COVID-19 Update – Overview of Phase 2 of BC’s Restart Plan + Expansion of the Canada Emergency Business Account

May 19, 2020

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, and Phase 2 is here. As announced by Premier John Horgan on May 6, 2020, this next phase of British Columbia’s restart plan begins today, with a number of businesses being permitted to reopen, subject to certain guidelines.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also announced today an expansion to the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account, and an extension to the Canada-U.S. border closure to June 21, 2020.

Phase 2 of BC’s Restart Plan

As summarized in our May 6, 2020, bulletin, Phase 2 of the BC Restart Plan, includes an increase in business activity in several sectors, under enhanced protocols, including:

    • Restoration of health services (re-scheduling elective surgery);
    • Medically related services including: dentistry, physiotherapy, registered massage therapy, chiropractors, physical therapy, and  speech therapy;
    • Retail sector;
    • Hair salons, barbers, and other personal service establishments;
    • In-person counselling;
    • Restaurants, cafes, and pubs;
    • Museums, art galleries, and libraries;
    • Office-based worksites;
    • Recreation and sports;
    • Parks, beaches, and outdoor spaces; and
    • Child care.

Expansion of the Canada Emergency Business Account

As covered in our previous COVID-19 bulletins, the Canada Emergency Business Account (“CEBA”) provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover operating costs during periods of temporary revenue reduction. If the balance of the loan is repaid on, or before, December 31, 2022, 25% of the loan will be forgiven (up to $10,000).

When announced on March 27, 2020, to qualify for the loan, organizations needed to demonstrate between $50,000 and $1 million in total payroll in 2019. On April 16, 2020, the payroll eligibility range was increased to between $20,000 and $1.5 million.

Today, the government announced that the eligibility criteria would be further expanded to include many owner-operated small businesses.

Canada-U.S. Border

An agreement has been reached between Canada and the United States to keep the border closed to all non-essential travel until June 21, 2020. The agreement exempts the flow of trade and commerce, as well as vital health-care workers such as nurses who live and work on opposite sides of the border.

For further information on the above topics, please see the May 19, 2020, bulletin below:

COVID-19 Update – May 19, 2020