April 09, 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: 

  • Canada Wage Subsidy Change: businesses that show 15% loss in revenue will be eligible
  • What ABLE BC is doing to help: update on advocacy work
  • BDL Update
  • ContainerWorld Update
  • Save Small Business Campaign Update
  • Dimensions correction: 3-way protective cashier shields now available for liquor stores from BWI Business World

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.

Canada Wage Subsidy Change: businesses that show 15% loss in revenue now eligible

This morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced more measures to support businesses and young Canadians taking a financial hit from the global COVID-19 pandemic.

ABLE BC and many other associations and business groups raised the concern with government that the initial criteria for the wage subsidy – including the requirement that a business claiming the subsidy see its revenue decline by 30 per cent compared to the same month in the previous year – would exclude many businesses.

The Prime Minister said that under the proposed new rules businesses can use January and February of 2020 as comparison months to measure their revenue drop – instead of just the same month last year – which should help new or scaled-up businesses qualify.

Another proposed adjustment reduces the required revenue drop to 15 per cent for the month of March, which is expected to capture the many businesses that were forced to shut down midway through that month.
Prime Minister Trudeau also said the government aims to have the wage subsidy program up and running in three weeks.

Legislation for the wage subsidy program must be passed in Parliament, but a date has not yet been set for MPs to be recalled.

Another measure to help small businesses is a government-guaranteed $40,000 loan program. Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced today that the program – which offers 25 per cent of the loan as a non-repayable grant if the rest of the loan is paid off by Dec. 31, 2022 – will be available as of Thursday. The loans will be available through banks and credit unions.

On Monday, applications opened for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. As of today, 1.72 million Canadians have applied.

Trudeau has said there will be adjustments to the program in the coming days to include more people, such as gig workers, contractors, and volunteer firefighters who work 10 or fewer hours per week. He also has promised support for those who continue to work but are making less than they would through CERB.

Trudeau also announced changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program aimed at helping young people get work in sectors that aren’t shut down due to the global pandemic. Read more here.

Note: applications for the Canada Summer Jobs program closed in February. This change seems to only impact those employers who have already applied; we will update you if this changes.

Helpful Links

What ABLE BC is doing to help: update on advocacy work

As you know, the provincial and federal governments continue to roll out financial supports and policy changes aimed at helping Canadians and business owners during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Even though government is working round the clock to implement these programs, we share your frustration that some emergency measures are simply taking too long. We have heard very clearly from you that further delays will lead to more business closures and lost jobs.    

The most significant issues we hear you are facing:

  • Overall lack of liquidity due to lost revenue
  • An inability to pay rent and property taxes
  • Delayed roll-out of Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
  • Concerns that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit will disincentivize employees from working

ABLE BC, along with other industry associations, are working daily with our provincial and federal government partners to address these concerns and help government make adjustments so these programs work for your business.

We are grateful that our government partners have already addressed (at least in part) many of our most serious issues, and have also granted temporary changes to liquor policies to support your businesses directly.  We continue to push for further urgent policy changes, and will update you on our progress in the days ahead.

BDL Update

As you know, on March 25, Brewers Distributor Ltd. (BDL) was subjected to a cyber-attack. Read more about this in our March 26, 2020 email. In our April 2nd email, we shared details of BDL’s current ordering procedure.

Regrettably, BDL continues to experience service interruptions because of the cyber-attack, but is doing everything possible to be fully operational as soon as possible. 

Unfortunately, we don’t foresee BDL being able to expand beyond their current capacity in the short-term. While we understand this is not possible for all licensees, you may want to consider making alternate arrangements in the interim (i.e. working with local craft beer producers and contacting your beer reps directly). 

We are in touch with BDL daily and will continue to update you.

ContainerWorld Update

ContainerWorld has shared with us the following COVID-19 operational update: 

  • Inbound BC domestic winery volumes have levelled off over the past week to normal levels. Similarly, import volumes are at normal levels for this time of the year. 
  • From an import supply and freight point of view, we have received information from our overseas agents that South Africa remains in lock down status halting all non-essential services which includes beverage alcohol production. Europe continues to move steadily.
  • BCLDB ordering remains fairly high, at the same levels as last week. The continuing higher volumes appear to be the result of replenishment due to the high consumer demand experienced by BCLS and private stores. Thanks to ongoing communications and collaboration between ContainerWorld and the BCLDB, any backlogs have been kept to a minimum.
  • Our private distribution channel remains uninterrupted and continues to focus on the LRS, BCLS, and grocery retail channels locations almost exclusively. Case volumes per order levelled off this past week to normal seasonal levels, with the overall number of customer orders trending at lower levels due to the weaker hospitality trade.
  • Keg volumes to the market continue to be low, and some domestic suppliers are now retrieving keg product from storage for return to their brewery.
  • Our Richmond warehouse operation has been experiencing the return to work of some of our isolated team members and absenteeism has been reducing.
  • Our Interior operations (Kamloops and Kelowna) currently remain intact. Our teams continue to work closely with BDL as they work towards normalizing their operations.

Save Small Business Campaign Update

As we shared in our March 23 update, a group of small businesses launched the ‘Save Small business’ petition: calling on government to pause small businesses expenses, so businesses are able to reopen when it’s time to restart the economy.

Over 32,000 small business owners and individuals have since joined the grassroots coalition. 

While the federal government is working hard to make financial support available to businesses, we are all frustrated by how slow things are moving. Save Small Business has launched a new social media campaign to express this frustration.

Learn more about the campaign here.

The Save Small Business petition is also still open and small businesses are encouraged to sign it.

3-way protective cashier shields now available for liquor stores from BWI Business World

ABLE BC long-time associate member BWI Business World now has 3-way protective cashier shields specifically designed for liquor stores.

They offer 4 designs of shields to keep your employees and customers safe: 

2 sizes Custom Built for Liquor & Retail Stores with 13″ H x 15″ W (corrected dimensions) slots specially designed to fit Cases of 15/24 Beer and Large Boxed Wine through.  


30″ H x 30″ W  

30″ H x 42″ W   

2 sizes with smaller slots 9″ H x 10″ H for designed for extra protection:


30″ H x 30″ W

30″ H x 42″ W

For more information: please click here, visit the BWI website, or email Kim Barton: kim@bwibusinessworld.com

ABLE BC apologizes for the typo in yesterday’s email; we wrongly noted the dimensions as 3″ H x 15 ” W (instead of 13″ H x 15 ” W).

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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