April 17, 2020

Dear ABLE BC Members and Industry Colleagues, 

Thank you everyone who joined us on yesterday’s complimentary webinar: 
COVID-19 and BC’s Hospitality Industry – what you need to know

If you missed it, download a copy of the webinar recording here
Download a copy of the webinar slides here.

This one-hour webinar covers: 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 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.

A friendly reminder, as the crisis progresses, we’re reducing our daily email updates to three times per week and not sending updates over the weekend – unless anything urgent arises. You’ll hear from us next on Monday, April 20.

As always, you can also reach us by email if you have any questions or concerns: jeff@ablebc.ca or danielle@ablebc.ca.

Included in today’s email you will find: 

  • Join ABLE BC’s team for a virtual happy hour next week
  • 5 minute ABLE BC survey: impact of COVID-19 on your liquor business
  • Over $1 billion in support from the federal government will be made available to small businesses and startups
  • Federal government offering rent assistance for businesses and expanding loans qualifications
  • COVID-19 support service launched for BC businesses
  • BC reducing most commercial property tax bills
  • BDL update
  • Helpful links and resources

Find all past updates from ABLE BC here.

Join ABLE BC’s team for a virtual happy hour next week

Join ABLE BC’s team for a virtual happy hour next week! On Monday, our Executive Director Jeff Guignard was scheduled to kick-off the first of many member meetings around the province this spring and summer. We may not be able to meet in person right now but we still want to connect with you.

Grab a drink and join Jeff and Danielle via Zoom on Wednesday, April 22 or Thursday, April 23 from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Please RSVP to Danielle and specify which date you’d like to attend: danielle@ablebc.ca. A Zoom meeting link will be provided to you when you RSVP.

ABLE BC’s Virtual Happy Hour is a chance for you to ask questions and share your concerns and thoughts about the current state of the industry – in an informal setting. There will not be a formal presentation by Jeff.

Everyone is welcome – ABLE BC members and non-members. We’ll be capping each happy hour at 20 people, but will add more dates and times if needed.

Hope to see you online next week!

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.

Thank you to everyone who has already completed the survey. If you haven’t yet done so, 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

Over $1 billion in support from the federal government will be made available to small businesses and startups

Prime Minister Trudeau announced over $1 billion in support for small businesses and startups that have not qualified for the Emergency Business Business Account (CEBA) and federal wage subsidy.

On Friday, the Prime Minister said that $962 million will be made available to regional and community development agencies and the Community Futures Network, which will help small and medium-sized businesses that do not qualify for CEBA, especially for those in rural communities.In addition, $270 million will be given to Futurpreneur – an organization that supports startups and young entrepreneurs in Canada – helping startups that are not eligible for the wage subsidy.

Read more in this government news brief.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will expand to help more Canadians, such as those who are earning some income, seasonal workers and those who have EI running out, as they face continued economic hardship from the pandemic.

Individuals earning $1,000 or less a month, such as freelancers, can now apply to the program.

In addition, individuals who have lost or been running out of money from EI since applying on January 1, can now apply for CERB. Those who would rely on seasonal work, but can no longer find employment because of the pandemic will also have access to the emergency benefit.

Federal government offering rent assistance for businesses and expanding loans qualifications

On April 16, Prime Minister Trudeau announced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program, which is meant to help small businesses and commercial property holders pay rent for April, May, and June.

According to the Office of the Prime Minister’s news release, the rent assistance program will seek to provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June.

Implementation of the program will require a partnership between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships. The federal government is working with the provinces and territories to increase rent support for businesses that are most impacted by the pandemic and will have more details to share soon.

The Prime Minister also announced the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) that was launched in March, offering $40,000 loans for small and medium-sized businesses will be expanded to help more residents.

Businesses that had a total payroll in 2019 of $20,000 to $1.5 million will now be eligible for loans. Before the requirements were $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll.

Learn more about the CEBA. Small businesses and not-for-profits should contact their financial institution to apply for these loans.

COVID-19 support service launched for B.C. businesses

On April 16, the BC government announced a new BC Business COVID-19 Support Service that will serve as a single point of contact for businesses throughout the province looking for information on resources available during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The BC Business COVID-19 Support Service will be operated by Small Business BC (SBBC). The service 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. 

Starting on Thursday, April 16, 2020, advisors are available Monday to Friday, from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm (Pacific time) and Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at 1-833-254-4357. 

Inquiries can also be emailed to covid@smallbusinessbc.ca, or raised on the live-chat feature available on SBBC’s dedicated website.

SBBC’s dedicated website will include announcements from industry and community partners, as well as a variety of resources, including webinars and practical tools. In addition, SBBC will continue to provide its usual service, like access to expert business advisors, educational services, and free resources in the context of COVID-19.

For more information on the B.C. Business COVID-19 Support Service, including access to the dedicated website and resources area, visit: https://covid.smallbusinessbc.ca

BC reducing most commercial property tax bills

On April 16, the BC government announced new COVID-19 supports for businesses and local governments.

The Province is reducing most commercial property tax bills by an average of 25%, and introducing new measures to support local governments facing temporary revenue shortfalls as a result of COVID-19.

The actions announced yesterday include:

  • Further reducing the school property tax rate for commercial properties to achieve an average 25% reduction in the total property tax bill for most businesses, providing up to $700 million in relief. This enhances the 50% reduction to the provincial school property tax rate that was originally announced for classes 4, 5, and 6 as part of BC’s COVID-19 Action Plan.
  • Postponing the date that late payment penalties apply for commercial properties in classes 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 to October 1, 2020.
  • Authorizing local governments to borrow, interest-free, from their existing capital reserves to help pay for operating expenses.
  • Delaying provincial school tax remittances until the end of the year. This will provide significant relief to local governments facing cash flow issues.
  • Providing local governments greater flexibility to carry debt for an additional year.

Find the full backgrounder at the bottom of the news release.
Read more about BC’s COVID-19 Action Plan.

BDL Update

BDL has shared with us the following system update:

We want to first, sincerely thank you for your continued support and patience with us. We understand the challenges faced on our organization as a result of the cyber-attack impacted our online systems and temporarily influenced your own operating processes. Short term measures were introduced to alleviate the current situation as we worked tirelessly to resolve. We are pleased to inform you of our developments.

We have made a tremendous amount of progress over the past week deploying new technology across all our operations that were impacted. While we remain positive and continue diligently working forward, it will take a little more time for us to resume to a normal operating state. We want to ask for your continued patience as we reconcile and audit our systems appropriately to ensure accuracy.

At this time, we ask that you continue to contact your Labatt and Molson Sales Representative. The Brewer will then send the order to BDL who will merge the order from the brewers for processing and shipment. We are offering a limited number of products from each brewer in layer or half pallet quantity. We also have available our entire portfolio of products in full pallet quantities. Customers will be asked to sign a document on receipt and will retain a copy for their records. Billing will occur once our system is back online.

Our intention to provide you with an update at the end of the week so you’re made aware of our ongoing progress.  

We appreciate your patience and understanding.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call our contact center at 1-800-661-2337 or email bdl@bdl.ca.

Helpful Links and Resources

New resources, tools, and other content are being created at a rapid rate to support businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.

Here are some helpful links we have recently come across:

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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