August 21, 2020

Dear ABLE BC Members and Industry Colleagues,

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

  • ABLE BC Membership Renewals
  • New updates: federal support programs
  • Applications open for enhanced Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
  • Applications open for CECRA extension
  • ABLE BC webinar on August 26: Violence prevention and conflict resolution in the workplace
  • Reminder: apply for temporary layoff extension by August 25
  • Resource: guidance on suspected COVID-19 case in workplace
  • Provincial State of Emergency extended
  • LDB Wholesale Survey: improving pricing process

Find all past COVID-19 updates here.

ABLE BC Membership Renewals

Earlier this month, we mailed out our 2020-21 membership renewals. If you haven’t received your renewal package, please contact Danielle:

It has now been six months since the global COVID-19 pandemic began wreaking havoc on Canada’s economy and disrupting our way of life. We certainly don’t need to tell you that BC’s hospitality industry was hit first – and hit hardest – by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Unfortunately, this crisis is far from over. We won’t know the true economic costs of this pandemic for many months. We have a lot more work to do if our industry is to weather this storm – the worst in several generations. No matter what happens next, please know we will always be in your corner, fighting on your behalf. 

Since the start of the pandemic, ABLE BC has been working hard every single day to advocate for your interests, protect your businesses, and help ensure the survival of our industry. 

In the past few months alone, we’ve helped ensure that liquor retail was declared an “essential service” and secured discounted wholesale pricing for our LP members. Please download our COVID-19 advocacy report for more information.

We know many businesses have been dramatically impacted by this crisis – the association has been too. As our continued ability to advocate on your behalf and push for change depends on your membership, we would sincerely appreciate prompt payment of your membership dues

Thank you to all those members who have already paid their renewal invoices. If you have any questions or concerns about your membership, please contact Danielle:

New updates: federal support programs

On August 20, the federal government announced updates to COVID-19 financial support programs, including increased access to EI and new recovery benefits.

Simplified Employment Insurance Program and CERB Extended

As we safely restart Canada’s economy, the Government of Canada will be transitioning to a simplified Employment Insurance (EI) program, effective September 27, 2020, to provide income support to those who remain unable to work and are eligible.

While the Government prepares for this transition, and to ensure support continues for Canadians whose employment has been impacted by the pandemic, the CERB will be extended by an additional four weeks, providing a new maximum of up to 28 weeks of benefits.

Here are the key changes to EI:

  • 120 hours of work in 2020 required to qualify
  • Minimum benefit rate of $400 per week
  • At least 26 weeks of regular benefits

Learn more.

Canada Recovery Benefit 

Effective September 27th, 2020 for one year, the Canada Recovery Benefit provides a benefit of $400 per week, for up to 26 weeks, to workers who are not eligible for EI. This will mainly support the self-employed and those working in the gig economy. 

Learn more

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit

The new Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit would provide $500 per week, for up to two weeks, effective September 27, 2020 for one year, for workers who are unable to work because they are sick or must self-isolate due to COVID-19. 

Learn more.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit

The new Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit, effective from September 27, 2020 for one year, would provide $500 per week, for up to 26 weeks per household to eligible Canadians.

Learn more.

Applications open for enhanced Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

On August 17, the Canada Revenue Agency opened applications for Period 5 (July 5 to August 1) of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) – the first period of the enhanced CEWS program.

In a release on Monday, Minister of National Revenue Diane Lebouthillier said the changes under the enhanced federal program include the following:

  • The extension of the CEWS, including redesigned program details, until November 21, 2020.
  • Increased eligibility, meaning that all eligible employers who’ve experienced a revenue drop can now qualify for a base subsidy. The subsidy amount is based on the revenue drop.
  • Employers who are especially hard-hit can qualify for a top-up of up to 25%.
  • More certainty for employers that have already made business decisions for July and August, by ensuring they will not receive a subsidy rate lower than they would have under the previous rules.

Eligible employers can apply for Period 5 of the CEWS through My Business Account or through the CRA’s online application. Those who have registered their business payroll accounts for direct deposit can generally expect to receive subsidy payments within three to five business days.

Learn more and apply.

Applications open for CECRA extension

Effective August 18, businesses who have already submitted a Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) application for the period of April – June can now log back into the online portal and opt-in for an extension of either the month of July, or for July and August.

If you have not yet submitted an application for the period of April – June, when submitting an application you will have the option of opting-in for an extension of either the month of July, or July and August, at the same time. No additional documents are required to opt-in for an extension. 

You will be asked to make certain confirmations and agree to certain terms and conditions.

Learn more and apply.

ABLE BC webinar on August 26: Violence prevention and conflict resolution in the workplace

go2HR, in collaboration with the BCHA and ABLE BC, is pleased to offer the following webinar:

Violence Prevention & Conflict Resolution in the WorkplaceWednesday, August 26 from 1:00 to 2:00pm PDT

Facilitated by Phil Eastwood, a leading expert in workplace violence and conflict resolution, this session will include:

  • An overview of the history of violence prevention in British Columbia, current WorkSafeBC regulations and the legal responsibilities that they place on employers across the province.
  • The proactive steps that those in the tourism and hospitality industry can take to minimize and mitigate risks and hazards that their staff are exposed to, with a focus on issues surrounding physical distancing policies and the wearing of face masks.
  • The role and legal responsibilities of employees, front-line supervisors and managers will be examined.
  • Risk assessing using traditional methods and recent advances in ‘Visual Literacy’ will be explored, as well as a discussion on preventative and best-practice training methods.
  • The 5 Myths regarding Workplace Conflict
  • 5 things that managers and supervisors can do right now to support their staff when they are faced with COVID-19 related aggression
  • Verbal Judo: A proven de-escalation technique

Who Should Attend: this complimentary session is ideally suited to owners, managers, supervisors, health and safety and human resource professionals in the tourism and hospitality industry

Duration: 45 minutes, with 15 minutes Q&A to follow

Register: register now and submit your questions no later than 12:00PM PDT, Tuesday, August 25.

Once registered, a Zoom link and instructions will be sent a day prior to the webinar.

Reminder: apply for temporary layoff extensions

Workers and employers who need to extend temporary layoffs beyond the August 30, 2020, expiry date are reminded to apply for a variance using the Employment Standards Branch’s new online application by August 25.

In July 2020, the Ministry of Labour launched a simplified variance application process to help businesses navigate the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic more easily.

Employers are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. An application deadline is set for August 25, 2020, for workers and employers to jointly apply for an extension, to ensure that all applications will be processed by the August 30 expiry date.

The new two-step online application simplifies and streamlines the process for employers and workers to jointly apply for an extension by allowing documents and signatures to be submitted electronically.

First, employers must reach out to their workforce to ensure they have more than 50% support from workers before applying. Workers will receive information about the variance, including their rights under the Employment Standards Act, and will be able to voice their support using the online tool. Once worker support is documented, employers can complete the online form and submit directly to the Employment Standards Branch.

Under BC Employment Standards Act, temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 can last up to 24 weeks, or until August 30, 2020, before the layoff becomes permanent. 

Government encourages employers to submit their variance applications now to avoid permanent staff layoffs and compensation for length of service to eligible workers upon the expiry of the COVID-19 emergency layoff period August 30.

For more information please read:

Resource: guidance on suspected COVID-19 case in workplace

Download this free flow chart for guidance on what to do if you have a suspected COVID-19 case in the workplace.

For additional COVID-19 resources visit: 

Provincial State of Emergency Extended

On August 18, 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 September 1, 2020, to allow government to continue to take the necessary actions to keep British Columbians safe and manage immediate concerns, such as recent outbreaks in some areas of the province.

LDB Wholesale Survey: improving pricing process

The BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) is embarking on an initiative to make its product pricing process more efficient and to improve the customer experience:

“We are exploring opportunities to modernize our systems and automate pricing updates for our suppliers and agents that would allow them to make changes to their products’ prices in a more time-efficient manner, enabling increased ability to respond to market demands.

The first step in the initial planning phase is to gather information from stakeholders and customers that will help guide our decision making going forward. 

Please complete the appropriate survey below. It will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Questions explore the current process and the challenges faced by all stakeholders when undertaking a price change for products registered with LDB Wholesale. 

Agents & Suppliers Survey

Wholesale Customers Survey

Please note the deadline for completing the survey is 5:00 pm on Friday, August 28, 2020.

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