April 01, 2021

Dear ABLE BC Members and Industry Colleagues,

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

  • New PHO Public Order Now Available
  • ABLE BC Advocacy Update: impact of new restrictions on BC’s hospitality businesses
  • ABLE BC Member Offer: Free ‘ Violence in the Workplace’ Training
  • Join us at the next monthly Q&A with ABLE BC: April 29
  • WorkSafeBC resource: COVID-19 vaccination and the workplace
  • Extra Drivers License ID Checking Guides Available
  • City of Vancouver: expanded capacity for bars, pubs, and nightclubs
  • go2HR complimentary COVID-19 safety plan review service
  • Applications open for provincial hiring tax credit
  • Job protected leave for workers to get COVID-19 vaccine
  • Provincial state of emergency extended

Find all past COVID-19 updates here.

New PHO Public Order Now Available

A copy of the new public order for Food and Liquor Serving Premises is now available. Download it here.

The order is addressed to: restaurants, coffee shops, cafes, cafeterias, and food primary and liquor primary establishments, including pubs, bars, lounges, and nightclubs, liquor manufacturing facilities that have tasting rooms, and private clubs.

Highlights of the Order 

  • No person may operate a premises as a nightclub
  • No person may provide food or drinks services inside restaurants, coffee shops, cafes, cafeterias and food primary and liquor primary establishments, including pubs, bars, lounges, liquor manufacturing facilities that have tasting rooms, and private clubs
  • A person may provide food or drink takeout or delivery services, subject to conditions (see page 3)
  • Premises which are licensed to serve liquor, and which do not have full meal service, must be closed, if they do not have a patio or other outside area in which to serve patrons
  • ‘Full meal service’ is defined as: food provided by a caterer to the premises or available from a food truck located beside or on the premises, but does not include snacks, appetizers, or tapas on their own
  • A person may provide food or drink services outside, including on a patio, subject to conditions (see page 4 onwards)
  • ‘Patio’ is defined as: a space completely open to outdoor air on at least two sides
  • A patron must remain seated, except to use a self-serve food or drink station, use a self-serve lottery ticket dispenser, pay at a pay station, use washroom facilities or when leaving the premises. A patron may use washroom facilities inside the premises and may walk through a premises in order to reach an outside place or patio.
  • No person may sell liquor between 10:00 pm and 9:00 am on the following day.
  • A tasting room with a liquor manufacturer license may have patrons inside for the purpose of tasting, subject to conditions (see page 6). Note: sections 1, 7, 8, 9, and 11 do not apply to a tasting room. Please read the order for details.
  • The rules for gatherings and events continue to apply. See pages 6-7.

Please read the order for full conditions and ensure your COVID-19 safety plan is up to date.

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

ABLE BC Advocacy Update: impact of new restrictions on BC’s hospitality businesses

Yesterday, ABLE BC, BCHA, Restaurants Canada, and TIABC wrote the Premier, Ministers, and Dr. Henry on the latest COVID-19 restrictions and the devastating impacts on tourism and hospitality businesses.

Download a copy of the letter

In the letter, the four sector associations representing thousands of businesses and tens of thousands of employees around the province say they are extremely disappointed and concerned about further measures announced this week that have forced more layoffs, led to widespread reservation cancellations at restaurants and hotels, and put thousands of businesses in peril yet again without adequate government support to remain solvent.

The letter goes on to say that government measures announced earlier this week have frustrated our member businesses throughout the province who question why tourism and hospitality was again singled out for restrictions in spite of recently being lauded by government for implementing strict health and safety measures to keep guests safe.

The organizations also suggest it would be extremely helpful to understand the rationale and the data that support the decision to double down on travel restrictions and ban in-dining experiences in restaurants, bars and pubs. Our industry has many questions that have not been answered vis-à-vis the orders issued on Monday.

Importantly, TIABC, BCHA, ABLE BC and Restaurants Canada are committed to working with government on finding a path forward that both protects residents, workers and visitors, but also allows tourism and hospitality businesses to remain viable.

Download a copy of the letter for more information.

Thank you to the 800+ businesses that responded to our urgent survey yesterday.

This morning, ABLE BC’s Executive Director met with government and made the strong argument as to why our industry needs immediate financial support, following the devastating impacts of the latest restrictions. 

We hope to have news for members soon.

ABLE BC Member Offer: Free ‘ Violence in the Workplace’ Training

go2HR is offering members and their staff free access to an online, on-demand Violence in the Workplace: Recognize the Risk and Take Action training program.

As this is a new program to go2HR, they are offering a limited number of complimentary seats in exchange for feedback about the program.The course will take approximately one-hour to complete. You will have between April 14 and May 14 to complete it.

If you are interested in participating, please email danielle@ablebc.ca by April 8. Further details about the course are provided below.

Violence in the Workplace: Recognize the Risk and Take Action

Wherever people interact at work there is a potential for violence, regardless of the job. This course helps frontline supervisors, workers, and anyone else with an interest in workplace safety develop a clear understanding of what workplace violence is, the consequences of workplace violence, and preventative measures that can be taken.

Course topics include:

  • Defining the scope of workplace violence, including harassment
  • Risk factors of workplace violence
  • Why workplace violence is an important issue
  • How to reduce the risks
  • Preventive measures
  • What to do when involved in an incident of workplace violence
  • Legal responsibilities of employers to prevent workplace violence

Upon completion of this course you will:

  • Understand the complexity of workplace violence and harassment
  • Identify incidents of workplace violence
  • Know what occupations and jobs are at higher risk of violence
  • Know what to do if you are involved in or witness a violent situation
  • Understand what the employer should do, including their legal responsibilities

Delivery: online, on-demand

Duration: 1 hour

Register: email danielle@ablebc.ca no later than April 8

Access: registered ABLE BC members and their staff will receive an enrolment link via email. Once registered, you can access the course between April 14-May 14. You have 30 days to complete the course and will receive a certificate upon completion. All courses must be completed by May 14.

Cost: FREE for ABLE BC members. Limited seats available, on a first-come, first-served basis.

Join us at the next monthly Q&A with ABLE BC: April 29

ABLE BC members and industry colleagues are invited to join us at our next monthly Q&A with Executive Director Jeff Guignard: Thursday, April 29 at 10:00 am PT.

RSVP: danielle@ablebc.ca. A Zoom link will be provided once you RSVP.

What to expect during this one-hour meeting:

  • Catch up on anything you’ve missed over the last month
  • Hear directly from our Executive Director about the state of BC’s liquor industry
  • Get an update on our advocacy work and progress
  • Ask questions about liquor policy, regulations, public health orders, and government relations
  • We’ll also be joined by members of ABLE BC’s Board of Directors

WorkSafeBC resource: COVID-19 vaccination and the workplace

A new WorkSafeBC webpage includes information about the role that vaccination can play in workplace health and safety, along with information about submitting a claim for an adverse reaction to a work-related COVID-19 vaccination.

Health and safety and vaccination

Vaccination will play a critical role in the prevention of COVID-19 among workers and the public.

WorkSafeBC is encouraging employers to support and facilitate vaccination of workers to the extent they are able. WorkSafeBC is also encouraging workers and the public to receive the vaccine when it is available to them. The province’s phased approach to vaccination is outlined in BC’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan.

BC public health officials have indicated that all current restrictions, provincial health officer (PHO) orders, and guidelines remain in place for everyone, regardless of whether they have received the vaccine. 

Employers are required to maintain their COVID-19 Safety Plan, including all protocols put in place to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 within the workplace. Workers who are fully vaccinated and workers who have had a prior COVID-19 infection need to continue to adhere to their employer’s COVID-19 protocols.

Can an employer require a vaccination as a condition of employment?

Every workplace is different, so individual employers should seek legal advice when developing a mandatory vaccination policy, as they need to address not only workplace health and safety and employees’ interests but also consider labour and employment issues.

Please visit their website for more information.

Extra Drivers License ID Checking Guides Available

Did you miss placing an order for 2021 North American or 2022 International Drivers License ID Checking Guides?

We have limited extra copies of both guides available at the ABLE BC office. If you would like to place an order, please contact danielle@ablebc.ca.

2021 prices:

  • North American Guide Book: $21 per book
  • International Guide Book: $46.50 per book
  • Please note these prices do not include shipping and handling

For more information about the guides, please click here.

City of Vancouver: expanded capacity for bars, pubs, and nightclubs

Good news for the City of Vancouver. On March 30, City Council voted in favour of a staff report recommending the first expansion of seating capacity in Vancouver’s pubs, bars and nightclubs in decades. 

Specifically, Council approved a change to the City’s distancing requirements for liquor establishments, allowing one-time exceptions for occupant load increases of up to 30 per cent of current occupant load for establishments.

This change is welcome news for hospitality owners hampered by significantly lower seating capacities when compared to liquor-primary establishments located in neighbouring cities. 

Capacity numbers are expected to increase gradually as eligible businesses make the necessary changes to adhere to current BC Building code requirements that would come from adding additional seats. 

go2HR complimentary COVID-19 safety plan review service

go2HR’s complimentary COVID-19 safety plan review service helps tourism and hospitality employers review their safety plans. 

Their team of health and safety experts will review your safety plan and provide recommendations and targeted feedback to help ensure ongoing compliance with the latest requirements. To register for this complimentary safety plan review service, click here

If you don’t currently have a documented plan, download go2HR’s COVID-19 safety plan template, which includes handy tips, relevant resource links and space to record the specifics of your plan. 

If you have any questions regarding workplace health and safety or need support with any aspect of your COVID-19 safety plan, please contact go2HR via phone: 604-633-9787, email: safety@go2hr.ca or visit their Maintaining Your COVID-19 Safety Plan webpage.

Applications open for provincial hiring tax credit

Applications are now open online for the Increased Employment Incentive (IEI), which was announced as a part of StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan.

This credit sets aside up to $190 million for businesses that were able to hire new workers, hire back people who were let go or increase workers’ hours during the last three months of 2020.

With 2020 payrolls finalized, businesses will know if they are eligible for a credit that could equal up to 15% of any increase in total eligible payroll paid in the last quarter of 2020. The tax credit could be as much as $2,230 per employee.

The credit is available to all employers in BC, except for public institutions and political parties. For employers required to pay the employer health tax (EHT), the credit will be first applied to any EHT outstanding and will be available as a refund to the extent the credit exceeds the amount of EHT or other debt owed to government.

Businesses that are registered and liable for EHT are encouraged to file their 2020 EHT return before applying for the IEI to ensure no delay in receiving the tax credit.

Job protected leave for workers to get COVID-19 vaccine 

On April 1, the provincial government announced that as part of BC’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan, workers can take the time they need to get the COVID-19 vaccine without fear of losing their jobs.

The Province has made regulatory improvements under the Employment Standards Act to quickly bring in a job-protected leave. Part-time and full-time workers will be able to take the time needed to travel and receive the vaccine or to take a dependent family member to receive the vaccine.

In addition to these regulatory improvements, government says it will explore options to provide workers with paid leave while getting their vaccine. This will include consultations with B.C.’s business community, labour organizations and workers who have been hit hardest by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This regulatory change also includes expanding the job-protected leave for reasons related to COVID-19, brought in last March, to fully align with the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit. Changes were made by the federal government in the months since BC introduced the COVID-19 related leave, so these changes ensure job protection for all eligible federal benefit programs.

A worker can now take job-protected leave if they need to care for other family members because of COVID-19, and not only a child or dependent adult as previously defined. Improvements also allow workers with underlying conditions, who are undergoing treatment or who have contracted another illness that makes them more susceptible to COVID-19, to take the leave.

Provincial state of emergency extended

On March 30, the Province of British Columbia formally extended the provincial state of emergency, allowing health and emergency management officials to continue to use extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act (EPA) to support the Province’s COVID-19 pandemic response.

The state of emergency is extended through the end of the day on April 13, 2021, to allow staff to take the necessary actions to keep British Columbians safe and manage immediate concerns and COVID-19 outbreaks.

The extension of the provincial state of emergency is based on recommendations from BC’s health and emergency management officials. The original declaration was made on March 18, 2020, the day after Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s provincial health officer (PHO), declared a public health emergency.

The Province continues, with the support of police and other enforcement officials, to use measures under the EPA to limit the spread of COVID-19, including issuing tickets for owners, operators and event organizers who host an event or gathering contravening the PHO’s orders.


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