Letter to Members from the BC Hotel Association
Dear Members,

No one ever dreamed this Covid-19 Pandemic could affect our industry in such crippling ways. The impact in all corners of our province is devastating. As your provincial association, our job is to support you, provide you information and advocate with a strength that ensures our governments at all levels make the changes to policy and regulation that allows our industry to stay solvent. There are no words for the hardship you are facing, both from a human perspective and a financial perspective. Please know, we are working tirelessly on your behalf meeting with governments, working with our provincial and national counterparts and ensuring our voice is heard.

The impact of that work can be seen with the changes in EI, banks agreeing to ensure liquidity for our industry, and tax deferrals are all in place. We have a lot more work to do – and I can assure you, we have secured a leadership place at the table to ensure our industry is set up for recovery when this pandemic is behind us.

We thank you and all our stakeholders for your support as we understand your top priorities and where we can provide you with the most value in the weeks and months ahead. Your voice and needs are what guides us to work on all the right things – thank you all who have answered the surveys. We will continue to send the surveys to ensure we have a map of impact; it is a vehicle for us to gather your voice. Please answer the surveys when you receive them. Every day is different – the impact is moving fast, and the information you provide is critical to our work.

 We have secured a leadership role in the Covid-19 cabinet and the response and recovery task force. These are both strategic partnerships with Tourism Hospitality and Businesses working together to face this economic crisis head on.

We will continue to be your voice and represent the needs of the hotel industry as we will fight for financial support to secure prosperous futures for our hotels.


Ingrid Jarrett
BCHA President & CEO

Federal Update on Support for Workers and Businesses
The Government of Canada is taking strong and quick action to protect our economy, and the health, safety, and jobs of all Canadians during the global COVID-19 outbreak.
Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, yesterday announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the economy and help Canadians affected by the impacts of this challenging period. He announced an $82 billion economic relief package which includes $27 billion of direct support to individuals as well as businesses and $55 billion in tax deferral revenues for those owing money. This wide-ranging support will help ensure Canadians can pay for rent and groceries, and help businesses continue to pay their employees and their bills during this time of uncertainty.

Highlights from the announcement include:

Support for workers
To support workers and their families, the Government of Canada is taking action to (not an extensive list):
  • Introduce an Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks to provide income support to workers who must stay home and do not have access to paid sick leave. This measure could provide up to $10 billion to Canadians, and applies to those who fall ill, those placed into quarantine and those caring for someone affected by COVID-19, including parents staying home to care for children.
  • Introduce an Emergency Support Benefit delivered through the Canada Revenue Agency to provide up to $5 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.
  • Waive, for a minimum of six months, the mandatory one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits for workers in imposed quarantine or who have been directed to self-isolate, as announced on March 11. 
  • Waive the requirement for a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.
Support for businesses
To support Canadian businesses and help them retain their workers during this difficult time, the Government is announcing measures to:
  • Provide eligible small businesses a 10 per cent wage subsidy for the next 90 days, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Employers benefiting from this measure would include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as not-for-profit organisations and charities. This will help employers keep people on their payroll and help Canadians keep their jobs.
  • Businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any corporate 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 installments. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. This measure frees up $55 billion in temporary tax relief, resulting in businesses having more money available during this period.
  • Increase the credit available to small, medium, and large Canadian businesses. As announced on March 13, a new Business Credit Availability Program will provide more than $10 billion of additional support to businesses experiencing cash flow challenges through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada. The Government is ready to provide more capital through these financial Crown corporations.
The six largest financial institutions in Canada have made a commitment to work with personal and small business banking customers on a case-by-case basis to provide flexible solutions to help them manage through challenges, such as pay disruption due to COVID-19, childcare disruption due to school or daycare closures, or those suffering from COVID-19. The Government of Canada will continue to monitor evolving economic conditions and seek greater relief measures should it be necessary.
Top 3 FAQ's on EI for your Employees, and Recommendations from go2HR
This global pandemic has left many employers and properties within the industry with unfortunate circumstances and many are facing laying off employees, reducing operating hours or closing their businesses. What are your options and how can you best set up your employees during this challenging time?

Go2HR outlines key information for employers considering layoffs in this helpful article . We’ve also highlighted some of the top questions in relation to EI and how you should proceed. 

If I need to lay off employees immediately to help save my business, how soon can they be considered for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits?

Laid-off or terminated employees can apply for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, which typically kick in after a waiting period. The federal government announced on March 18, 2020, that it would be relaxing the requirements to qualify for EI given the crisis and that it was working to provide emergency support benefits to people losing their job (likely for a 14 week period). More details of this are expected in the coming days.

Some  requirements have already been waived for new EI claimants who are quarantined, can’t work and don’t have sick leave benefits including the waiting period.

I have some employees that don’t want their vacation pay to be paid out before going on EI – does this need to be paid out right away or can they take it at a later stage?

If the layoff is considered temporary within the definition of the ESA then paying vacation pay is not a requirement, and consistent with other circumstances, say parental leave, where vacation pay is not necessarily paid out. If the layoff is not temporary as defined by the ESA, then vacation pay would need to be paid out.

Are layoffs as a result of COVID-19 being treated as “group terminations” and hence do employers need a code from the Minister of Labour

If the employer is laying off 50 or more employees from a single location within a 2-month period, the group termination provisions of the BC ESA still stand; here is a summary of those provisions .
At the BCHA, we are advocating for provincial government to relax these requirements and waive the extra notice provisions as well as advance notice.
Tools & Resources 
As the landscape for navigating the impact of this virus changes, so are the tools and resources at our disposal. Below we’ve shared a list of helpful tools to leverage for business continuity, managing a financial crisis, and employee and staff changes. Our full list of resources that is updated daily can be found HERE
What Canadian employers need to know about COVI-19 - On Monday, March 23 from 10:00am - 11:00am PT Stuart Ducoffe, HR and Employment Lawyer and Founder of e2r® will discuss several employment law considerations related to COVID-19 and how employers can prepare themselves for the pandemic. 
When: Friday March 20, 2020, 11am PT - 12:30pm PT
Speakers: David Robinson, Interim President & CEO and other members of Destination Canada’s senior team; Business Development Bank of Canada; Parks Canada; Tourism Industry Association of Canada; and Tourism HR Canada.
Conference info:  https://zoom.us/j/161625424
Meeting ID: 161 625 424
  or +1 778 907 2071

A short Q&A will be held at the end of the webinar. As Destination Canada expects a large number of participants on this webinar, please submit your questions via email to  webinar@destinationcanada.com  before Friday March 20 at 10:00 a.m. ET. 
Informative Links:
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.

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.