May 14, 2021

Dear ABLE BC Members and Industry Colleagues,

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

  • ABLE BC update: indoor dining restrictions
  • Vaccinations for Fraser Valley and Vancouver Coastal Health Region hospitality workers
  • COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave in BC
  • Join ABLE BC at our monthly Q&A: May 27
  • WorkSafeBC Webinar Tomorrow: COVID-19 and the Food Services Industry in Northern BC
  • go2HR survey for tourism and hospitality industry employers
  • Provincial state of emergency extended
  • John Furlong talk: Vision and Inspiration for Today’s Service Industry
  • Unpaid COVID-19 fines may lead to driver’s, vehicle license denial
  • Summer 2021 issue of the Quarterly Pour is out
  • Apply now for your permanent service area extension

Find all past COVID-19 updates here.

ABLE BC update: indoor dining restrictions

With the indoor dining restrictions currently set to expire at midnight on May 24, 2021, we know many of you have questions if the restrictions will be extended.

ABLE BC and our industry partners have been in regular conversation with the Provincial Health Officer and her team about this. We’ve repeatedly expressed the need for advance notice if government plans to extend restrictions, as well as clear data indicating why they have chosen to do so.

We are meeting with Deputy Provincial Health Officer Dr. Brian Emerson on Tuesday to get further clarity around reopening our industry. We’ve requested target dates, a clear reopening plan, and additional data on COVID-19 transmissions. ABLE BC will send out an update on Tuesday following the meeting.

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

Vaccinations for Fraser Valley and Vancouver Coastal Health Region hospitality workers

All hospitality workers in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Valley Health regions are now eligible to receive vaccinations regardless of age.

Both health authorities have created a front-of-line booking link with access codes for you to pass onto your employees.

Vancouver Coastal Health 

Fraser Health

We understand this prioritization is for frontline hospitality and hotel workers. ABLE BC has again requested that retail workers be included, as we have been requesting for the past several months. We will report back as soon as there is movement on this issue.

More than 50% of population vaccinated

Yesterday, government announced more than 50% of all eligible people in BC have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Building on that momentum, Premier John Horgan is calling for everyone to register for vaccination and help friends, family and neighbours to do the same.

Once people are registered, they will get an email or text notification when it is their turn to book an appointment. Anyone not already registered should register now in one of three ways:

  • 24/7
  • Online: https://gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated
  • Through a provincial call centre between 7 am and 7 pm (Pacific time) at 1-833-838-2323
  • In person at the nearest Service BC location

People who do not have a personal health number can register by phone or in person. 

COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave in BC

On May 11, the BC government tabled legislation that will provide workers with access to a paid COVID-19 sick leave program that will support them to stay home if they are sick during the pandemic. 

The legislation also sets out a permanent paid sick leave, to come into effect January 1, 2022. More details are forthcoming, but here is what we know so far: 

COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave

Once introduced into legislation, amendments to the BC Employment Standards Act will see the addition of three (3) days of paid sick leave related to COVID-19 (e.g. experiencing symptoms, self-isolating and waiting for a test result). 

  • This benefit will come into effect in June 2021
  • This is a reimbursement program. Employers will be required to pay workers their full wages and the Province will reimburse employers who don’t have an existing sick leave program up to $200 per day, per worker to cover costs. 
  • Employers that have a highly paid workforce, but do not already have paid sick leave, will be required to cover any remaining wages owed above $200 for each COVID-19 sick day taken.
  • WorkSafeBC will administer the reimbursements, on behalf of the province

Permanent Paid Sick Leave

In addition, this legislation will also create a permanent paid sick leave for workers who cannot work due to any illness or injury, beginning January 1, 2022.  The details of this program (number of paid sick days and other supports) have yet to be determined through consultations with the business community, labour organizations, Indigenous partners and other stakeholders.

Note from ABLE BC:

We know many of you have questions about how the program will be rolled out and how reimbursements will work. We are working to get answers for you now, but the legislation is still being worked out.

While we appreciate that government is covering the cost of this sick leave in the short-term, we know that cashflow is a significant concern for many of you. To minimize the impact on our hard-hit industry, government needs to ensure the refund process is rapid and seamless. 

We are also deeply concerned about government’s long-term plan to introduce permanent paid sick leave, which will add significant costs to businesses struggling to survive the pandemic. Rest assured we will be engaging with government on this issue in the days ahead.

The Coalition of BC Businesses, of which ABLE BC is a member, released a press release on May 11 expressing some of these concerns. Read it here.

Join ABLE BC at our monthly Q&A: May 27

ABLE BC members and industry colleagues are invited to join us at our next monthly Q&A with Executive Director Jeff Guignard: Thursday, May 27 at 10:00 am PT. 

RSVP: danielle@ablebc.ca. A Zoom link will be provided once you RSVP.

What to expect during this one-hour meeting: 

  • Catch up on anything you’ve missed over the last month
  • Hear directly from our Executive Director about the state of BC’s liquor industry
  • Get an update on our advocacy work and progress
  • Ask questions about liquor policy, regulations, public health orders, and government relations
  • We’ll also be joined by members of ABLE BC’s Board of Directors 

WorkSafeBC Webinar Tomorrow: COVID-19 and the Food Services Industry in Northern BC

WorkSafeBC invites you to a webinar on COVID-19 workplace health and safety, focused specifically on the food services industry in British Columbia’s Northern Health Region. 

The region includes, but is not limited, to: Valemount, Prince George, Quesnel, Vanderhoof, Mackenzie, Dawson Creek, Fort St-John, Terrace, Prince Rupert, Smithers, Burns Lake, Houston, and the Queen Charlotte Islands. 

Event details: 

  • Date: Friday, May 14, 2021
  • Time: 10:00 to 11:00 am
  • Link: To be emailed following registration

 Speakers:

  • Sylvie Stekelenburg, Prevention Field Services Manager, Prince George region, WorkSafeBC 
  • Daisy Tam, North Interior Environmental Health Team Lead
  • Ali More, Northeast Environmental Health Team Lead

To register for this event:

  • Please email your name and organization to Julie.Quartly@worksafebc.com and you will be sent a calendar invite with a link to the webinar.

go2HR survey for tourism and hospitality industry employers

Are you an employer in the BC Tourism and Hospitality Industry? go2HR wants to hear from you! 

Complete the go2HR awareness survey today and provide your input. All it takes is a few short minutes and your response will be anonymous and confidential. Once completed, you’ll be entered into a draw for some cool prizes. 

Take the survey.

Provincial state of emergency extended

The Province of British Columbia has formally extended the provincial state of emergency, allowing health and emergency management officials to continue to use extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act (EPA) to support the Province’s COVID-19 pandemic response.

The state of emergency is extended through the end of the day on May 25, 2021, to allow staff to take the necessary actions to keep British Columbians safe and manage immediate concerns and COVID-19 outbreaks.

John Furlong talk: Vision and Inspiration for Today’s Service Industry

ABLE BC members and staff are invited to join the Terminal City Club for an online event with John Furlong: Tuesday, May 21 from 10:00 am to 11:00 am PT.

Vision and Inspiration for Today’s Service Industry

John Furlong, OC, OBC is a well-known figure in British Columbia and Canada. Following his 14 years as CEO of the Arbutus Club in Vancouver, he has been widely credited as the man who brought the Olympics back to Canada as President and CEO of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). 

Although overseeing the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games was surely a high point of his career thus far, John is and has been involved in sports organizations and community service at all levels for decades. In this address, intended for hourly staff of Private Clubs, John will share his perspective to help bring back vision and inspiration to those who have worked so hard over the past year to keep our businesses afloat in the midst of a global pandemic.  

Join the event here. No advance registration required.

Unpaid COVID-19 fines may lead to driver’s, vehicle license denial

People who leave COVID-19 fines unpaid may be unable to obtain or renew a BC driver’s licence or vehicle licence under proposed legislation introduced on May 12.

If passed, proposed amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act will extend “refuse to issue” (RTI) restrictions to fines issued under the Emergency Program Act and COVID-19 Related Measures Act. RTI will apply to all outstanding fines issued under these acts and will be applied retroactively. People with outstanding fines will receive notice of the RTI from ICBC ahead of their driver’s licence expiry and vehicle license renewal. These amendments will come into force on July 1, 2021.

British Columbians will still have payment options available to them:

  • People with COVID-19 fines are able to request the court lower the fine if they lack the means to pay.
  • Repayment arrangements can be requested and will be considered by ICBC depending on financial and hardship needs.
  • RTI decisions can also be appealed to the superintendent of motor vehicles to be reviewed on any grounds including hardship.

For more information, please click here.

Summer 2021 issue of the Quarterly Pour is out

The Summer 2021 Quarterly Pour is now out! Download it here.

Feature articles in this issue:

Apply now for your permanent service area extension

If you have applied for a Temporary Expanded Service Area authorization, the authorizations are currently set to expire on October 31, 2021. If you are planning to make this service area permanent, we strongly recommend you get your application in now.

If the LCRB is reviewing your permanent structural change application, you can still submit a new application for a TESA to follow social distancing requirements within your current occupancy limit.

For more information on permanent structural changes: 

If you need assistance on your application, we recommend working with a liquor licensing consultant. Download ABLE BC’s Buyers’ Guide for a preferred list of service providers.


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