June 26, 2020

Dear ABLE BC Members and Industry Colleagues, 

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

  • Temporary layoff provisions extended to August 30, 2020
  • BC enters Phase 3 of Restart Plan
  • New BC Economic Stabilization Act
  • City of Victoria announces open air recovery plan
  • City of Vancouver Public Hearing on June 30: patios on private property
  • City of Vancouver passes motion for legal alcohol consumption in some public areas
  • BC Restart and Recovery Survey and Virtual Town Halls
  • Small Business BC PPE Marketplace
  • Eco Sanitizer: Hand gel and more
  • BC Hospitality Foundation Online Auction

Find all past updates from ABLE BC here.

As always, if you have any additional questions or need to reach us you can email: jeff@ablebc.ca or danielle@ablebc.ca.

Temporary layoff provisions extended to August 30, 2020

This morning, the Province finally announced it will be extending the temporary layoffs provisions to a maximum of 24 weeks, expiring on August 30, 2020.

This new timeline aligns with the extended Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which extends to a maximum of 24 weeks.

For an individual business where circumstances necessitate a further extension of the temporary layoff provisions, an employer can apply for a variance under Section 72 of the Employment Standards Act.  

Government says: “The extension will give employers and workers additional flexibility to support economic recovery in the province with the expectation that businesses honour their obligations to workers and reach agreement with their employees in the event a further extension is required.”

As you know, ABLE BC and other leading business associations in BC have been pushing the provincial government for months to extend the temporary layoffs provisions.

Being forced to pay severance to workers laid off because businesses were closed due to province-wide Public Health Orders never made sense, and would have forced many businesses into bankruptcy. 

Although it should not have taken a united front from BC’s business community to make this happen, we are extremely grateful government has heard our concerns and taken action. This extension will now give BC’s businesses the time they need to restart operations, bring workers back, and help restart our economy.

For more information please read: 

BC enters Phase 3 of Restart Plan

On June 24, the Premier announced BC is now entering Phase 3 of the four-phase restart plan. Notably, this phase includes the safe and respectful return of travel and tourism within the province.

British Columbians who wish to travel within BC this summer are advised to plan ahead and be respectful while visiting communities, especially smaller and rural towns. The provincial health officer has laid out travel guidelines for everyone travelling to and within BC.

WorkSafeBC, public health officials, and industry representatives have developed guidelines for hotels and resorts, parks, the film industry and select entertainment, like movie theatres, and businesses in these sectors have already begun to open with COVID-19 safety plans in place.

The government has also 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 July 7, 2020, allowing government to continue to take the necessary steps to keep British Columbians safe.

On Monday, June 22, 2020, government introduced the COVID-19 Related Measures Act, legislation to allow provisions created for citizens and businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to continue as needed after the provincial state of emergency ends.

For more information please read:

New BC Economic Stabilization Act

On June 24, the Province introduced new legislation confirming supports for people and businesses, while responding to the fiscal impacts of COVID-19 by allowing government to run deficit budgets.

The amendments introduced authorize deficit budgets for the next three years, while the Province supports economic recovery from COVID-19. 
Additionally, the amendments allow government to continue to table supplementary estimates before the legislative assembly. The amendments also clarify the existing limits and uses of special warrants while the legislative assembly is not in session to maintain essential services and respond to provincial emergencies and disasters like a pandemic. 

The Economic Stabilization Act brings the BC Emergency Benefit for Workers into law and updates the eligibility date to March 1, 2020. 

The change will allow people whose income is affected by COVID-19 and who filed federal employment insurance claims between March 1 and March 15 to benefit from the support. The application for these individuals will be available as of June 26, 2020.

The legislation introduced also confirms many of the previously announced supports for people and business from the COVID-19 Action Plan. Read more about these supports here.

City of Victoria announces open air recovery plan

The Victoria City Council recently unveiled an Open Air Recovery Plan which, once implemented, will allow businesses to sell their products and set up patios in public spaces such as “squares, plazas, and streets.” The Council hopes that this plan will help aid economic recovery while also following public health guidelines.

According to Victoria City Councillor Jeremy Loveday, who sponsored the motion along with Mayor Lisa Helps, the push for the Open Air Recovery Plan came from hospitality industry groups – including ABLE BC – across the province, and has received support from local businesses as well as citizens who are anxious for the return of a sense of normalcy.

As you may recall, in May ABLE BC, the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association, BC Craft Brewers Guild, and the BC Wine Institute wrote jointly to municipalities across the province to outline the challenges our members face as they attempt to re-open following months of closure or limited operation.

Our main recommendation, which is included in the Open Air Recovery Plan, is that municipalities should create and expand patio space, as well as permit dining, liquor service, and manufacturer’s sampling in public spaces. 

These recommendations have also been adopted by the City of Vancouver, which has directed city staff to look at how patios can be developed, expanded, and permitted to support the economic recovery of the hospitality sector.

City of Vancouver Public Hearing on June 30: patios on private property

The City of Vancouver is holding a Public Hearing (electronically) on June 30 at 3:00 pm. 

The hearing will provide an opportunity to speak to proposed amendments to the Zoning and Development By-law to temporarily allow patios for businesses on private property until October 31, 2020 on sites where patios are currently not permitted and are deemed suitable by the Director of Planning. 

For more details on the proposed amendments please read the Council report.

How to participate in the public hearing: 

City of Vancouver passes motion for legal alcohol consumption in some public areas

After shutting down the idea earlier this month, the City of Vancouver will be allowing alcohol consumption in select public areas.

The initial motion, which was voted on June 2, failed to pass. City Council reconsidered the motion on Tuesday night, however, after Councillor Lisa Dominato brought forward the idea to reconsider the vote.

The motion was ultimately passed, with city staff being directed to develop a bylaw that includes designated areas and a framework around the pilot project.

We will share more details on this issue as they become available.

BC Restart and Recovery Survey and Virtual Town Halls

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged and changed our province. Across BC, we have been touched by job loss and change, health concerns, worries about how our families and communities can cope, and increasing uncertainty about the future. As we plan our recovery, the choices we make in the coming weeks and months can help us build an economy – and a province – that works for everyone.

Have your say by completing this BC Government online survey.

The survey will be open until July 21st at 4 pm (PDT) and should take under 10 minutes to complete.

Government is also hosting two upcoming town halls to discuss recovery in the province:

Virtual Town Hall on Building BC’s Recovery with Finance Minister Carole James and host MLA Bowinn MA: June 25 at 12:00 pm. Join the live event on Facebook.

Virtual Town Hall on Supporting Small Business with Minister Michelle Mungall and CEO of Small Business BC Tom Conway: June 13 at 12:00 pm. Join the live event on Facebook.

Small Business BC PPE Marketplace

Small Business BC has created a Non-Medical PPE Marketplace to connect businesses with suppliers of non-medical safety equipment.

Click here to view the PPE Marketplace. You’ll be able to see suppliers, filter by BC-based companies and see who has gloves, counter-guards, sanitizer and everything else you need to operate safely.

Eco Sanitizer: Hand gel and more

Eco Sanitizer has pivoted considerably during the pandemic and is offering Hand Sanitizer Gels, Liquids, and Hard Surface Disinfectants. 

They are locally bottling in Burnaby at their own plant, all products are hypoallergenic and fragrance free, and Eco Sanitizer is Health Canada Approved for all products.

The company is also a dealer for Electrostatic Fogging Equipment and Hand Sanitizer Wall Mounts and Stands, both of which are in stock. 

For more information and to place an order, please visit their website or download the Eco Sanitizer product catalogue.

BC Hospitality Foundation Online Auction

The BC Hospitality Foundation is hosting an online silent auction, as part of the Reconnect 2020 event on June 27.

The list of fantastic items to bid on includes:

  • a VIP suite for a game at BC Place
  • a personalized tour and tasting at Mission Hill Family Estate
  • accommodation for 2 in a unique treehouse on Vancouver Island
  • a case of premium BC wines

…and many more great options. The auction will accept bids until June 30 at 6:00 pm. The full list of auction items may be viewed here.

The auction will be featured as part of the Reconnect 2020 event being held at the Harbour Convention Centre on June 27from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

Reconnect 2020 is a hybrid virtual/in-person event focusing on the hospitality, tourism, meeting, conference, and event industries. Click here to learn more about the event, or to purchase tickets (attending by Zoom is FREE and you will be able to interact through chat by joining the ZOOM meeting here). 

The auction is a fundraiser for the BCHF. Our industry’s charity has had to cancel all in-person events for 2020 due to the pandemic, and while numerous businesses in the hospitality industry have stepped up to help the BCHF, their initiatives won’t make up for the lost revenue.

Thanks for supporting the BCHF in the past. If you choose to participate in the auction, good luck!

For more information:

Public Health Agency of Canada Website

Updates from the Government of British Columbia

Updates and Resources from WorkSafeBC

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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