April 02, 2020

Dear ABLE BC Members and Industry Colleagues, 

The COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve rapidly and we’re working hard to get answers for you.

Included in today’s email you will find: 

  • BDL Update: Current Ordering Procedure
  • Looking to re-open your Liquor Primaries for take-out and delivery?
  • New provincial guidelines to support compliance with orders on business closures and gatherings
  • BC taking further action to support essential service providers during pandemic
  • 10 things small businesses can do to help address cash flow issues
  • Supply Products and Services to Support BC’s COVID-19 Response 
  • No-Cost Ways to Cut Your Energy Costs In Uncertain Times

Please continue to send your questions by email to ABLE BC: 
jeff@ablebc.ca or danielle@ablebc.ca

Find all past updates from ABLE BC here.

BDL Update: Current Ordering Procedure

BDL has shared with us the following update for BC licensees on current ordering procedures: 

As a BDL customer, we value your continued support. We understand the present challenges facing our systems have likely impacted your ability to use our online systems and integrate seamlessly with us. We are adjusting our ordering procedures to accommodate.

To place an order in the short term, please contact your Labatt and Molson Sales Representative. The Brewer will then send it 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 full or half 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. Orders placed on the website and the order desk in the last 5 days are kept on the backlog and will be processed once system is online. 

We are working tirelessly to resolve these issues in the back end and hope to return to our normal operating procedures as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

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

Looking to re-open your Liquor Primaries for take-out and delivery?

As you know, at this time there are strict Public Health Directives about how Liquor Primaries are allowed to operate. All on-premise service is currently prohibited, and LPs may only open for take-out and delivery of meals (including pre-packaged liquor with meals). LPs with off-sales endorsements are also allowed to keep their retail premise open. 

If you are currently planning to re-open your LP to offer take out and/or delivery service in accordance with this Provincial Health Officer Order, the LDB has asked that you inform them you will be re-opening prior to placing your first liquor order. 

Please contact the Wholesale Customer Centre 24-48 hours before placing your first liquor order. Giving the LDB a head’s up will help them ensure they can coordinate the logistics of your shipment more efficiently and help avoid any unnecessarily delays.

New provincial guidelines to support compliance with orders on business closures and gatherings

On April 1, the BC government released new provincial guidelines to support compliance with orders on business closures and gatherings.

These new guidelines for municipal bylaw officers and other compliance officers give clear instruction on warnings, public education and fines – and what can be issued by whom – to make sure there is compliance with the Provincial Health Officer’s orders and, if necessary, they are enforced consistently throughout BC communities.

To strengthen compliance and enforcement measures, the Province will redeploy provincial compliance staff from other ministries to support local governments under the direction of the PHO. This includes liquor and cannabis control and licensing inspectors, gambling enforcement and investigations officers, and community safety personnel.

In short: Bylaw enforcement officers can’t detain or fine people under the act, but they can help public health officers by monitoring places that are closed because of a public health order, give warnings to individuals and businesses who are breaking the rules and report contraventions to health officials. Any enforcement is up to the public health officer or local medical health officer.

Local bylaw and other compliance officers can, however, provide enforcement assistance for the PHO’s orders by:

  • monitoring facilities and areas closed to the public by a public health order;
  • providing warnings, information and advice to businesses and members of the public about public health orders, including warnings to businesses and members of the public who may be acting in contravention of a public health order; and
  • providing information on potential contraventions of a public health order for followup by health authorities.

Compliance officers will provide public health agencies with recommendations and advice on whether further action is necessary. Any enforcement will be at the direction of the PHO or local medical health officer.

Read this Ministry of Health Compliance and Enforcement factsheet for more information on:

  • What guidance is being provided to municipal bylaw officers and other compliance officers
  • The role of compliance and enforcement officers
  • The Provincial Health Officer orders currently in effect 
  • What compliance and enforcement officers will be monitoring when it comes to businesses (see pages 6-7)

BC taking further action to support essential service providers during pandemic

On April 2, the BC Government announced they are taking steps to protect those providing essential services by ensuring they cannot be held liable for damages caused by exposure to COVID-19 while continuing to operate, so long as they are complying with orders from the provincial health officer and other authorities.

The order is being introduced because a number of essential service business owners identified challenges with their insurance as a result of the pandemic. The changes government is implementing are intended to assist with some of these concerns.

Essential service providers who are not compliant with respective authorities or who are grossly negligent will not receive protection under the order and will be held liable for damages

The order only applies to situations related to COVID-19 and will remain in effect for as long as the state of emergency remains in place. Additionally, it will continue to protect essential service providers until any relevant limitation periods have expired.

Note: a copy of the order is not yet available. We will share with you more details when it is.

A full list of BC’s Essential Services can be found here. Liquor retail stores and restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food (if operating under rules for social and physical distancing or other recommendations from the PHO), are included on the list.

10 things small businesses can do to help cash flow

In their newsletter yesterday, our industry partner TIABC shared 10 things small businesses can do to help cash flow during COVID-19 (information gathered from a Greater Vancouver Board of Trade webinar). We thought the information may also be helpful for you:

  1. Prepare for the federal application process: ensure your CRA business account is set up ASAP and that direct deposit is set up correctly.
  2. Take advantage of provincial tax deferments: defer PST and Employer Health Tax payments to September 30.
  3. Take advantage of federal tax deferments but continue to file your returns: the CRA will allow all businesses to defer, until the end of June 2020, any GST/HST payments or remittances that become owing on or after March 27th and before June 2020. This means that no interest will apply if your payments or remittances are made by the end of June. The deadline for businesses to file their returns is unchanged. 

    The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer, until August 31st, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments.
  4. Explore payment options with BC Hydro: defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty. Small businesses that have been forced to close due to COVID-19 will have their power bills forgiven for three months. BC Hydro is waiving bills for these customers from April to June 2020.
  5. Defer ICBC payments for 90 days: you must use the ICBC online tool to request the deferral. Do this at least one business day before your insurance is due.
  6. Explore the Canada Emergency Business Account: up to $40,000 loan, interest free for one year through financial institutions, but fully backed by the federal government. For some businesses, up to $10,000 may be forgivable. The program will likely become available next week.
  7. Explore your eligibility for the Federal Wage Subsidy Program: 
    • Eligible employers who suffer a drop in gross revenues of at least 30% in March, April or May, when compared to the same month/s in 2019, will be able to access the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. However, there is no clear guideline yet for businesses that just opened in 2020 or for seasonal businesses that are typically closed in March, April and May.
    • The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy would apply at a rate of 75% of the first $58,700 normally earned by employees – representing a benefit of up to $847 per week. The program would be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020.
    • Employers who cannot show a drop in revenue of at least 30% can still apply for the wage subsidy of 10% – the Temporary Wage Subsidy – paid from March 18 to before June 20, 2020.
  8. Defer individual tax payments: For individuals, the deadline to file taxes is now June 1.  But this is only an advantage if you expect to owe taxes. Do not delay if you expect a refund. If you do owe taxes after this later filing date, you will now have until August 31, 2020 to make the payment.
  9. Check if your municipality is offering any tax deferral options
  10. Share information about the employment benefits available to your staff:
    • Canada Emergency Response Benefit: Provides $2,000 per month for four months to any workers who have lost their income for reasons related to COVID-19 including reasons of sickness, quarantine, taking care of those with COVID-19 as well as working parents needing to stay at home with children. This applies to wage earners, contract workers, and self employed individuals. Applications for this benefit will begin April 6th at the earliest, with payments to Canadians set for April 16th.
    • BC Emergency Benefit for Workers: Tax-free one-time payment of $1,000 to British Columbians (EI-eligible and non-EI eligible) whose ability to work has been impacted by COVID-19, to be aligned with federal government program.
    • New COVID-19 leave: Employees who are unable to work due to COVID-19 related reasons are permitted to take unpaid, job-protected leave. This is retroactive to January 27th.

Supply Products and Services to Support BC’s COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 virus has resulted in an unprecedented consumption of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the healthcare system. BC’s suppliers and manufacturers are doing their part, stepping up to relieve the possible shortages of these products. 

The challenge is there has been no single effective way for suppliers to understand the most pressing product needs and specifications, become newly certified, or for the Health Authorities to efficiently evaluate the overwhelming number of proposals being received. 

In an effort to facilitate fast and effective supply chain and procurement protocols, the Business Council, the Digital Technology Supercluster and Traction on Demand have been working with the BC Health Services Authority on a solution. This important initiative has resulted in a system to triage the many and diverse inquiries to ensure that qualified suppliers can connect directly with key provincial institutions and organizations.

The solution: the COVID19 Supply Hub is now live.

While this may not apply to your business, we encourage you to share this information with your business and personal networks so we can reach as many potential suppliers as possible.

No-Cost Ways to Cut Your Energy Costs In Uncertain Times

Sustainable Tourism 2030 has teamed up with local BC-utility companies, FortisBC and BC Hydro, and are offering free energy assessments for businesses in the Thompson Okanagan region. If you are a business in the Thompson Okanagan region, contact Sustainable Tourism 2030 to schedule your free energy assessment.

If you are outside of the Thompson-Okanagan region, fear not. They’ve compiled a list of no-cost tips for cutting your energy costs during times of reduced levels of operation or temporary closures.

Find the list of tips here.

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 goHR

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

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