October 22, 2020

Dear ABLE BC Members and Industry Colleagues, 

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

  • 2020 Virtual BC Liquor Conference Recap
  • Reminder to complete survey: temporary liquor policy changes for liquor and food primaries
  • ABLE BC Provincial Election Toolkit
  • Tourism and Hospitality Industry Provincial Election Toolkit
  • Federal government announces $12M to support small businesses
  • New tools for tackling winter patios
  • What to do if an employee has been exposed to or may have COVID-19
  • Alcohol will now be allowed year-round at some North Vancouver parks
  • Downtown Vancouver is open for business: DVBIA’s ‘Return to the Office’ campaign

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.

2020 Virtual BC Liquor Conference Recap

On behalf of ABLE BC’s Board of Directors and staff, thank you to the 150+ delegates who attended the fifth annual – and first ever virtual – BC Liquor Conference this week! We hope you enjoyed the event and left with practical tools and tips to implement in your business, and help you throughout this challenging time.

The 2020 BC Liquor Conference featured two days of educational content, virtual networking, and insights from industry experts – including an opening panel with Hon. David Eby on liquor policy changes during the pandemic, the widely popular liquor retail trends panel, a virtual whisky tasty with Victoria Caledonian Distillery, and a closing panel on BC’s provincial election and what’s next for the business world. 

BC Liquor Conference attendees: you will receive a link to the conference survey, session recordings, and session presentations by tomorrow.

For those who were unable to attend the conference live, the session recordings will be available for complimentary and paid download in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

The BC Liquor Conference would not be possible without the generous support of our industry sponsors, partners, and speakers.

Thank you to our conference sponsors for making this event possible: Western Financial GroupLabatt BreweriesContainerWorldArterra Wines CanadaBC Lottery CorporationDolden Wallace FolickEMC PublicationsGlobal Public Affairsgo2HRINEOMark Anthony Wine & SpiritsRising Tide ConsultantsRoyal Bank, and Thrive Liquor & Cannabis Advisors.

Thank you to our industry partners for supporting this event: BC Ale TrailBC Craft Brewers GuildBC Restaurant and Foodservices Association,Canada’s National BrewersCraft Distillers GuildIVSARestaurants CanadaRural Agency Store Advisory SocietySpirits CanadaVintage Law GroupWine Growers British Columbia

Finally, thank you to our conference manager Alana Dickson, Aurillia Consulting for bringing the virtual BC Liquor Conference to life and ensuring you had a smooth online experience.

Reminder to complete survey: temporary policy changes for liquor and food primaries

Since the start of the pandemic, the provincial government has implemented a number of temporary policies to support our industry in this time of crisis.

Please complete this short survey by ABLE BC, BCRFA, and Restaurants Canada about these temporary policies liquor primaries and food primaries.

When government is back in session, this information will be used in our discussions with them to demonstrate the impact of these temporary policies. If you have any questions or concerns about this survey, please contact ABLE BC: info@ablebc.ca.

ABLE BC Provincial Election Toolkit

Download ABLE BC’s Provincial Election Toolkit: an advocacy guide to engaging your candidates and getting your voice heard.

The toolkit includes suggested talking points, our policy priorities, and questions to ask your local candidates.

If you have any other questions or concerns about the election, please contact our Executive Director Jeff Guignard: jeff@ablebc.ca.

Download Toolkit.

We are pleased to see that all three political parties in BC’s election have responded to our serious concerns and recommendations in their election platforms. 

Below are the specific commitments made by the BC Liberals and the BC NDP so far in this campaign. We have also included links to their full platforms.

BC Liberals:

  • Support hospitality businesses by permanently allowing liquor delivery with takeout, wholesale pricing from any liquor store, and streamlined approval of patio and outdoor dining.
  • Cap online food delivery charges by third-party apps at 15 per cent, to support local restaurants [and pubs] during the pandemic.
  • Full platform is available here.


  • Help BC restaurants and hospitality businesses through COVID-19 and beyond: “we’ll continue to support this sector by making permanent the urgent action we took in the spring: authorizing the expansion of service areas, such as patios; allowing restaurants and pubs to purchase beer, wine, and spirits at wholesale cost instead of liquor store retail prices; and allowing liquor delivery with takeout.”
  • Cap online food delivery charges by third-party apps at 15 per cent, and all other additional fees to five per cent.
  • Full platform is available here.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Provincial Election Toolkit

ABLE BC, TIABC, BCHA and Restaurants Canada are among the largest tourism and hospitality sector associations in British Columbia, representing hundreds of thousands of employees and businesses throughout the province. 

Together with our partners and stakeholders, we have been working with all levels of government, particularly at the provincial level, to address the enormous challenges our sector has faced since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. 

With the unexpected variable of a provincial election in the middle of a pandemic, our individual and collective efforts become even more important. Informing, educating and questioning candidates of all parties on the issues and needs of the tourism and hospitality industry is paramount to government decisions on recovery efforts post-election. 

This Election Toolkit is your guide to ensure our sector’s voice is both heard and understood by those running for office, and that each party is prepared to address the issues and opportunities to help tourism and hospitality rebound in the months and years ahead.

Download the PDF toolkit.

Federal government announces $12M to support small businesses

The federal government will make a $12 million investment in Canada’s small businesses relief fund.

On October 20, Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion, and International Trade, announced the creation of the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund.

Canada United is a national fundraising campaign that will support Canadian businesses across different sectors and industries with grants of up to $5,000, according to a release.

It was created by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), private sector partners, and provincial and territorial chambers of commerce, including the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), which will manage the fund.

The grants will help thousands of small business owners across Canada enhance their digital or e-commerce capabilities, make physical modifications to their businesses in accordance with local health and safety requirements, and purchase personal protective equipment to keep their staff and customers safe, according to the release.

Grant applications for the fund open on October 26 and are available to businesses that have between $150,000 and $3 million in annual sales, or fewer than 75 employees.

New tools for tackling winter patios

Our industry partner the BCRFA has created two tools for operators, tackling the issues of winter patios:

Find additional COVID-19 resources:

What to do if an employee has been exposed to or may have COVID-19

If one of your employees has been exposed to or may have COVID-19, you are not required to close unless you’re ordered to do so by a Public Health Official. If they do that, they’ll issue a written order. Contact ABLE BC if that happens and we can talk you through how to message it to patrons and staff.

Second, you are not required to post a notice or inform patrons, though you may wish to do so.

Here are some other things to think about: 

  • If they have not already done so, the staff member needs to contact Public Health immediately to receive instructions
  • You need to check in with your staff, particularly anyone who worked in close contact with the infected staff member, to see if they’re exhibiting symptoms. Have them call 811 and see if they need to isolate or get tested. Results come back in about 24 hours.
  • You may also wish to talk to your staff about your protocols to ensure everyone is comfortable at work. Potential infections are a fact of life for all of us now, so they may need to know that you care about their well-being and that you’re doing everything you can to keep them safe. Make sure they understand that the virus isn’t in your establishment; people bring it in with them, so everyone needs to be cautious in their personal lives.
  • You may get a visit from WorkSafeBC, who will want to ensure you have appropriate protocols in place to protect staff. Make sure your COVID safety plan is up to date.
  • If you do decide to close and then reopen, communicate to customers that you closed out of an abundance of caution due to a suspected COVID case, have thoroughly sanitized the premises, and are ready to reopen safely to serve customers again.

Find additional information on the BC Centre for Disease Control website on what to do if an employee has been exposed to or may have COVID-19 (see ‘Managing ill employees’).

Alcohol will now be allowed year-round at some North Vancouver parks

Public alcohol consumption at certain parks and public spaces across North Vancouver will now be allowed year-round.

Earlier this week, City of North Vancouver council agreed to turn the pilot project into a permanent feature. The program first launched in late June and allowed alcohol consumption at eight different areas from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm, seven days a week.

It was agreed upon that Civic Plaza be removed from the program. Another change, recommended by city staff, includes shifting the bylaw hours from 11 am to 9 pm to 12 pm to dusk.

Downtown Vancouver is open for business: DVBIA’s ‘Return to the Office’ campaign

We know it is tough for many establishments in the downtown core, with fewer people working downtown and tourism severely declined.

Here is one way the DVBIA is trying to help: their new ‘Return to the Office‘ campaign shares how offices and businesses are reopening safely. Downtown Vancouver is open for business and ready for workers and visitors to return.

Watch the Return to the Office campaign here.

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