April 16, 2020

Dear ABLE BC Members and Industry Colleagues, 

Tomorrow, we’re hosting a free webinar from 10:00 am to 11:00 am PT on COVID-19 and BC’s Hospitality Industry – what you need to know. 

The webinar is open to anyone, but advance registration is required. Reserve your free spot here.

This one-hour webinar will cover: what’s happened over the past four weeks, current state of the liquor industry and tourism + hospitality industry at large, what ABLE BC is doing to help, government support programs, and other financial support available to you.

We’ll also discuss what’s next: what you can expect from ABLE BC in the weeks and months ahead and what we’re advocating for to help your businesses recover.

Hope you can join us live! If you’re unavailable, a recording of the webinar will be made available later this week.

Included in today’s email you will find: 

  • 5 minute ABLE BC survey: impact of COVID-19 on your liquor business
  • Expanded eligibility for COVID-19 federal emergency benefits 
  • BDL update
  • ContainerWorld operational update
  • State of emergency extended in BC

Find all past updates from ABLE BC here.

5 minute ABLE BC survey: impact of COVID-19 on your liquor business

In response to the global COVID-19 crisis, the BC government and federal government have implemented new policy changes and announced economic programs to support businesses. ABLE BC wants to know how these policies and programs are impacting your liquor business.

Please take 5 minutes to complete our COVID-19 survey

Your feedback plays an essential role in informing our government relations and advocacy efforts.

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

Expanded eligibility for COVID-19 federal emergency benefits 

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit is a taxable benefit of $2,000 provided every 4 weeks for up to 16 weeks to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19.

The CERB is available to workers who meet all of the following conditions:

  • live in Canada and are at least 15 years old
  • stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits
  • have not voluntarily quit their job
  • had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application.

This morning, Prime Minister Trudeau announced more flexible rules for claiming the CERB in response to criticism the current program excludes students and people working reduced hours.

The changes to the CERB eligibility rules are as follows:

  • Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
  • Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work because of COVID-19.
  • Extend the CERB to workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job because of COVID-19.

When applying for CERB, an online portal with a simple questions will direct you to the service option that best fits your situation (i.e. eligibility for Employment Insurance benefits or not). Individuals should not apply for the CERB if you have already applied for EI.

Learn more and apply for the CERB here.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy: applications not yet open

Applications for the Canada Emergency 75% Wage Subsidy are not yet open. Eligible employers will be able to apply for the CEWS through the Canada Revenue Agency’s My Business Account portal. 

Employers will need to keep records demonstrating their reduction in arm’s-length revenues and remuneration paid to employees. More details about the application process will be made available shortly.

Canada Emergency Business Account: apply through your financial institution

The Canada Emergency Business Account provides 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, due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 virus.

Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).

Small businesses and not-for-profits should contact their financial institution to apply for these loans. Find the eligibility criteria here.

BDL update

BDL has shared with us the following cyber-attack and system outage update: 

The entire BDL Team wishes to sincerely thank you for your continued support and patience during what is proving to be a difficult time for all of us.

We understand there have been service disruptions as a result of the cyber-attack that disabled our online systems, leading to temporary impacts to your own operating procedures.

As you know, short-term contingency measures have been introduced to allow BDL to maintain an adequate supply of product to service the marketplace, recognizing that in doing so, we are unable to offer the full array of SKUs that would be normally available. We hope these temporary measures will help alleviate a very frustrating situation for all involved.

As our valued customer, we want to give you our assurance that we continue to work tirelessly to resolve the situation and that we will keep you informed on our recovery progress. 

Along with our IT service provider, we are working methodically to deploy new technology across all the operations that were affected. While we remain optimistic that a staged recovery is nearing, it will still be some time before we are able to return to normal operations. We ask for your continued patience as we slowly bring our systems back online and then begin to reconcile and audit each process to ensure a successful re-start. 

As we continue to operate in recovery mode, we ask that you continue to contact your Labatt and MolsonCoors sales representatives to place your order. The Brewers will then send the order to BDL, who will merge the orders for processing and shipment. 

Again, to ensure an adequate supply to retailers, we are offering a limited number of SKUs from each Brewer in half pallet quantities. All products that are normally available, remain so, but in full pallet quantities only. Customers will be asked to sign a document upon delivery and retain a copy for their records. Billing will occur once our system is back online. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you and your customers. 

We will endeavour to update you as new developments occur, and we look forward to serving you again at the high standards we are all accustom to. 

Again, we thank you for your patience and understanding.

If you have any questions or concerns, or require product replenishment on an urgent basis, please call our contact center at 1-800-661-2337 or email bdl@bdl.ca.

ContainerWorld operational update

ContainerWorld has shared with us the following operational update (dated April 14, 2020):

  • Inbound volumes, both domestic and import, are showing some increased inbound activity. We remain current with processing these volumes.
  • We continue to experience higher outbound volumes for this time of year. Our private distribution channel continues to flow uninterrupted, volume is above seasonal numbers, but has reduced from previous weeks.
  • BCLDB ordering continues to remain fairly high, and we work with the BCLDB daily, to maintain minimal backlog.
  • South Africa is easing wine export restrictions, previously imposed due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
  • MSC is currently affected by a system disruption, now into its fourth day, as posted to the MSC Cargo twitter account last week; however we are receiving manual arrival notices and working directly with MSC’s Customer Service. We are reviewing the situation, and will advise further should we see an impact in service.
  • Fraser Surrey Docks has advised today of a terminal server failure and so are delaying any pickups scheduled for today. We will reach out directly to any agents affected.
  • Our Richmond warehouse operation is maintaining functionality with regard to manpower, and the ranks remain workable, though somewhat limited, given the current circumstances.
  • Our Interior operations (Kamloops and Kelowna) currently remain intact. Our teams continue to work closely with BDL as they work towards normalizing their operations.
  • We appreciate the considerate communications that we have received from our community and look forward to a restored state of normalcy, when the time comes.

We will continue to share ContainerWorld updates with you.

State of emergency extended in BC

On April 15, the BC government formally extended the provincial state of emergency, allowing Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, to continue to use extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act to support the Province’s COVID-19 pandemic response.

The state of emergency is extended through the end of the day on April 28, 2020, allowing government to continue to take the necessary steps to keep British Columbians safe.

Today, government also provided an overview of actions taken in the previous two weeks to support British Columbians:

  • introducing a new legal requirement to provide a self-isolation plan to support the federal Quarantine Act, and making sure British Columbians returning home from international destinations have the support they need to self-isolate and keep their communities safe from COVID-19
  • partnering with the Digital Technology Supercluster and the Business Council of British Columbia to create the COVID-19 Supply Hub, a made-in-BC online platform to co-ordinate, find and speed up the delivery of medical supplies and personal protective equipment for provincial health authorities to support front-line health workers fighting COVID-19
  • opening applications for the Province’s new temporary rental supplement
  • announcing $5 million to expand existing mental-health programs and services and launch new services
  • implementing a series of temporary supports and supplements to ensure B.C.’s most vulnerable – including people on income or disability assistance and low-income seniors – do not encounter additional barriers during the COVID-19 crisis
  • establishing an Emergency Relief Support Fund for children and youth with special needs and their families that will provide a direct payment of $225 per month to eligible families over the next three months
  • issuing new provincial health officer (PHO) guidelines for municipal bylaw officers and other compliance officers to make sure there is compliance with the PHO’s orders and, if necessary, they are enforced consistently throughout B.C. communities
  • partnering with local governments, non-profits and the hotel industry to support British Columbians who need a place to self-isolate and to reduce the spread of COVID-19

These actions build on supports already in place as part of government’s COVID-19 Action Plan, which includes $5 billion in income supports, tax relief and direct funding for people, businesses and services.

For more information:

Public Health Agency of Canada Website

Updates from the Government of British Columbia

Updates and Resources from ABLE BC

Human Resources & Occupational Health & Safety Info from go2HR

If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact ABLE BC:
604-688-5560 or info@ablebc.ca.

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