May 14 | 2020
WEBINAR TODAY: A conversation with WorkSafeBC
Join us for a special edition webinar this morning from 9:30 - 11:00am , where you will hear first hand insights from WorkSafeBC and their approach and involvement in BC's Restart Plan, including discussion surrounding the impacts of COVID-19, and controlling risk and exposure. We will then open it up to an extended Q&A session to answer all of your burning questions.

Topics we'll Cover:
  • Controlling the risk of COVID-19 exposure in the workplace
  • WorkSafeBC’s role and available resources

No charge to participate but registration is required.

SHAWN MITTON -  Manager,
Prevention Field Services,
Okanagan and Kootenay Regions 

Prevention Field Services,
Okanagan and Kootenay Regions 
Remembering Richard Stewart
Yesterday, Richard "Dick" Stewart founder of Quails' Gate Winery passed away at the age of 94. Noted as a "natural visionary" by the winery, he was a pillar of the West Kelowna community and a guiding light in the wine industry. Dick's children have followed in his footsteps as strong community leaders: Tony Stewart of Quails' Gate; Ben Stewart MLA; Andrea McFadden of Okanagan Lavender & Herb Farm.

Photo: Facebook / Quails' Gate
News from City of Kelowna
The City advises that they are listening to local businesses about the best ways the City can address your needs through the coming months. The Chamber was also pleased to hear that the City along with many other local governments are considering land-use changes that might allow restaurants and retail businesses take advantage of re-purposed public space. As Mayor Basran noted in a recent communication. “Every little bit helps, and I call on everyone to support local business whenever we can so that our local economy comes through this in as strong a position as possible.”  

As for City operations, they have a facility re-opening framework that aligns with current provincial direction (e.g. adherence to social distancing and hygiene) and their re-opening plan for May 15 includes outdoor recreation facilities open for casual use , including: 

  • Tennis courts, pickleball courts, BMX track, skate parks and disc golf 

You will see signs posted at these facilities that encourage people to follow directions for safety and compliance with provincial health orders. 

What City facilities remain closed  in this phase are:  

  • Playgrounds, Indoor recreation facilities, aquatics facilities, arenas, community theatres 
Haircut Fundraiser Grows New Support
Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran and Westbank First Nation C hief Christopher Derickson committed to shaving their lockdown locks to support the Okanagan College Foundation's #HaircutsforHealthCare initiative.

By dealing with their unruly self-isolation hair, they will raise much needed funds to help open the new Health Sciences Center at Okanagan College, and support the training of future health care professionals in this state-of-the-art facility.

United Way and Ramada Team up to Provide PPE to Local Charities
Yesterday, the United Way Southern Interior BC team along with the Ramada Hotel hosted a unique Day of Caring® for local charities that provide front-line non-medical essential services to the community. Packages of personal protective equipment were provided to charities that include protective masks, hand sanitizer and, as needed, feminine hygiene products.

Little Hobo Soup & Sandwich Shop in Downtown Kelowna Re-Opening
On March 20th Little Hobo Soup & Sandwich Shop was forced to close their doors due to COVID-19 concerns. For eight years the shop has developed a following and very loyal client base in the area. Owners Crystal and Stephen MacDonald, re-opened on May 11th for take-out and frozen meals, with a reopening of their dining room and patio scheduled for this upcoming Friday, May 15th.

Pacific Coastal Airlines Have Their Sights on the Skies
Regional carrier Pacific Coastal Airlines has confirmed that they will resume service June 1st, after suspending their service earlier in the spring on March 25th. Their return to operations will come with enhanced safety practices as well as a reduced flying schedule. Pacific Coastal flies from Kelowna to airports throughout the province from Vancouver Island to Northern communities such as Prince George and Masset.

Did you download our one page re-open checklist?
Chambers of Commerce from the Osoyoos to Enderby have teamed up to help support our communities across the Okanagan Valley. We launched #OK We Got This as a means to share info and resources while also delivering the message that even a pandemic isn't going to destroy the entrepreneurial spirit that built this region into one of the best places to live on the face of the planet. We will get through this because we have a proud history of responding to challenges with grit and determination and in this case, a lot of community collaboration.

Do you know a business in the valley making a difference in our community? Email us at or use the hashtag #OKwegotthis on social media to share the news! You can also use the link below to get information, useful resources, and read other good news stories. In the meantime, if you want a copy of the checklist we developed to help make things a bit easier for you to digest just click the button below.
Latest BC Chamber Covid-19 ‘Pulse Check’ Survey Closes Friday
Ensure your voice is heard in Victoria. We know your are swamped and are razor focused on keeping your business churning but we really need a few minutes of your time. By participating in the provincial pulse check managed by the BC Chamber of Commerce, you are arming us with critical information that we can take to government to ensure assistance programs they develop are on-target. We can also ensure they realize how fast they need to act and where the gaps in assistance are appearing. It will only take a few moments of your time and we will provide you with the results in a future update.
Buy BC Program Funds E-Commerce for Agri-Business
A new source of funding is available to assist food processers and farmers in BC's Agriculture sector. Under the new program, local producers will have the opportunity to apply for up to $5,000 for their business. This funding has been provided by the provincial government and is meant to encourage direct-to-consumer and local e-commerce business .
Ottawa Announces Nearly $1 Billion in a Regional Relief and Recovery Fund for Small and Medium Sized Businesses
Yesterday the Government of Canada announced the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund for Small and Medium sized businesses. The funding is being provided through to the Regional Development Agencies ($675 million), and the national network of Community Futures Development Corporations ($287 million). This comes after recognition that many businesses fall through the cracks of current funding and programs provided by the federal government. The fund will help to mitigate financial pressures so businesses can continue operations and support projects to prepare for a successful recovery. In BC, the delivery agent will be through Western Economic Development.
Federal Government Provides $500 Million for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations
Major drivers to our Canadian economy are arts, culture, heritage and sport organizations. They are a vital part of the social fabric within our Canadian society and local communities. On May 8th, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault shared further details regarding the Government of Canada’s April 17 announcement of temporary relief measures to support the culture, heritage and sport sectors as they manage the challenges and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and plan for the future. A total of up to $500 million has been set aside to help alleviate the financial pressures of affected organizations.
Pandemic Guidance for Higher-Risk and Essential Occupations and Industries
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety has developed sector specific tip sheets that provide guidance while operating during a pandemic. Each document offers health and safety tips and good practices, for both employers and workers, specific to each industry or sector. Organizations and businesses can adopt this guidance to protect their workers and prevent the spread of infections. The tip sheets cover a range of occupations and industries from retail to restaurants. 
Looking to Promote Your Reopening?
Chamber Members receive exclusive rates when advertising in our eNewsletters and on our website. These eNewsletters are sent to everyone who subscribes online, in addition to our 1000+ members; currently our subscription list tops 4,000+ subscribers.

We have developed special advertising rates during the current pandemic, and would be pleased to work with you to promote your business as you enter the recovery phase over the next while.

For any questions regarding advertising, contact: Caroline at 
We Can't Do This Without You.
Now more than ever, your membership in the Chamber is critical for us to continue the work we do in providing business leaders and entrepreneurs like you with benefits that improve your bottom line, connections that drive growth, and advocacy that keeps government support provided where it's needed.

If you want to explore the potential benefits just give us a call. You can also check out our various membership options on our website and learn how we help grow the people who power Kelowna.
Norm Letnick
MLA Kelowna - Lake Country
(250) 765-8516
Steve Thomson
MLA Kelowna - Mission
(250) 712-3620
Ben Stewart
MLA Kelowna West
(250) 768-8426
Dan Albas
MP for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola
Tracy Gray
MP for Kelowna - Lake Country
2 50-470-5075
Need to add someone else in your organization to our mailing list? Email us.