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COVID-19 | Tourism Sector Update | April 9th, 2020

10 Steps for Small Businesses to Address Cash Flow Issues Resulting From COVID-19

As part of Tourism Prince Rupert's ongoing efforts to help local tourism businesses navigate the economic uncertainties resulting from COVID-19, we recently attended a webinar hosted by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade on accessing government funding. From this webinar and online research, we have gleaned 10 important steps that small businesses can take to address cashflow issues at this time. 

1. Ensure your CRA business account is set up ASAP and ensure direct deposit is set up correctly.

Federal application processes are starting this week and you'll want any funds being provided to arrive as quickly and easily as possible. Access or setup your CRA account here.

2. Defer your PST and Employer Health Tax payments to the end of September.

See full list of BC tax deferments here.

3. Defer GST and Federal tax payments to the end of June.

The CRA will allow all businesses to defer, until the end of June 2020, any GST/HST payments or remittances that become owing on or after March 27th and before June 2020. This means that no interest will apply if your payments or remittances are made by the end of June. The deadline for businesses to file their returns is unchanged.

The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer, until August 31st, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. 

Read more about federal tax deferrals here.

4. Explore options with BC Hydro to defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty. 

BC Hydro is offering customer assistance programs to help customers experiencing financial hardship during the Coronavirus outbreak.

It was announced today that residential customers who have lost their jobs or are unable to work as a result of COVID-19 will receive a credit to help cover the cost of their electricity bills. The credit will be three times their average monthly bill over the past year at their home and does not have to be repaid. Small businesses that have been forced to close due to COVID-19 will have their power bills forgiven for three months. BC Hydro is waiving bills for these customers from April to June 2020.

Contact BC Hydro to receive a 3-month credit here. 

5. Defer ICBC payments for 90 days. 

Customers on a monthly payment plan who are facing financial challenges due to COVID-19 may defer their payment for up to 90 days with no penalty

Contact ICBC to defer payment here.

6. Explore the Canada Emergency Business Account. 

Up to $40,000 loan, interest free for one year through financial institutions, but fully backed by the federal government. For some businesses, up to $10,000 may be forgivable. The loan will be available directly through your financial institution in coming week.

Learn more about the Canada Emergency Business Account here. 

7. Explore your eligibility for the Federal Wage Subsidy program. 

This program helps companies of all sizes, non-profits, and charities that have faced revenue decreases of at least 30% by providing employers a 75% wage subsidy, back-dated to March 15. 

Since the initial announcement, the government has relaxed the qualification metrics, with businesses now needing to prove a 15% decline in revenues as opposed to the original 30% and can choose to use January and February as a reference point as opposed to March to show this loss. Charities and not for profits can choose to include or exclude any government funding when showcasing loss year over year. However, there is no clear guideline yet for businesses that just opened in 2020 or for seasonal businesses that are typically closed in March, April, and May.

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy would apply at a rate of 75% of the first $58,700 normally earned by employees – representing a benefit of up to $847 per week. The program would be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020.

Read about the recent changes to the EWS.

Learn more about the Emergency Wage Subsidy here. 

8. Defer individual tax payments.

For individuals, the deadline to file taxes is now June 1st. If you do owe taxes after this later filing date, you will now have until August 31st to make the payment.

9. Consult with your municipality to see if they are offering any tax deferral options.

At this time, we do not know of any tax deferral options from the City of Prince Rupert, however, we have submitted a request listing some municipal relief programs we ask that hey consider specific to the tourism sector. 

10. Share information about the employment benefits available to your staff:
  • The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) — Provides $2,000 per month for four months to any workers who have lost their income for reasons related to COVID-19 including reasons of sickness, quarantine, taking care of those with COVID-19 as well as working parents needing to stay at home with children. This applies to wage earners, contract workers, and self employed individuals. Applications for this benefit began this week.
  • BC Emergency Benefit for Workers — Tax-free one-time payment of $1,000 to British Columbians (EI-eligible and non-EI eligible) whose ability to work has been impacted by COVID-19, to be aligned with federal government program
  • Employees who are unable to work due to COVID-19 related reasons are permitted to take unpaid, job-protected leave. This is retroactive to January 27th.

Please also take ten minutes to complete the Government of Canada's online survey. Statistics Canada is asking Canadians to share details of how COVID-19 is impacting their lives. The survey will only take 5-10 minutes to complete, and will help the government identify the implactions of COVID-19 in our daily lives.  Take the survey here.
Tourism Advisories & Updates
Please note that the following tourism-specific travel advisories are in place across BC & locally in Prince Rupert
  • Tourism Prince Rupert is discouraging all leisure travel to Prince Rupert through our website and social media, using the suggested #explorebc...later messaging from Destination BC.
  • Note that all Air Canada flights from Prince Rupert (YPR) to Vancouver (YVR) are now suspended until May 31st. The Northwest Regional Airport in Terrace remains unaffected at this time. Read more here. 
  • The Government of Canada will defer the start of Canada’s cruise season from April 2, 2020, to July 1, 2020, at the earliest. All commercial marine vessels with a capacity of more than 12 passengers are also prohibited from engaging in non-essential activities, such as tourism or recreation. BC Ferries has issued an advisory to avoid non-essential travel until further notice. Read the official statement here. 
  • The following parks & trails in Prince Rupert are closed indefinitely:
    • Prudhomme Lake Provincial Park
    • Diana Lake Provincial Park
    • Kitson Island Marine Provincial Park
    • Rushbrook Trail
    • McClymont Trail
    • All municipal parks & playgrounds, including Sd52 school playgrounds
  • Effective today, BC Parks has closed all Provincial Parks in British Columbia. Read the statement here. 
Local Updates
On April 6th, the Haida Nation posted a letter to their official website calling on the Provincial and Federal governments to enforce non-essential travel restrictions to the entire region as part of the ongoing work towards the prevention of the Spread of COVID-19. The letter is undersigned by a number of northwest BC First Nations and communities, including Metlakatla, Lax Kw'alaams, Gitxaala, and the City of Prince Rupert, among others. 

Read the letter here. 
The City of Prince Rupert is continuously updating any local advisories or closures related to COVID-19 on their website. For a complete list, visit: http://www.princerupert.ca/covid19

Prince Rupert's local MLA, Jennifer Rice, has also developed a resource with up-to-date information on the Provincial Government's response to COVID-19. To view this resource, visit: http://jenniferrice.ca/covid19/

On April 2nd, Tourism Prince Rupert submitted a formal letter to the City of Prince Rupert's Mayor and Council asking for increased collaboration and consultation with Tourism Prince Rupert regarding advisories or closures in the tourism sector as a result of COVID-19.
Summary of COVID-19 Resources
Tourism Resources
Destination BC is working with the provincial and federal governments, industry partners, and Health Authorities, to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on our tourism industry and advocate for a tourism-specific relief package. We are translating local concerns & fears regarding Prince Rupert’s tourism sector directly to Destination BC with our partners at Northern BC Tourism. 

DESTINATION BC RESPONSE & RECOVERY PLAN DETAILS
DESTINATION CANADA COVID-19 UPDATE
TOURISM INDUSTRY RESOURCES
DESTINATION BC MESSAGING GUIDE FOR TOURISM BUSINESSES
LETTER FROM MINISTER OF TOURISM, ARTS & CULTURE
TOURISM FAQS
TOURISM INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF BC
TOURISM INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF CANADA

Support Programs for Canadian Citizens / Residents
 A number of relief measures and specific support programs for Canadian residents have been announced. These are aimed at helping relieve the financial stress of job or income loss due to COVID-19, as well as to help support everyone’s ability to stay home & observe the recommended social distancing recommendations. 

APPLY FOR CANADA EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT
APPLY FOR EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
UNDERSTANDING MORTGAGE PAYMENT DEFERRAL CMHC
BC EMERGENCY BENEFIT FOR WORKERS
CANADA STUDENT LOAN PAYMENT FREEZE
PROVINCE OF BC STATEMENT ON HOUSING SUPPORTS
PROVINCE OF BC INFORMATION FOR LANDLORDS & TENANTS
BC HOUSING COVID-19 STATEMENT
CANADA FEDERAL TAX DEFERRAL INFORMATION
PROVINCE OF BC ENHANCED CLIMATE ACTION TAX PAYMENT INFORMATION
BC HYDRO COVID-19 RELIEF FUND
ICBC PAYMENT DEFERRAL INFORMATION
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA ECONOMIC RESPONSE PLAN
PROVINCE OF BC COVID-19 SUPPORT PROGRAM OVERVIEW
BC CENTRE FOR DISEASE CONTROL COVID-19 INFORMATION PAGE
HEALTHLINK BC COVID-19 UPDATE
BC CHAMBER COVID-19 RESOURCES
PRDCC LIST OF BUSINESS CLOSURES / AVAILABILITY IN PRINCE RUPERT

Support Programs for Businesses
The immediate impacts of COVID-19 are being felt by businesses across British Columbia, Canada, and the world. The federal & provincial governments have introduced a numberof support programs to help support business continuity during this challengin economic time. 

SMALL BUSINESS BC LIST OF COVID-19 RESOURCES
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA EMERGENCY WAGE SUBSIDY PROGRAM
INDIGENOUS TOURISM BC RELIEF FUND
COVID-19 LOANS AND SUPPORT FROM THE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT BANK OF CANADA (BDC)
ENHANCED FINANCING THROUGH EXPORT DEVELOPMENT CANADA (EDC)
SMALL BUSINESS BC RESOURCE: ‘FINANCING OPTIONS FOR BUSINESSES IMPACTED BY COVID-19’
UNDERSTANDING CHANGES TO THE EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS ACT
For up to date information on the effects of COVID-19 on the tourism sector in British Columbia, please visit https://www.destinationbc.ca/news/coronavirus-update/
 
Tourism Prince Rupert will be working hard to provide you with email updates regarding any new advisories or support programs as they are announced.

Please note we are only providing new information each week. For access to our past newsletters, please visit our Newsletter Archive page.

 
If you have any questions, please contact:

Ceilidh Marlow
Executive Director, Tourism Prince Rupert
Phone: 778-361-0440
Email: ceilidh@visitprincerupert.com

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