The Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) is closely monitoring developments around the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) through regular updates from the World Health Organization, Public Health Agency of Canada, BC Centre for Disease Control, and Vancouver Coastal Health. We encourage you to do the same as you conduct your business affairs and planning for the next several months.
In addition to monitoring the situation from an economic standpoint, VEC is working to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Vancouver’s economy and local businesses. VEC is also poised to support all levels of government on initiatives to identify and implement what Vancouver needs to weather and swiftly recover from market shocks related to COVID-19.
VEC has instituted a moratorium on corporate travel, leading to the cancellation of all international business events and engagements. We are considering our calendar of upcoming events and workshops held at our space, and will update guests and attendees on a case-by-case basis.
The Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) is monitoring the COVID-19 situation from an economic standpoint. To check on our activities and progress, please refer to this page.
The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade has put together a great checklist for Vancouver businesses, and the British Columbia Economic Development Association (BCEDA) has also put together a robust set of resources for businesses. The Government of Canada has launched a new webpage with a four-pronged approach to supporting Canadian businesses. You may also refer to these, and other links below to support your efforts in protecting the health and safety of your business and employees, and limiting negative COVID-19 economic impacts.
- Checklist: COVID-19 Business Planning for Vancouver Businesses (Greater Vancouver Board of Trade)
- Resource Hub: Planning for Coronavirus (BCEDA)
- Resource Hub: For Canadian Businesses (Government of Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service)
- Info Sheet: Getting Your Business Ready for COVID-19 (World Health Organization)
- Template: Emergency Planning for Small Businesses (PreparedBC)
- Rolling Updates: Travel Advice and Advisories (Government of Canada)
Below some recent highlights of various measures taken by all levels of government. Please note this list is not comprehensive. For the most recent updates, please refer to daily COVID-19 press conferences by governments and health authorities and associated news coverage.
The Government of Canada has launched a webpage for Canadian businesses that address four key considerations for businesses during this time: supporting employees, financial implications and business preparedness, business travel and events, and doing business in international markets.
- Service Canada is waiving the one-week waiting period to access EI (Employment Insurance) for workers who have been directed to self-isolate and who will claim EI sickness benefits. Refer to Government of Canada: Measures and Response to COVID-19
- Employment and Social Development Canada is doubling the length of time that employers and workers are eligible to use the Work Sharing program, from 38 to 76 weeks, and streamlining processes so help can be accessed as soon as possible.
- The Minister of Finance has announced a $10 billion stimulus package through the Business Development Bank of Canada, which will support businesses impacted by this crisis.
- The Bank of Canada has lowered its target overnight rate by 50 basis points to 0.75%
- The Chief Public Health Officer has also now advised all Canadians to postpone or cancel all non-essential travel outside of Canada
- The Province of British Columbia has asked British Columbians to voluntarily self-isolate for 14 days upon returning from travel outside the province, and new measures continue to roll in.
- The City of Vancouver‘s Vancouver Emergency Management Agency is working with internal and external partners, including Vancouver Coastal Health, on a proactive approach, beyond already established protocols. They are also working with VEC and the business community to assess and understand economic impact and potential strategies. Refer to their COVID-19 within Vancouver for more information.
Public Health Resources
Latest information and general health authority resources on the novel coronavirus may be found here:
- Vancouver: Vancouver Coastal Health
- British Columbia: BC Centre for Disease Control
- Canada: Public Health Agency of Canada
- Global: World Health Organization
As recommended by global health officials, please do not attend events if you are feeling sick, or if you have recently returned from a region affected by COVID-19. The most powerful way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases is to wash your hands frequently, regularly sanitize work spaces, and stay home when you are feeling ill or experiencing symptoms, especially related to high fever in combination with a dry cough or stomach upset.