Letter to Members from the BC Hotel Association
MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT & CEO, INGRID JARRETT
Dear Members,

Further to our communication yesterday, in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, we are working with partners at the regional, provincial, and federal levels. Every hour the situation changes, with increasingly dire consequences for our industry. The crucial and unprecedented measures implemented by government to contain the virus will continue to result in hardship for our industry. It is important for you to know that the BC Hotel Association has been working diligently on your behalf, partnering with industry colleagues around BC, to coordinate the tourism industry’s response and recovery actions together with senior levels of government. We are meeting with Government this week with your primary asks, the key of which is to support fiscal liquidity measures and a series of potential changes to the fiscal burden our industry bears. We will keep you apprised of the outcomes of these meetings. 

As we are working to prioritize our advocacy efforts, we will continue to collect information on the impact of this virus. As the situation evolves, we ask that you continue to complete our survey based on new developments associated with your property to help us evaluate our most powerful path forward. If you have already completed the survey, we ask you submit new responses.


Some of today’s actions:

  • Sent formal letters to Premier Horgan, Ms. Lori Wanamaker (Deputy Minister of Finance), The Hon. Lisa Beare (Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture), and the Hon. Selina Robinson (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing) highlighting the critical needs of the tourism industry. We have confirmed two meetings this week. Current files that the BCHA are advocating for include:

  • Creation of a Tourism Emergency Contingency Fund
  • Property Tax Moratorium
  • Delay the next minimum wage increase scheduled for June 1, 2020
  • PST Relief
  • Defer Employer Health Tax
  • Business Tax Relief
  • Fiscal support for Strata Hotels
  • Loan Payment Relief
  • Incremental Funding to Small and Medium-Sized Business Affected by COVID-19
  • Stimulus Funding 

  • Working to quantify financial losses to our sector to date, and more importantly determine the funds required to sustain hotel & lodging operations over the duration of the crisis. Already, tourism operators in BC have collectively lost hundreds of millions of dollars in business and have or will be forced to lay off thousands of employees. The data collected will be used to seek financial assistance from senior levels of government to mitigate future losses or widespread business closures as well as continue to advocate for our employees for EI changes in wait times, work share programs, and layoff restrictions.

  • The BCHA is participating on the Tourism Emergency Management Committee to share information, regularly adjust response and recovery plans, and to communicate these actions to the broader tourism industry.

  • The BCHA is a lead entity working to develop a Coalition for Tourism and Hospitality to advocate and work with Government at all levels to alleviate the current hardship, support business liquidity, and focused recovery strategies. 

While we continue to pursue various advocacy efforts, there are immediate steps that can be taken by you to help secure funding in the short-term. In addition to the $1 billion COVID-19 Response Fund announcement earlier this week, the government announced that a supplemental $10 billion credit facility will be imminently available to Canadian businesses directly impacted by COVID-19 – and that will include hotels.

While we are awaiting further details around the terms of this fund, in principle it should provide hotels with liquidity during this difficult period.
This funding will be administered through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada. Minister Morneau further reaffirmed that an undisclosed but significant stimulus package will be rolled out this week.
Other notable measures unveiled include:

  • Stabilized financial sector: An additional $300 billion in lending capacity.
  • Lowered interest rates: The Bank of Canada will cut key overnight lending by 50 basis points to 0.75 per cent, the second cut this week.

We are directly engaged with the Government and the national Association on the development of these fiscal measures and will continue to ensure that our hotels are front and center in the consideration of economic response packages.

What can you do in the immediate term to secure additional funds?
The Government has been working with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) to develop liquidity options for affected industries. BDC is offering flexible and tailored support for businesses during this unpredictable time. They’re offering:
  • Small Business Loans – Up to $100,000 can be obtained online in as little as 48 hours from the time of approval (SMEs - defined as 499 employees or less)
  • Working Capital Loans – 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

How to Access Government Programs
It can be difficult to understand how all of these programs work and what is available. A support system has been established through Canada’s Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) to help tourism operators, including hotels. The RDAs can assist with access to federal funding and advice/pathfinding services to other federal programs available. Hotels seeking more information can contact their local RDA office. Details and contact information can be found by visiting the following links:  English   |   French

If you have any questions or require any additional support, we are here to help you. Please call 604-443-4756 or email  communications@bcha.com  if you have any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Ingrid Jarrett
BCHA President & CEO