COVID-19 Business Resources
The City is committed to supporting local businesses by sharing important resources, while continuing to advocate on behalf of the Victoria business community.
The City is doing everything we can in the areas we have authority and will continue to support the local economy until we can recover from the COVID-19 crisis. It’s important to note that as a municipal government, the City is not permitted to grant direct assistance to businesses, however, Council has directed staff to examine all of the City’s fiscal, legislative and legal powers to support businesses and jobs to sustain the local economy during the pandemic.
In addition, City Council has also passed a motion to advocate on behalf of small businesses and non-profits by asking the Province for rent relief and the halt of evictions during the current state of emergency. In the coming days and weeks ahead we’ll look for other ways to support and advocate on behalf of our business community.
In an effort to create a one-stop resource for local businesses, we’ve compiled the information below that includes access to federal, provincial and local programs that will bring some relief to businesses during this uncertain time. This page is updated frequently with new resources and support networks, as they become available.
Local Resources for Businesses
The Victoria Chamber of Commerce is refocusing their Jobs Board to help connect current employment opportunities with workers affected by businesses that have closed in response to the shutdown of travel and the need for social distancing as mandated by government in response to the COVID-19 crisis. To access the Job Board as an employer in need of employees or as a worker able to fill a need, go to VictoriaChamber.ca/jobs. At this time, employers are able to post at no charge by using the code SUPPORTYYJ.
YYJLocalsForLocals - is a group of 70+ tech and marketing volunteers who came together to offer pro-bono support for small businesses in Victoria. Their focus is getting retail businesses digitally transformed to retain revenue in the face of social distancing. They offer services that any small business in the area can request through the website.
The Tiny Victoria Small Business Relief Fund is offering local small businesses impacted by COVID-19 small 0% non-recourse loans to Victoria-based small businesses.
Show your love for Greater Victoria's local, independent businesses by purchasing gift certificates for future use at: www.supportlocalyyj.com
Many dine-in restaurants are providing take-out food options during this time. View local restaurants providing take-out options
South Island Prosperity Partnership – Additional Resources for Businesses
Boxes of Hope - Info for restaurants to participate or to donate
SPUD.ca - an online grocery store delivering grocery essentials to your door. Customers can sign up, enter their postal code to find what the delivery days are in their neighbourhood and start shopping.
Federal Government Support for Businesses
The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to help Canadians facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Government of Canada has announced changes to support workers and help businesses keep their employees, and has passed legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
Access to credit:
Support for farmers:
- Farm Credit Canada
Information and support specifically for Agricultural and Food Industry businesses. (FCC)
Support for Tourism Operators:
- Tourism Operators - Support from Regional Development Agencies tailored to tourism operators and businesses. (Government of Canada)
Supporting Financial Stability
- Launching an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program
- Bank of Canada actions
- Lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer
Support for people facing unemployment:
Support for people who are sick, quarantined, or in directed self-isolation:
- The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
- Improved access to Employment Insurance sickness benefits
Support for people who are unable to work:
As part of the Federal Government’s announcement about help for businesses, the Business Development Bank of Canada is offering:
- Small Business Loan Up to $100,000 can be obtained online in as little 48 hours from time of approval.
- Working capital loan 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.
The Government of Canada has put out a request for submissions from companies that can help supply medical products (such as masks, gloves, gowns, hand sanitizer, etc.) and services such as nurses, food prep, cleaners and so on. Businesses in Victoria that are able to help can follow this link: Help Canada combat Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) – submission form - Buyandsell.gc.ca
Provincial Government Support for Businesses
On March 23, the Provincial Government released the B.C. COVID-19 Action Plan that will see $5 billion in income supports, tax relief and direct funding to British Columbians..
- The BC Emergency Benefit for Workers provides a one-time $1,000 payment for people who lost income
- A one-time enhancement to the climate action tax credit will be paid in July 2020 for moderate to low-income families
- BC Arts Council support for the arts and culture sector
- Employers must excuse workers for sickness without requiring a doctor’s note
- Taking unpaid, job-protected leave due to COVID-19
- WorkSafeBC resources for workers
- Economic resources for businesses
- Some provincial taxes have been deferred, delayed or reduced
- What you must do if employees fall ill, are absent from work or your business is unexpectedly disrupted
Utilities Support for Businesses
The COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program provides customers the option to defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty. Customers are encouraged to call BC Hydro's customer team at 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376) to discuss bill payment options.
Customers facing temporary financial hardship and possible disconnection of their service due to job loss, illness, or loss of a family member may also be eligible for BC Hydro's Customer Crisis Fund, which provides access to grants of up to $600 to pay their bills.
Shaw has opened up access to Shaw Go WiFi, Canada’s largest WiFi network, to everyone, whether or not you are a customer.
Until the end of April, the following changes will apply; Waiving home internet overage charges for customers who are not on unlimited data plans, waiving all Easy Roam® and pay-per-use roaming charges for postpaid Mobility customers that are stranded outside North America* and are unable to return to Canada
*Note: North America includes all Caribbean and Central American countries
Additionally, Telus says they will support their customers facing financial challenges because of COVID-19 by providing them with flexible payment options and also promotes Telus Babylon by TELUS Health, a free app that allows you to receive virtual healthcare from your phone, without leaving the house.
Is helping home phone customers stay connected by waiving long distance voice calling fees across the country to help Canadians stay connected during this uncertain time, from now until April 30. Also, until May 31, Rogers and Fido have temporarily removed data usage caps for customers on limited home internet plans so they can stream, surf, and connect without worrying about internet overages.
Fortis BC’s COVID-19 Customer Recovery Fund provides immediate relief to residential and small business customers facing hardship and a flexible framework for recovery
For residential customers, those who sign up for the fund will automatically have their bill payments deferred from April 1 to June 30. A repayment schedule, free of interest or any additional fees, will be set up and payments can be spread over a full year after June 30, lessening the monthly impact.
For small businesses that have been forced to close, bill credits will be issued to offset any charges to their account while they’ve been unable to continue operating their business as usual. Businesses still open, but facing a slowdown in revenue, will not receive bill credits but can also receive bill deferral for the same 90 day period as residential customers
Additional Resources and Helpful Links
World Health Organization: Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19