C-19 BULLETIN - March 24, 2020

As Minister Beare referenced in a discussion with TIABC this morning, the Province’s COVID-19 Action Plan both filled the gap and augmented what the federal government introduced as part of its crisis measures over the past few days. At the same time, BC's new plan is the first of other initiatives to be introduced in the coming weeks.
And while TIABC will work with the Province to shape a specific tourism and hospitality emergency package, we will also continue to engage with our national, provincial and territorial colleagues to amplify concerns at the federal level. Several recommendations have already been forwarded to various ministers and ministries, with new ideas generated daily to assist the visitor economy in BC and across the country.
Judging by some of the federal government's actions to date, it appears that Canada’s tourism sector has been somewhat successful in identifying immediate needs and offering solutions for adoption. The following are some of the measures tourism industry associations (e.g. TIABC), along with TIAC have put on the table for consideration so far.
  • Tax relief measures such as deferring corporate tax liability and allowing payments over a multi-year period;
  • Extend EI benefits to sole proprietors to help keep small businesses afloat;
  • Waive the seven-day waiting period to collect EI for Canadians under a temporary layoff notice, similar to the provisions provided to those under self quarantine;
  • Eliminate the 30-day waiting period for the Work Share Program to allow individuals to job share while topping up with EI sooner than later;
  • Temporarily adjust the percentage of hours worked while on lay off to allow staff to work more than 50 percent of their regular hours without reducing their EI benefits. Similarly, reduce the deduction to benefits from 50% to 30% to allow staff members to gradually return to work;
  • Extend the maximum temporary layoff benefit from 13 weeks to six months, given the uncertainty on the resumption of normal business operations;
  • Adjust the EI system to pay employers directly as a method to ensure there is no processing lag time in the case of lay-offs;
  • For airports, in addition to immediate rent relief, provide financial support to address reduced cash flow;
  • Implement a program to direct new funds to airports to compensate for their lost revenues and increased costs, as well as to ensure that airports and local economies continue to be stimulated by capital spending;
  • Suspend the federal excise tax on jet fuel;
  • Suspend the Air Transport Security Charge;
  • Suspend NavCanada navigational fees;
  • Stimulus funding for the industry, including additional marketing dollars for Destination Canada;
  • Tourist incentives to visit and travel within Canada (e.g. free park admission program);
  • Streamlined visitor visa application processes; and
  • Tax credit for domestic tourism/travel related expenses to encourage the return of domestic tourism after the COVID-19 crisis subsides.
Aside from the aforementioned measures, TIABC and our counterparts will continue to solicit ideas from our respective industry stakeholders for the federal government to consider. The following are but two examples received this week:
  • Allow unemployed or cash-strapped Canadians to withdraw a specified maximum amount from their (dwindling) RSPs without penalty or tax implications.
  • For international employees in year one of a temporary work visa, provide an automatic extension for six months or an opportunity to reapply to fulfill the original term.
Keep the innovative ideas and recommendations coming for TIABC to advance within senior levels of government because, as you know, #BCTourismMatters.
Canadian RV and Camping Industry Efforts to Advocate
“Essential Businesses” for Industry Stakeholders

The Canadian RV and Camping Industry has announced measures to advocate to government officials and policy makers that RV manufacturers and suppliers, RV dealers and service centres, and private RV parks and campgrounds be included in the businesses deemed as essential services after Canadian provinces order shut down of businesses to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canadian RV Association (CRVA) , Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) of Canada and the Canadian Camping and RV Council (CCRVC) are engaging with federal and provincial government offices to demonstrate that RVs are uniquely able to meet “critical needs in an expedited timeframe for emergency crisis management including mobile clinics, operating rooms, medical providers sleeping quarters, laundry facilities, command centers, and much more provided that a steady stream of production remains,” said Shane Devenish, CRVA’s President.

RVDA retailers, CRVA manufacturers and CCRVC private campgrounds across the country are committed to serving an important role to help combat the public health emergency COVID-19 presents. There is great importance of ensuring that consumers have access to safe and well-functioning recreational vehicles and propane services such as inspection and fill-ups for those who need this commodity. 

Read the full media release here or visit: ccrvc.ca/blog/19813
ABLE BC Provides Free Downloadable Signs
for Businesses

Download a sign to post in your establishment asking customers to stay 1-2 metres apart from each other and practice social distancing.

Other precautions to take in your establishment: 
  • When customers are lining up, ask that they keep a 1-2 metre distance from the people ahead and behind them. Some retailers, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, have put temporary markings on the floor to indicate where customers should stand in line. We encourage you to do the same.

  • Strictly limit the number of patrons inside your store to allow for social distancing (note: the current provincial health officer order prohibits you from having more than 50 people in your establishment, including staff, at one time).

Download for free all COVID-19 signs that ABLE BC has created in their  online store .

Please send any other signage requests to Danielle:  [email protected]
Tourism Vancouver Member Impact Survey

Tourism Vancouver closed their member impact survey last Wednesday. The insights highlighted below will help inform the work of the Metro Vancouver Response and Recovery Task Force as they work to advocate for more industry support from all levels of government.

  • Majority of respondents report they expect to experience extreme (43%) and significant (26%) impact to their business in the next six months.

  • Overwhelmingly, 89% of the respondents indicate they are experiencing postponements/cancellations from their clients/customers due to COVID-19.

  • Short term months experienced the most postponement/cancellation due to COVID-19 are: March 2020 (27%); April 2020 (23%); May 2020 (18%).

  • Top three markets that businesses are suffering from postponing/cancelling as a result of COVID-19 are: United States (19%); Local/Other BC (16%); Other Canada (14%).

  • The actions most businesses have taken in response to COVID-19 (before social distancing and work from home was advised by the federal government) are mainly related to external/customer related changes: shifted sales and marketing strategies (16%); adjusted cancellation/refund policies (16%); changed/delayed hiring summer staff (14%); reduced/postponed sales and marketing spend (13%).

  • As expected, respondents indicated both Q3 and Q4 will be significantly weaker than compared to the same period last year. However, members also indicated Q4’s performance to be an improvement over Q3 (moderately weaker in Q4 vs significantly weaker in Q3).

Learn more at:
We would like to hear from you about what you would like to see in our COVID-19 updates going forward. Feel free to send your ideas/thoughts to [email protected].