September 18, 2020

Dear ABLE BC Members and Industry Colleagues,

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

  • New BC Economic Recovery Plan announced
  • BC’s hospitality industry in crisis, waiting for clarity on public health orders
  • ABLE BC Membership Renewals
  • ABLE BC in the news
  • ABLE BC Webinar Recording: The Keys to Remaining Union-Free
  • Update: municipalities extending temporary patio program
  • Save the date: 2020 Virtual BC Liquor Conference
  • State of emergency extended to continue BC’s COVID-19 response

Find all past COVID-19 updates here.

New BC Economic Recovery Plan announced

This afternoon, the BC government released its new Economic Recovery Plan: Stronger BC for Everyone.

The plan outlines the latest steps the provincial government is taking to help people, businesses, and communities recover and come out of COVID-19 stronger and better prepared. BC’s total provincial response to the COVID-19 pandemic exceeds $8.25 billion. 

The new $1.5 billion plan is focused on four priorities:

  1. Making healthcare better by hiring 7,000 new front-line healthcare workers
  2. Creating jobs and opportunities by investing in targeted and short-term training
  3. Helping businesses grow and rehire
  4. Supporting strong communities by investing over $400 million to revitalize community infrastructure and support local governments

We’ve summarized the highlights for businesses and the tourism industry below. Download the plan for full details.

Highlights for Businesses: 

  • BC Increased Employment Incentive: 15% refundable tax credit based on eligible new payroll. For eligibility criteria, please see page 7 of the Economic Recovery Backgrounders.
  • $300 million Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant: ranging from $10,000 to a maximum of $30,000. Tourism operators may be eligible to receive a top-up of up to $10,000. For eligibility criteria, please see page 6 of the Economic Recovery Bacgrkounders.
  • Temporary 100% PST rebate on select machinery and equipment
  • Defer scheduled increase to the carbon tax to April 1, 2021

Highlights for Tourism and Hospitality: 

  • New Tourism Task Force that “will bring together leaders from business, labour, First Nations, and not-for-profits to seek innovative and creative ideas on how the tourism industry in BC can be well positioned for a 2021 tourism season and ideas on envisioning a sustainable future”
  • $50 million to facilitate new measures that result from the task force’s work
  • $19 million to support small municipalities who are dependent on tourism
  • $14 million to support targeted tourism development initiatives in the six tourism regions
  • $20 million for tourism infrastructure projects supporting destination development

For more details, please refer to the links below.

Note from ABLE BC: Today’s long-anticipated announcement of grants for small businesses is a good start to help stem the bleeding in BC’s hospitality industry. 

But let’s be clear: our industry is going to need significant long term support if we’re going to survive this ongoing crisis. We look forward to working with government in the days ahead on how to get money out the door as quickly as possible to those who need it most.

Helpful Links:

BC’s hospitality industry in crisis, waiting for clarity on public health orders 

As you are aware, on September 8, BC’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry announced a number of strict new restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

More than a week after Dr. Henry issued verbal orders ending on-premise liquor sales at 10 pm, BC’s hospitality industry is still waiting to see the written document outlining the details of the orders.Despite not being consulted in advance of this order, on September 11, the Business Technical Advisory Panel submitted data to government about the immense economic fallout from the order, as well as practical recommendations to achieve Dr. Henry’s stated objectives while balancing the financial realities of our industry. 

Download a copy of BTAP’s letter.

We received a response from the Attorney General. But so far, Dr. Henry has not replied to BTAP’s serious concerns.

Our industry therefore has no choice but to ask Premier Horgan to intervene and help save large swaths of our industry from certain bankruptcy.

Download a copy of the press release from BTAP this morning, calling on the Premier to intervene and Dr. Henry to bring industry representatives to the table – before it is too late.

We will keep fighting to get this order changed.

Please note: ABLE BC has confirmed that a verbal order issued by the Provincial Health Officer under a declared State of Emergency is enforceable. 

Please ensure you are complying with Dr. Henry’s verbal public health orders. You can find the orders here.

ABLE BC membership renewals

Last month, we mailed out our 2020-21 membership renewals. We deeply appreciate all members who have already paid their renewal invoices. Your continued membership allows us to continue working daily on your behalf.

If you haven’t received your renewal package, please contact Danielle: danielle@ablebc.ca.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 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. 

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. 

If you have any questions or concerns about your membership, please contact Danielle: danielle@ablebc.ca.

ABLE BC in the news

ABLE BC’s Executive Director continues to speak to media about the revised public order, the devastating impact this decision could have on your businesses, and the work our industry has been doing to meet or exceed the current stringent public health protocols:

  • Aldergrove Star: Nightclub closures, liquor sale limits a ‘punch in the gut,’ B.C. industry group says
  • CBC News: Hospitality industry calls for changes to new COVID-19 liquor rules
  • Global News: ‘We’re just bleeding out’: Vancouver pub blames closure on new COVID-19 liquor rules
  • CTV News: Businesses hit hard on first weekend of new COVID-19 restrictions
  • The Breaker: After more than a week, NDP government still hasn’t put new rules for liquor licensees in writing

ABLE BC Webinar Recording: The Keys to Remaining Union-Free

On September 16, ABLE BC hosted a free webinar with Ryan Anderson and Mark Bout (Mathews Dinsdale Clark LLP) on Positive Employee Relations & Responding to Organizing Activity, The Keys to Remaining Union Free.

If you would like a copy of the webinar recording and PowerPoint slides, please contact Danielle: danielle@ablebc.ca.

During this webinar, you’ll get a crash course in the fundamentals of union organizing, from the employer’s perspective. 

Learn what drives employees to unions, as well as the traits of good managers who avoid that fate. Also get updated on important changes to the Labour Code that have impacted your right to talk to employees about unions so that you can avoid costly mistakes.

Update: municipalities extending temporary patio program

Earlier this month, ABLE BC, the BCRFA, and the BC Craft Brewers Guild wrote to all municipalities in the province, requesting councils’ support for expanded patio permissions.

Specifically, we requested that councils consider:

  • Expediting applications for businesses to winterize patios in public and private spaces to provide operators with the opportunity to capitalize on the confidence of outdoor space
  • Approving temporary patios for Summer 2021 now so operations can plan ahead
  • Creating a program for designated pickup zones so that businesses can enhance contactless curbside pickup in the fall and winter months

Download a copy of our letter here

We have already received positive responses from several municipalities, including: 

  • City of Vancouver: on September 16, Vancouver City Council passed a motion to extend the pop-up patio program into the fall and winter. Businesses will also have the option of adding heat sources, as well as roof shelters, awnings, and secured tents for weather protection that still allow for free airflow to support healthy dining during the pandemic. 
  • City of Delta: on September 14, Delta City Council gave the ‘green light’ to keep its expanded patio program indefinitely.
  • City of North Vancouver: on September 14, North Vancouver Linda Buchanan brought forward a motion to extend the city’s parklets and temporary patio program during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to allow for businesses to winterize the spaces. The move received unanimous support from council.

Victoria City Council will be considering the issue today.

We strongly encourage you to contact your City Council and voice your support for this issue.

Save the date: 2020 Virtual BC Liquor Conference

The BC Liquor Conference is back for a fifth year this fall and we’re going virtual.

Save the Date: this year’s conference will take place on Monday, October 19 and Tuesday, October 20, 2020 via our online platform. Registration opens in September. Stay tuned!

No matter where you are in the province – tune in and get the liquor industry data, trends, and policy updates you can’t get anywhere else. 

Conference Theme: adapt and survive COVID-19

This year has been unbelievably challenging for many businesses. BC’s hospitality industry was hit first – and hit hardest – by the COVID-19 pandemic. The liquor industry has been forced to adapt, adopt new technologies, and drastically change in this new normal, while complying with new regulations.

Unfortunately, this crisis is far from over. But together, we will weather this storm. Join us at the 2020 Virtual BC Liquor Conference and get the actionable steps and knowledge you need to adapt and survive COVID-19.

What to expect:  

  • Online educational seminars and keynote talks
  • Industry data, trends, and policy updates
  • Actionable steps and knowledge you need to adapt and survive COVID-19
  • Access to government and industry experts
  • Virtual networking opportunities
  • Opportunity to connect and share ideas and best practices with fellow industry leaders

Registration opening soon. Stay tuned!

State of emergency extended to continue BC’s COVID-19 response

On September 15, 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.

On August 21, police and other provincial enforcement officers were given the ability to issue $2,000 violation tickets for owners or organizers contravening the provincial health officer’s (PHO) order on gatherings and events. 

Between August 21 and September 12, 14 violation tickets were issued, including eight $2,000 violation tickets to owners or organizers contravening the PHO’s order on gatherings and events, and six $200 violation tickets to individuals.

The state of emergency is extended through the end of the day on September 29, 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.


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