IN THIS ISSUE #2: (Issued March 20, 2020)
Important information included in today's email:
Newslinks, Wholesale & Retail Liquor, Liquor industry updates, Employer and business support, Federal and Provincial government resources
BC Liquor Stores
Employers and Businesses
The government of Alberta is posting all their news releases here. Please bookmark to view the latest announcements, as updates and changes can occur very fast: https://www.alberta.ca/announcements.cfm
Changes to Employment Insurance: Should you have to lay off staff or your staff be unable to work during this time, the federal government has made changes to employment insurance (EI) in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. EI sickness benefits provide up to 15 weeks of income replacement and is available to eligible claimants who are unable to work because of illness, injury or quarantine. Canadians quarantined can apply for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits. As well, for people quarantined due to COVID-19, the government is eliminating the waiting period entirely so that they can receive EI benefits for an entire 14-day quarantine.
Please review social media for any update or possible support during this time. I know that Borden Ladner Gervais LLP will be hosting a webinar to answer any legal questions you might have at this time.
The AGLC has posted the following information - https://aglc.ca/news/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-information
I have spoken with management at Connect Logistics, and I am happy to report that they have not had any interruptions in service. They will continue to provide distribution to all of their customers as planned.
BC Liquor Stores Remain Open
There are currently no plans to close BC Liquor Stores; however, stores are shortening hours to 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and are taking additional health and safety precautions (see below).
Also, as part of the ongoing response to COVID-19, all stores will be practicing social distancing of at least one metre, effective immediately. To ensure those rules are followed, the province will be limiting the number of people in government liquor stores. Restrictions will be based on the size of the store, and each site's fire plan.
Read the news update here.
Impact on LDB Distribution:
The IVSA has been in contact with our partners at the LDB to get more information on how COVID-19 could impact the supply chain. At this time, the LDB Wholesale Warehouse is at 96% capacity.
The LDB has also confirmed that the Delta and Kamloops Distribution Centres are at this time fully functional and are not experiencing supply chain impacts.
After speaking with ContainerWorld, we can report that things are currently moving as planned. They are, of course, subject to constraints that most businesses will have at this time. Please review your inventory flow as we move forward.
Please make sure you have registered for ContainerWorld Press. This will be the best source for any changes that might happen.
I am pleased to announce that the IVSA will now be part of the BTAP roundtable. This is something we have been working hard on. During these times, it makes sense that our industry has a united voice to make the changes that will hopefully keep our business going. BTAP is in communication with the Attorney Generals office regularly. I hope to more updates very soon.
Federal government announces $82 billion aid package
On March 18, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an $82-billion aid package to help Canadians and businesses cope with the global COVID-19 pandemic, including income support, wage subsidies, and tax deferrals.
The package includes $27 billion in direct support and another $55 billion to help business liquidity through tax deferrals. Read our full update on what the economic stimulus package includes here.
On March 19, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said emergency funds could be available to Canadians in the next two to three weeks.
This article by the CBC lays out how workers can apply for EI and COVID-19 emergency benefits. The government has not yet released details on how businesses can access COVID-19 support.
Support for business
All businesses are allowed to defer until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts owed between March 18 and before September. This applies to balances and installments due. No interest or penalties will accumulate.
Increase credit available to small, medium, and large Canadian businesses. As announced on March 13, a new Business Credit Availability program will provide more than $10 billion of additional support to businesses experiencing cash flow challenges.
Further, expand Export Development Canada's ability to provide support to domestic businesses.
Provide flexibility on the Canada Account limit, to allow the government to provide additional support to Canadian businesses, when deemed to be in the national interest, to deal with exceptional circumstances.
Launch an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program to purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. As announced on March 16, this will provide stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders and support continued lending to Canadian businesses and consumers.
The six largest financial institutions in Canada have also committed to working with personal and small business banking customers on a case-by-case basis. This support will include up to a 6-month payment deferral for mortgages and the opportunity for relief on other credit products.
Additional Support for Employers
Visit the Government of Canada website for additional information on:
How to support your employees
Financial implications and business preparedness
Business travel and events
Exporting and doing business in international markets
Supportive tax measures
Extend tax filing deadline to June 1 and allow all taxpayers to defer until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that became owing on or after March 18 and before September 2020.
Full measures can be found here.
Other Financial Support Resources:
CBC News summarizes financial support available from the government, banks, and British Columbia utility providers during COVID-19
McMillan Vantage Policy Group provides a detailed summary on all government relief efforts to date, plus additional financial support available from the private sector during COVID-19
RBC has created a Temporary Credit Relief Program aimed at providing credit relief due to the impact of COVID-19. There are two relief program options available:
Term Debt/Mortgage & Lease Facility Relief
Working Capital Facility
For more information: clients are advised to reach out to their account manager or connect with RBC's business advisors in your branch.
The federal government and Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) have partnered to develop liquidity options for affected industries. BDC is offering:
Small Business Loans: up to $100,000 can be obtained online in as little as 48 hours from the time of approval
Working Capital Loans: get extra funds to bridge cash flow gaps and support everyday operations
Purchase Order Financing: increase your cash flow to fulfill domestic or international orders with very flexible terms
Helpful links for businesses
Supporting Canadian businesses through the Canada Account
Helping businesses keep their workers
Flexibility for businesses filing taxes
Ensuring businesses have access to credit
Supporting financial market liquidity
Support for workers
Emergency Care Benefit: up to $900 biweekly, up to 15 weeks, income support for workers, including the self-employed, who have to stay home and don't qualify for paid sick leave or employment insurance.
Emergency Support Benefit: up to $5 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.
EI waiting period waived: the mandatory one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits has been waived for workers in imposed quarantine or who have been directed to self-isolate.
No medical certificate is required to access EI sickness benefits
10% wage subsidy: provide eligible small businesses with a 10 percent wage subsidy for the next 90 days, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Eligible businesses include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, non-profit organizations, and charities.
BC Employee Support
BC Government information for employees:
go2HR has released information for employers considering layoffs. They provide information on:
Employment insurance for dismissed employees
Other suggestions for employers
go2HR is also providing recommendations on how to communicate with employees during the COVID-19 crisis and what to do if your workplace has an outbreak. Read it here.
For any urgent HR or EI concerns, go2HR is available to offer fast, free advice at email@example.com or 604-633-9787 ext. 222