Dear Hotel Community,
Employee-employer relations continue to take centre stage. Since we first felt the effects of COVID-19, many of you were quick to reach out with concerns over how you can continue to support employees during this devastating crisis, recognizing that workers at each and every level are absolutely vital to the success of your hotel and our industry at large.
This reality is something that has led our conversations and advocacy efforts during the COVID-19 crisis, as we work to make certain that businesses can survive and remain a source of employment for their valued workers
as well as provide the stream of municipal, regional, and economic contribution
. Because of this, the BCHA has been supportive of the Tourism Association of British Columbia's (TIABC) recent request for
relief and recovery
. Last week, we also submitted further recommendations on behalf of the BCHA for support and recovery to Premier Horgan, Minister Beare and Minister James, requesting relief and support surrounding property tax. With a concerning lack of revenue and compounding fixed costs, this remains a top priority for our association.
Another key matter surrounds the temporary layoff provision which is slated to end on August 30, 2020. In its place, employers and employees can apply to extend temporary layoffs as part of a
new variance to the Employment Standards Act
. This can be done by submitting a joint application through the Employment Standards Branch (ESB) by August 25, 2020, with a decision to be received by August 30, 2020. In order to provide full details and insights surrounding this process, the BCHA is working closely with the ministries of tourism and labour to offer a webinar. The portal training webinar will take place on Thursday, August 6 from 1pm-2pm PDT and will be 45 minutes in duration, with a 15 minute Q&A period to follow. Please see the webinar section below to sign up.
Our accommodation community spans every community in the province and includes all configurations of properties, as such it is important to note, this temporary layoff provision is for non-union properties only. Union properties are working hand-in-hand with employers and unions, many of which are currently in collective bargaining, and as such will need to address layoff and recall in that respected process.
Finally, last week we also brought to your attention further restrictions on events. The new public health order mandates that no event can be held before noon and that no more than two events may be hosted in one day on the same premises or in an area of the premises. We have heard your concerns and have engaged the Minister of Health on this limiting restriction, advocating to repeal the restrictive timeline for hosting events and meetings.
We keenly understand that purpose built hotels have been, and need to continue to host meetings, which are not the same as events, and the previously approved protocols developed in alignment with the BCCDC guidelines and WorkSafe BC ensure employee and guest safety.
While protecting guests, employees and our communities remain fundamental to our industry, we
know hotel operations can and have been delivering safe meeting venues for under 50 people very successfully while adhering to the BCCDC guidelines. We are working with the Ministry of Health to have a revision to this restriction.
We will continue to further update you as this develops.
President and CEO
British Columbia Hotel Association