021 and November 20, 2021
  • $595 million to make it easier for businesses to hire back laid-off workers or to bring on new ones

Discovering Canada 

  • $100 million to Destination Canada for marketing campaigns to help Canadians and other visitors discover and explore the country

Other Support

  • $101 million over two years, starting in 2022-23, to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, to implement a program for the wine sector that will support wineries in adapting to ongoing and emerging challenges, in line with Canada’s trade obligations

There are other significant pieces outlined in the budget document that will impact the tourism and hospitality sector, including Affordable Housing, Immigration, reforms to the Employment Insurance Act and Canada Labour Code, Small Business Supports, and support for Parks Canada Agency.

Learn more here.

Province shifts vaccine strategy to include high-transmission communities

People born in 1981 or before (40+) living in the following 13 communities are invited to book their vaccine appointments at additional community clinics starting this week (April 19-23), following a change in the use of AstraZeneca:

  • Dawson Creek
  • East and West Newton
  • Fleetwood
  • Kensington
  • North Delta
  • North Surrey
  • Panorama
  • Port Coquitlam
  • South Langley Township
  • Squamish
  • West Abbotsford
  • Whalley

The Province will be working with Fraser Health, Vancouver Coastal Health and Northern Health authorities to increase appointments in these high-transmission neighbourhoods, primarily using AstraZeneca.

Anyone born in 1981 and earlier (40+) can access the AstraZeneca COVISHIELD vaccine at eligible pharmacies with vaccine supply throughout B.C. People can find an eligible pharmacy here.

People living in high-transmission communities must register for their vaccine appointments using the Province’s Get Vaccinated registration and booking tool and will be invited to book an appointment on the same day they register. The fastest way to register and book is online

People will confirm whether they live in a high-transmission neighbourhood prioritized for immunization by entering their postal code here.

Additional clinics will be added to ensure people are able to access appointments quickly. Only those with eligible postal codes will be able to receive a vaccine through this program.

For more information, please click here.

New vaccine schedule invites those 18+ to register this week

More than 1.8 million British Columbians are invited to register for their COVID-19 vaccine this week as B.C.’s Get Vaccinated program moves forward.

A new schedule for age cohorts to register ensures people know when it is their turn. To preserve system capacity, please wait until your age cohort is eligible to register:

  • Monday, April 19 – Registration opens for people aged 40 and up
  • Tuesday, April 20 – Registration opens for people aged 35 and up
  • Wednesday, April 21 – Registration opens for people aged 30 and up
  • Thursday, April 22 – Registration opens for people aged 25 and up
  • Friday, April 23 – Registration opens for people aged 18 and up

The fastest way to register is online. For more information, please click here.

$10,000 launch challenge for new business owners and entrepreneurs

Win $10,000 to launch a new business, new product or service offering, or an existing product or service in a new market.

The Launch Challenge is a newly-established grant fund to help entrepreneurs and business owners in various communities in British Columbia and the Yukon to invest in launching.

The Challenge is designed to equip businesses with new skills to thrive though the completion of an online learning Business Resilience program. The Champion Prize is a $10,000 cash prize for the best application submitted.

Learn more and apply here.

Patio chairs for sale

The Arbuthnot Group is selling patio chairs:

For more information and to purchase, please contact:
Jake Richardson
E-Commerce Manager, The Arbuthnot Group
604-372-0588 or jake@tagcanada.ca


Join the fight! Become a member today.

SIGN-UP

Our Partners