photo from Gregory Varano. The shop signs are from Barbs barber shop, seaside Sweets, power Supply LTD, Moms Cafe, Sooke Brewery, Sooke Buy and Sell and island Haircutting.This Montage illustrates the local Sooke business community doing its part in the fight against Covid-19

Support for Business

Wage Subsidy

To support businesses and help prevent layoffs, the government is proposing to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.

Businesses will be able to benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. Employers benefiting from this measure will include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities.

To review how the federal government support plan for Canadians and for further details on wage subsidies and emergency support for employees, please click here.

Taxation Relief for Businesses

The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020. (For individuals, the return filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020.)

The payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today (March 18, 2020) and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. This measure will result in businesses having more money available during this period.

Access to Capital

The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) allows the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to provide more than $10 billion of additional support.

Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has resources available including:

  1. Small Business Loan: Up to $100,000 can be obtained online in as little 48 hours from time of approval.
  2. Working capital loan: Get extra funds to bridge cash flow gaps and support everyday operations.
  3. Purchase Order Financing: Increase your cash flow to fulfill domestic or international orders with very flexible terms.
  4. BDC’s Advisory Services experts are offering tools and support to review your financial management and operations.

Capital for Exporters through Export Development Canada

EDC stands ready to support Canadian exporters impacted by COVID-19. The best first step is to call EDC to start the process today 1-800-229-0575.

Employment Insurance

Several measures are being taken by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to assist employees who have been laid off or are unable to work due to quarantine. These measures include, waiving the one-week waiting period for and priority application processing for related claims. To learn more and if you think you may be eligible, go to EI sickness benefits.

General Information

B2B Support – Private and Crown Corporations

BC Hydro

The COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program provides customers the option to defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty. Customers are encouraged to call BC Hydro’s customer team at 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376) to discuss bill payment options.

Fortis BC

FortisBC will be waiving late payment fees and ensuring no customer is disconnected from the energy they need for financial reasons. They will also be available to help their customers with flexible payment options. To learn more about what FortisBC is doing visit their COVID-19 page or call Fortis at 1-866-436-7847 for electricity and 1-888-224-2710 for natural gas.


Hootsuite is offering free access (until July 1st, 2020) to their Professional Plan to help small businesses and non-profits stay connected to their customers and audiences. To learn more or signup visit their website here.

Other Support

For information on other supports please visit the Government of Canada website.

Other resources that are being built are but not limited to: support for women’s shelters and sexual assault centres including on reserve, support for people experiencing homelessness (through Reaching Home), Canada Student Loan payments, support for Indigenous Communities, and Lower Registered Retirement Income Fund Minimum Withdrawal Amounts.

What the District of Sooke is doing

This information comes from the District’s COVID-19 web page extracted on March 23, 2020.

  • The District activated an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) on March 13th to monitor directives from Provincial and Federal Ministries, and streamline communications; on March 19th the EOC was ramped up to a Level 2 response to support advance planning.
  • The Fire Department has developed response protocols for first responders to limit exposure and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
  • The Fire Department recommends postponing backyard burning, where possible. If residents must burn, ensure that burning practices are reasonable and considerate to neighbours, while adhering to the burning regulations.
  • The District discourages use of park play structures
  • District offices closed to public access. All municipal meetings cancelled. Staff are working virtually to support residents (available via phone/email).
  • Building inspections are being conducted virtually, where possible (photos and video may be accepted), and onsite when buildings are not occupied at the discretion of the Building Official. Contact to inquire about options.
  • Discussions on support to business are currently taking place at the local, provincial and federal government levels. No concrete plans have yet been communicated to the District of Sooke. Once they are known, the District will inform our businesses of the programs. This will include any relief regarding property taxes, utility and user fees.

Upcoming support for businesses and citizens

Things that are expected to receive Royal Assent on Tuesday, March 24, when Parliament reconvenes:

Emergency Care Benefit (Expected in April, Requires Royal Assent)

The Emergency Care Benefit will be providing up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks. This flat-payment Benefit would be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and provide income support to:

  • Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits
  • Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not quality for EI sickness benefits
  • Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.

Application for the Benefit will be available in April 2020 and require Canadians to attest that they meet the eligibility requirements. There will be three channels to apply for the Benefit:

  1. By accessing it on their CRA MyAccount secure portal;
  2. By accessing it from their secure My Service Canada Account; or
  3. By calling a toll-free number equipped with an automated application process (this number should be available closer to the rollout of this program).

Emergency Support (Available April, Requires Royal Assent)

For Canadians who lose their jobs or face reduced hours as a result of COVID’s impact, the Government is: Introducing an Emergency Support Benefit delivered through the CRA to provide up to $5.0 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment. More details for how to access this program should be available closer to its rollout in April.

Enhanced Canada Child Benefit (Available early May, requires Royal Assent)

For those that are eligible for the Child Tax benefit, there will be an additional $300 per child available on top of what is already received.

GST Credit (Available early May, requires Royal Assent)

For individuals that are eligible for GST Credits The credits available will be increased up to $400 for single adults and $600 for couples (more details will be available closer to the rollout date).