Upcoming Changes to Province-Wide Restrictions Announced — March 10, 2022
Due to BC’s lowered hospitalization and transmission rates, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, including the lifting of the mask mandate, restoration of long-term care visitation, a drop in capacity limits on faith gatherings, and more. View the full press release here.
Financial Supports Available for Businesses
Click on the below to learn more about eligibility criteria, how to apply and application deadlines:
Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB)
Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program (HHBRP)
Wage & Rent Support
Canada Recovery Hiring Program – This program has been extended until May 7, 2022, for eligible employers with current revenue losses above 10 per cent and increasing the subsidy rate to 50 per cent.
Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program – Provides support through wage and rent subsidies to, for example, hotels, tour operators, travel agencies, and restaurants, with a subsidy rate of up to 75 per cent.
Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program – Provides support through wage and rent subsidies to other businesses that have faced deep losses, with a subsidy rate of up to 50%.
Local Lockdown Program – This program has been temporarily expanded to include employers subject to capacity-limiting restrictions of 50 per cent or more; and reduce the current-month revenue decline threshold requirement to 25 per cent.
Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit – This program has been temporarily expanded to include workers in regions where provincial or territorial governments have introduced capacity-limiting restrictions of 50 per cent or more.
WorkBC Wage Subsidy Program – The WorkBC Wage Subsidy Program covers a part of employee wages so employers can hire job seekers and provide work opportunities.
Tourism HR Canada – Propel – Student Work Placement Program – Qualifying employers are provided with a wage subsidy of up to $7,500 for each student hired through the program.
Loans & Grants
COVID Closure Relief Grant – The COVID-19 Closure Relief Grant will provide fully funded grants to businesses that had to close due to the December 22, 2021 Provincial Health Officer (PHO) orders.
To be eligible, businesses must meet the following requirements:
- The business has been in operation and registered in B.C. as of February 1, 2021
- The business had to fully close to comply with the December 22, 2021 Provincial Health Officer orders
View eligibility requirements here.
Jobs and Growth Fund – Supports organizations in future-proofing their business, building resiliency and preparing for growth. Eligible businesses with fewer than 500 full time employees may qualify for interest-free repayable contributions for up to 50% of eligible costs.
Tourism Relief Fund – Tourism businesses may qualify for financial assistance, including:
- Non-repayable contributions of up to $100,000, for up to 50% of eligible costs
- Repayable contributions of up to $500,000, for up to 75% of eligible costs
Major Festivals and Events Support Intiative – Major, recurring festivals and events with annual revenues exceeding $10 million may qualify for financial assistance
Recovery Fund for Arts, Culture, Heritage and Sport Sectors – Provides $300 million over two years to support arts, culture heritage, and sport organizations. More information and an application portal will be available soon.
Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availablity Program – Supports the hardest hit businesses, including those in sectors like tourism and hospitality, hotels, arts and entertainment.
- Offers 100% government-guaranteed loans ranging from $25,000 to $1 million
- Loans are low-interest and include terms of up to ten years
- There is up to a 12-month postponement on principal repayments at the start of the loan
HASCAP is available at participating financial institutions until March 31, 2022.
Covid-19 Safety Plans
Effective as af April 8, 2022 at 12:01 AM, businesses will no longer need a COVID-19 safety plan and they can transition back to a communicable disease plan with guidance from WorkSafeBC.
COVID-19 Vaccination & Policies in the Workplace
Learn how to outline your vaccine policy properly and understand employer considerations in balancing safety with employee privacy and other legal obligations.
Navigating vaccination policies in the workplace is a hot topic for employers and employees. With BC recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers are considering mandating vaccinations among staff. In this webinar, we are joined by Gale Kim, Associate at Mackoff Mohamed Barristers & Solicitors, and Bryin Munroe, Director of People & Culture at the Westin Resort & Spa, to discuss the implications of introducing vaccine policies in the workplace and how they relate to employer and employee rights.
Proof of Vaccination Resources for Businesses
By order of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), proof of full vaccination (two shots) has been extended to access some events, services and businesses.
Announced on March 10th, proof of vaccination will no longer be required to access businesses, events and services effective as of April 8, 2022, at 12:01 AM. View the press release.
Safe Screen BC – Rapid Testing Kits for Businesses
Safe Screen B.C. has been developed in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) to help businesses across the province access rapid antigen tests and set up onsite rapid COVID-19 workplace screening programs for asymptomatic employees, in support of B.C.’s Rapid Point of Care Testing Strategy.
Safe Screen B.C. provides businesses with the toolkits, resources and guidance needed to access rapid antigen tests and set up onsite rapid COVID-19 workplace screening programs for employees and staff only.
View the Safe Screen BC program overview here.
BC’s Restart Plan
The BC Restart Plan takes a phased approach to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. Each phase provides guidance for individuals and businesses. Everyone is free to go at their own pace as we move between phases, as long as they follow the guidance and orders of the Provincial Health Officer. Businesses and organizations may not follow the same timelines for reopening and expanding interactions.
The BC Chamber of Commerce has launched resource guides to support small businesses as they navigate toward economic recovery as laid out in the Restart Plan. The guides address workforce planning, operational challenges and the next steps of pandemic recovery, among other topics. Access the Mainland | Southwest Region Resource Guide that encompasses Whistler and the Sea-to-Sky corridor.
Workplaces will transition from a COVID-19 Safety Plan to a Communicable Disease Plan.
More information: BC’S RESTART PLAN | Next steps to move BC through the pandemic
Business Reopening Resources
Here are some key resources to help businesses in the reopening phase:
Key steps to safely operating your business or organization and reducing covid-19 transmission – from BC Small Business Roundtable
From the Canadian Business Resilience Network:
Roadmap Toolkit for Chambers and Boards of Trade
We will continue to provide the Whistler Business community with the necessary resources and updates as we move towards our ‘new normal’.
Industry Specific Resources
Employer resources from the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association (BCRFA)
Recovery Playbook from the Retail Council of Canada
VIDEO: Advocacy In Action – COVID-19 Recovery Strategies for Retailers
BC’s Economic Recovery Plan
BC’s Economic Recovery Plan – Stronger BC, is focused on building better healthcare, supporting people and families, helping BC businesses and building stronger communities.
Stronger BC is helping B.C. businesses hire and grow in a range of different industries. Their plan helps businesses, adapt and grow through initiatives like helping businesses connect to customers online, and delivering grants to businesses that have lost revenue because of the pandemic. Find a range of Stronger BC resources for businesses here.
Health & Wellness + HR
Mental Health Resources
- Workplace Mental Health Mini-Guide: Mental Health Commission of Canada
- BC COVID-19 Mental Health Network: email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Free counselling and support with Wellness Together Canada
- Connect with an outreach worker: Whistler Community Services Society
- A toolkit for mental health in uncertain times: Sea to Sky Healing Project
- Mental health and substance use support: Sea to Sky Safety Net
- Government of Canada takes action on COVID-19 (Government of Canada)
- Quarantine Conflict Resolution Service (MediateBC)
- Keeping your employees safe (Canadian Federation of Independent Business)
- Work Sharing Brochure for Employers (Service Canada)
- HR advice: Responding to COVID-19 in the Workplace (go2HR)
- What Employers Need to Know About Temporary Layoffs (Small Business BC)
Whistler’s Doors Open Directory
Whistler’s Doors Open Directory from Tourism Whistler provides information for locals or visitors planning ahead. The directory provides up-to-date information on what is open in Whistler.
Guidelines for a Safe Restart
Whistler’s guidelines for a safe restart from the RMOW cover COVID-19 business best practices including core workplace guidelines and best practices for different sectors.
Mayor’s Video Updates
Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the Resort Municipality of Whistler, with Mayor Jack Crompton’s regular video updates.
How to Support Whistler Business
Here are a few ways you can show support to your favourite local businesses during COVID-19.
Webinars & Virtual Events
Click on the videos below to browse the category playlist and find videos about the topics your need support with.
COVID-19 Business Support
CEO's Weekly Update for Whistler Biz
Advocacy in Action
Stay up-to-date on the rapidly evolving situation, by frequently checking provincial, national and international websites:
These excellent resources from Canadian organisations will keep you informed, and will help to make business easier for you:
- Continuity plan toolkit (Business Development Canada)
- BC Business COVID-19 Support Service (Small Business BC)
- Resources for Businesses Affected by COVID-19 (BC Chamber)
- Canadian Business Resilience Network (Canadian Chamber of Commerce)
Whistler Chamber Responds to new Health Orders
Whistler Chamber Responds to new Health Orders April 22, 2021 On March 31, 2021, Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s Provincial Health Officer, announced a series of health orders that would have implications across the province. The Whistler Chamber posted a response by...
Advocacy in Action – Celebrating the Power of Connection
Advocacy in Action - Celebrating the Power of Connection February 25, 2021 On February 18, the Whistler Chamber held our monthly Advocacy in Action: Member Input Session. Melissa Pace, CEO of the Whistler Chamber, connected virtually with eight Members and...
BC PNP Program – Letter to Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation
BC PNP Program - Letter to Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation UPDATE: February 17, 2021 The BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) has resumed invitations to 31 occupations that were under a temporary suspension. This is a big win for Whistler...
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