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)

Avoiding layoffs:

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

More flexibility:

Support for people facing unemployment:

Support for people who are sick, quarantined, or in directed self-isolation:

Support for people who are unable to work:

Business Development Bank of Canada 

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.

 

Government of Canada Resources for Canadian Businesses

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.. 

 

Small Business BC: Resources for Small Businesses Affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19)

PreparedBC - Emergency Plan for Small Businesses

British Columbia Economic Development Association

Insurance Bureau of Canada - COVID-19 and business insurance: How coverage is triggered

BC Hydro: COVID-19 Relief Fund

Supply Products and Services to Support B.C.'s COVID-19 Response

 

Utilities Support for Businesses

BC Hydro 

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 

Shaw has opened up access to Shaw Go WiFi, Canada’s largest WiFi network, to everyone, whether or not you are a customer.

Telus 

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. 

Rogers 

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 

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 (WHO) - Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19  

Greater Vancouver Board of Trade - Business Preparedness Checklist 

Canada.ca: Economic plan for COVID-19

Canada.ca: Public Health Updates

Canada.ca: COVID-19 resources for businesses

BDC: Support for entrepreneurs impacted by COVID-19

Island Health: Coronavirus Information (COVID-19)

World Health Organization: Guidance on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

World Health Organization: Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19

Canadian Chamber of Commerce: Crisis Communications Plan

Canadian Chamber of Commerce: Business Continuity & Recovery Plan

Greater Vancouver Board of Trade: Business Preparedness Checklist COVID-19

HealthLinkBC: Most Recent Alerts

Guidance to construction sites operating during COVID-19