COVID-19 Business Resources
Information for businesses will be posted on this page in early November about the continuation of the Build Back Victoria (BBV) program. Current participants may be able to extend their permits but will have a time-limited period to meet all new requirements of the program. Any new applicant must also meet new program criteria. All questions about the updated BBV program can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
The City of Victoria has launched several temporary initiatives to support local businesses during their reopening and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by providing public spaces for private use. Spaces on sidewalks, on streets, in parking spaces, and in plazas and parks are temporarily available for businesses to expand their footprint to safely conduct commercial activities.
Physical distancing guidelines can result in a loss of operational space for businesses, including reduced dining, seating and total indoor capacity. By opening up areas of the public realm that are typically off-limits to business activity, and providing supplemental capacity outdoors, we can help businesses adjust to this new reality.
There are a number of re-opening and recovery initiatives available, so please review the Build Back Victoria Guidelines for Business in Public Spaces to ensure the best setup for your business. Also check out the Temporary Patio Materials Reference for more information on temporary patio specifications.
Additional Supports For Local Businesses
The Business Hub has compiled information below that includes access to resources for safely getting back to work, ways to support our local economy and the businesses in it, and information on 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.
In order to assist businesses with reopening as safely as possible, the City is providing a small toolkit of resources to help establish confidence in businesses that are practicing physical distancing, taking hygienic measures, and are generally exercising the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The toolkit includes occupancy signage, a checklist of COVID-related measures your business is taking, as well as files for poster/floor stickers that can be taken to many local printers for easy production and use.
Click below to download the toolkit files:
Learn more about the City's COVID-19 response and recovery here.
Digital Business Tools
The Digital Economy: Rapid Response & Resiliency (DER3) program has been created to help Greater Victoria businesses outside of the tech sector explore and implement digital business tools and models to help them adapt to the business challenges of a global pandemic now, and for the long term. This program was created to help support local restaurants, retail stores, cafes and more.
To learn more about DER3 and apply, visit: https://www.viatec.ca/cpages/der3
The Government of Canada has announced $12 million through the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund to provide grants of up to $5,000 to thousands of small businesses to help them cover the costs of PPE, make physical modifications to their businesses to meet local health and safety requirements, and enhance their digital or e-commerce capabilities. *Applications for these grants are now OPEN
BC's Restart Plan
BC’s Restart Plan lays out a series of steps that we will take together to protect people and ensure that our province and local economy can come back from COVID-19 stronger than before.
For the different organizational sectors to move forward, they will be asked to develop enhanced protocols aligned with the Public Health and Safety Guidelines.
In some instances, this will require consideration by the Provincial Health Officer of lifting or modifying existing orders before certain businesses re-open. Businesses and organizations that are not covered by a Provincial Health Officer order may re-open or continue to operate but they will be expected to adopt and implement sector safety plans as they are finalized.
WorkSafeBC is working to support the direction of public health agencies in the Province for slowing the progression of COVID-19 by helping workplaces to take appropriate preventative measures. The following provides health and safety information about COVID-19 and the workplace:
Employers are required to develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan that outlines the policies, guidelines, and procedures they have put in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. This tool from WorkSafe BC will guide you through a six-step process to help you create your plan. The tool is provided as a fillable PDF you can download and save with the details of the plan for your workplace.
Industry safety (B.C.’s Restart Plan, Phase 1):
- Health care
- Small business
Returning to safe operation (B.C.’s Restart Plan, Phase 2 - Mid-May onwards):
- General guide to reducing risk
- Arts and cultural facilities
- Health professionals
- In-person counselling
- Education (K-12)
- Personal services
- Real estate
- Restaurants, cafes, and pubs
- What workers should expect
Forms and more resources
Local Resources for Businesses
City of Victoria - City Council passed motions to ensure:
- No property tax increases this year for residential or commercial ratepayers
- The deadline to pay property taxes will be extended to August 4 with a reduced penalty put in place for late payment
- The deadline for utility bill payments is extended to 90 days
Victoria Chamber of Commerce is refocusing their Jobs Board to help connect current employment opportunities with workers affected by businesses that have closed. 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 - a group of 70+ tech and marketing volunteers 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.
Tiny Victoria Small Business Relief Fund is offering local small businesses impacted by COVID-19 small 0% non-recourse loans.
South Island Prosperity Partnership – Additional Resources for South Island Businesses
VIATEC has created a handbook to help determine what is required by authorities and made a checklist complete with examples of how to help reopen offices, including:
- A guide for creating your own “COVID-19 Safety Plan” (required)
- A master re-entry plan checklist
- A deep clean checklist & more!
The UVic Business Law Clinic, a program through the university that provides free information about business law issues to clients in the community related to business planning and operations during COVID-19 can be found here
Supporting Our Local Economy and Businesses
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed almost everything in our city, but something that hasn’t changed is the importance of our local businesses and how much they do for our economy. They employ our residents, provide our services and have always been there for us, so during these difficult times we should do what we can to be there for them.
🛍️ Before ordering anything online from a large corporate distributor stop and think whether that local store could provide the same thing and look them up.
🖥️ Many of our local businesses have turned to online sales, provide pickup or delivery options and are changing the way the way they do business to continue serving all of us.
✅ Let’s make a commitment to #ShopYYJ and show some love to the businesses that make Victoria such a vibrant and great place to call home.
Here are some ways you can support:
Show your love for Greater Victoria's local, independent businesses by purchasing gift certificates for future use at: www.supportlocalyyj.com
Boxes of Hope - Info for restaurants to participate or to donate
Find out how you can continue to support local tourism businesses or take a virtual visit to Greater Victoria to see how Destination Greater Victoria members have adjusted their operations to serve the community through virtual tools and tactics.
Some local neighbourhoods are posting about what businesses are open – check out the directory created for Victoria West businesses
Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to support Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of the global COVID-19 outbreak.
Support for Businesses – find links to access information on;
- Avoiding layoffs and rehiring employees
- Access to credit
- Creating new jobs and opportunities for youth
- Deferred payments
- Support for self-employed individuals
- Indigenous businesses
- Supporting financial stability
- Find the support you need for your business
Support for Sector – links to information in the following industries;
- Agriculture, agri-food, aquaculture, fisheries
- Cultural, heritage and sports
- Air transportation
- Non-profit and charitable
The Government of Canada launched a new web hub to bring together available resources for organizations buying and selling personal protective equipment (PPE). As organizations re-open for business, they need reliable information on how to buy and sell the necessary supplies required to keep themselves and others safe.
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
You can also download the Canada Business App to navigate the services offered by the federal government
Canadian Chamber and the Government of Canada team up with accounting profession to provide free advice to small to medium-sized business, not-for-profits and charities to navigate uncertainty
Small to medium-sized businesses, not-for-profit organizations, charities will now have direct access to a network of qualified business advisors to help guide them courtesy of a new, government-funded program from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
The program, called the Business Resilience Service (BRS), is run through the Canadian Chamber’s Canadian Business Resilience Network in collaboration with EY and with support from Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) and Imagine Canada. The BRS will provide options for any vulnerable small to medium-sized business, not-for-profit or charity to immediately connect with experienced accounting and tax professionals across the country from professional services firms.
Retail Recovery Playbook – this playbook available from Retail Council of Canada leverages global best practices and includes chapters covering key issues such as customer health and safety, employee well-being, retail operations, merchandising and marketing, store network and channel, and finances. This information could be helpful to local businesses as they prepare to reopen or continue their operations
Provincial Government Support for Businesses
The Provincial government is providing a wide-range of supports for businesses in British Columbia affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This list of supports may not be comprehensive and is subject to change. Please contact support providers directly for eligibility and application details.
- Credit and financing options
- Changes to taxes
- Wage support
- Other supports available to businesses
- Pivoting your business operations
- Supporting workers and families
Download a printable PDF of these resources and more
Island Health’s Dr. Richard Stanwick is also encouraging the public to take part in the provincial COVID-19 Survey: Your Story, Our Future.
Small Business BC's Marketplace -Are you a small business located in BC that is still open for business? List and promote your small business on the Marketplace to increase website traffic and support other small businesses.
Utilities Support for Businesses
This list of supports may not be comprehensive and is subject to change. Please contact support providers directly for eligibility and details.
Additional Resources and Helpful Links